|Tearing down new buildings inside the circle|
|Tearing down new buildings|
|inside the circle|
A movement which has not been able to trace its own terminus will ultimately consider itself required to force it. Even if it has resolved to go on as long as possible, at some point it will try to call it a day. Closed groups will form inside the movement which see themselves as the only true heirs to the original events. They will take the task upon themselves of playing out against each other all the other fragments which see themselves as part of the movement, to distill the nucleus that the original impulse is rolled up in. They can achieve this by bringing on a maelstrom of internal purges and exclusions, which take on the character of a fatal chain of events. The snowball sucks all the energy towards itself and transports the movement to a violent vanishing point.
Not one »mover« is then capable any more of backing out of the events, which have the intensity of the early days, only now the outbursts are caused by attraction and repulsion between the bits of the movement itself. Everyone chooses a position in the internal field of tension, which moves into a more violent release than anyone had ever considered possible.
The effort of the final battle is a crystal to be saved, from which a new crowd might someday form. If this fails to happen, the movement is in fact removed from history. If the crystallization does succeed, then future movements will unavoidably have to do with this group, which tries to steer the events based on an impulse foreign to the new movement. For the crystal is no longer capable of changing shape, however much circumstances alter themselves. Those who have not been admitted into the crystal are able to go into a metamorphosis once more. One who survives the movement's self-destruction can begin again, but the radical naiveté is henceforth mixed with a heavy dose of unsociableness.
On Thursday, October 23, 1986, seven flats in the Okeghem- and Hendrik Jacobstraat in Amsterdam, which had been moved into under supervision of the Schinkel district squat group one year before, were vacated. Stephan, a Schinkelite: »The afternoon of October 22nd, someone comes walking into our coffeeshop in the Binnenpret with a short note from Inspector Vos from the van Leyenberghlaan police station, saying he was going to be evicted. Slowly but surely more people came in with notes like it and it became clear that this was a coordinated action.« It was highly unusual to let people know about their eviction a day in advance. That it was happening now was immediately connected in the Binnenpret with recent actions against Amsterdam's candidacy for the 1992 Olympic Games.
A broad group of 50 »antis« traveled behind the Dutch Olympic Committee by van to Lausanne, where the final decision on which city would get the games was to drop. For three days, before the eyes of the massive press turnout, the group managed to »trash Holland's good name in the world« with slogans like »Amsterdam supports apartheid« and the physical (approach) of IOC officials; it never came to violence. Friday October 17 had been the vote and Barcelona had won the race. When the Dutch delegation headed disappointedly back to Amsterdam the next day to give a final press conference in the World Trade Center, the vanload of »bums, drug addicts and anarchists« (van Agt) which had driven back in the meantime was waiting to roar »No way, ha ha ha!« at the company. A fat trustee's face is spat on. This was »the drop that made the bucket run over«; »frenzy« broke out among police and administrators. A daily paper noted, »the official spokesperson for the Amsterdam police: 'We're sick of always being confronted with members of the squatter's movement, raising hell. There's always trouble with the same individuals. It's high time tough measures are taken.«
It was known to the police that some of the No-Olympians lived in the Okeghem neighborhood. The Housing Association, which owned the squatted flats there, had to admit later that it had been pressed by the police to have the buildings vacated as soon as possible, while the Association hadn't considered this necessary. For the squatters it was clear from the outset that this was a revenge exercise »against people who had been in Lausanne and had fun with van Swine's [Amsterdam mayor van Thijn's] letdown.« If the police wanted a riot so badly they'd get one; all night the Schinkelites prepared to hold back the eviction, while the residents, those who were around, moved their stuff to empty attics nearby.
Stephan: »People went around to the squat bars that night to warn others. There had already been action against the Housing Association's strategy of sticking guards in the houses or putting them in a hut on the street in front of the buildings. Once one of those huts was set on fire in a playful way. So the people in the city more or less knew what was going on. It was also said that at the eviction the idea wasn't a symbolic action, but resistance. So the intention was that you were unidentifiable, had your helmet on, whatever.«
The next morning the police showed up for the announced confrontation. Stephan: »When pigs tried to get through the door at #20 with axes, tiles were thrown off the roof.« Then the riot police showed up and two mollies fell. The seven flats were vacated, but the police found only one squatter there. She tried to short-circuit the SLYPTOL the police were sawing the door open with by pouring »a couple of cartons of milk« over it and was subsequently arrested. It took some time before the police located the activists. In the street there was a tussle with the people who had answered the alarm. In the unvacatable residence Okeghemstraat 14 #2 the squatters were discovered. With a blank search warrant the police GING ERTOE OVER to storm the door, but it was finally opened by the people inside, »after it was agreed we woul name no names and give no statements.« All told, 20 people were arrested and transported to van Leyenberghlaan station. Stephan: »Six of them were released by Thursday, a few Yugoslavians who were visiting, Krijn and Robert who were from other neighborhoods, and someone they forgot to put into detention. On Friday the rest, except for five, were let go.« The demonstration which was to memorialize Hans Kok in front of Headquarters had been suuposed to march to the Okeghemstraat to resquat the houses. But the plan was foiled when the riot police disrupted the ceremony.
Stephan: »The Monday after that, the five remaining arrestees were brought before the examining judge. When the attorney came outside, we found out all five of them had gotten extended detention. And that was based to a very large degree on a statement by one of their fellow arrestees, at the top of which was a CID number, Criminal Intelligence Service #337. The person had pointed out people in photographs who had supposedly thrown mollies and tiles from the roof, while he stayed sitting in the flat at #14. When the news was known a meeting was called right away in the coffeeshop. It was initially supposed to be a neighborhood meeting with the ex-arrestees, but more people were invited, or just came. What should we do? Who is the person who gave a statement under a CID number? In the 'Handbook against the Cops' we had found that if you have a CID number, you're a completely checked-out informant. The attorney came too and gave a short speech and confirmed that the person with the CID number had to have been an informant for a while. Just a week later we found out someone could be assigned one of those numbers ad hoc. We had the statement in our possession, and could pretty much find out in detail who had been in that room at #14. So soon we knew Krijn or Robert must have given that statement, but you have to substantiate something like that. Some people wanted to go break their windows right away, but we decided to discuss it first. The first discussion with both took hours. They had to recount the events, how they got the alarm, why they went, if they answered alarms a lot, why they hadn't gone other times but did now, what they'd seen, what they'd done at the police station, what they'd stated, etc. And Krijn especially came forth during this as an unstable individual; he didn't talk for long either, he was really upset. Robert said quite a lot, but a lot of things didn't add up, contradictions.
After those discussions the suspicion only increased with respect to both. It was clear that one was the CID number, but what the other's role was stayed shadowy; he hadn't per se had to give a statement. Robert was released the first day by chance, and not because of a technical mistake. That made him a bit dubious in our eyes, plus he was unknown; that played a part too. That night we found out that it was Krijn who had given a statement under a CID number. He told a housemate and the person contacted the Schinkel. So we met again, but we were divided about what to do with him. Some people thought he should be taken out of his house right away - his stuff in the canal, chase him out of the city, or break his windows. The next day Robert was invited to the Binnenpret and questioned twice, the first time by a group that was recognizable and the second time by a group of people with balaclavas on, in the vain hope that he would be scared into explaining the contradictions in his story. He didn't, so it had little result. That night someone proposed making a poster of the traitors. Also a big argument started about what methods could be appropriated against someone who a lot of people considered an unstable individual, who got caught in a situation like that almost against his will. That was also the strange thing about that guy Robert, that he had dragged Krijn along to the eviction, knowing something could happen. Everyone was very clearly told right before the eviction what was going to happen, and people who couldn't get involved, or who were nervous about it, had the option to leave the building, and later he always vehemently denied that.«
Johan lived in the old city, and saw it from another angle: »I knew Robert as a squatter from the neighborhood, he lived with his girlfriend in a squat nearby. Krijn had lived there too and was around there a lot. I only knew him by sight. He said he'd heard in the Binnenpret the night before that all kinds of things in the Schinkel would be vacated the next day. They decided to go to bed early and be there the next day. They didn't know several codes that are fairly well known in squatters' circles, the position to take at that kind of eviction, what you can do and what not, whether to wear a helmet, about getting picked up, raids, police violence, basically how you work together in that kind of dire situation. I'd never seen them at an eviction before.
We hadn't heard anything ourselves about the situation, only that some people had gotten picked up, but it was all pretty far away. Two days later I ran into Robert and he started to tell me everything that had happened the morning of the eviction. Krijn had locked himself in the toilet, it was all too scary for him. Robert had stood at the window and watched it all. At the station Krijn blabbed pretty quick about what he'd heard from the people who came back from the roof. The police put more words in your mouth than you really know, they presume things that eventually you say yes to. If you're scared and blabbing then you go along with a story that's constructed for you. Krijn saw Polaroids of the people who were picked up and pointed people out. He got asigned an informant number because of his story, and in that case the informant is actually supposed to be made anonymous, but only if they ask to be. Krijn didn't do that, he didn't think about repercussions at all. Robert signed a short statement that he hadn't seen anything, they both gave their names and were let go right away. The anonymous statement with the CID number may have gotten into the attorneys' file by accident, a substantial mistake by the investigation department, and people in the Schinkel got hold of it. That got them thinking, what could this mean? The conclusion they immediately drew was that Krijn was an infiltrant sent by the police to be at the eviction. The Schinkel people found the people who were released soon after their arrest right away. Robert was frisked, in any case his pockets were emptied, his house keys were copied and his house searched, pages from his appointment book were copied and the telephone index taken out. Those people never approached anyone from our neighborhood, they just went to do things themselves straight away. They thought Robert was Krijn's runner.
