DE FABEL VAN DE ILLEGALL [Netherlands]: Earth Foundation Flirts with Nationalism

Michael Pugliese debsian at
Sun Apr 9 09:16:11 PDT 2000

From the latest anti-fascist bulletin of Tom Burghardt.

Michael Pugliese

The tail end of the Reagan-Bush era was accompanied by a realignment of various [right-wing] movement tendencies, marked by the ascension of a group of self-identified "paleoconservatives," who opposed U.S. military intervention abroad and welfare statism at home, who also championed the Christian Right's moral causes and the racist Right's concerns about illegal immigration and cultural nationalism. For paleoconservative thinkers, David Duke's 1991 near win was a watershed event. Samuel Francis, an editor for the paleoconservatives' Chronicles magazine, called it a "turning point in American history." -- Sara Diamond, Roads to Dominion: Right-Wing Movements and Political Power in the United States [New York, London, The Guilford Press, 1995] p. 272.


DE FABEL VAN DE ILLEGAAL [The Myth of Illegality] Koppenhinksteeg 2 2312 HX Leiden, Netherlands Tel: +31-71-5127619 or 5144217 Fax: +31-71-5134907 E-mail: lokabaal at Web: - Tuesday, 4 April 2000 -

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EARTH FOUNDATION FLIRTS WITH NATIONALISM ____________________________________________________________________

By Eric Krebbers

Willem Hoogendijk of the Dutch Earth Foundation initiated a federation of "progressive NGO's" that promote small scale economics. Starting point is his "Optimist manifesto" which is bulging with nationalism. Hoogendijk turns against migrants and "foreign capital".

Hoogendijk became known in the seventies as the founder of the Dutch environmental organisation Aktie Strohalm and the cyclists' alliance ENFB. He then disappeared in the circuit of consultant boards on environmental issues. Now, he is a member of the critical agricultural council (Kritisch Landbouw Beraad). The last couple of years he founded several organisations to promote his own writings, like the Project Modern Economy, the Netherlands Differently and the Earth Foundation.

In November 1998 the Earth Foundation organised a first meeting with several organisations active in environmental and small economic issues. They decided to work on common projects and the Earth Foundation offered to do the secretary work. At the second meeting they spoke briefly about Hoogendijk's "Optimistic Manifest", at which it is said everybody approved. The "progressive NGO's" apparantly had no problem with his obvious nationalistic opinions.

All together

Marginalised people, students, scientists, high officials, politicians and entrepeneurs. In Hoogendijk's way of thinking all inhabitants of the Netherlands, in the end, have one and the same common national interest. Once unified in a movement, they could bring about a "Great U-turn", as Hoogendijk likes to call his national revolution. "This great u-turn movement has to shun any connection with a political party or colour. But neither must it be an anti-parliamentary movement."

Hoogendijk is dreaming of a "broad, Left and Right unifying or dodging, social cultural movement for living, surviving and cohabitation". But it doesn't remain just a dream. He is already selling postcards with Leftish or Rightish quotes, for example of Frits Bolkestein, a liberal nationalist, or William of Orange of the Dutch royal family. He even proposed to use a quote of William of Orange as a motto for the federation: "I need neither hope nor success to persevere."

As is common with nationalists, Hoogendijk want to end all internal struggle. "In almost every political party are good people! People who, if we do not polarize, can become our comrades. But then we must avoid sensitive issues like immigration." The struggle against racism is over, if we are to follow Hoogendijk.

Also far right politicians have to feel at home in his "pre-revolutionary people's movement". "If Dijkstal (a far right wing politician) would turn up there, he would probably be booed away. Many radicals destroy more than they build up", Hoogendijk says. At the accusation of such a radical Left activist that he is protecting racists, Hoogendijk reacted furiously: "We have to respect the opinion of others who are our allies too! Otherwise we stay sectarians, we stay in the margin. That other opinion could be the opinion of the majority, so of a lot of people we want to join us."

Hoogendijk thinks racism is a biological fact. He writes that an uncle of his always said: "Discrimination is a natural quality of people. You always distance yourself from others. You always mark yourself in relation to others. As an individual or as a group you are always inclined to defend yourself." Hoogendijk: "I think this is a sound starting point."

