Conservatives Betray Dutch Nationalists
Gregory Hood, American Renaissance, February 23, 2021
February 21, 2021 – Thierry Baudet of Forum for Democracy is campaigning in Spijkernisse.
(Credit Image: © Utrecht / Action Press via ZUMA Press)
The Left feared Thierry Baudet. Now, progressives think they have him beat. They may be wrong.
Mr. Baudet is the charismatic founder of the Dutch political party Forum for Democracy (FvD). He started the party in late 2016, and represented a different kind of nationalism from the blunt anti-Islamism of Geert Wilders and the Party for Freedom (PVV). Instead of baiting Muslims and the media, Mr. Baudet offered a case for Dutch and European identity, rather than against Islam. He also appealed to more educated voters than Mr. Wilders’s largely working-class supporters.
In the 2017 Dutch elections, most observers were watching the showdown between Mr. Wilders and the “establishment” of Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his center-right “People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy” (VVD). Mr. Wilders and his PVV failed to win the election, but leftists were shocked that Mr. Baudet and the FvD won two seats. In 2019, it won more seats than any other party in the upper house in the Dutch government. In March 2019, after provincial elections, it was the largest party in the Netherlands.
Media were fascinated by Mr. Baudet. The Guardian called him the “suave new face” of the “Dutch far right.” The New Statesman said Europe should be afraid of him. Politico dutifully told its readers “5 things to know about Dutch far right’s new figurehead.” Race realists should be familiar with this type of article. Whenever a race realist or nationalist can use polysyllabic words or discuss art and literature, journalists act as if this were completely unprecedented. They really do seem to think we will walk the halls of government wearing boots and braces.
One article showed some insight. “In topic and tone, the boundaries of the acceptable have been shifted to the right,” said The Nation in a 2018 article. “Fueled by social media, mainstream political discourse has gone places that were unthinkable 20 years ago.” The Nation was right. The FvD ran a genuinely grassroots campaign that relied on young activists and social media.
This should also be familiar to race realists. Social media and online content creation were part of Donald Trump’s 2016 victory and the rise of the Alt Right. Journalists in the Netherlands responded the same way their American counterparts did. They hunted for “extreme” comments, whipped up hysteria, and called for censorship. Of course, such campaigns are effective only if “conservatives” follow the script and turn on their comrades. This is what happened to Thierry Baudet.
In November 2020, the Dutch newspaper Parool published a story about the youth division of Forum for Democracy, the JFvD. The youth were “spreading extremist ideas” and their leader, Freek Jansen, was tolerating members with “homophobic and right-wing extremist ideas.” The newspaper said it had “talks with anonymous sources” and learned of messages with politically incorrect comments. Someone claimed that “Jews have international pedophile networks and usher large numbers of women into pornography,” and that “National-Socialism had the best economic formula ever.” Only a few people sent messages like these, and some of the harshest came from a single private Instagram account completely unknown to the party.
It was typical “journalism.” There had already been a similar “scandal” involving group chats of JFvD members in March that led to the expulsion of several members. Even the youth division of the center-right VVD got the same treatment in May.
The JFvD disavowed the comments and prominent party members outside the youth division promised to investigate. Mr. Baudet rejected “trial by media” and said he would draw conclusions only after a serious look into the situation.
Since the beginning, journalists have tried to take down Forum for Democracy with potshots like this. Mr. Baudet always stayed calm, corrected errors, and kept his poise rather than react hysterically grovel. This does not mean tolerating everything, but it does mean Mr. Baudet kept his eye on the wider mission. Like candidate Donald Trump in 2016, he hasn’t let hostile journalists distract him; he concentrated on issues rather than invented controversies.
Unfortunately, the approach did not work this time. People from within the party broke ranks and called for immediate “action.” Specifically, Annabel Nanninga, a leading member of the FvD from Amsterdam, tweeted that the response of the JFvD was, “too little, too late” and called for “a complete cleansing of the JFvD.” FvD European Parliamentarian Rob Roos said the youth division should be abolished.
