Mihajlo Acimovic on Fri, 10 Dec 1999 19:59:06 +0100

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Syndicate: More on Dutch highschoolers

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DATE: Wed, 8 Dec 1999 23:34:04 
From: schuurman <dollehon@dds.nl>
To: "Alternative Network for Eastern Europe" <alter-ee@lyris.most.org.pl>

Reading the Dutch newspapers yesterday was great fun - the atmosfere in
Holland is one of social inertion at the moment, there's almost no social
protests. So the riots in Den Haag on monday came as a very pleasant surprise! 
First I have to remark that it weren't actually students, but scholars from
secondary school who protested against a reform which increased their
learningprograms. Because many university-students drop out during the first
few years the government decided that it's a lot cheaper to put more
pressure on the secondary schools, to see earlier who's going to drop out
and who's not. The cops were hesitating to react against the egg- rotten
fruit- and stonethrowing kids because they were so young - 14 to 16 years
old! Their complaint - because of the greater pressure they don't have time
for all their jobs (to buy their mobile phones, expensive clothes etc.) and
for a social life (or what is seen as a social life those days). The adults
blame them for being too materialist ("we had to do many hours as well when
we were attending school, I never had time to do jobs next to school" etc.),
which is kind of hypocritical since the consumerist lifestyle is shoven
through everyones throat and it's also valued as very positive for the
economy. Anyhow, the government already announced that we have to work more
hours in the future, so it's a good idea to start putting more discipline on
scholars now.
The strike was a great success, with more than 20.000 scholars taking part.
In the afternoon the organizing committee ("too young and totally
inexperienced" according one editorial) completely lost control over the
demonstration. From the beginning of the manifestation the kids were
throwing eggs, fruits, clods of earth and fireworks to ALL the politicians
on the stage, no matter wether they were pretending to support the scholars
demands or not. Yes, against Green-Leftist Paul Rosenmoller who was
supporting the NATO-bombings in Yugoslavia, but also against H. van Bommel,
member of parliament for the SP, the only party who voted against the
bombings. If I were there I would definitely have applauded this, because
those reformed maoists populist racist creeps make me sick. 
Against the plans of the organizing committee, thousands of demonstrators
went to the inner-city of Den Haag, to the government buildings. They turned
two cars on their roofs, one of them with the driver still sitting in it.
About fifty windows got smashed, mostly from government buildings, but also
banks were attacked. 37 scholars got arrested, most of them under 18 years old.
Although there were many rumours that the riots were provoked by
football-hooligans, the police stated that they didn't have any evidence to
support this. Some years ago the "autonomes" would have been blamed for the
provocation, but that seems to be something from the past. The riots seem to
have been completely spontaneous (although I wonder why they had so many
eggs with them - all those kids are on the internet and I don't know what
was going on there). One quote from a scholar: "Den Haag was demolished and
the secretary of state Adelmund from Education was pelted with eggs. The
pupils showed independance; not in the form of study but in the form of
According to the editorial I mentioned above, it must have been a very
fearful experience for many of the kids, but all scholars quoted in the
newspapers said they had the time of their lives and all pictures show very
happy faces!
PS; I didn't receive ANY Dutch activist report on the demonstration, nothing
on the so-called 'aktielijst'. They probably all think it's too
'unpolitical' or something. There's almost no class-awareness in the
activist scenes overhere, just specialists on single-issues and a handfull
of intellectuals talking bullshit, blaming you for being 'totalitarian'
whenever you might say something which makes sense somehow. Funny to receive
this over alter-ee...

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