The nationalism of Pim Fortuyn

Pim Fortuyn's party fragmented in the two years after his assassination, but he was voted 'Greatest Netherlander of All Time' in November 2004. His electorate is still there, and another charismatic figure can repeat his success, by appealing to the same ideology. Political correctness has obscured the truth: there is a substantial racist block in the Netherlands and other EU countries. They will never accept immigration, they will never accept immigrant minorities as 'fellow citizens', nothing less than 100% deportation will satisfy them. Until that problem is resolved, Europe can expect new Pim Fortuyns.

Pim Fortuyn before the May 2002 elections

Pim Fortuyn got 17% of the vote in the May 2002 elections in the Netherlands. That was about the same percentage as Jean-Marie Le Pen in the French Presidential election, a few weeks earlier. There were two fundamental differences: Fortuyn was dead on election day, and Le Pen took 20 years to reach to reach that level, Fortuyn three months. Pim Fortuyn entered the election campaign at the head of a list of candidates under his name, not a party. He had no national party organisation - in fact he was expelled by the party which had first chosen him as candidate. In a few weeks, purely on the basis of his own name and reputation, he came close to leading in the opinion polls. Then, nine days before the election, he was assassinated. Nevertheless his reputation got 26 largely unknown candidates elected to the 150-seat Dutch parliament, and put them into power in a short-lived coalition government. From zero to 26 seats was a record for any new party in the Netherlands, let alone a party with a dead leader.

Why? What did Pim Fortuyn have to offer? The short, simple and true answer is: racism. There is no mystery about his voters - after all, if 17% of the French electorate vote for Le Pen, then why should the Dutch electorate be any different? The real mystery is why it took so long, and why no-one did it before. Dutch politics was waiting for Pim Fortuyn: despite all the denials, he was comparable to Jörg Haider, Filip Dewinter, Pia Kjaersgaard, and Umberto Bossi. Fortuyn's list of candidates became an official political party, the Lijst Pim Fortuyn, and they were comparable as well. They all share an ideology - an inherently racist ethno-national ideology.

The immigration issue was central for Pim Fortuyn, and even more so for his electorate. If he had no views on that issue, he would not have stood a chance as a candidate. Immigrant-bashing opened the door to power for Pim Fortuyn: if he had not been assassinated he might today be Prime Minister. It opened the door for him and not others, because no-one else in the Netherlands political class was prepared to go so far. Fortuyn discovered that you can never go too far, for a racist electorate. Of course there were other racists in the Netherlands before him, but none could match Jean-Marie Le Pen in status or organisation, and certainly none had the media abilities of Fortuyn. They were also complete outsiders, and that is not true of Fortuyn.

In media reports Fortuyn is referred to as a 'maverick' and 'an outsider', but that is inaccurate. He was part of the political class in the Netherlands, with enough academic background for at least a junior ministry, if he had kept to a standard career path. He had rich friends in the business community, including ex-CEO's of large companies. Fortuyn also had supporters in the Christian-Democratic CDA and the liberal VVD, who were nominally his competitors - many of his candidates were ex-members of these parties. He was not isolated from national politics, but part of it. Of course Fortuyn shocked people, even in the Netherlands, by his lifestyle - by telling interviewers explicit details of his sexual activities, for instance. But he only did that, when it was clear that the normal career path to a cabinet post was closed.

In the years before the election, Fortuyn was a well-known talk-show guest, columnist, and speaker. He wrote several books about the decline of the country, and the failings of the elite - not a very unusual theme, as such. Nevertheless, his political ambitions were clear, and so was the issue which inspired him: immigration. One of his books was titled "Against the Islamisation of Netherlands Culture" - as explicit as you can get. This is what set Fortuyn apart from the other anti-immigration nationalists among the political class: he did not hide behind 'integration problems' as an excuse for limiting immigration, he promoted a fundamental anti-immigrant cultural nationalism. As the 'purple cabinet' - a red-blue coalition of social-democrats with liberal parties - neared the end of its second term, there was a general climate of political disillusion. Some sort of new force was expected to arrive on the national political scene. It did, but without Fortuyn at first. Leefbaar Nederland (Livable Netherlands) was a coalition of local parties, most of them with the word 'leefbaar' in their name. Its founders had successfully challenged the mainstream parties in Utrecht and Hilversum with the 'livable' theme, and hoped to repeat the trick at national level. They needed a prominent charismatic figure to head their list of candidates, although they would retain control of the party. When they could find no-one else, they turned to Pim Fortuyn. In doing so they took a risk, as they said openly at the time: Leefbaar Nederland was a populist party, but not specifically an anti-immigration party. Its founders told Fortuyn not to demand a complete end to immigration, and not to attack Islam during the campaign.

Leefbaar Nederland choose Pim Fortuyn as their lead candidate in November 2001. All went as planned, for several months, and Leefbaar Nederland began to climb in the opinion polls - to a possible 25 seats, a great success for a new party. Then in February, Fortuyn gave an interview to De Volkskrant in which he broke his agreement with Leefbaar Nederland, and went further than any other politician in his language and demands: De Islam is een achterlijke cultuur. The Netherlands is full, preferably zero immigration, all borders closed, no-one enters the country without an iris scan, no Muslim immigrants, the Islam is a backward culture, Muslims are a dangerous minority in society, deport Netherlands-Antillians even though they have a Dutch passport, and scrap Article 1 of the Constitution, which prohibits discrimination. And a typical Fortuyn observation: "Moroccans don't mug Moroccans, did you ever notice that?" The following day Leefbaar Nederland sacked him as lead candidate. He was there at the invitation of its founders and financiers, and he had no independent power base in the party: there was nothing he could do to prevent it. It seemed that he was finished politically, and the media treated the story that way.

Fortuyn apparently considered withdrawing from politics, but a few close friends (businessmen) persuaded him to 'go it alone'. He did, with their money.

The initial financiers of the Lijst Pim Fortuyn
The primary source is a table in the business magazine FEM/De Week (09 March 2002), quoted in De pimplelpaarse antwoorden van Pim Fortuyn. Fortuyn, Langendam, Dost and de Booij were the first directors of the Political Association Lijst Pim Fortuyn - the legal entity which registered for the elections. After Fortuyn's death, Ed Maas acquired more influence in the party organisation: he was elected Chairman a few days after the October 2002 cabinet crisis.

Peter Langendam: a physicist who worked for Philips for many years, and later founded some not very successful ICT companies. He now owns Semiconductor Ideas to the Market (ItoM) in Breda, which is in effect a dealer in patent rights. A strong supporter of nuclear energy (with only one small reactor, it is generally a non-issue in Dutch politics).

John Dost: property developer in Rotterdam, he provided the office space for the LPF. A man with a grudge against the tax authorities, he spent more than 20 years fighting a claim for a relatively small sum.

Eddie de Kroes: wholesaler in meat products, and part-owner of the prestigious Hotel des Indes in Den Haag (The Hague). He had been sentenced to 18 months in prison for meat import fraud in the 1980's: for unexplained reasons the public prosecutor simply cancelled implementation of the sentence.

Harry Mens: estate agent and property developer, and recently host of a business talk-show - Pim Fortuyn was a regular guest. Mens claims to be a 'friend' of Bill Clinton, although apparently the 'friendship' consists of his having paid $10 000 to lunch with the ex-President.

Albert de Booij: founder/director of the Speakers Academy in Rotterdam, the largest booking bureau for speakers in the Netherlands. Pim Fortuyn was one of its speakers, and its publishing subsidiary published his books (Fortuyn was also a shareholder).

Ed Maas: director and largest shareholder of VHS, a property company in Wassenaar, the diplomat's suburb of The Hague. Self-made man, former window-cleaner. Ed Maas ranked 81 on the Quote 500 list of the richest people in the Netherlands for 2001, with an estimated wealth of € 182 million. After Fortuyn's death, Maas paid much of the debts incurred in the 2002 election campaign, consolidated his influence in the party, and ran unsuccessfully as a candidate in the January 2003 elections.

Chris Thunisse: director and largest shareholder of Metterwoon, a property investment fund. Thunisse ranked 126 on the Quote 500 list, with an estimated wealth of € 127 million.

In a few weeks Fortuyn selected a list of candidates, and registered it for the election under the name Lijst Pim Fortuyn. At that stage it consisted of Fortuyn, his financiers, and anyone they choose as a candidate. There was no shortage - the faxes apparently started arriving, as soon as he announced his intention to run alone. Several are immigrants: the Fortuyn list offered them a unique chance of election to Parliament, and Fortuyn needed them to counter the constant allegations of racism.