Around our neighborhood people were of the opinion that someone with no experience should be able to make mistakes. They considered interrogating someone in balaclavas a secret service method. People from an extraparliamentary movement don't treat each other like that.«
The squatters' paper the Grachtenkrant received two pieces from Krijn and Robert and placed them in their entirety, like all incoming copy. The Schinkel squatters were also asked for their report of their investigation activities, but no response came. Krijn wrote about his interrogation, »I gave a disgustingly incriminating statement. You should only be sitting there, scared, confused, and extremely unstable. Afterwards, yes, you feel like a huge asshole. I flipped in that cell. For two days I sat there and read a pink slip of paper. Panic, fear, how can this be, I didn't do anything. What I'm doing to other people is terrible. I'm so disgusted with myself. I'm so terribly sorry.« In his testimony, which quickly went public, he stated to the police: »On photo #33 I recognize a boy who was lugging around a crate of so-called swing-stoppered bottles. I clearly saw that there were cloths or cotton stuffed into the necks of these bottles. When he came back I also heard this boy say, 'I aimed a fire bomb at a cop car and I hit the bullseye. It caught on fire.'«
Robert defended himself in his article: »After twelve hours of being locked up I'm sick of it. I give my name and a vague statement. I'm set free immediately but I'm not too happy. After two reconstructions from me the Schinkel district concludes in a way unclear to me that I might possibly be an informant or infiltrant. I am confronted with the feared OMGEKEERDE BEWIJSLAST. I have now described this case from one of my viewpoints. There are many other ways of describing this.«
Stephan from the Schinkel: »About two weeks after the eviction the group busy with the statement issue was getting smaller and smaller. Then the undesired publicity started too, the Grachtenkrant choosing the side of the 'underdog' Krijn and of Robert, and against the 'investigation group,' which had then already noticeably changed in constitution. We knew who had given the statement, so for us not much more needed to be done. We, as a pretty closed group, in a hectic time, occupied with one topic, thought we had every right to investigate and solve it like that, up to and including interrogation with balaclavas, because we thought it was crazy that so much was hanging over the heads of those five people because of a statement by possibly Krijn, but with a suspicion of Robert, which was never removed...but never confirmed either.«
The Schinkel squatters observed with surprise how, on one hand, a group of old acquaintances gradually took over the investigation they had launched into the CID number, turning out to have their own plans for it, while on the other the squatters' media fell upon them as if they were the »Squat Contraintelligence Service, Schinkelbuurt Division.« »FC Grachtengordel* (where Krijn lived) had its good name damaged by the Schinkel group.« Neither the squat media nor the investigation group paid much attention to the arrestees, one of whom was unconditionally sentenced to five months and two to the six weeks they had been locked up in custody, one person who had refused to give his name was held three months without being convicted, and »photo #33« was locked up six months long based on CID#337's statement.
The group of old acquaintances, who slowly but surely took over the original investigation group, consisted for the most part of people who had had problems over the years with their respective squat groups. Now they seemed to have found each other, OP a theme »they had gotten enthusastic about.« (Joris) The unfamiliarity between the scenes guaranteed that many squatters knew these people by name but not by face. There were soon remarks being made like »There is a group of people around who don't know what to do with themselves, who have found an occasion to focus their reeling minds.« They soon became generally known as »the investigation group,« after they had taken over the leadership of the original group of ex-arrestees and Schinkel squatters. A number of them, including Hein and Piet, had been at at the No-Olympic incidents in Lausanne and caused bickering there too over how the action should go. A »chaotic report of the No-Olympics trip« described the difficulties as »a discussion between the relatively unorganized group and a group who thinks they have to organize it in a way they've devised. We suddenly find ourselves in a group that wants to bring down van Thijn. In itself not such a bad idea, but I want to stand up for something without being channeled into it by some idiot.« Frustrating the Olympic campaign, which had been organized by others, was right up the street of someone like Hein, who ever since he had gotten involved in squatting had displayed an obsession with knocking Amsterdam's social democracy off its throne. The slogan he hung on the Groote Keyser about the »rightists disguised as leftists«, the worst of all, who must be avoided like the plague, had referred then to the Labor Party.
The investigation group now seized upon the »Okedighem aftermath« to profile itself by raising the theme »betrayal or blabbing.« This was not done to broach a discussion, but to devise a criterion for who can and can't be an activist. The »rightists disguised as leftists« came ever closer. From the beginning they required anyone calling themselves a squatter to take up a stand for or against Krijn as a symbol of the traitor mentality. Every individual had to clearly declare that traitors must be »isolated, driven away and eliminated.«
On Sunday, November 2, a group of »hot-tempered individuals« pushed Krijn's housemates to throw him out. Wednesday, November 5, he was phoned with an ultimatum: »Saturday, November 8th, at 8:00 p.m., Krijn has to have fucked off, otherwise the house will be vacated by the 'city-wide squat movement.'« Krijn left the city that day, »scared as he had been by the threatening phone calls and people coming to his door with threats.« The housemates called a city-wide conference for November 6th. »That Thursday night there was a busy and predictably aggressive atmosphere, big mouth strikes again, the investigation group cooperated great from the start by stating right away that they had nothing to state. Angry reactions to the threat on Krijn's housemates were disposed of with, 'See, you're protecting him.'« That same night the poster »Traitor has disappeared« appeared with the text of the statement and Krijn's full name on it.
A months-long publicity flood of leaflets and articles followed, in which the investigation group sent decrees out into the world and the rest of the movement indignantly agreed. All these texts were aimed at the outside world, to whom it had be explained what exactly happened and what didn't, and how you ought to stand on it. Striking, however, is that these scribblings were practically incomprehensible to anyone not already in the know about the incidents described. But it was precisely this orientation towards outsiders who, even if they wanted to, could never understand all the ins and outs that played a role in the conflict, which revealed them to be the ones it all revolved around. It was also some time before the various squabbling parties figured that out.
When »the inside media« in Amsterdam did not wish to pursue the same course as the Schinkel squatters, who as the arrestees' group had still not clearly distinguished themselves from the »investigation group,« they turned to the Hague paper de Zwarte (The Black), to publish the arrestees' prison letters with their commentary. Right after this the paper was inundated with heaps of articles from on the one hand the investigation group and on the other outraged commentators from all the land. It then became a widely read paper in Amsterdam as well, where distribution had already been taken over in a number of neighborhoods by the investigation group.
Then on December 15, 1986, the investigation group published another poster: »Caution: Traitors!« It bore two pictures of people who »have supplied information in exchange for a favor,« and next to them an empty frame and below it the text, »name and photo to come.« The suggestion was that every squatter could expect his or her picture there. A leaflet by the investigation group about its enemies put this somewhat more clearly: »The heart of the matter, which they are attempting to conceal with all that display of so-called moral outrage, is that they feel attacked if 'an underdog...who blabbed during interrogation' is exposed.« The poster got »European distribution,« but in Amsterdam was accompanied instantly by strips stuck over the heads of the »traitors« with the text »Warning: Police provocation.«
However much they opposed each other verbally, all the columnists and poster-hangers agreed about the issue at stake: making sure their circle didn't lose the potential to someday bring a great group to its feet again. Opponents of the investigators wrote, »Their work doesn't exactly have a stimulating effect on new people hooking up with the scene«; »They're scaring other people away, destroying a lot.« And Barend, in an observation of the »squealers situation« in the weekly »bluff!« with which, to the anger of many, he would make the national press: »This rabble-rousing will scare away new people. It creates the immpression that you have to have heavy activist training under your belt first to be allowed to participate.« The investigation group countered in its own flyer: »A movement that acts against treason, for newcomers as well, inspires confidence and gives a guarantee of backing.« And in March '87 it formulated »conditions for getting back on the move«: »It's high time to make a choice between just two things - either supporting treason or dealing with it.«
By this time the group had started its own paper, Staatsnieuws, or State News, whose home base was the Staatslieden district. This was supposed to »work supportively with uncensored and factual reports instead of rumors and negative stories of a personal character.« If at the No-Olympics the investigation group had still been able to walk around unhindered among a motley crew from »the movement« and try to impress its stamp upon what was happening, henceforth it only stood by, investigatively watching what the others were doing. »In early '87 was the sixth eviction at Singel 114. Hein and Piet were there in a van across the canal taking pictures, to show that the whole thing was just a sorry mess, poorly organized.« The rest of the investigation group had already made known before the eviction that it would have a folding chair rental across from the Singel. That morning they were indeed sitting on the terrace diagonally across from the squat. One still saw the group occasionally, but after a series of angry discussions the general feeling was that they should be ignored. Their demand of a choice between two things was answered with the rejection of »the terminology the choice was offered in.« After December 1986 the excitement ebbed away.
In this first round the investigation group managed to find a theme, with which the right chord could be struck inside the »movement«. The group appealed to the movers at their weak point: the stagnation of the growth of the (imaginary) crowd, something for which the group itself too still hoped. They claimed to have found the cause of this stagnation, for which the other scenes had no unequivocal answer. Many also shared the investigation group's criticism of the »lack of substance and the little cliques.« But the conditions under which the investigation group saw the crowd growing again conflicted with those of the other scenes. By demanding exclusions, it brought the self-image of an »open and growing movement« under heavy fire. The investigation group was pressuring the movement to prove that it still existed. It suddenly managed to make it apparent that the movement had become pitifully small. At the same time it proved possible for a tightly organized group to determine the agenda, which had been unthinkable before. By demanding that everyone »choose« among the choices it outlined, it also showed that light-years of distance stood between the various scenes, which one year after the reunion for Hans Kok already couldn't understand each other anymore.
Its whole operation was an attack on the way things were »going on« after squatting's heyday was over: »The action groups in Holland have taken on the character of Scout groups, the actions that of a game, exciting ritual incantations to immerse you in the still tepid bath of your community, which has gotten to look more and more like a monkey house than a house with people in it.« And from this the group concluded, »The current noises from the 'squat movement' are downright embarrassing: 'we must go on - we need each other, don't we?' Go on! Without drawing conclusions from what's happened.« The need for conclusions and a reinterpretation of the past supplied the energy for the second round.
