What is Suomen Sisu?

Part 1: From taking over the scene to taking over the party

The oldest of the currently active fascist organizations in Finland is Suomen Sisu – “the Finnish Sisu”, sisu referring to a kind of determination or hardiness supposedly part of the Finnish national character. It was founded on 6th November in 1998 on the memorial day for Finnish cavalry in the Thirty Years’ War by Teemu Lahtinen, Mika Purjesalo and Mikko Mikonmaa. It was initially founded as the youth organization for the historical Association of Finnish Culture and Language, which was founded in the Imperial Russian times to promote language struggles and Finnish independence. However it took for this parent organization only two years to

The logo of Suomen Sisu.

cut any ties to Suomen Sisu in 2000. Earlier in that year, Sisu had been organizing a solidarity demonstration with Jörg Haider’s Austrian Freedom Party FPÖ and it was widely and justifiedly considered to have “pro-Nazi” sentiments. For example, in their listing of “recommended reading for nationalists” they promoted for example works by the Nazi pedagogue Helmut Stellrecht, Nazi ideologue Alfred Rosenberg, Ku Klux Klan Grand Dragon David Duke, Hindu fascist Savitri Devi and the English neo-fascist Derek Holland. In the category “Of differences between taxonomic groups of humans” they had listed literature about the differences in intelligence between different groups of people. This rather nazistic list of recommended reading was not removed from Sisu’s website until 2013 when they renewed the layout of their webpage.

Losing the support and spaces provided by the Association of Finnish Culture and Language was a tough blow for the young organization, but Sisu was able to re-organize its activities during the years 2000 and 2001. Meanwhile also the AFCL, who was before this known mostly as a mainstream nationalist heritage association, drifted towards fascist control – or in the words of its former chairman Martti Häikiö, “hotheaded fundamentalists”. All of this makes Suomen Sisu the only fascist organization in addition to a handful of local Nazi skin clubs with roots going directly to the fascist and nazistic movements of the 1990s.

National and international networking

For the first decade of the 2000s, Suomen Sisu was mostly a common meeting and networking point for fascists, nationalists and racists as well as a “discussion club” which was supposed to create and maintain a kind of a fascist counter-culture. Perhaps the most famous member of Sisu and the current leader of the Finns Party (also known as True Finns formerly) Jussi Halla-aho, who joined in April 2000, has stated that the “central strategical goal, in which I think we succeeded, was the takeover of the scene” (Halla-ahon puhe suurkäräjillä, 10.3.2013). According to him, in the year 2000 nationalism was associated mostly with the post-war eccentric “Reichsführer” Pekka Siitoin, widely considered more of a joke than a serious actor. Sisu aimed to first gain a leading position in this “scene” and offer a way out for fascists from the burden of the Nazi skinhead image they had in the 90s. They searched for new political identity both from the metapolitical fascists of the French “New Right” as well as the pre-war history of Finland: the White Guards (suojeluskunnat) and 1930s fascist movements like Lapuan Liike and the Patriotic People’s Movement IKL and its blackshirts.

movements like Lapuan Liike and the Patriotic People’s Movement IKL and its blackshirts. Picture of fascist Ajan Suunta magazine. Teemu Lahtinen set up for the youth organization of the refounded IKL a military-like organization based on his boy scouts experience. This “Black and Blues” however fell apart fast and Lahtinen moved on to found Suomen Sisu.

Suomen Sisu aimed to especially bring together Finnish fascists, but it also networked actively with European fascist and Nazi organizations. As early as 1996 Sisu’s founding member and a long-standing leader Teemu Lahtinen took part with a handful of other Finnish fascists in the May Day parade of the French Front Nationale and was successful in gathering material support for his short-lived attempt to refound the Patriotic People’s Front IKL.

In 2003 a Sisu delegation took part in Sweden to the meeting of the neo-Nazi party Nationaldemokraterna. In 2005 they participated in a festival held by Front Nationale Bleu Blanc Rogue – Fête de la fierté française (Blue, White and Red – the festival of French pride) where also Italian fascist party Forza Nuova, British Nazi party British National Party (BNP), Spanish Democracia Nacional, Nationaldemokraterna and the German neo-Nazi party Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NDP). From 2005 to 2006 Sisu participated in Swedish neo-Nazi group Nordiska Förlaget’s festival “Nordiska Festivalen” whose keynote speaker in 2005 was the aforementioned David Duke of Ku Klux Klan. Nordiska Förlaget was a publishing house and a record company which had its roots in the Swedish 90s white power music distribution and the “cultural struggle.” Nordiska festivalen was an attempt to bring together white power concerts and visiting international authors who ranged from those representing old school anti-Semite racial theories like David Duke to the likes of the more fresh French “New Right”.

