Searchlight - October 2007
In 2004, the long-running Dutch fascist strong-arm squad Voorpost entered a new phase under the dual leadership of Paul Peters as "action leader" and Robert Schaap as chairman with the aim of recruiting racist youngsters into its ranks.
As part of the process, they established local branches and actively tried to reach the right wing groups of youngsters that have become more numerous. A key method adopted has, of course, been the internet where, through popular websites for youngsters, including "Holland Hardcore" and Stormfront, the fascists generally attempt to interest youth in their ideas and organisations.
A second recruiting method much favoured by Voorpost is so-called pub meetings and being present at the pub meetings of other organisations. Peters, especially, is often seen at such meetings and has had a hand in organising them for Stormfront too.
In addition to its cyber activity and holding meetings at grass roots level, Voorpost organises activities for its members but not on difficult issues like environment, animal welfare and globalisation which were pursued under the former leadership of Brigade M's Tim Mudde or Marcel Rüter, a former advisor of the banned fascist CP'86. The themes Peters and Schaap have come up with are plain and simple: they are against mosques, refugees and anti-fascists.
In 2005, this strategy had a measure of success when Voorpost recruited a large group of young people in Zoetermeer, after helping it to rent a venue for a party on The Netherlands' Liberation day, 5 May. The party was an openly nazi event and it did not take long for the newly recruited group to radicalise itself into what is now the violent nazi Youth Storm Netherlands.
A second group of Voorpost recruits comes from Almere. This is a group former so-called "Lonsdale-youth" who organised themselves via the internet but who, from 2006, formed Voorpost's local branch in Flevoland. This group has also undergone a process of radicalisation and turned violent. This evolution raises the question of just how far Voorpost is responsible for this.
It is clear that Voorpost recruits youngsters and equips them with ideological baggage, facilitates periodic meetings with other right-wing extremists and supplies them with a network of ultra-rightists in which many violent or formerly violent racists are active. The step towards violence is, despite Voorpost's front stage image as a nationalist organisation, not as far away as it seems.
This is demonstrated by the fact that in August eleven members of the mob from Almere, among them several members of Voorpost, appeared in court in Rotterdam for series of arson attacks. Among other things, they had tried to burn down a synagogue, an Islamic butchery and an Islamic school in Almere and a squatters' house in Amsterdam.
After this last incident, one of the youngsters, Nick Schilder was caught while fleeing from the scene. Soon afterwards, police arrested the whole group including their leader.
These attacks were not the only crimes they committed. When a group of left-wing youngsters occupied a house in Almere, their leader mobilised his Voorpost group which, masked and armed with bats, clubs and two petrol bombs, entered the building, chased everybody out and set fire to it.
Their leader told the judge in the case that he was no ordinary vandal: "We have an ideology. We are not only against foreigners, but also against criminals and unemployed people". He and his pals see themselves as defenders of the "national culture".
The public prosecutor regarded twenty-one-year-old Anton Mostert, as the brains of the group. Unfortunately, it looks like the judge will not add the extra time to the sentence as required when racist motives are proven.
Peters has rushed to distance Voorpost from the acts of the Almere group and claims he kicked them out of Voorpost as soon as they were arrested several months ago. At the beginning of September, the five-strong hardcore of arsonists were sentenced to 16 months in jail and a further eight months suspended.
The other six were given sentences ranging from 200 hours of community service to 7 months in prison.
This crowd were not the only fascists appearing in court in September. Also in the dock, were Arris de Bruin of Combat 18/ Racial Volunteer Force and Maarten van Mil, a dealer in nazi insignia. Both men were found guilty of serious arms offences and given derisory sentences.
De Bruin, terrified that a case might be brought against the Combat 18/Racial Volunteer Force group in Rotterdam, had told the police that Van Mil sold him the guns but a recorded telephone conversation from De Bruin in jail with his Combat 18 mate Robin van Opstal– both members of the Dutch People's Union (NVU) heavy mob at demonstrations – showed that Van Mil was merely a fall guy to deflect police attention from Combat 18 structures.
On a Dutch Blood&Honour internet forum, meanwhile, people were warned about possible police raids on their homes but no raids materialised.
De Bruin denies being a member of C18, but the value of the illegal weaponry in his possession far exceeded his monthly income, proving he is not the lonely and isolated extremist he claimed to be.
According to the police, these weapons were used by at least five men at home-made shooting ranges near Rotterdam. Also, De Bruin's neighbour, Murat Kivanc, a sergeant in the Dutch army, who had already sold stolen splinter proof vests for € 2,100, offered him a bazooka with six rockets for around € 3,500 and some landmines and hand grenades.
For these offences, the court sentenced de Bruin to two years in prison months, six of them suspended, Kivanc to a mere six months and van Mil to twelve months, three of them suspended.
Interestingly, it emerged that, some years ago, Van Mil was cleared of possession of thousands of nazi badges and other emblems when an Amsterdam court decided the items were meant for use in films.
The threat of armed violence from Blood&Honour nazis in the Netherlands is still not over even if the movement, which still propagates and glorifies racial violence as much as ever, has been forced by the De Bruin case to tread more carefully for the time being.
Jeroen Bosch for Alert! and Antifa-Net