terça-feira, 11 de outubro de 2016
Geert Wilders’ brain
Geert Wilders’ brain
Credited as the inventor of the Freedom Party, Martin Bosma casts the average Dutch voter against the leftist elite.
By NAOMI O'LEARY 10/11/16, 5:30 AM CET
AMSTERDAM — Look at photographs of Geert Wilders in the Dutch parliament, and the camera often shows a figure seated behind him: Martin Bosma, the polemicist of the Freedom Party (PVV).
A former journalist, whose side-swept brown hair keeps him a youthful 52, Bosma is often described in Dutch media as the PVV’s ideologist. “He’s the brain. He invented the PVV,” said Geert Tomlow, a former candidate for the party.
Bosma’s ideas are bearing fruit at just the right time, with the PVV leading in the polls five months from a general election that could see the party double in size in the parliament. He and Wilders have helped push the center-ground of Dutch politics to the Right and mainstreamed positions once confined to the fringe.
Since entering parliament a decade ago, Bosma has published two books, each released to a flurry of television interviews and controversy.
The autobiographical “The Fake Elite of the Counterfeiters” takes aim at a left-wing clique he accuses of taking over cultural institutions and allowing immigration in an underhand coup to achieve radical aims by stealth.
“You can ask them if I kill a puppy each day and they will confirm it” — Martin Bosma
“Minority in One’s Own Land” turns to South African history. Bosma argues that the predominantly Dutch-descended settlers, the Afrikaners, became outnumbered by black South Africans and subjected to “cultural genocide” and “Apartheid 2.0” in events he warns could foreshadow the fate of the Netherlands.
The PVV is opaque about its internal workings and did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Bosma did not respond to several requests for an interview, but partially replied to an emailed list of questions for this article. He denied that he was Wilders’ right-hand man or the power behind the throne of the PVV.
“There are plenty of people willing to gossip about PVV lawmakers or to confirm what you put to them. You can ask them if I kill a puppy each day and they will confirm it,” he said via email.
Bosma did not respond to requests for follow-up comments. However, conversations with former PVV lawmakers, experts, colleagues and friends built up a picture of Bosma as the man who wields a powerful position as Wilders’ closest and longest ally.
Running the show
Bosma joined Wilders in late 2004, at a time when Wilders was politically isolated, having walked out of the conservative-liberal VVD (People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy) after failing in his bid to shift it to the Right.
Bosma became Wilders’ chief speechwriter, senior strategist, internet chief and in charge of tea and coffee, he recalls in his autobiography. His pay was €500 a month. The party he was building would top Dutch opinion polls within a decade. As it stands now, the PVV has 12 seats in the lower house, and polls put the party on track to double that, potentially propelling it into the next government.
“He has enormous power” — Wim Kortenoeven, former PVV lawmaker
Technically, Wilders is the PVV, as the party’s only official member. Bosma recalls creating a “virtual party,” forgoing the usual headquarters, campaigning apparatus and public funding available for parties with over 1,000 members. This structure also gave the leadership complete control, with Bosma as party secretary and chief whip, in charge of discipline.
A number of people have abandoned the party after attempts to democratize it. Tomlow is one of them. “Martin runs the show,” he told POLITICO. “He reigns.”
Wim Kortenoeven, an admirer of Bosma who left the PVV when he was a lawmaker due to internal disagreements, described Bosma as an uncompromising intellectual with a “special relationship” with Wilders.
“Because he has his own, not agenda per se, but his own integrity, people in the party are afraid of him,” Kortenoeven said. “He has enormous power.”
Henk and Ingrid
Friends and foes alike describe Bosma as eloquent, clever and funny. This helps him oil relations with political foes in parliament and score points in a news cycle often driven by cutting one-liners and quips.
