… working on a RARA dossier … communiques, interview, analysis and statements from folks arrested / imprisoned for the actions of RARA … will include some material from other sources like Resistance: Documents and Analysis From The Illegal Front and Frontline Info …
” …. Revolutionary Anti-Racist Action (RARA) is a clandestine group active in The Netherlands that has carried out attacks in support of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. The main targets of these attacks have been multi-national corporations that have ties to, or are integral part of, the apartheid structure. More recently they have shifted their attention to the racist refugee and immigration policies of the Dutch government (as well as the rest of Europe) by attacking state agencies that are responsible for carrying out these policies … ” (from Arm The Spirit No. 9, August/September 1991)
… what follows is a RARA press statement from July 1993 released after their attack on the Ministry of Social Affairs … RARA was active from the mid-80s to the mid-90s …
RARA Press Statement
(Adapted from the Dutch leftist bi-weekly “NN” #140)
At 2am, the police and fire services received a call that a timed explosive device would detonate on the third floor of the Ministry of Social Affairs building in The Hague. A search of the building by authorities revealed nothing. Then, precisely at 3am, the bomb exploded, causing extensive damage to the building. Just like their last bombing, this blast originated in a toilet, but the damage affected most of the entire floor of the office building. When the automatic sprinkler system came on and sprayed liters of water everywhere, even more damage was caused to equipment in offices not directly touched by the blast itself. At the time of the explosion, no people were in or around the building.
The Dutch media went into full-effect immediately after the action. RARA made the smart move of issuing two statements regarding the bombing: the first, a press release, summarizing the main reasons for the action, which was sent to all major media, and the second, a much longer and more extensive communique, which was sent to left-radical media one day later.
The capitalist media began acting like the mouthpiece of the BVD, the Dutch internal security agency, in the days following the action, printing allegations like: “Rene R. is one of the suspects in the bombing…”, “The BVD knows exactly who carried out the action. It’s a group of four or five people who were also responsible for the attack on Kosto’s house…” All of this to make up for the fact that RARA have never been caught and are
still – as this action showed – in a position to strike.
Unlike the aftermath of the Kosto action, the liberal-left were generally left speechless by RARA’s communique. After the Kosto action, liberals complained that militant actions would only make things worse for refugees. But at this point, how can things get any worse? Illegal migrants cannot work or live in The Netherlands; they face constant threat of police brutality and immediate deportation if they are ever caught. In short, they are
not considered people. So how can their situation be made any worse? Therefore, RARA’s bomb was very welcome indeed. Not only was the action a blow to the state agencies responsible for the persecution of refugees and asylum-seekers, but it was also a blow against apathy, a wake-up call to the (radical-)left.
We anxiously await “the next time”.
(Adapted from the Dutch leftist bi-weekly “NN” #140)
Revolutionary Anti-Racist Action (RARA) Press Statement
On the night of June 30/July 1, after numerous timely warnings, we set off an explosive devise on the third floor of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment in The Hague.
The target of this action was the DIA (Labor Relations Inspection Service -trans.), whose office is on this floor. The DIA plays a key role in the hunt for illegal immigrants. On average twice a day, the DIA, in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies, organizes raids on business which are suspected of hiring illegals. In the coming years, this agency is to be doubled in size. This means more raids, more victims, and more fear. With our action, we sought to draw the line, and to make these man-hunters feel for a moment what it’s like to be hunted. They need to know what it’s like to be a target, to be stigmatized.
With the words, “There is too much fraud, there is too much misuse, there are too many illegals”, Felix Rottenberg set the tone last October for the hunt against illegals. Politicians from both the right and the left competed with each other to sketch out a portrait of illegals that would make the devil himself seem nice. By hypocritically pointing to the ‘problems in old neighborhoods’, they sought to woo far-right voters. Yes, there are problems in the old neighborhoods. Degenerating areas, poor housing, salaries and welfare payments that are far too low. But the politicians didn’t talk about these problems. Because it costs money to solve those problems; and there’s no money for this, because budget cuts are being forced all across the country. The welfare state is being continually eroded, the Dutch economy is becoming tighter. It’s easier to say that you can fix the holes in your roof by shipping the illegals across the border.
