Sunday, February 08, 2009

Here is an article I came across about the Dutch Provos, and found terribly relevant to creative ways for resistence today...

Dutch Provos

By Teun Voeten
High Times, January 1990, pp. 32-36, 64-66 & 73

It's no secret that Holland has the most liberal drug laws in the world, especially when it comes to cannabis. What you may not realize, however, is that these laws were enacted thanks to the efforts of the Dutch Provos. The Provos set the stage for the creation of the Merry Pranksters, Diggers, and Yippies. They were the first to combine non-violence and absurd humor to create social change. They created the first "Happenings" and "Be-Ins." They were also the first to actively campaign against marijuana prohibition. Even so, they remain relatively unknown outside of Holland. Now, for the first time, their true story is told.

It all started with the Nozems. Born out of the postwar economic boom, the Nozems were disaffected Dutch teens armed with consumer spending power. Part mods, part '50s juvenile delinquents, they spent most of their time cruising the streets on mopeds, bored stiff and not knowing what to do. Their favorite past-time? Raising trouble and provoking the police.

"Provo" was actually first coined by Dutch sociologist Buikhuizen in a condescending description of the Nozems. Roel Van Duyn. a philosophy student at the University of Amsterdam, was the first to recognize the Nozems' slumbering potential. "It is our task to turn their aggression into revolutionary consciousness," he wrote in 1965.

Inspired by anarchism, Dadaism, German philosopher (and counter-culture guru-to-be) Herbert Marcuse, and the Marquis de Sade. Van Duyn, a timid, introverted intellectual, soon became the major force behind Provo magazine. But while Van Duyn presided over the Provos' theoretical wing, another, more important element was provided even earlier by its other co-founder, Robert Jasper Grootveld, a former window cleaner and the original clown prince of popular culture.


More interested in magic than Marx, Grootveld was an extroverted performance artist with a gift for theatrical gesture. During the early '60s, he attracted massive crowds in Amsterdam with exhibitionistic "Happenings." At the core of Grootveld's philosophy was the belief that the masses had been brainwashed into becoming a herd of addicted consumers, the "despicable plastic people." According to Grootveld, new rituals were needed to awaken these complacent consumers. While the writings of Van Duyn greatly appealed to the educated crowd, Grootveld found his followers among street punks.

To read the rest clikc here!

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