Tjebbe van Tijen on Fri, 10 Feb 2012 13:07:13 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> MOE-landers: statistical category as a basis for discrimination by Dutch PVV & VVD political parties

MOE-landers: statistical category as a basis for discrimination by Dutch PVV & VVD political parties

February 9, 2012 by Tjebbe van Tijen

The fully illustrated (including videos) and documented version can be found as always on:

[tableau/dÃtournement: Meldpunt MOE-landers, with elements of PVV web site]

A âdÃtournementâ for the latest campaign of PVV/Wilders group targeting Middle & East European workersâ what I see when I check out the Complain Web Site of the PVV.

The word âMOE-Landersâ is a post Cold War invention, before there was  the monolithic term  âOostblok (East-block from the East germany/DDR all the way to Vladivostok in Siberia ). MOE is an âacronymâ of Midden Oost Europees (Middle East European), which is then glued to the word âlanderâ (someone from a certain land or country).

The word âMOEâ in Dutch means being tired. This is an interesting association as the MOE-landers may be coming to the Netherlands because the Ducth lower paid classes are tired (moe) of working for too low wages and in too bad circumstances. The Dutch entrepeneurs are of course the last to complain about willing Middle-East-Europe employees.

Wilders and his PVV movement specialise in using generalised âstatistic group names  for humansâ as a basis for their pointing-a-finger-to-others politics. It is not just those belonging to a religious entity like Islam that are targeted by the PVV. The party of Wilders also points to other groupings of people, often groups that have been defined as a specific statistical category by the State Statistical Bureau (CBS). Autochtoon (Old-Greek: ÎáÏÎÏ; autos = âselfâ and ÏÎÏÎ chthoon = âland/earthâ)  and Allochtoon (áÎÎÎÏ (allos) = other; + land/earth) are important âcatchwordsâ to be found in the âpolicy netsâ of the PVV. âNativeâ and âalienâ to use other dividing terms, or simply âus and themâ.

Sub-categories â all neatly defined by the Dutch State Statistic Bureau â are singled out by PVV strategists for their populist campaigns, like the seemingly geographic notion of âNiet Westerse Allochtoonâ (non Western Allochtones). NWAers would be an acronym for this group, proposed to us as a non-adaptive foreign element in the mythically national entity of âechte Nederlandersâ (real Netherlanders) originating from ânon Western countries. The last thing is such an general absurd notion that it will take a separate article (in the making) to explain it by showing tis category in maps. For the rest I need not detail here the fact that all nations exist only by the grace of migration. The ethnographer searching for a real aboriginal Dutch will have a hard time finding one.

[Statistic of Middle and East Europeans in the Netheralnds 2007-2011: Middle and East Europeans in the Netherlands: (blue) not registered employee in the GBA (Gemeentelijke Basis Administratie Persoonsgegevens/Municipal Basic Administration of Persons Information); (brown) idem registered. Source CBS .]

The singling out of MOE-landers as a target is not a new PVV policy. It fits in their long term structural policy of âthe Netherlands for the Netherlandersâ (Nederland voor de Nederlanders). The definition of what a real Netherlander is according to the PVV remains kind of vague. I do not see a âjus sanguinisâ (the fact of being born in a country) approach by the PVV as a basis for citizenship, as Dutch citizenship is something in the opinion of the PVV that can be taken away from first, second â who knows where it ends â generations of migrants, that in their view do misbehave. âSend them back to their homelandâ is the adage.

It is certainly not only the PVV who is campaigning against former East-blockers, East-Europeans or MOE-landers. The Liberal Party for Freedom (VVD) â the main power in government now â is in fact the main motor behind the PVV action against MOE-landers. The VVD minister of Social Affairs and Employment, Henk Kamp, proposed already a year ago to expel unemployed Polish workers, not withstanding European accords on free movement of employees. The number of problem cases of such economic migrants, as suggested by the minister last year, have been criticised and relativized by informed sources and members of parliament, accusing the minister of a party-politic election show over the backs of EU migrant workers.

What we see is an orchestrated campaign whereby the PVV takes an extremist  stand by actions like the call to complain on a web site about MOE-landers (anonymous and without check on double entries if wanted), while the VVD plays it more subtle and indirect. Minister Kamp has a personal campaign, often televised by the NOS TelevisionJournal, whereby he draws his double sided sword: threatening to scrap the welfare benefit of Dutch unemployed workers, if they refuse to do the jobs now done by the MOE-landers and because of this   force the MOE-landers out of their jobs. Jobs often in the greenhouses of the agrarian export sector. Double sided sword, double side profit, also for the state.