The PVV’s sharpest barbs are aimed at Muslims. In its view, Muslim immigrants are troops in an ancient war between Islam and the West which has raged for 1,400 years. Wilders does battle from behind 24-hour police protection by sounding the alarm over “street terrorists” (immigrant youths), “hate palaces” (mosques) and “testosterone bombs” (asylum seekers). People who spoke to POLITICO said such language had the ring of Bosma’s caustic tongue.
“He always says that we have the most easy job in the world. We only have to wait [for] a month when Wilders says something shocking and our voters will come to the PVV again,” said one former PVV lawmaker, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In Bosma’s telling, it was he who came up with the boilerplate for Wilders’ first program: “Less taxes, less crime, and less multikul” (a derogatory abbreviation of multiculturalism, meaning something like “multicrap.”) He has a knack for appeals to the ordinary Dutch voter — “Henk and Ingrid,” in PVV parlance — whom he casts in vintage populist terms as the virtuous side in a struggle against a contemptible, out-of-touch, left-wing elite.
Bosma himself was born in the heartland of the old Dutch Left, in the industrial region of Zaanstreek, north of Amsterdam, in 1964. He began working for the local newspaper De Zaanlander aged 17, and studied at the University of Amsterdam. Ronald Spanier, a fellow politics student, recalls “a nice guy, with no extreme political standpoints.”
“I think perhaps his hardline views are down to what happened there on 11th September 2001″ — Max Westerman, Dutch journalist
Another fellow student and friend, who did not want to be named due to career concerns, said: “He was a sort of pleasant person to hang out with, as long as you would not mention black people or foreigners.”
In his own account, Bosma discovered conservative thinking in New York, where he went to study at the New School for Social Research in the early 1990s. He worked stints in television journalism, including as a producer for Dutch correspondent Max Westerman, who remembers a man in love with New York.
“A few years ago I visited him in his office in The Hague and he had a poster of the World Trade Center on the wall,” Westerman recalled. “I think perhaps his hardline views are down to what happened there on September 11, 2001. I think his party owes its existence to those attacks.”
In Bosma’s telling, it was the 2004 murder of the filmmaker Theo van Gogh that changed everything. Bosma was then living in east Amsterdam and came across the scene on the way to buy bread. Van Gogh, who Bosma knew well, had been shot and stabbed to death by an Islamist extremist in the street.
“That Tuesday morning the choice was made for me,” he writes in the opening pages of his first book.
Black and white
Political historian and PVV expert Koen Vossen characterised Bosma as a “real nationalist,” with the typical interests of Dutch nationalists such as promoting the language and supporting the breakup of Belgium to form a “Greater Netherlands” with Flanders.
As a proponent of a variant of what has been called the “cultural Marxism conspiracy theory,” Bosma argues that concepts such as political correctness, multiculturalism and cultural relativism were deliberately introduced by the Left to destroy all he holds dear.
”Only when the people had lost their ancient traditions and links with their country or faith could the revolution be successful,” Bosma writes in his first book.
As such, he is determined to champion even the most controversial of Dutch symbols, such as the Prince’s Flag, an old Dutch banner tainted by its association with the Dutch Nazi party, or NSB, which he has worn on his lapel into parliament.
As the PVV’s spokesman on home affairs, media, culture and development, he has been a stout defender of Zwarte Piet — the festive character who is the subject of a bitter row in the Netherlands between those who see him as a harmless tradition and those who insist his blackface is unacceptably racist.
Bosma, however, sees racism elsewhere. “We now have no doubt that at least part of the protest against Black Pete was racially motivated,” he announced after demonstrators in Black Panther-style berets stood with raised fists at a parade of Zwarte Piets last year. “The Panthers drive anti-white racism. We see that racism now in our streets.”
His first book opens with a bible verse from the Old Testament, Isaiah 5:20: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
The former PVV lawmaker who spoke on condition of anonymity described Bosma as “a man who has dangerous ideas.”
“I am glad that he is living in this time and in this country,” the former lawmaker said. “He can’t do any harm here.”