Dutch anti-racism protagonist starts her own political party


Dutch television presenter turned politician Sylvana Simons is starting a new political party in the Netherlands, called Artikel 1.

The name refers to the first article of the constitution of the Netherlands. Simons wants to preach equality and hope to add something real to the divided political climate in Holland.

Simons made a formal complaint about online threats for her stand on racial issues in June, after she announced that she was joining newly formed political party Denk in May.

Denk wants to take into account the interests of the their conservative base, Simons told Dutch broadcaster NOS . She had less room for themes like women’s rights and gay acceptance, she added.

“It’s important you feel safe,” she said, implying a lack of support from her party leaders.

At the end of November, a second wave of threats included a short video was placed on social media showing Simons’ head superimposed on the body of a black American who had been lynched. Since then, Simons has been under special police protection.

The public prosecution department plans to take legal action against more than 10 people for making threats against television presenter turned politician Sylvana Simons.

Chief prosecutor Theo Hofstee said the exact number of prosecutions has not been finalised but that ‘a large number’ of cases will go to court.

‘We are talking about death threats and a number of unpleasant insults which are extremely discriminatory,’ he said.

Some people will appear in front of magistrates in the first three months of next year while others will be let off with a fine, he said.

Even though the Netherlands has recovered from the worldwide financial crisis and even though economically a top 10 qualification is based on numbers, the country has become heavily divided on a wide range of issues.

Discrimination, racism, right-wing extremism that reacts on islamic terrorism, refugees, household debts, unemployment, a fractured political environment with the rise of small break-away factions and extremist or one issue parties, a broken capitalist health system that aims for profit, the ‘greyness’ of its demographic, a small media landscape that consists mostly of ‘original’ Dutch, the delegation of state powers to city councils and the rise of foodbanks to feed the 500.000 children growing up in poverty, all play a role in the hearts and minds of the Dutch these days. The result is a heavily divided society.

General elections are planned to be held in the Netherlands on 15 March 2017 to elect all 150 members of the House of Representatives. A record number of 25 parties will try to convince voters to support them, including Artikel 1.