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1 LGF Subscription: Breathes Like Egyptian Cotton  Sat, Sep 28, 2013 5:34:59pm

This makes my stomach queasy. Not that I’m surprised, I just can’t believe I am actually seeing people feel comfortable displaying Nazi symbolism in public. Pro Nazi symbolism.

2 ThomasLite  Sat, Sep 28, 2013 9:12:34pm

Actually, it *is* quite a bit more nuanced than that. the “prinsenvlag” in question has always symbolized some sort of (usually quite ridiculous, to some degree) longing for a ‘united’ Dutch nation - most of the time just incorporating Flanders, not much more. The way I understand it it’s been in use pretty much for the entire last century in those circles.

Do those circles contain the stormfront types? Yes, certainly. Way I understand it, though (and remember, I don’t really have a bone in this personally) is that those don’t even make up a plurality of that crowd, just the most (nastily) vocal bit of it.
Popularity amongst, for example, linguists seems to be quite high - then again theres a lot of “Dutch language” specialists both here and in Flanders quite actively in favour of integrating Flanders into the Netherlands - which is basically all the damn thing is about for most folks.

Now there are some rather objectionable elements in the PVV for sure but (even neo-) nazism? Bit of a stretch, at best. Nationalists? Certainly. Idiots? Got more than their fair share of them, that’s for sure. but nazis? Nah. Sorry, I’m going with out of context sensationalism on this one.
I’ll look up the parliamentary debate mentioned when I find the time for it, though. Certainly sounds like his usual way of dodging the tough, on-point questions Pechtold has a habit of asking rather frequently - and forcefully - (yup, D66 voter here), so probably not much to be found there.

Oh, on the topic of accuracy: describing D66 as centre-left is more than a bit of a stretch. Progressive, slightly right of centre is both probably more accurate and certainly something most of us actually voting that way much prefer ;)

3 CuriousLurker  Sun, Sep 29, 2013 9:37:58am

re: #2 ThomasLite

I assume you’re Dutch, so I certainly won’t argue with you over the symbolism of one of your own flags, nor will I dispute your characterization of one of your politician’s political leanings. though I have to admit that (from my American POV) I don’t really see a big distinction between “centre-left” and “progressive, slightly right of centre”.

That said, there’s still the issue of the “Nazi salutes at a Freedom Party rally in The Hague last weekend”, Wilders’ recent alliance with Le Pen, and his reaching out to other far-right European parties.

BTW, about that rally in The Hague, I only had a few minutes to devote to it, but I did find this blog post (obviously I have no idea how trustworthy the blogger is and I can’t read the source article she cited, which appears to be in Dutch): Wilders’ supporters’ nazi salutes

4 ThomasLite  Sun, Sep 29, 2013 6:40:54pm

Yup, I’m Dutch.
“One of your own flags” might be overstating it; The prinsenvlag has, to my knowledge, never seen “official” use by the (current) kingdom of the Netherlands as such.
The republic of the Netherlands was an entity that ceased to be some time before the current state emerged, AFAIK (history isn’t my strong suit) so I think most Dutch historians wouldn’t consider it a flag directly tied to the ‘current’ Dutch state.
Minor nitpick ;)

(from my American POV) I don’t really see a big distinction between “centre-left” and “progressive, slightly right of centre”.

Emphasis on American POV there, really.
The “left” descriptor has a more ‘socialist’ meaning (while for example the PvdA wouldn’t descibe itself as such anymore, many of it’s members still do, and the Socialist Party doesn’t exactly have all that much room to deny the descriptor ;) ) aside from the ‘greenleft’ (translated) party which by now describes itself, for what I gather, as green and progressive, avoiding the term left somewhat. Basically, high emphasis on welfare etc.
Progressivism (which from a US POV could easily be conflated with ‘left’, I understand), on the economic side focuses much less on what you’d call welfare (and believe me, our system is so much more comprehensive and ‘comfortable’ the average US citizen wouldn’t believe it) and more on stuff like education, criminal rehabilitation, attracting high-tech jobs etc.
left would imply more of an income leveling approach (don’t get me wrong, I support subsistence living for anyone - we’ve attained that quite a while back, though) while the ‘centre-right’ approach favours subsistence level guarantees for everyone, but strong incentives to start earning more.
For example, from your American POV you wouldn’t believe the amount of tax credits and even direct government subsidies we get at low income levels (almost all of our health insurance is paid for, leaving maybe $30 a month on the basic policy to pay for by yourself at low income levels, plus a $450 ‘own risk’ per year, so you’ll have to pay that much yourself first before insurance kicks in. that’s it, all care up to totally catastrophic included. then there’s substantial, as in several $100 a month, housing subsidies on already partly government run ‘social housing’, and there’s quite a bit more beyond that).
Now if there’s loads and loads of subsidies like that at really low income levels but they taper off quite quick, instead of being a bit lower at really low levels but tapering more gradually, one might, from the minimum wage@full-time income level, up through to say, double that, only get to keep maybe $0,15 to $0.25 of every dollar more earned under a system the more ‘left’ist parties seem to strive for. especially the SP would make a right mess of this, given the chance (IMO).
Now us ‘centre-right’ types don’t like being conflated with that all that much. I hope you understand ;)
Sorry if it reads like a bit of a mess, giving a concise rundown of our complete socio-economic situation and the political complexities thereof is hard to do in a few paragraphs! The difference is there, and it’s something we can get rather agitated about (from both ends, of course).

