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Issue #007 Published: 31-05-2016 // Written by: William Herrmann
The Destruction of Us & Them
Hidden from the sun and the rain, families huddle in tents, unsupported and hopeless this situation offers little option but to wait. Days pass slow, sometimes tear-gas causes tents to zip shut, there’s endless lines for food, a small hope remains for a future guarded by bullets, gas and a tall fence.  Trapped between a life dangerous enough to risk death to escape, and closed European borders, thousands occupy Greece, a country with few prospects and lacking the means to support its new arrivals. Aid Delivery Mission arrived into Idomeni, northern Greece, as an action kitchen central to a group that supports the growing population surrounding the border. Often serving more than 13,000 meals a day to multiple locations, the goal has been to bring food and humanity to a situation where these basic rights are forgotten. As a kitchen central to an active network, ADM has the ability to react quickly and freely, on one level to deliver aid, and on another to deliver something more human. The act of support and empowerment becomes truly important if you face this situation with open eyes. Seeing police beatings, understanding exploitation and hearing personal stories of injustice, these are the fuel for action; but the tension in this environment can mean these actions are restrained. In a place where tear gas suffocates children and the innocent suffer at the hands of military, it’s important to remind people they aren’t alone and haven’t been forgotten. This misery is not random, it’s not a cause, it’s an effect, a reaction to intolerant EU policy and on a local scale, a reaction to every closed minded comment and racist action. Ignorant perspectives or sensationalised stories too easily forget that these communities have fled oppression and war, walked a path so dangerous that children are haunted by suffering, and are now forced to wait in poverty for a life of safety. In Idomeni, there’s giving food and there’s giving respect, without fences to herd people, without visibility jackets and without the concept of ‘us & them’, a situation is born where community can grow. Some groups give and go, others choose to build fortresses from which to drip feed the population and keep them alive. On the ground there’s an opportunity to give food with solidarity and respect, bridging a gap and destroying ‘us & them’. It’s this ‘us & them’ that forms policies condemning families to the mud, the many fences now scarring European borders are a manifestation of this fear, the question is, how can this situation be solved? Behind the fence, in meeting rooms filled with important people, this question is discussed. Proposed solutions disguise xenophobic beliefs, a relocation programme that amounts to human trafficking and new prisons disguised as ‘hot spots’, these are the political solutions formed by ‘us & them’.  As hollow political solutions take hold and the beliefs they represent are normalised, the situation gets worse; people are pushed further from a human life, fences grow and Europe forgets. If there’s any chance of solving this de-humanisation, at some point ‘us & them’ needs to be destroyed, because a solution won’t come from closed minded ideologies making decisions from behind a fence. Photography: wlhmn.com
Issue #007 Published: 25-05-2016 // Written by: AA redactie
FURY! Punk Culture
Het EYE filmmuseum in Amsterdam Noord is normaliter geen organisatie waarover wij de Amsterdam Alternative krant zullen volschrijven. Niet omdat ze geen goede films vertonen want dat doen ze zeker. Nee, meer omdat ze zo’n mooi en shiny gebouw hebben, een glazenwasser, een mooi restaurant en samenwerken met bedrijven of merken waar wij als ‘alternatieven’ misschien niet mee in zee zouden gaan.  In deze mei-juni editie van Amsterdam Alternative gaan we toch flink wat aandacht besteden aan EYE want er staat van 26 mei tot 15 juni iets geprogrammeerd dat wij ‘alternatieven’ waarschijnlijk toch wel heel erg leuk zullen vinden. We spraken met Ronald Simons en Anna Abrahams van EYE om te weten te komen wat we allemaal kunnen verwachten van het FURY! festival. Kunnen jullie in een paar zinnen uitleggen wat FURY! is en wat er op het programma staat? Met het drie weken durende festival FURY! Punk Culture staat EYE stil bij het veertigjarig bestaan van punk. Behalve ruim dertig films en documentaires zijn er ook live optredens van Nederlandse bands, DJ’s, punkdichters en gastsprekers. Bij de manifestatie verschijnt een speciale LP, met opnamen van vijftien Nederlandse punkbands en een catalogustekst van de hand van filmjournalist Phil van Tongeren. Klinkt goed, niet alleen films zoals we wel verwacht hadden maar dus ook muziek. Kunnen jullie daar iets meer over vertellen? Naast DJ’s zoals Don Letts en Mulat staan maar liefst vijftien Nederlandse punkbands in EYE op het podium, waaronder VitaminX, Antillectual, The Anomalys, Paranoid State, NEED en ET Explore Me. De langst bestaande vaderlandse punkband, The Ex, speelt ook. De bands zijn vertegenwoordigd op een exclusief tijdens FURY! Punk Culture verkrijgbare LP; de plaat, met hoes van de bekende striptekenaar Roel Smit en ingesloten tekst van Phil van Tongeren, dient tevens als festivalcatalogus. De muziekbijdragen zijn tot stand gekomen in samenwerking met Minor Operation Bookings. En welke sprekers hebben jullie weten te strikken? De Britse socioloog Dick Hebdige, gespecialiseerd in jeugdsubcultuur en goed bevriend met de elektronicus en filosoof DJ Spooky. Een andere spreker is regisseur Don Letts, die aanwezig is bij de vertoning van ‘Punk Attitude’ (2005). Als DJ draaide hij eind jaren zeventig reggae en punk door elkaar, in de