Background of LPF members of parliament
The 26 ultimately elected, info from and other sources. There were 50 candidates on Fortuyn's list in 2002. Two declined their seats after the election, including André Peperkoorn, former commander of the anti-terrorist unit of the military police. Five were re-elected in January 2003: Herben, Eerdmans, van As, Varela, and van den Brink. Few of the others will ever again win a seat in parliament. The list shows that Fortuyn's party was not isolated from the existing political parties, but drew on their membership.

Joao Varela: Cape-Verdian business school graduate, marketing manager for l'Oréal cosmetics. An anti-immigration hard-liner, he wants all immigration stopped until the present immigrants are assimilated. Voted "Worst Politician of 2003" by parliamentary journalists.

Jim Janssen van Raaij: lawyer, ex-member of the European Parliament for the CDA, who dropped him after numerous allegations of corruption.

Ferry Hoogendijk: former editor of Elsevier Magazine, and leading figure on the right wing of the VVD, before he joined Fortuyn. A long-time opponent of immigration, and former supporter of the South African regime. Prominent in the internal power struggles in the party after Fortuyn's death.

Winny de Jong: worked for a lobby group for the food industry (misreported in the media as a consumer organisation). Ex-VVD. Expelled from the Parliamentary group in October 2002 for her aggressive public criticism of the leadership, especially Hoogendijk. Formed her own Conservative Party for the 2003 elections: it won less than 0,1 % of the vote.

Mat Herben: former spokesman for the Defence Ministry and editor of its in-house magazines, a conservative Catholic, and a Freemason - a combination which feeds conspiracy theories. Herben became the leader of the parliamentary LPF after Fortuyn's death, but resigned after only three months. Re-appointed in October 2002, a few hours before the coalition government collapsed.

Fred Schonewille: lawyer.

Vic Bonke: former professor of physiology and Rector of the University of Maastricht. Later appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and dismissed in 1999. Now a consultant on university policy and administration. Ex -VVD.

Fred Dekker: cardiologist, owner of a private heart clinic. Lived in Belgium for tax reasons.

Firouze Zeroual: Moroccan businesswoman (jewellery import, nail studios). Like Varela, a hard-liner on immigration and assimilation. In August 2002 she proposed that existing centres for asylum seekers should be converted into detention camps for illegal immigrants.

Milos Zvonar: Czech anaesthesiologist.

Cor Eberhard: politely described as an 'Internet entrepreneur', Eberhard is the former owner of and - which he sold in 2001. In October 2002 he was expelled from the Parliamentary group - not because of the sex sites, but for public criticism of the leadership.

Gerlof Jukema: doctor, lung specialist.

Philomena Bijlhout: Surinamese editor and presenter at TV Rijnmond (Rotterdam local TV). Bijlhout was the only member of the LPF parliamentary group appointed to the Cabinet. She was sworn in as a junior minister, and resigned the same evening - the shortest ministerial term in Dutch history. She had lied about her service in the People's Militia of Surinamese military dictator Bouterse.

Hans Smolders: former ice-hockey player, until 2001 owner of a refrigeration equipment company. Acted as Fortuyn's chauffeur during the 2002 election campaign, and chased the assassin after Fortuyn was shot. Later formed his own local party in Tilburg, the only Fortuyn splinter party to achieve any success.

Frits Palm: economist.

Harm Wiersma: former world champion draughts, member of the board of the International Draughts Federation.

Joost Eerdmans: the former assistant of Rotterdam mayor Opstelten. Ex-CDA.

Wien van den Brink: chairman of the Netherlands Association of Pig Farmers, an opponent of environmental restrictions on farming.

Olaf Stuger: sales manager.

Harry Wijnschenk: small-scale magazine publisher, specialised in motorcycle magazines. Ex-VVD. Replaced Mat Herben as leader of the LPF in parliament, primarily as a figurehead for Hoogendijk. On the day of the October 2002 cabinet crisis, he arrived late for a Parliamentary group meeting, to find he had been dismissed in his absence. He then joined with the rich ex-minister Herman Heinsbroek to found a new party, in direct competition with the LPF. The party could find no suitable candidates, and Heinsbroek suspended its activities.

Gerard van As: property developer. Ex-councillor and ex-alderman for the VVD in Alphen, where he was responsible for negotiating with property developers, including himself. In 2006, Maxime Verhagen, the CDA leader in Parliament, revealed that an incident in 2002 led to the fall of the LPF-VVD-CDA coalition. Harry Wijnschenk came to Verhagen's office, complaining that he had just been threatened at gunpoint by another LPF politician. Verhagen did not name the other politician, but media reports indicate it was Gerard van As.

Ton Alblas: civil engineer, worked for the transport ministry from 1972 to 1995, now a consultant. Ex-CDA.

Jan van Ruiten: former vice-chairman of the employers association in the electro-technical sector. Now a business consultant. Ex-VVD.

Theo de Graaf: optometrist with 7 stores. Ex-VVD. According to Cor Eberhard and others, he paid € 25 000 for his place on the Fortuyn list, a crime under electoral law. In 2002, the Speaker of Parliament asked the public prosecutor to investigate the allegation, but nothing was ever proved.

Harry Smulders: project manager.

Egbert Jan Groenink: former wholesaler in pharmaceutical products.

Fortuyn himself said in private, that most of his candidates were second-rate, but their stature did not diminish his success. Instead of Pim Fortuyn being finished, Leefbaar Nederland collapsed in the polls, ultimately winning just two seats. The Fortuyn list quickly replaced it in poll success, climbing to around 25 seats. In March Fortuyn scored a victory in municipal elections, with his own 'liveable-ist' party, Leefbaar Rotterdam. Again he was not its founder - that was a teacher, Ronald Sørensen, who invited Fortuyn to head its list of candidates. Only two months after it was founded, Leefbaar Rotterdam displaced the Labour party (PvdA) from power. (The PvdA held power in Rotterdam, alone or in coalition, since the Second World War). The victory in Rotterdam showed that Fortuyn could transform high poll scores into real votes: from then on, he dominated the national election campaign. The Lijst Fortuyn stabilised at the 25-seat level in the polls, but in the last two weeks of the campaign began a new climb: it looked possible that it might get the largest share of the vote. This despite the fact, that the voters had never heard of the candidates - and when they did hear about them, it was usually in the form of a scandal. Fortuyn had to sack one candidate almost immediately: he was facing an investigation for sexual harassment at the national police academy, where he taught. Candidate Eberhard was barred from the campaign office, after a fight with candidate Smolders about candidate Irena Pantelic - Miss Netherlands 2001. It made no impression on the voters, so long as the name Fortuyn headed the list.

That was the state of affairs at the beginning of May 2002. The certainty of a defeat for the political establishment, especially the parties of the 'purple coalition'. The probability that Fortuyn would be the key figure in the formation of the next coalition, and possibly the leader of the largest party, and therefore first choice for Prime Minister. On Monday 6 May, nine days before the election, Fortuyn was shot dead at the national broadcasting centre in Hilversum. The environmental activist Volkert van der Graaf was arrested nearby: he confessed to the shooting in November 2002. In April 2003, he was sentenced to 18 years for the assassination.

Fortuyn was given a state funeral, more or less, and buried near IJmuiden, where he grew up. Several weeks later, his body was exhumed, and reburied in Italy, where he had a second house. His brother arranged for the exhumation to be broadcast live, but denied he got any money for the TV rights. He now sells Pim Fortuyn flags and other souvenirs, at a memorial website. Fortuyn, it seems, had the family hedeserved.


Who supported Pim Fortuyn and his list?

There is a consensus of media and experts, that nationalism no longer exists as a political force in western liberal democracies, such as the EU countries. That consensus is wrong: nationalism is probably stronger than it was in the 19th century. Fortuyn's support was an indicator of its strength, and the reactions after his death emphasised the nationalist character of his support. Classic ethno-nationalist ideologies are extremely important in EU countries. In fact they may soon dominate politics, because two important issues - immigration and European integration - affect the existence and essence of the nation state.

You can distinguish three groups with the Netherlands electorate, and this model seems to apply in all EU countries. There is a majority, which supports the ethno-nationalist model of the nation state. By definition this majority is racist, since ethno-nationalism distinguishes among people on the basis of their biological origins. All modern nation states are based on four racist principles, more about this at Zionism = Racism.

