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Issue #013: June-July 2017Issue #012: April-May 2017Issue #011: Feb-Mar 2017Issue #010: Dec-Jan 16/17Issue #009: Oct-Nov 2016Issue #008: Aug-Sept 2016Issue #007: May-June 2016Issue #006: Mar-Apr 2016Issue #005: Jan-Feb 2016Issue #004: Nov-Dec 2015Issue #003: Sept-Oct 2015Issue #002: Jul-Aug 2015Issue #001: June 2015Online only

Issue #012 Published: 02-06-2017 // Written by: Guy Debord (1967)
Found words #01
165 – CAPITALIST PRODUCTION has unified space, breaking down the boundaries between one society and the next. This unification is at the same time an extensive and intensive process of banalisation. Just as the accumulation of commodities mass-produced for the abstract space of the market shattered all regional and legal barriers and all the Medieval guild restrictions that maintained the quality of craft production, it also undermined the autonomy and quality of places. This homogenizing power is the heavy artillery that has battered down all the walls of China. 166 – THE FREE space of commodities is constantly being altered and redesigned in order to become ever more identical to itself, to get as close as possible to motionless monotony. 167 – WHILE ELIMINATING geographical distance, this society produces a new internal distance in the form of spectacular separation. 168 – TOURISM – HUMAN circulation packaged for consumption, a by-product of the circulation of commodities – is the opportunity to go and see what has been banalised. The economic organisation of travel to different places already guarantees their equivalence. The modernization that has eliminated the time involved in travel has simultaneously eliminated any real space from it.  169 – THE SOCIETY that reshapes its entire surroundings has evolved its own special technique for moulding its own territory, which constitutes the material underpinning of all the facets of this project. Urbanism – ‘city planning’ – is capitalism’s method for taking over the natural and human environment. Following its logical development toward total domination, capitalism now can and must refashion the totality of space into its own particular décor.  170 – THE CAPITALIST need that is satisfied by urbanism’s conspicuous petrification of life can be described in Hegelian terms as a total predominance of a ‘peaceful coexistence within space’ over the ‘restless becoming that takes place in the progression of time.’ 171 – WHILE ALL THE technical forces of capitalism contribute toward various forms of separation, urbanism provides the material foundation for those forces and prepares the ground for their deployment. It is the very technology of separation.  172 – URBANISM is the modern method for solving the ongoing problem of safeguarding class power by atomising the workers who have been dangerously brought together by the conditions of urban production. The constant struggle that has had to be waged against anything that might lead to such coming together has found urbanism its most effective field of operation. The efforts of all the established powers since the French Revolution to increase the means of maintaining law and order in the streets have finally culminated in the suppression of the street itself. Describing what he terms ‘a one-way system,’ Lewis Mumford points out that ‘with the present means of long-distance mass communication, sprawling isolation has proved an even more effective method of keeping a population under control’ (The City in History). But the general trend towards isolation, which is the underlying essence of urbanism, must also include a controlled reintegration of the workers based on the planned needs of production and consumption. This reintegration into the system means bringing isolated individuals together as isolated individuals. Factories, cultural centres, tourist resorts and housing developments are specifically designed to foster this type of pseudo-community. The same collective isolation prevails even within the family cell, where the omnipresent receivers of spectacular messages fill the isolation with the ruling images – images that derive their full power precisely form that isolation.  From The Society of the Spectacle, Guy Debord, 1967. (No copyright) Image: Anton Weflo
Issue #012 Published: 01-06-2017 // Written by: Okkie
De OCCII zoekt een Rock & Roll type die goed is met cijf€rs €n b€drag€n
Onafhankelijk Cultureel Centrum In It (OCCII) is ontstaan in 1992 in voormalig kraakpand de Binnenpret. Het gebouw waar vroeger paardentrams werden gestald werd toen verbouwd tot cultuurpodium en heeft zich vanaf die tijd langzaam maar zeker ontwikkeld tot een breed gewaardeerd podium voor live-muziek en kindertheater. De organisatie is in handen van 3 (betaalde) coördinatoren en een grote groep vrijwilligers. Het bestuur van OCCII bestaat op dit moment uit 5 leden, waarvan 1 binnenkort vertrekt. We zijn daarom op zoek naar versterking. De ambitie is om het bestuur te versterken met een goede penningmeester. Wie zoeken we? We zoeken bestuursleden met affiniteit voor (muziek)cultuur en een do-it-yourself mentaliteit. Je weet wat veranderingsprocessen met zich meebrengen en wat er nodig is voor een organisatie in ontwikkeling. Als penningmeester hou je de financiële zaakjes van de organisatie in de gaten. Hoe werken we? Het algemeen bestuur vergadert één keer per twee maanden. In de komende periode kan het gebeuren dat er extra vergaderingen worden ingelast vanwege het veranderingsproces. Wisselend vergaderen bestuursleden daarnaast mee met de algemene vrijwilligers vergadering die 1 keer per maand plaatsvindt. Alle vergaderingen zijn in principe in de avonduren. Bij voorkeur op dinsdag. Als bestuurslid ben je een van de vrijwilligers. Er staat dus geen financiële vergoeding tegenover. Je zult het moeten doen met immateriële voldoening, gratis naar mooie concerten en een paar leuke uitjes. Wie wil reageren? Zin om ons verder te helpen groeien? Neem dan contact op met de voorzitter van het bestuur, Edwin de Jong. Via info@occii.org Meer informatie over de organisatie vind je op onze website www.OCCII.org of je kan contact opnemen met de zakelijke coördinator Hilde Strijker. Zij is aanwezig op maandag, donderdag of vrijdag 020-6717778.  Je kunt ook reageren via admin@occii.org of per brief naar: OCCII, o.v.v. sollicitatie bestuur, Amstelveenseweg 134, 1075 XL Amsterdam
Issue #012 Published: 29-05-2017 // Written by: Massimiliano Sfregola
Vluchtmaat
At number 32 of Joan Muyskenweg, in the middle of a grey industrial area faraway from the tourists and “creative” colours of Amsterdam’s city centre, a unique social experiment is happening in the Vluchtmaat. One side of the building houses members from the movement “We are here”: a group of about forty refugees without residence permits, mainly from Ethiopia and Eritrea. They squatted this building in 2014 in order to have a space to live (the occupation has been legalized since then). The other side of the building hosts several independent professionals such as freelance creatives and social entreperneurs. Among those stands out the group Here to Support, an association that supports the cause of undocumented refugees organizing activities and events to highlight the difficult time faced by those migrants who don’t hold a “status”. “It is important to value the group and make their voice heard,” says Savannah, working full-time for Here to Support. Here to Support is in constant dialogue with the other freelancers and organizations that compose the non-refugee side of the Vluchtmaat and all together, through a real mutual aid policy, turned the space in a productive, politically and socially active environment. Thijs Tennekes is a graphic designer active in one of the work spaces. He was tired of working from home and looking for a studio: “I liked the idea that there was a mutual help: to have a space for me and at the same time helping people who do not have a place to stay,” he says. Despite being one of the newcomers, he was involved in the creation of the logo for Vluchtmaat and interacts with the refugees, helping them if necessary. “Once I accompanied one of the boys to the doctor because no one could do it.” These private initiatives contribute financially to the support of asylum seekers, mitigating the dilemma of their unclear legal status. The  Dutch government has continues to ignore the issue: in 2015, the Rutte government almost collapsed over the question of granting basic human rights to the “uitgeprocedeer” (undocumented) the so called “bbb” (bad, bad en brood) policy. When a green light came, though, the administration of Amsterdam chose a strict enforcement: two years ago decided to offer undocumented migrants temporary-overcrowded dormitories, for the nights only, without  chance of privacy. “Vluchtmaat is the first place where we know we can stay longer,” says one of the Eritrean refugees. At the Vluchtmaat, it seems, they finally found a moment of peace and conviviality where they can get involved in activities and work on their individual case. The asylum seekers of We are Here are also busy setting a media platform made by refugees that will be part of a European network. The aim is to keep attention on migrants issues. Facebook page >>> Photo: Jan Theun van Rees