Londense club The Roxy. Hij was een inspirator voor The Clash en speelde later in Big Audio Dynamite. In EYE is tijdens het festival trouwens ook een tijdelijk punkmuseum. Ingericht door de Amsterdamse oerpunk Broodje, met aandacht voor kleding (Vivienne Westwood), vormgeving (Jamie Reid) en punk in Nederland. Klinkt als een hele mooie line up waarmee je jonge geïnteresseerden maar zeker ook de wat ouderen naar EYE zult trekken. Kunnen jullie iets vertellen over het ontstaan van dit festival? Zijn jullie zelf punkers (geweest) of iemand anders in EYE? Of komt jullie interesse uit een andere hoek? Punk verzet zich tegen canonisering. Als programmeurs zijn we veertig jaar na de geboorte van punk daarom vrij om onze eigen criteria voor de punkfilm op te stellen. Klassieke documentaires over punkbands, of commerciële films met een verdwaalde hanenkam schuiven we meedogenloos opzij. Alleen films die in hun cinematografische stijl punk ademen komen in het programma voor. Deze punkhouding is te zien en te horen in FURY! Punk Culture. Niet vanwege de nostalgische waarde, maar als inspiratiebron. Jullie hebben in voorbereiding voor het festival waarschijnlijk netjes uitgezocht hoe dat ook alweer zat met het ontstaan van de punk cultuur. Kunnen jullie ons kort een stukje over de geschiedenis vertellen? Dat hebben we zeker gedaan. Het zit ongeveer zo. In 1976 komt het tweede industriële tijdperk stuiptrekkend tot zijn einde en de oliecrisis is op een dieptepunt wanneer in de verloederde binnensteden van Londen, Amsterdam en New York een tegengeluid klinkt. Het is een provocatieve schreeuw van tieners en twintigers die niet langer willen doen wat ouders, leraren en politici van ze verwachten. Een oproep tot rebellie tegen het kapitalistische vooruitgangsdenken. Een krachtige jongerensubcultuur kiest haar eigen manier van wonen, musiceren en filmen. De gemene deler van alle uitingen is dat ze DIY en low budget zijn. Zelf doen, en graag zo furieus mogelijk. Geen verantwoording, geen regels, geen winstoogmerk. Vasthouden aan een leefstijl die je zelf vorm geeft, ook als dat betekent dat je na drie optredens nog steeds een tientje in je zak hebt. Of een contract weigeren bij een studio omdat je je artistieke vrijheid niet wilt opgeven. Armoede als statement. De meeste mensen kennen punk van de muziek. Hoe zit het met de punk film? Punkfilms zijn zoals de T-shirts van punks first lady Vivienne Westwood: binnenste buiten gekeerd. Je ziet hoe ze in elkaar steken. Geen Hollywoodiaanse onzichtbare lassen maar cuts die zijn vastgezet met een veiligheidsspeld. Het acteren is vaak net zo opzichtig als de lukraak geplaatste ritsen in een punkkostuum, of de montages van uitgeknipte krantenkoppen die Jamie Reed gebruikte in zijn grafische ontwerpen voor de Sex Pistols. De filmpersonages zijn als punkmuziek: ze kennen drie akkoorden en hebben een manisch tempo. De films zijn low budget en met eenvoudige middelen geproduceerd. Amateurisme is een pré, professionaliteit verdacht. Met super 8-, 16mm- en videocamera’s draaiden de punkfilmers hun shots vaak in enkele, lange takes op locatie en zonder toestemming: hit and run, guerilla style. Als een punkfilm een raam op de werkelijkheid is, dan is het een gebarsten en smerig raam van een tot ruïne vervallen kraakpand in de binnenstad van een historische metropool. Niet eenvoudig om doorheen te kijken, gevaarlijk misschien, maar ook spannend. Je ziet er muren met graffititeksten: satirisch, politiek, fun vermomd als no fun, of andersom. Soms ook alleen een naam die uitroept: “Zie mij!” En dat is waar we je graag toe uitnodigen. Jongeren als Amos Poe en Jim Jarmusch namen spontaan een filmcamera in de hand en begonnen zonder filmopleiding hun leefwereld te filmen. Zo kwam in 1976 ‘Blank Generation’ tot stand, Poe’s debuut over de scene rondom de roemruchte New Yorkse club CBGB, met onder anderen The Ramones, Blondie en Patti Smith. Twee jaar later gaf filmmaker Derek Jarman (1942-1994) in het apocalyptische ‘Jubilee’ (met o.a. Toyah en Wayne County) een totaal ander beeld van punk in Engeland: no future! De frase uit het Pistols-nummer God Save the Queen (1977) groeide uit tot dé slogan van een generatie. De SEX Pistols zijn natuurlijk een soort punk iconen geworden. Kunnen we daar nog iets van zien op het festival? De Pistols komen een aantal maal voorbij in EYE zoals in het parodistische ‘The Great Rock ’n Roll Swindle’ (1980) van Julian Temple en in het dramatische ‘Sid & Nancy’ (1986) van Alex Cox. De Pistols’ Amerikaanse evenknie The Ramones spelen de hoofdrol in het luchtige ‘Rock ’n Roll High School’ (1979). Is er ook aandacht voor punk uit Nederland? Punk in eigen land komt op verschillende manieren aan bod. Op het programma staan de documentaires ‘Punk Lang Leve De Lol’ (1998) en ‘Job en de Hollandse Vrijstaat’ (2009); ook is een registratie uit 1978 te zien van een concert van de roemruchte Amsterdamse band Panic. Daarnaast draaien de nederpunkfilms ‘Pinkel’ (1982), met muziek van Tändstickorshocks, en ‘Andy, bloed en blond haar’ (1979), met muziek van Herman Brood. De films, waarin de hoofdrolspelers zich als rebelse punks gedragen, kwamen met minimale middelen tot stand; regisseur Frank Wiering is aanwezig bij de vertoning van ‘Andy’. Ga dat zien. Illustration: Roel Smit
Issue #007 Published: 17-05-2016 // Written by: Ewoud Berends
Creative business school for the modern entrepreneur