From metapolitics to party ranks

Another key goal for them in addition to the “scene hegemony” for Sisu was to create pressure to push political discourse to a direction they wanted to – to the questions of immigration and identity – and to establish a new kind of way to talk of these things that didn’t associate them with the burdens of its past. Halla-aho maintained that “Sisu has especially been a discussion club, both virtual and concrete. It’s a reference group, within which a large number of people have been able to build their political agendas and identities in a likeminded company.”

In the early 2000’s the forum Suomen Sisu hosted on its webpage was an important place of discussion for fascists, through which e.g. Jussi Halla-aho became interested in them and eventually joined. Later its importance decreased fast as its users moved after 2003 first to the comment sections of Halla-aho’s blog “Scripta – writings from the sinking West” and other far-right blogs. Eventually around this internet community formed around Halla-aho became Hommaforum. It was especially on these forums where the new fascist language and identity was created which gave basis for the anti-immigrant movements of the 2010s: the hatred of Muslims replaced antisemitism, racial theories gave way to a “new” cultural racism and the slogans about “cultural Marxist elite” were developed into full-fledged conspiracy theories. Part of this new language was to talk of vague “nationalism” as opposed to fascism, and the term has also largely replaced both fascism and Nazism in the outwards rhetoric of the Nordic Resistance Movement and the neo-fascist web magazine Sarastus.

Founder and first leader of Sisu Teemu Lahtinen confirms the views of Halla-aho regarding the early strategy of Suomen Sisu. According to Lahtinen:

Sisu is a metapolitical organization and within it in the early 2000s there was a lot of discussion whether we should entirely remain outside party politics or get involved with them. When we had reached consensus on the necessity of political influencing to promote our cause, there was discussion whether we should have a party of our own or act through the ones that already exist […] First we mostly were planning a new national party but we decided that the front has to be broad and the influencing needs to happen across the party-political field. But to do this we also need one party for pressuring, the threat of which would change the others. (Teemu Lahtinen: Poliittinen historiani, vaan ei Taisteluni, 4.1.2011)

This “party for pressuring” was selected to be the Finns Party (TF). Members of Sisu started to infiltrate TF during the 2004 municipal elections while the opportunistic, populist party embraced them warmly. They didn’t achieve much success at that time and for example Teemu Lahtinen who gunned for the Espoo city council got only 49 votes. Their persistent work didn’t start to bear results until the end of the decade. When TF’s successes are discussed, most focus goes to their big time victory in the parliamentary elections of 2011, but Sisu gained its first major victories already in the municipal elections of 2008. In 2007 Sisu raised funds to support Sisu candidates in the parliamentary elections that year. They raised about 10 000 euros, most of which went to the campaign of Jussi Halla-aho, but many other candidates in other electoral districts were also funded. Halla-aho did not go through with his just over 2000 votes, but next year his electoral work was rewarded. In the 2008 municipal elections at least Jussi Halla-aho from Helsinki, Teemu Lahtinen from Espoo and the leader of the organization at the time Johannes Nieminen were elected to their city councils. They continued their success in the 2011 parliamentary elections, when several of its members were elected to the parliament from TF lists. Suomen Sisu and the Finns Party have acted closely together and many from Sisu rose to prominent positions in the leadership of the party and even to national government positions.

As a result from years of work, members of Sisu climbed to the Finns Party elite. In the picture, between Sisu long-timers Olli Immonen and Jussi Halla-aho Sampo Terho, who is “opposed to the unnatural mixing of races” and who went on to lead the Finns Party splinter group Blue Future in hte parliament after TF fell apart in June 2017. Terho is not a member of Sisu.

The parallel but tense path TF and Sisu traveled together came to its conclusion 10th of June 2017 when Sisu received a major hold over the leadership positions in the party. At the party assembly held that day, long-term member of Suomen Sisu Jussi Halla-aho was chosen as the chairman of the Finns Party and the key party positions were filled with both members of Sisu and others who represented their political line. The former chairman of 20 years, Timo Soini, who had given his support to Halla-aho’s opponent in the race Sampo Terho, complained in his blog about how a Sisu member had tried to replace entire party council with their own alternative list. “The last straw was the choosing of the party council. It’s usually done with a simple banging of the gavel based on what the local districts suggest. But in Jyväskylä (where the party assembly was held) a member of Suomen Sisu was suggesting an alternative list altogether and took it to vote. It would have overruled the democratic decisions of the districts and replaced with them new people altogether, without asking anyone.” (Timo Soini’s blog, 13.6.2017).