Issue #012 Published: 25-05-2017 // Written by: Klaar vd Lippe
Geen baas hebben, geen baas zijn.... Dick Hageman Geb. Amsterdam, 1925 Straatmuzikant en pottenbakker
Hoe wordt je straatmuzikant in Amsterdam?  Tja, hoe loopt het leven? Eigenlijk wilde ik chemiegraaf worden, net als mijn vader. Mooi beroep, je maakt met zuur etsen voor de drukkerij. Ik ging op voor leerling chemigraaf maar toen kwam de oorlog en stuurden mijn ouders me naar de schippersschool in de Sixhaven, van het Koninklijke Onderwijsfonds voor de Scheepvaart (KOFS). Dat was intern. Omdat ik het daar zo goed heb gedaan, met goed gevolg heette dat, mocht ik door naar de werf van scheepsbouwer Van Ommeren. Zij bouwden tankschepen. Maar door de oorlog was er weinig werk. Toen ben ik maar gaan varen op de de Rijn. Ik heb trouwens ook nog een tijdje ondergedoken gezeten in de Spiegelstraat. Na de oorlog ging ik varen op een sleepbootje. Lijkt leuk, maar ik vond er weinig aan. Geen vrijheid.  Ik wilde geen baas. Het lag me niet en het was ook tegen onze politieke overtuiging. Geen baas hebben en geen baas zijn. Want ik zat bij de A.N.J.V. (Algemeen Nederlands Jeugd Verbond) Dat was een linkse, zeg maar communistische jeugd vereniging. Het was sterk anti-militaristisch. Het was direct na de oorlog waarin de communisten een grote rol in het verzet gespeeld hadden. Je kwam daar en er waren lezingen en discussies. Over hoe de nieuwe wereld moest worden.  Die jeugdvereniging was niet alleen politiek. Er waren ook dansavonden en bijeenkomsten met andere verenigingen. Zo leerde ik ook mijn levenspartner Joke kennen. Zij kwam uit Groningen en was lid van de J.G.O.B. Jongelieden Geheel Onthouders Bond. Wij zijn ons hele leven bij elkaar gebleven.  Maar hoe de kost te verdienen zonder baas?  Via Joke leerde ik Chris Niemeyer kennen. Een vrije jongen, een straatmuzikant. Zoiets leek me wel wat. Hij wilde het wel met me proberen. Gelukkig was ik opgegroeid in een muzikaal gezin. Mijn moeder en zusters zongen en wij speelden muziekinstrumenten. Dus ik kon het aardig bijhouden.  De woningnood was in die tijd heel groot. Je kon bijna niets krijgen. Zeker niet als je, zoals Joke en ik, niet getrouwd waren. Samenhokken was niet fatsoenlijk. Dat was een taboe. Wat wel kon was woningruil. Chris had toen een huis in oost. Dat heeft hij toen geruild met een woning in Eerbeek, aan de rand van Amsterdam.  Het huis in Eerbeek was groot genoeg voor ons vieren en er zat een stuk grond bij. Het plan was om daar groenten op te verbouwen. Zo konden we onafhankelijk zijn. Naar anarcho communistische principes: Onafhankelijk en zelfstandig! Wat we verder nog aan geld nodig hadden verdienden we als straatmuzikant.  Chris speelde banjo en ik gitaar. We zongen allebei. Chris zong de tweede stem terwijl hij de melodie op de banjo speelde. Daar moet je behoorlijk muzikaal voor zijn!  Straatmuzikant zijn was anders dan je nu ziet. Muziek was iets bijzonders. Geen langspeelplaten, geen muziekinstallaties. Het was eigenlijk overal stil. Muziek werd live gemaakt. Op straat had je draaiorgels of straatmuzikanten. Volendammers in kostuum die liederen zongen. Wij traden op in cafe’s en winkels. Je moet je voorstellen dat er niet veel te krijgen was. Je moest overal in de rij staan. Voor boodschappen, voor de bioscoop. Die mensen verveelden zich. Dus dan speelden wij 1 of twee liedjes en gingen met de pet rond. Op straat, maar ook in winkels. Dan kreeg je een paar centen.  Chris zong op zich niet zo mooi, maar hij had een hele leuke kop en kon het geweldig brengen. Dat was onze charme. En natuurlijk wát we brachten. Ons repertoire waren namelijk de liedjes die op dat moment populair waren. Je hoorde die op de radio. Chris maakte daarvan een arrangement. We schreven de tekst op grote vellen en hingen die aan de muur. Gedurende de week oefenden we ons nieuwe materiaal. Op donderdag pakten we dan de trein naar Amsterdam. We hadden een hele route. Iedere week kwamen we langs met het nieuwe liedje. Met al onze centen gingen we dan op zaterdagmiddag naar een koffiehuis aan de Amstel, genaamd ‘de vette hap”. Het zat aan de stadskant van de magere brug en werd gerund door de heer Bruckner met zijn Zwitserse vrouw. Daar kwamen allemaal kunstenaars. Schrijvers zoals Achterberg en Lucebert. Hij nam al die centen en wisselde ze voor guldens. De centen stonden in grote potten achter de toonbank. Met de buit gingen we dan met de trein terug naar Eerbeek. We hadden ze weer verdiend. en dat was nodig ook want de grond bleek veel te arm om te bebouwen. Nou ja, de gedachte was goed. Ik was altijd op zoek naar mensen om mee te spelen. Via via hoorde ik van een violist: Ton Haantjes Dekker. Dat was een nette jongen van een behoorlijke familie. Geld uit Indië. Maar dat was na de oorlog natuurlijk afgelopen. Indonesië was geen kolonie meer maar had zich vrij gevochten. Dus moest hij geld verdienen. Haantjes Dekker woonde met zijn elegante vrouw, een Adema van Scheltema op een botter aan de Amstel. Niet een hele beste. Hij sliep met één arm uit bed. Dan werd hij wakker van het water te hoog kwam te staan. Moesten ze pompen. Met die mooie hoeden van zijn vrouw op een hoge plank. Anders waren ze bedorven.  Haantjes Dekker was geen straatmuzikant, te klassiek geschoold. Kon alleen van het blad spelen. Maar dat schiet niet op: standaard neerzetten, muziek uitpakken, bladen omslaan. Nee, dat werkt niet. Hij had daar toen iets op bedacht: een bandrecorder... Moet je voorstellen die dingen waren toen verschrikkelijk duur. Dat was iets heel moderns. Daarop had hij dan muziek opgenomen en kon hij meespelen. In theorie werkt dat. Maar, stel je voor, je kwam met dat appaaraat, een flink ding, in het cafe. Moet je stroom hebben. Een tafeltje om het ding op te zetten. Er is herrie. Voor je goed en wel aan het spelen kon was je een kwartier verder. Nee, dat werkte net zo min. Je moet erin en eruit, in een cafe. Binnenkomen, liedje, liedje, liedje, vangen en weg. Tenminste, zo heb ik er altijd mijn brood mee verdient.  Na twee jaar kwam er een einde aan de Eerbeekse periode. We besloten te gaan reizen en kochten bij een sloperij Diemen in een onderstel van een wagen. Daar bouwden we een opbouw op.  Je kon toen aan de Osdorperweg op een woonwagenkamp staan. Dat wist bijna niemand. Het was perfect. In het midden stond een pomp voor water. Je kookte op een vuurtje of in de wagen. Toen vrienden van ons, Co en Tinie Stubbe uit de Jordaan zagen hoe we erbij zaten kwamen ze er ook bij staan. Hij was een goede tekenaar en schilder maar speelde ook gitaar. Zij zijn toen met ons naar Frankrijk gegaan.  Die reis was prachtig. We zetten onze wagens op de trein,  zo een een lage wagen. Ze werden vastgesjord en wij gingen binnen zitten. Stel je voor: Achter de stoomlocomotief trok het landschap aan je voorbij. Op onze zoon Dick heeft die reis zoveel indruk gemaakt dat de woonwagen voor hem heel lang het ideaal is gebleven. Met de wagens zijn we door Frankrijk getrokken en uiteindelijk net over de Belgische grens in Zeeuws Vlaanderen neergestreken. De eerste jaren woonden we nog in de wagen. Later in een boerderij. Heel simpel hoor. Het was een komen en gaan van vrienden muzikanten en kunstenaars. Ik ben altijd blijven spelen. Daarnaast ben ik een pottenbakkerij begonnen. Ik had bij mijn vriend in Amsterdam gezien dat dat aardig wat kon opbrengen. Ik ging op de brommer naar Antwerpen om in een nachtclub te spelen en stond op de markt met de pottenbakkerij.  Zo heb ik altijd onafhankelijk kunnen blijven. Ik heb geen baas gehad en was geen baas. Het belangrijkste om dat vol te houden is eenvoudig te leven. Hou je vaste lasten laag. Dan ben je vrij. Dat heb ik ook mijn zoons altijd voorgehouden. Ze hebben dat in zekere zin ook overgenomen, dat vrije. Mijn ene zoon woont in Griekenland en is pottenbakker, mijn andere zoon in Portugal en verkoopt sieraden.  Onafhankelijk, allebei. Ik maak nog steeds muziek, met mijn eigen band: de Dick Hageman band. We oefenen regelmatig en treden op als we gevraagd worden. Dat gebeurd. Ik wil de mensen niets opdringen. Maar ze hebben er blijkbaar toch aardigheid in. Mijn repertoire is het Nederlandse lied. Niet plat. Slauerhof, volksliedjes. Straatmuziek. Over het leven van Dick en Joke is net een boek verschenen: Ik heb Kermis gevierd, door Angeline Graste. Voor wie iets wil horen van Dick Hageman: CD, Ik heb kermis gevierd (2015).  