Interview: Knowmads Business School The regular educational system is outdated and no longer relevant to the modern entrepreneur who really wants to change something in the world. That is how Knowmads Business School sees it. The Amsterdam-based school therefore offers an alternative kind of education where personal development and the student are central. SK2 interviewed Knowmads-visionary Guus Wink, to gain an insight into the philosophy behind the progressive business school.     As soon as I arrive it becomes clear that Knowmads is not an everyday school. In the space where I am warmly welcomed by Guus, there are students scattered around sitting behind their laptops. Not on hard wooden college seats, but on comfortable sofas that would not be amiss in the average student house. One of them is lost in thought, while taking a slightly overlarge bite of noodles. A friendly atmosphere. Where does the name Knowmads come from? Guus: The term Knowmads has been thought up by John Moravec, an American researcher. His definition of a Knowmad is someone who can work with anyone, anywhere. A Knowmad is creative, imaginative and innovative. A growing group of people from all around the world does not work from a fixed location, but travels around. Everywhere they go, they learn new things. They mainly work in the creative sector. This flexible way of living is gaining popularity.  Why is it necessary to offer an alternative for the old educational system?  Guus: Basically, regular education has hardly changed for over a period of hundred years, while the world around us looks totally different. Especially due to the information revolution of the past years, another kind of education is needed. The old system simply no longer works for a large group of people. That group feels locked up in a classroom. And right they are, why in god’s name would you want to sit in there while there is so much to discover out there in the world? You no longer need a teacher who puts knowledge into your head, you can damn well Google it. Studying is no longer about theories and knowledge, but about cooperation, solving problems and getting things done. But the need to learn actively instead of passively is shut down at the moment that you have to sit quietly and keep your mouth shut. Not exactly a good preparation for a world in which flexibility and assertiveness are expected.  What does studying at Knowmads mean exactly? Guus: We offer a program of 6 months. It evolves around 5 questions for each student. The first one applies to yourself: ‘Who am I?’ The second question has an innovative, sustainable character and is as follows: ‘In what world do I want to live?’ The third question is: ‘What do I want to contribute to this?’ This way you develop a clear vision, an essential leadership’s quality for each entrepreneur. Question four is more concrete: How do I create the organization/the project to get my idea started?’ And finally: ‘How do I convey my vision to the rest of the world? Marketing and creativity play an important role in this.  What does it look like in practice? Guus: Workshops from experts in their field form the basis of Knowmads. Leaning back and listening to a teacher is no longer of this time, hence the workshops. You learn by doing. Our students have a lot of freedom and they decide which workshops they want to join. A variety of themes in the field of entrepreneurship are on offer, such as leadership, innovation, marketing and creativity. Students work in teams, we call them tribes. Working in groups in nothing new of course, many schools do it, but there is one main difference. Where normally people of matching types are grouped together, Knowmads strives for diversity. That way you can really learn new things from each other. Of course, everyone is developing at their own pace and you all work on your own project or start up, the tribe is the starting point.   Developing yourself and getting some kind of grip on it, that is something we all want. But how do you do that?  Guus: At Knowmads we do this based on, among other things, the Theory U model. The U is a learning curve. If you start an education full of enthusiasm, your expectations are of course high. With Knowmads this is no different. You have a lot of freedom and at the start everything is new and great. But you quickly find out that this freedom is pretty overwhelming. Here you really have to do things yourself. Then you may get frustrated and it will become harder. Seeing as there is nobody who has the answers you are looking for, except you. You no longer know what to do. A low point. That doesn’t sound fun… Guus: It isn’t. It sucks. But eventually you can break through this and get up on your feet again. In order to do this you will perhaps need to adjust your old expectations and keep trying out different things (think about your future realistically). If you want to innovate, the old often has to be reinvented first. This is the case in your whole life. And this principle of trial and error is the learning process that Knowmads makes use of by giving space to students and offering them the tools. It is not something that we came up with, it happens in any case, but if your understand this process you can keep developing yourself your whole life, independent, regardless of the situation. An essential tool for all kinds of aspects in life.  Is the Knowmads-life style for everyone? Guus: It takes courage to let go of the safety and the certainties of a ‘normal’ life. People who attach a lot of value to a fixed place to sleep and want dinner served at 18.00 every day, will not find this easy. Knowmads are curious people who are on an eternal quest to something they cannot find in an ordinary life. Steve Jobs once said: ‘Everything around you that you call life was made up by people that were no smarter than you and you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use.’ I think many Knowmads recognize this. Always looking to develop themselves and everywhere they go they want to create new things.  Until the 18th July you can apply at Knowmads for the 6-month program. For more information go to www.knowmads.nl.  
