DECLARATION OF THE NORTHERN ORGANIZATIONS OF THE COMMUNIST PARTIES OF FINLAND, NORWAY, DENMARK AND RUSSIA
The northern organizations of the communist parties of Finland, Sweden, Norway and Russia have met yearly in different countries. This year the meeting was held in Ivalo, Finland on the 13th and 14th of June. This time also Denmark was participating.
In the conference we discussed the political situation in our countries and shared experiences about the activities of our parties. In our countries the common feature is now conservative policy, which is getting more profits for the companies and more misery for the ordinary people. In all our countries the communists have tried to prevent the worsening of the living conditions.
We are also worried about the environment. The nature is especially vulnerable in the Arctic region. Increasing mining activities and drilling of gas and oil aim to the maximization of profits and does not take sufficiently into account the requirements for the protection of the environment. Also fishing and fish farming must be arranged according to the principles of sustainable development and taking into account the needs for the protection of the environment.
The planned international agreements of free trade and trade in services (TTIP, CETA and TiSA) must be stopped because they are against the democratic system of decision-making.
We are even more worried about the increased activity of the NATO in the Arctic. Recent examples are large Cold Response war games (next time in 2016 in Trøndelag, Norway), Joint Viking war games in March in Finnmark (greatest military exercise in Norway after the end of the Cold War), and the gigantic air war exercise of NATO (Arctic Challenge Exercise) above the Northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland.
NATO is trying to have all Nordic countries as allies in military threats and even war against Russia and to join in the expenses of the war. We cannot accept that.
Sweden and Finland are also actively taking part in the NATO activities even though they are not formally members in NATO. For example US marines were training last winter in Finland in the Sodankylä garrison. Sweden and Finland have also made with NATO the Host-Nation Support agreement, which means even closer ties with NATO. The agreement allows also the deployment of the nuclear weapons of NATO into Sweden and Finland.
Instead of military confrontation we ask for peaceful co-operation e.g. in the framework of the Arctic Council and co-operation in the exploitation of the resources of the Arctic waters..
WE NEED BETTER PUBLIC TRANSPORT
The Lapland District of the Communist Party of Finland had an open meeting in Kolari on the 31st January 2015. In the discussions the local people protested against the bad traffic connections. The train from Kolari is due only on some days of the week. During some parts of the year (e.g. May and part of June) there is no train for several weeks. Also the departures of buses have been cut down.
The time tables for Kolari trains have been planned for the turists coming from Helsinki. If somebody from Kolari wants to use the train to visit Tornio, Kemi or Oulu on some personal business, he arrives in the town late in the evening and has to spend the night in a hotel or with friends. Then he has to spend the day in the town and the journey back to Kolari can start only in the next morning, if the train is running on that day.
In the meeting the people demanded that the existing railway must serve better the local inhabitants. A rail bus service must be started between Kolari and Oulu to provide better traffic connections for people in Kolari, Pello, Ylitornio and other locations by the railway. This would facilitate also the more frequent travelling from Kemi and Tornio to Oulu. Rail buses are used on many locations in the Southern Finland. Buses are needed also in Lapland where the properly functioning public transport is very important because of the long distances.
SOLIDARITY FOR CUBA
Although the cold Lapland and hot Cuba are far from each other, we have actively followed and supported the development of Cuba. We also had the honour to host the Cuban Ambassador Enrique Orta Gonzales when he last winter visited Rovaniemi, Pello, Tornio and Kemi.
We are happy to observe small softening in the attitude of the United States, which is the main organizer of anti-Cuba activities. We demand that the embargo and other unfriendly actions against Cuba must be stopped immediately. Also the illegal occupation of Guantanamo shall be stopped.
Cuba shall be free to continue its own development without the continuous harassment of its big neighbor.
US SOLDIERS ARE NOT WELCOME TO FINLAND
According to the Finnish news United States marines and soldiers from the winter training center of Alaska are training for war in winter with the Finnish military in Lapland (Sodankylä) and Helsinki (Santahamina).
Significant part of Alaska is north from the Arctic Circle and therefore there are as good possibilities for the training for winter war as in Finland. The coming of US soldiers to Finland is only one part of the right-wing effort to tie Finland as closely as possible with NATO and with USA:
There are no valid reasons for the common war games with Finland and USA: If the coming of the US soldiers to Finland cannot now be cancelled, this must at least be the last time when we have US soldiers in Finland.