Tuesday morning, March 24, 1987, at 6:30 a.m., a riot police presence of 240 occupied the city center of Nijmegen. They burst into five squats, arresting eight people who were suposedly involved in the mariënburcht. The charge was article 140; »Participation in an organization which has the intention to commit criminal offenses.« In other words, someone who organized resistance to an eviction was responsible for the others' transgressions of the law. It soon became known that the province of Gelderland's Regional Criminal Investigation Task Force conducted research for two months after the eviction and amassed mountains of material: »An in-depth neighborhood investigation in downtown Nijmegen was done with a photo book. All van rental companies had to submit their records from the preceding two months. All pharmacies in Holland selling chemicals were visited and asked whether, and to whom, they had sold ingredients for smoke. A store recognized a buyer as 'a squatter' (how did they know that?), wrote down this person's name and handed it over to the cops. The telephones of several large squats were constantly tapped and in February squats were broken into without explanation and papers, appointment books, newspapers and posters were taken.«
The arrestees were isolated from each other and interrogated for weeks, one as many as 29 times. The preliminary investigation had yielded no conclusive evidence of who had committed which acts of violence. This was why, for the first time in the case of a riot, the police had resorted to the dormant 140th section of the law. Only by making the arrestees give statements could it be proven that they had controlled the actual organization of the resistance. Nijmegen soon found out that six of the eight arrestees had talked about their own involvement with the mariënburcht; one cited others as well. Two stayed silent for months. Reports on the results of the interrogations were not publicized, because it had been decided to focus all attention on fighting the use of article 140, which hung like a sword of Damocles over every action. The poster announced, »They are trying to regard an arbitrary group of people as a legal body, and by doing so, make this section of the law applicable to everyone. It brings a loss of rights and judicial arbitrariness along with it.« Just as resistance to the eviction of the mariënburcht had been legitimized by the squatters with the vacancy law, which otherwise had nothing to do with it, the riot was now being combatted by Justice with a TOEVALSTREFFER. And the squatters reacted, exactly as they did before an eviction, by making it into an attack on their lives: then it had been »You only have to exist«; now »anyone« could be shadowed and picked up.
After 44 days all the arrestees were free. On October 15 their trial finally took place at 9:00 a.m. in Arnhem. The leaflet: »Justice suggest that they have arrested the brain behind the squat movement. No way. The squat movement has no directors, central committee or brain. It's their hierarchy, not ours!« That afternoon there was a national demo in the center of Arnhem.
A week later a nine-page »Report on the 'Article 140 Trial'« was distributed in Amsterdam squat bars, written by »people present in the gallery.« The tone was that of sincerely interested parties, who wanted to be witness a political trial and to their bewilderment found themselves in the middle of a »completely incomprehensible« production. »At the request of the suspects,« the entire audience was frisked for cameras and recording equipment and »if it had been up to the suspects our writing equipment would have been confiscated too.« The report described how after a muddled inspection of the suspects' personal particulars by the judge, the eight withdrew into the gallery. The trial had been characterized by »dualism« - on the one hand the defense wanted the arrestees' sentences reduced, on the other they were trying »to make the trial a bit political as well« concerning the article 140 issue. »When the presiding judge started to read out the onus of proof against the suspects, a whole lot of things became clear to us. The onus of proof consisted almost entirely of the statements the suspects had given during police interrogation. The suspects' walking off must be seen as fear of being directly confronted with their treasonous statements.«
The anonymous scribes then gave an overview of »treason in Nijmegen.« The statements of the six suspects, identified by name and sometimes address, were hereby subdivided into the categories »personal confession,« »betrayal of persons and action structures« and »dissociations.« At the end of the piece, the selection criterion of »talking or treason«, which had caused such a fuss a year before, was again defined: »Activists in Nijmegen want to make it look like the six talked under extremely difficult circumstances. Nothing is further from the truth. Talking selectively is not talking, but treason. Continually dissociating yourself is not talking, but treason. Naming the names of your fellow activists is not talking, but treason. Giving so much factual information, so detailed and so across-the-board, is not talking, but treason. Not retracting your statements or not stating that you gave them under pressure is a confession of the deliberateness of the treason.« They concluded: »Because the 'movement' accepts the treason, and it thus becomes so large-scale, the only proper sanction would quickly end in a mass execution. We hereby state that the traitors, under these circumstances, are not even worth a bullet anymore.«
In Nijmegen it was immediately obvious who wrote the piece. Hein and Piet, known from the investigation group, had been practically the only Amsterdammers to succeed in securing a ticket to the small gallery in Arnhem on the first day of the trial. They had been the first outside the door of the courthouse. The Nijmegeners reacted with outrage that the carefully planned trial strategy was now being thwarted at the whim of the »people from the 'investigation group', not one of whom by the way has ever been involved with the mariënburcht.« As it happened, the Nijmegen trial group had decided to VOEREN a collective trial with the whole group of arrestees, in which the article 140 threat would play a central part. But at the same time they wanted to protect the individual suspects from too heavy a prison sentence by keeping them out of their own trial as much as possible. After the trials their »talking« during interrogation could always be examined in more detail. On November 4, the second day of the trial, the Nijmegeners tried to keep two other members of the investigation group, Hendrik and Sylvia, outside the door in Arnhem, but they managed to be admitted to the courtroom under police escort: »It was unknown what they came for, but known that they shouldn't have.«
In Amsterdam the investigation group's own paper had left the Staats sometime ago, the better to cause city-wide fuss under the name Stadsnieuws (City News). In the first widely-circulated issue, #13, the investigators published a programmed preface about their intentions: »A new squat movement is what we are working for, but first the old one must be torn down. You only build new structures once the old ones are demolished and the ground is made ripe for building. You can help us; then it will be quicker. You can work against us; then it will be slower but also bloodier.« The group made clear with this that they, just like the rest of the movement, wanted to go on. But first, a regeneration had to occur. Starting the same thing over again was another way of going on.
Along with the usual squat reports, Stadsnieuws published a series of longer pieces under the name »Voetangels en Klemmen« (Pitfalls). In this series the history of squatting since the 1984 reconstruction attempt was rewritten. Several members of the investigation group had contributed to the discussion leaflet »KRAKEN OF GRUTTEN?« and the revival of the City Conference (SOK). Now, three years later, this renovation attempt was named as the crucial moment at which the decline could have turned: »Since the blow of the failed reconstruction in 1984, the movement has no longer been able to restore itself. Today, in 1987, the chance to rebuild the squat movement again seems completely lost.« Hence the demolition plans. After three installments, the series closed with the programmed announcement, »The labor of the few squatters who remain consistent, for whom Stadsnieuws speaks, will in the future be more theoretical than practical in nature.«
This theoretical labor was presently detailed in a special on »leaflets, bulletins and papers«: »Assuming that society consists for 99% of 'meatballs' and that the squat movement is a reflection of this, then things are grim with politically independent thinkers, let alone doers. It is characteristic of any political movement to regularly purge its ranks. The majority often purges the minority; in connection with the aforementioned 'meatball theory' it is necessary this time that the 'political' minority purge the majority.« The investigation group went on to claim that, with this ideology in the backs of their minds, they had been the »constructors of the old movement.« This view of the origins of the squat movement had already been refuted in Stadsnieuws itself in an installment of »Voetangels en Klemmen,« in which the 1984 SOK was accused of »one-sidedly attributing the successes of 1980 to 'construction work' in years before, without giving enough credit to the social raison d'atre of the mass actions.« From this rebuttal it could already be inferred that the investigation group were not as in accord with each other as they claimed.
The Stadsnieuws special argued forcefully that it was too late for the elite to make subtler value judgments on meatball-thinking: »We want to put all evil abscesses and excesses of the movement out of the fight. This is an unpleasant task, because such a fight can hardly be waged subtly.« The zine announced that as part of this task the first target would be SOCIALE ADVOCATUUR. In later issues the ideological standards of well-known squat attorneys were tested in a series of extensive interviews. The News wanted to find out whether they were guilty of »profiteering.«
The Stadsnieuws advertising slogan was that the zine was »taken seriously by no one but read by everyone« in the scenes. In mid-October Amsterdam was abuzz with rumors over a »traitors' brochure«, soon to be published by the investigation group, including a list of the names of »by now over 200« traitors from the own ranks. But when the mariënburcht trial began the group saw a chance to take up its demolition of the movement. The Nijmegen issue had the advantage that it could never be cleared up, since legally and internally it was much too complicated. So the case could be used for any purpose. Furthermore, it offered the group a chance to bring its attack on attorneys »who had converted to yuppiedom« onto a practical level. After the account of the »treason«, Piet and Hein wrote in the report of the trial, »This account was a sample of the things read out by the judge. What the judge read, however, was again a sample of what the District Attorney and the eight activists have in their possession. For each activist there are statements ranging from about 20 up to 60 pages.« The investigation group's next act was to make these statements public.
On Wednesday, November 11th, 1987, at 2:00 p.m., a group of 17 people occupied the office of a number of SOC ADVKTN on the Keizersgracht. The action was prompted by a debate currently going inside the SOC ADVTUUR over whether rapists and dealers ought to be defended. Quite a few people were asked to join the occupation on these grounds, but afterward another press release appeared, this time from »real squatters« calling themselves »representatives of the political wing of the A'dam squat movement« (PVK) The statement, which opened with the »rightists disguised as leftists« quote, gave this argument: »This office has repeatedly opposed itself in word and deed to the SOC ADVTUUR. It is abundantly clear that these folks are competing for positions in which power, prestige and a prosperous and handsomely paid career are most important. Traitors feel at home in this office too. Everyone who does not condemn treason is automatically a target for action. This office is being occupied with the motto: Let the dissidents leave!« The circle of leftist rightists to be exposed now included even the scene's own attorneys.