Issue #012 Published: 23-05-2017 // Written by: Various
Futurologisch Symposium – ADM Amsterdam
ZEVENDE TRANSNATIONAAL FUTUROLOGISCH SYMPOSIUM VRIJE CULTURELE RUIMTES OP ADM Door: Aja Waalwijk Na drie jaarlijks terugkerende symposia in Ruigoord en drie in respectievelijk Boom-Land in Portugal, Christiania in Denemarken en de Republiek Uzupis in Litouwen, richten de initiatiefnemers zich wederom op Amsterdam. Gekozen is voor de ADM in Westpoort, een van de weinige parels van vrijheid die de stad nog rijk is. Doel is te komen tot een aantal concrete voorstellen aangaande alternatieven voor een opnieuw leefbare en creatieve stad. Het behoud van de laatste vrije culturele ruimtes in de marge staat op het spel, maar ook aandacht voor een creatieve infuus voor de binnenstad is volgens de organisatoren noodzaak.  Het gaat niet alleen om Amsterdam. Het te maken statement over o.a. het belang van nieuwe vrije culturele ruimtes in de binnensteden zal worden opgestuurd naar de gemeentebesturen van diverse grote steden in binnen- en buitenland. Naast de manifestatie op de ADM-werf wordt er ook nagedacht over een statement in de stad zelf, zodat ook andere mensen ‘besmet’ kunnen worden met het ‘vrijheidsvirus’. Er zijn vrije culturele ruimtes van allerlei aard.  Broedplaatsen richten zich op woon/werkruimtes voor kunstenaars, ontwerpers en creatievelingen. Maar mini-samenlevingen, zoals op de ADM, bestaan uit mensen van allerlei verschillende achtergronden. Net als in Ruigoord is er kunst en bestaat er een festivalcultuur. Alleen op de ADM is niet iedereen ‘kunstenaar’, maar vooral ‘levenskunstenaar’.  Disneyland ligt dichterbij dan je denkt. Het centrum is een aangeharkt consumentenparadijs. Er is geen zwerver meer te zien en niemand maakt nog een tekening op straat. Verdwaalde toeristen zoeken nog naarstig naar de magie van plekken als Slangenpand, Schijnheilig, Pleinwerker, Zebrahuis, Kalenderpanden, Huize Chaos, Uilenburgt, Pampus, Wijers of Aorta; plekken die de stad eens lieten bruisen en daarmee het imago van Magisch Centrum Amsterdam vorm en inhoud gaven. Amsterdam is kaal zonder actueel verhaal. Iedereen weet het: een stad zonder leven is ten dode opgeschreven. Het symposium is onderdeel van het ADM-festival op 12-14 oktober. Deelnemers zijn de Culturele Stelling van Amsterdam, bestaande uit een dertigtal aaneengesloten vrije culturele ruimtes zoals Domijn, Ruigoord, Zaal 100, OT301, Tetterode, Bajesdorp, Urban Resort, Nieuw en Meer, Rijkshemelvaart en Nieuwland. Voorts nemen o.a. deel: Christiania in Kopenhagen, Gangenviertel Hamburg, Autonomedia New York, Doel bij Antwerpen, Republiek Uzupis in Vilnius, Institut for X in Arhus, het Poortgebouw te Rotterdam, De Vrijplaats in Leiden en het Landbouwbelang te Maastricht. (wordt vervolgd)  AMSTERDAM GAAT KAPOT Door: Eric Duivenvoorden Zulke speelruimte vond men in Amsterdam altijd in de talloze vrijplaatsen waar decennialang een zekere tegendraadsheid de toon zette. In de vrije ruimte van de stad kon alles wat elders onmogelijk was. Het schiep een cultureel en creatief klimaat dat op velen een onweerstaanbare aantrekkingskracht uitoefende. Van heinde en ver kwamen ze er op af, de kunstenaars, vagebonden, uitvinders, waaghalzen, creatievelingen en andere vreemde kostgangers. Ze lieten de stad floreren en ze verspreidden de faam van het Magisch Centrum Amsterdam over de hele wereld.       Maar nu dreigt de stad ten onder te gaan aan haar eigen succes. De eens zo krachtige levenslijn wordt afgekneld door de voortwoekerende groei van achteloze stadsmisbruikers. Wat is er overgebleven van die vrije culturele ruimte waar Amsterdam zo vermaard om was? Slechts een paar enclaves zijn er nog, het merendeel ver weg, buiten van de stad.    Het wordt tijd om midden in de stad weer wat ruimte terug te veroveren. Tekst ter introductie van het Futurologisch Symposium – ADM Amsterdam in oktober 2017  Amsterdam Fair City, www.faircity.amsterdam
Issue #012 Published: 21-05-2017 // Written by: jacqueline Schoemaker
Ode aan het gevaarlijke bosje
Ze hadden niets te maken met ‘groen in de stad’, al waren het vaak groengebiedjes. Ze hadden niets te maken met parken, buurtmoestuinen, sierplantsoenen. Het waren vage plekken, plekken die overgebleven waren nadat de planners en bouwers hun werk hadden gedaan, restruimtes die ontstonden omdat andere ruimtes werden afgebakend als woonwijk, sportveld of industriegebied. Onttrokken aan beleid, aan afbakening en toe-eigening en invulling, werden het plekken van overschot en uitschot, plekken waarvan men zei dat het er gevaarlijk was, dat je er ’s avonds niet alleen doorheen moest lopen. Het waren plekken die altijd en voor iedereen toegankelijk waren, die in hun eigen kwetsbaarheid geen sluitingstijd kenden, geen economisch of educatief doel. Die geen mens, hoe desperaat ook, weerden. Van nature omarmend waren ze, bedekkend, de schaamte absorberend van iedereen die er, wanneer dan ook, met zijn ziel onder de arm toevlucht zocht. Je vond er condooms en tissues en sigarettenpeuken en lege bierblikken. Je vond er ook injectienaalden, en soms verregende matrassen, rollen wc papier en plastic zakken met stinkende kleren. Of restanten van hutten en vuurtjes. En altijd veel graffiti, als de plek ergens grensde aan een blinde muur.  Het waren plekken waar men grenzen overging. Plekken die de adolescenten herbergden, de jongeren die er hun krachtmetingen aangingen, truth or dare, niet met hun ouders en leraren maar met elkaar, ‘wie durft er z’n hoofd te steken in het water van de vijver waar het bord ‘botulisme’ naast staat, wat krijg ik ervoor als ik het doe?’ Brommertjes, eerste sigaretten, eerste seks. Plekken waar kinderen zich konden verstoppen, kinderen die op hun beurt zich onttrokken aan het gezag van de oudere zus want de zus was niet de moeder om zich ervan te vergewissen dat het gevaar bestond, en dat dit was wat men altijd bedoelde met ‘avontuur’. Plekken waar mannen – heimelijk, zonder woorden – andere mannen betastten, en geen andere plek vonden om dat te kunnen doen. Het waren plekken waar je niet mee hoefde te doen, waar je naartoe ging omdat je niet mee kon doen, waar je dat deed waarover thuis gezwegen werd. Plekken waar hokjes, klassen, functies, streefdoelen, in het niet vielen bij waar je nood aan had. En dat waar je nood aan had, in niets verschilde met dat waar de anderen nood aan hadden. Waar het verschil werd opgeheven, het verschil vervloog in de schaduw van het bladerdek dat, waar je ook mee bezig was, omhulde. Het waren plekken waar je, vroeg of laat, ooit een keer doorheen moest lopen.  Nee, ze hadden niets te maken met ‘groen in de stad’. ‘Groen in de stad’ verdreef de vage plek met zijn ‘veiligheid’ en ‘transparantie’ en ‘passend beleid’. Met de komst van ‘groen in de stad’ werden de kinderen angstvallig binnen de tuinperken gehouden en verlegden de adolescenten hun buitenissigheden naar het internet, ’s avonds laat, na bedtijd, de rode ogen. De mannen deden hetzelfde. Truth or dare met tussen jezelf en het gewaagde het reflecterende computerscherm. Wie durft opnieuw een plek in bezit te nemen, een plek van gevaar en afzondering en fysieke nabijheid, voorbij het computerscherm, voorbij de speeltuin van het opgekuiste park, wat krijg ik ervoor als ik het doe? 
