In March, The Netherlands will have its local elections. Amsterdam is the only municipality in which Forum voor Democratie, a right-wing party on the rise, has joined the debate and is eligible in the elections of March 21st. The FvD-party has received a lot of media attention over the last few weeks as their members continuously deny global warming; using Trump-like rhetoric and only engaging in scientific discussions when it aligns with their vision. Furthermore, FvD have expressed outdated eugenic views, stating that “there is a correlation between IQ and race” because “science” says so. With this kind of racist rhetoric being spouted out carelessly by right-wing politicians, it becomes really important that you make sure to vote for a non-racist, non-xenophobe political party during these upcoming municipal elections.
Besides Forum voor Democratie, there is also the notorious PVV: A political party that is FVD’s more populist but equally racist older brother. The Netherlands is not immune to the alt-right craze that has been apparent in the political spheres of many European countries – and of course Trump’s United States of America – over the last few years: in the last national elections the PVV successfully used the ‘Refugee-crisis’ to win the votes of many Dutch citizens. Party-leader Geert Wilders, often referred to as the Dutch version of Donald Trump, has made headlines with him asking his audience wether they wanted more or less Moroccan people living in the country. The audience responded by chanting: “Less! Less! Less!” Other political parties are less explicit about their racism. VVD-leader Mark Rutte has stated that he was not satisfied with the way “people who come here” came to abuse the “Dutch freedom”. Rhetoric like this often remains unchallenged by the general public, as Dutch people commonly think of themselves as non-racist “but just saying it like it is”.
Mark Rutte: “Be normal or be gone.”
If you are a resident in the Netherlands but you weren’t born here, there is still a big possibility you can participate in next months elections! Non-Dutch citizens can vote in the municipality elections as long as they are registered in the municipality. “Non-EU citizens must have lived in the Netherlands uninterrupted for at least five years. For non-EU expats living in Amsterdam, it is possible to vote in the District Council (Bestuurscommissie) elections if you have been registered in the city for more than three years.” To decide on which party to vote for, you can ask a Dutch friend/relative to help you fill out this quiz: https://stemwijzer.nl which will tell you what political party aligns most with your personal visions. Unfortunately, I have not found an English version of the quiz website yet.
If you are not able to vote for whatever reason but still want to voice your opinion and help Amsterdam have a municipality without racists in it’s council, you can join the national protest against racism in the municipal councils at Dam square in Amsterdam. It is organized by Comité 21 maart and the protest will be held at March 18th at 13.00. Make your most creative and powerful sign and join PISSWIFE and the other picketers in the demonstration!
Drawing by Saïda Ragas