December 9, 2010

iSteve Finnish Content

Election expert Michael Barone writes about the midterms:
The Finnish vote. Around 100 years ago, Finnish immigrants flocked to the mines and woods of the country around Lake Superior, where the topography and weather must have seemed familiar. They've been a mostly Democratic, sometimes even radical, voting bloc ever since. No more, it seems. Going into the election, the three most Finnish districts, Michigan 1, Wisconsin 7 and Minnesota 8, all fronting on Lake Superior, were represented by two Democratic committee chairmen and the chairman of an Energy and Commerce subcommittee, with a total of 95 years of seniority.

Wisconsin's David Obey and Michigan's Bart Stupak both chose to retire, and were replaced by Republicans who had started running before their announcements. Minnesota's James Oberstar was upset by retired Northwest Airlines pilot and stay-at-home dad Chip Cravaack.

So here's a new rule for the political scientists: As go the Finns, so goes America.

Gus Hall (1910-2000), who was the perennial Communist Party USA candidate for President when I was a kid, was born Arvo Kustaa Halberg in the iron-mining belt of Minnesota and grew up speaking Finnish in his family of twelve. A lot of the Finnish Communists who subsequently lost the Finnish civil war of 1918 to von Mannerheim fled to America, so the CPUSA always had a sizable Finnish contingent. 

So, Obama managed to lose the hereditarily Communist vote.


34 comments:

Dutch Boy said...

Arvo Kustaa sounds Finnish but Halberg sounds Swedish.

Anonymous said...

Gus Hall (Halberg) was reputed to be Jewish, as I recall. Any reliable info on that? Wikipedia doesn't mention it, and other sources seem to have various axes to grind.

Jeff Burton said...

They are not really "Finnish Districts". Yeah, you see a lot of weird non-Indo European names on mailboxes when you drive around northern Minnesota, but they are not the majority.

And radical? Oh yeah. A few hundred even emigrated to the Soviet Union in the thirties to help build socialism. Morons.

Jeff said...

I sent Michael Barone an email a couple of weeks ago in response to his article:

In 2010 sweep, even the Finns voted Republican


Which I entitled "Germano-Scandinavians for Clean Government," where I said that in addition to Obama violating Germano-Scandinavian traditions of pacifism, he had also violated their traditions of good government by being a crooked, dirty Chicago politician. That is a major reason, in my opinion, why the Democrats got hammered in the Upper Midwest.

He wrote back to me and said that I was probably right.

Anonymous said...

hereditarily Communist vote

You would think that a concept such as revolunionary communism being passed on by heredity would be the ultimate oxymoron. But in fact North Korea is just about the only state on earth that has real political power still transmitted by primogeniture.

Albertosaurus

Simon in London said...

My wife confirms that her Finnish great-parents went over to the US in 1920. Learn something new every day!

TH said...

As a member of iSteve's sizable Finnish contingent, I appreciate this posting.

It should be noted that Finnish American commies did not admire the Soviet Union just from the safety of America. Thousands of them moved to the Soviet Union in the 1930s, helping to make East Karelia one of the most prosperous regions of the Soviet Union. Many if not most were subsequently killed in Stalin's purges.

Incidentally, C.G.E. Mannerheim, while a baron, was not a von.

Laban said...

off topic, Steve Hsu :

"The study of intelligence quotient (IQ) is being conducted by BGI Hong Kong, [formerly] known as the Beijing Genomics Institute. It will survey DNA samples from 1,000 child prodigies from China's best high schools, comparing them with samples from 1,000 children of average intelligence, searching for genetic variations.

The study will examine protein coding genes of the extremely smart children... The results will be correlated with each youngster's school test scores, in hopes of learning how specific genetic variations affect intelligence.

The study, which started in 2009 in Shenzhen, is moving to a new facility in Tai Po. By the end of this month, 115 of the world's fastest sequencers - the HiSeq 2000 - will have relocated to the city. They will be able to sequence the equivalent of 1,000 human genomes a day, and soon surpass the entire sequencing output of the United States to become the world's largest sequencing centre.

The study by BGI, which receives strong financial backing from the Shenzhen and mainland governments, will be the largest-scale examination of its kind. Ethical and privacy concerns have hindered such work in America and Europe."

DanJ said...

American leftists, or "liberals" as you call them, are nothing at all like traditional leftists in Europe. This is a constant source of confusion when communicating across the Atlantic.

I grew up not far from a steel mill town in Finland. The workers there voted mostly Social Democrat or Communist. Union men every one.

In their family and social life they were very conservative. Minority rights, gender rights or recycling garbage did not concern them much. They were not revolutionaries.

They were often serious in their political engagement, as they viewed is as the best way to get what they wanted in terms of pay, job security, safety, education for their kids, etc, etc.

They were not a uniform leftist bloc holding hands while singing around the campfire. The rivalry between Communists and Social Democrats was intense. Indeed, to prevent Communist advances in Finland, the CIA took to covertly funding and helping the Social Democrats. It worked well.

Today all our parties on the left are losing votes to populist parties. The US-style leftism spreading across Europe has left previous supporters out in the cold. A worker today look at his former party's agenda and asks "what's in it for me?" The answer is "not much".

