NEDERLANDS

DEUTSCH

DIRECT ACTION

This is a webpage to advertise a video CD which contains so-called Mpeg videos which you can play on most computers.
You can order a copy from Organic Chaos Network, send us an email :: trojan tv
In total this CD contains nearly an hour of video, the resolution of the videos is good enough to play full screen size.
Here kun you can read who made the videos on this CD.

Direct action strategy has a long history. It is connected to the workers and anarchist movement that started at the end of the nineteenth century. It means people can take action themselves to counter unacceptable practices. People who do this think they have the right- or even the obligation - to intervene and that they don't want to wait for official approval.
Although the term direct action is often associated with tumultuous events, such an intervention can take many forms. From blocking the entrance of a building to painting a slogan on a wall. The intention of the action can also vary: from actually stopping an undesired practice to giving attention to a theme, or starting a discussion.

Direct action - has different definitions, summarised you can say: ‘using direct action to intervene in an undesired situation or process to change or stop it’. For a long time, activists have tried to change things this way, mainly because they think change won't happen another way or the change will be too slow. Groen Front! is an environmental group that often uses direct action. How the Groen Front! friends put it in words, you can see in this clip [Dutch spoken]. You can read more about Groen Front! on their website :: www.groenfront.nl

Ofcourse, you can argue what you consider to be direct action. Spraying a slogan on a wall doesn't directly result in halting the activitity it is directed against. You can also wonder if the slogan has an effect at all. But a slogan on the right spot can make people think and, for example, discredit the activity it is directed against and so undermine the support for it. The British governmnet and the media supported the war against Iraq (2003.) To tell another story, a group of people decided to do an action you can see in this clip.

Other actions are aimed at messages that yell at you from all sides in the streets; the omnipresent billboards, ‘buy this and do that’, you can hardly get away from it. The Paris subway is a good example. Here you can see how a group of activists reacted to it during the European Social Forum in 2003.

During this action in the Paris subway many billboard were changed to create a completely different message. Adbusters is a group that changes commercials as a form of direct action. Here are some examples. You can find more information about Adbusters on the websites :: www.subvertise.org, www.paradigmshift.nl & www.lazyartist.org

Direct actions often take place as an attempt to protect the environment against large infrastructural projects. Building tree huts and digging tunnels hampered the construction of the Afrika harbour (in Ruigoord in Amsterdam). This made it difficult and expensive to dig up the terrain. Another example was the occupation of empty farms on the Betuwe railway. By barricading and hiding in these buildings an attempt was made to at least slow down the railway construction.

Earth First! inspired the creation of Groen Front!This radical environmental movement has its roots in the US. In England during the ninetees of the last century, it was active within the movement against the construction of new motorways. The protests against the construction of the M11, a piece of motorway that was intended as a shortcut, is a classic example. In this clip you see how activists disrupt the construction by repeatedly entering the contruction area and making it as difficult as possible for the construction contractor to remove them. This is done by, amongst other things, chaining themselves to objects using so-called lock-ons. A tree and the houses of a entire street that must be demolished are also occupied. The movement is powerful because it has a lot of local support,because, amongst other things, the construction directly effects the local population.

Another example of direct action where the local population playes an important role is that against the transport of radioactive nuclear waste to (temporary) storage areas. The transports to the German town of Gorleben are probably the best-known. In this clip [german spoken, dutch subtitles] you can see how activists sit down on the rails to form a human blokkade. Carrying these people off one-at-a-time is extremely time-consuming and makes the transports expensive. Ofcourse, there are also other ways of hampering the transport.

Another nice direct action was the blocking of the German border police (BGS) station during the border camp of 2001. In the following clip you can see how a barricade that activists built temporarily stops the BGS hunt people who wanted to cross the border.You can also see how the activists try to make a new border crossing possible.

The following clip is an example of a more symbolic direct action that a Canadian did as a protest against the positions his country defended during the climate summit in The Hague (november 2000). Because Canada wasn't prepared to support the necessary agreements about greenhouse gas emission reduction he no longer wanted to be Canadian and burnt his passport in public.

