Communist Party of Finland (Finnish: Suomen Kommunistinen Puolue, SKP Swedish: Finlands kommunistiska parti, FKP) is a political party in Finland. It was founded in the mid-1980s as Communist Party of Finland (Unity) (Finnish: Suomen Kommunistinen Puolue (yhtenäisyys), SKPy, Swedish: Finlands kommunistiska parti(enhet) FKP(e)) by the former opposition of the old Communist Party of Finland (1918–1992). SKP is not represented in the Finnish parliament, but the party has local councillors in some municipalities, including the city councils of Helsinki and Tampere. SKP claims 2,500 members.
The party has been officially registered since 1997. In the 1980s, when the opposition and the organizations it controlled were expelled from the SKP led by Arvo Aalto, the SKPy, however, chose not to register since they considered themselves the real SKP and claimed Aalto had illegally stolen the party. The courts later ruled all the expulsions illegal.
The opposition inside SKP
The internal conflict of Finnish communists began in the mid-1960s, when the party led by the new chairman Aarne Saarinen, began to modernize the party line / outlook. A minority of the party cadre didn’t accept this and they accused the SKP leadership of being revisionist. SKP didn’t break up in the 1960s and the party was formally united until the mid-1980s. After the 20th party congress in 1984 things, however, changed as Arvo Aalto was elected chairman, after which the opposition didn’t participate in (or was left out of) the SKP central committee. The opposition, which was also known as “taistoists”, called supporters of Aalto “axe liners”.
The founding of SKPy
The central committee of the SKP expelled eight opposition district organizations from the party 13 October 1985. Also, 494 other basic organizations and 17 city or regional organizations were expelled 13 June 1986, which the expelled then dubbed “Black Friday”. The opposition considered the actions to be against the law. They took the conflict to courts and because of minor technicalities Helsingin Hovioikeus court overruled SKP’s decision 11 June 1987. SKP then re-expelled these same organizations in its 21st party congress (12–14 June 1987). However, a week before this happened, the newly founded SKP (Unity) held its own “21st” party congress. The ambiguities in the expelling process and the opposition’s firm belief in its own cause gave it the justification it needed and they considered SKPy to be the real SKP. They claimed Aalto had illegally seized the party with “paper members”. SKPy was never taken to the official party register of Finland as the party considered that to have been voluntary resignation and admission of SKPy not being the real SKP.
April 26, 1986 a meeting of „the representatives of SKP organizations” was held in Tampere and those present elected a new central committee. The leader of the new central committee was Taisto Sinisalo, former vice chairman of the SKP and the most well-known figure of the opposition, who already had led Committee of SKP Organizations founded in November 1985. In the SKPy’s 21st party congress Sinisalo was re-elected. Yrjö Hakanen and Marja-Liisa Löyttyjärvi became the vice chairmen while the former SKP chairman Jouko Kajanoja was elected party secretary. In his congress speech, Sinisalo told that the suffix “unity” meant “strong intention to gather all the forces of the SKP”. The congress, however, also was heading to future and building of a new party, or “rebuilding” as they thought it. Before the name SKPy was adopted the party was known in media as the unity or Tiedonantaja group.
SKP and the Soviet Union
SKPy was very committed to the Soviet Union and the political line of its Communist Party (CPSU), which was going through great changes during Gorbachev‘s time. SKPy supported perestroika but criticized those who claimed to have been „Gorbachevist” even before Gorbachev’s time. SKPy claimed SKP to be anti-SU and tried to give the Finnish people as positive a picture as possible of that country. When SKP split the monetary support from Soviet Union was halted and, for example, the very profitable publishing deals of the SKP had gone to SKPy. Gorbachev’s CPSU, however, had relations with both parties.
KTP splits from SKPy
In the late 1970s the opposition of SKP began to split as those supporting a more traditional version of Marxism-Leninism began to criticize opposition leaders. When it was decided that SKPy would not be registered as an official party, some communists protested and demanded registration. They thought SKPy was clinging to the unity slogan in a situation in which it no longer seemed realistic. In the 1987 party congress, these people were warned by the SKPy leadership but they chose to ignore the advice and oriented themselves toward founding a new party. For Peace and Socialism – Communist Workers Party (Kommunistinen Työväenpuolue – Rauhan ja Sosialismin puolesta, KTP) was founded early in the year 1988. Founders of KTP felt to be securing the existence of a Marxist-Leninist party in Finland while criticizing SKPy for being revisionist and supporting Mikhail Gorbachev. The most famous figure in the new party was probably Markus Kainulainen, a longtime SKP district secretary of Uusimaa and a former MP.
The founding of Left Alliance
Esko-Juhani Tennilä, a member of the Parliament of Finland, was elected new chairman of SKPy 22 October 1989 when Kajanoja decided to resign while strongly criticizing his comrades. Tennilä has later told he took the job to secure that the founding of a new united left party would not be sabotaged by his own party comrades many of which were quite critical of it. The Left Alliance (Vasemmistoliitto) was founded in spring 1990 and members of SKPy and its electoral front Deva also joined even though prejudices were very high on both sides at this point.