All nation states claim that members of the nation possess an inherently superior claim to the national territory, purely by membership of the group. Conversely, all nation states claim that other groups do not possess that right to that territory. This nationalist doctrine is reflected in citizenship and immigration policy. No nation state has an absolute open-border policy (free immigration without regard to ethnic or national status), and all nation states allow the acquisition of citizenship by descent - a purely biological mechanism. Hereditary citizenship is racist in the general sense, and also closest to the biological ideologies first described by the term 'racism'. The whole idea of the nation state, which claims territory on grounds of descent from its previous inhabitants, and maintains a specific population structure on that territory by immigration controls, is racist. The electorate in the EU states is also racist, in the sense that the majority fully supports this model. In addition, policies which are racist by definition, such as detention on grounds of ethnic origin, can attract majority support.

Now the existence of the nation state itself is not usually at issue, in EU domestic politics, except perhaps in Belgium. The nationalism is visible in attitudes to immigration and development aid, which are related issues. Increasingly, it is not simply the national territory which is seen as threatened, but the national wealth. In the 19th century this was not a major issue, but since then disparities in national income have increased dramatically, and travel has become easier. In 1820 gross product per capita in western Europe was about three times higher than in sub-Saharan Africa. By 1990 the ratio had increased to 20-to-1, but now you can travel from Mali to Europe in a day. In essence there are two ways that global wealth can be redistributed. Either 'we' in the rich countries pay income taxes of 80%, and send the money to Africa and South Asia. Or 'we' let 3000 million people come here to share our wealth. In fact 'we' have decided to do neither of these, 'we' want to keep our wealth for ourselves. 'We' ask the poor to stay at home and starve, or at least spend their short lives in poverty. Even if 90% of them do so, the immigration of the other 10% would dramatically transform western societies.

An illegal immigrant from Ghana to the Netherlands is not motivated by territorial claims: he does not believe it is his 'homeland', there is no disputed border. None of the classic disputes among nations are at issue. Nevertheless, the ideology of 19th-century ethno-nationalism functions well in this context: it legitimises islands of wealth in a sea of poverty. It is this kind of nationalism which is shared by the majority in the EU states - the selfish nationalism of closed borders, restricted immigration, and totally insufficient 'aid'. Recent estimates by UNCTAD suggest that net overseas development aid is about 6 euro-cent per recipient per day. Try buying a complete AIDS treatment, with that money. Pim Fortuyn was an exponent of this selfish nationalism: although the Netherlands has the money and the expertise to construct flood defences for poorer countries, he found that wrong: "They can reinforce their own dikes in Egypt and Bangladesh. Let them roll up their sleeves for once." (Rotterdams Dagblad, 1 November 2001).

Within the ethno-nationalist majority, there is a minority which rejects even the relatively limited post-war immigration in EU member states. This minority is the voters block of Pim Fortuyn, Jörg Haider, Filip Dewinter, Pia Kjaersgaard, and Umberto Bossi, and it appears to include about 10% to 20% of the electorate. 20% seems to be the upper limit for a specifically anti-immigration party, and in some countries the electoral system limits parties of this size. Recent research in Britain indicates that a similar 20% exists there, concealed until now by the two-party system.

These are the voters of Pim Fortuyn: not protest voters, but an ideological voting block with a clear ideology: Holland Blank!, White Holland. However, White Holland is not on the mainstream political agenda: so the dissatisfaction of these voters manifests itself around other issues. It may appear that these voters are concerned about crime, or fuel prices, or low standards in schools, or waiting lists in hospitals, or even dog-shit on the pavement (a perennial local issue in the Netherlands). The mainstream parties prefer to think about these issues, where the answers are relatively easy, and researchers deliberately avoid asking about the underlying resentment. But Fortuyn could not have achieved his dramatic success by campaigning on school standards or health care. His voters supported him because he came closest of all politicians to shouting "Holland Blank!", and because they thought he meant it - which he probably did. After his death, Fortuyn's party was unable to appeal to the voters in the same way, not while they were in government, and probably not as a small opposition party either. If there is a 'new Fortuyn' with the same racist appeal, he or she will probably lead a new movement, or rise to power from within the older parties.

The existence of the anti-immigrant block is clear enough, but the Dutch political class and the media preferred to ignore it - even after Fortuyn dramatically mobilised it. In the past, there were transient political successes for small 'racist parties': the Centrumpartij of Hans Janmaat got up to 20% of the vote in a few municipal elections, but never consolidated its position. Sociological and demographic indicators are better evidence of Dutch resistance to immigration, and avoidance of immigrants. Educational segregation is generally accepted: it is normal to talk of 'white schools' (with ethnic Dutch children) and 'black schools' (meaning Turkish or Moroccan children, not just Surinamese or African). However there seems to be a taboo on asking, why so many Dutch parents seek out white schools. 'White flight' is another US term adopted in the Netherlands. It can be evidenced by statistics, but complicated research is unnecessary. You can simply cycle from Amsterdam's 19th-century quarters, to suburbs like Velserbroek. When you arrive, all the black people and the women in headscarves have evaporated: you are back in the ethnic-Dutch society of the 1950's. Until recently, researchers found little ethnic segregation in the Netherlands, because they looked for concentrations of specific ethnic minorities. Since 'white' Dutch were not considered an ethnic group, 'white-flight suburbs' did not register as a form of segregation. More recent research has confirmed increasing segregation, by ethnicity, class and religion. (The May 2002 elections also indicated that white-flight suburbs are ideologically motivated: they typically had high Fortuyn votes).

What do these voters want? The answer seems to be, not much more than the classic demands of the 19th-century nationalist movements...

The Netherlands has an absolute existence right, for an unlimited time. The Netherlands exist in principle for ever, and may never be deliberately abolished. The Netherlands shall never be absorbed into a single European state, in whatever form, and it is treason to advocate this.

The Dutch people consists of the descendants of those who lived in the Netherlands in past centuries. The Dutch people derives its right to existence, and its claim to the territory of the Netherlands, from this descent.

Netherlandership, the quality of being Dutch, is transferred from generation to generation, from parents to children. The children of Dutch parents are Dutch. Those who are not children of Dutch parents, can become Dutch only with the permission of the first group, and on the conditions they set.

The Netherlands borders are sacrosanct. No surrender of territory is permitted, with the exception of small boundary changes for spatial-planning reasons. Specifically, for instance:

  • Zeeuws-Vlaanderen shall remain part of the Netherlands, and shall not be transferred to Belgium
  • Netherlands Limburg shall remain part of the Netherlands, and shall not be reunited with the Flemish Province of Limburg
  • Vaals shall remain part of the Netherlands, and shall not be annexed to the city of Aachen.

All permanent inhabitants of the Netherlands shall be Dutch. Temporary residence and visits by foreigners are permitted, for business, study, or tourism.

Migration - permanent residence in another country - is wrong in principle. The Netherlands is a land for Netherlanders with a Netherlands culture. The permanent presence of non-Netherlanders disrupts this unity of land, people, and culture. The large-scale immigration of the last 40 years was for this reason a great mistake. Its effects must be corrected as soon as possible.

Zero migration must be the goal. If the country was 100% inhabited by non-Dutch residents, then the Netherlands would cease to exist. 1% immigration means that the country has been 1% destroyed. Immigration is in principle a hostile act against the Netherlands. Citizens who encourage it commit treason.

Netherlanders should marry Netherlanders: they choose their partners from among their own people, that is natural. Partners from other countries are only acceptable in exceptional circumstances, and this form of immigration should never develop a structural character. In such cases, the immigrant partner has an absolute duty to assimilate into the Dutch culture: any children must be raised as Dutch.

If immigration is permitted in other exceptional circumstances, assimilation is an absolute duty. The government must enforce this assimilation process: no exceptions shall be granted.

The permanent inhabitants of the Netherlands shall have the Dutch culture. They shall be loyal to the Netherlands, as nation and as nation state. No group of permanent residents shall have any other culture, or be loyal to any other state. The ideal is a Dutch society and economy, in Dutch cities and villages. However, as a result of the mass immigration, there are now enclaves in the Netherlands, where for instance Turks can live as if they were in Turkey - with Turkish shops, Turkish businesses, Turkish associations, and Turkish mosques. This is unacceptable: an assimilation policy must ensure that these enclaves disappear.

The Dutch culture is an inheritance from past generations of Netherlanders. Cultural change is only permitted when this inheritance is not damaged. A complete replacement of all cultural elements in the Dutch culture would be equivalent to its destruction, and the bearers of the new culture would not be Dutch. That is equally true if all Netherlanders assimilate to a foreign culture. If all Netherlanders, for instance, converted to Islam, and spoke only Turkish, then they would no longer be Dutch, even if they were born here as children of Dutch parents. A nation must preserve not only its biological continuity, but also its cultural and linguistic continuity.

The Netherlands identity is primarily derived from this bond with past generations of Dutch people, and not from any future vision of the Netherlands or Europe. The Netherlands is not a utopian or ethical community, but a transgenerational ethnic community (volksgemeenschap).