Anyway, that blogger: doesn’t appear all that trustworthy. Gut feeling mostly, but it looks like the kind of type around here who wouldn’t mind being misleadingly deceptive in selectively quoting articles and such.
First of all (to stay with something a bit more factual than my gut!), I’d like to point out that while we have racist scum around here, the anti-racists are generally the more violent and dangerous scum. It’s a small group but the hard core is really, really nasty. And they have more than a bit of a habit of just flat-out lying. Sorry, anyone taking them seriously as a source has an instant trustworthiness problem in my eyes. This is not me taking any kind of extreme view: I’m sure just a significant majority at my, very very much mainstream, law school would agree.
Also, the site she also uses as a source is seriously dubious, and she has a habit of using highly, highly partisan sources.
I could investigate further if you really want but just by what I’ve seen from her sourcing (and there’s more I just really haven’t got the time to type up) she’s just not a reliable source. Highly, highly partisan and any facts she’d state I would look up in reliable sources, before trying to argue them as true, tbh. `

I’d also mention that while proving a negative would take some more time than I have right now, the volkskrant, basically a rather left-leaning, pretty anti-PVV oriented but generally reliable even if somewhat partisan ‘large’ ‘mainstream’ newspaper hasn’t got a peep on this.
Believe me, if something as outrageous as this was actually what that blog is making it out to be, the volkskrant would be __all__ over it. In fact, any newspaper around here probably would. They’re not, and this is something that would certainly generate a lot of sales.
Not saying this proves it isn’t true, but I’d be deeply suspicious of that blog at the very least.

Hope that helps :)

5 ThomasLite  Sun, Sep 29, 2013 7:12:02pm

Oh and about that europe wide coalition of his: I understood that more as some way to collaborate in the European Parliament to sabotage the effectiveness of European regulation - something rather like your republican House Reps, I believe? (sorry ‘bout that ;) ).
Those parties tend to be quite nationalistic, they don’t like “brussels” taking over from national legislatures (and if there was a decent way to argue that equivalent of states’ rights around here at least they might be interesting to argue with, but sadly, not the case…) and therefore want to limit EU influence on the national level.They also have in common a desire to limit immigration substantially.
Those are two grounds on which they can work together, at least.
TBH: I think Wilders is mostly just gunning for any way to keep relevance and political momentum. He might have some unsavoury supporters who support him mainly for lack of someone more extreme (but can you blame him for that? they’ll vote for the guy they least disagree with, blaming a politician for who votes for him gets extremely problematic IMO). So yes, he’ll ally with anyone who shares those two basic goals.

As for pure, unbridled racism: there’s actually not nearly as much “he’s got the wrong skin colour” type racism as some of you guys seem to think around here. Actually, I don’t think more than a few thousand Dutch folk under, say 60 or so, would still find that even remotely acceptable. Even allusions thereto basically fall outside the overton window in most political discourse (of course discount a few very, very loud voices - but you get that everywhere). What is quite prevalent is a distrust of ‘cultural’ differences.
It’s not really been inside the overton window to debate ‘acceptable’ cultural norms (for example, wearing what you want is obviously allowed, FGM certainly isn’t, but what about parents forcing kids into certain cultural norms? to what degree are arranged marriages permissible and when do they entail too much of a risk on involuntary participation under duress? that sort of stuff for starters), which changed maybe 10-12 years ago (I’d say a short while before 9/11; while it might’ve overcharged the debate quite a bit it’s not a cause or anything!), so that debate is now ongoing.
Of course there’s going to be outliers, but even the PVV, populist and black-and-white as much of their blathering might be, generally stays within certain boundaries.

If I were really snarky I might say that any nation producing such nice not-at-all-racist folk like quite a few GoP members of Congress should watch their tone - we don’t come anywhere close.

There might be the occasional uproar which gets published internationally but what you don’t catch along with that is how much even the PVV crowd themselves tend to police most statements which really go over the line.

You know, I’d rather not have to deal with the bunch of idiots in parliament but they’re not as bad as some international press folk seem to like to make it out to be.

6 CuriousLurker  Sun, Sep 29, 2013 7:16:58pm

re: #4 ThomasLite

Hope that helps :)

Wow, lots of info—yes, it does indeed help! I don’t mind reading long posts when their intent is to educate instead of argue/debate.

Thanks for taking the time to explain so many things. It’s very interesting to take a peek at another country’s society & politics through the eyes of one of their citizens. It’s probably something we Americans need to do more often—we’re such a large & (geographically) isolated country and so used to being a “superpower” that I think we often tend to see the USA as the center of the world and everyone else as just… I don’t know… too far away, too different, too inconsequential. It’s weird, y’know? We’re a “melting pot” of so many different cultures, yet we’re surprisingly homogeneous—sure, there are regional differences, but I think they’re probably much less disparate than in places like Europe (again because of our huge geographical size).

Anyway, now I’m just rambling. I need to re-read what you wrote several times to digest it all. Thanks again for taking the time to explain.

7 CuriousLurker  Sun, Sep 29, 2013 7:19:24pm

re: #5 ThomasLite

More to ponder. Noted—thanks! ;)

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