Issue #012 Published: 15-05-2017 // Written by: Spinhuis collectief
Autonomous space to counter gentrification
Former prisons are a great place for breaking out of our individualized cells, and breaking open former prisons is a specialty of the Spinhuis collective. It first squatted the common room of the University of Amsterdam’s sociology and anthropology faculty, located in a former women’s prison, the eponymous Spinhuis. In the space where inmates formerly spun thread, we served free food and allowed students to self-organize. Participants and visitors formed the community necessary to strike back against the profit-minded University; we participated in the occupations of the Bungehuis and the Maagdenhuis. After the Maagdenhuis was violently evicted, we set our sights on an even older prison, the former dungeon below the Torensluis. Over the past year and a half we tried to turn the humid grey enclosure into a place of encounter, of creative uncertainty and real community.   When we first squatted the space in September 2015, we wanted to establish a bulwark against the encroaching forces of finance capital. Having just come out of the Maagdenhuis occupation, we realized the inextricability of violence, finance, white supremacy, and real estate. We recognized that the university’s real estate policies, and its courting of banks and the business world, were a reflection of what was happening Amsterdam as a whole. The University of Amsterdam, the municipality, real estate investors and social housing corporations turned out to be a single conglomeration, attacking anything and everything that couldn’t be expressed in market value. All three were busy selling off their inner city property to speculators and the tourist industry, and slashing the non-profitable as much as possible. Tough luck for those unable to pay. The emerging result is a hyper-financialized city that violently marginalizes its students, refugees, artists, precarious and often racialized workers. In this carefully policed city there is no room for political action: everything must be streamlined and secured for consumption. Debate is confined to the ritualized discussion rooms of the “progressive” establishment, carefully made toothless so that it can never spill onto the streets. People become imprisoned in their market niche, unable to make real social connections. This is a safe state of affairs for the financial interests that are carving up the city. We can only stop them collectively, but market forces are keeping us atomized. The Spinhuis was an attempt to halt this trend. We are located under a bridge in the middle of the city, ground zero of Amsterdam’s selling out, right next to the UvA’s Faculty of Humanities. From our experiences in the Maagdenhuis we knew the collective power we have if we take space and make it our own. In organizing the space together, people from different backgrounds break out of their isolation and develop a shared political project. In the Spinhuis, students wanting to unleash the emancipatory potential of education found their interests aligning with refugees wanting to assert their presence, and with people who want to rent within the city ring road, and with people who like going to concerts, and with people made homeless by the criminalization of mental health issues. In organizing the space non-commercially, we figure out new ways of dealing with each other, of acknowledging the power differences imbued by our different backgrounds, of finding ways to value everyone equally.  This could happen because the space was autonomous: we did not have to be financially profitable for any larger institution. In fact, we could use the space to fight against profitability itself: we could facilitate political meetings of groups fighting the interests of Big Money. Free culture nourishes a network of people that can put up a fight. We find each other in a vegan soup kitchen, watching and talking about cinema, or while organizing a free party, and establish the connections necessary to carry the struggle onto our pier and into the streets.   Now, the city government has decided to close down the Spinhuis. It wants to give control of the space to its immediate neighbors, the inhabitants of the pricey canal houses. It is part of the general trend we see in the city, with financial interests leading to compartmentalization. But now is the time for the inmates of financialized Amsterdam to find each other and resist. If we’re going to squat another former prison, maybe we should set our sights on the city as a whole. Photo: Cecilia
Issue #012 Published: 05-05-2017 // Written by: Stijn Verhoeff
Together, with imaginative alternatives
These days, in a changing world, I often wonder what artists can do, or should do. Many practitioners in the field of the arts have the same thought and wonder how their work can contribute to or even influence current affairs. The relationship between art and society is an old and widely discussed subject, it remains relevant. Maybe especially so today, because are we, cultural workers in a broad sense, currently standing on the sidelines of history? Are we losing touch with the course of the world while other people, often on the opposite side of the political spectrum and with less cultural and historical awareness but bigger mouths, demand differently? How should we respond to this? Should we start shouting as well or are there other ways to deal with the world and its future? In an interview on the website Artspace, filmmaker Adam Curtis boldly blames the individualism of artists in the 60’s and 70’s for today’s society and our current problems. In his view artists took self-expression as their personal ideology, freeing themselves from authoritative structures such as the state and the church, but fuelling another ideology: the capitalist market. They went in front being original and unique, and were soon followed by the masses, who in their turn started expressing their individuality by buying stuff.  According to Curtis this productive marriage of self-expression and consumerism continued for 50 years and we can speak nowadays of the selfie-culture and Facebook as our global home. Many people keep using Facebook even though they know that this company (1) makes profit on their accounts, (2) knows what they do, (3) directs their thinking and (4) influences their political and therefore personal landscape.  Curtis’ analysis is provocative and might seem pessimistic about the arts. He himself wouldn’t agree though. Artists shaped the world in the past, he says, and can do so again. Curtis wants artists to show people which power structures are at work. This is basically what he does in his films himself. It isn’t my way of making art, but he is right about the fact that individualism (which goes hand in hand with neo-liberalism) is a problem, also in the arts.  Many of us want to be part of the club, hence the Facebooking. Not just to share our work with a wider audience, but also to secure, as far as possible, our careers. The art business – and this is not cynical – is a rat race. Competition is supposed to further the arts, but in my opinion it divides the field. Individual artists are too busy keeping their heads above the water and trying not to drown to create the space to come together to discuss the situation and, most importantly, to think forward. Critical discourse is occupied by critics, curators and program makers such as directors of institutions, but few artists raise their voices. Artists can only speak of us when cultural budget cuts are looming. Unfortunately the romantic heritage of the highly-gifted individual still shapes the field. Actually, the meritocratic, egoistic world at large is. In art schools, collaborative work is hardly stimulated.  If there is one thing artists can do, in my opinion, it is to break with this tradition. We need examples, not just for young artists but for people in general, also for ourselves. The content of our work isn’t all that counts, the way in which we work might be just as important: ‘the medium is the message’, as Marshall McLuhan stated. We need to collaborate. Less, as the minimalist conceptualists tried to tell us, is not always more. Yes, minimalism shaped our world, Apple computer aesthetics being a clear example, so new forms of art practices can shape our future too.    What kind of future do I imagine? McLuhan’s famous phrase is important here, because one has to imagine a better world before it can become one. In other words, imagination is, at this point in time, quintessential. We are flooded with images and stories on our phones, we literally can see what is happening at the other side of the world in a split second, but we are leaving our imagination behind. Some people (I don’t want to generalise) no longer make an effort to read, to listen, to empathise with others.  Others say the Occupy-movement failed because it didn’t know what it wanted. I do not believe so. The Bernie Sanders movement, which is still growing, was an indirect result of Occupy. President Trump will get his country into further trouble, here in the Netherlands something similar might happen [this was written before the elections]. In the end, hopefully without physical and emotional destruction, counter-movements will give rise to alternatives. Slavoj Žižek was convinced Trump’s election would lead to productive changes. I hope he is right. It is clear though that they don’t happen overnight, change needs time. But I believe the time has come for artists to reclaim their position in society. Together, with imaginative alternatives. Feel free to respond to svff(at)protonmail.com Illustration: Poisson
Issue #012 Published: 03-05-2017 // Written by: Aseed
The Fight for Food Autonomy
