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Communist Workers' Party (Finland) Issue 3

Communist Workers’ Party of Finland – Threats to peace in the Nordics

As we analyze Finland’s effect on peace in the Nordics, we must first go back in history to get a base of comparison from earlier actions. In Finland’s current action safety policy is ruled by defense policy, and foreign policy is left as a secondary method. This is a result of joining the EU, partnership with the military alliance NATO and military cooperation with many other nations. Finland doesn’t strive to be a neutral nation anymore, and the goal isn’t to stay out of major power’s conflicts of interest.

History

After Finland became independent in 1917, a class-war started in January 1918. The war ended in the victory for the bourgeoisie in summer 1918, after the bourgeoisie had called in the help of German soldiers. Over 40 000 fighters died in the war, most of which were workers. After the war over 80 000 reds or people suspected to be reds were jailed in poor conditions in prisons set up by the bourgeoisie. Some of them were executed, some died of illnesses and hunger, and some were released.

The bourgeoisie felt grateful towards Germany for the victory granted to them as the parliament decided to form a kingdom in 1918. The king was already chosen to be the Duke of Hessen from Germany, Friedrich Karl. Germany lost the First World War in 1918 and in December 1918 the king declared his abdication. Finland was made into a republic afterwards.

The bourgeoisie had great power after their victory in the class-war and practiced strict class-control over the workers. The bourgeoisie’s fist was the fascistic Lapua-movement, by whose impact the parliament accepted the communist laws in 1930. Communists’ and leftist workers’ movements were banned. Publishing of leftist newspapers was banned, printing presses were destroyed, gatherings were banned, activists were imprisoned, and seven members of the parliament were prevented from joining the parliaments work. Same happened in many counties, where leftist political figures’ activity was obstructed. The list of the bourgeoisie’s and its fascistic fist’s atrocities can go on for very long.

The bourgeoisie molded the people’s opinions heavily in the 1920s and 1930s, with anti-Soviet rhetoric and a goal of expanding national living space. Greater-Finland idea was reinforced. Due to this, Finland fought the Winter War against the Soviet Union in 30.11.1939-13.3.1940. Already at the end of summer 1940, German troops landed in Vaasa and advanced to Northern-Finland. As Germany attacked The Soviet Union in 21.6.1941, Finland was by its side, advancing in the war deep into Soviet territory past the city of Petrozavodsk. Finnish troops also sieged Leningrad. There were around 213 000 German soldiers of the 20th mountain army in Northern-Finland during the assault against the Soviet Union.

The war ended in defeat for Finland in September 1944. A new period of democratic development was made possible in Finland. Communism laws were repealed, communists received the right to public activity, as did the most leftist workers’ movement. Fascistic organizations were banned.

Neutrality and non-alignment furthered peace, which is now threatened.

The allies, Soviet Union, United States, Great Britain and France dictated the terms at the Paris peace treaty for the loser countries who fought alongside Germany. Finland was declared guilty and the treaty obliged Finland for territorial transfers towards the Soviet Union, to pay war reparations to the Soviet Union and the treaty defined Finland’s army’s manpower and quality and quantity of weapons. Procuring weapons from Germany was banned and so was procuring nuclear weapons. As the Soviet Union disbanded in 1991, Finland declared unilaterally the arms restrictions void.

To prevent a war between Finland and The Soviet Union, The Soviet Union suggested the Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance (YYA) to Finland. The pact was accepted on 6.4.1948. The pact’s main purpose was to prevent an attack at the Soviet Union from Finland’s territory. Many diverse and mutually beneficial relations were created by the basis of this pact. The YYA-pact was the basis of Finland’s new foreign policy of peace and neutrality. Supporters and defenders of this new foreign policy were the greatly strengthened peace movement and the Finnish-Soviet Friendship Association.

Once one of the symbols of the peace movement was making the Baltic Sea the sea of peace, and President Urho Kekkonen’s proposal of making the Nordics free of nuclear weapons was widely known.

The most important part of Finland’s defense policy was foreign policy, which highlighted neutrality, especially concerning major powers.

One big overture in international action happened in 1956 when, by President Kekkonen’s proposal, Finland partook for the first time in the UN’s traditional peacekeeping operation by sending soldiers to Suez in the Middle-East. Both sides of the UN’s operation, who had reached an armistice, accepted the arrival of the UN troops who created a buffer zone between both sides.

