[Midden-Oosten] Protest Trump en Moslimban, woensdag Den Haag

Jeff meisner op xs4all.nl
Wo Feb 1 23:42:42 CET 2017

On 2017-02-01 17:51, Ravage, webzine wrote:
> Hoi Jeff en anderen,
> Ben de mening toegedaan dat mailinglijsten als de Aktielijst niet
> opgezet zijn om partijpropaganda te verspreiden. Deze manifestatie,
> waar qua doelstelling niets mis mee is, is opgezet door de PvdA en
> gesteund door nog wat partijen als D66, GL, SP en Denk (??? steunt
> dictator Erdogan) die op populistische wijze zieltjes willen winnen in
> het kader van de komende verkiezingen.
> De Aktielijst is bedoeld als doorgeefluik voor initiatieven van
> onderop. Politieke partijen hebben hun eigen (betaalde)
> propagandakanalen.
> Groet, Alex

Dear Alex,

For expediency, please allow me to answer your concerns in English. I am 
sure that we would agree regarding many issues surrounding today's 
demonstration. Indeed, I would like to have seen more speakers from 
popular movements and the far left, and fewer (or none) from political 
parties (especially ones participating in the current government!).

However the hundreds of recent demonstrations throughout America and 
around the world, very much are "initiatieven van onderop." These 
protests are a massive popular reaction to the results of the fascist 
regime which has taken hold in America and the threat of similar 
movements (politely referred to as "populist") elsewhere, such as the 
PVV here. The turnout of several thousand today was (to the best of my 
memory) the largest Dutch response to actions by any US government since 
the Iraq war in 2003. People who came to the action were outraged by the 
Muslim entry ban in the US (also the slogan of Wilders and other 
fascists in Europe) who felt motivated to action. I saw no evidence of 
people coming to support the election campaign of any party; the people 
in the crowd I saw with party designations were mostly ones who took 
free raincoats handed out by the PvdA (personally, I would prefer to 
just get wet!). A few posters people held were produced by SP or 
Groenlinks, but with acceptable messages in larger type. There was 
nothing that could be called a campaign poster.

But there is no doubt that political parties will, and did, attempt to 
use events such as this to promote their campaigns. This will always 
happen when an election is approaching. When it involves a crucial issue 
around which people are already protesting, this is an indication that 
WE have defined the issues, while professional politicians (as expected) 
would like to take advantage of our movement. At today's action there 
was an appropriate response from the crowd, with people shouting 
"hypocrite" and booing when some politicians spoke. Anyone looking at 
the situation (as even mentioned by NOS) would see that these 
politicians were opportunistically appealing to the crowd, not leading 
them. If party politicians (whether in or out of government) feel the 
need to sign on to popular demands, then that means our movement is 
succeeding and (often) indirectly affecting state policy even though we 
never gave any support to those parties. I doubt anyone who came to the 
action and saw those politicians speaking will actually change their 
vote in the upcoming election!

I certainly don't think I was wrong to publicize such an action on the 
aktielijst. The protest was called by Wouter Booij who is with the PvdA, 
but it was not an action created or sponsored by that party or the other 
parties that were allowed to speak. It would have been better if the 
action had been organized totally from "onderop" with no speeches 
allowed by party politicians. If there had been two alternate 
demonstrations organized, one by activists and one by electoral parties, 
then I would definitely have favored the former and announced that one 
on the aktielijst. But we don't usually have such a choice.

It would be a huge mistake to refrain from protests just because party 
politicians would try to use them for their own purposes. If we only 
concentrated on the danger of politicians co-opting our actions, then it 
would be difficult to go ahead with almost anything! Instead, we need to 
judge if something is a real protest originating from mass discontent or 
a disguised campaign rally. In the case of today's demonstration, 
especially in the context of world-wide outrage against the Muslim 
travel ban, the answer is clear.

In struggle,
- Jeff

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