Issue #007 Published: 11-05-2016 // Written by: Caspar Poyck
Thoughts for Food and Food for Thought
I had a gut feeling about this. Hearing that news made me sick to my stomach. Eventually I got so scared, I shit my pants. We have all heard people use these expressions. In Dutch you might say “je hebt een brok in mijn keel” when your feelings choke you. We say these things when we get strong physical reactions to our emotions.  When people don’t want to face their feelings, we say they “stuff them down” or “eat their feelings”. Germans call weight gain from worrying “Kümmerspeck” (worry-fat). Around the world, language and expressions reflect what we all know: food, eating and the digestive system are closely connected to our personal psychology and our emotions!  Traditional healthcare like Ayurveda and Chinese medicine have always respected and worked with this knowledge.  Thankfully western medicine is starting to catch up to the past !  Medical fields such as neurogastroenterology, psychology-based eating disorder rehabs, the study of the relationship between the gut-microbiome and autism spectrum disorders and many more disciplines of biological and psychological medicine are exploring the connection between our brains and our “second brains”, aka our “emotional brains”.  When people struggle with weight problems, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion, acid reflux, food allegies and so on, many of us are stuck in the old model of thinking that we have to change diet and nutrition to resolve these issues. Although a healthy diet is certainly important, we also know that most of these people will run from one diet fad to another and never actually find permanent resolve!  Dieting or diets filled with superfoods becomes a lifestyle or even an obsession. It becomes their guilt and their reward. My name is Caspar Poyck C.Ht..  I grew up in The Netherlands, the son of yoga teachers, and I am now a Digestive Therapist in Ojai, California.   In my work I look at how a wide variety of unprocessed emotions such as anger, fear, anxiety, depression etc. affect eating behavior but also the actual functioning of the Autonomic Nervous System! Unprocessed emotions are stressful and this stress certainly changes eating behavior but what is often overlooked, and that what has an even bigger affect on people’s processing of food, is the change in blood pressure, lymphatic response, inflammation, (auto) immune function, neurotransmitter levels, hormone levels and so on, caused by this stress. This is one of the important reasons why some people can eat anything they want while others gain weight, get stomach aches, get irritable bowel etc. from the same foods. “HOW we eat may be more important than WHAT we eat”. From now on I will be a contributing writer to Amsterdam Alternative and I will share stories and insights with you about the work I do with private clients, in workshops and on the retreats I lead around the world. Here is my first tale: A few years ago I had a client who had unexplained, sudden weight gain. She came to me for help. Like so many people are taught to expect, she figured I would just give her a strict diet to stick to. But I don’t work that way! Instead, I first explored her history and what had changed in her psychological and emotional state before her weight gain. During our conversation I learned that when she was a little girl, her stepfather would pick her up from school a few times of week and take her to her ballet class.  Most often, they would have enough time to eat healthy food, but when they were rushing, they’d quickly just get some french fries. Now, here I must tell you that one of the most powerful ways in which mammals’ brains learn, is by developing associations and resulting subconscious behaviors. In future writings I will talk more about WHY we evolved this way. I will explain why our limbic brain makes such strong associations AND how we can use this for our benefit! This is from a workshop series I call “Supercharged Brain-Hacking”. But for now, let’s go back to our story... As a child, my client had leant to associate “feeling safe while stressed” with the taste of french fries! Now, years later, she had become a young mom. She had a new job. Her days were hectic and stressed! Rushing from work each day, her body would react to this busy, rushing around-stress by craving french fries! Of course it doesn’t take a genius to know that if you start eating more french fries, you might gain weight. If that same stress has led to raised cortisol levels in the body, you’re really increasing your likelyhood of weight gain. My client’s stress had affected her eating behavior through childhood associations but also the proper functioning of her Autonomic Nervous System. A double whammy. In order to help this client lose her unwanted weight, I gave her techniques to help her lower her stress so her body would function better. I also taught her the Supercharged Brain-Hacking techniques to retrain her brain to crave healthy foods.  From now on she handled her stress better, ate healthier foods and because her body was out of fight/flight mode it processed the foods much more efficiently.  She soon lost the weight she didn’t want! Next time I will teach you why and how this Supercharged Brain-Hacking works! Until then:  LiveWell, LoveWell, EatWell, BeWell ! Stay Inquisitive.        Caspar F.C.M. Poyck C.Ht. is the creator of Digestive Therapy © •ACCET •American Association of Drugless Practitioners •Member AHA •Consultant at drug and alcohol treatment centers •Ambassador to The Foundation for Living Beauty (cancer survivors) •Retreat leader in the United States, Europe and Costa Rica www.WhatMakesYouEat.com  
Issue #007 Published: 09-05-2016 // Written by: Luuk van Huet
An interview with Mr. Psycho, programmer of the Psiego Bunker Cinema
Hidden in the bridge in the Vondelpark that connects Amsterdam West with Oud Zuid lies one of the best kept public secrets of the city in the form of the Vondelbunker. Every month, your favourite nuclear bomb shelter/cultural free space hosts a screening of Psiego Bunker Cinema, a very special film initiative. For Amsterdam Alternative we interview programmer and film freak extraordinaire Mr.Psycho about the initiative and the upcoming first anniversary screening. AA: So you screen from film instead of from DVD, Blu-Ray or digitally. How does that work? MP: I started collecting 16 mm film about four years ago. 16 mm film is old-fashioned film on film/celluloid/acetate cellulose materials, measuring 16 mm. The prints I show are short films and feature films that come on multiple reels of film. They mostly have come about because the 35 mm films were not supposed to fall into the hands of private individuals. So a lot of projectionists would have a 35 mm print copied to a 16 mm print for their private collection. But officially, they were not supposed to do so as the 35 mm print was supposed to be destroyed after the initial theatre run. So legally, we’ve been exploring a bit of a grey area with our screenings. Which makes them a great fit for the Vondelbunker as we don’t ask an