Success in climate activism can take a lot of forms, and relatively few of them are glamorous. The change we work for might be too abstract to measure, or our role in it might be unclear. Perhaps, in difficult conditions, success might mean no more than keeping your head above the water. Still, there are times when success can actually be joyful, epic and infectious, as in the case of the recent blockades on the Dutch capital’s A12 highway. The shortest version of this story is that a multi-year campaign of disruption induced the Dutch Parliament to move, on Oct. 10, towards a phasing-out of fossil fuel subsidies: a truly remarkable moment and concession.
After 27 days of A12 blockades and more than 9,000 arrests, the Lower House is asking the cabinet to come up with a phase-out path for fossil subsidies. Extinction Rebellion welcomes the adopted motion, and concludes: civil disobedience works. In the coming months, thousands of rebels will keep a sharp eye on what’s actually being done. They are ready to take to the streets again if necessary. Action training will also continue. Spokesperson Tessel Hofstede: “Although this does not yet abolish fossil fuel subsidies, the significance of this step cannot be underestimated. Recently, with the A12-blockades, we caused shockwaves in society and made people look differently at fossil fuel subsidies.
Police in the Netherlands said they were deploying a water cannon to clear a major highway blocked by climate activists for the third straight day on Monday in protests over government subsidies for fossil fuels. Protesters earlier walked onto the A12 highway at The Hague around noon local time preventing traffic from using it, local police said. News agency ANP said dozens of protesters were blocking the major traffic artery into the Dutch seat of government in both directions. Over the weekend around 3,000 activists were detained by police during two days of protests on and around the A12.
On Tuesday 15 August, a Dutch court confirmed that the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” falls under freedom of expression and is not punishable by law. The court’s verdict represents a victory for the Palestinian movement in general, and in the Netherlands specifically. Expressions for Palestinian liberation cannot simply be labeled as anti-Semitism and thereby criminalized or subjected to persecution. The charge was filed in June 2021 by a Zionist activist against Samidoun Netherlands member Thomas Hofland. The Zionist claimed that Thomas’ statement — “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” — during a speech he gave at the annual Nakba rally one month earlier, was allegedly anti-Semitic.
In the Netherlands, on the morning of August 8, ten peace and climate activists (six from the U.S., three from the Netherlands and a German doctor) entered Volkel Air Base, where about 15 U.S. nuclear bombs are stockpiled. They knelt on the runway, prayed for peace and glued down copies of Article 1 and 2 of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons on the runway. They were taken into custody and later released with a small fine, which no one paid. This nonviolent resistance action took place as part of an international peace camp at Volkel Air Base. The radical branches of the climate movement and the peace movement have joined together for a week of protest and action.
Five victims of chemical attacks launched by the late Iraqi president Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war are suing two Dutch companies for providing chemical materials that allowed Baghdad to manufacture mustard gas. The two companies — Otjiaha and Forafina Beleggingen — provided Iraq with chemicals between 1982 and 1984 during the Iraqi invasion of Iran. According to the lawsuit filed at The Hague, the Dutch companies were aware at the time that their products were being used to produce chemical weapons used against civilians. However, Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant says the corporations dispute the accusations and maintain that the chemicals were meant for use as agricultural pesticides.
The Netherlands- Saturday 27 May, the police deployed water cannons fifteen minutes after the start of the A12 blockade, even though there was no question of a dangerous or threatening situation. 33 people were also arrested who had managed to reach the tunnel of the A12. At least 6000 people and 130 social organizations demonstrated on the A12 or next to it in the support demo. The A12 orchestra also played with more than 80 musicians and 100 scientists from Scientist Rebellion were present. All demonstrators agreed on one simple demand: stop fossil subsidies. From 14:00 this afternoon the police started arresting, in a number of cases violently.
Over 500 Extinction Rebellion and Greenpeace Netherlands activists have stopped private jets from taking off at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport this afternoon. Activists cycled around the area where private jets are parked and blocked the aircraft. The protesters are concerned about the climate crisis and local residents whose lives are affected by the noise from Schiphol Airport. “We are immensely proud of everyone who took part in this peaceful action today against Schiphol Airport’s immense pollution and unnecessary luxury flights by private aircraft. This protest shows that people are no longer willing to put up with the unbridled growth of the aviation industry.
On Sunday, November 28, housing rights groups and other progressive sections in the Dutch city of Groningen marched under the banner #Woonstrijd to protest the acute housing crisis in the city. Various groups including Shelter Our Students (SOS), International Socialists Groningen, New Communist Party of the Netherlands (NCPN), Communist Youth Movement (CJB), RED Groningen, Young Socialists Groningen, Democratic Academy Groningen, Groningen Feminist Network, and others, participated in the march while adhering to COVID-19 safety protocols. The protesters demanded a radical housing policy from the authorities which will be beneficial for all residents of the city.
During May’s uprising in Palestine against the latest aggression of the apartheid Israeli state, a few students at the Piet Zwart Institute (PZI) in Rotterdam wanted to express their solidarity with the struggle. They hung a banner on the institute’s building that read: “STOP THE ETHNIC CLEANSING; #SaveSheikhJarrah; Free Palestine.” The action took place at a time when the vicious attacks on civilians in Gaza, the ultra-right-wing mob violence against Arabs in Israel and the forced evictions of the settler colonialist system in Jerusalem had resulted in a global show of solidarity. A few hours after the banner was put up, the board of Hogeschool Rotterdam hastily urged the dean of the institute to remove it.
The decade-long dirty war on Syria proved to be a cash cow for some of the most prominent US and UK regime-change operatives. Western government contractors got hundreds of millions of dollars to run schemes to destabilize Damascus – and some of them took a cut for themselves, profiting off of the pillage. One of the main players in the cottage industry of contractors that helped run the Western regime-change war on Syria, and which was eventually implicated in a massive corruption scandal, was the Mayday Rescue Foundation. Mayday served as the fiscal sponsor of Syria Civil Defense, known popularly as the White Helmets, a deceptive humanitarian interventionist operation that became a key propaganda weapon in the dirty war on Damascus.