Three days later 20 members of the parliament from Soini’s faction resigned from the Finns Party parliamentary group and founded a new parliamentary group known as “the New Alternative”. A week later this group took a new name “Blue Future”, since registered as a political party. The right wing populists who gave protection and support to fascists for almost 20 years were now being targeted by fascist power politics. “The Finnish Rural Party (TF’s predecessor) old timers and hundreds of TF members were mocked and anti-Christian rhetoric thrived on various online forums”, Soini complained in his blog. The editor-in-chief of the party newspaper, Halla-aho supported and an administrator at the Hommaforum Matias Turkkila had to calm down some of this discussion online, which quickly became filled with fascist murder fantasies towards the supporters of Soini.

For a long time Suomen Sisu’s strategy was metapoliticial, meaning it tried to have an impact on the entire political field and political discussion as opposed to setting up one, fascist party. Now Sisu and the people closely affiliated with it and those who support its political views have control over an entire party. To understand this development it’s necessary to know the near-history of Suomen Sisu and its re-activation during the leadership term of Olli Immonen from 2013 onwards, which we go through in the second part of this collection of articles.

Part 2. New activation during the leadership of Olli Immonen 2013-2017

After the 2011 parliamentary elections, Suomen Sisu was in a critical period. There was little to no activity and working in the Finns Party machinery took a big portion of the time and resources the actives had to spare. At the same time the Finnish Resistance Movement (nowadays known as the Nordic Resistance Movement, NRM) had gained questionable fame with its violent street action and to many, Suomen Sisu started to look like a rather stagnated discussions club, which it mostly was. Media paid a lot more attention to NRM and Sisu was under threat of being driven out of the limelight. The organization thus had to renew itself, if it wanted to stick to its early years’ main goal of being the leading actor in the fascist “scene”, which was for the first time in almost a decade under threat.

The turning point in Sisu’s development was the grand assembly of Suomen Sisu held in Helsinki, 10th of March 2013. The grand assembly is the highest decision-making organ of Sisu, basically its Spring and Autumn meetings. In the 2013 Spring assembly a new chairman was supposed to be chosen. Only about a dozen fascists arrived to the “grand” assembly held in Hakaniemi district of Helsinki with about 80 antifascists protesting it outside the building. Helsinki-based antifascists were already at that time estimating that “the organization has been reactivated because a portion of its earlier activists want to see more extraparliamentary and more straightforward racism in addition to the line represented by the Finns Party.” Even though the grand assembly was a failure, the coming years proved the analysis of these antifascists right, even though Sisu has not taken to the streets with the kind of drive the Blackshirt-adorer Teemu Lahtinen with his comrades were wishing for.

In the grand assembly Jussi Halla-aho was representing the “old guard” of Sisu and he had become completely devoured by the Finns Party. During 2013 he was acting both as a city council member and a member of the parliament for TF. In his speech in the grand assembly he said that “Sisu has had quite little activity, but I do not consider this a problem. To me, and certainly to many others, to be a member of Sisu is above anything else a question of identity and networking.” (Halla-Ahon puhe suurkäräjillä, 10.3.2013)) One key reason for him to continue in the organization was “continuity and tradition”. Another reason was that high-profile members provided security against “branding” the organization in a bad light. Jussi Halla-aho has been, in addition to Timo Soini, one of the key high profile politicians who have made fascism and racism acceptable by defending them from the leading positions of society, both in the parliament and media.

The book Immonen is holding in his hand was written by Elias Simojoki, a reactionary priest and an enemy of the workers’ movement, founder of the Academic Karelia Society which strived for Greater Finland and leader of the original Black and Blues, the youth organization of the Patriotic Peoples Movement IKL.