The press release closed with a surprising twist: »Now that we're here, we want to take advantage of the opportunity to demand the traitor files, at least copies of them.« An incomplete file on one of »the Nijmegen Six« found in the office was removed, and returned after being photocopied. With that the action had become the property of the investigation group. The attorneys responded in turn with a press statement: »We regret that a conflict inside the squat movement is being played out over the heads of the SOC ADVTR. The situation becomes unworkable when the files of some activists must be protected from other activists.«
Rudie: »The day after they raided the office, right after noon on Radio Stad they said that Piet was about to clarify some things. I called some people, but no one was home. Then I just decided to get up my nerve and go to the broadcast. I told him off. I interrupted him and told him no one agreed with this. That really freaked them out, that I butted in and told it like it was. I didn't think it should be left up to him to say it.« A piece in the Grachtenkrant, signed »an Amsterdammer«, called the raid »nauseating« and characterized the investigation group as »former squatting big shots who, because of their lust for power, and later their fanatical destructiveness, were blown off long ago by the rest of the movement. They want to destroy the already nonexistent movement, so then they can get control of the New Movement, for which the blueprints, modeled on fundamentalism, are already available. 'We are the New Squat Movement,' the spokesperson bleats on the radio. So we're manipulated by these guys, who in the past were so good at writing press statements behind everyone's back, like after Kedichem, for example.«
A new series of publications followed this. The inside media had so far been totally silent about the leaflet on the outcome of the trial and the statements on the mariënburcht. An internal »article from the Nijmegen«: explained why: »the entire leaflet is based on factual inaccuracies, suggestive, and muckraking of the lowest kind! And that's why Nijmegen has decided not to respond to this article.« A city conference was held in Amsterdam, where the Nijmegeners made it clear that not one arrestee had given statements about anyone from another city. »The only one who gave a statement about someone else drew the conclusion meanwhile not to get involved in actions and such anymore.«
The investigation group managed to totally inflate this cold shoulder strategy. By occupying the office of popular SOC ADVKTN and making a public statement in the name of the squat movement, the group successfully struck a nerve again. Everyone in the movement felt obligated once again to take a stand for or against them. The fact that practically all arrestees and accompanying trial groups had handed over the management of their trials to their lawyers over the years and let them become purely legal affairs instead of spectacles where they had the starring role, was something that was never brought up for discussion anymore. The PVK had already brought this behavioral code under fire in their report on the mariënburcht trial, where they wrote, »You'd think either you make a legal trial out of it, in other words try to get off as easy as possible, or a political trial where you take a hard and principled line and use the court sessions as a platform for your political motivation. If you want to make a legal trial out of it, then why organize a demonstration on that very day? If you want to make it a political trial, then why submit so expressly to the legal process?«
But no one responded to this criticism, because in the mariënburcht trial the arrestees, not the attorneys, had done the preliminary work and had determined their trial strategy themselves. The occupation of the attorneys' office could have kicked off a discussion about the dependence of attorneys. But the thievery of the file made it impossible to press this point. Just like at the Okeghemstraat, the investigation group, now the PVK, managed to immediately kill a discussion it had cranked up and thereby make only their own methods a topic for conversation.
The sensitive chord was no more gently struck for this. The weekly bluff! reports in its issue the day after the occupation, »More evidence of how crazy, how dangerous and how pathetic they are is not necessary. Think about this and talk about it. It's time.« A week later the paper, under the heading »madness in the movement«, explains why it stayed silent about the investigation group until the lawyer action: »bluff! has chosen until now not to write directly about their disgusting activities, so as not to give them too much attention, but the raid last week was the last straw.« It came with a concise »chronology of treason«, meaning the investigation group's activities. The second publication wave set in once the pasts of the people who made up the investigation group/PVK had been publicized. But soon the past of the entire squat movement was being rewritten. Time and time again, analyses were published on the issue of what the squat movement was/is, whether the PVKers had been its »constructors« and what role they had in fact played in which incidents. Suddenly, after years, those in the movement had to develop a memory. At the same time they had to fight against the ancient noncommittalness, which, according to a leaflet, »creates a vacuum where the investigation group can continue its practices peacefully and undisturbed.« And so this contribution to the discussion ran: »The group must no longer be ignored, but isolated. The best way to isolate them is by actively continuing in the right way ourselves.«
Now that ignoring was no longer OK, everybody had to go a step further and isolate the group. The passive manner in which they did this was dictated by the ethical attitude, »we refuse to employ the same methods as the investigation group.« Furthermore, it was impossible to get all the scenes onto the same wavelength, because some thought the group actually was broaching real problems, if its methods hadn't been too successful. The PVK was refused entry to most squatters' bars. But when the members of the group promised to behave reasonably, they remained welcome in circuits like the Schinkel and Oosterpark districts. The group did lose all access to the inside media, including Stadsnieuws, which was done in when #33 was made by its opponents with the names and pasts of the PVKers. The paper never appeared again after that. Even the Black, distributed until then by the PVK, joined in: »We now choose to isolate and eliminate the investigation group in the hopes of getting back control of the discussion.«
The PVK finally responded around Christmas 1987 by coming out with the promised 106-page booklet of traitors. On the cover was a photograph of a polder lake with a windmill in the distance. At the water's edge six people kneeled with thick rope tied around their necks and hands. They had bags over their heads. Behind them stood a figure with balaclava and raincoat who had just shot the first in the back of the neck and was aiming at the second. The title was »Pearls before Swine. Decline and betrayal inside the activism movement in Holland. A report from the political wing of the squat movement.« The caption ran, »Traitors are the lowest type of people. The type against whom all methods are permissible.«
The book reinterpreted the history of the squat movement in terms of a generational conflict between the older activists and the new guard. The stolen mariënburcht files and some sundry police statements of activists were printed, the SOC ADVKTR investigated, the inside media attacked, and finally, the correct »attitude of a political activist« prescribed. KRAKEN OF GRUTTEN is included in an appendix and claimed as their publication. A few »Western European« cases of betrayal were described as well.
The book did not sell well. For one thing, most of the excitement had already ebbed away and the phase of passive isolation had set in. For another, the work was removed from one of the few bookstores that wanted to sell it, when an demo of AUTONOMEN happened to pass by. The owner entertains customers with the story: »Then suddenly this group in balaclavas storms in here, grabs that stack of booklets and runs back out of the place. I run after them. When I've almost got hold of the guy in back, he stretches out his arm and I see a crowbar. Okay, okay, I say, just take them already.«
The book was only sold under the counter in certain bars and shops, but was not discussed outside the circle of friends. »Everyone ignores that thing.« You weren't supposed to buy it or sell it and it was little-read. There was no fear of finding oneself on the traitors' list, since it turned out not to have been included and never did surface.
If in the first round after the Okeghemstraat, the selection criteria had been established for who was and wasn't allowed to let the movement grow, with the second round a new phase dawned. When a space was squatted to house a new bar, out of peevishness someone painted the name »De Harde Kern«, Dutch for The Hard Core, on the facade, since the police had been hunting for years for the »core« of the movement. Just then Piet came cycling by and yelled furiously, »How dare you! We're* the hard core!« The investigation group started to behave more and more explicitly as though they were. It began to exhibit the traits of a »crowd crystal«.* Canetti described such crystals as »small, rigid groups of people, strictly marked off and of great constancy, which serve as a basis for crowds.«*
Some crowds form around one or more of these small groups which exist first. The heroes of the time of the first squats functioned as such cores, around which the first squat groups formed with patience and hard work. But the »movement« that the heroes thus created developed in a totally different direction than they had ever anticipated or wanted. This is the tragic cycle of heroes: they are pushed aside by something they have brought into being. Many of the handymen from the early days fell victim to this: either they didn't understand what the newcomers were trying to do and they sulkily backed off, or they tried to regain power, at which point they were unavoidably pushed aside.
Several PVKers belonged to this scattered group of heroes from different neighborhoods, and in the second round they called attention to this. In addition, they imposed a strict behavioral code upon themselves, in order to mark themselves as »real activists«. Stephan: »They were people who were concentrated on their goal 24 hours a day. Hein didn't smoke, didn't drink, kept in shape, ran the consultation hour, filled out forms, worked with foreigners, hats off as far as that goes. I can imagine that causes a hefty conflict with the squat culture, which expresses itself in drinking or snorting, like was in for a while; a relatively inconsistent activism that lives off its burps.«
In the first round the PVK demanded that the remnants of the squat movement consider them as the sole true founders and successors. The PVK had to be accepted as the hard core around which the New Movement would crystallize. In fact it was demanding here that the future crowd legitimize its existence as the core group. If the remnants ignored this demand, there would be pieces to pick up. The investigation group used the second round to this end, when it tried to legitimize itself in its own rightness. »The clear outlining, the isolation of the durability of the crystal contrast sharply with the nervous movements of the crowd itself,«* writes Canetti. But the fanaticism with which the PVK tried to draw a boundary between their own group and the nervous others proved that it had not yet been able to condense itself into a crowd crystal; it still had to contrast itself with others to keep its own boundaries sharp. The last was also proven by Pearls before Swine, which was targeted at activists who hadn't yet figured out what kind of swamp they'd gotten into: only three pages were concerned with how the »political activist« is supposed to behave, the rest consists of attacks on others. The isolation called for by the group and to which it was condemned by the rest of the »movement« at the end of the second round could have strengthened the developing crystal structure. The third and last round made it clear that it did not.