This is not the electoral programme, but it was the de facto ideology of Pim Fortuyn. He was offering to protect and defend the nation. He succeeded in winning the trust of Dutch people who share these ideals. In his books, he promoted himself as an appropriate leader for the nation in its time of crisis. In a 1995 letter, read at his second funeral in Italy he compared himself privately to Moses, leading his people to the Promised Land. In one of his books, "The Orphaned Society" he wrote that the Netherlands collectively needed a Father and a Mother - and he seemed ready to be both. But only for the Netherlands - his political interests stopped at the border. The source of his support was his commitment to an emphatically Netherlands ethno-nationalism. If he had offered to be the Euro-Father and Euro-Mother, he would have got nowhere. At times his nationalism was vehement. Fortuyn wanted 18-year-olds to spend a year living in special youth houses, in uniform, and performing some form of national social service "to learn what it is to be a Netherlander". The proposal is reminiscent of the uniformed national youth movements of the 1930's, most notoriously the Hitler Youth. Fortuyn must have known, that these historical comparisons undermined any chance of its implementation - but it shows how he longed for a unified national community. His local party in Rotterdam has adopted an aggressive linguistic nationalism - for instance demanding that imams in mosques preach in Dutch.

The point is, Fortuyn's success was based on the coherence and appeal of the ethno-nationalist model. It continues to be a generally accepted model of how a society and state should be organised. It offers a coherent answer to issues of global inequality and global migration - namely 'keep your money, close the door, and don't feel guilty'. A coherent answer is not necessarily a moral answer. Before Fortuyn, this classic nationalism was represented by marginal parties, such as the Nieuwe Nationale Partij, New National Party. This quote from their party programme is an example of the ideological coherence of nationalism: apart from the word 'nationalist' itself, it could have been Fortuyn speaking...

The NNP is a nationalist party. That means that we consider the interests of the Dutch people as the guiding principle of our thought and action. We believe that every nation and every culture has a right to its own place in the world. This vision obviously applies to the Dutch people and Dutch culture as well. We seek to preserve our own culture and identity, and we absolutely oppose the unregulated and massive tide of people from other cultures. We unconditionally support our own people and our own country, and we demand a healthy, livable and secure Netherlands, a country we can be proud of as a people. The planet may belong to everyone, but the Netherlands does not.

De NNP is een nationalistische partij. Dat houdt in dat wij de belangen van het Nederlandse volk als belangrijkste uitgangspunt nemen voor ons denken en handelen. De NNP gelooft dat elk volk en elke cultuur recht heeft op een eigen plaats in deze wereld. Deze zienswijze geldt uiteraard ook voor het Nederlandse volk en de Nederlandse cultuur. Wij streven naar het behoud van onze eigen cultuur en identiteit en wijzen consequent de ongecontroleerde en grootschalige instroom van mensen uit andere culturen af. Wij kiezen onvoorwaardelijk voor ons eigen volk en voor ons eigen land en eisen een in alle opzichten gezond, leefbaar en veilig Nederland waar we als volk weer trots op kunnen zijn. De wereld is van iedereen, Nederland is dat niet.

Note that the NNP does not specifically mention Islam. Neither European nationalism, not xenophobia, are dependent on Islam as a real or imagined enemy. Pim Fortuyn was certainly anti-Islamic, and that has been well reported in the media. However, the question is, would he have been any less hostile to immigrants if they were all Buddhists? His view of the nation as a closed ethnic and cultural unit, led him to reject immigration as such. On several occasions, he said that the Netherlands was simply full, a standard anti-immigrant slogan (in spatial planning terms it is nonsense). He wanted no more asylum seekers, Muslim or non-Muslim, and he proposed admitting only French, British, German or Danish asylum-seekers (there are none, of course). In the end he settled for a more realistic proposal, to limit asylum to 10 000 cases per year: the rest would be sent to third countries, near their country of origin. The claim that Fortuyn welcomed non-Muslim immigration, which is made by some apologists outside the Netherlands, is false.

The prominence of Islam in European anti-immigrant politics results from the pattern of immigration, not from an anti-Islamism comparable to anti-semitic traditions. Since the 1950's the countries of the west European economic core have drawn migrant labour from the periphery. In the 1950's and 1960's that was southern Italy, southern Spain and Portugal, Greece, rural Ireland, and Yugoslavia. From the mid-1960's Morocco and Turkey became a source of labour: they were the adjoining periphery, and emigration from eastern Europe was restricted. So the new immigrant minorities were Muslim minorities, and religion became the distinguishing feature of an immigrant in countries like the Netherlands. The 'Islamic headscarf' and the mosques are now the icons of immigration.

The point is that the anti-Islamic emphasis is (or can be) transitory, the nationalism is not. Fortuyn complained about backward rural immigrants who did not fit into a civilised western culture. He blamed Islam, but his views are suspiciously similar to historical prejudice in protestant Britain against catholic Irish immigrants. It is the rejection of a 'foreign culture', and a tactical argument against immigration, not primarily a rejection of their religious beliefs. The tactic is the implicit suggestion that there are only two possible futures for the Netherlands: either an Islamic theocracy, or an ethnically and culturally homogeneous Dutch society similar to that of 1955. The logic is false, but the emotional appeal is similar to the immigrant-rapist theme, which you can find in usenet postings by opponents of immigration. The postings start with a report from the media - an immigrant has committed rape, or murder, or robbery. The poster adds a comment, approximately "see, immigration is a disaster". For the posters it is self-evident: an immigrant has committed a crime, therefore all immigration must stop. And so Pim Fortuyn repeatedly complained that conservative Islamic clerics are homophobic, and that some Muslim women walk five paces behind their husband. Therefore - according to Fortuyn - the Netherlands must be a homogeneous non-immigrant society. So neither Fortuyn nor his party would welcome millions of Chinese immigrants, even guaranteed non-Muslim Chinese. They would simply find something else to complain about - 'Asian values', for instance, or the Triads. US experience shows, that every immigrant minority can be seen as a threat. Fortuyn rejected immigration as such, as a threat to national identity. It is therefore misleading to explain his success by the anti-Islamic attitudes in the west, following the September 11 attacks.

The EU context

Pim Fortuyn was angered by comparisons with other anti-immigrant populists in other EU countries, and especially by the comparison with Jean-Marie Le Pen. Nevertheless, politicians such as Jörg Haider, Filip Dewinter, Pia Kjaersgaard, and Umberto Bossi are comparable not only in their ideas, but in their electoral appeal. John Howard in Australia has the same electoral base: he showed that mainstream parties can successfully appropriate the agenda and style of their populist challengers (in his case, Pauline Hanson).

The Flemish anti-immigrant populist Filip Dewinter leads the Vlaams Blok, Flemish Block - the party changed its name in November 2004, to evade a legal ban. It has a clear vision of the immigrant in the nation state, as set out in its programme:

Foreigners have the choice: assimilate or go home. Citizenship is a reward for assimilation. To acquire it, the immigrant must speak our language fluently, pass a citizenship exam, make a declaration of loyalty, and in doing so, renounce the previous nationality.

Vreemdelingen hebben de keuze om zich aan te passen of terug te keren. Het staatsburgerschap is een beloning voor de aanpassing. Om dat te bekomen moet men onze taal volledig beheersen, in een burgerschapsproef slagen, en een loyaliteitsverklaring afleggen en daarmee de vorige nationaliteit afzweren.

Note that the nation in question is Flanders, not Belgium. The party demands national loyalty from immigrants - but it refuses that loyalty to Belgium, although the party members are Belgian citizens. In Denmark there is no such secessionism, and anti-immigrant populism can be intensely patriotic. This is the from a German-language web page of the Dansk Folkeparti, led by Pia Kjaersgaard:

The leading principle of our Programme is our heartfelt national patriotism, for we in the Danish People's Party are very proud of our beautiful country. We love our Fatherland, and feel a historic obligation to protect the Danish heritage. We want to restore the sovereignty of Denmark, and to ensure the survival of the Danish nation and the Danish monarchy.

Die übergeordnete Linie unseres Programms ist unsere herzliche nationale Gesinnung, da wir in der Dänischen Volkspartei auf unser schönes Land sehr stolz sind. Wir lieben unser Vaterland und fühlen eine historische Verpflichtung, das dänische Erbe zu schützen. Wir wollen sowohl die Eigenstaatlichkeit Dänemarks wiederherstellen als auch den Fortbestand der dänischen Nation und der dänischen Monarchie sichern.

