Campaign against nazi barracks

Searchlight, May 2003

Dutch fascists are using a squat at an ex-military base as a springboard for activity and recruitment. The huge "De Kazerne" military installation, in a forest at the outskirts of Eindhoven, has been an organising centre for the extreme-right ever since a group of young activists, belonging to the fascist organisation, Voorpost, occupied it in December 2000.

Having consolidated their occupation, they now use the complex for a wide range of activities and it has become the stronghold of a new movement called Nationale Beweging (NB National Movement) that has succeeded Voorpost. The Dutch wing of Voorpost, an organisation that originated from across the border in Belgium, has declined rapidly, organising hardly any activity and no longer contributing to Voorpost's magazine Revolte. Its chairman, former CP'86 strategist Marcel Rüter, is also not very active, confining himself to delivering lectures in Belgium or surfacing occasionally at summer schools of the French New Right movement.

Voorpost's top action man Tim Mudde, another former CP'86 activist, has also failed to breathe any life into the organisation's decaying structures. Realising that he was faced with an impossible task, Mudde quit Voorpost at the end of 2001 and launched the NB. His successor, Michel Hubert, did not last long either and walked out to join Mudde and become a key figure at "De Kazerne". Both defectors were, however, able to take some of the youth activists from Voorpost's student organisation with them.

The NB's organisation and presence around "De Kazerne" has had serious consequences in Eindhoven, not least because it has led to an increase of fascist propaganda and intimidation of left-wingers on the city's streets. Despite visits from the police, who ordered them to end the intimidation, the fascists are still carrying out propaganda activity.

The NB's central political focus is on building cooperation between independent nationalists and so- called "comradeship" groups modelled on those found in neighbouring Germany. The NB is anti-parliamentary and advocates direct action, its supporters calling themselves "national anarchists".

The NB, again following German nazi examples, organised itself in loose structures around the nazi hate music band Brigade M., held meetings to stage pagan commemorations and organised monthly gatherings called the "nationalist discussion circle". It also has set up a football team and distributes CDs, T-shirts and Celtic symbols.

A particular feature of the NB's local activity is its campaigning against multinationals, capitalism and "globalism", these tactics an attempt to win ground amongst any left-wingers confused enough or daft enough to believe the fascists. So far, however, these moves have been a flop.

The NB has also launched a new magazine, called Vooraan (Upfront) which carries the same slogan as the Flemish eco-fascist organisation Vrijbuiter, "Not left, not right, but upfront!" The magazine is printed on glossy paper and has, for a fascist rag, achieved a relatively high circulation.

For NB, Vooraan is, together with "De Kazerne" pivotal to its structure because Mudde and his playmates have grasped that without communications and a venue for meetings and concerts, it would impossible for them to build a movement.

"De Kazerne" has evolved from a squat into a fascist barracks that plays host to the NB's activists. Indeed, this is spelled out in an NB strategy document: "Living together strengthens the tie between activists and you will take action more easily".

Besides providing living accommodation and an "action preparation" centre, the fascists have built a bar and a concert hall with the aim of attracting youth from Eindhoven and the surrounding area, slowly mobilising them for activity and raking in cash from concerts.

Anti-fascists warned of these dangers from the early days of the squat when it became known that the fascists were organising "house parties" and seminars attended by members of several different right-wing extremist outfits. Where "house parties" began, gigs involving Brigade M and fellow Dutch band Standrecht together with the Belgian band Vlanarock soon followed. As many as a hundred fascists turn up regularly and whenever the Skrewdriver song "White Power" is played, indulge in yelling "Sieg Heil" and collective Hitler salutes. These gigs are monitored by the police but, so far, without intervention.

Another feature of the NB's "right unity" efforts was the organisation, in May 2001, of a so-called National Youth Gathering, an idea drawn from the now outlawed right- wing extremist CP'86. The latter outfit staged two such events at the beginning of the 1990s, both of which ended in clashes among eachother and arrests. Last year, however, NB somehow managed to keep a belligerent mob of nazis from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany under control.

Not everything has gone the fascists' way, however. In the summer of 2001, the bar and concert hall at "De Kazerne" were mysteriously destroyed, either by political opponents or by boneheads who at been refused admission to a "De Kazerne" concert. The NB, of course, blamed Anti-Fascist Action (AFA) for the damage and started a web site called "Stop political violence". It also handed in a petition to an Eindhoven city councillor demanding "a halt to violence".

During the past year, "De Kazerne" has operated frenetically. In some months, weekly "ideological" meeting have taken place and social gatherings and gigs have become more frequent and with more international input.

In August 2002 last year, for example, the NB staged a gig with two German bands, Oidoxie and Sleipnir. Oidoxie's activities have attracted considerable interest from the German justice authorities, because it is not just a hate music band, but a component part of the structures of the violent Freie Kameradschaften around Dortmund. In this role, Oidoxie has organised demonstrations, distributed videos of its concerts and has become part of the worldwide nazi Blood & Honour network.

The band also played songs lyrics included "Give Adolf Hitler the Nobel Prize, raise the red flag with the swastika" at a Freie Kameradschaften demonstration calling for "freedom of speech".

In November 2002 last year, the NB tightened up its German links by holding a benefit gig for the "nazi bard" Frank Rennicke and sending him £ 1,100 from the proceeds. Rennicke, who was convicted in Germany for spreading racial hatred and fined £ 46,000, is member of the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands and was defended by the notorious nazi lawyer, Horst Mahler.

Challenged by this mounting activity, anti-fascists are fighting back. In January, AFA kicked off a campaign urging "De Kazerne's" real owner, the Eindhoven city council to evict the fascists on the grounds of Dutch anti- racism laws, which specifically outlaw the provision of facilities to groups that spread racial hatred. In February, Eindhoven was plastered with posters exposing the key wire pullers at "De Kazerne". Many local people responded with shock to the fact that nazis were busy in their city.

This campaign was followed with a speaking tour of several Dutch and Belgian cities cities to mobilise anti- fascists for a big demonstration, yet to take place, in Eindhoven.

In the meantime, Eindhoven city council has reacted to AFA's demands for the closure of "De Kazerne" by denying that the military base is city property, which it is according to official papers, and claiming that is not able to take action against the fascists. The council is also bleating that there is no reason to do anything because public order has not been disturbed, leaving the town's inhabitants to suffer on-going fascist activity and the invasion of their community by louts from outside the city.

Anti-fascists are convinced that they will have to sort out the problem themselves now that it has become obvious that the city council is bereft of civic decency and responsibility.

By Jeroen Bosch of Alert! in Utrecht