The following video is a segment from a talk show on Finnish television. It features a discussion between Simon Elo, a member of the Finns Party (formerly “True Finns”, Perussuomalaiset), and a Marxist feminist professor named Tiina Rosenberg. Dr. Rosenberg is a professor of Gender Studies at Lund University in Sweden, but she was born in Finland and speaks Finnish in this clip. Finnish readers may be able to tell us whether she speaks it with a Swedish accent.
The Finns are the closest that Finland comes to an anti-immigration party. They’re weak dishwater by, say, Danish standards, or in comparison with the Front National. Like the Progress Party (Fremskrittspartiet) in Norway, they’re shackled by political correctness. The successful prosecutions of some of their members for “racist” statements have seen to that.
As for Prof. Rosenberg, according to her Wikipedia entry, she “defines herself as a Queer Feminist and was instrumental in introducing Queer theory in Sweden… She is a founding member of the feminist party Feminist Initiative and was formerly a member of the party’s executive board.”
So this is the person invited onto YLE to help the host define the word “fascist” and discuss fascism in a kind but condescending manner with a member of the Finns Party. Well… that should help make sure that YLE presents a fair and balanced picture to Finnish viewers.
I recommend letting the clip roll all the way to the end, even though most of it is about as interesting as watching paint dry. However, there are a few nuggets in there that will reward the patient viewer.
You’ll notice that Prof. Rosenberg’s smug self-certainty is supported by a set of unexamined premises concerning immigration and “diversity”. The most significant assumption is that there is no alternative to Multiculturalism — its imposition on Finnish culture is a given; it is a necessity and a certainty; there is no other way except the “fascist” one. In fact, the concept of traditional Finnish culture is described as a myth, a sort of collective delusion promoted by benighted fools such as her interlocutor from Perussuomalaiset.
The video has English captions, rather than subtitles, so make sure you turn the “annotations” setting on. The captions run by somewhat quickly at points, so there is a full transcript below the jump for anyone who misses parts of the text.
Many thanks to KGS for translating and captioning this clip:
How do you define fascism?
and who do you think is a fascist?
On the program we’re going to be speaking about,
among other things, fascism,
and about speaking about the crisis in manhood.
There’s no crying in this program, but will try to laugh.
Welcome to the show.
This time around we have a debate in the studio, in a special edition of Press Club.
Last week Finns Party member Matti Putkonen was angered. Namely, concerning the windows of the district office in Helsinki being broken by rocks thrown through at it.
And Putkonen said: YLE’s programs have provoked this situation, reported on in these programs, the Swedish elections, the comparing of Sweden Democrats fascists with the Finns party.
The was the president of the Finns Party Youth Leader, this Friday, Do you still blame YLE for the rocks thrown at the windows?
Well, the majority of the journalists at YLE behave according to standards, but, I don’t like it when innuendos are made that the party has anything to with fascism or racism or anything like that, and at the same time smear a half a million of our voters. My job is to defend the opinions of our constituency.
We’ll return to that question, I work for a living. If I can’t be called a worker, let me ask, are we at YLE guilty of the stones being thrown at your Helsinki office? I ask it again.
The main issue of course, is that such a thing has been done. I’m concerned that such political violence that happens in Sweden, is now come to Finland.
The question of is it YLE’s fault, hardly, but I do not like the innuendos of such matters that have nothing to do with the party.
Let’s talk about these innuendos in a bit.
But Tiina, Matti Putkonen’s basic claim, and a good one, the following that, the Finns Party and Sweden Democrats shouldn’t be linked nor be compared with one another.
What is your opinion on Putkonen’s opinion, of linking and comparing the SD and PS is a really wrong?
I think that if you look at my book’s grappling of the change in European values
in the direction of far-rightwing conservatism, I also have to say I didn’t write the book for being about the Finns Party, nor about the Sweden Democrats.
Concerning the book however, and the thoughts behind it, both the PS and SD belong in that realm.
In other words, neo-populism, neo-fascism and certain portions, with the neo-Nazis of Europe. They fall within the same political spectrum.
This is exactly what has caused such irritation within the ranks of the PS party, that you see the PS belonging to that end of the spectrum with the SD party, or neo-fascists.
This is, let’s say, what interests me most is about European fascist mentality, tradition and continuum. These are not my thoughts. I represent the European point-of-view, what is being discussed today, and in political research, and in political action, and above all within the European Union, what we are seeing in the political sphere within individual EU member states. This is not about what I think of the Finns Party or the Sweden Democrats, this is a charting of the European political spectrum.
Let me ask you straightforwardly, do you think that the Finns Party represent fascism in Finland? In part or the party as a whole is related to fascism?
It’s interesting to see how the PS party is very fragmented, but let me answer your question this way, that the PS party are not harmless SMP (TT: former rural agriculture party) fellas.
