Felix Stalder on Sun, 28 May 2017 10:02:36 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Fwd: Neoliberalism & alt-rght trolls

On 2017-05-26 20:15, Karin Spaink wrote:

> Really? Top brass of the Piratenpartij moved on to Thierry Baudet?
> That’s quite some news, actually! Is there any public information
> available about that?

I'm no connoisseur of Dutch politics, but this you can find online,
from September last year and it's quite strange. As it turned out,
the prediction Wilders would crush Baudet turned out to be incorrect.
Don't know about the rest of the article. F.

Dutch Pirates defect to intellectual right-wing party


This is just in: the full board of the Dutch Pirate Party defected to
a brand-new intellectual extreme right-wing party in protest against
their own fetish-model-turned-privacy-activist party leader. And no,
I’m not making this up.

I still owe you a measured piece on last week’s opening of the
parliamentary year, but this news is too good to pass up on.

The right wing

Geert Wilders and his PVV own the extreme right wing of Dutch
politics, but there are always people who are on the extreme right
but don’t want to serve under Wilders. Besides, Wilders is a lousy
manager, and he lost three MPs in his 2014 meltdown.

Two of those founded a new party, VNL (Voor Nederland; For the
Netherlands). I didn’t think they’d get into parliament with
Wilders sucking the oxygen out of any hard right competitors, but
their election of Jan Roos, shock-jock journalist and co-leader of
the anti-Ukraine camp in last year’s referendum, seems to turn the
electoral tide for them: they’re now at 1 or 2 seats in four out of
five polls.

The anti-Ukraine camp had two leaders, however, the other one being
high-brow intellectual Thierry Baudet. It now turns out Baudet also
wants to go into politics, but does not want to serve under either
Wilders or Roos. So he founded his own party, Forum for Democracy,
and intends to run in the elections. Fat chance; one does not win
right-wing voters’ hearts with Latin quotations.

Folklore, so far. This happens with disturbing regularity, and all
parties involved (except for Wilders) will fail.

Pirates to the right

However, today’s move by the Pirate Party board is not a regular
part of Dutch political folklore.

Back in June, the Pirates, sensing they might make the jump into
parliament, elected Ancilla van der Leest party leader. She’s a
former “fetish model” (did not know that existed, but then I’m
not much into fetishes) and, more importantly, a privacy activitst.
Although I’ve never heard of her, plenty people have, so her
elevation seemed a canny move on the part of the Pirates, and factored
into my estimate that they’d make it this time.

De Volkskrant gives some details (see also NOS): there have been
tensions between Van der Leest, the majority of the party and two
board members on the one hand, and the three others on the other,
for quite a while. Van der Leest seems to want to run the campaign
with her own set of advisors — a “coterie,” as one of the board
members said. Translation: she doesn’t feel the board is up to
running a national campaing and decided to take matters into her own
hands. I can’t say if she’s right or wrong, but I do know hurt
egos when I see them, and that fits the Pirate board members right

Two board members resigned earlier, and it was widely expected that
the party members would depose the three remaining ones later today.
They pre-empted that by announcing their defection to Baudet’s
right-wing Forum for Democracy. Since the Pirates are generally placed
on the left of the political spectrum this is widely considered a
surprise move.

The results will be enhanced attention for both parties, which will
help the Forum a little bit — just about enough, I’d say, to steal
some votes from VNL so that both end at 0 seats and leave Wilders sole
ruler on the right.

As to the Pirates, they have a potential shitstorm on their hands.
Educated leftist people who considered voting for them will think
twice now that the old party board has shown where their political
heart lies.

On the other hand, Van der Leest is moving quickly to contain the
damage, and her story is that the three board members had problems
with the professionalisation a rapidly-growing party is bound to go
through. That’s a nice way of putting it, and it shows Van der Leest
may have more political acumen than her opponents.

The damage to the Pirates could be severe, but this affair could end
well, too. No way of knowing for sure at this point.

Anyway, one more day full of surprises in Dutch politics. I pity
the poor Americans and Brits who have to do without these fun small


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