Rethinking Climate Change What will Amsterdam look like in 100 years’ time? Wet, mainly. A two metre sea-level rise, a conservative estimate given our current course, is likely to overwhelm the dike, pump, and polder systems Amsterdam relies on to stay dry. The prospect looms of an extreme situation, which currently lacks a comparably radical response. There are many reasons why this is the case. Of great significance though is the failure of the mainstream climate justice movement to meaningfully communicate a compelling diagnosis of the threat which emanates from the interconnected, endemic issues we see in Amsterdam and other societies, in varying forms, across the world. Whether we talk about immigration, global hunger, imperialist wars, austerity, the rise of the far right, the hopelessness of the left, or a multitude of other threats and crises, the root unifying link is the marriage of the state and capitalism, solidified through neoliberalism into a centralized, authoritarian power structure. Climate change is simply one outcome, of many, determined by oppressive, exploitative power relations under this structure. For those already struggling to survive and be free under this system, climate change is abstract, less demanding of attention. And understandably so. But the mainstream climate justice movement, led by unaccountable NGOs that are funded indirectly by Wall Street fossil fuel magnates, is not interested in confronting these systemic causes or in making the connection between forms and instances of oppression. Instead, their energy is largely focused on ¨shaming¨ specific fossil fuel actors, on promoting a green capitalist economy which is underpinned by renewable energy, on advocating conscious consumerism and sustainable (mass) production, and on inspiring hope in the power of technology and displays of non-violent resistance, which they see as sufficient to counter the threat of climate change. Oh, and to secure social and economic justice, as an afterthought. This strategy is delusional. It will not stop climate change, nor will it ensure social justice. It will only serve to strengthen the rule of capital in a world in climate crisis. In short, the implicit narrative of much of the mainstream climate justice movement is about individual actors, whether it is you as a consumer (or as an activist...) or an oil executive at Shell, as being culpable of causing climate change and therefore also capable of stopping it, within a set of narrowly defined parameters determined by corporate interests. This is total nonsense. We cannot buy our way out of this problem. Nor can we just ‘get the right people into power’, or shame those in power to alter course dramatically. Changing our behaviour as individuals changes nothing. We must act collectively. The problem is systemic. The Role of Agriculture The unwillingness and/or inability of the mainstream climate justice movement to meaningfully acknowledge this is demonstrated by the marginalization of agriculture in climate change discourse and action. The industrial farming and food system is responsible for about half of global greenhouse gas emissions. Livestock production causes more greenhouse gas emissions than the entire global transport sector. A quarter of the transport sector´s total emissions are for transporting food. And emissions aren´t the whole story. The industrial food system also destroys biodiversity, clears forests, depletes and pollutes increasingly scarce water sources, creates oceanic dead zones, and erodes our soils to dust. This increases our vulnerability to future climate extremes. And let´s not forget the social implications of the industrial food system. It decimates rural livelihoods, drives rapid urbanization and the spread of slums, facilitates the ongoing genocide of indigenous peoples, and locks billions into a system where their survival (and liberty) is based on their purchasing power. This is not the fault of consumers, or farmers, or even the boss of Monsanto. This is the inevitable consequence of the global economic order which demands profitable economies of scale; low cost, mass production. But our model of food production and the social relations it helps to determine need not be this way. We can have systems of food production that meet human needs, add to the health and diversity of ecosystems, whilst capturing more CO2 from the atmosphere than we currently emit. Food autonomy, otherwise understood as food sovereignty, and agroecology communicate a tangible, inspiring vision of what our social, economic and political relations might look like in a system (or systems...) that is free from the exploitation of one another and of nature, that is oriented away from the rule of capital and the primacy of the individual. Food autonomy demands the democratisation and relocalisation of food production that functions in harmony with local ecologies. It recognises that food is a basic necessity for life, not a commodity to be traded, hoarded and profited from. As such, proponents of food autonomy demand that local communities be able to control and determine the nature of their food system in cooperation with other communities, free from the perverse demands of the global market. Agroecology underpins food autonomy as a method of agriculture that works with, rather than against, ecologies. Agroecology takes the health of the entire farmed ecosystem into account. Biodiversity is encouraged, soil health is strengthened and synthetic fertilizers and pesticides prove unnecessary. Contrary to the ¨feed the world¨ narratives of agribusiness, studies have shown that agroecological approaches to farming compete with industrial methods when the two are compared on equal areas of land. In fact, agroecology consistently outperforms industrial farming, especially during climatic extremes. The crucial point though is that its output is highly diversified and labour intensive. As such, it does not conform to the economies of scale (monocultures and automation) demanded by capitalism. In other words, it does not make as much money. This means that agroecology is more than just a system or science of food production. It is underpinned by clearly defined social and political principles. The Landless Workers Movement of Brazil (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra or MST), which comprises 1.5 million people, has integrated agroecology firmly within its political program, presenting it as an alternative to capitalist agriculture and as a solution to the social and political consequences capitalism entails. Over the last three decades the MST have carried out thousands of land occupations, with about 370,000 families settling on 7.5 million hectares of land won as a result of this strategy. Aware of the ongoing threat of capitalist hegemony, the MST have also created schools of place-based and gender equality-oriented pedagogy to help ensure local communities take ownership of their history, and become more resilient and better equipped to overturn the status quo. The new right-wing Brazilian government, which was installed following a congressional coup, is seeking to criminalize the MST, which is now facing increasing levels of repression. They are repressed because they threatens profits and power. MST´s political program entails a radical rebalancing of social relations, nothing less than overturning the notion of private land ownership as a ¨right¨ reserved for those with capital. Autonomous Amsterdam This emphasis on self-determination, free from top-down authority, expressed by the MST, corresponds to the strong currents of autonomy running through Amsterdam’s history, from Amsterdam’s involvement in the 17th century Dutch revolution against Spanish occupation, up to contemporary incarnations of radicalism such as the Amsterdam squatting movement and the – albeit short-lived – student movement of 2015. The squatting movement emerged in the context of a dominant capitalist state which was weakened by the events of recent history. The student movement arose in an environment of capitalist euphoria in an era in which Amsterdam seems to be shaking off its radical past in favour of a neon-lit, neoliberal utopia built (quite literally) on shifting ground.       Yet from these disparate roots, a vision of how our communities could be organised emerges. One that recognizes and respects ecological health alongside human needs, including freedom. One that rejects, fundamentally, the state-capitalist system in all its guises. A vision not so alien to Amsterdam. This vision is that of self-organised, autonomous groups that form part of broader networks and that determine for themselves the direction and structure of their members’ lives, free from the influence of top-down authority. Realising autonomy necessitates a movement towards the communal ownership of resources within any given community and the free association of communities with one another. It requires people to organise together taking back the fields, farms, forests and factories, and to share the produce of their labour in a needs-oriented economy. When we work towards autonomy, food is a good place to start. Food is fundamental to all our lives, yet when living in a city (as well as in most rural settings), we are dependent – in one way or another – on hierarchical, profit-driven organisations for virtually all our food needs. Given the stunningly destructive nature of the industrial food system, it is hard to justify our implicit cooperation and passive dependence upon it and the broader system it is inexorably linked to. It is time to take action. One of the first steps we must take in our resistance is to break our dependence upon the system for our daily bread. Food Autonomy Festival An important part of breaking this dependency is working together. Therefore ASEED organises a one-day festival, the Food Autonomy Festival (FAF), here in Amsterdam, on Saturday 6th May, in Bajesdorp. The aim of FAF is to promote autonomous organisation as the only realistic and viable response to the interconnected problems society faces. The festival will connect and celebrate autonomous groups, especially from Amsterdam, that are working towards or practising autonomy in relation to food. Practical workshops will give people the chance to learn skills, including how to make compost, grow food, and organise themselves in autonomous groups, while speakers will share their experiences of struggling for and practising food autonomy in Amsterdam and beyond. Food will be available throughout the day, whilst music and general frivolity follows in the evening. If you wish to contribute to the festival in some way, please get in touch with us: climate@aseed.net.  You can find out more about the event here:  http://aseed.net/faf/ Photo: Nikolaus Geyrhalter
