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Dan Koivulaakso: "Right wing radicalism in Finland"

Entgrenzter Rechtsextremismus? Tagungsbericht Tagungsbericht 9. Februar 2015 Tagungsbericht 10. Februar 2015 Eröffnungsreden Panel der Fachtagung Panel 1 Panel 2 Panel 3 Panel 4 Panel 5 Weltcafè Audiodokumentation Bayern 2: Rechtsextremismus in Europa Kontakt und Veranstalter

Dan Koivulaakso: "Right wing radicalism in Finland"

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Positionspapier zum Vertiefungsangebot "Rechtsextremismus in Europa" im Rahmen der Fachtagung "Entgrenzter Rechtsextremismus? Internationale Perspektiven und Gegenstrategien" der Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung in München, 09.-10.02.2015.

This presentation is based on the book "The Extreme Right in Finland" (2012) which I co-authored. The aim of our book was to rebuild a tradition of research on the extreme right and summarize current Finnish development within a broader European theoretical framework. We make a division into right-wing populist groups and fascist/nazi groups and write about both. Key questions in our work: What kind of backgrounds do these groups/movements have? What are the ideological origins of their agenda? How has their work affected the Finnish political landscape?

When publishing the book the right-wing populist party the True Finns was the third biggest party in Finland having obtained 19,05 % support in the April 2011 elections.

The party was founded in 1995 on the ashes of a rural protest party that had gone bankrupt. Already in the year 2000, when the party was marginal - its long time and current leader - Timo Soini put forth that he wanted his party to be a European radical populist party like Partij van de Vrijheid or Fremskrittspartiet. In 2004 a group of members poured in from the neo-fascist or third position think tank Suomen Sisu (Finnish Persistence). In 2008 several city counselors with a background in Sisu were elected from the True Finns lists.

Since then the party has had different tendencies where the leader Soini is mostly eurosceptic and traditionally populist, whereas the group around former and current Sisu members - claiming themselves to be first and foremost nationalists - are more strongly focused on a highly racist and islamophobic approach to immigration. In 2011 the party hit a jackpot in the parliament elections. The party didn’t seize the moment and entered the government.

However, we argue that the party is much bigger than its size in all the issues it deems elementary. This is due to the fact that the party has affected almost all other parties in Finland, tightening their positions on immigration and flirting with more outspoken racism. Also Finland’s harsh position on Greece in the eurocrisis has a lot to do with the "True Finn -effect". Besides normalizing anti-muslim and anti-immigrant sentiments we argue that the emergence of the radical group within the True Finns has also opened up for mobilization of more radical - straight out fascist groups. In other words, the whole spectrum of politics has moved so far to the right that neonazi-groups have again emerged for the first time since the 1990s. This happened around 2008 when the violent Finnish Resistance Movement was founded.

1944-1991: All Fascist activity is forbidden through the peace treaty between the Soviet Union and Finland.

1990-Present: Several neo-Fascist groups. Set the stage for current activities. Experiments in party fascism IKL - Radical party & neonazis - Nazi-skin/B&H/WP-movement

1998 Suomen Sisu founded; "Finland for the Finnish" as slogan; Solidarity for NPD, Vlaams Blok, FPÖ - Strong transnational and ideological European ties; Founding activists former members of Fascist party IKL

2004 municipal elections; Many activists join True Finns, Ideological turn: "A Finnish Finland in an European Europe"

2006 Publishes the Mohammed caricatures in support of Sweden Democrats

2008 Founds Homma, the biggest political forum in Finland

2011 Get’s several MPs elected, MP (nowadays MEP) Halla-aho is quoted in Breivik’s manifesto

2011-Present The True Finns become even more institutionalized

2014 Joins the same Europarliament group as the British Tories in order to "white-wash" their image

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