entrance fee for the screenings, like every event in the Vondelbunker is free of charge to enter. AA: How does an average screening look? MP: Our host at the Vondelbunker opens with an introduction about the bunker and the donation system, then he introduces me and I give a disclaimer as we’re using a projector and physical film reels, so there are theoretically a lot of things that can go wrong as we’re working with a projector that is older than I am. I introduce the title of our feature film, which we never openly divulge but only allude to in our promotion and then I introduce and screen a short film. After that, there’s a small break while I rewind the spool and set up the first reel of the feature and I tell the audience some trivia about the film, sometimes relevant to the production itself, or sometimes concerning the physical state of the copy that we’re screening. Because of the physical medium, we might screen a copy with missing frames, discoloration, scratches or other damage to the print, etc. Depending on the amount of reels, we have one or two breaks during which I rewind the film and set up a new reel that allow people to have a smoke or get drinks at the bar. This is also when we pass around the donation film can to keep our screenings going. After the screening, everyone is welcome to stay a while and chat while enjoying more drinks (since the Vondelbunker also needs to be supported). AA: How do you finance the screenings? MP: I buy my films through Marktplaats from other collectors, it’s a small, but competitive world. We finance the upkeep of the equipment and such through donations during the screening. The projector can break down, the lamp has a limited amount of use before it breaks down, so there are expenses. But mostly I screen films because I just want to share this experience with people instead of just nerding out at my place with my fellow film geeks. Two of them help me organise the screenings by hosting, taking care of theme snacks and tending bar, so we’re actually a solid team. AA: What can we expect from the upcoming anniversary edition on the 29th of April? MP: Well, I can’t reveal the title, but we’ll have an exhibition of the twelve custom made posters that were designed specifically for the promotion of our screenings, we’ll have a bubbly welcoming drink for our loyal audience, there are snacks and nibbles relevant to the film as always and the feature itself is a very good fit for a Nuclear Bomb shelter film initiative, as it’s the perfect culmination of Cold War paranoia made flesh… over a metal skeleton. Afterwards, we’ll have an after party which just might feature an award winning VJ and DJ. AA: Sounds like you’re going to party like it’s 1984! MP: Well, the only curveball is that the Vondelbunker is such a popular venue that we accidentally double booked the night, so our anniversary edition will take place on the 29th of April at a stone’s throw away from the Vondelbunker at the OCCII opposite of the entrance of the Vondelpark in Zuid, which must also be a familiar place to most loyal readers of the Amsterdam Alternative. It’s also to make sure we throw all those pesky time traveling robots of our trail. AA: What can we expect in the future? MP: I will start screening 8 mm films and I’d like to introduce a wider audience to 8 mm films that reduce familiar feature films to a 20 minute length by focusing on just one storyline, or condensing the plot to an insane shortage. I’m a filmmaker myself, currently working on a long, gestating feature film made with the loyal PsychoCru which is an homage to the classic Italian Zombie films called Il Campeggio dei Morti Viventi after making some successful shorts like Schat… Ik ga Fietsen, Oma’s Verjaardag and The Vegan Vampire. We’re also working on exporting our programming to other cities, like Groningen and maybe Rotterdam. 1st Anniversary Screening of the Psiego Bunker Cinema, 29th of April at the OCCII, doors open at 19:30, feature starts at 20:30, donations are welcome!
Issue #007 Published: 04-05-2016 // Written by: Verónica Burneo
Second hand treasures
The first time I noticed the stigma connected to the use of second hand clothing in my home country, Ecuador, was when I bought a second hand black velvet jacket in a charity shop. This shop was run by the wives of diplomats from Europe and the United States, and none of my friends knew it even existed. I do not remember where I got the ‘tip’ that one could find amazing, unique and incredibly cheap clothes there, but as soon as I heard about this place, I went there and my obsession with old styles and second hand clothes began. I was 15 years old.  As promised to me, I found my beloved black velvet jacket and paid almost nothing for it. When I arrived home with it and told my mother where I got it, her reaction was surprisingly negative. The latter means that she first asked me not to tell anyone that I had gone shopping to this place, and second, to hand her the jacket to disinfect and wash it. Needless to say, this social stigma carried by second hand clothes results in the nonexistence of vintage clothes shops in the city. Also, one can find only very few second hand markets. The most famous second hand market in Quito used to be a bull ring 70 years ago, and then became a place “where one could find from a needle to an elephant”  Nowadays, most of the market vendors in Plaza Arenas are middle-aged single or divorced women from low socioeconomic status who are the heads of their families, thus responsible for providing a living for their kids. On the other hand, the Plaza Arenas once had a reputation for selling stolen goods, and some people would go there to check if their recently stolen cell phone or camera, for example, was being sold there. I have borne witness that people actually have found stolen goods there and had to buy them back from the thieves. However, at the moment things at the market have become much more institutionalized and many vendors are paying taxes and the shoppers are getting invoices for their purchases. It was hard to imagine that happening in Plaza Arenas years ago, since the retailing of second hand items was always considered part of the informal work sector, with market vendors not being able to access employment rights and sometimes being caught in criminal networks which stole and then sold things in this market.   In the meantime, and in the other side of the world, Amsterdam is sort of a second hand clothes paradise. A world of small vintage shops, second hand clothes markets, clothing-swap events, big companies specialized in vintage and second hand clothes and even garbage hunters looking for used garments. The city is practically buried under a sea of clothes which circulate over and over again through commercial and noncommercial circuits, some as part of recycling efforts and others as part of a huge industry of importing and exporting of second hand clothes. As a matter of fact, according to a UN report of 1996, the second hand clothes industry was worth 1.410 million dollars. In the smallest scale of this industry are those called ‘garbage hunters’, who travel through the city searching for objects that have been left in the street, even when they are still new and usable. Garbage hunting is also known as ‘treasure hunting’ and a lot of individuals in the city do this on a regular basis as a ways to make a living.  