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High time to say ‘no’ to fascism, racism, disparity
Published : 08 Oct 2018, 22:27
The Turku Court of Appeal on September 28 upheld a ban imposed by a lower court on Suomen Vastarintaliike (Finnish Resistance Movement), the Finnish chapter of the neo-Nazi group Nordic Resistance Movement (PVL).
We welcome this historic verdict which will not only dissuade the fascist or extremist radical forces to be formed and operate in this country but also have a long-term positive impact on the social wellbeing. When we examine the background and activities of Suomen Vastarintaliike, we don’t find them to go with the Finnish values, culture, and norms. The Finns are highly acclaimed as a peaceful and peace-loving nation across the globe. The appeal court’s ruling once again proves that Finland in no way will tolerate or allow any fascist, racist or indiscriminating activity to go on in the society.
The Nordic Resistance Movement was founded in Sweden in 1996 and branched out to the rest of the Nordic countries, i.e., Finland, Norway, Iceland, and Denmark.
The group triggered off a storm of debate, discussion, and condemnation in September 2016 following the death of a man being assaulted during a neo-Nazi rally at the Helsinki Central Railway Station. People from all professions and social strata voiced strong protests against the incident. On 24 September 2016, more than 15,000 people gathered in Helsinki and condemned racism and violence.
In October 2017, a Finnish member of the organisation was sentenced to two years of imprisonment for his involvement in the incident of assault that took place on September 2016.
And in November 2017, the Pirkanmaa District Court banned the activities of the Nordic Resistance Movement (PVL) as well as its regional chapters and the PVL-linked Pohjoinen Perinne or Nordic Tradition group. The PVL appealed against the ruling but the Turku Court of Appeal overruled the appeal. The appeal court’s decision in effect makes it illegal for the Nordic Resistance Movement to mobilise, demonstrate or propagandise in Finland.
As we said, the ban on the PVL also spells wide-scale positive consequences for the Finnish society, including encouragement to progressive forces as well as the people in general to continue to work for instituting human rights and equal rights, as well as protecting the interests of minority groups including the immigrants.
Political ideology and strategy also have a vital role to play in routing racism, fascism, and disparity from all sectors of the society. The appeal court’s verdict is very important at this time, when far-right political groups have emerged as vital political actors in many a European country in the recent past. We have seen the advancement of the rightwing populist party, Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), in Germany, the populist Five Star Movement in Italy, and, finally, the anti-immigration Sweden Democrats (SD) in Sweden.
The timing of the verdict is also significant as Finland is now preparing to hold the next parliamentary elections in April 2019. The Finns should consider the issue seriously before casting their votes so that parties with an attitude or advocating an ideology of disparity, racism or fascism do not get a chance to influence the country’s politics and policy-making. To support a fanatic force will but push the country backwards. Only people have the power to decide the outcome through their choice made in the national elections.
This is high time for the Finns to say no to all negative forces and ideologies and to safeguard their country’s image as a land of equal rights, peace, and wellbeing.
To read the Finnish version click Lapin Kansa.