Dispute over double membership
Members of the Left Alliance (LA) disliked that many of their members were also members of the SKPy. It was thus decided that SKPy members couldn’t participate in the LA’s electoral lists, even though they could be members. Because of this, Tennilä also had to quit his job as party chairman when joining LA group in parliament. Yrjö Hakanen was chosen Tennilä’s successor. The dispute over double membership, as it was called, led to many SKPy members leaving LA and relations between the two parties got even colder. On the other hand, many former SKPy members were actively participating in LA.
The “new” SKP
In its 1993 party congress (August 28–29) SKPy oriented towards founding a new officially registered communist party and drafting of a new party program. A new party logo was also introduced to mark renewal. It was suggested that a congress to continue SKP’s work should be held and that happened next year (November 26–27). In the congress the suffix “unity” was dropped from the name as SKPy now considered to consist of all those comrades who wanted to have an independent communist party. An athletic club was made the basis of new organization and renamed SKP. The decision split the party as some supporters would have preferred SKP to have a lesser role as “Marxist forum” of some kind. Leadership of Left Alliance was also not pleased with those plans. SKP would have wanted to stay inside LA but that wasn’t possible and the parties split in the spring of 1994. SKP wasn’t however “re-registered” until 1997. There was some confusion, as the new SKP didn’t accept responsibility for debts of the old one, which had gone bankrupt.
SKP has a nationwide organization consisting of 14 district organizations. The central committee has 41 members and the politbyro 10. The organ of SKP is Tiedonantaja, which was founded in the 1960s. Tiedonantaja was also the organ of Deva during 1986-1990. The editor-in-chief is Marko Korvela since 2012. SKP also has some local papers.
As the SKPy considered itself to be the real SKP it also had the same organizational structure. It was based on Leninist principle of democratic centralism and the party rules of 1958 (modified in 1978).
Deva – SKPy’s electoral front
While SKPy was never officially registered, its supporters founded an electoral front Democratic Alternative (Demokraattinen vaihtoehto, Deva). Those MPs of Finnish People’s Democratic League (Suomen kansan demokraattinen liitto, SKDL, a front organization dominated by SKP) who were against expulsions were expelled from SKDL and they found the parliament group of Deva. Deva was SKPy’s SKDL and it was supposed to attract some democratic allies. The small Socialist Workers Party (Sosialistinen työväenpuolue, STP) didn’t join Deva but it had members on the DEVA list. Young supporters of SKPy and Deva founded Revolutionary Youth League (Vallankumouksellinen nuorisoliitto, VKN) which was Deva’s youth organization. SKDL’s Socialist Student League (Sosialistinen opiskelijaliitto, SOL) also joined. Deva was led by actress Kristiina Halkola.
In 1987 parliamentary elections Deva got 4.3% of votes and four MPs. In 1988 presidential elections Deva candidate Jouko Kajanoja got under 2 per cent of the votes. Not even all members of SKPy supported Kajanoja who was the party chairman. Deva was closed down in 1990 after Left Alliance was founded and most of its members joined the new party.
We look for collaboration with those unsatisfied with capitalism. Nneoliberal policy that oppresses workers, makespeople voiceless, creates tsunamis, extreme weather conditions, pollution and climate change.
We look for collaboration with communist parties for ideological debate and better networking and sharing the samechallenges we all parties in this concrete situation have.
We look for collaboration with progressive forces because we are Marxist and are not satisfied with criticism, analysis andideological debate only. We want to bring the policy, the revolution into the streets, into the social media and where thepeople are.
We look for collaboration because in a good society, in participatory democracy, in socialism and in future communismwe need to have extra fine skills of social behavior and understanding of the pluralist needs of workers, genders,identities, professions and minorities and us all.
I fully support the Tromsø initiative for Nordic Communist Parties collaboration with progressive forces of our countries.This initiative can function as a first important step to a closer collaboration in between our forces. I see the futurepossible and wish the Nordic party branches of each party success in the collaboration.
Local and global challenge
Today in many areas we have to look beyond the impossible. We must look beyond the beyond privatisation, beyond themilitarism that posits other nations as enemies. We must puncture patriarchy and adaptation to the market economy.We must overcome hopeless misanthropy, depression, and disappointment.
In Finland the cuts made by the Sipilä government resemble the politics of a state of emergency. In recent years we havebeen forced to bear witness concretely to how neo-liberalism slashes social security and local services, and tramples onworker’s rights. Citizen participation has been cut back, including by cutting the anyway paltry funding of peaceorganisations. Patriarchy commands minorities to be silent, and women to work in male-dominated sectors on less payand to get back in the kitchen at home doing unpaid work.
Imperialist wars, climate change, and famine are forcing people from the homes to become refugees and to head for Europe.
The challenge we face is local and global. Replacing capitalism with the establishment of a different society and form ofdevelopment is more crucial than ever. Tromsø calotte meeting is a local Nordic party branches yearly initiative. Thismeeting though will have affect beyond the Arctic Circle to all the directions of the four winds.
