The people demand to be conscripted

According to a poll (fi) published in Ilta-Sanomat on Tuesday, 78 percent of Finns support general conscription. In practice the numbers haven't changed in two years, when the figure was 77 percent. (Insert your own "fall in line" pun here.) Thinking about the politics of it, the situation is even worse for the opponents of conscription than those numbers indicate, because they divide into two groups that are unlikely to cooperate on security policy: people who think an all-volunteer army would come prepackaged with a NATO membership and people who don't like NATO at all.

Before the parliamentary election Helsingin Sanomat asked the candidates (fi) how Finland's defense should be organized. Of the 188 current MPs who answered the questionnaire, a whopping dozen said they'd be willing to do away with general conscription. Ten of those opposed NATO membership, seven of whom are from the Green League. As a party the Greens advocate (fi) for selective conscription and the abolition of the civilian service system, which makes it strange that more of their candidates didn't pick that option in the HS survey.

Although the pro-NATO group is now considerably smaller, that position probably has more growth potential as it's easier to sell as a serious-minded and responsible alternative. Currently, however, its supporters in the Parliament consist of Sirpa Asko-Seljovaara (National Coalition Party) and Liisa Jaakonsaari (Social Democratic Party). The duo admirably show where the position's support would come from, were it to ever come: the Coalition and right-wing Social Democrats. I wouldn't wait for it to happen any time soon, though.

In other news, "Finland's Defence Forces is to further align its rank system with those used by the armies of other western countries, partly to cope with the demands of an increasing number of international operations". Oh, is "international operations" what they call it these days? Wink, nudge.


Scott Kohlhaas said...


I simply cannot understand why conscription is so accepted in the Scandinavian countries of Finland, Sweden and Norway.

Would you be willing to spread the word about www.draftresistance.org? It's a site dedicated to shattering the myths surrounding the selective slavery system and building mass civil disobedience to stop the draft before it starts.

Our banner on a website, printing and posting the anti-draft flyer or just telling friends would help.


Scott Kohlhaas

PS. When it comes to conscription, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Ari said...

In Norway and Sweden they only draft a relatively small percentage of eligible males, resulting in something akin to a volunteer force - the wusses. In Finland where about 80 percent of males go to the military, it's accepted because it's what we've always done and it has worked okay so far. If Finland also ran a hugely powerful all-volunteer force like the United States does, conscription's popularity would be far lower as few would believe it was needed for self-defense.