October 6th, 1988: »Crazy Thursday.« At 8:30 a.m., squat bar The First Aid in the Eerste Oosterparkstraat was recaptured from the PVK. A history had preceded this. It had derived its energy from the special relationship on the one hand between the neighborhoods and on the other in the city. The city, in squatters' language, meant the other scenes besides those in your own neighborhood. And the term »city-wide« meant something concerned all the neighborhoods, including your own. In 1988 each »neighborhood« consisted of a small group with a bar and a squat discussion hour. Contact between neighborhoods relied entirely on incidents and larger actions. In fact, one seldom went outside one's own neighborhood, and moreover, the groups were scattered so far from each other over the city that it was a real undertaking ever to go visit another one (15 minutes on your bike).
One of the First Aid group's leaflets said, »In contrast with the vast majority of the city, we decided a year ago not to go along with the policy of isolation regarding the investigation group. In doing so we chose to take on the debates about traitors, breaking down the squat movement/constructing a new movement, and so forth, as well as the connected ongoing conflicts and confrontations.« The two PVK members in the squat group, Hendrik and Corrie, did engage in »agitation politics, combined with a thick-headed arrogant attitude,« but »the discussions were interesting and educational thanks to the very diverse opinions.« »We decided on a thorough renovation and a new plan that would make the First Aid more accessible for the neighborhood. We worked hard on this for four months.« Other PVKers also came to help.
Joris: »You know how that goes. The PVKers are there at 9:00 and the other squatters come by and take a look at 2:00. So they've done everything and feel pretty powerful and want to take things over.« Stephan: »It gradually got to be a strange atmosphere with all those PVKers doing the renovation.« There was more then just altruism behind the helpfulness, as the Oosterpark squatters would begin to notice.
Joris: »After the traitors' brochure, their group must have thought, the squat movement will die out by itself, we can't EEN VOET MEER HIERTUSSEN KRIJGEN. So they just calmly started to build their own little structures.« The group looked for select places, spread across the city, out of which they could spin a network of their own meeting places, neighborhood facilities and sources of financing. Stephan: »In the Schinkel we'd always said we wouldn't go along with the movement's policy that the people from the PVK were no longer wanted and in a manner of speaking should be treated like fascists. We didn't want to exclude anyone.« PVKers Sylvia and Teun were working in the sauna in the Binnenpret in the Schinkel district on the basis of old friendships. Stephan: »There were incidents about subsidy allotments out of the profits from the sauna. Sylvia and Teun dominated the decision-making. The coffee shop they were building, the BAK* in the Staats, their squat archive and their publications were getting money, and other things were getting nothing. There was also money going into the First Aid renovation.« The PVK set about their construction of a New Movement in the classic squatters' manner: they went to help build. Ironically enough, they financed this with money which was taken from »GRUTTERS.«
The First Aid group published a leaflet which would be the first of a series that would far surpass the two preceding waves of publications about the investigation group. It says, »Discussions about the content of the new program were being put on the back burner. First we'd finish the renovation. Only right before the planned opening on September 17th did the two from the investigation group make their political line so obvious that further cooperation with them was impossible. Three women had taken the initiative of setting up a women's night. There were already twelve women from the neighborhood who wanted to work on this. And this was the point from which the split followed. The two from the investigation group were against groups like immigrants, women, blacks, dykes and queers, and so forth, »minorities,« having discussions, developing, organizing. »The PVK confirms this in its »Announcement«: »It is sectarian when a DEEL/margina/partisan struggle alienates itself from the whole of social struggle.« The struggle against the more-than-just-living activists, who had muddied the image of squatting, obligated the PVK to reject all TOEVALLIG solidarities. Thus, for them, squatting became the only true total struggle against »all forms of reformism,« as they were typing the righties disguised as lefties this time.
But, continued the PVK's paper, »the way the women's night was launched makes it clear that in reality there were other motives involved. It turned out to have been planned for weeks already and deliberately kept from the PVK. Reason enough not to approve it. The meeting fell apart without arriving at a solution.« The First Aid leaflet described the end of the meeting as a »veto. They said 'we're against it, so we say it can't happen, and it won't. They forbade it!« The Black was more specific: »Hendrik says now it's a fight to the finish. This will manifest itself first of all in locks being glued shut and shit being thrown through the mailboxes of others from the First Aid group.«
The next day, the six supporters of the women's night decided to call off the opening planned for Saturday, »because we didn't want a big fight in the middle of the neighbors we'd invited.« The PVK: »That day it turns out the six don't show up to work and the first tendentious leaflet is distributed in the city. It spreads the lie that the opening has been called off. At this, the group that did keep working decided to replace the lock as a precaution against other forms of sabotage. The opening went as planned.« The bar was brightened up for the occasion with some traitors' posters and brochures, and a »door policy« was enforced. First Aid commentary: »Could this mean that the investigation group wants to use the First Aid as one of its branches?«
According to reports, two days before the last First Aid meeting, Hein was heard saying to Hendrik, »The First Aid is on the same wavelength now as the Binnenpret sauna, the Crowbar and the BAK. Now the First Aid bears the stamp of the investigation group too.« This statement instantly became famous and got a lot of people thinking. Stephan: »One day a guy from the east side came by the Binnenpret coffee shop and said things were going to get heavy and the PVK wouldn't give back the bar without a fight. At that, the people in the Schinkel area sided with the First Aiders, because there were good ties from way back between the two squat groups, both being very small and having the same attitude. Even more importantly, they had recently found out by accident that the sauna, which was to become a foundation, was going to be registered under Hein and Sylvia's names behind everyone's backs, despite all agreements, motivated by the fact that Hein knew so much about tax-dodging.« They had just managed to foil the plan.
The First Aid group went by the various squat neighborhoods during the next few weeks to explain the situation and devise a counterplan. It was agreed that if the Oosterpark district could solve its problems itself, more power to it. But if the whole PVK got mixed up in things, it would be considered city business and the city would react accordingly. On Saturday, October 1st, Piet, Hendrik and a third PVKer went to see a woman from the First Aid group and threatened that, should anyone lay a finger on the building, they would get her and several others as well. The PVK had now made it more than just a neighborhood squabble, and it was up to the city to act. They thoroughly prepared for the resquat. On Thursday the 6th it was time.
Harry: »After putting a new lock on the bar door early that morning, we brought in barricading materials and screwed bedsprings behind the window. Then we put a leaflet in Hendrik's mailbox saying it was resquatted. Then we abandoned the First Aid.« The leaflet rewrote prehistory starting from the debate over women's night and referred to the PVK's »unwelcome intimidation«, concluding, »we expect that all this won't go unnoticed by the investigation group.« Harry: »A few people were waiting in the flat upstairs for what was going to happen and the rest gathered at a squat nearby. And another group was waiting in Frontline-Slagerzicht, the leftist bookstore by the Albert Cuyp market.«
The Black: »A bit later some First Aid people run into Hendrik, who yells that he's going to go get some more people.« Tanja was watching it all from the flat above the bar with another Schinkel squatter and some local people from the east side: »Gijs was the first PVKer to come driving up. And then Hein. We called the group waiting nearby and gave the alarm. Hein was shocked to see us sitting there. He yelled, 'Come down here and I'll kick your ass.'« Seven people arrived on the scene from the nearby squat and a crowd formed before the door. There was shouting back and forth.
Harry: »I said, 'Hey Hein, I'm here to talk to you.' Hein goes, 'It's too late for that. Are you part of the traitors' club now?' When I went and stood against the door Hein yelled 'Stay away from my bar!' I said, 'What business do you have in this neighborhood?' Hein goes, 'Go take care of your own neighborhood!' Then he started to yank on me. We restrained him. There were seven of us, four from the Schinkel and three from the Oosterpark. When we let him go he attacked again, so we grabbed him again. We didn't hit him or anything. Then he went and watched across the street. Right then the people from Frontline came walking up. We opened the door to go in. Then Hein stormed forward and sprayed tear gas in our faces. Then he got a few whacks. Then we went inside. It stank worse in there than outside, because Hein had already sprayed tear gas through the mail slot.«
Tanja: »Neighbors must have called the police. Hein was waiting at a distance. He had a bloody lip. The neighbors pointed him out and he was arrested for illegal possession of a weapon, but none of us wanted to file charges. They let him go a couple of blocks away. Then he must have gone back to the BAK.« In the PVK version Hein was »handed over to the police after a wrestling match of 20 to 1.« After this a city-wide alarm call was made.
Stephan: »Hein's not stupid. He knows too that if he tries three times to get in, he might get a punch in the face, maybe more. The PVK was supposed to get together that night at Piet's house, but what does Hein do? He takes things into his own hands and comes back with a bloody lip. The reason Hein reacts so intensely is to motivate his group, he knows how to fan the flames. Then he can say he was attacked by 20 people, without mentioning that he busted in there three times and used CS gas.« The PVK gathered at several points in the Staats and Oosterpark districts and left by car for Frontline-Slagerzicht. In all conflicts, the PVK followed the strategy of the »SPASS GUERILLA«: think of what your adversary would hate the most and do it twice as bad. They achieved a climax with this in the cover photo of Pearls before Swine: shooting down traitors in a primeval Dutch landscape. This strategy was now being employed in street confrontations. Slagerzicht Bookstore wrote in its newsletter, »Right before closing time we were 'treated' to a short but heavy attack. Within minutes the group managed to transform the building into a huge wreck. People armed with clubs pulled down bookcases, windows were smashed, a typewriter, radios, telephone and a copy machine were demolished. They didn't even forget the kitchen: the stove, refrigerators and a coffee machine had to pay too.« Six PVKers caused more than fl 10,000 worth of damage. A chance visitor recognized Hein: »But Hein, what are you doing?« Hein: »They stole my bar!« The four workers were threatened, one got a broken arm from PVKer Arnold at the door and was taken to the hospital.
