During the autumn of 2015 racists demonstrations occurred in many cities in Finland with the name Rajat kiinni (“Close the Borders”). In a previous article on this website we focused on evidence of racism and fascism in the Rajat Kiinni demonstrations. There are three photos below from the 24.10 demonstration in Helsinki.
Man heiling in front of stage 24.10.
Boneheads heiling on senate square stairs 24.10.
Pasi Parkman with racist sign and nazi hoodie.
Facebook as another venue for racism and fascism
Overt racist and fascist behaviour are not just limited to these demos, but on publically-searchable social media, like Facebook. As a social media device, Facebook allows like-minded people to share and like each others material, such as photos and articles reflecting one’s personal opinion. Here, it is very clear that a culture of racism exists, extending further to fascist thinking. On many pages that are Finnish nationalistic (and are the personal pages of members of the Finnish Defence League, Suomen Sisu, Suomen vastarintaliike, perussuomalaiset, and other individual friends of these people or events), it is nowadays easy to find racist rhetoric as well. Such as calling Muslims “mudslimes,” or posting videos showing the refugee crisis as if it is an unescapable torrent of humans, with “facts” such as 30,000 migrants are “flooding” into Finland alone. This fear-mongering only adds fuel to the fire of nationalism and fascism, as evident in many of the images below.
Racism and fascism all in one.
Olavi Mattila heiling. His hoodie has a logo of the Finnish coat of arms.
Janne Thor Mattila heiling in a nazi t-shirt.
Facism and violence
Being brave and outoing with one’s racism is dangerous especially if the normalization of rascist rhetoric continues: racists spouting rascist rhetoric on social media can easily translate to reality, such as the growth of attacks against asylum seekers, people of color in general and towards receptions center in Finland. It is difficult to assess if the role of social media has had a big impact on the growth of overtly racist and violent speech and acts since the refugee crisis in late summer, but nonetheless Facebook is a means to document this behaviour: below are some examples of hate speech towards migrants and refugees.
Fear, and the flipping of the degredation and dehumanization of migrants onto themselves for the justification of violence, arson, and attacks to life. This English children’s book character and symbol for the freedom of movement is being used in a darkly sinister way.
Equally sinister is Juuso’s profile photo from 4th October of Suomi Says Welcome with the man dressed as the KKK from Lahti. Juuso uses cultural symbols from outside of Finland to bring up the fear of the migrant and to give underlying messages that the destruction of the migrant is the solution.
Just as the idea of a coordinated, all-Muslim invasion is as constructed in the imaginary, so too is being “white” constructed in the social imaginaries of racial and national identity. Being Muslim or “brown” is as heterogenous as being “white”, and so the argument that Muslims are invading Europe is simplifying reality down to basic fears. Nonetheless, it is worrying that such hate speech, racialized talk, and use of racist and violent symbols are used to legitimate and support incredibly violently suggestive speech.
No comment needed.
Violent fantasies about killing people: “Too many assholes, not enough bullets”.
Recent hate speech by ex-member of parliament and the Finns party James Hirvisaari, he wants to see migrants hang and would “sympathize even with a collective final solution” to them.
In 2012, then Finnish MP (and currently MEP, and member of Helsinki City Council) Jussi Halla-Aho (The Finns), had his sentence confirmed by the Finnish Supreme Court for incitement to ethnic/racial hatred found in a blog he had written back in the 2008. Although Facebook tends to do little to nothing regarding racist and xenophobic photos and text despite it’s harmful content community standards, Germany has charged a number of people (even non-Germans) based off of very similar remarks made on their personal Facebook profiles.
Violence, but also FB groups and 6.12
People from loose networks of the extreme right-wing together with participants from Rajat kiinni demos mainly composed the upwards of 700 people at the fascist-nationalist 6.12 torch march on Finnish Independence Day, which was organized for the second time this year.
These groups outwardly violent and/or fascist rhetoric. Despite the 6.12 event itself suggesting peace, calm, and neutral aspects of Finnishness…
…groups affiliated with 6.12 show a much different side. Protestor heiling at 612-demonstration.
“Right Sector -Finland” liked everything 6.12 posted, the group itself however is affiliated with the extreme right group from Ukraine.
“Think tank fatherland first” photo with Hitler photoshopped over picture from anti-racist Meilla Unelma (“We have a dream”) demo in Helsinki. This group also liked 6.12’s posts.
Violence towards migrants, people of colour, and reception centres should be of a growing concern in Europe and Finland -how many people must we see getting wounded or even murdered before we resist? Nationalism and extreme right are growing rapidly in Finland as in the rest of Europe. Finland’s far-right is also connected to many other facist movements, for example in Sweden, Hungary, Poland, Italy and Greece. As anti-racists, anti-fascists and internationalists we have to organize on the local level, so that we may stay in solidarity with international struggles!