[screen shot of video: Minister Henk Kamp (VVD) of Social Welfare and Employment in a video during a working visit to horticulture firms in the Noord-Oost Polder, filmed by the Dutch State Information Service (RVD): "..if you can work and there is work, than you must work." Click picture to go to the RVD information page of this work visit. Kamp speaks about the number of unemployed Dutch workers in the region, being the same as the number of MOE-lander workers employed in the horticulture in this region. The horticulture entrepeneur explains that these MOE-landers can be called to work on short notice and for short time contracts only, whereas the Dutch looking for employment in the region are looking for an all around year job. Nobody seems to know the historically speaking distressing association that the Noord-Oost Polder (new land on what once was an inner sea) has consumed a lot of real 'forced labour' when it was laid bare and made into farmland during World War II.]

The agrarian sector itself certainly does not embrace this proposal for a number of reasons: refusal or incapacity of the âreal Dutchâ unemployed to do this kind of work, because of what is not said in the VVD ministerâs campaign, the not so brilliant economic and social conditions offered to workers employed in EU competitive factory greenhouses. In other words this industry thrives on seasonal migrant workers.

The media performance of VVD and PVV is perfectly orchestrated these days, with Geert Wilders being attacked for his discriminatory MOE-landers campaign while Henk Kamp appears on television saying that it is up to any parliament fractions to take on measures and researches they deem necessary. What is discrimination for one, is âfreedom of expressionâ for another, according to Minister Henk Kamp being asked about his opinion on the complaint against the anti-MOE-lander campaign by the Polish ambassador to the Netherlands.

The text below is a GoogleTranslation of  the PVV new anti-MOE-lander campaign web site on February the 9th 2012 (it is an automatic translation of PVV prose, that is as much as I am willing to do about rendering their Dutch in some kind of English, it is enough to get the gist of it):

âReporting Central and Eastern Europeans

 Since May 1, 2007 there is free movement of workers between the Netherlands and eight countries in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries. At present the estimates to the number of people from these countries, which resides in the Netherlands, apart from 200,000 to 350,000 people. As one of the few parties, the Freedom Party from the beginning against the opening of the labor market to Poland and other CEE nationals. Given all the problems associated with the massive arrival of especially Poland, is that attitude materialized. Recently, the PVV whatsoever against further opening of the labor market for Romanians and Bulgarians voted.

 This massive labor migration leads to many problems, nuisance, pollution, displacement and integration in the labor and housing problems. For many people, these things a serious problem. Complaints are often not reported, because the idea that nothing is done.

 Do you have trouble of CEE nationals? Or have you lost your job on a Pole, Bulgarian, Romanian or other Central or Eastern European? We would like to hear. The Freedom Party has a platform on this website to your symptoms to report. These complaints, we will identify and offer the results to the Minister of Social Affairs and Employment.

 Submit your story hereâ

Original web site for copmplaints by the PVV is here:


in Dutch by farmer Merijntje produced by farmers son Rinus van Wezel, a 8 minute discourse with birds singing in the background with the title:

âMinister Kamp sends forced labourers to the horticultureâ

A long and well argued call to the minister thatâ forced labour tomato picking will be a disastrous undertakingâ; Merintje describes what will happen with strawberry harvesting by workers that are forced and try to evade in all kind of creative ways to do such work. In all detail farmer Merijntje sketches the fanatic posture of  VVD minister Kamp in his zealous campaign to have Dutch workers to pick Dutch fruits and the consequences it will have for those law abiding farmers like him. âJust imagineâ, he says lifting his arms in the sky, âgovernment falls because of strawberry picking.â The horticulture entrepreneur also knows his classics on prudent politics when he uses the metaphor of the need for the Minister to be âbendableâ in the wind, bendable like the reed.â The European Union reality is better understood by farmer Merijntje, than Minister Kamp, when he comes to the plight of all those Bulgarian and Rumanian workers that are working as season helps with him, already for years, and he recalls the expectation they have to earn something once in a while in the Netherlands. Think about their families, their situation at home often without work.
The contrast between the PVV and VVD campaigns and this discourse from this other side â literary in the fields â is enormous. I did hear recently similar reasoning by employers of MOE-landers.
Still the level of payment, the working conditions and the social impact of  this new kind of EU migration work must not be forgotten, which would also necessitate getting a better understanding of market prices, European and international competition, economic risks and profits that are or could be made. Still having looked at the case at hand of the public discrimination of âMOE-landersâ, it seems to be such an anachronism with this high overtone of xenophobia and proposed authoritarian control of the labour market. Anachronism also of the formerly speaking âliberalâ âfree marketâ VVD party that â apparently â for electoral reasons plays a socially dangerous high risk poker game with their statistical based discrimination policy, switching to protectionism and outmoded forms of  nationalism. Is the VVD still a liberal party? I doubt it.

[link to YouTube movie with farmer Merijntje]

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