RESPONSIBLE MINING AND PROFITS TO FINLAND
The committee of the Lapland district of the Communist Party of Finland and the local Party organization in Sodankylä had a common meeting in Sodankylä on the 14th of November in 2014. We discussed among other topics the effects of mining on the basis of the experiences of the Talvivaara mine and the Pahtavaara and Kevitsa mines in Sodankylä.
In the discussions we noted that the mines can provide employment, which is important in Lapland with a high rate of unemployment. In addition the Finnish state could acquire significant income from the mining companies.
At present the foreign mining companies get the Finnish ores almost free of charge. They also avoid the paying of taxes with different arrangements. In addition the big problems in Talvivaara and smaller problems in the Lapland mines give evidence to the fact that the mining companies try to avoid expenses for the protection of the environment and that the authorities can not or dare not require from the mining companies that they do not pollute the environment.
We demand that
– a strong mining company owned by the government must be established in Finland
– the authorities must control the activities of the mining companies so closely that there will be no harm to the environment
– the mining companies must pay taxes according to the profits and in addition on the basis of the amount of the extracted mass of rock and soil
– the mining companies shall be responsible for the environment and employment also after the closing of the mine. The environment must be restored to as near the original state as possible and other employment opportunities must be available for the workers after the closing of the mine.
HEALTH SERVICES IN LAPLAND MUST BE SAVED
The executive board of the Kolari municipality decided on the 8th of September that there will be no doctors on duty in the local clinic during the night (from 22:00 to 8:00 o’clock). Nearest doctors are in the Rovaniemi hospital (distance 160 kilometers).
This decision, apparently made by necessity because of the lack of money, is a result of the policy of government. This policy, which has continued for several years, has provided huge profits for the big companies and for a few millionaires. At the same time it has reduced the possibilities of the municipalities to offer the necessary basic services for the ordinary people.
The threat to close the maternity ward in the Kemi hospital and the plan to centralize in Oulu the administration of the social and health care of the whole Northern Finland are also the result of the same policy, which means the closing down of the necessary services.
The Lapland district of the Finnish Communist Part demands a total change in the government policy. The need of the ordinary people must have priority in all decision making.
In Finland the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health says that maternity wards must be closed down in hospitals where there are less than thousand birth deliveries a year.
The executive committee of the Lapland district on the Communist Part of Finland has made the following declaration on this subject in its meeting on the 18th of August 2014.
MATERNITY WARD IS NEEDED IN THE HOSPITAL IN KEMI
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health proposes that the maternity wards should be closed down in hospitals where there are less than thousand birth deliveries per year. In Lapland that would mean the closing down of the maternity ward in the Kemi hospital. In Kemi there has been 660 … 748 births a year during the years 1999 … 2012.
Reasons given for the closing down are the savings for the state and the safety of mothers and babies. Experience however shows that there are no actual savings. The senior physician Niilo Keränen from the health-care centre of Kuusamo say that the closing down of the maternity ward in Kuusamo has not produced any savings. The births are now given in Oulu and Kuusamo pays 11 million euros a year to the Oulu hospital.
In addition there are expenses for the compensation of the long journeys. Part of the expenses must however be paid by the mothers and their families. There are also other expenses and trouble for the mothers and their families. It is not possible to stay at home hundreds of kilometers from the hospital waiting for the start of the birth labours and then to start the journey to the hospital. It is necessary to move to temporary lodgings (e.g. hotel) to the city of the hospital at least one or two weeks before the calculated time of the birth.
Long distances also increase the number of births given during the journey to the hospital. Such situations are hazardous and in any case traumatic experiences to those involved even when no lives are lost. It is much more safe to give birth in a hospital even though there are less than thousand births a year in that given hospital.
One reason given for the closing down of the maternity wards is that in the small wards there is not the necessary emergency duty available at all times. The correct solution is of course not the closing down of the maternity wards. The right solution is to give more money to the hospitals to make possible the necessary arrangements for the emergency duty. For example the 200 million euros for the used tanks bought from the Neatherlands would be sufficient for the arrangement of emergency duties for many years to come.