The situation has changed after the Bosnia War, when the UN has given peacekeeping operations to NATO, EU, OSCE, African Union and Australia. The operations justification is the sugarcoated notion of trying to create conditions for permanent peace for the quarreling parties, to separate them from each other or to support local governments. Supporting local governments is precisely the reason why the UN’s military departments work as a part of wars and are heavily armed. Being part of a war hasn’t always meant supporting the local government, but the supported side is chosen by imperialist justifications.

Currently Finnish “peacekeepers” are working in UN’s, NATO’s and EU’s operations in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Kosovo, Iraq, Mali, Somalia, The Mediterranean and the Middle-East. Finland’s participation is marked with one common quality, the desire to be part of the West’s imperialist world redistribution.

The events in Europe in 1999 tell of the change in Finland’s safety policy in the post-Soviet era. Finland has been a member of the European Union since 1995.

Finland’s president Martti Ahtisaari together with Russia’s Baltic-envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin visited Serbia to pressure president Slobodan Milosevic threatening him with NATO bombing. They reached their goal when NATO with EU’s approval started bombing Serbia for 78 days on 24.3-10.6.1999. Germany was the chairman nation of the EU then, and the two leading nations besides Germany were the previous chairman nation Austria and the upcoming chairman nation Finland, whose chairman term started on 1.7.1999. Finland’s prime minister at that time was Paavo Lipponen (social democrat). For his merits as a “peace mediator”, President Martti Ahtisaari (social democrat) was later granted the Nobel peace prize.

Goal of the Imperialists: “Northern dimension”, increased military activity in the background.

When evaluating Finland’s place in Northern-Europe as Russia’s neighbor and the increased military activity in the Nordics and the Baltics, it is good to note that the European Union accepted Finland’s initiative of the “Northern dimension” in 1997 as its policy. Naturally the creator of the initiative was agreed upon, Finland is Russia’s neighbor after all. In the “Northern dimension” policy the EU has set Russia’s north-western natural resources as strategic resources for the EU. This colonialist political/economic project by the EU and the west is also implemented militarily. Finland for their part implements nearby area cooperation with Russia, as documented in the initiative.

Even though Finland is sometimes portrayed as a bridge builder between the east and the west in the media, Finland has in the recent decades taken the initiative to shaken the stability of the Nordics. Especially during the presidency of Sauli Niinistö Finland has been made a frontier post against Russia.

Below are examples of Finland’s military alliance with other imperialist.

-In 2014 Finland signed a “Host country” agreement with Nato. The agreement was signed by the commander of the Defense forces with President Sauli Niinistö present. The parliament didn’t deal with the agreement, even though the agreement doesn’t set any limitations to what kind of situation Nato troops can enter Finnish territory, what strength they can enter with, or what kind of armaments. Nuclear weapons also weren’t mentioned.

-Finland is a part of the Nordics’ defense alliance Nordefco, British led JEF standby forces, a similar German alliance, France’s E12 intervention initiative and EU’s more centralizing defense cooperation. In addition in the recent years a project called NATO+2 has been developed, in it Finland and Sweden together with NATO prepare to counter the threat of Russia on the Baltic Sea.

-Last September the defense ministry joined a USA started artificial intelligence-cooperation, which develops nations’ military cooperation.

-USA troops perform military drills together with Finnish troops in Finland.

-Finland takes part in NATO’s quick response troop’s activities.

-Finland takes part in the EU’s battle departments’ activities.

-Finland leads the Helsinki based EU hybrid competence-center, which has the goal of bringing NATO and the EU closer together.

-Finnish people also take part in NATO’s cyber safety- center’s activities in Estonia.

In addition to Finland’s and other Nordic- countries’ activities, the stability of northern- Europe in the area of the Baltic Sea has been affected the most by the Baltic countries joining NATO in 2004. Their airspace is constantly under supervision, NATO’s air-sea and ground-surveillance’s radars scan the Baltic Sea’s land and sea-areas. Different countries’ military units are constantly practicing in different arms in land-sea and air-drills under the guidance of NATO.

Military drills have also increased in the Nordics’ land-air and sea-areas. In the north on land and air. USA troops have participated in military drills on Finnish territory.

Finnish tabloids and state media writes about the constant threat, which is Russia. In reality NATO, EU, USA, the Nordics and the Baltics have themselves weakened the stability of northern-Europe and themselves form a threat to peace, not Russia.

Influencing and opinion molding towards capitalism is done by pro-capitalists in many different ways. The Nordic Council, which was founded in 1952, is the area’s countries’ parliamentary body that has permanent bodies. The Council has worked to create a common political position for its member states. Once it was pulling its member state Finland away from close cooperation with the Soviet Union. Now the Council has created an operational context towards Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, to organize the Baltics into a general assembly. The Baltics do proclaim themselves to have always been part of the Nordics and aim to bring the entirety of the Nordics to be full members of EU and NATO.