The summum of theatrical action is ofcourse throwing pies. The person hit is publicly knocked of their pedestal and ridiculed - suddenly he or she isn’t an untouchable and important person. In the following movie you can see a few sweet examples.

Destroying something to prevent worse is the clearest example of direct action. An example is destroying fields of genetically modified crops. Here you can see how a trial field with genetically modified wheat is destroyed. As a protest against the use of these crops.

Another example is this clip that shows several techniques. To act against the ever increasing camera surveillance in public buildings. ‘If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.’

Sabotaging contruction works is something activists who were apposed to the construction of the Itoiz dam in Baskenland used. After years of protest against the dam and the high court pronouncement the dam was illegal, the Spanish government continued constructing the dam. In the next clip activists who were confronted with this situation tell they decided to use direct action. They decided to cut the cables across the valley that were used for the contruction work.
For more information :: www.sindominio.net/sositoiz

In wealthy countries governments try to increasingly regulate migration. Undesired migrants receive the label 'illegal' and aren't allowed to enter the country, or they are even locked up to prevent them from staying. Here you can see how participants in an action camp visit a nearby deportation centre in the Australian desert. The visit has its own dynamics and before you know where you are many prisoners are freed.

The situation in the Netherlands isn't much different. On entrance, people are also selected. It's becoming increasingly difficult to apply for asylum, and if you want to come because you are just looking for a better future you're not welcome at all. Although, maybe an exception must be made for well-educated nurses or other people who can be of temporary use.
For young unaccompanied asylumseekers (AMA's) this is never the case. They are locked up under a special regime and prepared for return (deportation). In the next clip [dutch spoken] you can see how a group of activists don't except the imprisonment of innocent people and remove the fences around the camp in Deelen.

In a plane you can also take action against the deportation of people. In this clip [dutch spoken] two stewardesses say what you can do, becuase no human is illegal!

You can see another example of a direct action commercial video here. Furr seems to be the thing, but only for those who are willing to get into the skin of another.

Another example of direct action to stop animal suffering is to disrupt a hunt. In the next video, you can see how two activists do this.

Releasing animals that are kept under cruel conditions is another example, here you can see an example.

At the beginning of 2003 Irak was attacked. Bush, Blair and their friends said they did this because Irak probably had weapons of mass destruction. As a protest against this war but also to bring attention to the fact that there are still nuclear weapons stationed in the Netherlands. In this clip [dutch spoken] you can see what happened.

Here you can see another action aimed at the preparations for this war [dutch spoken]. The Military Traffic Management. Command in Capelle aan de IJssel directs US military transports in Europe, Africa and a part of Azia.

Something of a completely other order is the takeover of a military base that is still in use. The Zapatistas in Mexico who have been struggling for autonomy since the start of 1994 show in the next clip that the military barracks of the governmental army must go.They enter the base and occupy it with a large group of people, despite the presence of heavily armed soldiers.

It will come to no surprise at all for most people watching this CD, that McDonalds has to account for a lot. Here you can see how the treatment of McDonalds' employees in Paris lead to a six-month strike and occupation.

Squatting is also direct action; new occupents start using vacant homes. For owners it is often lucrative to leave a home vacant in stead of selling it. The home is used for market speculation. In the next clip [dutch spoken] you can see how a communal action occupied eleven homes in one go and what the neighbours thought of it.

Filming actions is something activists started doing in the ninetees of the last century. It's esential because the traditional media often give a one-sided account or don't report the action at all. If an activist is shown at all, often only the sensation aspect is shown,the content and the motives involved can't be found.
Indymedia is a globally emerging alternative media network,that also has a Dutch version :: indymedia.nl
And, to use a quote from the first episode of the Undercurrents video news magazine: “if you didn’t like the video - make your own!”. In the Netherlands you have the Organic Chaos Network. This is a network of video activists, you can find more information at :: www.organicchaos.org Besides making videos they also provide video training for people who want to make videos themselves (contact). They are also involved in producing and distributing the European NewsReal, This is a video magazine with short video messages made by independent video makers from all over Europa. It is subtitled and distributed in several countries. You can watch the European NewsReal trailer here.
Copy this CD and give it to others that are interested (the contents is copy-left) !


         

    


"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful,
committed people can change the world.
Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

-- Margaret Mead