I’ve just watched a 50 minute Flemish documentary on Schild en Vrienden, a right wing organisation, mainly made up of students from the University of Gent. The docu is presented and created by the very talented journalist Tim Verheyden. He followed the group for six months, with their permission.
The movement presents itself as a political movement (though not a political party) that defends traditional -Flemish- family values. Whatever that may be. If you ask me Flemish families are mostly dysfunctional and have been for centuries. If anything I think families are slowly learning to communicate with each other, finally.
What is changing of course is the rise of transgenders, the debate on how accepting we as a society should be towards transgenders and other trends that were almost unheard of, say 50 years, ago.
An other important point is immigration. They are against accepting hordes of refugees. The tone of the documentary suggests that they must be crazy to think so. I think we should closely examine if accepting lots of refugees is really such a great idea. The mainstream media is usually in favor of accepting them, and tends to ignore the problems involved.
They are also
- pro a classic idea of masculinity. The leader prefers to have members who are physically fit
- they want to make Flemish people aware of their Flemish identity and the Flemish youth should defend their culture (I would like to know what traditional Flemish culture actually means… I am Flemish, but if you ask me to define what Flemish people are like, I would have to say that they are hard-working, timid, have dark humor and love to eat and drink and are quite tolerant in their behavior, they may say cruel things, but when push comes to shove they are sweet people, just a little rough around the edges. What exactly is there to defend? French fries with beef cooked in beer?)
- anti-communist (a good thing, I live in Slovakia, this country has experienced communism, it was a dreadful experiment in human oppression and dumbing down an entire population just to control it)
- anti halal meat (I am also against halal meat, I am also against slaughtering animals without properly sedating them as muslims like to do. Am I a racist now for saying this? Islam is not even a race, it’s a religion)
- they are for capitalism. the movement is part, as are all political parties today, of the chaotic, but very real debate on how our economy should function. You could say that this is what 90 percent of politics is about: how to divide the surplus of wealth that organized society creates? In this debate they are on the right end of the spectrum, which could be summed up as: the most succesful people deserve their success and should not be taxed, but be supported and cheered on by all of us. Call it the Führer-princip if you want. Or read the novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. The usual end result of this thinking is the destruction or enslavement of the weak by the more powerful. Which, ironically, is sort of the same end result as communism, the road to it is just different.
- And they also reject the ideals of the revolution of 1968, which was very liberal, and helped society to become more open-minded concerning lots of issues. It is possible that our tolerance has gone too far now, but to debate that is not the point of this article.
The biggest problem with Schild en Vrienden
In secret groups online they post the most horrible jokes.
I will just name one example.
In one picture you can see a boy with Down Syndrome and the text ‘at least I’m not a nigger’.
I find this tasteless, cruel, childlish and political suicide…
The leader clumsily tries to deny that he or members of his organisation post these things, but the docu can without a shadow of a doubt prove that Schild en Vrienden posted thousands of horrible, violent memes in secret groups. Probably as a way to create camaraderie in the group and feel superior.
I certainly wouldn’t want to become a member, I am probably not muscled and not tall enough to join anyway.
I would not want to be a member of this group. One of my best friends is a mulatto and I would hate to see memes making fun of black people if what is behind it is not humor, but outright hatred. But where do you draw that line? I consider myself to be anything but a racist, but it’s also complicated. Like I am totally supportive of Palestinians, but I don’t like Islam. I find Israhell to be the most despicable nation in the world, but at the same time not a day goes behind without me thinking about the Holocaust and how we could prevent a tragedy like that from ever happening again. And I do think that perhaps something like the Holocaust starts with ‘funny’ cartoons like the ones posted by Schild en Vrienden. So I’m definitely not a fan of them, BUT I do agree on some issues. It is indeed true that we have entirely lost a shared set of values that we all can agree to aspire to, for example. Europe is eating, drinking, binge watching series and couch surfing itself into oblivion. It’s true that Europe’s youth doesn’t stand for anything big, Europeans have become a people without ideals other than creating a hedonistic life style for themselves. The documentary does not examine their message AT ALL. It only promotes the most negative aspects. Yes, the memes are disgusting, and yes, they did share them, they did not create most of them, but they did share them. To what extent this should be seen as just tasteless and not as serious, is a tough question to answer. I also make very dark jokes on lots of issues, I would however never mistreat blacks, hit women, or anything like that. Sometimes a joke really is just a joke, a way to release what cannot be said, but doesn’t have to be true.
My biggest concern however
I find it excellent that this docu came out.
I can’t help to notice double standards.
Schild en Vrienden is on the extreme right wing of the political spectrum in Flanders.
But there is also the extreme left wing mileu in Flanders, represented by the marginal, yet well-organized political sect called PVDA. Its student movement, Comac, was mentioned in the docu, but not examined. This is a pity. If you examine Schild en Vrienden, you should also examine their counterparts, what they are up against.
In Flanders the extremists of PVDA are given a free pass. I would like to see the same journalist examine the PVDA for six months, thoroughly, with the same vigor.
He would have to conclude that the PVDA:
- Wants to abolish all other political parties
- Wants to destroy Parliament
- Will most likely try to destroy the idea of private ownership
- Are incredibly arrogant behind closed doors
- Have very dubious political ties to other communist parties
- Routinely lie about how they operate when interviewed in the mainstream media
- Have much more money than they officially have and get this money through shady doings
- Regularly employ people who are officially unemployed or retired, which is illegal and a gross transgression
- They claim to be egalitarian, but the party really has a hidden VIP treatment for people they find useful to cheer on their cause. If you are a famous actor and you work for the PVDA you won’t have to do any nasty jobs that not so famous people in exactly the same position have to do. Some people in the PVDA are pampered, which goes against the ideals they are preaching
- They cheat the Belgian state out of money through Healthcare for the People, one of their many shadow organisations that officially just offers free healthcare to patients. The money they get for this is spent on communist propaganda, not on the patients
- They are organised as a sect. For example, you have to give lots of money to the party and if you don’t you can’t climb the hiearchical ladder in the party. You can also not own houses or real estate
- The most active members usually lean on their wives to bring in money so the husband can spend all his spend crying about how we should tax the rich and wave red flags in demonstrations
- One of their top figures, Han Soete, reads ‘What to do?’ by Lenin to determine how to further the agenda of PVDA. This is the same as somebody basing his political strategy on Mein Kampf by Hitler…
- They say things in defense of Stalin, Pol Pot and other mass murderers, but they are not as stupid as Schild en Vrienden, they do not make memes out of their most extreme beliefs
- They have a hypocrite attitude towards muslims. Internally, being communists, they are of course atheists, they laugh about religion, they mock it as something medieval. Yet online they will pander to muslims, wish them happy muslim holidays and so on, and will even support halal meat, even though they also have lots of vegans as their members. The muslim vote is apparently more important than the vegan vote
I could go on and on. Was this a necessary docu? Absolutely. But I hope that there will soon be a condemning, exposing docu on the PVDA. The only reason the PVDA is not really dangerous at the moment is that they fail to convince the masses of their ideas as they are often quite incompetent and lose a lot of time with actions and internal discussions that do not lead anywhere.
You can read more about the PVDA here.
Last note, as a good left-wing friend, but not in a dogmatic way, told me:
There are lots of racist jokes in the mainstream media as well, even on prime television in Flanders. If the leader of Schild en Vrienden is kicked out college then some television makers should also get kicked out.
If you know Dutch you can watch the docu here