The next stop of the found treasures is the open air markets, especially the iconic Waterlooplein and the Noordermarkt. These travelling objects suffer several transformations on their way to the market. From a beloved possession to garbage and then they are turned again into a commodity.  On a bigger scale, second hand clothes are exported from The Netherlands to Europe by vintage clothing companies that handle tons and tons of clothes, classify them and then sell them to vintage shops in several countries. Such sorting process possesses certain characteristics that have to do with ideas about fashion, style, recycling and business.  One can find dozens of clothing recycling bins in Amsterdam. Big, green containers are distributed in different places in town. “Clothes with a future” is the slogan which attempts to promote not just recycling, but solidarity with those “less privileged” societies and it is written on every bin.  When the clothes are collected from these bins, the charity organizations have quite a big bulk. Because the volumes are huge, these institutions sell the clothes to recycling companies, which allows them to get funding for their various projects and to pay for the space they occupy in the city with the bins. Once the clothes arrive at the recycling companies, a new classification is made and the clothes are graded according to quality. The lowest grades go to India and Pakistan, where the clothes will actually stop being clothes and turned into towels, cleaning cloths and similar items. The next grade goes to Africa in general, where other traders will buy them to then sell them to market vendors pressed in small packages of 45/50 kilos. The following group of clothing is considered to be of very good quality and is sent to Eastern European countries and the Middle East. Finally, the best quality is for the Western European countries and this category is called “cream quality”, which is considered “the best of the best” and it represents 5 to maximum 10% of the total amount. This way, the clothes that once had the status of ‘donations’ transform yet again into commodities. Then there are the small efforts of many individuals and groups to promote the swapping of clothes as opposed to buying them, in order to fight the pollution that results from the massive amount of clothes discarded by people and as a way to protest the terrible working conditions in which ‘fast fashion’ is produced by big clothing companies. Such events are inspired by anti-consumerism ideas. Swapping parties and events are organized regularly in the city. Additionally, the personal stories connected to the clothes that are most of the time absent when one finds these items on the commercial circuits, become very important at these spaces. One can find out when the piece of clothing was bought or acquired, where was it used or why was it being rejected. There are many meanings that we attach to objects and particularly to clothes, and they are more obvious when the item is given to us directly by the previous owner. A friend told me that in Germany, vintage enthusiasts prefer to refer to these clothes as ‘pre-loved’ instead of second hand, which goes to show that second hand clothes hold a particular story, a sort of biography which is also expressed in the multiple transformations they go through while they travel through places, bodies and meanings.  However, the biography of second hand clothes is one which transcends the limits of Amsterdam and The Netherlands, as these objects continue migrating to different parts of the world constantly as part of this hectic circulation of clothes triggered by the abundance of these objects in cities like Amsterdam. If these clothes were to travel to my home country, another meaning would be attached to them and it would be filled with stigma.
Issue #007 Published: 03-05-2016 // Written by: Catelijne Beijst
Het begin van het einde
In de lente van 1984 werd het gebouw aan de Sumatrakade waar het Einde in gevestigd was, gekraakt. De meeste krakers waren afstammelingen van Wyers dat op 14 februari van hetzelfde jaar ontruimd is. Wyers moest ontruimd worden om plaats te maken voor het zoveelste luxe hotel in Amsterdam, zodat er nog meer luxe bedden leeg konden staan. Tegenover Holiday Inn in het Manpowergebouw precies onder de gevel zie je de glorieuze tekst: “Het Einde van de Wereld”. Een van de krakers wist zich dat opschrift nog te herinneren. Hij keek op de Sumatrakade 15 even om zich heen en was van mening: “Nee, het Einde is hier en niet in het centrum”. En zo komt het dat ons fantastiese restaurant en het gebouw de naam kreeg: Het Einde van de Wereld Alles begon bij kaarslicht want elektrisiteit was er nog niet. Na pand 6 ging het dan gebeuren in het “Einde”, met plastic afscheiding om het wat gezelliger te maken.  Iedereen moest zich inschrijven voor het eten. Het werd een echte eetklup, ook een kantine, maar een broodje kroket ging echt te ver. Een half jaar later werd het initiatief geopperd voor filmweekends. Het werden antropologiese films en tekenfilms van de jaren dertig. Toen dat geregeld was kwam het weekend, ja zelfs 2, met als specialiteit: hapjes van de hele wereld, bijv: Indonesische karbonaadjes, Yambalaya rijstschoteltjes (een slavenrecept overgenomen door Amerika) Japanse tofu met dipsaus, Europese hapjes en natuurlijk Hollandse haring. DE VERPLAATSING VAN DE WERELD Het Einde van de Wereld was een succes geworden mede door de sfeer die er hing en de formule. Zo bleef het Einde bijna tien jaar in stand. Maar er was een onzekerheid ontstaan, het gebouw waar het Einde van de Wereld was, Sumatrakade 15, moest ruimte maken voor moderne huizen op het Java-eiland. De krakers begonnen zich te mobiliseren en zich te bewapenen met redenen waarom het Einde van de Wereld moest blijven bestaan. Dit trok weer veel aandacht van de media ten goede van het Einde van de Wereld. Het Einde zou een reële kans hebben gehad om te blijven bestaan als er geen stookolie in de bodem was gevonden. Er een oude tank in de grond was gaan lekken. Wie had dit ooit voorzien? Maar het Einde hoefde geen einde te worden want er bestond een techniek om de grond schoon te maken met behulp van algen en zuurstof. Maar dit was een erg dure techniek die ook blijvend geld zou kosten. Er kwamen vergaderingen en nog meer vergaderingen en uiteindelijk wou de gemeente toch het pand slopen. Op 14 mei 1994 heeft er nog een groot feest plaatsgevonden op het Einde van de Wereld om het tienjarige bestaan te vieren. Eind 1995 ging het gebouw dan tegen de vlakte. Het Einde van de Wereld kreeg geld om het project door te zetten. Hiervan kochten ze de boot Quo Vadis. Het duurde een lange tijd om de boot zo te maken dat het ook een beetje functioneel werd. De eerste maaltijden op de bootwaren er pas eind 1995.  En zo is het einde van de wereld nu nog elke woensdag en vrijdag open om gezellig te eten.