The fact that the illegals-debate has quieted down does not mean that illegals are being left in peace. The hunt for illegals has been concrete practice for some time now. The Zeevalking Commission, for example, has been dealing with this ‘problem’ for some time, and they are preparing measures which would make life for illegals impossible here. The language of bureaucratic measures needs to make sure that life is made impossible for illegals here, that they are excluded from all social programs, including health care. And if that’s not enough, then there needs to be a tough program of searching and deportation by the police and the justice department, so that those who manage to keep their heads above water can be given a smack on the neck. The recent proclamations by Nawijn and Kosto, about how many houses illegals are occupying, make it clear that these men are preparing for the next phase of their plan.
The DIA plays a crucial role in the hunt for illegals. Since their establishment in 1987, these hard-working policemen have gone about their job with great enthusiasm. On average twice a day they carry out raids in conjunction with local police forces. A humiliating man-hunt, with the law on their side. Last year, they were in the news quite a bit on account of their raid on Blokker (a Dutch department store -trans.). They used dogs, helicopters, and 120 cops to comb through a distribution center looking for people with suspicious skin color. If a person’s Dutch nationality was questioned, the police made them say the word “kwartje”. If their pronunciation wasn’t Dutch enough for the finely-tuned ears of the bureaucrats, they were taken away. A stamp on the hand and they are transported to the town hall, where a smiling CDA (christian democratic party -trans.) mayor states that mandatory ID cards would make all of this unnecessary. In the end, the raid results in a total of four illegals being found. No one can rest easy in The Netherlands any longer.
The constant calls from the DIA for more personnel and more room to act are now paying off. In the coming years, the agency will double in size. This means more raids, more victims, more fear. Their fun is sure to last, because illegals have been declared a national disaster.
What springs to mind is the obvious coupling which is being made between the so-called illegals-problem and another immense problem: unemployment. The DIA itself, in each of its annual reports, keeps crying that illegals really need to be caught, otherwise unemployment levels will never go down. The many raids on agricultural glass-houses also take place under the motto “illegals out – unemployed people in”. This is the state’s version of “our own people first”. Minister de Vries said it openly: “The number of employed illegals has a direct link to how many people seeking work are able to find jobs.” So the knife cuts both ways. In policy terms, the excuse and the necessity of dealing with ‘illegals’ is taken away. In reality, it means that, along with a legitimized hunt for illegals, more pressure is also put on people to accept any available work. Thus, a foreigner- and employment-policy gets all rolled up into one, with the DIA as its symbol. There’s a reason why their office is at the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. The DIA bureaucrats only have to walk down one flight of stairs to do their
No one can seriously think that illegals are a problem. It is thanks to their dirt-cheap labor that many people can stay in business. For years, people profited from this, and no one cared. The reason for declaring open-season on illegals must be searched for elsewhere. Illegals are being transformed into tools which the political and economic elite hope to utilize to get themselves out of the administrative crisis they are faced with.
We’ll be hearing Rottenberg’s credo of “too much fraud, too much misuse, too many illegals” for years to come. The society must be adapted to the economic dictates and scenarios that are being designed in Brussels (at EC headquarters -trans.). But how do you sell a policy that can actually only be explained by means of an extensive discourse on the destructiveness and uncontrollable nature of the economic mess you are in? So, you resort to emergency measures. You paint a picture of society as being out of control, in danger of being totally wrecked if someone doesn’t intervene with a heavy hand Illegals are perfect scape-goats for such a form of politics. But it’s not only illegals that are coming under the yoke of right-wing and supposedly left-wing politicians. Increasingly more sectors of the population are being blamed by the alarmists at the Binnenhof (Dutch parliament -trans.). A picture of a threatened society is being sketched: hordes of people at the gates, the illegals, already inside, with their strange ways of living, and an army of profiteers and cheats swelling the welfare rolls. Hitting everyone just a little bit, so the consensus on which this is based isn’t stuck in the grey-middle. The West’s responsibility for the hopeless future of the South disappears under the rug. It’s stated that people have no reason to flee, and that they can just get the hell out of here.
