Searchlight - August 2010
With the Dutch political picture so fragmented, it was not expected after the June elections a government coalition would be formed very quickly. Geert Wilders, the leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) which made the biggest gains in the ballot, is so eager to enter a coalition, that he even dropped his party's demand to hold the pension age at 65 while his potential partners, the Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) and Christian Democrats (CDA), want to extend it to 67.
The CDA's new leader Maxime Verhagen, who is also still Foreign Minister, however has rejected talks about a pact with the VVD and PVV. First, he held, both parties should find common ground to form a coalition and, if they succeeded, the CDA would then enter negotiations. As the biggest loser in the elections, having lost half its seats, the CDA has been promoting its "modesty" and rethinking its program.
Wilders, on the other hand, has refused seven invitations to enter talks with only the VVD and more or less disqualified himself from membership of a coalition. Verhagen later declared that his party is "not willing to negotiate on the principles of the democratic state" with the Freedom Party but also said he would exclude cooperation with any party.
Wilders has already returned to his right wing populist ranting mode in parliament, not least when a report highlighted alarming statistics about crime among Moroccan boys. Wilders was quick to demand the creation of a "special street terror unit" of the police to "arrest, jail and kick out" offenders, the strengthening of penalties and the denaturalisation of offenders after they have served their sentences so that they can "terrorize the streets of Rabat and Casablanca instead of Dutch cities".
Wilders has also quit his seat on the Hague city council, having attended only five council meetings and having never spoken there or asked questions. Explaining his decision, he said he could not combine his council work with leading the now 24-strong PVV team in parliament.
Talks about a new coalition are now being conducted by the Liberal Democrats of D66, the Labour Party (PvdA), the GreenLeft and the VVD. If that also fails, a coalition between the CDA, PvdA and VVD is another option, and if that does not work there will be a return to the possible consultations between the PVV, CDA and VVD.
Meanwhile the PVV group in the European Parliament is lobbying to nominate Geert Wilders for the Andrei Sakharov prize, a prize for people who stand up for freedom of speech and human rights. Former winners include Nelson Mandela and Burma's opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. That the PVV nominates a bigot like Wilders shows his party has lost contact with reality.
Meanwhile, down in the gutters, Dutch nazis chose 12 June, the anniversary of Anne Frank, the worldwide symbol of the battle against antisemitism and fascism, as the occasion to stage yet another joint German-Dutch fascist march in the town of Venlo, organised by the Dutch People's Union (NVU).
The NVU's leader Constant Kusters is still moaning about the outcome of complaints he filed with the police about last year's nazi demonstration in the town. At that demonstration, the police were put under such huge pressure by anti-fascist protesters, that they rushed the nazis through the streets, forcing them to skip speeches, and failed to guard the nazis' cars, leaving several damaged.
Kusters, bullied by the German nazis of the Kameradschaft Aachener Land, then lodged a complaint, but got zero response. As a result, he returned to Venlo with an application for another march, finding town mayor Hubert Bruls on his case. Bruls banned the demonstration but, as usual, the court overruled the ban, saying the mayor should request as many police as he thought would be needed to secure public order.
On 12 June, only about eighty – half of them from Germany – of the announced three hundred nazis answered the call of the NVU. At the same time, hundreds of police were mobilised to protect them from angry citizens, aided by an order of the mayor, allowing them to arrest preventively thirty-six people for just being in the vicinity of the nazi parade. Again, the march was an open display of Nazi symbolism, but only one German nazi was yanked out of the march by the police…for making the Hitler salute.
Jeroen Bosch for Alert! and Antifa-Net in Amsterdam