Forums > Personal > (mainly) for the Dutchies: Far-Right Politician Wilders to be Prosecuted

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thomasquinn 32989 user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 21 Jan 09, 07:54 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The Dutch supreme court has decided that Geert Wilders, leader of the ultra-nationalist PVV, is to be prosecuted after all. The charge is discrimination, instigating hatred and insult of a (religious) group; the judge will also have to rule on Wilders' likening of Islam and Nazism. Not only the remarks themselves, but also the aggressive way they were presented will be taken into account. If convicted, Wilders faces up to one year in prison.



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Posted: 21 Jan 09, 08:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It's too bad you can't be prosecuted and imprisoned for being an assH*le.


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Posted: 21 Jan 09, 18:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I remember hearing about this guy last year.  A visiting prof from my alma mater's sister university in Rotterdam was giving a speech on modern political developments in The Netherlands, and he mentioned this guy along with Pym Fortyn (excuse me if I got the spelling wrong!) and the development of anti-immigration sentiment in the Netherlands. 

Thanks for the link, Caspar, though I couldn't read a word of it.  Here's an English version if anyone is interested:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7842344.stm

Though I haven't seen the video he put out (I did manage to find the one Theo VanGogh did, before he was killed over it), it sounds like its a bit over the top.  I mean, equating Islam with Nazism?  What exactly is acheived by such inflammatory actions, other than anger and a hardening of viewpoints that makes compromise impossible? 

This guy isn't still a member of Parliament is he?  Also, just a general question: is anti-Islamic feeling over in The Netherlands really that strong?  I mean, we (the US) weren't even that bad after 9-11.   



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Posted: 22 Jan 09, 06:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

He is still in parliament, leading a 9-seat party called PVV (Partij Voor de Vrijheid [Party For Freedom]) in the Lower House, which was elected on a platform consisting solely of anti-immigration, anti-Islamic and anti-European Union rhetoric.

Like most countries, The Netherlands have always had a marginal group of the population that is fanatically racist and anti-immigrant. In the 1980s and 1990s there was an unsuccesful far-right party representing them (called the "Center Party" and later, when that party was forbidden, the "Center Democrats"), which only ever got one or two seats in the Lower House, but when Pim Fortuyn launched a populist movement making Islam and immigration a hot topic again, the stage was set for more parties to embrace this concept.

The Dutch 'liberal' party (what's called 'liberal' in Holland refers to classical economic liberalism, not progressive liberalism) VVD (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie [People's Party for Freedom and Democracy]) has since abandoned liberal views on immigration and adopted anti-immigrant populist rhetoric as soon as they noticed the support Wilders seemed to be getting, only to find itself decimated in the last elections, which much of its conservative electorate gone to Wilders' far-right party.

In general, anti-immigrant and anti-Islamist sentiments seem to have spread somewhat (the 9 seats for the PVV are partly to be explained by new converts to racist ideology, but largely due to the fact that far-right Dutchmen did not previously tend to vote in elections), but the main problem is that this minority group has become very vocal, and thus receive a lot of media attention, which makes the problem seem larger. Holland is more racist than I remember it to be before the 2001 WTC attacks, but I largely blame that on political opportunism rather than changing views (polls indicate that the percentage of negative views on immigrants has not risen, and anti-Islamist views have gained only slightly).

Wilders does not seem to care about the effects of his rhetoric and his campaigning. He is consciously trying to attract support for his party from all sections of the far-right (though he is a vocal opponent of anti-Jewish groups, who *did* raise part of the signatures he needed to allow his party to participate in the elections) at pretty much any price, and does not seem to care about his electorate's well-being, considering the fact that they are mostly from the poorer sections of the population, while Wilders supports economic measures favoring the elite.



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Posted: 22 Jan 09, 09:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



ThomasQuinn wrote:

He is still in parliament, leading a 9-seat party called PVV (Partij Voor de Vrijheid [Party For Freedom]) in the Lower House, which was elected on a platform consisting solely of anti-immigration, anti-Islamic and anti-European Union rhetoric.