You’re almost left speechless when you see how they are dealing with people. Refugees waiting to be deported have their mouths covered with tape, because you don’t want to confront business-class passengers with the reasonable exclusiveness of Holland’s refugee policy. And what does our secretary of state say when someone gets out of hand and ends up in a wheel-chair? “There is no question that I think these men are doing their work just fine. I have often heard stories from asylum-seekers, who say that when they arrived at Schiphol (the airport in Amsterdam -trans.), these big uniformed men gave them a very friendly greeting.” Kosto bending down, telling little August another bed-time story. At the moment, the TNO are developing a new forced pneumatic dispatching device and a restraint helmet to cover the mouths of asylum-seekers. No, this isn’t some scene from a horror-film, this is a serious idea from a serious commission. In the Grenshospitum (border hospital -trans.), this horror has already become reality. But Kosto calls this place a “prize-winning institute that provides excellent, quality care”, but no one fits him with a forced pneumatic dispatching device and a restraint helmet. It’s slowly becoming clear that Holland is resorting to draconian measures. Despite a few signs to the contrary, raids are being made to seem acceptable. The recent trend of organizing large-scale raids on coffeeshops and bars makes it clear that the police are having things their way. These are test-balloons, to see how far they can go. At the same time, fingers are pointed at scape-goats. This won’t end for the time being. Every time Kosto goes on TV, he mentions sharpening an already sharp policy. Supported by his fellow party members, jealously looked upon by Bolkestein, who sees his ideas being taken up by the PvdA (social democratic party -trans.), and applauded with joy by the far-right.
In all of Europe, the far-right is on the march. They gladly utilize the social clear-cutting that ten years of crisis-politics has created. The unthinkable is being thought, the unspeakable spoken, and the jack-boots are romping through the streets again Confronted with this rise on the far-right, as well as their own administrative crisis, the traditional political parties have moved significantly more to the right. And there’s not much difference between what they each say. At best, the only difference is form. The far-right says things much more plainly, while traditional politicians use the ‘newspeak’ of respectable society. The message is same, whereby the establishment puts their crazy ideas into the form of policy. They put the whole society in a state of alarm, thus clearing the way for European-wide policies to be implemented. And things are getting harsher because they don’t have much time. Advisory councils, informational procedures, even the parliamentary process itself is being disregarded. These are all obstacles on the path to one Europe. The Dutch democracy has had its chance. In the confusion of European unity, the legitimacy crisis of established politics and the rise of the far-right have set political relations adrift. Ideologically translated into the end of history, politically translated into a shift to the right, socially translated into hardness and coldness, and concretely translated into the erosion of social security, rising racism, an inhumane refugee policy, and increasing controls and repression.
And what is there in opposition to all of this? The vast majority of the vocal, former-left are wallowing about in the mud pool of the so-called incorrectness of the left. One after
another, our youthful sins are revealed, willingly registered by newspapers, talk-shows, and opinion pieces. A generation of disappointed and frustrated thirty- and forty-year-olds come together and convince themselves that it’s okay if they don’t struggle any longer. They are supported in this by those who always maintained that they were on the wrong side anyway. And besides, everything is going pretty well here in The Netherlands. And as for the international mess, well, we can always get out our checkbooks, or maybe the UN will intervene.
We don’t think that everything is going pretty well. The daily doses of insults and degradations against this or that sector of the population in enough to make you sick. It is necessary that there be a radical, continuous, and uncompromising opposition to this policy and to this political culture, wherein victims continue to fall, but those responsible are never named. But policies are thought up and carried out. By concrete people and concrete institutions. You don’t need to be a genius to be able to point your finger at the agency which plays a key role in this man-hunt, one which the cabinet created to get those people who are not welcome to our welfare.
Well, as far as we’re concerned, it’s unacceptable that a bunch of bureaucrats can sit around and earn a nice living by hunting people down. We have made them a part of this, given them the experience of being hunted, of being a target, of being stigmatized. Racism is quietly becoming normal; fear, violence, and observation are becoming normal in the paradise of right-wing correctness. With our action, we are drawing the line, we are pointing out a policy that degrades and dehumanizes.
Until the next time,
Revolutionary Anti-Racist Action
July 1, 1993