Anonymous said...

Finns are weird.

Steve Johnson said...

A work colleague of mine grew up in the Soviet Union. Gus Hall's presidential runs would make news there.

Because of his particular regional accent, Khrushchev would always pronounce Gus Hall's name as "Ass Hole".

Has to be said...

"Born Arvo Halonen in 1910 in Minnesota Hall grew up in Minnesota's Mesabi Range, one of the most important places of immigrant settlement for Finns. It was a hotbed of labor militancy and political radicalism and, in this milieu, Finns constituted perhaps the most radical ethnic group. Hall grew up in a Communist home and came of age during the 1920s, the so-called Red decade, during which, in the wake of Russian Revolution, many Finns shifted toward Communism. They came to constitute 45 percent of the membership of the Communist Party. It was at this time that Hall began his long career in the Communist movement."

Source

Anonymous said...

Not too many of their descendants work in unionized manufacturing jobs anymore. Circumstances have changed.

Fred said...

Has Kevin MacDonald written anything about the Finns and their subversive nature?

TH said...

Gus Hall (Halberg) was reputed to be Jewish, as I recall. Any reliable info on that? Wikipedia doesn't mention it, and other sources seem to have various axes to grind.

There's about zero chance that he was Jewish. There were hardly any Jews in Finland back then (not that there's many more now), none in the region his parents came from, and certainly none with names like Matti (his father), Susanna (his mother), or Arvo Kustaa.

Has Kevin MacDonald written anything about the Finns and their subversive nature?

If he has, I'd love to read it. It has potential.

Anonymous said...

American leftists, or "liberals" as you call them, are nothing at all like traditional leftists in Europe. This is a constant source of confusion when communicating across the Atlantic.

I grew up not far from a steel mill town in Finland. The workers there voted mostly Social Democrat or Communist. Union men every one.

In their family and social life they were very conservative. Minority rights, gender rights or recycling garbage did not concern them much. They were not revolutionaries.




Some American leftists are still like that, but they're a dying breed. Starting in the late 1960's the American left was taken over by the "cultural left" - the sort of people who care a great deal about minority rights, gender rights or recycling garbage. Such people are not much interested in old-fashioned economic leftism because they come from the upper strata of society. In fact the cultural left tends to be pretty hostile towards that sort of economic leftism.

Anonymous said...

I grew up with Finns "around Lake Superior." I'm Swedish and I'm far more subversive than any Finn I've ever met. I've read KMac...

Red Fox said...

American leftists, or "liberals" as you call them, are nothing at all like traditional leftists in Europe. This is a constant source of confusion when communicating across the Atlantic.

***

The United States has never had a reliable social democratic party even though it would do fairly well in the Great Lakes states plus northern New England and the Pacific Northwest. The Democratic Party has always been the party of cheap labor whether it was slavery or mass immigration. The recent House of Representatives election demonstrated the Democrats' dependency upon the immigrant dense areas: California, Chicago, DC, New York City, and southern New England.

Interestingly, in the parallel universe known as Canada, the Liberal Party has receded to a base very similar to the Democratic Party: immigrant rich Toronto, the immigrant sections of Montreal, and some districts in the Atlantic region. The rest of the country went for the Conservatives in the most recent national election or the local social democratic party: NDP or Bloc Quebecois. If the United States had a more open political party system, I could see the northern half of the United States quickly developing into the three party division we now see in Canada: conservative, liberal, and social democratic.

Chris Anderson said...

"I grew up not far from a steel mill town in Finland. The workers there voted mostly Social Democrat or Communist. Union men every one. "

This squares with my older Finn relatives. I'm not sure (& need to ask!) what their politics were like in the 30's 40's and 50's, but by the time I took notice in the late 70's, they were all Reagan democrats.

Reg Cæsar said...

Has Kevin MacDonald written anything about the Finns and their subversive nature? -- Fred

Finns aren't that subversive, even the Communists.

Unlike the Irish radicals, with their resentment of the Anglo-Saxon, and the Jewish radicals, with their resentment of goys in general, Finns had no beef with the American majority. No surprise that a Finn like Hall would rise to the top, without the ethnic sandbaggage.

Finnish hatred is directed toward Sweden (for leftists) and Russia (for rightists).

Reg Cæsar said...

I grew up not far from a steel mill town in Finland. The workers there voted mostly Social Democrat or Communist. Union men every one.
In their family and social life they were very conservative... They were not revolutionaries.
--DanJ

No, but they voted for an inherently revolutionary system.

The welfare state will always betray the white man, because his capacity for independence is its greatest threat. Third and Fourth Worlders make much more reliable clients. This is why the "patriotic left" never remains so for very long.

What's the difference between the Catholic Church and the welfare state? The Church may give you alms, but she doesn't demand that you worship her.

Anonymous said...

Has Kevin MacDonald written anything about the Finns and their subversive nature?

They came to constitute 45 percent of the membership of the Communist Party

Before we blame the Finns for spreading communism in America, I think we need to look at one critical number. I'm taking this number from Pat Buchanan's book State of Emergency page 243, which in itself is lifted from John F. Kennedy's book A Nation of Immigrants pages 84-85.