The chairman who was eventually elected, the 27-year-old Olli Immonen from Oulu, disagreed with Halla-aho. Immonen didn’t see Sisu merely as a heritage association nurturing a “Sisu identity”. In his thank you speech following his selection he declared that it’s time to wake up from the “slumber” that had followed the parliamentary elections and start a new era of action (Chairman’s greetings, 10.3.2013). Chairman Immonen would take personal responsibility for the development of the organization while the vice chairs Paula Päivike and Teemu Lahtinen would share operational responsibility and secretary Suvi Karhu would take responsibility of the administrative side. To coordinate local activities, member of the leading conservative party Kristian Viding was chosen.

First steps in the streets

Suomen Sisu’s activity started to slowly recover during 2013 and 2014. During 2013 Sisu was able to mostly reorganize its webpage, which was also seen in the more active than before visibility in social media. Within a year they were able to get a handful of writers to their page, both from Sisu and outside of it, when they started to publish blog texts in their segment for guest authors. In the early Autumn of 2013 Immonen recruited for example Timo Hännikäinen to write in this segment, who also was working as the editor-in-chief of the neofascist web magazine “Sarastus”. Sarastus had already attracted some attention among Sisu and at least two of its writers at the time (Jukka Aakula and Markku Stenholm) were members of Suomen Sisu then.

The real activity took off with more difficulties than the web page. After the grand assembly in March, the first publicly advertised event for Sisu was its 15th anniversary in the military island of Santahamina. The Finnish Defence Forces however banned the event due to its political nature. After this, Suomen Sisu had no publicly and beforehand announced events in almost a year. In the Autumn of 2014, when Sisu’s main challenger to hegemony Nordic Resistance Movement attempted to hold street patrols in Helsinki, Suomen Sisu was only capable of writing a statement showing enthusiasm towards nazi street patrols and telling that they also are ready to organize such patrols if the police doesn’t step up its game. It was a sign of Suomen Sisu’s new, more active line that, while usually they have focused on presentability and being socially acceptable, they now gave support to street patrols of the openly nazi NRM. Their actual resources just didn’t match up with these ambitions.

The opportunity to get out on the streets however presented itself later during the same year, when a variety of far right cliques came together to organize a 612 torch march for the Finnish independence day following the example of their European comrades. As far as we know, last time Suomen Sisu was seen openly out on the streets was the independence day of 2003, when a handful of Sisu members gathered to oppose the protests of the “uninvited visitors” to the presidential ball, protesting for reasonably priced apartments, basic livelihood and a minimum wage. In this attempt they lost at least the Finnish flag they were carrying. On the independence day of 2014, they wanted the entire range of the far right out on the streets.

From left to right: Jape Marin, Ali Kaurila (Nordic Resistance Movement) and Timo Hännikäinen (Sarastus, Suomen Sisu).

Most active organisers for 612 were at least Jari-Pekka “Jape” Marin who was known for making fascist Facebook memes, Timo Hännikäinen and Jarkko Pesonen from the Sarastus web magazine and Ali Kaurila from the Nordic Resistance Movement’s Turku group. The representative of Suomen Sisu in the organizing was Teemu Lahtinen, but a founding member of Sarastus Jarkko Pesonen was also a long-time Sisu active. All the groups were supposed to use their own channels and networks to mobilise fascists all over Finland to Helsinki, in addition to which the event was advertised on e.g. Hommaforum, NRM-moderated neofascist Musta Sydän (“Black Heart”) blog and a Nazi clothing shop Ferrus Finnum that is owned by one of the NRM members involved in the stabbing of an antifascist in Jyväskylä in 2013. In addition to promotion, the NRM worked as the security group for the demonstration. Hännikäinen was the chairman of the 612 association that was the official organizer of the event, its spokesperson in the public and the keynote speaker for the first year. They used very broadly nationalist language in their communications to outside and they avoided mentions of nazism or fascism to attract people from outside the established far-right circles. Altogether about 150 people showed up, including NRM’s nazi guests from Sweden, Germany and Italy.

The first leader and a founding member of Nordic Resistance Movement who has since resigned from both NRM and the entire nazi movement, told the Finnish state news channel that “on the 612 march held in 612 Suomen Sisu and NRM worked closely together even though we advertised that NRM is not at all involved in it. NRM for example made the 612 website.” In his book he also mentioned Sisu supporting the NRM street patrols earlier in the Autumn of the same year. In their 2018 history, NRM has also themselves stated they had the initiative in organizing of the march, which they had not commented on directly before.

