Helsinki’s Red Election Manifesto

Parliamentary elections are taking place in a time of multiple crises, concerns and fears. Public services are in financial crisis, prices are rising, the dangers of war are growing and environmental destruction is looming. A fundamental change of direction is needed.

Instead of a new direction, the current parliamentary parties are actually competing over how much to cut public spending. They have replaced peace policy with a commitment to NATO and an accelerating arms build-up. Climate and environmental pledges have not been kept. Citizens have been sidelined as mere bill-payers, which has created a basis for the far right.

It is said that the capital is a trendsetter and a driver of development for the whole country. Helsinki could show a new direction, but here, too, the representatives of the parliamentary parties are carrying out policies that increase inequality and insecurity.

The list of candidates of the Communist Party of Finland (CPF) and of non-aligned candidates brings to the elections a commitment to a change of direction. The solution is not on the right but on the left!

Fixing public services

Health care, services for the elderly, education and other basic public services belong to everyone. By cutting their funding, the parliamentary parties have created more markets for private business while taxing the rich less.

The same parties have also undermined services in Helsinki, despite the city’s consistent surpluses of hundreds of millions of euros. Helsinki was given a special status in the reform of social welfare and health services, but the City Council has been unwilling to use it to channel more money into social welfare and health services. Even more than in the rest of the country, local health centers are being shut down.

The CPF and independent candidates want basic public services to be developed as local services that are also decided upon locally. We call for a level increase in the funding of public services in Helsinki and throughout the country. Funds must be directed towards people’s well-being and welfare, not for profits and armaments. The taxation of high incomes and of corporations must be increased.

A decent income for all

The rapid rise in the cost of living has contributed to increased income insecurity and poverty. Basic security and wages have fallen in real terms.

Helsinki shows how the profit motive and stock market speculation are driving up prices. Housing rents and prices have risen, even though more housing has been built than before. Energy prices have rocketed because the city’s energy company, Helen, first sells the electricity it produces to the Nordic electricity exchange, makes a profit on it and then buys back the electricity it sells to consumers at exchange prices.

We demand rent controls, lower housing costs and the decoupling of energy production from stock market speculation. During the next parliamentary term, we must implement a reform that guarantees a basic monthly pension of EUR 1 200 for all those who cannot otherwise receive it, whether due to unemployment, studying, old age or other reasons.  We support calls to increase workers’ real wages and to prevent the exploitation of cheap labour, including through minimum wage legislation.

From environmental rhetoric to action

The planet is threatened by worsening environmental disasters and ecological collapse if the climate crisis, the loss of nature and biodiversity and the over-consumption of natural resources are not halted. Radical structural changes to the economy are imperative and are urgent. These changes must be implemented in a fair and equitable way.

Reducing energy and resource consumption, moving away from fossil fuels and towards a circular economy will require not only stronger legislation but also the development of state and municipal enterprises and investment. Energy production must be brought under the control and democratic governance of the state, municipalities and cooperatives.

Increasing forest carbon sinks and halting deforestation also requires action in Helsinki. The network of green spaces must be expanded and its role strengthened by establishing a large national urban park in Helsinki. Instead of raising fares for public transport in Helsinki, we need to move towards free public transport.

Moving from war talk to peace policy

Competition between the superpowers for control of natural resources, territories, technology and markets has brought Europe to the brink of a major war. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is threatening to escalate. The United States is building an alliance against China.

Finland’s entry into NATO will not increase security, but risks our being drawn into wars and even to the front line of a conflict between great powers. Parliament has not set any conditions for NATO membership. An agreement is even being prepared with the United States which would give the it the right to station bases and possibly even nuclear weapons here. The rights of the Kurds have been sacrificed for NATO membership. Weapons spending has tripled under Sanna Marini’s government.

Finland’s and Europe’s security cannot be built on NATO, arms races, building fences and isolating Russia. Helsinki is still known throughout the world as the host city of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) and many disarmament meetings. We want to restore Helsinki to this role as the capital of a Finland with an active peace policy.

Instead of war talk, we must talk about peace and political solutions to end the wars in Ukraine and elsewhere. We express our solidarity with the Kurds, the Palestinians and others who are fighting for their rights. Our goal is for a Europe and a world without nuclear weapons and military alliances, without exploitation and subjugation.

The Helsinki list of the Finnish Communist Party and independent candidates
February 2023