With some 5,000 members, the JFvD is the largest and probably most active political youth organization in the Netherlands. Mr. Baudet understood it would be wrong to destroy the group because of a few alleged posts on social media. However, Annabel Nanninga and her supporters were persistent.
At an emergency meeting at party headquarters, the executive board and several prominent party representatives issued orders: Mr. Baudet had to disband the youth division, disavow its head Freek Jansen, and expel accused members. Mr. Baudet refused, but didn’t want the party to break apart close to the upcoming March elections. Instead, Mr. Baudet chose a statesman-like compromise and resigned as party head.
In a video, Thierry Baudet disavowed the remarks that Parool reported. He said any failure to tackle the problem lay with him and that he took “ultimate responsibility.” He would therefore step aside but continue fully to support the party and its leadership. “We continue to fight for our ideals, a better Netherlands, for our history and for our identity.”
Once again, he warned against “trial by media”:
I see that there are constant accusations against me and the party with allegations that are completely unfounded. . . It’s all whipped up to enormous proportions. I always want to make a very sharp distinction between on the one hand: what is true about the allegations — then people have to leave the party. And on the other hand, trial by media. We know that the media cannot be trusted.
I see that now there are people within the party who do not want to wait for the investigation, based on reports in the media. Of course, if things have happened that are unacceptable, then action must be taken. But now as a party we are threatening to jump the gun and throw people under the bus before we know what happened.
This sudden resignation brought immediate disbelief and disappointment. Even Geert Wilders, a political competitor, tweeted his support: “Stay strong, Thierry. I like you a lot. You have guts and few can say that. Stay tough and always keep fighting for a better Netherlands!”
Mr. Baudet continued to support the party and executive board, but his followers were not satisfied. Had the founder and popular leader been forced out because of screen shots of offensive remarks? Some speculated that the older, conservative faction had collaborated with media in a coup against the younger, more nationalist faction. Many demanded Mr. Baudet be reinstated.
Perhaps in response to this, Annabel Nanninga did not act to stabilize the party or consolidate control. Instead, she attacked Mr. Baudet and the JFvD, using the slur “Nazi” no fewer than seven times in a short article. She accused Mr. Baudet of taking the side of “riotous Nazi pubers (a Dutch word for someone going through puberty)” over the “good name, honor, and integrity” of FvD elected representatives such as herself. She said the youth division had been the source of repeated scandals. She recounted “desperate conversations” with FvD-representatives who “no longer dared to show their face at the schoolyard or sport club” because of the “chat scandal.” Miss Nanninga concluded with an ultimatum: Mr. Baudet must be excluded from any position and electoral list, and “radical elements” in the party must be “thrown out without further ado.”
Mr. Baudet, obviously re-energized, fired back. This was a coup. Although he had backed the party leadership, now it wanted him out. In response, Mr. Baudet demanded an immediate election to determine the future of the party. This was the beginning of a public “civil war” between what became #teamthierry and #teamnanninga. It was one-sided. A poll showed almost everyone who ever voted FvD was backing Mr. Baudet. Supporters thought that the “chat scandal” had been exaggerated. In a party election, more than three-quarters voted for Mr. Baudet.
Their coup having failed, four prominent members of the FvD quit. Anabel Nanninga, Nicki Pouw-Verweij, Joost Eerdmans, and Eva Vlaardingerbroek released a joint statement:
Today we have decided to end our membership in Forum for Democracy. The main reason for our joint decision is that we do not want to be a member of a party that tolerates extremist views. We are very disappointed in the behavior of our party leader who did not want to clean house.
Some of these figures might be targeted for “housecleaning” by other parties. The Times of Israel has ripped Annabel Nanninga for Holocaust “jokes.” Joost Eerdmans has bounced around various Dutch nationalist movements and so has guilt by association with practically everyone. Eva Vlaardingerbroek’s case is complicated by the fact that she was once Mr. Baudet’s girlfriend. She was often compared to activists such as Lauren Southern, Brittany Sellner, Lana Lokteff as a female face for the “radical right.” Anti-fascists criticize her for her relationship with Julien Rochedy, former head of the National Youth Front. Such figures can easily be torn apart by journalists when they stop being useful. Nicki Pouw-Verweij might get a temporary pass; she published a letter outlining things Mr. Baudet supposedly said during a dinner — but why would any serious political movement trust someone like that?