Certainly, the party is anti-immigrant: in return for its support the right-wing coalition government gave Denmark the toughest asylum and assimilation policies in the EU. But is has a coherent justification for that, so that moral appeals are useless. The Danish nationalists have a value system which is consequently anti-moral. They do not think in terms of justice, or compassion or equality: they think in terms of Fatherland, national history, national heritage, national sovereignty, the beauty of the land, the survival of the nation, the flag, the King, the Queen. That is their moral universe. What's more, they succeeded in hijacking the Danish state to enforce it - but that is how all nation states are formed anyway. The state, as institution, becomes the manager of a heritage theme park.

In Italy the Lega Nord of Umberto Bossi is in name a regional secessionist party, although its rejection of the Italian nation is not as vehement as the Flemish-nationalist rejection of Belgium. Bossi is now a minister of the state, whose existence he claims to dispute. The Lega Nord does not simply confine itself to immigration policy for its pseudo-nation Padania, but mobilises general anti-immigrant sentiment in Italy. Together with the 'post-fascist' leader Gianfranco Fini, Bossi is responsible for a new immigration law (approved July 2002). It is notable, because it authorises the use of the Navy against refugee ships: the equivalence of illegal immigration and invasion is a constant theme in Lega Nord propaganda. Their General Secretary Roberto Calderoli demanded that the Navy should not aid sinking refugee ships but 'repel' them, since that is national defence, their duty. The ships, he said, did not only carry helpless children, but people who would "plunder the cities, deal in drugs on the streets, traffic in prostitutes - without counting the the adherents of Islamist terrorism". Bossi himself referred to the immigrants as hordes who "destroy all they find, and impose their values and religion in its place, impose their history by destroying ours." The quotes are from early 2002, the time of Fortuyn's election campaign. Later, in June 2003, Bossi said what he had obviously been thinking, and demanded the sinking of immigrant ships.

...voglio al tempo stesso ricordare che quelle navi hanno il compito di difendere i nostri confini. E soprattutto non è loro compito fungere da rimorchiatori per le imbarcazioni dei clandestini, comandate da gente senza scrupoli capace di provocare appositamente guasti per poi poter chiedere aiuto....Attendo perciò la smentita del ministro Martino... Le navi della Marina non rimorchieranno alcuna imbarcazione carica di clandestini, anzi le respingeranno, essendo il loro ruolo quello di difendere i nostri confini.

...insieme ai bambini ci possono essere anche persone che poi troviamo a svaligiare le ville, a spacciare droga nelle nostre piazze, ad organizzare traffici di prostitute, senza contare i terroristi aderenti all'intergralismo islamico.

Se non usiamo la fermezza - ha aggiunto Bossi - l'immigrazione non sarebbe più controllabile. Ci arriverebbero le orde e le orde cancellano tutto quello che trovano, impongono le loro regole e le loro religioni. Impongono la loro storia cancellando la nostra.

The logic of ethno-nationalism implies a unity of descent, history, land and culture: all immigration is a potential threat to the very existence of the nation. A military response to immigration is a logical step. So far, this is not an issue in the Netherlands, but there is certainly a new consensus that immigration is wrong in itself. Fortuyn exploited and reinforced that consensus, which is an expression of the ethno-nationalist ideology summarised above.

A final relevant comparison is with John Howard. Unlike the others, he represents a mainstream party. His response to a new right-wing populist party (Pauline Hanson's One Nation Party) was to outdo them in immigrant-bashing. The racist political traditions in the country - the ideal of White Australia - made that easier. Once in power, Howard did use the Navy against illegal immigrants: to arrest them at sea, and detain them in camps in third countries. Those who reach Australia are detained in desert camps. His migrant-bashing made Howard politically untouchable: the vast majority of Australians support it. It is a classic example of how democracy facilitates racism, when the electorate is racist. In the Netherlands, one or more of the main parties may try to 'outbid' Fortuyn's immigration policies - that might be the main theme of the coming election campaign.

The political mechanism is clear, in the EU, and apparently in all liberal democracies. If the electorate is racist - in the sense it has a consensus on an ethno-nationalist model - then the democratic process intensifies racist policy. In the EU the trend is toward tougher asylum laws, tougher police action against illegal immigrants, and new border control technologies. Opposition to these measures is marginal, and certainly no open-border party can expect any success. The illegal immigrants themselves are spectators in this process, politically entirely marginalised. Minority-bashing is an inherent defect of democracies: at worst, parties compete with each other in the humiliation of minorities. Illegals and asylum seekers have no votes, no realistic hope of their own media, they don't usually speak the language, and they may be in detention anyway. There is almost nothing they can do, to defend their own interests. All of this suggests, that immigration polices can only get tougher.

Amsterdam, 5 August 2002

to the Chief Public Prosecutor of Rotterdam

request to institute criminal proceedings

On Thursday 01 August the bodies of 13 people were found on the beaches near Tarifa in southern Spain - illegal immigrants drowned on the way to Europe. There is a cause-and-effect relationship between the anti-immigration campaigns of national-populist politicians and parties in Europa, and the deaths at its external borders. The dead immigrants choose the dangerous route of entry, because the campaigns of the national-populist parties (such as the LPF, the Lega Nord, and Vlaams Blok) had ensured, that the safe legal routes were closed to them. It is not only those who call for the shooting of refugees, who are guilty of these deaths. The founders of the LPF, the present LPF members of parliament, and its directors, also have these deaths on their conscience. The party, from the beginning, made the witch-hunt against immigrants its core strategy.

I therefore request you to institute 13 separate criminal prosecutions for culpable homicide (Article 307 of the Penal Code) against the political association 'Lijst Pim Fortuyn', registered in Rotterdam, and its directors P.J.K. Langendam, J.G.W. Dost, and A.F.Th. de Booij.

I also request you to seek the dissolution of the association, in accordance with Article 20 of Book 2 of the Civil Code, since the activities of the association - namely the commission of the crimes mentioned above - are contrary to public order.

Amsterdam, 5 augustus 2002

aan de Hoofdofficier van Justitie
Postbus 50957
3007 BV Rotterdam

verzoek om strafvervolging

Op donderdag 01 augustus werden op het strand bij Tarifa in Zuid-Spanje de lijken van 13 personen gevonden, illegale immigranten verdronken op weg naar Europa. Er is een oorzakelijk verband, tussen de anti-immigratie campagnes van nationaal-populistische politici en partijen in Europa, en de doden aan de EU-buitengrenzen. De dode immigranten kozen de gevaarlijke weg, omdat de campagnes van nationaal-populistische partijen (zoals de LPF, de Lega Nord, en het Vlaams Blok) hen de veilige legale weg hadden afgesneden. Je hoeft niet op te roepen tot het schieten op vluchtelingen, om toch medeschuldig te zijn aan hun dood. De oprichters van de LPF, en de huidige LPF-kamerleden en bestuurders, hebben deze doden ook op hun geweten. De partij heeft, van meet af aan, een hetze tegen immigranten tot de kern van haar strategie gemaakt.

Daarom verzoek ik je om voor elk van de 13 gevallen een strafvervolging in te stellen op grond van Art 307 van het Wetboek van Strafrecht (dood door schuld) tegen de Politieke Vereniging 'Lijst Pim Fortuyn', gevestigd te Rotterdam, en de bestuurders daarvan, namelijk P.J.K. Langendam, J.G.W. Dost, en A.F.Th. de Booij.

Verder verzoek ik je om de ontbinding van de vereniging te vorderen bij de rechtbank, op grond van Art 20 van het Burgerlijk Wetboek, Boek 2, omdat de 'werkzaamheid' van de LPF, namelijk het plegen van bovengenoemd strafbare feiten, in strijd is met de openbare orde.

The underlying trend is, that liberal democracies are becoming closed, ethnically and culturally homogeneous nation states. But that should be no surprise - that is the ideal of the nation state, that was the ideal of the nationalists who founded them. It is not very relevant whether that goal will ever be reached - but that is evidently where the electorate wants to go. The unpleasant truth is: in a democracy the people rule, but the people can't be trusted with the immigration issue. Democracy, after all, does not mean that everyonevotes. If that were true the population of Africa would vote themselves an American passport, they outnumber the current residents. However, democracy means that each nation votes on its own affairs: the 'demos' is the nation state. The inherently closed, ethnic, and hereditary character of this demos is reflected in the anti-immigration vote. The slogan of the Vlaams Blok sums it up: Eigen Volk Eerst, our own people first.

