Issue #23 Published: 09-04-2019 // Written by: Katie Clarke

Free Vegan tour // #justpaywithyoursoul

She is an eel and the murky waters of Amsterdam are her home. Minding her own business, she is suffocated around the middle. What does she feel? All in the name of sport, many a Eel found themselves ascended above a canal, gripped an arm widths away from a boat, pawned as they await a painful tug. Palingtrekken or eel-pulling is the name of an old-age Dutch pastime that saw an eel dangled above a canal as hopefuls would leep to grapple she or he. (Female eels can be recognised by their beautiful long backbones that support millions of unfertilized eggs, whilst male Eels are much smaller.) This sport was often comical because many participants would lose their balance and land head over heels in the water. As a “cruel popular entertainment” - the demise of Palingtrekken came in 1886. Police intervened to stop a crowd playing the sport in the district of Jordaan, with reason that it was cruel to the Eels. For what was most likely, the icing on the cake of a terrible day, participants disagreed to conform with the police orders and a riot erupted that saw 26 people killed.

The epicentre for vegan collective action /or better yet / connective action - Amsterdam has remarkably been forward animal rights since the 1800’s. Garish marijuana shops and bright red lights drape the canal rings, and non-human animals given a voice. Connective action best describes activism within the information age; a dynamic communication sphere, often mediated through third-parties or actors. Vegan activism in Amsterdam is taking digital grassroot steps in collaboration with big actors such like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They offer speedy organisation and easy access to an audience, in a trade-off for browsing data. Connective action can fall victim to ‘clicktivism’ or clicks that give her a feeling of self-fulfilment, without making any political waves towards change. ‘Clicktivism’ propels a movement into a trendy, self-absorbed, yogi yogi, joy ride, as opposed to a movement with a strong voice. With trends having a tendency to plummet after the height of buzz, it is important to take notice for how supporting global actors, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are stilting activist waves within the local vegan movement.

VeganAmsterdam.org: Journalist
@Vegan_Amsterdam
Reimagining Amsterdam as a city forward animal liberation - VeganAmsterdam.org is the cartographer of the grassroots movement. As an independent news source, there is useful information regarding local protests, highlights about local vegan businesses, dates and times for screenings of cult documentaries, and buzz around new vegan products. Vegan Amsterdam collaborates with activists to hold vegan festivals in Amsterdam, produce original video content Eg. the short doc that follows the Animal Ambulance Amsterdam, and is collaborating with vegan artists to start an online winkel that sells hot vegan T’s. Vegan Amsterdam operates across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to have vegan presence in each digital space.

Anonymous for the Voiceless or AV: Actor
@ anonymousforthevoiceless
The inanimate V-for-Vendetta masks are placed over the faces of AV as they take to the streets, occupy style, to project violent images of animal slaughter to the passerbyers of Dam square. ‘Cube of Truth’ is the name given to a street protest that has found its way to the Netherlands, armed with flat screens and mov. downloads, shoulder to shoulder, back to back, projecting explicit footage of pigs being tortured, and male chicks being thrown into choppers. AV hope to offend people in their tracks and get them to think twice before devouring their next royale with cheese. The Facebook continues to stilt AV’s organisation and helps to globalise their concept. ‘Cube of Truth’ originally began in Australia and is now ongoing in many cities across Europe.

Melinda Hegedus: Artivist
@ MemeMemeLinda
Laughter can often mask the tears of a vegan, as ‘artivist’ Hegedus illustrates through her explicit vegan pop art. Namely she identifies as an ‘artivist’ because she fights oppression through a colorful and persuasive medium. Cognitive dissonance leaks from her illustrations, as the bright colors, and anthropomorphism, allows the viewer to put themselves in the shoes of an enslaved cow. Her art can be found on Facebook and Instagram, as well as hanging on the walls of the homes of vegan art lovers. Social media actors help this local artists support herself financially by sharing a link to her online shop.

Het Fort van Sjakoo: Bookshop
@ sjakoo
To think like an anarchist, one must first read all about the anarchy. Amsterdam’s anarchist bookshop Het Fort van Sjakoo has sections and shelves devoted to animal rights in philosophy, activism, and history. Vegan cookbooks litter the shelves whilst bookworms smell the spines and have hardback orgies over the authenticity of real paper. Alive and running, volunteers have kept this bookshop open since 1977. It aims to support those with alternate political perspectives with the power of written word. Het Fort van Sjakoo mostly rejects new media, although remains connective through an old-skool web directory that lists independent magazines, with web-links to each.

De Muiterij: Free Space
@ demuiterij.bajesdorp
The concept is - no concept at all. De Muiterij is an autonomous collective that curates grounded environments as to empower and liberate sustainable creativity. Behind the scenes at vegan hotspots across Amsterdam, the chef game blossoms. Every tuesday this talent comes together at De Muiterij to produce a three course vegan voku from unwanted local farm produce. Challenged by the unknown food supply, the menu is every-changing, but always top quality. This donation based evening brings music to the ears of vegans, and cheek to cheek smiles to their stomachs.

Mr. & Mrs. Watson: Business
@ watsonfoodbar
Whichever way you slice it, the Watson ‘cheese’ is taking Amsterdam by storm. PETA award winners, the quintessential restaurant Mr. & Mrs. Watson have managed to eradicate the FOMC (fear of missing cheese) with cashew nut goodness. Currently under development, Mr. & Mrs. Watson are branching out to produce quality vegan cheese on a larger scale, with whispers of a Watson ‘cheese’ food truck soon to be hitting the Dutch open road. The Netherlands has a long-standing culture of cheese expertise, and paving the way into the cruelty-free reformation is namely the plant-powered company Mr. & Mrs. Watson.