We the Nordic communists have the habit to meet yearly in the International Meeting of the Communist and WorkersParties. Next November 23.-25. We will be debating in Athens Greece, where the Communist party of Greece hosts the20. the international meeting. Some of us the Nordic Communist Parties met short time ago in the Marx 200 seminar in Shenzhen and in Wanshu development event in China. Communist Party of China has new Marxist policy and initiative ofworld dialog with the world political parties. Communist Party of Finland is part of the dialogue and participates inthematic meetings. CPF is inspired of the new initiatives of the CPC.
We the Communist party of Finland us the European Left as a practical and political tool for the collaboration withcommunist, left and green-left forces in Europe. We are bringing our policy into collaborative praxis through severalworking groups organizing seminars, demonstrations and actions. European Left with a wide spectrum of other political,grass root citizen organizations, NGO’s, syndicates and mass movements created an European Forum. It started last year2017 in Marseille, France and later this year in 9.-11. of November we can invite you all in the next European Forum in Bilbao, Bask State, Spain.
During the last Calotte meeting in Petroskoi 2017 (Петрозаво́дск, Petrozavodsk) I explained the urgent need for anycollaboration in between Finland and Russia as a counter cultural and political action against the imperialist propagandawhere Russia is seen as a future enemy. Comrade Tatiana Desiatova from the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Central Committee took my message seriously. I am happy of the time and understanding of the Communist party of theRussian Federation chairperson Gennadi Andrejevitš Zjuganov. I have since the last Calotte meeting met with manyimportant and inspiring Russian comrades. I have taken part in the Moscow Left Forum and the Moscow Marx 200seminar. For Your information we are now forming a special group of cadres for Russian issues. Our aim is to be able toinvite Russian comrades soon to Finland to have a brain storming meeting of future collaborations.
We communist act locally but our thinking and class struggle is always International. For us it is natural that we supportand act in solidarity with Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and other concretely socialist and left social actors. For us it is bothnatural and essential to strengthen our support for the struggle for self-determination and statehood by the Palestinianpeople and the Sahrawi people of Western Sahara.
In the North Collaboration in between us, the Nordic Communist Parties is very necessary. We need a Marxist Nordic toolthat bring our politics to the streets, into the social media and where the people are. For that we need concrete actionthat unites us. We have policy that we agree on; we are anti-imperialist and anti-capitalists. We all see the EU structuresas structures that oppress workers. There is no question that we are the Nordic antimilitary and anti-NATO-force.
We can’t tackle the problems of employment and the contradictions of capital with weapons. The main contradiction isthe subjugation of work to the diktat of capital. We will get through this battle when we workers start to be aware of ourown special place in this common mass struggle. This concretely calls us all to form more close collaboration in thequestions of peace. We are the Nordic anti-imperialist Peace position.
Together with the international peace movement we can fight back the black imperialism and militarism painting whiteactions of peace. We can show what is behind EU Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), Host Nation Agreement, Jeff, Intervention Initiative of the French and Swedish-Finnish-US military collaboration trilateral Statement of Intent (SOI) and the international military exercises.
I propose that we add peace in the list of topics where to collaborate. I propose an all Nordic countries Nordic Action Dayagainst militarization and Nordic defence cooperation NORDEFCO.
The Communist Party of Finland has policy of festivals. Every year we organize a festival. This year we just did Vastavirta-festival. Now we start to prepare our press festival Tiedonantaja-festival.
The Vastavirta (counter current) Festival is a collaborative concept of varied civil society organizations. The festival hasbeen held roughly every second year for the last ten years. It is facilitated by the Democratic Civic Association (DSL), theEuropean Left (EL), and the Communist Party of Finland (SKP)
Vastavirta-festival is an European open and political forum for radical activity, progressive collaboration and advocacy bythose doing the doing.
I propose a Nordic Communist Action for next Vastavirta-festival autumn 2020 in Helsinki. I can be the contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Tiedonantaja festival is a bi-annual event that assembles researchers, politicians, artists and citizen activists to findalternative ways out of Europe’s crisis, our one-sided media, and the lack of choice in politics. The programme variesevery time including political discussions, art and workshops. I would like to see more Nordic communists to take part inthe planning of the festival.
The press festival is organized by the Communist Party of Finland, European Left, The Democratic Civic Association (DSL) and other civic society organizations.
Of the importance of Tiedonantaja-festival talks last Year´s festival where a Finnish Lexit working group of leftist activistsand researchers was formed. The group aims to spark debate in Finland for the possibility of Lexit – a Left Exit from theneoliberal and capitalist structures of the European Union, based on principles of internationalism and solidarity.
I suggest that Nordic parties’ newspapers start planning a joint event as part of Tiedonantaja-festival autumn 2019 in Jyväskylä. I can function as a contact person for the Nordic communist Papers collaboration for Tiedonantaja-festival. Youcan reach me email@example.com
Peoples Movement Assembly is organizing globally actions against imperialism and embargo on Venezuela. TheCommunist Party of Finland is at the moment debating the initiative to participate in next spring 2019 in a internationalmeeting of giving birth to a new global tool for antimilitary and antiimperialist struggle. I wish to hear if there is similardiscussion going on in your countries and if we could form a Nordic delegation for Caracas.