The PVK afterwards: »The main people behind 'frontline' have always played a leading role in the agitation against the PVK. In other countries too, in particular, 'frontline' deliberately frustrates our contacts.« The later »STELLINGEN OVER Crazy Thursday« indicated that the PVK had broken an accepted behavioral code: »That the Investigation Group has gone so far means that from now on they have obviously declared war on the entire city and are also dragging persons and organizations who were not directly involved into the hostilities.«
The First Aid received news of the vandalism by phone and a few people left to inspect the damage. 40 people stayed behind in the bar, including Staatslieden squatters who had come in response to the alarm call. Harry: »The attack on Frontline was presumably a diversionary tactic. They must have thought we'd all respond to that in a herd. That didn't happen.« Half an hour later the bell rang; it was Arnold, who was not well-known in the city. The door was opened and three of the PVK group, which had grown to thirteen, stormed inside. »They came to throw us all out of the place. Piet jumps on the table and yells, 'everyone leave.' Panic broke out and everyone backed away. But just before that the helmets and clubs had arrived from the squat bar downtown. So we picked them up. People were throwing beer bottles, chairs and everything that wasn't nailed down and hitting with the clubs. The group were outside faster than they'd come in.«
The Black: »When the investigation group arrived at the First Aid, two people were standing in front of the door. One of the two gets clubbed in the head and the other tear gas in the face. The second walks away to get over the tear gas. A bit later the investigation group walks back and runs into him. At this the whole group jumps on him. Hein shouts, 'Hit him in the knees,' and does. But then Piet says, 'We can use him better if we take him with us.' At this he is dragged along to Hendrik's place. There they sit him down on the couch. First he is frisked, to check for weapons, as they say. Keys and papers are taken off him. Piet says, 'You're such an asshole not to have any weapons. Aren't you ready to fight?' Then the interrogation begins. Piet takes charge and places a sheet of paper in front of him: 'Now you're going to write down names. You have no rights at all here. You have to cooperate. We want the names of people who helped with the resquat.' He names several names, but they already know those. He says he doesn't know any more names, since he's only a minor figure in the squat movement. Then Piet takes a blue machine with two (pens) sticking out and says, 'Now tell us everything you know, or you'll get the death blow.' Then they ask how the resquat had been set up. One by one he has to tell them what his keys are to. Then Piet says, 'Now go tell your friends in the First Aid how awful it was,' and orders him to dissociate himself from everything else, or they'll come to his house and beat his face in. If he withdraws the chance that his house will be spared is still minimal, because this is war.« The PVK version: »We took one of our enemies. Under no pressure to speak of, he gave us useful information.«
Joris: »In the Staats we didn't know so much about the First Aid situation. We were surprised that a neighborhood so unfamiliar to us was standing up against the investigation group, but that was it. Then Frontline was attacked, and we really didn't understand what that had to do with it. We got a phone call, 'neighborhood meeting at 8:30 in Wicca.' That was our meeting place. We get there and find out someone from the Staats was attacked in our own neighborhood by five people. They said he'd been sighted at the First Aid. The people from the investigation group beat him up and he started yelling. When someone else came they walked off. They said, 'We got one, there are four left on our list.' For us that was the limit. At the meeting in Wicca we decided to attack the BAK. We went to the city, they had their meetings at 11:30 in the First Aid, and announced our decision: 'We're going to do it in any case; if anyone wants to come...but if no one comes we'll still do it.' A group stayed behind in the east to take Hendrik's place apart. His windows were broken and the interior and his car were completely smashed to smithereens. The rest, about 50 people, came to the Staats.«
Douwe: »I was with them. We assembled first in Wicca. It was really a mess there, drunk people at the bar were getting involved, but didn't feel like helping out. So people were constantly yelling, 'Just shut up!' A very chaotic situation. About 2:00 we left.« Joris: »We just walked down the street to the BAK, some with balaclavas, some without, and bashed in the windows there. We did want to start a confrontation, but no one was there. The bar was pulled apart, crack, crack, crack, took out the carrier bike and left, back to Wicca. Feelings were already getting nice and heated. People wanted to get Hein too, and Piet, break their windows. So without it being announced people went there, just casually down the street, sort of strolling over there. Hein happened to be standing on the corner, he'd stayed home. 60 people came walking around the corner and he just stood there. 'Jesus, it's Hein.' 'Oh, is that him?' So few people knew him. Four people went for him, kind of hitting him and throwing sticks, no one really dared to try anything with Hein. Someone did light into him and ended up with a concussion. People broke his windows. He was yelling, 'alarm, alarm,' really loud. The rest of his group was at the BAK checking the damage, and now came running back, helmets on, wham.«
Douwe: »It scared everyone that the atmosphere was so aggressive. Rocks were thrown back and forth. The police had gotten there by then, but they stayed out of it. Finally we backed off and went back to Wicca. A few people were very upset, it was just very badly organized, some were already quite confused and didn't know what to do.« Joris: »That kind of thing creates an impression of absolute power. 60 people attack one guy and he beats them off. By himself. Hein beat off that disjointed group that came running up. They thought, now we can take over the control, just keep pushing a bit further and use terror. With the idea 'we've been done an injustice.'« The PVK ended its announcement about Crazy Thursday with the battle cry, »We have nothing to lose. We are prepared to go to the extreme.« A flyer was attached with the text, »Through a specific action campaign, the PVK will exact the following demands: 1. The outrageous occupation of the political neighborhood bar 'The First Aid' must be ended immediately. The space must be returned to the original users; 2. All material damage caused by the occupiers must be compensated for; this means that before the occupation is discontinued all residences, rooms, cars must be restored, by means of the sum of money which the aggressors and their followers have collected; 3. After compliance, voluntary or not, with the abovementioned items, they must break off hostilities; only then will we proceed to the order of the day!«
A year earlier, after a series of incidents lasting years, a definitive schism had arisen in the Staatslieden district. On one side was the »living cooperative« around Hein and Piet, who were also the central figures of the investigation group. On the other side there was the new »squat group.« Cause for the split: the relocation of the squat consultation hour from the Sewer Rat bar to the new women's squat Wicca. Ernst: »At the meeting about it 95% of the people who were active unanimously agreed that we should go to Wicca. A new squat, we can work on it and it can last for years, we'll just do it this way. Halfway through Hein comes in and proves himself capable of completely fucking up the discussion. He wanted to start a consultation hour in the old VERZETGEBOUWTJE and said, 'I'll sabotage this relocation and ensure that it'll be successful there.'« With that, both groups decided to work parallel and fully autonomously.
Ernst: »At first that was a real impediment. Certainly it's very difficult to explain to the outside why you have two consultation hours. After something like that it's doomed to fail. Then they handed the building over to the people in between*. They actually already didn't want to work with us anymore, but there was no formal split yet.«
Joris: »Then they started their paper Staatsnieuws. The first four, five, six issues went OK, just info on this and that. Some still worked on that. Then they brought the traitor stuff into it. People didn't want that, they sent the magazine back. But it worked in spite of that, because they sold it to people who were a bit doubtful with 'We don't mean any of this badly; we want to shake things awake, provoke a little, then at least something will get going.' So whole debates came up over a couple of flyers. They wrote that the consultation hour was shitty, but they still wanted to come make copies at Wicca. We wouldn't let them. If you want to destroy the movement we're not going to give you the facilities to realize it. For me that was the incident that made the separation complete.«
Then painstaking negotiations began over the division of joint property. Ernst: »We said, let's divide up the carrier bikes, stencil machine and that kind of shit. It was impossible to talk to them about that. Their answer was, if you guys want to secede that's fine with us, we're keeping our stuff. They didn't want to give up the finances, which they were managing, either. Then the squat group formed out of Wicca. Really we should have shared it, but we got nothing. But we didn't want an outright war: 'Let's keep the dirty laundry inside, they can have it their way. We'll start a new action fund and we won't bullshit any more about it.'« Joris: »Everyone knew how hard those guys were, people were sort of wary of them, partly because everyone's so close together. And no confrontation was necessary; there was a solution, that separation, you guys here, us there. With unwritten rules; you didn't come to each other's meetings, you stayed out of each other's squats, did your own thing, we even still said hello to each other.« Ernst: »Here in the squats it was really a small-town solution. We also became isolated from the city, we were still identified for a large part with the cooperative, and those people didn't know we had nothing whatsoever to do with the PVK. We just hadn't started a war.«
Joris: »A group from Wicca was spotted in the First Aid. When they saw them something must have clicked - forget the First Aid, we're going to concentrate on the Staats.« An article from the Staats describes the local situation: »Some people wondered if the incidents at the First Aid and Frontline constituted a neighborhood problem, so that we only had to talk about that person who got beat up by four people. People thought it was just a small incident. The next day, Friday, several neighborhood residents were again stopped, pushed into doorways and threatened. They were given to understand: 1. First Aid back; 2. fl 5,000 damages; 3. Carrier bike back. Especially the first demand made it clear that the incidents in the area did indeed have to do with what was happening elsewhere in the city. That night five people were attacked, sprayed with tear gas and took a few punches.« The neighborhood meeting decides to ignore the PVK ultimatum: »Reasons for this: First Aid is not the Staatslieden districts squat group's first concern. fl 5,000 glass damages is idiotic. Besides, the BAK is rented and therefore has glass insurance through the housing association. We don't know where the carrier bike is.«
Joris: »In the Staats the prevalent idea was that nothing could be expected of the city. They do something and we take the shit. I was scared to death that if something happened, the PVK would feel so justified - and they're really militant - that people would get killed. There was a city-wide meeting all day Sunday, people who were ready to go beat the shit out of the group. After endless talking we postponed it. We also decided that we wouldn't do anything until we were ready for it.«