Like most countries, The Netherlands have always had a marginal group of the population that is fanatically racist and anti-immigrant. In the 1980s and 1990s there was an unsuccesful far-right party representing them (called the "Center Party" and later, when that party was forbidden, the "Center Democrats"), which only ever got one or two seats in the Lower House, but when Pim Fortuyn launched a populist movement making Islam and immigration a hot topic again, the stage was set for more parties to embrace this concept.

The Dutch 'liberal' party (what's called 'liberal' in Holland refers to classical economic liberalism, not progressive liberalism) VVD (Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie [People's Party for Freedom and Democracy]) has since abandoned liberal views on immigration and adopted anti-immigrant populist rhetoric as soon as they noticed the support Wilders seemed to be getting, only to find itself decimated in the last elections, which much of its conservative electorate gone to Wilders' far-right party.

In general, anti-immigrant and anti-Islamist sentiments seem to have spread somewhat (the 9 seats for the PVV are partly to be explained by new converts to racist ideology, but largely due to the fact that far-right Dutchmen did not previously tend to vote in elections), but the main problem is that this minority group has become very vocal, and thus receive a lot of media attention, which makes the problem seem larger. Holland is more racist than I remember it to be before the 2001 WTC attacks, but I largely blame that on political opportunism rather than changing views (polls indicate that the percentage of negative views on immigrants has not risen, and anti-Islamist views have gained only slightly).

Wilders does not seem to care about the effects of his rhetoric and his campaigning. He is consciously trying to attract support for his party from all sections of the far-right (though he is a vocal opponent of anti-Jewish groups, who *did* raise part of the signatures he needed to allow his party to participate in the elections) at pretty much any price, and does not seem to care about his electorate's well-being, considering the fact that they are mostly from the poorer sections of the population, while Wilders supports economic measures favoring the elite.



So the party that he's representing is essentially the heir of this Center Party, which was forbidden?  Were they forbidden for the same reasons that this Freedom Party is getting attention?  If so, wouldn't the Feedom Party be forbidden too?  (side note: I find the idea of forbidden political parties to be fascinating in an academic way...that's not something that's done in America at least as far as I know.  Hell, even the Neo-Nazi's have a political party here, not that they make it on the ballot most of the time.) 

And this party has 9 seats in the Parliament.  I don't know the numbers over there, but I assume that's a small minority? 

It's funny that this anti-Islamic sentiment seems to be, at least you think, based on the 9-11 attacks....attacks which didn't even happen in your country!  I mean, a certain amount of concern about it in Europe did follow, especially after Madrid and London, but this guy seems like he's got his panties in a wad disproportionate to the level of danger. 

What is this guy's ultimate goal, politically?  To be PM?  Or does he just enjoy railing against a wall? 






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Posted: 22 Jan 09, 13:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Well, depending on how you look at it, he is or is not the heir of the Center Party; he absorbed their electorate, and augmented it, but he had no relation to the leadership of that party (which was, essentially, a deranged man and his wife), although he does share many viewpoints (except on Jews) and adopted the aggressive rhetoric.

However, this is where the similarities end, as the Center Party was forbidden because the guy behind it, Hans Janmaat, went much too far in his rhetoric, and was tried and convicted for that. Wilders has been more gradual in his remarks, by which I mean that he has started out with 'less racist' attacks and worked his way gradually up the chain of aggression, going from "limiting the influx of Islam" to "all Muslims must tear half of the pages from the Quran before they can enter Holland" to referring to young Moroccans as "street terrorists". And yes, in fact he used that latter phrase in congress, in a televised debate, more than one time.

The rise of Fortuyn and the aftermath of 9/11 partly coincided in Holland, and so the two became bound up. Then there was his murder, and later the Theo Van Gogh murder, and some people got scared. Compound that with Madrid and London, and you've got a situation people like Wilders can take advantage of.

