In Helsinki on April 2018, a far-right event called ”Awakening – Towards national awakening” will bring together far-rightists from various countries. Speakers from several countries have been invited, including US neo-nazis and European far-rightists.
This secretive meeting will be held in Helsinki on Sunday (8th of April), in which the organizers describe in their call as ”the first ethno-nationalist conference” of Finland. The intent behind the concept of ethno-nationalism is to differentiate from cultural nationalism, in which the ”racial” dimension of nationalism has been forgotten according the users of the concept. Therefore in practice, it is about a return to the old-fashioned biological conception of race, and to a more crude version of racism than that of the neo-rightists who have emphasized culture (or religion or civilization). The event is organized by a relatively small group of Finnish far-rightists, a part of whom have been organizing the Independence Day 612-demonstration. The official organizers of the event are the neo-fascist internet publication Sarastus and the Youtube program Radio Monokulttuuri, which partially originates from the racist anti-immigrant ”Close the Borders” movement. From the staff of Sarastus, at least Timo Hännikäinen, Jarkko Pesonen and Jarno Alander are organizing the event. From Monokulttuuri, Tuukka Kuru, Tiina Wiik and Junes Lokka are taking part. All of the mentioned organizers are members of the neo-fascist organization called Suomen Sisu.
The organization Hope not Hate, which is monitoring far-right groups in Great Britain and internationally, writes that the Helsinki conference is a part of a series of far-right conferences. According to available information at the time of publishing this article, Nico Saramo and Timo Hännikäinen from Finland, Jared Taylor, Francis Roger Devlin, Greg Johnson and Paul Ramsey (pseudonym RamzPaul) from USA, Colin Robertson (pseudonym Millenial Woes) from Scotland, Ruuben Kaalep from Estonia and the Swedish-Icelandic Fróði Midjord, are all going to speak at the Helsinki event. Of these, Taylor, Johnson, Devlin and Robertson are all also going to speak a day before the Helsinki conference at the Scandza Forum conference in Stockholm on the 7th of April. Of the speakers at the Helsinki conference, Robertson and Kaalep spoke already at the Etnofutur II conference organized by Estonian neo-fascists, at which one of the main organizers of the Awakening conference, Tuukka Kuru of Perussuomalaiset Nuoret (The Finns Youth) also spoke.
Marcus Folin (pseudonym The Golden One) and Marko Hamilo from Finland were also supposed to speak at the Helsinki meeting, but both have cancelled. According to the organizers, Folin cancelled due to other duties. Hamilo is one of the founders of the fake news site Oikea media (”Right Media”) and known for racist statements, but even for him the US speakers ranting about race and Jews proved to be too much. Hamilo wrote of his decision in a text published at the Sarastus internet publication (22nd of February 2018):
I was invited as a speaker to the international Awakening seminar organized by Sarastus and FM Monokulttuuri. Unfortunately I had to cancel partially because of pressures related to my schedule, and partially because of personal reasons and the collective management of reputation.
When I received the invitation to the event, the most famous speaker that was mentioned was the founder of the internet journal American Renaissance, Jared Taylor. I thought for a moment what kind of signal I would send merely by participating in the same conference as him. Taylor has the reputation for being a representative of so-called white supremacy.
Finnish and international far-right activists
In addition to a relatively loose far-right framework, the speakers are united in particular by anti-feminism, misogyny and racism. The ideology of some of the speakers is also focused heavily on strong anti-semitism. To get a better view of the event’s character, it is necessary to give a more detailed investigation of the speakers and organizers of the event.
Three speakers are participating from the United States. Jared Taylor, Greg Johnson and Francis Devlin are all active in similar fascist media and publication projects, and as pseudo-intellectual characters in the Alt-Right movement. All three have tried to brand themselves as presentable right-wing intellectuals, but even a look at their history reveals them as tarnished antisemites, misogynists, and cultivators of nazi-type racial theories.
The main speaker of the Awakening conference, Jared Taylor, has had an especially long background in different white supremacist movements. The American Rennaissance journal, edited by Taylor and published by the New Century Foundation has been traced via their conferences to, for example, the Ku Klux Klan and the famous nazi and Holocaust denier David Duke. The participants of those conferences have themselves been a diverse group of different fascists. The publication itself and books published by the New Century Foundation are full of vulgar racial theories based on racist premises imported from the 19th century. Although Taylor denies being an antisemite, he nevertheless continues to network and organize events with such entities for whom anti-semitism is a guiding principle of political activities. Therefore, it’s clear that he’s not an intellect of the new right, but a nazi sowing old racial theories.
Greg Johnson is an active participant in various conferences and meetings organized by European fascists. Originally from Seattle, Johnson runs the book publishing house Counter-Currents, through which he publishes the works of famous fascists in addition to his own books. However, most of the books in the publishing house are written by Johnson or his alias Trevor Lynch. In his books and speeches Johnson has created an image of himself as a white supremacist and an antisemite, who strives for a white-only ethno-state from which Jews should be deported. Information about Johnson, who had earlier hidden his face and home address, were revealed this spring, and as a consequence he was expelled from his gym after its owner got to know about his customer’s ideological tendencies.