He continued, »Then we had two days of rest. Doorbells and knocking, nothing more. Tuesday one of us was walking down the street and was going to go in someone's house. Suddenly Hein started hitting him and kicked him outside: 'I'll beat the shit out of you till there's nothing left.' Door shut, done. Then he went back outside and sprayed tear gas in Hein's face.«
The stenciled STELLINGEN on Crazy Thursday affirmed, »Hein will be going over the limit if he attacks the guy a second time. The meaning of that is that absolutely no one involved can be sure any longer of their safety, even if Hein and others have already got hold of them.« These words betrayed an across-the-board by-the-book justice principle: anyone who contributed to the demolition of the BAK could expect a punch in the mouth. Then the score would be settled. Yet the PVK did not stop. This was the final straw: »The PVK has taken responsibility for a great deal of the violence. This is not only as a 'logical' angry reaction to the taking back of the First Aid, but as a systematic policy.« The PVK took the Staatslieden district first as territory for its intimidations. Arthur: »That Wednesday I was walking out the door at 12:30 a.m. I see them standing there and think, they're waiting for me. Hein comes walking towards me, white-faced. I turn around and walk calmly home. He grabs me from behind and gives me a few wallops right in my face. I tumble over backwards and start cursing - 'Asshole, who do you think you are!' He grabs me again, pushes me into the doorway and keeps bashing. Piet comes up and says, 'Hein, stop, this was the first time, for the window. You'll give us fl 500 and we'll be back.' Then I stood up and got whacked again. I went out. A bunch of people were standing around; they were being very overt about it. Suddenly Hein took a swing at someone else, right in his face, and said, 'This is for Wicca as a meeting point, you're responsible for that.' I had a bump the size of an egg on my forehead, two black eyes and a split lip. I went inside as Hein was yelling, 'Your house will pay for this,' referring to Hendrik's house.«
Joris: »They had a list of 30 people they wanted fl 500 from, or they'd take some punches, they'd be treated as accessories. One time they forced their way into someone's house and robbed him of his passport and the keys to his carrier bike that was outside the door. They appraised the bike at fl 400, so he still had to pay fl 100 or he wouldn't get his passport back. And he gave them the money.« Ernst: »And they were always tearing through the neighborhood in their cars. They went and stood outside the door of Wicca and shone a spotlight in that was mounted on the car roof. The threat of attack was hanging over Wicca, but they didn't barricade the building. Nobody barricaded. We thought, if they come tear the place down here we'll rebuild it. They also barged into the Blue Thumb tool rental in balaclavas with walkie-talkies. Hein had once arranged funding for it, so the Blue Thumb was theirs. The conflict had already made it there, and they didn't want to rent them any more tools, so they just came and stole it.«
Joris: »They were always walking around on the streets with walkie-talkies for keeping in touch with each other. That looks intimidating. A guy that had hit Hein on the head on Crazy Thursday and ended up with a concussion himself was on the list to be fucked up. One day he's walking down the street, just coming back from the Chinese place, looks back and sees Hein coming up behind him with a stick, and ten more people behind him. They thought he'd messed with their cars, flattened the tires or something. He runs into a snack bar, jumps over the counter. They didn't dare to go any further and backed off, saying 'We'll get you.' He rushed home with the whole group behind him. The first thing his girlfriend says when he comes running in is 'You forgot the prawn crackers.' She goes in the kitchen and comes out the front door with two big knives. 'If you mess with him you're messing with me so get out of here.' Then they slunk off.«
Ernst: »After ten days it stopped. A peace group was started at the squatters' bar the Crowbar and they wanted to mediate. They took the communication between the two group upon themselves. The way it went was, the PVK would deliver an ultimatum, and then we talked about it. Our position was, if you guys don't attack us, we won't attack you, and we'll stay away from each other's property. That led to a sort of cease-fire, although the threat was still there. It was a diplomatic way of putting them in check and taking them out of the game and it worked. They came up with the idea that the Staats should be a demilitarized zone, that there would be no gatherings in the Staats for actions against the PVK. We would avoid each other's streets.« The squatters' bar Crowbar had published a Statement in which they said that, though everyone wanted to isolate the PVK, they would maintain their open-door policy, and that the difference of opinion over First Aid policy among the original group of rebuilders needed to be resolved. The bar group at the Crowbar included some PVKers, and its neutrality was thus somewhat unconvincing. A Wicca leaflet on »the enterprise of the doves« countered, »That this needs to be talked about does not mean there must be negotiations. At present it is impossible to discuss redress or reparations.« Ernst: »The city was very suspicious of those indirect negotiations. The city thought the Crowbar should renounce the PVK, but they didn't want to. They were seen as a nonviolent division of the PVK, except by us.«
Meanwhile, the City Conference of Squatters sent out a letter to all kinds of community centers and groups and the city conference of such bodies where PVKers work, requesting that they »bar the so-called 'investigation group' out of welfare work.« They intended to stop the group using »all kinds of donation pots and facilities in various centers.« Ernst: »The isolation strategy started to work well. They were expelled from everywhere else in the city that they still belonged to. We heard from the peace group that this was one of the things that bugged them the most. They didn't want money anymore, just for the isolation to be discontinued. They were going to write an article on what they stood for, but they never did. They never worked that out among themselves.« The article had been demanded by Wicca in the case that they still expected money: »After all, we don't subsidize everyone and their dog.« A request had to be accompanied by a proper argument.
After peace had returned to the Staats, the PVK moved its activities to other neighborhoods. Since Crazy Thursday the First Aid had been constantly guarded by a group of people and it was reopened for the second time on Tuesday, October 18th. Four days a week there was a program from 11:00 a.m. till 9:00 p.m. plus a women's day. The guard team was dissolved. There were only minor incidents: »The lock at First Aid is glued shut a few times during the night, and people's doors are pounded on and their locks messed with.« These actions were ascribed to the »Politieke Verpeste Kleuters,« or the Politically Fucked-up Toddlers. The window of squatters' bar The Hard Core in the Kinker district was smashed to smithereens for the first time. PVK cars were sighted all over the city. Only in the Schinkel district did the group keep itself under control, since Sylvia and Teun had created a deadlock in the debates, already dragging on for months, about their involvement with the sauna and the PVK, which kept them from »leaving voluntarily« for a while.
One night Rudie woke up in his canal house: »I heard fumbling around downstairs, thumping on the ground. They were breaking the lock fastening the carrier bike to the house. It didn't take them long. Two guys, bundled up against any avalanches that might come from the house. They walked off with the bike. I thought, we'll get that bike back. I got dressed and went after them on my bike, but those two were nowhere to be found. Eventually I saw the bike here around the corner lying in the water, one side sticking out. They couldn't get away with it very easily because there was a very good lock on the back wheel. That was in the middle of the carrier bike war.«
On Saturday, October 22nd, in an interview in the local weekend supplement of a daily newspaper, Hein gave an analysis of the motives of »the new guard of activists« with whom he was at loggerheads. »Neighborhood-unfriendly, ego tripping, a little fun activism for the sake of the action. Out from other mother's wing and don't give a shit about anything and anybody. What good are they? Setting tires on fire in the street in the middle of the night. For nothing! Their squats look bad. So do they, sometimes. Action? Yeah, putting on clean underwear once every two weeks.«
Yet slowly but surely the tide began to turn. The Wicca group's delay tactics had taken the steam out of the events. Joris: »They had 15 people and the city had 300 and we knew where they lived. They were within range. Some must have recoiled from the methods and thought, if we keep doing this we'll go under for it. Meanwhile, a poster was made to inform the neighborhoods, the news poster 'Investigation group under the magnifying glass' with a pretty unclear text. It was meant as information, but worked as provocation. They also had to answer to the canary posters.« These were 8 1/2« by 11« posters featuring a short dialogue between Hein and Piet.
»P: So, one less traitor.
H: What are you doing?
P: You can see that.
H: But that was my canary.
P: It was* your canary.
H: Why, tell me, why did she have to die?
P: Those things are dangerous, man. They see everything, they hear everything, they chirp everything out.
H: Hmm, you've got a point there.
P: So now we're going to stamp out all pigeons in the neighborhood.
H: Why do that?
P: They fly around with notes, didn't you know that?«
Another poster: »H: Do you think we're still the boss everywhere?
P: Of course.
H: But nobody obeys us anymore.
P: Oh no? Just yesterday I went to the greengrocer's.
H: Wow, intense.
P: And I said, over here with that head of lettuce.
H: You've got guts.
P: And he obeyed my orders.
P: Well, I did have to pay three guilders, but that's* OK, you have to make some sacrifices if you want to be the boss.«
Joris: »Those posters helped a lot in the Staats.«
Friday, October 28th, was the second women's day after the reopening of the First Aid. The next night the PVK paid a visit to the establishment. They opened all the beer bottles and poured them out over the floor, the chairs were destroyed, all the posters torn from the wall, all electricity and water lines cut, the drainpipe smashed to bits, the money taken, the toilet poured full of cement and a booby trap with tear gas affixed to the toilet door. A leaflet from the First Aid group: »During our 'redecorating' over the next weekend they came back twice to destroy the front window and among other things to rip the front door out and take it away.« Windows were smashed that weekend at people's houses and the Hard Core. On the broken glass they spray-painted, »Hi from the PVK - See you soon.«
»It was getting more and more clear to us that they definitely weren't going to stop the violence by themselves,« wrote the SOK. Douwe: »There was a big city-wide. There was a lot of talk about violence. The crazy thing was that half were already in that spiral of violence and were waiting for the moment when they could deal them a definitive blow. A lot of new people thought that violence would only make things worse. I walked out. The people who did want to do something decided to go further. At a preliminary meeting they arranged what to do, against who and what the objects were.« The final battle was approaching.