It should be obvious: there are no political concessions which will satisfy such demands - they are too fundamental. The anti-immigrant nationalist block has its own coherent view of the world. They have ideas about what is sacred to them, and what is sacrilege - massively increased immigration, for instance. You can not talk to these people about such a proposal, they don't see it as a policy proposal, they see it as an insult. Normal politics - in the sense of discussion, compromise and shared responsibility for administration of the state - does not exist between nationalists and anti-nationalists. The relationship between the two is: enemy. And therefore, obviously, they can not form a political community - and certainly not a nation state. An anti-nationalist can not belong to a nation, just as an atheist can not be a Catholic.

Ultimately, the nation state must disappear, and in Europe there is at least some possibility that that might happen. The Netherlands itself is an artificial state, largely the result of military conquests by a (protestant) core state. It does not have any ethical purpose, it simply exists to maintain its own existence, so there is no ethical objection to its abolition. Yet Dutch nationalists demand an absolute loyalty to this self-perpetuating theme park: they think in terms of national honour, and the blood of the forefathers. Their word for anti-nationalists is 'traitor' and it is for them the worst insult. Of course anti-nationalism is treason, but they are incapable of understanding that it is not wrong. Treason to the nation states is a precondition for any future European states, but the ultimate sacrilege for nationalists. There is no exit strategy from this incompatibility: such issues are usually decided by war.

A separate state for the racists?

The ethno-national model is racist, and it is accurate to describe its supporters as racists. That was true of the Lijst Pim Fortuyn and its voters, whatever they may think of the term. They believed the Dutch people to be inherently superior, in possessing an exclusive and inalienable right to the Netherlands, which the others lack. They found it legitimate, to exclude the rest from the Netherlands and its wealth. The Lijst Pim Fortuyn did indeed seek immigration restrictions on ethnic grounds. They supported inherited citizenship, meaning that a child can acquire citizenship purely by its biological relationship to its parents. Those are the four racist characteristics of ethno-nationalism listed above.

The Lijst Pim Fortuyn also proposed racist policies - another reason to categorise the party as racist. The party advocated a special age limit on marriages with foreigners: 21, not 18. This is explicitly designed to limit the flow of partners from Turkey and Morocco. The limit does not apply to ethnic Netherlanders, regardless of where they were born, or where they live, or where they marry. The party also wanted income limits on marriages, according to the nationality of the partner. No foreign partner would come to the Netherlands to enter into a partnership, unless the Netherlands partner has an income 30% above the national minimum wage. In this case ethnic Netherlanders with low incomes are disadvantaged: they can not choose a foreign partner, at least not in the Netherlands. But in reverse, ethnic Netherlanders living outside the Netherlands are privileged. Even if they have never been in the Netherlands before, they can come here and marry any legal resident, Dutch or foreign. The test applies only when the incoming partner is non-Dutch. These rules also apply to so-called 'gay marriages' - registered partnerships with the same legal status as a marriage. It is an interesting example of how Pim Fortuyn saw emancipation. A gay marriage is unthinkable in Iran, but a gay Iranian man can come to the Netherlands and form a registered couple with a Dutch man. But he should check the Dutch man's job and income first, because if the Dutch man is unemployed, the Iranian will be sent back home. No income, no partnership - and no partnership, no visa.

The Lijst Pim Fortuyn also sought age limits on family reunification: legal immigrants can at present bring their 'children' to the Netherlands, meaning their children under 18. The LPF wanted to lower that to 12. Again, the age limit does not apply to ethnic Netherlanders - there is no procedure at all, for the admission of Dutch children. They can come to the Netherlands at any time, even if they have never been there before, accompanied by their parents or not, and regardless of whether their parents live in the Netherlands.

The most obviously racist policy of the LPF is the compulsory integration process, inburgering - including language tests. Ethnic Netherlanders are of course exempt, if they already live here - but also if they live in another country. An ethnic Dutch citizen who left the country as a baby, and knows nothing of the country, is exempt. Biological descent from two Dutch parents is sufficient for this exemption. The language test is particularly discriminatory: it is not imposed on the basis of linguistic criteria, but on the basis of nationality. Dutch citizens are exempt, and this citizenship can be acquired by descent. The children of Dutch expats, who attended English-language international schools, can arrive without speaking a word of Dutch, and they are subject to no linguistic tests. The proposal also illustrates the LPF attitude to regional languages: Chinese who settle in a small Frisian village are obliged to learn Dutch, even if all their neighbours speak Frisian with each other. It is clear that the integration polices are primarily intended to deter new immigration. A fee of € 6000 for integration courses, to be paid in advance from an Afghan or Somali income, can only be intended as a deterrent.

Of course the Lijst Pim Fortuyn is not the only party with racist ideas. In fact all these proposals were adopted by the 2002 coalition of LPF, CDA and VVD - but that does not make the LPF any less racist....

Strategic Accord for a Cabinet of CDA, LPF, and VVD: 3 July 2002.

To allow integration to succeed, the admission of aliens who cause integration problems must be limited, as much as possible. It is a cause of concern, that the majority of young people (about 75%) from the three largest migrant groups bring their partner from their country of origin. This constantly reverses the integration process. The integration of children who arrive at a later age is also difficult. To combat this, the minimum age for starting a family will be raised from 18 to 21 years, and the minimum income to 130% of the legal minimum wage. Bringing successive partners from abroad as 'family formation' will be prevented. To take account of the diminishing chances of successful integration, the maximum age for children joining family in the Netherlands will be lowered, and conditions will be set, in line with policy in neighbouring countries.

Persons who wish to settle here will be expected to work to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for participation in society. That means above all, fluency in the Dutch language, the acquisition of insight into Dutch society, and the acquisition of the knowledge and skills necessary to support themselves by employment. The immigrants must pay the cost of the integration course, in advance. If they complete it successfully and on time, as evidenced by an exam, half of this fee will be refunded. Successful completion of the course, on time, will be a condition for a long-term residence permit. Immigrants who are already in this country, who are fit for work but receive unemployment or other benefit, will also be required to take the integration course, if they are not fluent in Dutch. Failure to complete the course on time will have consequences for their benefit.

The word 'racism' has probably lost much of its force in this political climate, and perhaps that is a good thing. I don't use it as an insult, I use it in a sense close to the original use - meaning the belief that certain other groups of people are inferior on the grounds of their ethnic origin. Mainstream European nationalism, which is essentially ethno-nationalism, is without doubt racist in that sense. The problem is that the existing nation states are grounded on this racism, with the support or acquiescence of the majority of the population. The majority in Europe are racists in that sense, and if it is no longer used simply as an insult, perhaps they will admit it. That would clarify the state of affairs: it would also show how deeply divided Europe is. Until then, no rational discussion is possible about Pim Fortuyn, or the racist policies of the Balkenende government, or similar polices in other EU countries. Politically correct taboos are obscuring the truth about the political impact of racism and xenophobia.

A science-fiction analogy is useful here. Imagine, a fleet of spacecraft reaches the earth, with on board 100 million intelligent spiders. Their own earth-like planet has been destroyed, and in exchange for the space travel technology, they want to come and live here. The world leaders agree, and the 100 million spiders are rehoused all over the world. The talking spiders soon learn the earth languages, they are capable of doing most human jobs, and living in buildings designed for humans. Soon they are part of society, in the cities and villages where they have settled, including Amsterdam.

Now look at life in Amsterdam from the point of view of a person with arachnophobia, fear of spiders. They want to go on the tram from one side of Amsterdam to the other. However, they must buy a ticket from the conductor, and the conductor is a spider, 150 centimetres tall. At the supermarket there are giant spiders at the checkout, speaking Dutch with strange accents. When they go to pick up their children from school, groups of spider children run outside, each 70 cm high. In the park there are threatening groups of teenage spiders. When they go to a meeting of the city council, one of the aldermen is a giant spider. They urgently need a filling, but the dentist is a giant spider. On TV, the news is read by a spider. What would life be like for the arachnophobes? It would be absolute hell, most would never leave their house for fear of encountering the spiders: they would live in permanent hysterical fear. They would want one thing and one thing only - that the spiders go away, and never come back. And they would not want integration, or a restrictive policy on new arrivals, or language courses for the spiders, but 100% total deportation. If a politician appears who promises that, they would treat him as their saviour. They would treat him as their saviour, if he even managed to suggest that he would do that.