Issue #007 Published: 02-05-2016 // Written by:
Alerta Alerta Festival
Alerta alerta festival is an annual diy antifascist benefit event taking place in Binnenpret, Amsterdam on 6th, 7th and 8th May. This is the second year it is running. So what its all about... The idea behind the event is to provide a platform for antifascists to meet, socialise and exchange ideas. We want to organise an event that is in parts entertaining and fun whilst at the same time is also informative and thought provoking. We want to keep it as diy as possible and provide a platform for unsigned acts to perform. The three days will be full of music, workshops, talks, vegan food, kids activities and other activities such as tattoo sessions and tall bike jousting in Vondelpark. The workshops and talks will run on Saturday and Sunday day between 2pm to 7pm. This year the talks will focus on topics including “History of Dutch Antifascism”, “A presentation by AAGU (Anarchist AntiDeportation Group Utrecht)” and “Anarchism Vrije Bond”. Where as the workshops will be broader in context and will vary from more physical workshops such as women’s self defence, kickboxing and krav maga (a self- defense system developed for the IDF that consists of a wide combination of techniques sourced from aikido, judo, boxing and wrestling, along with realistic fight training) to fluffier activities such as kids activities, activist sustainability, bass & guitar repair to sewing patches. Artists featured in the programme hail from all over coming from The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, Egypt, England, Wales, Canada and the US; bringing sounds of folk, punk and hiphop with them. As organisers we decided to grow from our punk roots and to involve more variety to the show. Punk for me has always been inherently political but that of course doesn’t mean that people that are not into punk are not political or that all punks are into politics. Our mission is to create an event that is equal in terms of entertainment and education and provides a mix of talks and workshops that will hopefully appeal to lots of people. We normally offer bands drinks, food, sleeping places and travel expenses; but its been amazing this year how many of the bands and performers have offered to play for free, are covering their own costs and want to support the event as much as they can. The response from some people has been trully overwhelming!! If you can imagine we went live with the event in November and by December we were fully booked and couldn’t take any more acts on board. It was so amazing and definitely made us even more inspired to continue. If we go ahead next year we already have half the line up covered, its insane considering we only started the festival last year for the first time. Having watched a rise in far right politics across Europe in recent years we all (the Alerta Alerta organising collective) felt the need to get organised and do something. I think politics can feel overwhelming for some people and they just choose to ignore it or make do with the status quo but I believe there is so much we can do when we put our minds to it, especially when the status quo is in risk of becoming engulfed by far right politics. I also find it disconcerting how splintered the cells within the antifascist movement can be and I often wonder how we will find a way to bring the people together and put our differences aside to stand together on this. In no means am I saying that this event is the glue that the movement has been missing but hey its a start. Groups that may all be in agreement against nationalism, racism and fascism are often separated by other factors such as politics, social status and other socially constructed divides that keep us apart. This leads to infighting between antiracist and antifascist groups at a time when we need to be putting our differences aside and standing together united. Anarchists fight with socialists, queers fight with straights, drunk nihilist punks fight with straight edge punks, liberals fight with ... you get the idea! It is not just the infighting that needs addressing, there is also a distinct lack of communication between groups. Smashing stereotypes You ask some people what antifascism means to them and you get an answer that is steeped in overly macho and masculine imagery glorifying non defensive random street violence and confrontation. Whilst antifascism can be that, it is so much more. It is important to confront fascism ideologically as well as physically. To effectively counter fascism we need to use a variety of tactics and include everyone. At the end of the day antifascism is what you make it. Just because you don’t agree with someones tactics that don’t stop you from being an antifascist, surely? Any activity/talent can be put to good use if your heart is in the right (or should I say left) place. Whats this about free speech? It seems to me that fascism makes an attempt to use “political correctness” as an epithet against those who oppose bigotry and violence. It seems ludicrous that we are giving a voice to a group that oppose other people’s free speech and do not respect other people’s freedom. Besides while the government has no right to shut down political expression, I have every right to tell a fascist to shut the fuck up. Why is it important to do this now? Having moved to the Netherlands two years ago, I have watched first hand how things have changed here even in such a short space of time. I remember during the first edition of Alerta Alerta some people had approached me and even though they supported what I was doing they wondered why. I was told that fascism wasn’t prevalent here anymore, Amsterdam was a fascist free city and that they were more pressing issues to focus on such as climate change and gender politics. When I enquired about a local antifascist group people said there wasn’t need for one anymore and that the Amsterdam group had taken a step back. Yet things seem different in the Netherlands in 2016 two years on. Even though the reality is that an overwhelming