The first months have been tough for Finland's new right-wing government. The administration, led by the National Coalition Party, has been rocked by repeated scandals over its anti-labour policies, and the racism of its right-wing populist partner, the True Finns. This has led to widespread protests across the country, and some of the smaller right-wing parties' MPs have begun to waver on their continued involvement. On 6 September, the government issued a statement against racism. Not only was it devoid of concrete anti-racist content, they’ve also snuck in a direct attack against communism.
An empty statement against racism
Prime Minister Petteri Orpo (NCP) said in the statement:
"The Government is committed to promoting equality, combating discrimination, and working to end racism. Every minister in the government denounces racism and promises to actively engage in the fight against racism in Finland and internationally."
However, racism cannot be eliminated with empty words. The statement does not change anything in practice. In its programme, the government continues to push for several measures that increase discrimination and inequality, such as making it more difficult for immigrants to receive social benefits, making the size of unemployment insurance payments dependent on language skills, and undermining the right of undocumented migrants to healthcare.
The right wing is neither interested in increasing equality nor in reducing racism in parliament. Several members of the True Finns have been revealed to have links to fascist groups, and even more routinely make racist and other reactionary statements. The leadership's rejection of racism is really lip service, while at the same time deliberately leaving the field open for racist demagogy to continue.
A True Finn member of the Finnish Parliament even used an openly racist expression in Parliament during the discussion of the government's "racism statement". The fact that none of his government colleagues even raised an eyebrow summarises the government's attitude towards racism.
A ban on communist symbols?
The statement has also insidiously included a motion to investigate whether communist symbols can be banned, in particular the hammer and sickle. In this motion, the symbol of the international proletarian revolution is mendaciously equated with the swastika.
This attack shows why we communists should never rely on any support from the bourgeois state in any matter, and especially not in the fight against racism or fascism. For the bourgeoisie and their state, racism is not a threat but rather plays a useful role in dividing the working class - especially in periods of capitalist crisis. What they see as the real threat is the communists and the class struggle we advocate for, that’s why they attack communist symbols with concrete proposals, while attacking racism with empty words.
The ruling capitalist class hates everything we communists stand for, and fears our growing influence as the class struggle intensifies. As long as we live in a class society, represented today by a senile and crisis-ridden capitalism and its state, racism will remain a social problem.
Real, effective work against racism, however, requires workers to unite on a class basis in the struggle against capitalism. Communism is the theoretical foundation on which we build to ensure the victory of the working class. It is therefore natural that the capitalists see communism as the gravest possible threat, particularly as our forces grow.
The organisation Vallankumous (the Finnish word for Revolution) consists of supporters and sympathisers of the International Marxist Tendency, and is building the forces of communism in Finland. We will not be intimidated by the threatening tone of the right-wing government, because nothing can stop an idea whose time has come.
If you are a communist in Finland, join us in the real struggle against racism and all forms of oppression: the struggle to destroy capitalism and replace it with a rational and just, classless society, where reactionary ideologies are consigned to the dustbin of history.