FvD was quick to support the protests against covid restrictions. Today, the party also stands behind the farmers protests against the governments’ plans to close a big portion of the farms in the country for the sake of “climate”. The picture is from a protest against covid restrictions in Amsterdam in January of last year. Photo: Wion FvD was quick to support the protests against covid restrictions. Today, the party also stands behind the farmers protests against the governments’ plans to close a big portion of the farms in the country for the sake of “climate”. The picture is from a protest against covid restrictions in Amsterdam in January of last year. Photo: Wion

Dutch FvD break through the media blockade

What is happening in the Netherlands? It is often difficult to follow events in other countries, especially when distorted by system media. We give Forum for Democracy (FvD) the opportunity to speak out on the political situation in the Netherlands and the staunch resistance they face in trying to save the country.

Published: June 17, 2023, 10:00 am

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    We recently interviewed two representatives of the FvD: Massimo Etalle, editor-in-chief of De Dissident newspaper and deputy chairman of the party’s youth association, and Frederik Jansen, a member of the FvD in the Dutch Parliament.

    FvD is fairly new in Dutch politics, the party was founded in 2016, but has grown quickly and today boasts the most members and the largest youth wing in the Netherlands. The youth wing, JFvD, was established in 2017 when FvD was elected to parliament, amassing 1,000 members in a single day. Currently, the party as a whole has 61,000 members, being nearly twice the size of the second-largest PvdA. JFvD is the biggest political youth organization in the country.

    I the latest parliament elections in 2021, the FvD was supported by 5 per cent of the voters.

    “I’m no politician”

    The FvD’s membership numbers reflect a fundamental difference in their approach, opting to build a community rather than merely chase votes. The party values action above all else, deliberately distancing itself from those who pursue politics for personal gain. “We cannot live that way,” says Frederik Jansen.

    Massimo Etalle, editor-in-chief of De Dissident newspaper and deputy chairman of the party's youth association, JFvD. Photo: Supplied

    Massimo Etalle, editor-in-chief of De Dissident newspaper and deputy chairman of the party’s youth association, JFvD. Photo: Supplied

    During the conversation, Massimo Etalle is quick to dismiss the term politician, stating firmly, “I’m no politician.” Although engaged in politics, FvD members fundamentally reject the typical characteristics associated with politicians.

    “We were founded to preserve European civilization, and there is no place for those who believe participation is more important than winning; it is not,” Etalle clarifies.

    For FvD and JFvD leadership, idealism, rather than stale conference room discussions, should be the driving force behind political involvement. They both underline that this idealism has helped to save the party during troubled times, especially during the oppressive covid restrictions.

    Harsh oppressions during covid

    The FvD was initially in favor of a lockdown in the Netherlands but revised their position after examining data that showed the infection curve had already begun to flatten at an early stage. As the party resumed meetings without any health issues arising, they became increasingly critical of the government’s tightening restrictions, particularly concerning the experimental vaccines.

    Frederik Jansen, a member of the FvD in the Dutch Parliament. Photo: Supplied

    Frederik Jansen, a member of the FvD in the Dutch Parliament. Photo: Supplied

    Their stance on covid vaccines led to substantial difficulties for FvD members. Lacking QR codes as proof of vaccination, they were barred from entering public places such as restaurants, libraries, and sports events. For the first time since World War II, the Netherlands imposed a curfew, and people were unable to venture out after 9 pm.

    The party’s Facebook account, which once regularly reached 1 million people and up to 4 million during campaigns, now only reached 50,000. Frederik Jansen’s private Twitter account became impossible to tag for several months until he agreed to archive all posts critical of the covid vaccine.

    The social reactions were perhaps the most alarming.

    “We realized that unvaccinated people could be banned from family Christmas dinners just because someone on TV said so; it was a true reality check,” shares Massimo Etalle.

    Ironically, the vaccinated were afraid of the vaccine free, although the very reason to get vaccinated was that it was supposed to protect you.

    This experience led FvD to become increasingly distrustful of the authorities and prompted them to seek alternative ways to organize. With their indomitable spirit and organizational connections, the party effectively circumvented and defied the bans. They rented buses with fold-out stages for public meetings and organized a large Christmas market on private land. During this time, an app was developed to connect like-minded entrepreneurs and create an internal market relatively free from the threat of political boycotts and shutdowns. However, the memory of the oppression still lingers and continues to shape the party’s policies today.

