Finns Party Member of Parliament Ignorant of the Constitutional Right to Demonstrate

There was an energetic antiracist demonstration yesterday in Helsinki. It was triggered by comments that Member of Parliament Olli Immonen had made in Facebook a few days earlier. Many people, including myself, considered these comments by a high-profile Finns Party member disgustingly racist.

Especially for the standards of the Finnish protest culture, the demonstration was mostly deemed a great success. Sure, there were some minor contradictions.

Today another Finns Party Member of Parliament, Jani Mäkelä, decided to question yesterday’s demonstration. So he asked in Twitter how the demonstration was able to get permits from the authorities so fast. Smart. Except that the Finnish constitution happens to be quite clear: no permit is needed for demonstrations. Continue reading

The Campaign Against G4S at University of Helsinki Was Successful

The University of Helsinki changes its provider of security services. The previous provider was G4S, widely criticized for its alleged human rights violations in Palestine/Israel and elsewhere. This can be considered a victory for the campaign that had demanded that G4S be kicked out of the University of Helsinki. I feel happy.

I am not in the position to make any official statements about the reasons behind my university’s decision to discontinue relying on the services of the G4S. The previous contract was over, G4S was bidding for a new one and lost the bid. Nevertheless, I believe it is clear that our campaign had an impact on the process. Let me briefly remind you of some of the moments of the campaign. Continue reading

Should the CIA have a Recruitment Booth at International Studies Association Conventions?

“Imagine this is your first high school reunion and nonchalantly you say ‘I work for the CIA’ and all eyes turn toward you”.

This was written on a CIA promotional leaflet distributed at an International Studies Association (ISA) convention a few years ago. Hilarious, for sure, but also disturbing.

How come an agency that systematically tortures people has been able to have a recruitment booth at the world’s largest academic gathering of international studies? I started wondering about this when packing to cross the ocean for yet another ISA annual meeting. Continue reading

Professorikokous ilmaisi selkeän vastalauseen yliopiston johdon esitykselle

Kun Helsingin yliopiston suuressa konsistorissa ilmaistiin kannatusta yliopiston johdon esitykselle dekaanien valintatavasta, yksikään professori ei ilmoittanut kannattavansa sitä.  

Helsingin yliopiston suuri konsistori piti juuri kokouksensa. Kyse on yliopiston kaikkien professorien muodostamasta elimestä, jolla ei ole varsinaista päätösvaltaa. Kokouksessa keskusteltiin yliopiston johdon tekemästä esityksestä uudeksi johtosäännöksi. Continue reading

Marina Silva’s Unclear Endorsement Capacity: Reflections on Brazilian Election Results

Is Marina Silva able and willing to endorse? Who will win the battle for signification of change? After the main text, some wild speculation on countering the right-wing momentum of São Paulo with Lula the governor and more serious speculation on the second round of the presidential election.

Continue reading

Who is the Green Candidate in Brazil?

When one reads international media hype on Marina Silva’s presidential campaign in Brazil, one sometimes gets the impression she is the green candidate. The candidate of the Green Party of Brazil stands for gay marriage, abortion rights and marijuana reform. His name is Eduardo Jorge. As far as I know, Marina Silva is opposed to all these things.

Authoritarian Proposal Threatens Academic Freedom at the University of Helsinki: What is to Be Done?

A proposal to create an authoritarian decision-making model for the University of Helsinki threatens academic freedom and trust. It has just arrived from our Rector, and I first heard about it two days ago. A key change would be about the selection of deans and heads of department. According to the proposal, they would be selected top-down, rather than by the academic communities as is the case today. Continue reading