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11/1 Jurists want to stay in Oudemanhuispoort

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7/2 Spreading tourism proceeds with difficulty

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6/2 Zuideramstel opens new office on Sabbath

5/2 The truth about integration

4/2 Wilders has little support on Amsterdam

3/2 Elite involved in neighbourhood

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1/2 Rotterdam to tinker with district councils as well

31/1 Wooden rowing boats to disappear from Amstel

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27/1 Privacy activists to mess up loyalty card system

27/1 A few were still coughing, but that was an act

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26/1 Youth have positive view of districts

24/1 Action groups call for Carmel and Jaffa boycott

24/1 PvdA members dismiss plan for districts

23/1 KLM takes on crisis with new uniform

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21/1 Merge districts

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20/1 Cleaners welcome new Schiphol director

18/1 Palestine at the Jewish Historical Museum

18/1 What is the right size for a district?

17/1 PvdA Oost against fewer districts

16/1 Committee: 7 districts by 2010

15/1 Soldiers may attend Afghanistan debate after all

15/1 Bait bike leads to arrest

14/1 Youth for Christ to republish vacancies

13/1 Paintings of the Zuidas

13/1 New Youth for Christ contoversy

11/1 Social cohesion initiative raises eyebrows

10/1 Fewer districts in 2010

10/1 Zuidas: People feel that we are losers

9/1 Fun on the ice - but not for all

9/1 Supermarket coupon fraud thwarted

9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

7/1 Snow

7/1 Fatima Elatik to run Zeeburg

7/1 Municipal managers to return to shop floor

4/1 Police: take photo of strange people

3/1 Gaza protest criticises politicians

1/1 Thousands to protest against attacks on Gaza

1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council

 

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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 the poster”.

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”.

THATCHER
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 political discussion”.

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...”

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