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SP district council member had rather extreme ideas

Harry Rijpkema

It does not surprise me that something is going on in the Amsterdam Zuider Amstel Socialist Party (SP). Three years ago, I joined the SP for a while out of discontent with the right-wing government policies. I became part of the Oud-Zuid ZuiderAmstel group. This escalated further and further. Gerrit Herders had rather extreme ideas.

He thought he could give me history lessons, even though I am a qualified history teacher. According to him, the Gulag Archipel was a lie and Solzsjenitsin was in league with the nazis, and more of that stuff. The way in which he formed very negative judgements of politicians and insulted them publicly was going way too far in my eyes. He especially felt a need to display his personal hatred of Alderman Duco Adema. He was absolutely incredible in this.

When it regarded dealing with issues, he was messing about terribly and all he did proved counterproductive. He had no clue about facts, analysis, procedures and strategy. I would not know what he achieved with his actions. District council member Henk Dokter in a letter to the editor of a newspaper spoke of ‘schlemiel notes and meshuga plans’.

I had taken the initiative of preventing the demolition of the Airey flats at the President Kennedylaan. Herders wanted the SP to score with the issue and I was said not to tell anyone else of the action. However, I wanted to win broad support and involve other organisations. I was an active member of the Stop the Demolition of Social Housing (SASH) organisation, and I addressed the committee council not on behalf of the SP but on behalf of SASH. Herders did not understand this strategy.

I could present good arguments such as the good condition of the buildings and the total lack of support for demolition among residents. Because it was the at time of Sinterklaas [the Dutch Santa Claus – Ed], Herders thought he should tell a fairy tale about a man who defended the people, but in the end became part of the government and betrayed the people. This referred to Adema. He completely ignored the issue at hand, the demolition and new construction.

There were several similar affairs that irritated me quite a bit. Not just his clumsy acts, but also the authorative behaviour, manipulation and untrustworthiness of Herders and his partner Anja Veen started to annoy me. The SP turned out not to be the right party for me and I soon cancelled my membership.

See also: Teach SP some manners


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