Issue #012 Published: 21-04-2017 // Written by: Chin, Lisette and Cjara
The living breathing lungs of ADM terrain westpoort
On the edge of an expanding industrial area in Amsterdam called Westpoort, a special development took place. A group of people created a forest. The forest functions as a natural filter for emissions from local industries. It filters particulate matter, which are small particles of toxic debris and dust from the coal, concrete and petroleum industries located in the nearby area. On the ADM terrain the trees and plants continually capture these small particles and hold on to them with their leaves and branches until they are washed away naturally by the rain. This is a pollution barrier at work. The ADM trees also work as a sound barrier to the activity in the industrial freight and coal terminals located in the area. The trees also capture and store CO2 gas. This sound barrier, natural air filter and CO2 storage works every day. At present the ADM forest forms a direct benefit for the surrounding living areas such as Westzaan and Zaandam, but also for the environment in a much bigger sense. Location and Surroundings The ADM terrain is situated next to some of the biggest freight and logistics companies in Amsterdam, such as OBA Bulk Terminal Amsterdam (coal, steel & chemical industry), Bp Terminal (petroleum wholesale) and Waterland Terminal BV (freight logistics). These are but a few of the companies who are situated within the range of the ADM terrain (3 km or less). These companies have to monitor all of their emissions, including CO2, and have to make sure they do not exceed their limits, even more so now that a new energy strategy of the Amsterdam Klimaatbureau for 2040 is in place. This strategy is an energy plan for the city and ports of Amsterdam. The City of Amsterdam Klimaatbureau operates within the policies that are set by the European Union, which determines limits for pollution; gasses; particulate matter production; the protection of nature; cleaning the water tables of rivers, lakes and seas for the whole of Europe. The Amsterdam Klimaatbureau scheme for 2040 states; “The Port authority has committed to (a reduction of) 40% of CO2 by 2025 and this includes inland and ocean shipping” and “in addition to cleaning up (coal and oil)… energy use in the port must be made more sustainable…. Sustainable innovative companies (recycling systems, bio fuels, transshipment and wind turbines) will set up business in the port.” We ask the Amsterdam Klimaatbureau this: How is it possible to clear a forest full of natural habitat (water, birds, trees, plants and shrubs), all of which are working to capture CO2 and filter emissions in an area which is constantly increasing in biodiversity with an active natural sound barrier, while at the same time boasting about reducing emissions in their new energy scheme? It seems that there is no awareness of what has been unfolding on the ADM terrain. The Amsterdam Klimaatbureau document clearly states that becoming greener is better and how companies have to be environmentally conscious if they are to develop at the port.  What are they doing to enforce this? ADM asks for support from the Amsterdam Klimaatbureau to recognize the importance of the 20 year old forest and what it actually does (CO2 capture; emissions and water filtration; sound barrier; nesting for birds, insects, pollinators and amphibians). The EU strategy for the protection of natural habitats is known as the Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna & flora. This directive is an important legal standard that was set in 1992 to ensure the protection of biodiverse areas such as the ADM terrain. How is it possible for the Amsterdam Klimaatbureau and council to ignore Council Directive 92/43/EEC and grant a permit to a company which has a total disregard for nature and support the destruction of a natural nesting habitat with protected plants and wildlife? Birds like the King Fisher and birds of prey like the Buzzard are protected by the Birds Directive formally known as Council Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds. Amphibians like the Natter Jack toad are listed as well. All these animals have been documented and certified by ecologists to have nests in the area that was cleared. Again, how is this possible?  The ADM forest, trees and plants The front part of the ADM terrain previously consisted of a mix of mature trees, young saplings and plants and shrubs essential for wildlife and the cleaning up of local emissions. The above mentioned companies attempted to cut these trees during the nesting season, between April and May 2015. They were stopped by the residents of ADM and the police as they failed to present their permits. However, in August 2015 they cut around 2,000 trees at the front part of the ADM terrain illegally. Also, there was no compensatory C02 emissions plan for the area they cleared. This means that there was no effort made to replant trees and shrubs in the nearby surroundings. The animals and birds that were nesting were not considered with enough respect and also the Natterjack yellow stripe toad, which is a protected listed amphibian, was not taken seriously. Proof of this toad’s nesting habitat was clearly made and represented in several environmental reports. Shockingly, ADM owner Chidda and the company Koole Maritiem managed to receive a further permit to cut 470 trees which were over 10 cm in diameter and more than 1000 trees which were under 10 cm. They manged to receive this permit after they had already cut some trees which were not on the permit. Furthermore, none of the proposed building plans of Chidda were executed. This is a breach of the ‘Just in time policy’. This policy came into effect on 13th of May 2009. It serves to ensure that companies do not get the right to cut down trees and flatten wild terrain until they have clear building plans, which then have to be carried out. The policy also serves to protect animals and wildlife. This is a council policy which is notoriously difficult to access, although it does exist for the above reasons. Therefore it should be publicly accessible. Tree facts and info An area with 2,000 trees, where each tree has a potential to consume 45lbs of CO2 per year, should have an adequate replanting and regeneration scheme. This is known as a carbon offset and should be implemented by the company that is responsible for felling the trees.  This is common practice by companies that consciously look after the environment. The felling of 2,000 mature trees equals the loss of a cleaning potential of 90,000lbs of C02, which is 45 tonnes of stored CO2 per year. In October 2016 Chidda and Koole applied for a permit to cut 10,000 trees inside the gate of the ADM terrain. Currently the 10,000 trees that are left on the ADM terrain have the potential to capture 450,000lbs of C02, equal to 225 tonnes of CO2 per year (source: Arbor Environmental Alliance). Thankfully, the permit which Chidda and Koole applied for was rejected by the council on the basis of bad practice and the absence of a clear plan for development by the companies involved. If the companies receive the permits to cut down all the trees within the community, this would clearly indicate that there is no environmental policy enforcement being upheld in the Westpoort harbor of Amsterdam. The 20 year old ADM forest needs to be recognized and protected. In January 2017 Chidda and Koole received a permit to ‘prune’ the trees around the lake behind the ADM terrain. They abused their permit by tearing trees down with heavy machinery. Fortunately they were stopped by the authorities. In March this year they applied for another permit to cut the trees around the lake, regardless of the fact that the nesting season is beginning. Summary The nature on the ADM terrain shows us how recovery from industrial waste and destruction is possible. The forest grows and natural diversity is being generated every day. The community living there has supported this development. ADM is a beautiful example of the symbiosis between nature and humans and it is unique in many ways. It’s time to clean up, breathe fresh air, drink clean water and grow food on a cleaner, greener and, ideally, unpolluted earth. Join our fight against Chidda’s development plans and help support the cleaner greener environment that we should all live in. Any support is welcome.  www.admamsterdam.org  More in depth info? Check these links: • The Amsterdam Kilimaatbureau publication on the 2040 Energy strategy • Here is a video from news station AT5 of the action that was made against the protection of the ADM on the 28th of August 2015. This is an illegal action by companies chidda and koole caught on camera where a persons life was put in danger. • Council Directive 92/43/EEC on the Conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora  • Council Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds  • For more information on European Environmental Policies  • There is a link below to an audio interview of the full story of what happened on the days chidda / koola decided they would take matters into there own hands and clear all the front part of the ADM terrain. • Arbor Environmental Alliance has a website with lots more information about why trees are so important. • For a more in-depth study of the biodiversity that exists on the ADM terrain made by Arda.
