Helsinki’s Red Election Manifesto 2023

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


For peace – no to NATO membership

Why do we Helsinki communists oppose Finland’s accession to NATO? And what is our response to the changed security situation?

We understand the concern caused by the Russian invasion into Ukraine. The attack has been a shock for us too. We condemn Russia’s criminal war and call on Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukraine.

At the same time, we note that Finland is not under threat of military attack. This assessment has also been included in the Sanna Marin Government’s Security Policy Report, which is currently before Parliament.

Finland’s accession to NATO will not bring more stability to the region, but more tension. Turning Finland’s eastern border into a border between NATO and Russia would bring more armed forces and military activity here. There would also be increased risks, since we are talking about areas that are important to Russia, such as the large nuclear arsenals in Kola and the sea links with St Petersburg. Russia could no longer rely on Finland’s territory not being used against it.

The expansion of NATO to Finland, and with it possibly Sweden, will not help to end the war in Ukraine either. On the contrary, it is likely to strengthen the Russian leadership’s threat perceptions that it has justified invasion to Ukraine. In our view, Finland and Sweden remaining militarily non-aligned would, on the other hand, support the Ukrainian President’s proposal to end the war so that Ukraine gives up aspirations to join NATO.

As a member of NATO, Finland would be drawn into the conflicts of the United States and NATO which we could otherwise stay out of and which, as a non-aligned country, we could help to mediate. It is already known that as a member Finland would be involved in NATO’s strategic plans for the Baltic States.

As the government report states, NATO’s common defence is ultimately based on the military capability and nuclear deterrent of the United States. We do not believe in security based on weapons, and especially not on nuclear weapons. On the contrary, we must work towards disarmament and a ban on nuclear weapons. As a member of NATO, Finland would also be committed to the NATO strategy drawn up under the leadership of the United States, which includes nuclear weapons, the readiness to use military force without a UN mandate, the deployment of NATO troops on the borders against Russia and arming also against China. That would be a historic mistake.

The alternative: peace policy and military non-alignment

There is a realistic alternative to joining NATO, one that we Finns have decades of experience with. It is a foreign policy of peace and military non-alignment, complemented by the military defence capabilities of our own country. However, the Government’s report does not address the possibility of military non-alignment at all, even though it promised to assess a wide range of options. Decisions on Finland’s position and future should not be made on the basis of such a one-sided approach to NATO membership.

The most fundamental reason for opposing NATO membership is that a security policy based on arms races and confrontation does not respond to the greatest security threats of our time, such as climate change, natural disasters, pandemics and poverty, and it does not respond to the insecurity of the everyday lives of Finns. On the contrary, it exacerbates these problems by diverting huge resources to arms and by hampering the cooperation that is urgently needed to solve, for example, the environmental crisis.

Adopted at the annual meeting of the Helsinki District Assembly of the Communist Party of Finland 25.4.2022