Political groups suspend contacts with Finns Party Youth over fascism concerns

Seven youth organisations - and student unions - say they won't have any political cooperation with the Finns Party Youth Group until it clears out any fascists in its ranks.

File picture of Finns Party Youth Group VP Toni Jalonen / Credit: Perusnuoret

The youth organisations of seven Finnish political parties say they’re suspending cooperation with the Finns Party Youth Group over concerns about how predominant fascism and racism is within their ranks.

The National Coalition Party, Social Democrats, Centre Party, Green League, Left Alliance, Christian Democrats and Swedish People’s Party Youth Groups have all made similar decisions after a senior leader in the Finns Party Youth Group Toni Jalonen described himself as a fascist, while another senior member said it was a mainstream position within the organisation.

“We suspended all cooperation, although in practice we have already for several years not cooperated with the True Finns Youth organisation” explains Amanda Pasanen, Co-Chair of the Green Youth Group.

“We have done a lot of cooperation with youth groups of the parties in government, we have made several statements, but we haven’t invited the True Finns to our annual meetings or other events that we organise, and we don’t invite them to do any political cooperation at all” she tells News Now Finland.

Some of the youth organisations, including the Greens, Left Alliance and Swedish People’s Party – as well as national student organisations – are going a step further by refusing to appear on panel discussions with Finns Party Youth members, citing a lack of action to root out those members who identify as fascist.

“If their Vice President says that he is openly a fascist that is a huge problem” says Frida Sigfrids, the President of the Swedish People’s Party Youth Group Svensk Ungdom.

“I think they need to eliminate all the fascist people from their organisation, and need to respect human rights and democracy. At least, I don’t see they do that right now because they have some members who have spoken out with fascist opinions, and there are still others that haven’t said it out loud. These people need to be eliminated from the organisation” she adds.

Is fascism supported in the Finns Party Youth Group? 

For the political youth organisations there is a feeling not only that a senior member of the Finns Party Youth Group declaring himself a fascist sends a clear message about how it is tolerated, but also that the reaction was weak.

“Toni Jalonen is representing the party and he said openly that he is a fascist, and that he stands behind this. But [Finns Party Youth Group Chairman] Asseri Kinnunen didn’t condemn his words, which kind of means for us that they think it’s totally fine to be fascist, but not so fine to say it out loud” says Green Youth Group Co-Chairperson Amanda Pasanen.

“Jalonen says he is not representing any radical wing in the party implying it’s totally normal to be fascist. And the problems we have with fascism is the things that happened in Europe in the last 100 years. It’s an inhumane way to see the world” she explains.

“Our democracy is standing on the principles of human rights and fascism isn’t doing that.”

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