Workers of the World: Unite! (Behind ‘Right Wing Worker’s’ Candidate)

If you do not have an enemy, you must invent one. If you do not have a friend, engineer one. Among the big problems, and tasks of any political struggle, as Žižek points out, “is that of constructing the recognizable IMAGE of the enemy”. It is almost as big a problem as providing an image of a friend. “In short, the ‘enemy recognition’ is always a performative procedure which, in contrast to the deceiving appearances, brings to light/constructs the enemy’s ‘true face’.” Yes, and the same applies to the “friend recognition.”

Take the current Presidential campaign in Finland. The National Coalition (right wing) Party candidate Mr. Sauli Niinistö proclaims himself a President for the working class. He is EVERY WORKER’s president. To him there are no differences between works, but all work is equal; all work is without differences in quality, load, price, conditions, pay, or otherwise.

This wanna-be Worker’s Presidents’ rhetoric is killing in these times of political soap operas. It is as if he was consulted by some of the best propagandists of the times. You, Finnish blue- and white-collar workers, you, chain workers and representatives of precariat, and you without work – if you are wise, you better unite behind me.

Or, maybe Mr. Niinistö is not so very far from his Coalition party roots of the nineteenth century revolutions, and Romantic ideas, including the invention of the very concept of the worker? As another conservative, yet a sociologist, Robert Nisbet writes, during the nineteenth century “the image of the worker gradually became converted to that of an individual not only oppressed and exploited inhumanely but also possessed of a dignity, a worthiness, an underlying wisdom, and, in due time, a favored place in history.”

Will Mr. Niinistö succeed with his so-called defense of the working class? Will this appeal to the people, or does it sound a little too spurious when voiced by a right wing candidate, and an executive from European Central Bank? Or, is it an old Chinese (Sun Tzu’s) wisdom at work here: “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer?”

Mr. Niinistö’s twisted rhetoric is a logical extension of right wing’s hegemonic struggle against left’s last discursive resorts. It is almost up to a level of his comrade Mr. Antti Piippo, owner of Elqotec, who in Finnish journal Talouselämä (Economic Life) declared: “Globalization is the most important peace movement after the Second World War. It has helped hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. We bring common people work. Development money from Ministry for Foreign Affairs goes to buying luxury cars to the leaders of the people.”

If only there had not been that minor faux pas in the prime time news in front of one million Finnish voters. When asked, whom would he vote, if drop out of the second round, Mr. Niinistö’s replied: “Then I would vote the right wing worker’s candidate” (referring to the Center Party’s candidate). “Right wing worker’s candidate”? That slip of the tongue needs to be his last...


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