I want to talk about the elections in Amsterdam
Born in Soviet Union in mid-70s I consider myself being Ukrainian with Dutch passport. After 21 years of wandering between Lutsk, Kiev, London, Brussels, Amstedam, Berlin, Tokyo and New York, I found my place in Amsterdam.
In the light of events in USA, Syria, Israel and now My native Kiev, Ukraine, I was thinking about My Amsterdam. Because I am not fully integrated - not fluent in Dutch - I keep finding myself listening directly to the speeches of politicians, watch their awkward dancing around the subject and amuse at their ability to print zillions of colourful papers. I am wondering and calculating how ‘words’ add up to ‘actions’ and ‘results’ if any, visible or otherwise.
FORBIDDEN Urban Art Walk tours are Important to Us.
As local residents in long term unemployment would tell you “there is a reason why I cannot work 9-5”. So the idea was born to create a platform where these non-9to5-ers can earn without feeding off the state. The round sum of 30euro per day was born, based on 2 visitors at 15euro each for the 3.5 hours tour.
The idea was tested on www.Tripster.ru which not only brought us non-stopping flow of visitors (who would never be otherwise visiting NewWest), but also a lot of free ad-space: KLM.ru, Euromag.org, Radio, The-Village.ru, SobytiaDnya. The new about NewWest was spreading internationally and not only word of mouth but through facebook posts, tweets, instagram photos and now blogs. Street Art Utopia brought us 7,000 likes and 2,000 shares - we gone viral - for the Tolerance wall by Alaniz for Rochdale and EigenWijks.
We went out and lobbied at various pubic meetings inviting all the political parties, their leaders and members, their campaign dudes, and their friends to sample the tour and give us their opinion, may be advice, point us in a right direction for further growth.
Some even came :) We had 2 groups:
- wethouders: PvdA - Jesse Bos, GroenLinks - Paulus de Wilt
- members: D66 - Herman Mulder, Willem van Ham, Jeroen Mirck , Mirjam de Jone, Yigal Duppen, Stephanie-Christine Ege, Pieter Nijhof
- I know D66 candidates by name now and had a personal conversation with all and each of them on life. Not political promises, or slogans. They asked us real questions: area, life. They actively engaged with us and after listening to stories of buurhuises and what volunteer activities take place there offered to cook a meal for all the residents.
- D66 group offered to pay at the end of the tour. The understood the principle behind the Street Art Museum and our aim to achieve status of self-financing. We offered the tour gratis, but it was super exciting to feel understood. Dyanto, 9 year-old son of Dianne, asked us later if we earned any money :) D66 and Dyanto speak the same language! They will know how to help his mother and him in a long term.
In Slotermeer/Geuzenveld we have a ‘hard story’ in comparison to other areas of Amsterdam. We always belonged to West, now known as Nieuw-West, after 2010 city re-divide. The area is stable in its stigmata and extremely unstable in its positive make-over.
The main party ‘in charge’ for many years in the past was GROENLINKS. They had a large network of ‘white middle-class middle-age intelligent’ people. It made sense: sleeping ‘worker’ area with pockets of gorgeous private housing hidden by nature, green fields, disconnected from the rest of Amsterdam. These people told me in 2010 that they don’t believe in our work and ‘400euro per months income families from Islam background’ don’t need our work. Today (4 years later) GROENLINKS are reduced to a handful of die-hards. Surprise? I don’t think so.
1. Tys de Ruijter was stadsdeel wethouder for almost 8 years and achieved NOTHING*
2. Paulus de Wilt was last hope, and he clearly not shown himself from the best side in the last 4 years either: no connection to grassroots, only eyes for Sloterplas, non-responsive, dual.
Would you vote for GroenLinks party in Nieuw-West Again?
The major player in Nieuw-West and with the fall of GroenLinks in Slotermeer/Geuzenveld is PvdA. PvdA was the first party I ever voted for and the only people I trusted when I decided to vote in 2010. By 2014 most of them made me want not to vote again. ever. In the last few months, after unstoppable, borderline obsessive, tagging and following of the PvdA leaders, we managed to get slightly recognised: Achmed Baadoud has retweeted a few of our messages and did see us at his office.
I believe Achmed and think his role is not an easy one in the mess of Nieuw-West. I am also convinced that he will help smaller businesses as much as he does large investors. Eventually. But do I believe PvdA in Nieuw-West? I am not so sure. Why? 2 times in my dealings with the Party Leaders of this particular party a person I voted for tells me “I want you to see me as a person, not as a politician” or “I am leaving, I don’t care anymore”.
Hang on a second there… Let’s think. In corp, Sony, for example, I was an employee, but when I was outside, I always remembered that I was a member of the Sony family and that my conduct or words could reflect on the brand, and family. Does not the same rules of basic loyalty and respect for the people who feed you apply to politicians? to me, even more so than at Sony …. Or am I mistaken?
Dus, so far PvdA are loosing their credibility even though there are few strong candidates capable of dreaming and believing. Sometimes, they remind me of a scene I saw today on a square: Paulus de Wilt alone on the corner of Aldi at Plein 40-45 is handing out his own leaflets.
VVD. In my area I don’t know them that well. I really like Michel Tromp, but he needs older people and more people around him. I don’t know what they do in Slotermeer/Geuzenveld. But I do know that Michel is helping the museum and will get us a foot in the door for a dream location of Slotania Hotel. This is much more than Paulus or his (civil) servants have ever done for the project.
D66 - Slotermeer/Geuzenveld Darlings. They are charming, they are fresh, they are curious, they are engaging, and they are interested! We need people like that in Nieuw-West, the other side of Osdorp. We need fast support of small onderneming, we need help with coaching and inclusion, we must have duurzame solutions and we will suffocate in our own juices without their energy. Sexy, inquisitive the the group today walked the entire path in healthy 2.5 hours pace, despite heavy rain showers on and off. They were rewarded with what we hope a memorable experience and true friends, as well as a glass of bubbles.
ps: these are MY PERSONAL analysis and observations on situation in front of me. I don’t expect people to agree or like them. In fact, I welcome a dialogue, for only through healthy debate come the true solution. Top down/Above the Line are so last season* Anna Stolyarova