Baudet is not new

Yesterday in Utrecht.
Yesterday in Utrecht.

Yesterday in Utrecht some sixty people participated in a protest against MP Thierry Baudet’s sexism and racism. They shouted slogans and listened to speeches and raps by a number of activist women. Here’s the speech by Domi.

We are here, because we are not going to let any misogynist racist come to our cities without our voices being heard. We are here because we do not buy right-wing narrative masked by common-sense respectability of “Dutch” or “European” values. We are here because we know how dangerous Thierry Baudet and his party are, and we are not scared to speak up.

We, women, queers, Dutch and non-Dutch migrants, anti-racists, anti-capitalists, feminists, workers, unemployed, students and people of Utrecht… we are here because we cannot stay silent when people like Baudet and the Forum voor Democratie are coming into our cities… because it is not only our politics but our lives that are threatened every time someone with a very right-wing, conservative, neo-liberal agenda gets to have space and sits in the parliament.

Here’s the speech by Wan Ing at the same protest in Utrecht (in Dutch).

Today, I speak to you who are here. I speak to those of us who are tired to see racist, islamophobe, misogynist rhetoric to be sold as democratic populist talk. I speak to whose of us who can see beyond the right-wing rhetoric of fear and of “defending traditions” (whose traditions?), and I even speak to those around us, who think Baudet and the Forum voor Democratie is something new.

Baudet is not new, the Forum voor Democratie is not new. They are the cleaned-up, latin speaking, lavender smelling, “respectable” face of what we in the Netherlands have had for years: neo-liberal, elitist, white nationalist, sexist politicians.

Baudet and his politics speak of fear. Fear of Muslims, fear of refugees, fear of anything that threatens their middle-class white patriarchal comfort, their “traditional” privilege. Who is actually afraid?

Baudet and his politics speak of a European renaissance. What is that if not a new version of the same white European nationalist supremacy that has created colonialist exploitation, slavery and oppressions?

Baudet and his politics are trying to create an enemy that does not exist. Who is the enemy of women, people of colour, queers, families struggling to pay bills, people trying to find an affordable house, and people trying to live a life in solidarity together with others?

Baudet present himself as the “strong man”, who is able to keep women at bay, and who defends the national economy… does that ring a bell? Remember other historical figures who have presented themselves exactly like that?…. “Strong men”? I am Italian… I remember… fascism is not something of the past.

He explicitly says that women are inferior… He is trying to tell us that migrants and refugees are the problem… really? We know better, and we are not afraid.

Baudet and Forum voor Democratie feed a culture of fear, where black and brown people are racially profiled by our institutions, where LGBTIQ people have to conform to be tolerated, where women have to stay silent to be allowed to be, where working class and poor people have to go live outside the cities and can barely afford education, health and housing. There is nothing new about Baudet and the Forum voor Democratie other than they seem to be smart at hiding their intolerant agenda behind a façade of respectability.

The “strong white man” who wants to close borders, who treats women as inferior, who speaks of common-sense and traditions and has the support of the entrepreneurial class is not new, and it is dangerous… we are seeing this with Donald Trump, we have seen it with others in the past.

Baudet, Hiddema, the Forum voor Democratie… they are the elites they try to distance themselves from. The elites who have supported the same neo-liberal politics that have enabled people like Trump to be in power. They are the people who – with their speeches in the second chamber, their online supporters, their alt-right harassment, their talks at the EU parliament – create a culture of violence, sexism and racism. They create a culture of violence.

They are the offsprings of the same politicians that in the last few years have drastically cut funding to social housing, to students, cut funding to people who are trying to make our society more just, cut funding to people with non-European/non-white backgrounds. They are the ones who are afraid, afraid of other traditions, of other ways of living, of women speaking up, of black and brown people taking public space, of non-normative genders… of feminists… of so-called minorities…

Fear does not build a sustainable economy, does not build a just society… fear creates neo-liberal, racist, fascist regimes.

Solidarity is what makes lives liveable.

We have learnt that intolerance, islamophobia, sexism and racism are not common-sense values. Baudet pretends to represent the Dutch people? Who are the Dutch people? We, as women, people of color, migrants and natives, students, critical minds, LQBT people, queers, refugees, teachers, precarious workers… we, together, are the majority and we are not silenced.

In this time and age, if you do not speak up, you are complicit to these right-wing narratives… none can afford to be a silent bystander. This involves us all.

We won’t stay silent. We are here, and we will keep speaking our voices, and occupy spaces… together… in solidarity.