8th edition of 2.dh5-festival November 23-25 nov in Amsterdam (Netherlands)
This year’s 2.Dh5 festival will take place in Amsterdam again. The 8th edition of the gathering will take place during the weekend of 23-25 November in OT301 and (Sat. evening) in OCCII/De Binnenpret. The yearly festival is organised to encourage debate within the activist movements and make them more visible and accessible. This year’s programme investigates the ‘boiling point’ of social protest. Despite the crisis and austerity measures, there is still little visible resistance in the Netherlands compared to Spain, Greece or Quebec. What has to happen in order for things to boil over here as well?
Since 2008, the contradictions inherent to capitalism have come to the surface. To save the economy, and more particularly the banking system, debt is being shifted from banks to states. States in turn transfer the burden onto their citizens by implementing extreme austerity measures under the guise of ‘reforms’. These reforms entail the destruction of social safety provisions: social benefits are stripped, pensions are cut back, job security is eroded, and health care is becoming ever more expensive. Additionally, numerous social services and institutions are being destroyed by underfunding such as education, public transport, art and culture. This is leading to an increase in poverty, for the working population as well as for the unemployed.
It could therefore be argued that the ‘objective conditions’ are in place for people to start resistance against the neo-liberal crisis measures and the system that implements them; that it is time for people to exchange the politics of corporatism for the barricades, and to start organising and taking action against the austerity. To our great surprise, however, the larger part of the Dutch population remains indifferent. Although we see resistance stirring from time to time, this seems to be more of an exception to the rule and seldom has a long breath.
Nonetheless a lot is happening in the rest of the world. In North Africa and the Middle East, populations have risen up against their dictators demanding more freedom; in the US and parts of Europe an occupy movement has developed that is demanding ‘real’ or more direct democracy, and an end of exploitation by the few of the many.
In The Netherlands this has only been partially successful, as only a few thousand people gathered in the squares. Resistance to the cuts of the previous government (Bruin 1) and the far-reaching destruction of social services was marginal and – notwithstanding a few exceptions – not particularly assertive or militant. There appear to be other more subjective circumstances why people are not massively resisting the ‘reforms’.
The preparation group of the 2.Dh5 festival is currently drafting a position paper for circulation. It will focus on the search for possible causes (and explanations) of the Dutch apathy, and attempt to identify sources of inspiration. This text is intended to serve as food for thought and societal debate as well as a starting point for participants of the festival.