The campaign against Mr. Thierry started up again this month. He and other FvD deputies are accused of spreading “racist and homophobic comments in WhatsApp chat groups as late as last summer.” People were sitting on these texts for months and now, private comments are generating headlines.
Mr. Baudet had written that whites have a higher average IQ than Hispanics or Africans. This is true, no matter how much anyone yells. There was also comment about someone not wanting his sister to come home with “a Negro.” Someone joked about “such a homo” about a green-lefty who said “homo economicus” must become “homo empathicus.” This was taken as a vicious slur. As far as I can tell, that’s it.
Mr. Baudet says a “cartel” of Dutch politicians and media figures are promoting this campaign of “hot air.” He adds that if there is no distinction between public and private, this is essentially a totalitarian regime. “The Dutch can see right through this,” he says.
We will see. The Forum for Democracy is not polling well for the March elections, although it seems to beating the breakaway group created by Mr. Baudet’s former colleagues. The Forum for Democracy’s loss may be Geert Wilders’ gain. His Party for Freedom, running on an expanded nationalist platform may play kingmaker. A flap in which Turkish officials have likened him to “a damn Nazi” and “a Daesh murderer” will probably help him.
Still, barring dramatic events or a huge polling error, the center-right party is likely to form a government. Prime Minister Mark Rutte says he will not work with the FvD, though he might not be able to dismiss Mr. Wilders. At least for now, journalists can congratulate themselves for having beaten down the FvD.
Politics is a long game and Mr. Baudet’s career may be just beginning. He has learned, like many others, that there is no privacy in the “Free World.” I doubt he’ll make similar mistakes again. However, ultimately, the rise, fall, and future of the Forum for Democracy is less about Mr. Baudet than about conservatives.
Throughout the West, Mr. Baudet and other nationalists face the same problem. Powerful media put intense pressure on politicians and private individuals who say the “wrong” things. Financial institutions and governments can impose harsh penalties. Journalists, often sponsored by NGOs, are the Narrative Police. The result is that the West doesn’t have state-run media, but it has media-run states. Whoever has the most media power governs.
It’s impossible to build a political movement if nationalists and conservatives let journalists set the limits of debate. Mr. Baudet and many of his disciples understand this. To the extend that “center-right” conservatives understand this game, it means they think that censorship, hysterical media campaigns, and anti-racism benefit them.
“Conservatives” presided over the Western world’s collapse from the late 1960s to the present. Few followed Enoch Powell’s courageous example. Instead, they (like the late Rush Limbaugh) treated race as something that can’t be publicly discussed. In this sense, conservatives are collaborators with regimes working against the interests of whites. In the short term, the system needs them, but eventually, the censors will come for them, too.
Under Critical Race Theory, activists, academics, and journalists can call anything (even math) “racist.” As the population changes, leftists won’t have to work with conservatives. Younger “progressives” will push them aside. The breakaways from the Forum (assembled under the embarrassing name “JA21”) may learn this lesson. Center-right voters will support the existing government, nationalists won’t forgive their betrayal, and media have no further use for them. The center-right VVD may not even take them.
Cowardice holds us hostage. Dutch patriots could have echoed Mr. Baudet and simply said to reporters that they see through the game. They could have ignored this non-scandal and demanded that every progressive who ever had links with Communists or radical groups be purged before this phony issue were even discussed. Many young nationalists were brave; older ones weren’t, and the cowards did as they were told.
Don’t count out Mr. Baudet. He’s smart, charismatic, young, and knows exactly what is being done to him. Europeans need champions, and he may prove to be one. I suspect his hour will return, especially if Dutch patriots remain by his side. And I have a tip for Mr. Baudet: Use an app that automatically deletes messages.