A Swastika Dialogue between Foreigner and Finn

In Finland, the swastika continues to be an official emblem of the Air Force command. It is also used in some other parts of the Finnish armed forces.

As I have been studying conversations around this issue, let me offer a brief synthesis of some of the dialogues that take place during my World Political City Walks. I will explore this issue more in my forthcoming book on Finnish nationalism.
-Foreigner: What the fuck?

-Finn: You should understand it is our traditional symbol and has nothing to do with the Nazis.

-Foreigner: Well, there truly is something very special about you Finns, if you believe the world agrees that your swastika has nothing to do with the nazis.

-Finn: OUR swastika truly has NOTHING to do with the nazis. We used it before there was any nazi party. Continue reading

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Reformlessness Debt: Conceptual Innovation by PM Sipilä

A new political concept emerged today. Uudistamattomuusvelka. My immediate rough translation is reformlessness debt. For clarity, we could also say debt due to an accumulated lack of reform.

In my understanding, the concept refers to a metaphorical debt that has accumulated because previous governments have been unable or unwilling to make reforms. To the extent these reforms are necessary, the debt can be considered a reason for making the needed reforms with a bang, in a hurry, today. Continue reading

Chancellor of Justice and Constitutional Scholars Criticise Government of Finland

Criticism of the government in Finland has transgressed standard opposition talk.

Today the main newspaper Helsingin Sanomat published an interview of the Chancellor of Justice Jaakko Jonkka. One of his main tasks is to supervise the lawfulness of the official acts of the government. His comments suggested in calm but clear manner that the current government has repeatedly sidestepped constitutional considerations when making law proposals in the parliament. Continue reading

Critique as Hysteria: I say this government is hostile to universities

The debate about the future of universities in Finland has been quite intense in the last couple of years. There have been various kinds of protests, including occupations of university buildings by angry students and critical declarations by professors. Some, such as the eminent scholar of Arabic and Islam Jaakko Hämeen-Anttila, have decided to leave the country, citing the hostile attitude of the current government of Finland toward the universities as one reason. Continue reading