Francis Roger Devlin
Francis Roger Devlin is a slightly newer actor compared to Johnson and Taylor. The pro-”men’s rights” Devlin is nevertheless linked to the same movements, for example by editing the same The Occidental Quarterly journal, whose advisory board also includes Jared Taylor. Devlins book Sexual Utopia in Power, packed with macho fantasies and dying masculinity, has also been published through Greg Johnson’s Counter-Currents. Devlin, who earlier emerged from the misogynistic men’s rights movement in US, has since become a part of the new US fascist movement and now shares the speaker’s platform with his equivalents in Finland.
Colin Robertson (Millenial Woes) & Paul Ray Ramsey aka RamZPaul
The conference has also invited as speakers Colin Robertson, known as Millenial Woes, from Scotland and RamZPaul from the US whose real name is Paul Ray Ramsey. Both Robertson and Ramsey are the far-right’s own Youtube stars, who mainly produce internet content loaded with racism and antisemitic theories. Both have participated in similar events before, such as conferences organized by Richard Spencer’s National Policy Institute. Ramsey has also participated in meetings of Taylor’s American Renaissance. Robertson on the other hand, after the his identity had been revealed, has fled Scotland and on several accounts has whined about the media manhunt. Hope not Hate nevertheless reports that even though Robertson’s fugitive life under the yoke of media may appear difficult, he still has time to hold speeches at various fascist meetings.
Swedish-Icelandic Fróði Midjord is active in Norway where he has taken part in local identitarian-fascist projects. In Sweden and Norway in 2017, the neo-fascist Scandza Forum was held for the first time. Midjord organized the Scandza Forum with the Norwegian Olav Torheim in Oslo on the 1st of July 2017. In addition to this, Midjord was a contributor to the journal of the now-disbanded Swedes’ Party (Svenskarnas Parti) and does the podcast Me Ne Frego. ”Me ne frego” was one of the slogans used by the fascist party of Benito Mussolini.
Ruuben Kaalep is an Estonian neo-fascist who was one of the founders of the youth organization of the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia, the Blue Awakening, which he’s still leading. Despite his young age, he has made it to network internationally, and has been speaking at, for example, a 2014 conference organized by the American Renaissance headed by Jared Taylor, as well as at the Identitarian Ideas IX conference in Stockholm during February 2017. More information about Kaalep and Estonian fascism is here in this article.
Timo Hännikäinen is primarily known in Finland for his essay book about his several years’ ”compulsory celibacy”, as well as for his public harassment of feminist and women’s organizations on social media. Hännikäinen is one of the founders and the editor-in-chief of the Sarastus internet journal founded in 2012. From the beginning, Sarastus has strived to function as a fascist think-tank and to present widely various trends within neo-fascism, like traditionalism, the new right, the identitarian movement and the alt-right. Hännikäinen is also a member of the Suomen Sisu and editor of his publishing house Kiuas. In 2014 Hännikäinen was also responsible for initiating the annual Finnish Independence Day ”612” torch march with the Suomen Sisu and the Nordic Resistance Movement.
Nico Anton Saramo
Nico Saramo is the secretary of the The Finns party in Mäntsälä and an active member of the The Finns Youth. Saramo writes to Sarastus and is a member of the Suomen Sisu. In 2017 he held a speech at the far-right 612 torch march on Finnish Independence Day. In August 2017 he was one of the founders of the Nationalist Animal and Nature Protectors (Kelsu) organization and acts as the secretary of this mini-organization composed of a couple of people. Saramo represents the new ”race realist” wing of the The Finns Youth, to whom speaking at the same conference with the advocates of white supremacy and antisemitism is not a problem.
According to foreknowledge, Tiina Wiik will act as the presenter of the event, who is an active member of the Suomen Sisu and Radio Monokulttuuri. Wiik’s partners Junes Lokka and Tuukka Kuru are also actively organizing the event. All three are producing the Radio Monokulttuuri together, and are also members of Suomen Sisu. In addition, the background bunch of the event include Jarkko Pesonen and Jarno Alander, who are also members of Suomen Sisu and contributors to Sarastus.
Networking of fascists as the aim of the conference
The intent of the Awakening seminar is to gather together Finnish and international far-rightists to network locally and globally. Because of the obvious political character of the event, the organizers are not publishing the location of the event and say they will inspect everyone who registers to attend the conference. The organizers themselves highlight the networking nature of the event in their call, according to which the event ”gathers together central names of the nationalist scene from Finland, Estonia, United States and Britain”. The call continues by stating that ”the seminar is the first of its kind in Finland and we wish for it to bring together all nationalist entitites of Finland under one roof to meet each other, to network and to enjoy themselves.”
Although the meeting in Helsinki is aimed at networking, it’s also a ”new but old” ideological initiative from the Finnish far-right. The conference is organized largely by Suomen Sisuites and is taking the Suomen Sisu towards the organization’s ideological roots, which contain racial theories, anti-semitism, and unveiled racism. It remains to be seen if this ethno-nationalist initiative will have a wider effect on the Finnish far-right.
Do you have additional information about the content or the location of the conference? Contact varistoimitus[at]riseup.net.