I'm not sure what he's after. I don't think he wants to be PM as such, as I think they'd lose a large part of their backing when tasked with actually governing (they have never yet come up with any feasible, worked-out plan for anything, not even their racist plans), but I do think he hopes to be the most important and strongest voice in the opposition, thus cajoling a cabinet. What he is actually achieving, though I doubt he cares, is a thorough destabilization of Dutch politics, and increasing membership in fanatical groups of both Islamic and Far-Right nature.



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Posted: 22 Jan 09, 19:34 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Calling people "Street Terrorists" in a televised Parliamentary debate?  Are we sure that this guy has a working brain? 

Sounds like this guy is just a chaos-sower.  You know the type: people who like to see chaos in everything around them, and if it's not present they'll actively work to cause it. 

Let's hope that this guy's influence, on all sides, goes down the tubes.  Safest way to deal with people like this is to just ignore them. 



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Posted: 23 Jan 09, 06:51 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



AspiringPhilosophe wrote:

Calling people "Street Terrorists" in a televised Parliamentary debate?  Are we sure that this guy has a working brain? 

Sounds like this guy is just a chaos-sower.  You know the type: people who like to see chaos in everything around them, and if it's not present they'll actively work to cause it. 

Let's hope that this guy's influence, on all sides, goes down the tubes.  Safest way to deal with people like this is to just ignore them. 

I'm not sure if he has or ever had a working brain, but he's definitely into chaos, and also evidently not above simply using his electorate. He doesn't give a damn about The Netherlands, or his voters, or his party, just about himself. I'd bet on it that if he could score more votes by becoming communist, he'd do that straight away. But his 'movement' will eventually bleed to death.

An interesting fact on the side: his party is the only one in the Netherlands, including the fundamentalist Christian SGP, where the voters can exert absolutely no influence on the party; there is no intra-party democracy whatsoever, as one can not technically become a member. That way, Wilders keeps all power completely to himself.








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Posted: 23 Jan 09, 09:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You can't technically become a member of this party?  LOL. 

Yeah, sounds like this guy's got an ego the size of Texas.  Well, the good news is that usually guys like that self-destruct eventually.  It's just a matter of how long it takes and who they wind up taking down with them. 

Well, here's hoping that he'll go down soon.. 



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Posted: 23 Jan 09, 10:30 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Agreed. At the same time, he is an interesting barometer of Dutch public opinion, his support rising and waning in the weekly polls. The political landscape in Holland is not very good; I'll need to give a bit of a summary of the way we work here first, although your system was partly based on the way we used to work here, of which our current government is in a way still an adaptation (even though our constitution only dates back to 1848):

There are two houses, like in the US. The lower house (Tweede Kamer [Second Chamber]) has 150 seats, the senate (Eerste Kamer/Senaat [First Chamber/Senate]) has 100.

Elections are held once every four years for the lower house. The upper house is elected by the members of the Provincial Estates, who are elected per province (there are 12 of those).

After the elections for the lower house (legislative branch), a cabinet (executive branch) is formed by *any* coalition that controls the largest plurality; ordinarily this will also be a majority (so at least 76/150), but a minority government is possible. Such a coalition is formed on the basis of a 'regeerakkoord' or Governing Treaty, in which policy for major affairs is laid out. This is of questionable constitutional status, as representatives of the parties in the coalition are forced to vote with the administration if items of the Governing Treaty is put up for vote, and so the divide between legislative and executive is made less than a hard one. However, it is still the custom and I don't recall any deviation from it in recent history (i.e. since WWII).

Currently, the Prime Minister, who leads the cabinet, is of the Christian Democratic (conservative) party, which is in a coalition with the slightly smaller PvdA(Labour Party) and the marginal Christian Union, which advertised itself as a social democratic party with a slight veneer of Christianity, and turned out to be a more orthodox Christian party.