In the post-Soviet era, new organizations have been founded as the imperialists’ interest in the North’s natural resources have increased. Climate change has accelerated this interest. The area’s affairs are handled by many agencies in different contexts, but the Council of the Baltic Sea States of 1992 and the Arctic Council of 1996 have been founded in the name of bourgeois democracy. Russia is also part of both.

Even though the bourgeoisie and supporters of the system try to paint a picture of the Nordics as an area that was a stable area of peace if there was no threat from Russia, that picture doesn’t match reality. The reality is that the imperialist powers USA and EU also strive for the East, an example being NATO’s expansion to the borders of Russia. Because the Nordics are allied to imperialism’s core, the Nordics might become the springboard for military attacks in the East and North. When Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, Finland was its springboard. Only by peace-wanting citizens can this be avoided from happening again.

After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Finland has sought to commit to the west. The peaceful people’s strength hasn’t been strong enough to defend Finland’s independent neutrality driven foreign policy and to stop the safety policy from becoming solely defense policy. Peace organizations carry on like decades ago as supporters of state policy, even though the state’s policy has changed. Maybe the reason is money. In 2020 nine peace organizations received in total 500 000 euros as operating aid from the state. Peace organizations are almost quiet and people aren’t raised in defiance, even though Finland is about to purchase fighter jets costing 10-20 billion euros. Some organizations at most are for postponing the purchase. And this isn’t the only weapons purchase. Finland is constantly acquiring warships and all sorts of others weapons, likewise more military drills are conducted and Finnish soldiers attend military drills abroad.

Communists in Finland as well as in other countries in the Nordics have a grand task ahead of them, stopping the progress of the warmongers. It’s imperative to expose the nature of capitalism, and the conglomerates and bourgeoisie governments inside it, and their connection to benefitting from wars at the expense of workers and peoples suffering. In wars, workers have to fight against each other. That we must prevent.

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Communist Workers' Party (Finland) Issue 2

Communist Workers’ Party of Finland – Communists and the National Question.

Communists have always been the most active supporters of national independence. Communists have also recognized the progressive and revolutionary significance of wars of national liberation. When the Soviet Union and the whole global socialist system were at their strongest, the state of imperialism was weaker. This era opened new possibilities for oppressed nations in the pursuit of independence.

National Independence in Europe

Europe has changed significantly since the weakening of the socialist system: The European Union was formed, of which Finland is a member. As the foundation of its functions the EU has a list of basic freedoms, which includes the free movement of capital, goods, labour force, and services, between the member states of the EU. These basic freedoms guarantee the preservation of the power of capital.
What, then, could threaten the existence of the EU? A war between imperialistic cores, with EU on one side? More than anything, the bourgeoisie of the EU is afraid of two things: the struggle of nations for freedom, which would tear down the EU, and the endeavor of the working class to found socialistic countries. They are so afraid of the latter that they want to prohibit communist symbols and parties. Some EU-countries have already done so through legislation. The saying ”no nation can be free if it oppresses other nations” is actualized in the EU.

National Independence as a Part of Class Struggle

The Communist Workers’ Party has consistently opposed Finland’s membership in the EU. The party has objected against Finns conforming and accepting the EU membership by not nominating its members to European Parliament elections. Instead, the party has urged people to boycott the elections. In order to reclaim national independence, KTP has created the campaign ”Suomi irti EU:sta” (Finland out of the EU). The campaign calls on people to protect the country’s independence, as the campaign’s logo portrays the demand to release Finland from the shackles of the EU.
Within the party, the objective of communists has been seen as the aim to seize political power within the country in which each separate party operates, not within the EU as a whole. Naturally, the goal of the communists is the foundation of a socialist country. A goal that the working class with its allies will reach. In the pursuit of this goal is unified the communists’ centennial work as advocates for national independence. The ideal of national independence lives on in the midst of the working class on the journey towards founding a socialist state, as well as within that socialist state.
Occasionally it is argued that because, as a class, the working class exists as one, across all borders, the question of national independence can be bypassed. Such a way of thinking is evident in attempts in forming, for example, a socialist Europe instead of forming separate socialist countries. The working class is, of course, one, but there sometimes can be significant societal differences between different countries. This affects the methods that fit each country within a given point in time. It is essential to preserve the principle of national independence everywhere. This doesn’t rule out the internationalism and solidarity integral to the struggle of the working class. Rather, it includes them, as well as attempting to reach as wide a consensus as possible in the fight against capitalism.

