How does intolerance and racism work in Finnish politics? How does it manifest itself today in anti-immigration parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)? A quote by U.S. civil rights leader Malcolm X (1925-65) provides us with a partial clue to these questions: “Racism is like a Cadillac, they bring out a new model every year.”
Is it a surprise that one of the first persons to congratulate Riikka Slung-Putsalo was PS MP Jussi Halla-aho? Both were responsible for drafting the anti-immigration Nuiva Manifesto.
If we took Finland’s most intolerant party in parliament, how do intolerance and racism manifest themselves at the PS’ annual congress (June 29-30) in Joensuu? What Cadillac model has the PS introduced?
The answer to that simple question is a complex one since the driver, party chairman Timo Soini, denies that he’s driving a Cadillac. While the PS may want to hide the new Cadillac model, there’s a lot of incriminating evidence that suggests the contrary.
How do we know? Easy.
Take a look at the new PS leadership for 2013-15. Four of its party leaders, which include Soini, are strongly in the anti-immigration camp. Be it the elimination of mandatory Swedish at schools (Jussi Niinistö, vice president), to liking Mussolini-style fascism (Juho Eerola, third vice president), to denying cultural diversity (Hanna Mäntylä, second vice president), it’s the same anti-immigration PS Cadillac.
Let’s not forget Riikka Slunga-Putsalo, probably the worst anti-immigration pundit together with Eerola, who was elected party secretary Saturday.
One of the eeriest aspects of the PS is its ability to hide its racism model.What you see is not necessarily what you get. The culture of anti-immigration rhetoric is stuffed today with doubletalk and decipherable only by code.
Has anyone thought what kind of a country Finland would be if we’d allow the PS to draft laws that would strike the term multiculturalism from its youth law or prohibit the use of the burqa and nijab? What about if we banned male circumcision or decided that we wouldn’t accept Muslim refugees and immigrants to our country?
All these measures, which are wholeheartedly supported by the PS, would end up destroying Finland and its Nordic social welfare state democracy. It would be like leaving our future and democracy to chance.
Immigrants and visible minorities don’t need the acceptance or 5.4 million Finns never mind that of the PS to feel at home in this country. All of us who have moved to Finland know at least one person who has shown immense hospitality and given us hope that building a home in this country is possible.
The PS is not only a threat to Finland, but especially to immigrants and minorities.
Immigrants and minorities would be the biggest losers if the PS ever became the biggest party in the country. We’d be persecuted and our rights downgraded even further by making discrimination and prejudice “normal” and “patriotic.”