This is what has been missing from the discussion about immigration and racism in Europe: insight into the feelings and thought of the opponents of immigration. The intellectual elite usually pretends they don't exist, as if there are no racists in Europe. This deception is applied retroactively to historical events. Between 1940 and 1943, the Jews in Amsterdam were excluded from public life, step by step. They were pushed into a separate enclave, consciously modelled on the mediaeval ghetto. They lived in Jewish Quarters, and even along separate 'Jewish Canals'. They had Jewish schools, Jewish shops, and Jewish doctors, all for Jews only: in the rest of the city they disappeared. The measures were imposed by the German occupation forces, but that does not mean that they were unwelcome. On the contrary, it is certain that many Amsterdammers were relieved, that there were no more Jews on the tram, in the cinema, in the shops, and that their children did not have to attend school with Jewish children. For the anti-semites the Germans were their saviours, and if you deny that, you deny the reality of anti-semitism in the Netherlands at that time.

The present reality is: most of the people who voted for Pim Fortuyn would be overjoyed and relieved, if one day someone simply removed 'the foreigners'. What do these ordinary white Dutch voters want? They want a white Dutch society, with Dutch conductors on the tram, Dutch checkout girls at the supermarket, Dutch councillors and politicians, Dutch shops, Dutch doctors, Dutch schools with Dutch children. They don't want any Turks, Moroccans or blacks living in their city or village. They never asked for them, and no account was ever taken of their views. The immigration was decided by the political elite in the 1960's and 1970's, and by the employers who wanted the immigrant labour. This January 2003 post to the newsgroup nl.politiek is typical of their views:

For years you have denied that there is a problem with the foreigners. Most crime is committed by those people. Your type has had your head in the sand for years, but that means the problem remains, and it is getting worse. The left never stopped the constant stream of these people, and that even after 1970 when we did not need any more immigrant labour. But they kept on coming, and if anyone complained then he was a racist, and you didn't hesitate to refer to World War II. When the left was in power the problem was taboo.

Things are different now, and that is because of Pim, that man was not as dangerous as you claim. It is dangerous to ignore the problem, since someone will come who really is dangerous. That man will be democratically elected, because the people are fed up. They are fed up living in a culture that is not ours, fed up being attacked, raped en oppressed - neighbourhoods change into ghettos where 90% are foreigners. They are fed up of running away to other neighbourhoods, where there is still a Dutch majority. They are fed up of driving kilometres every morning and afternoon to bring the children to school, because the local school is full of foreigners.

We are fed up living in the multicultural society which you forced on us... Thank you for ruining our country. You will have a lot to explain to your grandchildren, in the future.
Opgedrongen multiculturele samenleving

The ordinary white Dutch Fortuyn-voters have an aversion to the immigrants, and fear them, but until recently it was taboo to research the issue. Apparently the first opinion poll on the presence of an ethnic minority was taken in October 2003 - until then no-one had asked the question. It still is taboo to speak of the attitudes as 'racist', but the hostility is clear. In 2004 surveys by the Social and Cultural Planning Office found that three-quarters of the population fear, that immigrants will cause the collapse of the social security system, and that they will concentrate in ghettoes and no-go areas. A majority expects increased ethnic tension, and one-third of the population expects to suffer personal harm from the immigrant presence. The fears of the Fortuyn electorate, about the future of Dutch society, are derived from their aversion to immigrants. Their racism, additional to their underlying racist beliefs about the Dutch nation, is a xenophobic racism. Like all phobias, it is triggered by a stimulus: the presence of immigrants.

Specific Phobias
These common conditions are characterized by marked fear of specific objects or situations (DSM-IV). Exposure to the object of the phobia, either in real life or via imagination or video, invariably elicits intense anxiety, which may include a (situationally bound) panic attack. Adults generally recognize that this intense fear is irrational. Nevertheless, they typically avoid the phobic stimulus or endure exposure with great difficulty. The most common specific phobias include the following feared stimuli or situations: animals (especially snakes, rodents, birds, and dogs); insects (especially spiders and bees or hornets); heights; elevators; flying; automobile driving; water; storms; and blood or injections. Approximately 8 percent of the adult population suffers from one or more specific phobias in 1 year...
Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Anxiety Disorders.

Now there is no serious research into xenophobia as a phobia, so the analogy with arachnophobia remains speculative. However they are comparable in at least one respect: the fear is irrational, out of proportion to the threat. No-one in the Netherlands dies as a result of snake bites or spider bites, yet snake and spider phobias are just as acute here. Xenophobic racism is also analogous, when assessing the political morality of the claims made by the phobics. It would be unreasonable to arrange society in general, on the basis of the phobias of some of its members. Some people have a phobia for birds, and that must make life very difficult for them, since it is hard to avoid seeing birds. However it is not morally acceptable or reasonable, if they demand that all birds be killed, and a kilometre-high fence built at the border, to stop any birds returning to the country. It is not an acceptable use of the democratic process, to pursue that demand democratically, for instance by organising an Anti-Bird Party. And it would not be ethical for other political parties to facilitate this, for instance by entering into a coalition with the Anti-Bird Party, and conceding their demands.

The fact that anti-immigrant emotions are often extreme, and that they can dominate the life of the xenophobic racist, must be recognised. However, that does not mean that others must adjust to their emotions and beliefs. It is bad policy to pretend they do not exist: millions of frustrated and increasingly angry racists are a danger in the long term. But there is a relatively simple solution, which is evident in the story of the extraterrestrial spiders. They do not have to live everywhere, even in one country. If the spiders all agree to avoid one province of the Netherlands, then the arachnophobes can go and live in that province. Then they don't have to encounter any spiders: problem solved by territorial segregation.

So, a white homeland? A separate Pim Fortuyn state? The idea of a 'white homeland' comes from South Africa - after apartheid. It was partly intended to calm the feelings of of the Afrikaners who rejected the new ANC government. A small white-homeland community already exists, Orania, founded by the widow of apartheid theorist Verwoerd. The ANC was prepared to consider the idea, and vice-president Mbeki met its supporters. In the late 1990's the idea disappeared from the political agenda, partly because so few Afrikaners moved to Orania, or any other of the rural areas proposed as their future homeland. In reality, the proposal can only be implemented with subsidy from an ANC government, and while they might find it attractive to move all white extremists out of the cities, they have other priorities at present.

In the Netherlands it is much more difficult to find territory for a white homeland: unlike South Africa there are no almost-empty deserts or steppes. A homeland should preferably be on the coast, with a port and an airport. The most logical choice in the Netherlands is greater Rotterdam, with the largest concentration of Fortuyn voters. However, that would mean giving them Europe's largest port. A technological option is the construction of an artificial island in the North Sea, a project which is under investigation for airport and industrial use, but it would take at least 10 years to build. It seems that the principle of a separate state can only be applied at a European level, or alternatively at a local level, in which case its territorial unity disappears. Racist cities or racist quarters would be a mirror image of the Jewish Quarters imposed under the German occupation, as if the Germans had put all the anti-semites in Anti-Semitic Quarters. But if the anti-semites had requested that, and if it had saved the Jews from persecution elsewhere, would that have been wrong? No such white-homeland proposals are on the political agenda anywhere in Europe, but that should not prevent consideration of the ethics.

To return to the unpleasant truth: in the Netherlands there are millions of racists, who fundamentally reject the present form of society. They can not, and will not, form a unified state with migrants and ethnic minorities: they do not see them as their fellow countrymen and women. The present form of the Netherlands nation state will inevitably cease to exist: either the immigrants leave, or the racists secede, or they will live alongside each other as separate and divided nations, with no common identity. The Netherlands, as it exists, is simply not viable - leaving aside the moral and geopolitical objections to the nation state in general. The presence of a 'racist block' will increasingly determine politics and society: its members regard immigration as a hostile act, an invasion, and a violent response is increasingly probable. Whatever the scale of implementation, territorial separation of the racists resolves this issue, if it is consistent. In exchange for a white homeland, all the opponents of immigration, all the xenophobic racists, must leave the remaining territory.

Lynchings and pogroms

I said there are three groups of voters in the Netherlands electorate, and I named two already: the majority with a racist view of the state, and the xenophobic anti-immigrant block which largely coincides with the Fortuyn voters. Within this last group is a potentially violent minority: they are an additional justification for a territorial separation. This minority comprises several percent of the population: they are extremely dissatisfied, and already committed to violent, cruel, and barbaric solutions. These are the people who openly advocate gas chambers, who want public castration of sex offenders, that sort of thing. They want violence - and under the right historic circumstances, they will engage in violence. That is what happened in Rostock in 1992, when the local police had lost their authority and adopted a passive attitude. With local residents as spectators, a group of about 1000 (mostly young) attacked asylum seekers with firebombs, for three nights. A substantial minority of the population were participants or supported the action. The asylum seekers had been moved from west Germany to low-income areas of east Germany, during the economic collapse which followed reunification, so the resentment was especially intense. But the Netherlands is no different in this respect: asylum seekers centres attract bitter local opposition: if the police took the attitude of the Rostock police, most of the centres would be burned by local residents.