majority of people here especially in multicultural Amsterdam hold liberal views there is an increasing far right activity on the go that needs to be nipped in the bud. For example PEGIDA (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the West) is a far right movement founded in Dresden in 2014, following some successful demonstrations in Germany by the end of 2014 Pegida Netherlands was founded. They have been holding regular demonstrations across the country however their demos are poorly attended and mostly attract the predictable load of hardened group right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis. Lets not forget the the popularity of Geert Wilders, and the stories about increasing levels of Islamophobia, regularly used violence and discrimination by supporters of the Freedom Party that go unchecked. The current financial crisis and refugee crisis provide ideal breeding ground for fascist, racist and nationalist rhetorics to grow. People are scared and are lashing out. It’s almost the 1930s all over again ... whether we look right or left, whether we point east or west, we see hate, ethnocentrism and sectarianism. It is time to get organised and be more than just a counter reaction, we need to become more proactive and start educating people, making antifascism accessible to everyone not just the hardliners. In the words of Sham 69, “If the kids are united, then we’ll never be divided.” One of the organisers of the Alerta Alerta Festival  
Issue #007 Published: 29-04-2016 // Written by: Nora Uitterlinden
Classic Mics and Blown Up Amps: OCCII’s Sound Equipment
Assembled throughout the years, OCCII’s amps, mixers, microphones, turntables and speakers together are able to produce a great sound. Yet, much of the equipment is aging rapidly. A little insight into OCCII’s precarious sound situation.  Luc has been a sound volunteer for OCCII for the past 10 years. Much of the equipment he works with he has also known for ten years. On a cold spring day he shows the wide variety of OCCII microphones. Some are more scratched and damaged than others, and Luc carefully points out which ones he likes to use for improv music, which for punk, and which are always on duty. “Some of the older ones I like the best,” he says. “But then again, we don’t have that many new ones.”  These mics are all from different brands and assembled throughout the years. “Especially for miking a drumkit it would be nice to have a set of mics from the same brand and type,” Luc explains. “Also, the ones we have now are just very old, and you never know when they’ll break for good. After they have fallen a hundred times, the membranes and magnets inside the microphones are simply worn.”  Since January Luc has a small workspace in De Binnenpret behind OCCII where he repairs bands’ equipment. If something in OCCII breaks, he will fix it in his new workspace too. Like OCCII’s bass amp. Luc has repaired it countless times, since bass players kept plugging in their tops thinking it was a cabinet. “But it’s not!” Luc says. “It’s a top with a cabinet, and bass players kept plugging their top into the top instead of the cabinet. And well, amping an amp is a bad idea, so I hardwired the output of the amp to the speaker, bypassing the amp’s speaker output jack, so this cannot happen anymore.”  While the bass amp was fixed over and over again, some things in OCCII are getting beyond repair. After a systematic inventory of all the sound equipment earlier this month, Luc got afraid that one day something might break without there being a backup plan. This has already happened with the smaller sound equipment. “For example, during DJ sets cables and plugs disappear,” Luc says. “When DJs leave at the end of the night, they think those cables are theirs, and they take them home. I don’t believe the cables get deliberately stolen, but the next show it’s annoying anyway if there are no spare cables for the next DJ.”    A quick calculation learns that if every OCCII visitor donated €1, OCCII would have enough money in one night to buy replacements for all the missing mic clips and cables. In only two nights OCCII would be able to buy a turntable, and in four to buy a complete set of drum mics.   If the donation box works well and the most urgent smaller things are bought, OCCII will start to save up for a new sound system. Sjoerd, booker at OCCII since 2001, says that he isn’t unhappy with the current sound system, yet its old age might become a problem soon. “OCCII started on a sand floor without any sound system,” he says. “The bands that played here in the nineties had to bring their own sound systems. Sometimes a band or volunteer would donate second hand equipment. OCCII’s sound system become an odd mix of speakers and amplifiers, but it worked, and since many of the sound volunteers were sound people in their day jobs, they knew how to combine the equipment well. Yet, the PA is now 15 years old, and it becomes harder and harder to get it repaired because not all the parts are available anymore. If it breaks, there’s no backup plan.”  So why doesn’t OCCII have a budget for sound equipment? “The money that we make at the door goes almost entirely to the band,” Sjoerd says, “and the bar money goes to electricity, taxes, and maintenance. The past years the OCCII organisation, together with a lot of volunteers, invested time, energy and money in the building. We restored the facade in its original design and colours, we renovated the inside and built an entirely new floor last summer. Now it’s time to give our sound equipment equal love and care.”  There are several ways in which you can donate: -There’s a donation box on the bar in OCCII -You can push the ‘donate’ button at occii.org/donate -You can make a bank payment to ‘Stichting In It’ NL17 INGB 0006 5471 17 and put the word ‘Donation’ in the comment (If you donate €20 or more you’ll receive an OCCII tote in the mail!)    OCCII will regularly give updates on what was bought from the donations at occii.org/donate and in OCCII’s newsletter (you can subscribe on occii.org).