From 1607 to 1958, only 28,358 Finns immigrated here. As a comparison over 6.7 million Germans and 5 million Italians came. Therefore, I just don't think the Finns, no matter how committed to communism they were, could have been as influential in left-wing politics as other more numerous groups.

DanJ said...

Anonymous: "I think we need to look at one critical number. I'm taking this number from Pat Buchanan's book State of Emergency page 243, which in itself is lifted from John F. Kennedy's book A Nation of Immigrants pages 84-85.

From 1607 to 1958, only 28,358 Finns immigrated here."

Your sources are a bit off here. A better estimate for that time frame is about 330 000 for the US and 80 000 for Canada. This is not that much either but it was about 10% of the population of Finland.

Anonymous said...

From 1607 to 1958, only 28,358 Finns immigrated here. As a comparison over 6.7 million Germans and 5 million Italians came.

The comment below yours points out that you are likely underestimating the numbers of Finns by an order of magnitude. But even if it were true, such a small group could punch way, way above its numerical weight.

Case in point: no German-Americans signed the Declaration of Independence--but a Finnish-American did.

Anonymous said...

@Dutch Boy - Halberg is a Swedish surname. There are many Finns with Swedish surnames. Finland was not an independent nation until the twentieth century. In preceding centuries it was either a Swedish or a Russian dependency. There was much admixture of the ethnic stocks and cultures of Sweden and Russia with that of the ethnically Finnish population. The two largest religious denominations in Finland, Lutheran and Orthodox, reflect this background.

Minnesotans of Finnish ancestry fell into one of two two factions - "Church Finns" (who were pious adherents of the Lutheran church) or "Red Finns." Gus Hall typified the latter.

Anonymous said...

Your sources are a bit off here. A better estimate for that time frame is about 330 000 for the US and 80 000 for Canada. This is not that much either but it was about 10% of the population of Finland.

I thought the total for Finland was low, however, the stats in JFK's book do list that number of 28K for Finland. I would like to see where JFK got those stats. The book was written around 1958 and JFK stated that America had received a grand total of 42 million immigrants from 1607 to 1958.

I think 42 million is probably about right. Incidentally, since the 1965 Immigration Act, we have received around 50 million immigrants. So 42 million in the first 350 years and 50 million in the next 50 years, with another 50 million on the way. Does that sound good?

Anonymous said...

I left an incomplete link...the Finnish-American Founding Father (signer of the Declaration) was John Morton of Pennsylvania:

"His father, John Morton (Senior), was Finnish, who originated from Finland with his great-grandfather, Martti Marttinen (the family's original name, anglicized as Morton), himself a native of Rautalampi, Finland, who had arrived in the Swedish colony of New Sweden in 1654. His mother, Mary Archer, was also of Finnish descent."

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Morton_%28politician%29)

Dutch Boy said...

Old Gus may have been a commie but he could cash in as well as any capitalist:
"Former KGB General Oleg Kalugin declared in his memoir that the KGB had Hall and the American Communist Party "under total control" and that he was known to be siphoning off "Moscow money" to set up his own horse-breeding farm." [per Wikipedia]

Anonymous said...

Around 100 years ago, Finnish immigrants flocked to the mines and woods of the country around Lake Superior, where the topography and weather must have seemed familiar.

A bit of trivia: America's most famous Finnish-American, at least from that area anyway, is the female serial killer Aileen Wuormous. Charlize Theron won Academy Award for playing Wuormous in the movie Monster.

Anonymous said...

Several commenters have pointed out that the estimate of Finnish immigration of 28K is too low. Keep in mind this figure is from the Pat Buchanan book that quotes the JFK book, A Nation of Immigrants.

Interestingly, A Nation of Immigrants was sponsored by the ADL in 1958. They persuaded Kennedy to write an essay about the contributions of immigrants.

From the ADL website: Written by Kennedy in 1958 after ADL reached out to the then-junior senator from Massachusetts asking him to highlight the contribution of immigrants at a time when the country was locked in a debate about the direction its policy should take, it is the last manuscript President Kennedy ever wrote, and the book was first published posthumously.

This book was part of the debate that culminated in the 1965 Immigration Reform Act. If it is that wrong on Finnish immigration, what else was it wrong on?

Anonymous said...

Looking a few posts below, didn't Finland do awesome on PISA? And aren't they an anomaly in Europe in having few immigrants? How hard is it for the media to put 2 and 2 together?

corvinus said...

Finnish hatred is directed toward Sweden (for leftists) and Russia (for rightists).

This sentence is actually quite funny if you read it a few times.

TGGP said...

Ilkka Kokkarinen is a rightist Finn with a lot of resentment toward Swedish-speaking Finns (and Sweden's history with Finland).

Mikko Ellilä said...

Finns don't hate Swedes. Many Finns have a negative attitude toward the Swedish language because it's a compulsory language in Finnish schools. This is because it's one of the two official languages in Finland even though it's the mother tongue of only 5 % of Finns.

Having a negative attitude toward Swedish as a compulsory language is not the same thing as hating Swedish people.