How do you approach Rosenberg’s thoughts that you’re not quite “harmless SMP fellas”?
Before all, kudos to all behavior of all the rural fellas, especially in the countryside, that they aren’t brought into a clash between city and rural. What bothers me is that we do not have any official ties to the Sweden Democrats, that’s a fact, both are concerned about immigration policies in Europe and in their own respective countries, you have to remember that 780,000 voted for Sweden Democrats, house wives, police, office workers and so on, not everyone by any stretch of the imagination could be fascists, and it’s irresponsible to label them all as fascists. If they vote for the SD party, they’re acting democratically.
I want to ask you an important question, lets return to the beginning, you mention about “innuendo”. Do you deem such talk about links between the Sweden Democrats and Finns Party as “innuendo”, what exactly is this “innuendo”?
For an example, one morning during a TV broadcast, it was said, or was asked from a guest reporter in a live broadcast, “Are the Sweden Democrats more racist or more anti-foreigner party than the Finns Party?” I see innuendo saying that we’re like that, but they’re even more so. Since we’re not anything of the sort, having said repeatedly that we’re against any form of racism, how can a party be any more clear about the matter?
We have made a clear policy that we’re a parliamentary, multi-value, democratically based party, not a party that uses fascist methods and intentions. I have to ask Rosenberg in this case, what does fascism mean? What is your understanding of fascism?
Is it OK if I show you one thing that concerns fascism? What do you say to that?
Fine. Namely, you can mull over at home the principles of your neighbors, and be very exact about your feelings, do you think that you yourself may have some fascist tendencies? You can think that by yourselves.
According to Tiina Rosenberg’s book we deserve to look at the rise of fascism, but how is fascism defined?
Janne Saref tells us more.
Everyone has a fascist, and everyone is a fascist to someone else, Green fascist, Islamofascist, health fascist, or just a fascist. People have a need to widen a meaning so much that the meaning is lost totally.
Fascism was in the beginning a form of government that united ultra-nationalism and charismatic autocratic leadership, and semi-communist economic system.
Nowadays, Fascism means ….something.
The problem is when we discuss who is a fascist, or is something Fascism.
Straightaway you have to define what exactly does Fascism mean to the person presently.
And does it even mean somewhat the same thing to two different people?
Talking about fascism is almost as bad as at trying to talk to someone about Multiculturalism, or about feminism.
The problem with speaking about it in public, is that very often we decide to defend the words, instead of criticizing or defending the meanings.
And how can we even criticize or defend, when words mean different things to everyone?
And when a word begins to have many different meanings, we all become in the end, fascists to each other.
So Tiina, try to concretely, what do you mean by Fascist? If a fascist stood over there, what would be his qualities?
No not qualities, it has nothing to do with genetics, what’s in question is political ideology.
Briefly, the definition of Fascism is, accentuated nationalism, ultra-nationalism.
When a nation rises, the focus of analysis (the reason of its democracy) can be said….
The nation, is defined in a very narrow way, who can be a member of it. That is the seed of Fascism.
I was just thinking about the definition that was just given, you already know after reading my book, that I’m of course not of the same opinion.
The watering down of the understanding, and I see in Europe, and also in Finland, which has a strong tradition of Fascism, an organized tradition,
Lapua Movement, IKL…
IKL and Sisä-Suomen organization etc… are very close to the Finns Party ideology.
In one way or another, this has continuously been this way in our politics, it has vanished from the center of things after the Second World War and it started from the fact that the anti-Nazi laws in Germany were very strict.
Sweden Democrats started from Sweden having a lot more liberal constitution and many of the Nazis from that time moved to southern Sweden, specifically from which many racist and fascist movements came to be during that time.
That is generally an European phenomenon.
Ruben: Okay, so Simon Elo, do you think Suomen Sisu (a Finnish movement) is a racist movement?
Simon: Well I am not a member of this association and I am not going to give a position about this association’s agenda, they can very well come and do that themselves. A party is a party and an association is thing of itself between people.
As what comes to fascism, the writer George Orwell already said in 1944, that “fascism has completely lost its meaning as a definition, it is a way of offending political adversaries” as it is in this case. Ultra-nationalism doesn’t stick with the Finns party, we are a national minded party but in a healthy way. We want Finland to be a country where every Finn has a chance to live in peace despite of the background of the individual, and that is what we aim for.
Ruben : I have to ask about this comment Jussi Halla-aho gave to Helsingin Sanomat in an interview. He said: “Sweden Democrats have a bad reputation but that is due to their unfortunate circumstances of them having to be in Sweden where the general atmosphere is completely hysterical.” Now he isn’t the only one that has said in Finnish conversations that in Sweden people overreact when Swedish democrats separate. I have to ask what you, Tiina, think about this criticism ?