2015: Cooperation with neo-Nazis and re-organizing

On the independence day of 2014 the torch march was allowed to march through the upscale Töölö district without resistance, because already before the 612 march was announced, plans had been started for a protest with the theme of class struggle at the presidential castle during the annual presidential ball. Many organized antifascists took part in this. It seems that Suomen Sisu was encouraged from this experience. The spring of 2015 was otherwise also a good time for Sisu: after the parliamentary elections that spring the Finns Party, Center Party and the conservative National Coalition formed a new conservative, bourgeois government which included tighter border control and austerity targeted at the working class in its programme. Olli Immonen, who had now been the Sisu chairman for over a year, renewed his seat in the parliament and got into the budget and defence committees of the parliament as well as the board of the state broadcasting company YLE. At the same time a Putinist and racist garbage online publication “MV-lehti” (“WTF magazine”) was opening up new space for racist speech.

Suomen Sisu decided to raise the stakes in the summer, when chairman Immonen uploaded on his personal Facebook page a picture where he poses together with Teemu Lahtinen, Timo Hännikäinen and several Nordic Resistance Movement members on the grave of Eugen Schauman, a nationalist who murdered the czar’s governor general in 1904. On the speech he held at the grave, Timo Hännikäinen reminded that the “event is not supposed to encourage anyone towards political violence”. At the same time he warned that bigger powers who look down on smaller nations will face “extreme reactions”. (Timo Hännikäinen’s speech at Eugen Schauman’s memorial, 16.6.2015). When the pictures of the event uploaded online resulted in an unexceptionally strong reaction, Sisu began the wormy escape from responsibility they had mastered in the Finns Party: Immonen himself said that, “in that event anyone could’ve been there with no restriction, from any possible organization.”

At that time we wrote that it by no means was a coincidence that on this graveyard in Porvoo where they had an event open “for all possible organizations” only nazis and members of Sisu showed up:

“It is clear that this kind of development is their goal. The weak point of Finnish far right has for decades been its scatteredness and marginality […] While those who have gotten involved into politics through Hommaforum have used all of their time to parliamentary work and taking over key positions within the Finns Party, nationalist street politics has been dominated by the Finnish Resistance Movement. They are the only [far-right] organization in Finland who have been able to organize even somewhat serious street activity in the last years […] The problem for the Finnish Resistance Movement has been that despite plenty of events, it has suffered from isolation. They have not been able to organize open events, announce meetings or gather people into their cult because it faces too much opposition and hostility. But in the last couple of years they seem to have found a small place for themselves in the same front with rest of the far-right […] Finnish Resistance Movement was able to hold together with Suomen Sisu and the Sarastus magazine the aforementioned demonstration last independence day […] [The meeting at Schauman’s grave] is another sign that the nazis who were stabbing people in a library are part of the same movement as the Finns Party MP’s going on about “immigration criticism” and the clash of civilizations.” (Hallituspuolueen politiikot, natsit ja kansallismielisen vallankumouksen haikailu, varisverkosto.com, 17.6.2015)

These action men of the fascist scene who were visiting graves and organizing a torch march rose to headlines later in the same summer, each on their own part: Timo Hännikäinen was sending rape fantasies and nazi salutes to domestic violence survivors’ support organization’s and a feminist union’s Facebook pages. This led to Hännikäinen being kicked out from the publishing house Savukeidas, who had earlier that year published his book Kunnia (“Glory”) about his fascist views on gender. Nordic Resistance Movement attacked three people with a big group during their demonstration in Jyväskylä, which resulted in a major trial against over 20 members and supporters of NRM. Olli Immonen published on Facebook an invitation to fight to destroy the “multicultural nightmare” which resulted in anti-racist “We have a dream” demonstrations which gathered about 20 000 people all over Finland and in a rebirth for the tradition of liberal antiracist demonstrations and networks on Finnish streets.

This questionable media attention on the other hand served much needed refreshment for Suomen Sisu, which in the last years had been completely overshadowed by NRM in public discussion. Media attention happened at a good time for Sisu, as during the late summer of 2015 around 15 000 refugees and the recently elected bourgeois government started to spread panic over the “refugee crisis” with media and police support. So-called “refugee crisis” was a handy way for the government to take discussion away from its austerity measures and the transfer of wealth from the workers to the businesses, and the fascists took full advantage of this. Sisu claims several hundreds of people joined it at this time. In addition to this it was able to go through with a renewal of its structure it had been planning already in 2014. For the first 15 years Suomen Sisu was a rather loose network, where the local groups had plenty of autonomy and their workings were coordinated by the grand assembly, the national meetings. Sisu therefore stands apart from most fascist organizations, which have stood true to the principles of their ideology and have remained fanatically centrally led and tied to a strong leader or the so called Führerprinzip. Now they started to form the provincial level “district organizations” in addition to the local groups and creating a more tight organizational structure for itself.