The Netherlands full

"I see forthcoming famines in Egypt and Russia, but do we have to be flooded?" It seems like Hoogendijk borrowed his imagery directly from the far Right. "Millions will be standing at our doorsteps." As a professional revolutionary nationalist, he therefore pleads for "reservedness in the immigration policy. I want preserve the Dutch culture, what ever that may be. Here I want a great social reversal, a difficult job. That should not be made extra difficult by creating new tensions within the population."

Hoogendijk ends his "Optimist manifesto" with some discussion points. One of them is also derived from the far Right. "The Netherlands an immigration country? (The Netherlands full, and not only with cars?)". Hoogendijk thinks that "sustainability, in the long run, asks for a reduction of the population". He sees "a target for the population in this Rhine delta of about 10 milion people, later on even 7 milion! Our country is full with cars but also with people, really." Nowadays some 16 million people live in the Netherlands.

In an Earth Foundation newsletter, Hoogendijk even published a contribution of a, probably fictitious, "Committee for the removal of humanity from earth". To begin with migrants and refugees, we fear. For although he is still claiming to make things "nicer with and for those who are now living" in the Netherlands, Hoogendijk does fantasize cautiously on the departure of the already present migrants and refugees: "Thousands of Ghanese are now pining away in and around the Bijlmer. (A black Amsterdam suburb, transl.) We had better execute a large scale project in their own country with our money and help?!"

Buy Dutch produce

Hoogendijk calls himself a 68-er and a Marxist. But, instead of the Marxist class struggle between labour and capital, Hoogendijk sees, like the far Right, mainly a struggle between "good" national capital and "bad" foreign high finance. He wants to "tame, a bit, the great capital" and "keep away, a bit, the foreign capital".

Hoogendijk's practical proposals are very much like those of the nationalists. "Produce goods as much as possible in your own country, and, above all, keep the financing national." We have "to produce, in a country like ours, our own train carriages for our railway, planes for our air line companies, helicopters for our police and our army." Hoogendijk wants to "keep our national monetary unit" and also proposes to reintroduce the old nationalist slogan "Buy Dutch goods".

Hoogendijk's plans are far from anti-capitalist. In his opinion, that is not necessary, because "capitalism has become much friendlier". According to Hoogendijk, the main issue is that "the entire population" stops the "getting out of hand of the money system, that is subjugating everything and everybody". When the Netherlands finally have "a calm own money circulation", "competition should keep achieving its good deeds".

Hoogendijk never mentions ending exploitation. Of course, because according to the nationalist ideals bosses and servants come together, and then everybody knows his fixed place in society. Hoogendijk especially likes the "elite from just after the second World War". They "propagated a moral rearmament. Those people, especially the industrial managers, weren't at all bad, a sort of social liberals. The movement that we now want, certainly has a lot in common with them", says Hoogendijk.

Edward Goldsmith

Hoogendijk wants a "restoration of the authority of governments, meaning their reshaping into our collective morality, manifestation and instrument". He also thinks that we must get rid of the "far gone idea of the free citizen, the free entrepreneur", and head back for the "balance between individual and collectivity".

In his nationalist vision all political struggles are smuggled away. The new leader will know exactly what everyone wants. "I could imagine a system, in which I would completely trust the managers (a sort of shamans, wise chiefs), and would decide to leave the management of society to them", says Hoogendijk. "But it must always remain possible to correct those leaders", he luckily ends.

"Democracy only works if it is local and if there is direct contact between the citizen and the person he votes for", says Hoogendijk in his book "De grote ommekeer" ("The great U-turn"). He is quoting the late Sir James Goldsmith. At first sight it is a rather strange choice to quote this British billionaire on democracy. In the seventies he sponsored operations by the secret service MI5 and the far Right to stop the resurgence of the Left. Later he organised and paid for the far Right fraction "Europe of the nations" in the Euro parliament. At his death the French Front National declared that a "loyal" fighter for "the defence of national identity" had died.

Hoogendijks striking choice probably has to do with his admiration of Sir James brother: Edward Goldsmith. Last year, it became known that he acted as a New Right ideologist. Edward Goldsmith became famous as the owner of the magazine The Ecologist. He also initiated Ecoropa, according to Hoogendijk "a group of friends, of European environmetalists. We like the ideas of Schumacher (keep it small) and the radical visions of The Ecologist, the best environmental magazine I know of".

The Earth Foundation is part of Ecoropa, and Hoogendijk always goes to the meetings. In his book "The great U-turn" he promotes The Ecologist. He probably called his book after the book of Goldsmith, with has exactly the same title.

Eric Krebbers is a member of De Fabel van de illegaal.


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