AA/DG returns to activism
6 April 2006 – After the disappointing election outcome,
Amsterdam Different / The Greens (AA/DG) must return to being an
activist organisation, Joost Kircz says. For now the organisation
will take its time to recuperate, but “Saturday we will of
course be present at the manifestation against the rent policies
of Minister Dekker”.
One of the victims of the polarisation during last month’s
municipal elections was the activist city party AA/DG. At election
night it seemed that the party had just managed to hold on to its
seat in the city council, but afterwards it turned out it was five
votes short. The party further disappeared from the district councils
of Oost, Zeeburg, Westerpark and Oud-West.
The party’s loss came as quite a shock. “Many people
said, if only I had known that this would happen, then I would absolutely
have voted for you. This does not help us now, of course, but it
is quite touching”, says Joost Kircz, council member for the
party in the Centrum District. “Within the party there is
disappointment, but no funeral atmosphere. There is an atmosphere
of: we will go on”.
The general impression is that the party lost votes because voters
were influenced by national politics. It has been suggested that
the election posters – showing party leader Jupijn Haffmans
upside down – may have been too confusing, but no one believes
that this played a serious role.
“Some thought the posters were fantastic, others thought
otherwise, but then you always get discussions like this”,
says Kircz. “By now someone did tell me that it is unique
in parliamentary history to put your party leader upside down on
AA/DG has not disappeared everywhere. In the Noord and Zuid districts
the party still has a seat on the district council, in Centrum even
two. “Considering that the SP [a left-wing competitor –
ed] made its first appearance in the district council by winning
five seats, then I am quite proud that AA/DG managed to hold on
to our two seats”.
One of the most important challenges for the party is to remain
visible in a way that transcends district politics, says Kircz.
“In part, this depends on the themes that you focus on. A
theme such as construction and housing for example is quite suitable
for a broader approach”.
Further, the party has to become more activist again. “We
originate in an activist organisation, that is an aspect that we
must pay more attention to again”. Much will depend on how
the political climate evolves. “Presently there is an anti-government
mood in the country, but unfortunately this is not based on a proper
The chances for a local party such as AA/DG will partly depend
on the outcome of next year’s national elections. “What
will happen if Verdonk [a right wing populist and candidate for
the party leadership of the right-wing VVD – ed] will rule
the country like some sort of Margaret Thatcher? Or if the social-democrat
PvdA will rise to power, and disappointment sets in?”
First of all, the party has to be gotten back on track. “At
the moment, everybody is sort of catching their breath, we have
quite a hectic time behind us. We now have to structure things”.
Because the party disappears from the city council, it also looses
the funding and support that come with being represented on the
council. A new structure will have to be developped to coordinate
the activities in the different districts.
Two employees loose their job because of the loss of the municipal
support. “This is one of the saddest aspects of all, that
we had to file for their dismissal. They are now busy looking for
jobs, so if you know of an organisation that is looking for enthusiastic
people who are well-informed about local politics...”