The first new district organization was founded in the province of Northern Pohjanmaa 27th of August 2015. Its leader became Kari Laurila. During the next month district organizations were set up in the provinces of Uusimaa (led by Kristian Viding) and Satakunta (Riku Nevanpää), Pirkanmaa (Seikku Kaita), Päijät-Häme (James Hirvisaari) and Kymenlaakso (Freddy van Wonterghem). At the turn of September and October district organizations were set up in the provinces of Central Pohjanmaa (Mauri Peltokangas) and Southern Karelia (Teemu Lavikka) and in December to the province of Finland Proper (Jani Salomaa). The latest district organization for Suomen Sisu was founded to Lapland in January 30th 2016. As its leader, an internet racist from Rovaniemi Tuukka Kuru was chosen, who became active around the fall of 2015 by starting to organise Close the Borders -demonstrations in northern Finland.

2015-2016: Ascent folds and partners become established

Through its long history Suomen Sisu has been connected especially to the Finns Party. During Immonen’s leadership term they have created new relationships to several new directions and they have co-operated with nearly all right-radical actors with the exception of the tragicomically infamous Finland First. Its clearest affiliate has been the web magazine Sarastus. Many of its writers are part of Suomen Sisu and its editor-in-chief Timo Hännikäinen was recruited first as a visiting author to Sisu webpage, then to speak at Sisu events and eventually as a member. Suomen Sisu helped Hännikäinen between 2015 and 2016 to set up a small publishing house called Kiuas alongside Sarastus. Suomen Sisu invested in Kiuas by buying the majority of its shares. With the investment Sisu gained the right for its members to buy the publishing house’s books with reduced prices. Kiuas also published in 2017 a collection of writings by Olli Immonen. However, Kiuas has mostly published writings from Sarastus and Hännikäinen.

Collaboration between Suomen Sisu and Sarastus has continued also in the organizing of the torch march. The keynote speaker for the 2015 torch march was a long-time active Tapio Linna, who already in the 1990’s led the National Radical Party founded after the example of the English National Front. Linna is famous especially for his magazines espousing antisemitism and racial theories (e.g. Uusi Suunta, Kansallinen suunta, Kansakunta) which he published together with Rami Leskinen, a nazi skinhead from Turku. Perhaps the most famous of Linna’s magazine projects was Näköpiiri (“Horizon”) which appeared for three issues during 2000-2002 and it introduced a modern European neo-fascism in Finland. It was distributed through local Suomen Sisu groups at the time. Rami Leskinen on the other hand became known for being a promoter for the nazi skinhead Blood & Honor movement, as well as writing in the 2010’s to Sarastus and to a white power music blog Veriyhteys (“Bloodline”). The 2016 keynote speaker for the torch march was Tuukka Kuru, who is the leader of Suomen Sisu’s Lapland district, contributor to Sarastus, and a prominent “ethnonationalist” who has since also appeared together with the likes of the American white supremacist Jared Taylor in the fascist conference Awakening Sarastus  organized in April 2018.

Suomen Sisu’s Uusimaa district in May 2016 on a shooting range in Tallinn. Practicing the use of small arms has been also a part of Sisu’s members-only summer camps.

Suomen Sisu networked actively with some actives from the Close the Borders movement that began in the autumn of 2015, and Tuukka Kuru is far from being the only racist to end up in the organization this way. For example the Close the Borders leader in Oulu, Junes Lokka, is together with his partner Tiina Wiik a member of Suomen Sisu. In the province of Finland Proper Close the Borders demonstrations were organized by the district leader Jani Salomaa, mostly known for his part in organizing the completely flopped Hetero Pride. Central Close the Borders actives from Tampere are Terhi Kiemunki and Seikku Kaita, who both are in the core group of the Pirkanmaa district of Suomen Sisu. Seikku Kaita is the chairman of this district. The vice chair of Pirkanmaa district, son of Terhi Kiemunki, Ville Kuusinen was active in the local group of the national socialist street patrol group Soldiers of Odin. The local clubhouse for Soldiers of Odin in Tampere was rented by Kuusinen.