Tiina: Let it be said that the Swedish general conversational atmosphere is a lot more open and critical than in Finland. I also am against any kind of idealization of a nation and before all you mustn’t idealize a national state because a national state is not in any way my cup of tea. But generally speaking they are in Sweden a lot more open and critical and let it be said that the anti-racist and anti-fascist intellectuals in Sweden are very active.
Ruben: So in your opinion quite contrary to how it is in Finland?
Tiina: Yes, exactly.
Ruben: So in your opinion the Finnish intellectuals aren’t active in Finland?
Tiina: No, Finland is in a sort of the same kind of situation as Denmark and I know the situation in Denmark as I was a professor in Lund university for many years where we trained many Danish students. When Danish national party was founded people thought it was a joke and it wouldn’t amount to anything.
Then all of the sudden when they came to power, Denmark’s equality-institution had its human rights-issues wiped away, there was an organized targeting of institutions which were based on basic democracy and human rights in Denmark. That has caused the silencing of the Danish intellectuals and I see the same happening in Finland; anti-racist and anti-fascist conversations have been marginalized and it rarely rises to mainstream media.
Simon (interrupts): That’s because the issue is marginal in Finland; most people do not think like that, as they do in Sweden.
Tiina: I don’t think you have a good idea what the people in Finland think.
Simon: I think I have a good idea based on the parliament and the EU elections. Sweden’s problem is exactly what Jussi Halla-aho stated, that there is hysterical situation going on there in a way that no-one has for years been able to criticize the immigration policy. If you did dare to criticize in any way the policy of taking in everyone who said they needed help, you would be labeled as a racist.
In this kind of a society, which I think is sickly for democracy, you cannot bring forth any kind of healthy criticism and this is the basic reason why 780,000 Swedes’ votes have been cast for this party.
This is an objection to the issue that any kind of criticism of the subject isn’t allowed.
Ruben: This is interesting, I’ll throw in the usual allegation that in Sweden there is a code of a too strict political correctness, what do you, Tiina, think about this?
Tiina: About political correctness I want to ask you, Ruben, as the leader of the conversation, do you remember where that term comes from?
Ruben: I remember it coming from the United States’ universities.
Tiina: Yes, that is correct, it came from the Reagan times before the Bush-clan came to power, that they would intentionally weed out people who in one way or another stood for leftist, anti-racism, feminism agenda. For example queer-researchers.
Political correctness as way to offend is very dangerous, I am myself completely politically correct and am surely a target for this kind of action.
Ruben: Tiina you write in your book like this: “Politically populism is directly linked to the ‘but you cannot say this in Finland’ attitude”
You think the allegation that you cannot criticize immigration in Finland due to political correctness is ridiculous?
Simon: For a long time you couldn’t.
Ruben: But nowadays don’t you have the upper-hand in the conversation in Finland?
Simon: Yes, we do, but that’s due to long and hard work.
Ruben: So you admit it ?!
Simon: Yes, a lot of work put in to it.
Tiina (interrupts): I’m sorry but Finland doesn’t have any immigration, it is so marginal.
Simon: Yes there’s immigration to Finland, let’s go into the motions the Swedish democratic party has put forth, there will be 100,000 asylum-seekers in Sweden this year. How many get in is a different story, but about this amount has been estimated this year.
The Swedish party has put a motion forward that there would be a 90% cut to the amount taken in. People who know math can make the calculation that only 10,000 would get in, which is still more than we take in Finland. So can you really say that this party is putting forward radical thoughts, fascist thoughts when the actual number would be bigger than in Finland?
So a question comes forward, is the Finnish state during prime minister Stubbs time fascist? I would say no but just for this reason is why these kind of fascist allegations do really not hold any weight because these kinds of motions the Swedish party is putting forth have no kind of fascist agenda.
Tiina: Sweden’s internationalisation began during Olof Palme’s time from immigration, even all the poor Finnish people after the wars when Finland didn’t have the prosperity to take care of almost half a million of its citizens, moved to Sweden for work in the factories and enjoy the welfare of Sweden. Finland was for a long time a poor country from which people moved away.
Simon (interrupts): But were these people asylum-seekers? No, they were migrants.
Tiina : We have only 100,000 immigrants here in Finland and it is a very small amount. Sweden is a humanitarian state and a place of solidarity. Sweden has been for a long time for human rights. Finland doesn’t even have the right to talk about human rights, that’s why human rights-policies have never even been established here.
The Finnish migration policy is very difficult and very limited. It means that the Finnish problem is just the thought of your own home village and the not being used to multiculturalism and internationalism and so forth.
Simon (interrupts): So you are saying Finland doesn’t have human rights?