The PM has led 3 consecutive cabinets before this, all of which fell in the house. The first was formed after elections following closely upon the murder of Fortuyn, CDA with the VVD (the conservative-liberal party of whom Wilders is a breakaway) and Pim Fortuyn's party, which was leaderless and faction-ridden, and proved corrupt and incapable of government, and the cabinet fell after only 86 days.

After new elections, the CDA formed a government with the VVD and the smaller liberal D'66 (this party is liberal in the American sense) at the end of June 2003. This cabinet eventually fell, too, in 2006, when D'66 withdrew its backing after the VVD minister for integration Verdonk, who was a hard-liner on immigration, had been shown to be fully aware of the fact that one of her party-members, Ayaan Hirsi-Ali, who was in the house at the time, had attained the Dutch nationality under a false name and by lying. She denied this in a televised session, only to have hard evidence presented against her some hours later.

Then, CDA and VVD formed a minority cabinet, which was even more impopular than the previous two, to last out until the elections, which were three months after. After the elections he was given a fourth cabinet as I described above. The VVD had been decimated, the PvdA had retained the backing it had lost around Fortuyn and the cabinet thereafter, and D'66 was cut down to only three seats.

Currently, no party has more than 30 seats in the polls. The smallest coalition possible to form a majority would consist of four parties, and alliances are very fragile.



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Posted: 24 Jan 09, 11:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

OK...there were a LOT of initials in there.  Give me a while to digest all that info.  LOL



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Posted: 24 Jan 09, 11:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Writing those party names out in full each time would've been worse, believe me. If you want to know why Dutchmen are so strange, just look at the number of parties in their congress...



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Posted: 24 Jan 09, 20:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

LOL...I know it would have been a MASSIVE headache for me trying to read the names of the parties in their full form.  I've seen Dutch written out...it makes my head spin! 

And knowing the 4 Dutchmen I know, I'm well aware you guys are strange!  Don't need to look at the Dutch congress to see that!  [img=/images/smiley/msn/wink_smile.gif][/img]  

I'll say this for you Dutchies though...you guys are adorable! 



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Posted: 26 Jan 09, 07:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Cute, cuddly, cheap, greedy, and stoned out of our minds, as far as stereotypes are concerned :P



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Posted: 26 Jan 09, 09:08 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Don't forget wearing your wooden shoes and standing around by your windmills.  [img=/images/smiley/msn/tounge_smile.gif][/img]

Stereotypes are crap anyway.  Keep me posted on how this thing goes.  This story didn't even break into US news (because it doesn't have anything to do with Obama), and even the BBC appears to have only given it lip service. 

Is there a decent english language site for Dutch news so that I could follow this?



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Posted: 26 Jan 09, 12:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I know of this one. I don't go there often, but it seems alright enough.



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Posted: 26 Jan 09, 19:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Cheers!  :-) 



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Posted: 27 Jan 09, 06:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I think we might actually have a unique QZ-event here. A topic exclusively posted in by two Zoners.



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Posted: 27 Jan 09, 06:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Incidentally, the latest poll is in:
CDA (Christian-Democrats; conservative): 29 (currently 41)
PvdA (Social-Democrats; moderate progressive): 27 (currently 33)
PVV (Wilders; ultra-nationalist): 20 (currently 9)
VVD (conservative, even though they still call themselves liberal): 20 (currently 22)
D66 (liberal): 17 (currently 3)
SP (Socialist Party): 14 (currently 25)
GroenLinks (Green party; left-liberal): 10 (currently 7)
ChristenUnie (Christian; social conservative): 5 (currently 6)
Verdonk (the lying minister for immigration I mentioned. She was removed from her party): 4 (currently 1)
SGP (Christian-fundamentalist): 2 (currently 2)*
PvdD (animal wellfare party): 2 (currently 2)

* SGP seats in the House have, as far as I am aware, always numbered two, as their backing comes exclusively from orthodox religious communities which are constant as a percentage of the population.



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Posted: 27 Jan 09, 09:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

*laugh* 
Well, at least it's two intelligent Zoners.  :-P  
And thanks for the info on the polls!  When is the election over there? 



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