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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

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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

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9/1 I Amsterdam must remain exclusive

8/1 Use term Apartheid in every discussion

8/1 No city kiosk in Amsterdam yet

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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

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1/1 Mustapha Laboui leaves district council


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‘Expel Black critics from PvdA Zuidoost’

28 May 2007 - The Van Thijn Committee, which investigated allegations of abuses among the PvdA Zuidoost, wants Black critics expelled from the party. District chairwoman Elvira Sweet is criticised for being secretive about drinking and driving violations.

The committee headed by Ed van Thijn was installed by the PvdA after a report in de Volkskrant in October last year, suggesting that politicians used subsidies to buy political power. There was also criticism about the way in which the candidates for last year’s municipal elections had been selected.

The committee takes sides with local party chairman Nick Bolte, who would have shown leadership under difficult circumstances. Meanwhile, the committee passes a harsh judgement on Black critics within the party, organised in the Forum for Democracy, Equality and Justice.

According to the committee, members of the Forum ruin the atmosphere within the local PvdA by expressing severe criticism on party members, frequently using ‘racist terms’. The Forum speaks of a White Clan controlling the party with the help of Black fellow travellers.

The committee asks the party to deal with the Forum on the basis of article six of the byelaws. This article deals with ending party membership.

Wesley Amzand, who challenged Sweet for the party leadership, is also severely criticised. The committee has the impression that he has engaged in dubious recruitment practices.

This would appear from the fact that dozens of members support him anonymously, while nobody takes his side during public meetings. In 2001, Amzand was accused of recruiting new members on massive scale to have them support his candidacy.

The committee is considerably more lenient with Sweet (photo), although she should have more actively provided information on two drinking and driving violations.

According to the PvdA’s current integrity code, such behaviour might have been a reason to take measures against her, but that code was not yet in effect at the time, the committee says.

The Van Thijn Committee’s report makes a somewhat strange impression, because it largely ignores the criticism in the Volkskrant article that was the reason to start the investigation.

To some extent, this can be explained from the fact that the committee was not asked to investigate the way in which subsidies have been awarded. The Accounting Office and the Municipal Integrity Bureau are investigating this issue.

This does mean that there is still unfinished business, as the committee is well aware. If evidence of ‘conflicts of interests or other objectionable practices’ will be found, those involved should be expelled too if necessary, the committee said.

Abuse of subsidies in Zuidoost

UPDATE 28 October 2007 - In response to the above article, Wesley Amzand states:

That I would have been involved in dubious recruitment practices is sheer nonsense. More than a hundred members of the Zuidoost PvdA supported my candidacy for the Amsterdam Zuidoost party leadership. Those members had signed their names. The names and addresses were known. What Van Thijn c.s. have not investigated is that one or more members of the candidacy committee have called members who had signed for me. Remarks such as ‘why do you support Amzand? No, you should support the other candidate, etcetera’. This fact has been brought under the attention of the Van Thijn c.s. committee, but has not been investigated. Purposely? The candidacy committee should refrain from showing partiality. The committee disqualified itself. On the day of the meeting at which the candidacy would be decided on, the chairwoman of the committee, Ms. H.B., personally asked the members for their preferences. When Ms. L. expressed her support for me, she was attacked by Ms. H.B. Subsequently, I ran into Ms. L. at the meeting. She was completely upset and wanted to leave the meeting immediately. Her response: ‘I did not realise it was as bad as this; I am shocked, is this the PvdA’s democracy? Is this how it works?’

Nobody supported me anonymously. The names and addresses were known, for both the candidacy committee and Van Thijn’s committee. That no one spoke out for me at the meeting had more to do with intimidation.


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