Halsema: “Without protest and dissent, there can be no change or ‘progress'” – om vervolgens de Tuinen van Lutkemeer met geweld te laten vernietigen.

Speech door Pumpkin (Squash) op demonstratie voor de Lutkemeer, vrijdag 6 september

I am sure that many of us here would agree with that sentiment.

Those words were spoke by Femke Halsema this past Sunday at the Celebrating Dissent Festival in de Balie. Shame that less than 24 hours later acted in direct opposition of them and authorized a thorough mowing down of a space of protest, a space of dissent, a space of resistance. In a few words: a space of change… (1)

This weekend the Tuinen van Lutkemeer, a land occupation made up of community gardens planted in March, had a harvest festival and a meeting to discuss what to do about the pending eviction of this space.

During that meeting a group of gardeners, activists, and neighbors decided that they would strengthen the occupation and start a living group there in order to protect their harvest, their fruits, their vegetables, their work. . The group decided to stand up against the decision of the Amsterdam City Council to demolish one of the last pieces of fertile ground left in Amsterdam.

Monday morning, one day after Femke’s speech celebrating dissent, the new group, Squash, was met with the demand from the owners of the property, with the police in tow, to immediately leave the space.

Squash clearly stated that they refused to leave, and then over 12 hours, with around 30 police, 30 movers, and several pieces of heavy equipment, the community gardens, were completely torn apart and mowed down.

This was not something that happened without forethought. All that hard work, all those unharvested vegetables were destroyed for a reason: They were destroyed so that the resistance that was growing there would be destroyed as well. They were destroyed swiftly in the hopes that those who refused to let the city throw away a valuable resource would lose hope and give up the fight. They were destroyed to repress our resistance.

But those gray-minded business-government people, enemies of life, were wrong. Our resistance is alive and kicking.

What the city has done with the Lutkemeerpolder, unintentionally, is draw attention to the hypocrisy of its policies..

Not even 3 months ago, in June the 20th, the Amsterdam municipality declared a climate emergency. Over the summer they’ve had several meetings to discuss the green future plans of the city, urban agriculture, and climate policy. And yet they continue to allow the Schipol Area Development company to proceed with these outdated plans to turn the Lutkemeerpolder into a business park, while there is still time and possibility to move it somewhere else.

We are here to say that until the city dares to take action and do something about the climate emergency, we will find the courage to keep speaking up, to keep showing up, to keep resisting.

Because, as Femke said this weekend, “Sometimes it seems that the brave dissenters are small in numbers. But they are the voices of the many”

We are the voices of many. This struggle is not over.
Because those who sow repression will reap resistance.
Don’t you dream it’s over. Expect us. You will hear from us!

(1) https://debalie.nl/…/femke-halsema-opens-celebrating-disse…/

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