Then it was Monday, October 31st. Ernst: »The magnifying glass posters had been printed. They were to be posted the next day. We met at Wicca. We had agreed that no violent actions would be done from there, but posters aren't violent, so that was OK. There were 30 people on the posting team. The PVK noticed and followed along behind in cars. We drove them away with stones. That was at about five in the afternoon. The PVK were beside themselves because we were working out of Wicca. The people from the Crowbar came running up - »This is war, it's all over, people will be killed.«
Then the PVK came out with the »Proposal for constructive HULPMIDDELEN for achieving the desired result, i.e. 'peace',« a list of nine items written the day before. Among other things, it said, »The hostilities out of the Staatslieden district must be put to a stop. Houses and activity spaces may no longer be gathering places from which hostile actions are carried out. Confrontation can best be avoided by those involved avoiding our streets to guarantee peace. The compensation must be seriously considered.« The »Proposal« ended with, »It is no more than logical to us that if no results are achieved in the short term, we will pursue our defense campaign in the rest of the city, but it will be focused in the Staatslieden district in particular.« Ernst: »They gave us a deadline to sign all the items before 9:00 and return them via the Crowbar. We wanted an extension, since we had to call a neighborhood meeting. The neighborhood did want to do something because that evening someone had been attacked at the Surinamese restaurant. The PVKers started to goad him. Then he grabbed a little knife and they beat it. The deadline was pushed back to 11:00. Several PVKers were sitting in the Crowbar the whole time waiting for the reply; that was no-man's land. Then it was moved back to 1:00.« The complete Staats squat group was in conference all night long in Wicca.
The SOK leaflet reported, »They tore through the city for four weeks and did much of their vandalism and threats from cars, which at the same time protect them like a sort of steel armor. With an action against their vehicles we will deprive them at any rate of their mobility, speed and a suit of armor.« Douwe: »We met beforehand in the Jordaan area, near the Staats. A group went to the river to mess up Arnold's car and several group members' windows were broken. We split into two car groups, two door groups and a standby group. 50 or 60 of us got on our bikes. Everyone had a helmet and a balaclava, bundled up in black, the majority had some kind of club, baseball bat, pieces of wood, lead pipes, and of course that was completely inconspicuous too. We left the bikes at the quay and walked. Major confusion because nobody could find the group they belonged with. There was some yelling, helmets went off to look. We went there in groups and right before the houses we split up. Demolishing the three cars made a hellacious racket. You could see the astonished faces of the neighbors.« A neighbor: »This little punker's whaling away on a headlight, and a woman yells from the balcony, 'You guys are fascists!' 'Us? No way,' he answers and just keeps going...«
Joris: »About 1:00 someone comes into Wicca: 'Right this minute they're smashing up the cars,' as we were sitting calmly behind our beers. It obviously wasn't us.«
Hein's and Piet's front doors, which opened inwards, were held shut and when the roaring PVKers managed to pull them slightly open, the door crew sprayed tear gas inside. Douwe: »Then the cars were so destroyed that we figured we'd back off. When we were halfway down the street, Hein stormed out of his house with a helmet and a bat. He was looking for a fight. The whistle blew, and some people turned around and started hitting back. Just a couple fought, the rest were onlookers.« An eyewitness: »Hein came outside with a lance, a piece of wood with a knife attached, three others behind. He's running by himself after that group, with the idea, I'll chase them all away, just like last time. Piet comes running, but turns right back around. The police got there and asked, 'Everything under control, Piet?' 'Yeah, everything's under control.'« The Crowbar group: »One of the four got a rock in his face, another in a helmet gets a rock on the head and hits the ground, as another of the four loses consciousness after being hit with a steel bar in the back. The latter two are surrounded and kicked at by about 20 people. The other two from the PVK are kept at a distance from the group by a rain of rocks.« An eyewitness: »Hein was beaten up, Hendrik's helmet was broken in two. Then they were taken away to the hospital. Piet probably came outside with a gun yelling, 'Someone's going to get killed.' He was beat up in his doorway with a thud by someone who was the only one to leave from Wicca.« The SOK: »The next night we added the remaining cars to their automobile graveyard.« Ernst: »And then it was over.«
The third round was provoked by the PVK, which considered itself a complete crowd crystal. It described in its »Announcement« how after the second round it had concluded »that it was irresponsible to continue making up a part of this marginal subculture. We decided with the small group that was really solidary with us to start over and turn our backs on the mire which the movement had become.« They put this resolution into practice, however, by trying to take over all existing squat facilities. Stephan: »The PVK's glance had clearly fallen on certain neighborhoods where the original squat structure could redevelop, neighborhoods where social action was possible. You can go into one of those with the idea to get it all back on its feet, but you're ignoring the existing things and as far as that's concerned these were not the most tactful people.« The plan to set up »bases« in several neighborhoods was thwarted when two PVK members suddenly forced the latent conflicts in the First Aid group to a head. Because the PVK had reinterpreted squatting history so that they were the only ones who had marshaled the »meatballs« from the very beginning into »the squatting struggle«, they now assumed that what squatters there were left wouldn't be capable of organizing themselves. This was also because they themselves also were no longer involved in the structures handed down from days of old and no longer had a view of what was happening inside them. When »95%« proved quite capable of organizing and resquatted the First Aid, »We were forced to depart from our decision to build new structures separate from the remains of the old movement.« This departure brought them back to the starting point of the second round, when they had proclaimed the total demolition of the squat movement and intended to put its abcesses »out of the fight«.
The method the PVK used after Crazy Thursday was identical to the aftermath of the resquat of the Groote Keyser on November 1, 1980. Then, too, it had been Hein with his hangers-on who had pressured people to name those who had been involved, then too with ultimatums, people who were put on lists to have the shit beat out of them, detailed bills of losses to be paid. Then, too, three cars had driven through the city past certain addresses, invaded houses and taken people's stuff in compensation for the destruction of »his« Groote Keyser. Then too: »a few punches in the jaw, a blow to his kidneys knocking him down, a punch in his teeth, furious swearing matches.« The resquatters had wanted to throw a party that night to celebrate the end of the squat movement, of which the Keyser was the symbol. Then Hein was the one who EROP LOS SLOEG in order to see to it that squatting could go on. Eight years later, to his annoyance, he had to observe that the squat movement was still going on, and he started a »reign of terror« in order to finally put an end to it, so he and his faithful followers could return to the way things had been before the Groote Keyser, when it all had yet to begin.
This dogged adherence to one idea of squatting and the origin of events, the hate for one enemy called the rightists disguised as leftists, in combination with one rigid behavioral line with regard to adversaries inside the circle, suggests that Hein and his group constituted a crowd crystal with the historic durability mentioned by Canetti. The fact that, after being isolated by the »city«, they did begin expanding a structure of their own, evokes all the more the image of a group which saw itself as a »starting point for crowds«*. But they completely underestimated how strong a group's unity must be if it is to defy the times. Their threats against the remains of the movement got steadily worse, and they said of the near future, »The methods used up to now are nothing compared to what we've got in store.« This forced the squatters scattered through the neighborhoods to reorganize again, which took a month, but was thoroughly successful.
In the third round, the »city« took the behavioral line of the first and second round, before they grasped the newness of the situation. In the weeks before Crazy Thursday they tried once more to ignore the investigation group, by assuming that the conflict at the First Aid could remain a »neighborhood problem«. When the PVK fet obligated to keep supporting the outrageously impolitic actions of two of its members come hell or high water, it ended up in a FATALE REEKS which became ruinous for it. The »city's« reaction to the mutual destruction on Crazy Thursday, just as in the year before, was to isolate the group. The PVK was now forced to do what until then it had only bragged about: eliminate the new guard.
They did this by systematically transgressing every unspoken behavioral code among squatters - tear gas, electroshocks, vandalizing squats which had no role in the problems, and so on. From the humorous strategy of the SPASSguerilla, they switched to the classical principle of terror: making their outrages so unprecedentedly heinous that they became almost unimaginable. They were thus able to arouse a fear which was no longer rationally controllable, so that their victims became paralyzed.
This attempt to force the end of the squat movement out of their own group as a rock-solid base went awry when the fear that had been summoned by the terror reversed into an energy which unloaded on them. This turning point was reached when the debilitating diplomacy of the Staatslieden district intersected with the slow anger of the city squatters. »They were shocked that such a military action could be planned out of the city.« (Joris) After the last battle the intimidations stopped for once and for all, and the crowd crystal was smashed. The group had appointed itself to destroy every last fragment of the squat movement, leaving the pure original core, which could begin afresh in virgin neighborhoods. Its purging attempts were successful, but it was they and not the other scenes who got chased out of the movement for good. From then on, they were no longer a part of it. When in September of the following year they published a new document in attempt to incite »a feverish but short-lived revival of anti-PVK activities,« it was regarded as a curiosity and nothing more. Henceforth, the problem of those who still considered themselves PVKers was how to survive in a time when you no longer existed.
On November 1st, 1988, the ZUIGGAT of the maelstrom was reached. With the destruction of the crowd crystal the squat movement had forced its own end. It could now disappear beneath the surface of history. At last it had freed itself, with the necessary violence, from the obligation to go on.
On November 19, 1989, shortly before 6:00 a.m., 200 people in black stream from various assembly points toward two squats in the Tesselschadestraat near the Leidseplein. On arriving they erect barricades on both sides of the street and withdraw into the building. The riot police advance with a bulldozer, but disappear again before they can do much, because tires have been set on fire in the street in another part of the city and need to be cleared away. On top of that, when they get there, the Volkswagen of the cops patrolling the scene catches fire behind their backs. Once the police are gone, a group emerges from the house to embellish the barricades with beams, a dumpster, tires, scaffolding pipes and three expensive cars. When the bulldozer shows up again the whole mess is torched. When the fire dies and the spectacle is over, everyone reassembles in the squat. Then the police come in by way of the roof and give them safe conduct. The complete group walks through the police cordon yelling in unison, »GORBI! GORBI!« on the way to have coffee somewhere else.
The next day a poster is pasted up all over the city, bearing an announcement which had hung on a banner between the barricades and been extensively DOORGESTRAALD by the media. Against a background of the circle with the broken arrow read the words: »We're back«.
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