At first, some members of Sisu took part in Soldiers of Odin, but inspired by nazi street patrols Teemu Lahtinen had his third attempt to set up street forces. At last, Suomen Sisu was able to gather enough people for a patrol and an association for this, Suoja Kadunturva ry, was set up in April 2016. Teemu Lahtinen was the first chairman of the association. Signs of this enthusiasm for street patrolling could be seen already in March, when chairman Immonen demanded that “mass immigration must simply be stopped and as many as possible out of those coming to this country must be turned around and deported from our country.” He however highlighted that “not even these actions will be enough in the long term to secure the Finnish way of life”, and suggested to supplement the mass deportations with fascist street patrols. (Puheenjohtaja: Suomen Sisu aikaansa edellä, 7.3.2016) Timo Hännikäinen took it further than Immonen in Sisu’s celebrations for the day of Kalevala and suggested methods ranging from “socio-political decisions and monetary incentives all the way to a genocide” to implement deportations and expressed regret that “the parties the media says are extreme parties, or the extreme right, are in reality nowhere extreme enough.” (Timo Hännikäisen Kalevalan päivän juhlapuhe, 28.8.2016) Despite big talks, the activity of Suoja kadunturva ry has been nearly non-existent, but at least Lahtinen got to fulfill his youth dream as he got to portray himself in media as a street patrol leader.

2017, return of the party politics: municipal elections and takeover of the Finns Party

In 2017 two big struggles were waiting for Suomen Sisu. First of them was the municipal elections in April, where the candidates with backing from Sisu did better than the average members of TF, and the organization strengthened its foothold both in the municipal councils as well as in the power struggles within the party. Of the known members of Sisu, Teemu Lahtinen (Espoo, 474 votes), Simo Grönroos (Espoo, 523), Mauri Peltokangas (Kaustinen, 46) and Freddy van Wonterghem (94 votes) renewed their seats in local councils. Junes Lokka (Oulu, 904) rose to the city council for the first time. In addition to this, the vice chief of Uudenmaa Sisu district Jenni Lastuvuori received the third most votes in Pornainen and a close affiliate of Halla-aho Laura Huhtasaari, while not a member of Sisu, received the most votes in her electoral district. On the other hand, the infamous racist duo from Tampere Terhi Kiemunki and Seikku Kaita lost their seats. The local newspaper Tamperelainen reported in June 2017 that regardless of this TF was able to sneak in the Sisu members Seikku Kaita and Juha Karjalainen who had lost their council seats as jurors in Pirkanmaa district court.

This electoral result gave Sisu a good lift before TF party assembly. Speculations of Timo Soini stepping down were growing more intense as early as late 2016, and Sisu and the more broadly racist segments in the party had been prepping up Halla-aho for leadership since. When in March Soini finally officially announced that he will be out of the leadership race, Halla-aho announced he would be running. Now the power struggle reached the very core of the party, but Sisu and their ideological affiliates had been manning the key responsibilities within the party for years now. For example a long-term Sisu active Simo Grönroos has acted for a long time as the director of the TF think-tank Suomen Perusta, Teemu Lahtinen’s and Olli Immonen’s close affiliate Matias Turkkila, the founder of Hommaforum, has also for a long time been the editor-in-chief for the party newspaper Suomen Uutiset. Several members of Sisu held important responsibilities in the party’s local districts. The supporters of Soini were in control of most of the properties the party owned.

Even though extra-parliamentarianism has been highlighted in the activity and propaganda of Suomen Sisu during the leadership of Immonen, the takeover of the Finns Party is still a consistent part of the organization’s strategy. From the beginning, Sisu aimed to be a “nationalist co-operation organization” which unites the entirety of fascist and nationalist movement from the streets to the cabinets and from the national socialists to the right-wing populists. The focus on extra-parliamentary activities during Immonen’s rule simply brought balance to this equation. It was not meant to lead the organization away from party politics but to bring street credibility to the withered heritage association in the eyes of the fascists who were yearning for direct action and who were under the risk of joining the ranks of Nordic Resistance Movement, Close the Borders, and Soldiers of Odin. Now their activities include for example grave visits and other celebratory events cherishing the traditions of fascism and nationalism, summer camps, wilderness treks, demonstrations, and speaking events. It has networked with other fascist groups and achieved a dominant role within the machineries of the Finns Party. While in relation to its membership numbers its activity remains small scale and weakly organized, they have finally started to match in form and in activity the picture its founders and early actives initially had in mind.

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