Last Thursday night I walked by the Occupy Amsterdam camp on the Beursplein in Amsterdam. It was very similar to the Occupy Wall Street camp that I visited 2 weeks earlier (before the people were kicked out), just a bit smaller and a bit less crowded.
I had some sympathy for the ideas of the people at Occupy Wall Street, but I totally don’t understand the occupants in Amsterdam. Holland is so completely different from the US, with an excellent social system for everyone (health care, guaranteed minimum income etc.), that I don’t understand what these people are protesting for. They don’t even know it themselves it seems, they say they just want to change the world. And how or why? To quote the site: When asked to define a simple goal that defines WHY, supporters worldwide, offen struggle to answer because, “Our dreams and expectations are too much to fit in a single ‘sound bite’ …”
It feels more like a summer camp in autumn, and if you check their website that feeling becomes even stronger. Among the most important news on the front page of their site are a wedding in the camp and several posts about a group that makes others laugh going on a tour in The Netherlands. The mission of this group (this is not joke!): In its mission team X uses a non-violent technique that requires its “victims” to be non-violent and completely give in to the moment. This creates a minute of laughter giggling and an increase of blood flow that helps to keep people warm and thus happy.
I don’t think they can make me laugh, but what did make me laugh was when I saw the banner they hung up a the entrance to the camp with the banks that made this Occupy camp possible. I wonder who was too stupid to understand that this is sarcasm, the tourists walking by or the occupants themselves?