By Enrique Tessieri
A Wikileaks document reveals a disturbing perception that Migrant Tales has expressed concern in the past: the threat of far-right anti-immigration groups in Finland like the Finnish Defence League, Suomen Kansalinen Vastarina (SKV) or the Suomen Sisu faction of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party. In the presidential election, all of the candidates except for PS’ Timo Soini, Sauli Niinstö of Kokoomus and Christian Democrat (KD) hopeful Sari Essayah, stated in an MTV3 poll that the far right does not pose a threat to Finland.
Even if there isn’t a clear distinction made by the authorities on what is far right, neo-Nazi or a Nazi-spirited association, such groups have one matter in common: their loathing for certain immigrant groups like the Muslims. A key term like “mutual acceptance” would be like consuming political cyanide for them.
One of the questions we must ask when speaking of anti-immigration and extremist groups in countries like Finland is who considers them a threat? A white Finn may see them less of a danger than an immigrant, who may be a visible minority.
This compromise made by some Finns, whether a far-right or right-wing populist group is a threat, is the political slippery slope that Finland was on and which permitted the PS to score a historic election victory in April. The reasoning must be something like the following: I can accept, even support a nationalist party like the PS as long as they are hostile to immigrants and minorities but don’t mess with me.
Those who may have played down the PS and especially its Nazi-spirited members have now seen the consequences of their compromise: polarization of society, crimes against immigrants and a threat to those very values we consider sacred in our society like social equality for all.
The most recent scandal caused by PS councilman Tommi Rautio is the latest proof of the face of the PS and its far-right faction despite assurances of the contrary by the party.
What we are seeing as well within the PS is an ideological battle for power: On the one side we have the far-right Suomen Sisu faction led by MP Jussi Halla-aho and others and on the other the Soini populists.
Fortunately Finns do not buy as much as before the anti-EU, anti-immigration and especially anti-Muslim message of the PS as we saw in the presidential election. Even so, the PS is still a major party in Finland despite a sharp fall in popularity.
But bare no mistake: The PS would not only spell disaster for Finland if it ever became the biggest party in the country but would punish harshly immigrants, their children, Finns with international backgrounds, minorities and sensible Finns.