Issue #012 Published: 20-04-2017 // Written by: Nicholas Burman
Refugee Integration in Amsterdam
Why Integrate? In 2015 there were 45,000 refugees admitted into the Netherlands. According to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (IND) this was twice the previous year’s figure. This increase signals the necessity for ongoing, long-term projects that aim towards integration between new arrivals and longer-term local inhabitants. A 2013 report on integration by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) stressed the importance of good integration, initiated both by locals and new arrivals, in order “to avoid long-term dependency, marginalization and isolation.” And while many refugees would like to return to their homeland as soon as possible, many will end up staying within the country they claim asylum in. Keeping this in mind it’s important to not treat refugees as part-time citizens. Through the development of affordable housing, supplying communication and cultural tools, access to work programmes, and the emergence of platforms that give minority voices a platform, cities such as Amsterdam not only extend a welcoming hand but will receive multiple ones in return.  Residence The development of housing is something the Netherlands sets a good example for. There is currently a push towards creating mixed refugee-status holder and student accommodation, largely developed by either converting out-of-use office buildings or utilising land outside of the city centre, in Nieuw-West or Zuidoost for example, for the construction of container villages. Once an application for long term stay is approved by the government, the VluchtelingenWerk (the body representing the interests of refugees and asylum seekers in the Netherlands) assists refugees with finding and applying for this housing. With people currently finding places to settle, there is a general feeling that this accommodation programme is effective.  Communication NT2 courses focus on teaching Dutch as a second language, and usually also encompass information on the Netherlands’ culture and traditions, with an eye for participants to take the Staatsexamen. The NT2 course at the VU Amsterdam was founded over fifty years ago specifically for students, both refugee and those with student visas, and in the 90s it branched out to encompass applicants from the rest of the population as well. Ran by the VU’s Humanities department, with full and freelance staff combined the course has over fifty professors on its books and four hundred and fifty students participating per period split across the daytime and weekend/evening groups. The UvA, HvA, and ROCvA offer equivalent tracks, additionally there are also private institutions offering NT2 courses. Refugee status holders who attend these courses as part of mandated integration into the local culture pay for the course via loans, although in the case of the Staatsexamen the tuition fees for those classes are annulled if the exam is passed. There is, of course, some controversy around placing refugees into the same loan-based system as ‘regular’ students, and the financial pressures this system can apply upon the individual.  A good example of an independent organisation building upon communication tools is Migrationlab. Their ‘Welcome to the Living Room’ initiative, a collaborative project conceptualised between migrants, refugees, and locals through discursive workshops, is one that offers “a safe environment” where people can “build a new language and concepts of how we could look at the world and each other.” Attendees are invited to share stories and discuss a range of topics with each other in safe spaces. Founded in 2014 by Laura M. Pana, Romanian-born and now based in The Hague, Migrationlab operates in five cities, including Amsterdam, and is ran on the co-creation basis with which it was initiated, with the choice of topics covered, locations, etc., decided on by the individual community groups. Their 2016 impact report on highlights and insights obtained during the project in that year stressed the importance of building accessible communal spaces and also noted “that people are willing, eager and have the need to tell their stories and be heard in a safe environment.” Enterprise Bringing talent found within the refugee community to the Netherlands’ job market decreases dependency and also acts as another way to lessen the potential for marginalization. Refugee Talent Hub is one programme that utilises and expands on such talents, providing mentoring, job matching and networking opportunities to those enrolled in order for them to find work and put their skills to use. They are part of ‘Amsterdam Works for Everyone’, an initiative orchestrated by the local municipality which also includes involvement from Albert Heijn, Randstad, and C&A, among others. Meanwhile, Hack Your Future is a venture that teaches computer programming in order “to empower people through code and get them to work as a software developers.” Each six month programme is taught by volunteers, and has resulted in some students going on to gain employment within the tech sector.           Through the development of platforms for marginalised voices, new arrivals not only further integrate into their new home but longer term residents of that new home also find out something about them, encouraging empathy and understanding in the process. Developed under the supervision of the International Foundation Manifesta, Sonono Radio is a station founded by five Amsterdam-based Syrian entrepreneurs that launched at last year’s Amsterdam Art Weekend with a series of interviews with local academics. Following on from this, they recently hosted talks at Art Rotterdam Week 2017. Largely focused on developing shows in Arabic in order for refugees to navigate Dutch culture and society, they are also planning on integrating music and arts into the programming of a 24-hour stream, alongside debates with an academic leaning in English.  Integration programmes not only help to combat the pressures faced by refugees as outlined by the UNHCR, but also help highlight the active strength, diversity, and community-oriented spirit of the locations in which they operate. The above examples, especially those volunteer-ran, show that there is an appetite in Amsterdam and further afield for ensuring that new arrivals are not sidelined, and that empathy is built between different communities. The refugee crisis continues to unravel seemingly unabated; as the displacement of people becomes a more common theme the implementation of integration programmes in cities such as Amsterdam will continue to play a vital role in ensuring social cohesion. Links for featured initiatives:  www.vluchtelingenwerk.nl www.refugeetalenthub.com www.hackyourfuture.net  www.migrationlab.org  www.sononoradio.com  Photo credit:  Welcome to the Living Room, The Hague © Migrationlab   
Issue #012 Published: 18-04-2017 // Written by: Eve Kalyva
Review on stillness and exploration
On 3 and 4 March 2017, Teatro Munganga presented a Butoh festival. With a history of twenty odd years, Munganga welcomes the alternative and the experimental. It is a small but potent site with a clear vision about socio-political engagement and artistic freedom. Butoh is an avant-garde Japanese theatre dance form. It emerged in the late fifties and sixties as a reaction to the national art establishment, and as a rejection of Western conceptions about dance, theatre and art more generally. In the aftermath of the Second World War and the occupation of Japan by what still remains the biggest concentration of American armed forces outside the United States, Butoh is an art form in search of the self. Through movement, stillness, gestures, props and audio-visual projections, one explores, experiments with and confronts ideas, feelings and conventions in their representation. It is a process of claiming and creating time and space as a means to claim body, presence and identity. This involves putting the self (and the spectacle) at risk.  A central premise of Modernism, which characterised the historical period of Butoh and which remains highly regarded today, is that of a “significant art form” capable of perfectly capturing an idea and transmitting it to the viewer. Contrary to this, Butoh seeks to open new channels of communication through forms which become meaningful in the moment of their staging. The dancer and, if successfully staged, the viewer undertake a journey of exploration and discovery which oscillates between condensed presence and abstraction, material weight and transcending form, control and un-control, vulnerability and strength. This also means that a Butoh performance is prone to failure. Ezio Tangini, the festival’s organiser, explains that one feels Butoh in the stomach and not the mind since representations often lie. A very humane art form, Butoh articulates a struggle between representation and embodiment aiming to surpass fear and to find truths in the corporeality of interpersonal communication.  The festival showcased 12 performances from professional and amateur dancers. Some tried to break free from their morphing bodies or cloth cocoons, and to find themselves while loosing sight of everything else. Trapped inside his skin and a play of light, shadow, organic forms and bodily sounds, another dancer sought to bring down the barrier that divided us from him, our gaze from his stare. It is a barrier that keeps everyone safe and secure; a barrier that limits expression and communication. Transformation is a key element of Butoh: the transformation of the relation between the self and the body, between the performer and the audience, the self and the other. In a rhythmic dissolution and re-condensation of presence, one seeks to find truth and to share that truth as a process rather than as an end-product. This requires honesty, patience and concentration. For Butoh is not simply about slowing down, the same way that classical ballet is not about managing 16 Italian fouettes. It may also be that, but it is certainly not only that.  