Communists Recognize the Power of Internationalism

In their discussions, the delegates of communist parties have brought up the formation of a new international central organization (Comintern). It is evident that there is a need for directing the working class in unified and simultaneous struggle, as well as for studying theory. However, the preconditions for a new comintern don’t yet exist. KTP considers an international central organization to be necessary. The party also deems that the relations between communist parties cannot be based on democratic centralism. This position makes it possible to take national independence into consideration.

Soviet Union as an Example

There is always an ongoing discussion in communist parties about what, exactly, is the socialism we propose to build and what are the paths that lead to that goal. It is difficult to present a detailed picture, today, but the main principles can be articulated. The picture becomes clearer on the way to socialism, as do the forms of collaboration between socialist countries.

Soviet Union gives one example of building national independence between socialist countries. The constitution of the Soviet Union put this into practice by giving each union republic the right to secede from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. This article was used when the Soviet Union dissolved in the beginning of the 1990s.

Each union republic also had a land border with countries other than other union republics. If one was to secede, it wouldn’t have become completely surrounded by other union republics, but rather would have had its own distinct, independent territory.

Hannu Harju
Member of the Political committee, vice-chairman of the Communist Worker’s Party of Finland

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Communist Workers' Party (Finland) Issue 1

Communist Workers’ Party of Finland – What will socialism look like?

WHAT KIND OF SOCIALISM ARE WE BUILDING?

As stated in our speech at the Stockholm meeting of nordic communists, we are not fortune tellers and can’t predict with complete certainty what the future socialist society will look like. We have to be careful in this regard and not build utopias in our minds. Our plan for building socialism must be based in the material conditions of our revolution, and will take shape during the revolutionary process and working class struggle. There are some things we can say with relative certainty about our future socialist society.

RE-INDUSTRIALIZATION

Finland is a fairly technologically advanced country. Building socialism here today would be economically and technologically easier then in Russia a century ago. It would still mark a tremendous economic undertaking. Finland would begin to separate itself from the Western imperialist world order and stop exploiting cheap labor and resources in poor third world countries. Therefore Finland would have to re-industrialize itself to an extent. Finland would have to strive for greater self-sufficiency and self-reliance. This is important firstly because the imperialists are known to impose sanctions, blockades etc. on countries that try to pursue a policy free from imperialist control. We have to prepare for it. Secondly, ecological concerns say we ought to produce locally what we can. There is no need to transport goods from accross the globe if we have can produce them here for ourselves. We also aim for full employment, so the factories closed down by the capitalists should be re-opened and the unemployed workers put back to work.

DEFENSE OF THE REVOLUTION

As stated in our speech in Stockholm, communists wish to create a society without armies, intelligence agencies or instruments with which one class oppresses another — that is our aim. However, the revolution also must be able to protect itself. Lenin originally argued in The State and Revolution that the standing army could be abolished. However, developments like the Russian civil war and foreign intervention by a dozen or so capitalist countries, forced the bolsheviks to create a Red Army and develop its defensive capacity. This was necessary. Similarly, our party argues that Finland doesn’t need a military. Our military right now is only being used in the imperialist encirclement and provocation against Russia. It is not used for any justifiable defensive purpose. However in the future we can’t assume the imperialists wouldn’t try to attack a socialist Finland or fund counter-revolutionary terrorism here like they’ve done in countless other places.

How militarized a future socialist society will be, depends entirely on the level of threat by foreign imperialists and Finnish counter-revolutionaries backed by them. Same applies to all surveillance, counter-espionage etc. Marxism advocates peace but does what is necessary to defend the working class from attack. We can’t have lasting peace as long as imperialism exists.

PROSPECTS FOR DEMOCRACY

Finland is a fairly advanced country in terms of bourgeois democracy. Already in 1905 as a result of the workers’ struggle and nationwide general strike, Finland got its own parliament where women also had the right to vote. Near the end of the second world war the fascist elements of the Finnish capitalist class were defeated, and communists were able to work legally. At least since then Finland has cultivated a tradition of bourgeois democracy. Bourgeois democracy has gotten people used to the notion of democracy but it is still only a notion. If the corrupting influence of money was removed from elections, and if the media and education were taken into the hands of the working people, we could achieve real democracy, not just bourgeois sham “democracy”. Electronic voting presents certain new possibilities. We can learn from the example of socialist countries: they involved everyday people in economic planning and management of society through mass organizations like trade-unions and local soviets. We should do the same.