Tiina : Finland doesn’t have the chance to talk about human rights because they have never even been established here.
Simon: Yes that’s what I want to point out, the fact that you are saying that the whole world is racist, homophobic, hostile in this way.
You say that you are politically correct but this doesn’t really sound like politically correct when you place a label like that to the whole world and you have also been one of the founders of a feminist party in Sweden which has an aim to give under-aged kids a chance to have a gender-swap operation and give every illegal immigrant a chance for social/living benefits in the country.
It is no wonder that even in Sweden they achieved only a 3% of the votes in the country, and with that logic 97% of the voters are against you. Not really a good result for you?
Tiina: I would assume so. I will have to remind you though that I am not a member of any kind of political party and I hold and defend the proposals you mentioned very dearly.
Ruben: But when you said that in Finland doesn’t have any kind of human rights policies, that it’s not in any way politically important agenda, do you really think that in Finland human rights issues are really not a big deal in politics?
Tiina Rosenberg: I am not a member of any political party. I do defend the items you mentioned most warmly.
Ruben Stiller: But when you said that there is actually no human rights politics in Finland, that it is not politically important matter, do you really consider that human rights is a marginal matter here in Finland?
Tiina: I do, but it is not thorough, there is for instance Amnesty International and many other important international organisations. But Finland has had a very negative immigration policy and immigration is a new thing here. We very seldom have immigrants in Finland compared to other European countries.
Simon Elo: Is the amount of immigration an absolute value?
Tiina: Yes it is. It really is an absolute value. Yes it is, yes it is. When Sweden became a comfortable country to live in, it is because of immigration.
Simon: Now on this I have to disagree with you.
Tiina: Multiculturalism, openness, human rights, more importantly we have different attendance. We experience a monocultural idea and we are talking about a nostalgic idea of a lost Finland that never even existed. It has no relevance for today, it does not place us on a global field. It does not create anything for us. Diversity is the only way to create something new. It is the only option.
Ruben: Now you have a word Simon; you can see I am an objective journalist.
Simon: When talking about Sweden, one can say that it indeed is a lost country. That is the reason why they voted for the Sweden Democrats because they think that is exactly the problem. Maybe you have not noted, when saying everything is just fine in Sweden, the burnt schools in suburbs and dozens of cars. If there are problems like this I do not agree that assimilation is in progress or that Sweden is a multicultural paradise. The way of thinking that it is an absolute value how many immigrants we have is really strange. I am open for immigration but it has to be defined. Countries like Denmark, Unites States, Canada, Australia. We should, too, evaluate and rate immigrants, arrange language and nationality exams. It really does count what kind of people we let in. I find it insulting that you compare the Finns who moved to Sweden or United States and worked in there to refugees or asylum seekers.
Ruben: So you think this is the point. Finns were immigrants but they cannot be compared to refugees and that is a bad thing?
Simon: We get immigrants in here, yes, but it is not fair to consider all of them as an identical mass. There are asylum seekers, refugees and immigrants, the ones in love and all of these have to be kept separated in mind.
Tiina: No they must not. Absolutely not.
Ruben: Now I have to ask a question about manhood and masculinity. You Tiina write in your book about “protest masculinity” and you argue that True Finns offers an answer to the crisis of masculinity of working-class men.
Tiina: Well, I am not saying that. I am talking about structural changes, heavy ones, that are mainly focused on working-class men. We witness this in Finland but it covers the whole post-industrialized Europe where industry has moved away or being sold away abroad. The result of this structural change is mass unemployment and of course insecurity in society. That is the reason why they create an image of romantic Finland from the past, and then the problems are explained by immigration which is just absurd because there are so few immigrants in here.
Ruben: But what do you mean with this “protest masculinity”?
Tiina: I learnt the term from a journalist in the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper. It explains why women are disappearing from politics. The ex-environmental minister Ville Niinistö referred “finlandisierung” and we are now adapting populist politics in Finland. The main parties are searching for support from working-class men. I myself have a solid trust for the working class and working-class men but my analysis was first and foremost focused on structural change in Finland.
Ruben: Now the final question for you, Simon Elo. According to the book, “protest masculinity” means that working-class men have been flattened by the ideal of middle-class manhood — represented by someone like the prime minister Alexander Stubb — and they vote for you as a protest in their search for dignity. Now what do you say about this?
Simon: When talking about the crisis of manhood you should ask the Social Democrats and Mikael Jungner about it. It seems to be a problem with them; they can’t handle male voters. You don’t need to be a social democrat to be a working-class man. You may vote the True Finns and there is a strong support for myself and other candidates in the party.
Ruben: Thank you for the discussion and now ladies and gentlemen, watch tonight’s A-studio right after the main news broadcast. They are talking about charity there. And now the moralist has a word. Thank you again for the discussion.