Have you ever wondered that we might be wearing ourselves like a mask? A dancer rises from the floor, casting aside the double-headed fish monster she wears on her head and feet. A man follows with a puppet in hand. Is the puppet an extension of himself, or is it the other way around? The man mediated through a doll. In its fixed and solid state, the puppet explores the remnants of the fish monster and claims its discarded parts as a body. But nothing can really register with it. The doll is not real, you see. In another piece, the dancers struggle between fake and real entertainment while dropping, rather than falling, before standing up again and pushing harder.  Apart from the narrative of each piece, staging and dramaturgy are also important. There were instances when we could hear bodily sounds and movement but not see them, or asked to stand on the side of the stage which significantly limited our view. Butoh shares critical extensions with other avant-garde art forms regarding the rejection of traditional hierarchies and conceptions. These include the artist as producer and the spectator as consumer, and the artwork as something finite and concluded to be unproblematically received by the audience. In the performing arts, theatre has been explored as a site of confrontation, aiming to transform the way the audience perceives, and by extension reproduces, reality as a means of social and political change (compare Antonin Artaud’s theatre of cruelty (1940s) and Augusto Boal’s theatre of the oppressed (1970s)). There is often a fine line between acting, re-acting and re-enacting. It is the limit when dance becomes about what we don’t see. If the body of the audience shakes and convulses, then something is working.  Kees de Haan, I want to show you what I want to hide. Photo by Gaia M.C. Cittati http://www.gaia.pictures  
Issue #012 Published: 12-04-2017 // Written by: Sandra Maat
Autonome atoomschuilkelder in het Vondelpark
Verborgen in het Amsterdamse Vondelpark, onder de brug waar tram 3 overheen dendert, ligt een oude atoomschuilkelder uit de Koude oorlog: de Vondelbunker. Het is een bijzondere, muzikale plek, waar sinds juni 2011 een gratis toegankelijke en gratis te gebruiken ruimte wordt beheerd. Een kleine groep vrijwilligers zorgt meerdere keren per week voor een dynamisch cultureel programma. De Vondelbunker is een onafhankelijk cultureel centrum, dat gerund wordt uit liefde voor de ruimte en de underground. We proberen een plek te bieden aan evenementen en programmeurs die moeite hebben om een locatie in Amsterdam te vinden. Alle donaties van ons publiek worden rechtstreeks ingezet voor het open houden van de deuren. Omdat geld buiten het proces wordt gehouden, blijft succes van een event een radicaal onmeetbare en persoonlijke ervaring. Daarom maakt de Vondelbunker graag gebruik van de slogan: mislukken is een optie! Voorbeelden van evenementen die in de bunker plaatsvinden zijn 16mm filmavonden, Teknorobics, bandavonden, theatervoorstellingen en Bunker Cinema met Jeffrey Babcock. Ook werken wij regelmatig samen met Geertruida, Free Fringe en het Sounds of The Underground Festival (12-16 april 2017!). Verder wordt de ruimte ook aangeboden als oefen- en vergaderruimte aan organisaties met verwante politieke opvattingen. Onlangs hebben we besloten een tweede contract te tekenen en daarmee nog minimaal vijf jaar op een onafhankelijke manier en met hernieuwde energie de Vondelbunker te runnen. Er zijn veel plannen voor de ruimte! In de afgelopen vijf jaar is er achterstallig onderhoud ontstaan wat nu aangepakt moet worden. Ook moest er bij het aangaan van het nieuwe contract een hoge borg aan de gemeente worden betaald en waren de andere onverwachte kosten een aanslag op de al minimale reservepot. Nu er geen middelen over zijn om overige broodnodige zaken aan te pakken en het opgeven van onze idealen in het beheer van de ruimte geen optie is, hebben we besloten om de hulp van ons netwerk in te schakelen> Daarom zijn we nu een crowdfunding campagne gestart. Waar heeft de Vondelbunker dit geld voor nodig? Wie wel eens in de ruimte is geweest kent het belang van ventilatie en verwarming; ons klimaatbeheersingssysteem moet grondig worden vernieuwd. Verder willen we eindelijk stromend warm water in de keuken, zijn we nodig toe aan een verfbeurt om schimmel te bestrijden, en moet ons zwaar belaste techniek en geluidsysteem ge-update worden zodat we artiesten en bezoekers de beste ervaring kunnen bieden. Ten slotte is recent door de gemeente besloten dat de Vondelbunker een exploitatie- en horecavergunning moet hebben, wat ook een grote financiële investering betekent. De Vondelbunker is van mening dat er JUIST in de binnenstad van Amsterdam de komende jaren hard nodig is om een cultureel centrum te behouden waar het niet om winst gaat. Een plek waar zowel kunstenaar, artiest als vrijwilliger op gelijkwaardige manier zorg draagt voor gratis toegankelijke cultuur. Naast de online crowdfunding campagne zal de Vondelbunker ook zelf benefieten organiseren in april en mei, en zullen ze daarna ook uit hun schuilkelder kruipen om in de stad en buiten haar grenzen te treden! Kijk voor het actuele benefiet programma en hoe je de Vondelbunker kunt steunen op onze website; vondelbunker.nl of check de Facebook pagina! Crowdfunding project op Voordekunst >
Issue #012 Published: 04-04-2017 // Written by: Henk & de Sneevlietjes
Uitslag verkiezingen NL: feest, status quo of toename van ellende?
De opluchting voorbij De ‘partij’ van Geert Wilders is op 15 maart niet de sterkste politieke kracht van Nederland geworden. De opluchting nationaal en internationaal is groot. De vraag is echter of de uitslag van de Nederlandse verkiezingen inderdaad aanleiding geven tot optimistische inschattingen wat betreft de toekomst van het land. Zeker, de regering is afgestraft, ze is de helft van haar zetels kwijt. Maar toch kan Rutte hoogstwaarschijnlijk verder als minister-president. Dit betekent niks anders dan dat het doorgaat met de politiek van het neoliberaal marktvandalisme dat de kiezers in de armen van Wilders drijft.  Rutte heeft Wilders’ ‘verkeerd populisme’ met zijn eigen populisme verslagen. De verkiezingsstrijd was een treurig pseudo-politiek spektakel dat ertoe heeft geleid dat de neoliberale meerderheid in de Tweede Kamer groter is geworden. De sociale onzekerheid op de arbeidsmarkt, de woningmarkt en in het onderwijs gaat dus in de komende jaren nog meer toenemen. Een programma van meer chauvinisme, meer winst, minder belasting, meer asfalt, hogere huren, meer ongelijkheid. Het staat buiten kijf dat dit de voedingsbodem voor extreem rechts en vreemdelingenhaat alleen maar gaat vergroten. Een verkiezingsuitslag dus waardoor de komende jaren de onzekerheid, de ongelijkheid, de haat, de minachting, de angst voor alles wat niet ‘normaal’ is, verder dreigt toe te nemen. Amsterdam Het lichtpuntje van de verkiezingen is misschien de winst van GroenLinks. Terwijl de koopmannen van de PvdA met hun neoliberalisme light-politiek terecht de woestijn in gestuurd zijn, lijkt er aan de linkse kant een politieke kracht te ontstaan die tenminste in theorie de normen en waarden van de sociaal-democratie op eigentijdse manier nieuw leven in zou kunnen blazen. In Amsterdam is GroenLinks de sterkste partij geworden, gevolgd door D66. Ten opzichte van de laatste gemeenteraadsverkiezingen is de PvdA bijna verdwenen en de SP ongeveer gehalveerd. De nederlaag van de SP kan gezien worden als het gevolg van haar deelname aan het College van B&W, waarmee zij zich mede verantwoordelijk maakt voor een politiek die de stad en haar bewoners overlaat aan de wonderen van de marktwerking met de bekende gevolgen van onbetaalbare huur- en vastgoedprijzen en overlast door het ongetemde toerisme. Jammer genoeg zijn in de stadsdelen Oost en West, waar GroenLinks bestuurlijke verantwoordelijkheid draagt, weinig klaverblaadjes te ontdekken als het gaat om het tegenhouden van het gentrificatiebeleid.  Linkse lente? Bij alle opluchting over het uitblijven van de  PVV catastrofe moeten we toch ook beseffen dat dit niet het moment is om te feesten. De winst van de ‘Jessiah’, zoals The Guardian Jesse Klaver heeft gedoopt, geeft weinig reden voor de hoop op een progressieve lente in Nederland. De ervaringen met GroenLinks binnen het stadsbestuur en de stadsdeelbesturen in Amsterdam werpen de vraag op of de declamaties over een ander sociaal-economisch beleid meer zijn dan politiek theater. En stel dat GroenLinks de vierde partij wordt in een regeringscoalitie die verder bestaat uit VVD, CDA en D66: dan was het maar een hele korte linkse lente geweest.  Wat dan? Alt-Right of Alt-Left Zelf initiatieven nemen, het heft in eigen hand nemen. Onderlinge solidariteit vorm geven; de stad terug veroveren; collectieven en coöperaties rond onderwijs, werk, wonen en zorg opzetten. Niet als het zoveelste uberhippe bedrijfje met een prachtig business plan, maar als een sociaal initiatief waarin je zonder geldmotief samenwerkt, waar niemand privé beter van hoeft te worden, behalve wij allemaal. Traditioneel zijn dit de sterke kanten van progressief politiek activisme.  Door ons blind te staren op de ‘oplossingen’ van technologie en start-up cultuur hebben we het veld voor alternatieve politiek voor een groot deel aan extreem rechts overgelaten. Het momentele succes van de zogenoemde alt-right beweging heeft er alles mee te maken dat zij veel beter dan hun linkse collega’s begrijpen dat sociale verandering een luchtkasteel blijft zolang je met je visie op een betere wereld niet ook het oude machtscentrum van de staat weet te veroveren.  De komende vier jaren kunnen wij het beste wijden aan het bouwen van een vernieuwde alternatieve beweging, die protest en woede weet te verenigen met de veelvoudige emancipatorische projecten van de nieuwe generatie activisten. Uiteindelijk zou dit het meest effectieve middel zijn om buitenparlementair de druk op te bouwen die de komende Jessiah (of zijn potentiële opvolg(st)er) op koers naar een werkelijke linkse lente kan houden.  Wij hebben idealen van een betere, vrijzinnige, kosmopolitische, rechtvaardige, solidaire wereld; laten we die zoveel mogelijk concreet maken en ons niet laten intimideren door deze verkiezingsuitslag.