    The Nitrogen Program: A Facade for Mass Urbanization

    One particularly perplexing issue in the Netherlands is the farmer protests following the government’s policy of expropriating agricultural land, ostensibly for ”environmental purposes” to reduce nitrogen emissions from farms, primarily livestock. Food is the Netherlands’ largest export, and despite its small size, the country is one of the world’s largest food exporters, rivaling the United States and China. After the country’s Supreme Administrative Court rejected the government’s plans to limit nitrogen emissions in 2019, a law was introduced to reduce Dutch farmers’ environmental impact and, according to the government, allow domestic nature to develop. The goal is to halve nitrogen emissions by 2030 through expropriation of farmers’ land and dismantling family-owned agriculture, either with compensation or, as FvD representatives warn, by force. The government claims this aligns with the EU’s climate goals, but the Netherlands actually imposes abnormally high requirements. For instance, Germany allowed 21 times higher nitrogen emissions from new agricultural installations even before the Netherlands’ new emission law.

    The Dutch “minister for environment and nitrogen”, Christianne van der Wal, has said that she wants to get rid of 30 per cent of the country’s cattle farms. In reality it will be much more, the farmers fear.

    Food products are Netherlands’s biggest export business and although occupying such a small area on the planet, the country is one the worlds biggest exporters of food, in parity with the US and China. The government now demands that nitrogen emissions be halved by 2030. They openly talk about expropriating the farmer’s land for some compensation if they will not comply with the new nitrogen requirements. The FvD thinks that this is just a start, and that the government will resort to taking the farms by force.

    Many farmers find it absurd that they should be evicted from land often owned for generations, and these plans have ignited significant anger among what is in the Netherlands a resourceful group. In 2022, several major farmer protests were highlighted, having gone on since 2019. Roads and government buildings were blocked to force the government to reverse its expropriation plans, and the anger was reflected in election results.

    In the 2023 provincial elections, the newly founded farmer’s party BBB won a landslide victory, receiving the most votes in every province. Early in the debate, opinion polls showed an increase for FvD, which had actively supported farmers’ rights to their land, but media censorship during the pandemic made it difficult to inform voters about this.

    Frederik Jansen points out that BBB will never solve the problem because they have accepted the false premises imposed by the establishment. They accept the false theory of nitrogen emissions and openly advocate policies that only lead to a delay in expropriations and possibly better compensation for farmers, not stopping them.

    “The reason is not environmental protection; they want the land to build wind turbines and housing for immigrants,” Massimo explains, which is precisely what has already happened on expropriated land in the Flevoland province.

    Furthermore, he adds that ”the truth is that farmers’ land is worth ten times as much if you build houses on it, and the Netherlands has a huge housing crisis. Last year the population grew by 2 pre cent solely due to immigration, and during the height of the housing crisis, 400,000 people arrived here.”

    Whether it is genuinely more environmentally friendly to build housing for hundreds of thousands of people one chooses to accommodate rather than run family-owned agriculture is seems dubious.

    The First Political Ban Since World War II?

    Not since World War II has a political party been banned in the Netherlands, and it is currently impossible to do so. However, several associations have been banned, such as Vereniging Martijn, which aimed to legalize and normalize pedophilia, and the Hells Angels motorcycle gang. After FvD positioned itself uncomfortably against the establishment on several important issues, they may now end up on the same list.

    At the end of 2022, Democrats 66, part of the Dutch coalition government, proposed a law that would make it possible to ban political parties on grounds such as “undermining the democratic order.” FvD believes that this attempt almost explicitly targets their party, which would not have been possible under previous legislation. When the law is not enough to silence a democratically represented party, the Democrats propose simply changing the law.

    Even if this proposal were to pass and a point were reached where FvD was banned, both the parties’ representatives we met emphasized that it would be ineffective.

    “Banning the opposition will not reduce the divide in society, and that divide creates the very threats the ban is based on,” says Massimo, further explaining that instead, they should examine themselves and investigate why people hold the opinions that the establishment is so afraid of. One cannot stop an idea by trying to suppress it, and a ban on such vague grounds would only show even more how right FvD is.

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