One of my classmates, Sywert van Lienden, proposed a system where 500 enthusiastic, politically engaged adolescents would join every large political party in order to change their policies from within. I’m currently watching a rerun of ‘De Wereld Draait Door’, a daily public broadcast on Dutch television where he explains his plans, and tries to legitimize them. Earlier today, I was approached by a journalist of ‘De Volkskrant’ while at the university to discuss his plans.
I didn’t know anything about it prior to this enquiry, but I started thinking about it on the spot. The goals of this initiative are such that ‘our’ generation is properly represented through a coordinated undermining of the principles of democracy. Yes, it is in agreement with the constitution, but I don’t think this is the right course of action. I’m a big opponent of backroom politics, I’d like everything to be as transparent as possible, and this initiative seems to oppose this idea.
The principles of democracy are such, that people can vote on what party they see fit according to their personal beliefs. If a group of people feel that they aren’t represented enough by the existing parties, they can form another party which aims to do just that. That is the big advantage of a multi-party system. Yes, it is hard to form a new party, but if their policies are good enough, they will conquer at least a small amount of votes. Political parties like ‘Partij voor de Dieren’ are a good example.
The G500, the name of this initiative, is a form of elitist entitlement. It is not as if other generations didn’t have the same struggles like my generation has now. We just tend to forget that. Just look at this fragment from the 1974 movie called ‘Network’, and tell me you don’t see any similarities with the struggles of this generation:
Basically, what Sywert van Lienden proposes, is just a more sly version of what actor Peter Finch advocates in this snippet. This counter democracy is needed, and yes, the proposition in the form of G500 hasn’t been made this concrete before, but why now?
I don’t know. Yes, I think politicians cling on to their positions far too long. 60-70 year old parliamentarians are out of touch with modern technologies like the internet, which has resulted in the blocking of torrent website ThePirateBay by some ISPs through a judicial verdict. The only other countries having such restrictions on the internet are countries like China, Iran and North Korea. Having a force of young aspiring politicians would’ve prevented this.
But why, why don’t you leave it to democracy? Why don’t you form a party? Why do you sneak through the backdoor of existing political parties? Didn’t Fortuyn, by forming his own party, create a lot more change in party-policies by publicly taking a stand on immigration issues, accumulating a lot of seats in parliament and resulting in other political parties taking a stand on these issues.
My point is, the G500 will fail. Firstly, because it operates in the shadows. A lot of people will distrust the 500 people who represent this movement, because they are not aligned with any of these parties but only acting on their idea of entitlement, to invisibly represent a generation instead of publicly stating their opinions.
Anyway, I’m expecting to see my name in ‘de Volkskrant’ this week. They even wanted to take my picture, but I politely declined.