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This week's editor

NSS, editor

Niki Seth-Smith is a freelance journalist and contributing editor to 50.50.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Interviewing Babah Tarawally, Dutch novelist and former refugee from Sierra Leone

Babah Tarawally’s message is one of hope; he urges refugees to emancipate themselves from both a racist or excessively self-pitying discourse, and to acquire an active role in the construction of their future. 

Dutch popular rejection of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement: a self-inflicted wound

For everybody who knows a bit about the EU, the nationwide, expensive and low-turnout Dutch plebiscite on this EU-Ukraine contract looks in itself rather odd.

Women cyclists are dying, why are we still talking about their clothes?

Cycling deaths are gendered and women's cycling needs must taken into account by planners and campaigners.

Neoliberal realpolitik: choking others in our name

This lack of lived experience with the violence of our state entails an almost inevitable blindness to the deepening divide between those our states protect and those whose life it represses, expels, and humiliates.

The Netherlands' disgrace: racism and police brutality

A disturbing trend in the Netherlands towards more intense forms of racial profiling is converging with increasingly frequent and violent forms of police repression against minorities.

First we take Amsterdam, then we take The Hague

For those in Red Square, the Winter Palace is not in Amsterdam, but in the Dutch seat of government. Meanwhile, the New University has a life of its own.

A new language of hospitality

The complex linguistic identities of migrants to Europe are constantly denied recognition. We must renew the language of hospitality, in which equality rather than homogeneity dictates our borders.

How European Union switchboard "demoicracy" works

The complexity of the changing nation-state under the duress of globalization is currently snagged on a simplistic drive to fast-forward the past, driven by the desire to stay local.

Why we occupy: Dutch universities at the crossroads

The Netherlands, a mere 10 years behind the UK, seems eager to catch up. Twin pressures of authoritarianism from above and neoliberalism from below make it necessary to develop the democratic alternative put forward by the movement for a new university.

In search of the spider in Anders Behring Breivik's web

For months we searched for the Norwegian terrorist’s most prominent supporter. Our hunt ended in a suburb in South Carolina, USA.

Law’s mediations: the shifting definitions of trafficking

As trafficking becomes increasingly conflated with slavery and forced labor, there is less and less agreement amongst international organisations on the precise definitional boundaries of these terms.

The right to many tongues and multilingual cities

This is multilingualism, not in the sense of everyone speaking the same multiple languages, but the multilingualism of accepting difference and a willingness to listen to many tongues even if we do not fully understand them. 

States heed the warning: Srebrenica’s survivors make international legal history

A court has found the Netherlands partially responsible for the deaths of residents of the UN “safe area” in Srebrenica, who had sought refuge on property occupied by Dutch peacekeeping forces (known as Dutchbat).  

Mass surveillance: the Dutch state of denial

With tacit support from the European Commission, the Dutch government has carefully evaded addressing concerns over mass state surveillance.

Surveillance: justice, freedom and security in the EU

A discussion of European surveillance programmes cannot be reduced to the question of a balance between data protection versus national security. It has to be framed in terms of collective freedoms and democracy.

Netherlands' surveillance: justice, freedom and security in the EU

The Dutch state is developing a considerable surveillance and intelligence sharing apparatus. For what purpose?

Selective Dutch mourning rituals

Why would the Netherlands, champion of freedom of speech and tolerance, go out of its way to block a handful of people from assembling for a talk? What challenge can a commemoration of the Palestinian 1948 Nakba pose? 

How the rise of the Front National is reshuffling the political game and endangering France’s relationship with Europe

The Front National and other Eurosceptic parties are becoming increasingly popular and are dominating the political discourse. What are the consequences, both on the national and European level? 

The Goebbels effect

Let us stand still and recognize what has happened in the Dutch repudiation of Geert Wilders and embrace of Moroccan-Dutch – in all its ambivalence – but not cheer it, yet.

The populist appeal – bottom-up perspectives: the Netherlands, a view from the south

These extracts draw on citizen consultation in Maastricht, the capital city of Limburg, a southern region of the Netherlands that has its own identity, including its own officially recognized regional language. The region is known as a stronghold of the PVV, especially in former mining areas in the south-east.

The populist appeal – bottom-up perspectives: The ‘Participation Society’ of the Netherlands

These remarks, extracted from a meeting with citizens in Leidsche Rijn, confirm findings that only 20% of Dutch voters have trust in politics. Nostalgia for the old times when equality and consensus were at the heart of Dutch politics and life underlie the success of populism in the country.

Populist snapshots: this week’s exchange in the European Parliament

An excerpt from the debate on discriminatory internet sites and government reactions (March 13, 2012, Strasbourg), followed by commentary on the political language.

A new (order) Ukraine? Assessing the relevance of Ukraine’s far right in an EU perspective

Now that the EU is ready to embrace the new Ukrainian government, investing at least one billion euros in the ‘revolutionized’ country, it is time to reinvestigate the question of far right influence in Ukraine.

A march on Brussels? Never say never!

Conservative and nationalist blocks have successfully politicized Euro-elections. The other parties must clearly profile what they want to pursue and what re-arrange within the EU, to stand any chance of providing a home for citizens who have ample reason to grumble. Euro-elections landscape, 2014.

The Dutch media monopoly kills journalism in the Netherlands: internet doesn’t help

Politics has marginalized the people with the crucial support of the media.

Inspired by the public

Experimenting with public participation at the Kröller-Müller Museum, 2010-2014.

Transcending tolerance? The evolution of Dutch DNA

Visitors to the Amsterdam Museum are now met with the immodest claim that tolerance is part and parcel of the “Amsterdam DNA”. The concept of tolerance as understood now, and in bygone decades, needs critical interrogation if we are to advance a good society for all.

The contested spaces of the politics of universalism

A recent Dutch asylum case offers an opportunity to explore how universalism is being renegotiated within the frames of location, culture and citizenship. (Video, 15 mins)

Europe’s guns, debt and corruption

This second of two essays on military spending and the EU crisis, explores the role of the European arms trade, corruption and the role of arms exporting countries in fuelling a debt crisis, and why these 'odious' debts need to be written off. See Part One here.

Mainstreaming the brown spectre haunting Europe

From Geert Wilders in the Netherlands to Marine Le Pen in France, far right politicians using new strategies are being welcomed into mainstream discourse.

A countervailing power: an interview with Jan Pronk

We have to establish a world public power representative of all countries and all people within all countries. One cannot ‘think away’ individual countries as powers, or international companies and banks. But we need a countervailing power in the system. 

The moral sadism of the Dutch State

Desperate to eject some refugees it does not want, the Netherlands is refining the art of radical deprivation. No single step, no single decision, no single action in this process is horrible. Yet the cumulative effect is grotesque.

How populism grew its roots in the Netherlands

As politics and elite behaviour move away from consensus and inclusion, Geert Wilders has been able to capitalise on the social compartmentalisation that characterises the modern Netherlands.

The Dutch elections and the Eurosceptic paradox

Despite alarming predictions, last week's Dutch election results turned out to be anticlimactic, as voters placed their confidence in the two mainstream, moderate parties. But Brussels shouldn't celebrate too soon, as the "European weather vane" shows signs of bigger challenges to come.

Dutch elections, European consequences

The combination of economic troubles and Eurosceptic pressures will increase the international impact of the Netherlands' latest election, says Cas Mudde.

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