Occasionally individuals attack entire minorities in this way: the London nail-bomber David Copeland is a classic example. He placed bombs in Brixton market (to target blacks), in Brick Lane market (to target Asians) and in a gay pub in central London, before he was arrested. He was planning attacks against other minorities. Copeland had contacts with neo-nazi groups, but he was a racist before he met them. His attitudes were not derived from national-socialist ideology, but rather confirmed by it. He is definitely not alone: although there is no research, I suspect that hundreds of thousands of people in Britain secretly sympathise with him. They form a reservoir of potential 'lone bombers', but things can get much worse. A surprisingly large part of the population is prepared to use group force against members of hated minorities, and to kill them, when historical circumstances permit. The lynchings in the southern United States, and the Russian pogroms, are sufficient evidence for this violent potential. Opportunistic non-military massacres occur especially in wartime, when the majority uses the confusion to settle accounts with a hated minority. In the end this 'populist force' is brought to an end by state force - for instance, troops are used to dispel a lynch mob. Then the incident is usually swept under the carpet.

The Lijst Pim Fortuyn represented this violent minority: it was their electorate, or part of it. These voter's emotional identification with Fortuyn, and the degree of their hatred, was visible on the Internet in the weeks following Fortuyn's assassination. The immediate response to his death was a Diana-style mass public mourning, in which the national flag was prominent - followed by an unprecedented wave of hate mail and death threats, against anyone who opposed him. In the first hours after the assassination, many people assumed he had been killed by a Moroccan or Turkish immigrant. These translated reactions are from Polinco, a right-wing web forum operating from the United States. They were quoted in a survey of racism and discrimination for the Justice Ministry:


It is time to arise. All the sick left-wingers and immigrant pigs will pay for this!! Fortuyn is dead, officially confirmed. It is time to burn them. Nederland Erwache !!!


Your synagogues, your party offices, your mosques will be destroyed....

It is very clear what is behind this!!! This country has been taken over by a filthy Muslim Jihad. We must allow no Muslim to survive here!!!

the democracy is fake here, the left criminal gang control everything. They protect the foreign parasites, but crush our own people. Death to the Muslims and other foreign scum!!!

Take care LEFTWING HOLLAND your days are numbered. Pim was and is our man, Pim stands for freedom, freedom for the DUTCH PEOPLE. Death to the traitors.

Alas, Pim Fortuyn is DEAD. And with him the Lijst Pim Fortuyn. Alas. But: his ideas will live and new Pims will arise, who will purify the Aryan peoples of the impurities among us. Remain true to your ideals, and in the end the superior will triumph, and the Aryan people will be victorious. Sieg Heil!

Monitor racisme en extreem-rechts (2002) Jaap van Donselaar, Peter R. Rodrigues.
Amsterdam / Leiden: Anne Frank Stichting / Universiteit Leiden.

After his identity became known, the hatred was also directed at Volkert van der Graaf. The translated quotes below are from an anti-Volkert forum, opened a few days after his murder. Forum postings are not always reliable, and sometimes fictitious: the forum owner is interested in the traffic, not the content of the postings. However similar postings appeared at other sites: they accurately represent the mood of Fortuyn supporters.

"Apply the law of Moses to Volkert, stone him publicly"

"I lived in Harderwijk for years, I had the chance to run Volkert down, I missed my chance"

"protection he has no right give him to the people we can beat him slow torture that is the best method filthy murderer"

"I hope you get the same as Pim. That seems likely, because there are a lot of people who want to do it. I hope your son did not inherit your defective genes. One madman is enough!! Imagine having him for a father. I just saw an e-mail with Pim's little dog. He's lost his owner, and we've lost our hero"

"put this man on the electric chair!!!"

"the best way to take revenge on volkert and the other left murderers is to ruin the environment for ever. This country is ruined anyway without Pim"

"he is an unbelievable bastard kill and above all slow and painfully"

"Hang him on the Euromast and let him rot!!"

"kill this animal, then those whores the biotic bakers, then the environmentalists, and then the rest"

"Volkert is evil and he must be tortured!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"you must hang that volkert up and cut off his nose piece by piece and his ears his fingers let him feel it, he must must feel what he did. I love Pim forever.

"Stop animal testing! Use Volkert"

"Volkert dirty bastard coward torture is good for you or gas chamber murderer"

"I call on everyone to eat a nice piece of meat tomorrow for Volkert. I know you will hurt him that way.

"First your leg off and then burn it, yeh we don't want you to bleed to death. Then an arm off and then burn it too...lovely and then 1000000000 bullets for you, nice eh"

All quotes from the Forum Against Volkert.

However, that did not mean that there was any less hatred directed at immigrants: new incidents trigger new waves of hate mail from the same section of the population. The official reactions of Fortuyn's party did not use such language, but certainly legitimised it, by insisting that all criticism of itself and Pim Fortuyn must stop. Its leaders spoke of 'demonisation', and blames that demonisation for the murder of Fortuyn. Before his death, Fortuyn himself said that if he was killed, it would be the fault of Labour Prime Minister Wim Kok. In other words, the LPF saw criticism of itself and Fortuyn as a sort of sacrilege, and a disrespect for the dead hero. They insisted on absolute respect for the emotions of his supporters - no matter how extreme or violent their reactions.

The new members of parliament, and the LPF ministers, were not themselves typical of these voters. They were typically businessmen, ex-members of the VVD and CDA. Immigration aside, their political agenda was that of the VVD right wing: more roads, cheaper petrol, no planning restrictions on building in the countryside, more private enterprise in health care, less government, and a balanced budget. Nevertheless they knew what sort of people voted for them. Fortuyn supporters are highly visible on the Dutch-language Internet, and they are obsessed by immigration and multiculturalism, and often filled with hate. The LPF members of parliament got themselves elected by appealing to a backward, barbaric and racist electorate. That was Fortuyn himself wanted, knowing that his appeal was limited beyond the immigration issue. This cultivation of a hate climate indicates that 'demonisation' of the Lijst Pim Fortuyn was not inappropriate. The founders of Leefbaar Nederland must share some of the guilt for the climate of hate. They made right-wing populism a force in Dutch local politics, and later gave Fortuyn his official status as a national candidate: they also knew exactly what sort of people voted for them.

Waves of hate mail and forum posts against foreigners continue to appear. They are usually triggered by crimes, typically murder and rape. They are a reminder of the existence of the violent racist group, which is still available as an electorate to any charismatic racist politician, or any new racist party. Here are some reactions from the official website of the city of Venlo, following the killing of René Steegemans by a Moroccan in 2002...

"Let them all go back to their own country, let them fuck up their own country, but of course they won't do anything there, because there they know how to handle that sort. Put them in a cell with 40 others, one toilet, no food, let them die. As far as I am concerned send all Turks and Moroccans home, and let America drop an atom bomb on them, then we will have no trouble from them for years."

"Isn't it time that the Netherlands is once again for the NETHERLANDERS. Isn't it time that foreigners learn to obey the Netherlands laws - if not, send them home, that is better for us. THE NETHERLANDS FOR THE NETHERLANDERS"

"We are not allowed to criticise that scum, because that would be discrimination -they have such a difficult time.., they have a different culture...The Police are afraid to touch them, they avoid them. Long live Pim Fortuyn, he would have dealt with that scum."

"Let's hope that someone in the Netherlands will stand up, who will deal with those blacks who behave like that - send them back or shoot them!"

However, that was nothing compared to the anti-Islam rage, that followed the killing of Theo van Gogh in November 2004. Van Gogh was killed because he had directed a short film scripted by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an ex-Muslim and rigorous opponent of Islam. The killer was an Islamist, born in the Netherlands to Moroccan parents: this was the clear example the racists had been waiting for. Tens of thousands of angry reactions followed: some websites deleted thousands of racist postings. A small but significant fraction called for the killing of all Moroccans an/or Muslims, and for attacks on mosques and Islamic schools, which did indeed follow.

These are the people who will engage in a pogrom, if they get the chance. The history of pogroms and ethnic violence in Europe indicates that, when it comes, immigrants and small national minorities are the primary target. The Lijst Pim Fortuyn brought a pre-pogrom climate to Dutch politics - where people feared to oppose a potentially violent racist minority, and where racist attitudes were legitimised by reference to the 'sacred memory' of Pim Fortuyn. That is sufficient reason to ban the party, and its splinter parties. A repeat of Pim Fortuyn's electoral success, by a similar party, would be sufficient reason to disenfranchise its voters. In the Netherlands, in France, or in other EU countries. A separate state is the logical alternative to their continued and dangerous presence in existing states.