Mid nineties were cronies hot news. Loud music, garish clothing, the large quantities of drugs, but especially the popularity of the subculture created great media interest. The publications were often about the negative character of the scene: the drug use, but also Gabbers of the alleged right-wing ideas.
After the murder of Theo van Gogh was a similar wave of media attention created. This involved again Gabbers, the nu "Lonsdalejongeren" are genoemd, and again, it was more nuisance, right-wing extremism and violence. Are we talking about the same group 10 years older, or is there something else going on?
Old School Gabbers
The generation Gabbers, who was active in the nineties, nowadays called the "Old School". The music (harde, fast techno music without frills) has brought together this scene emerged in the early nineties in Rotterdam. The scene grew within a few years, into the main subculture among Dutch youth and was very visible. Gabbers had a uniform appearance: Boys shaved himself bald and wore tracksuits and Australian Nikes; girls shaved their hair braided and the remaining hair in thick braids. Furthermore, it was popular to shave eyebrows or edit. The drug use was high. Within the scene were cheap party drugs like speed and XTC very popular. To what extent extreme right-wing ideas were an integral part of the scene was not always clear. The proud-are-on-your-country / region / city was certainly. There were frequent conflicts between Gabbers from different cities (especially vs. Amsterdam Rotterdam). Flags – city, region or Netherlands – on the jacket, popular with a large part of the Gabber Scene, must be explained in the first instance this. Furthermore, the appearance was, that was very similar to the appearance of Skinheads, outsiders reason to associate Gabbers with right-wing extremism.
But that was not the whole story. There was indeed right-wing extremism in the scene. Many Gabbers gave interviews to xenophobic, racist or extreme right-wing ideas to celebrate. Additionally enjoyed the Celtic cross and the Nazi CP'86 a certain popularity in Gabber Circuits. In contrast, there was much opposition both within and outside the Gabber scene was against such ideas and also became active stand against taken. Gabbers who reported that they inaugurate racist or extreme right-wing ideas, received in the course of the nineties increasingly faced with opposition from their own ranks. For example, there was an organization, "United Against Racism and Fascism Gabbers" which turned actively against xenophobia within the scene.
The problems associated with the late nineties gabber scene vanished as quickly as it had arisen. The whole scene namely collapsed. After Gabber had become so popular that there ended up all kinds of gentle infusions in the charts and example Gabber Celebrations were organized for toddlers, hooked many original Gabbers occasionally hit the scene in oblivion. A small group of enthusiasts remained organize and deliver plates celebrations. But that happened in the subcultural Underground.
Vanaf 2000 there was renewed interest in gabber music at a growing number of young people. Besides the music (who meanwhile was going to be called Hardcore) were drug and rightist political issues could count on interest again.
The first organization that it was trying to take advantage Stormfront Netherlands (SFN). That organization with strong Nazi ideas, werd in 2000 founded and tried to recruit supporters among Gabbers by right-wing extremist propaganda and the organization to be very tolerant of drug use (#1). SFN appeared several times able to mobilize a group of between fifty and a hundred Gabbers for meetings and actions.
The recruitment of the Gabber Scene managed reasonably and in some regions (Groningen, Haaglanden, Nijmegen) was at a certain point of SFN-groups there, who undertake activities, as leaflet actions. But also become members regularly involved in all kinds of violence and other criminal actions. At several locations immigrants (seriously) maltreated, a Jewish cemetery is vandalized and in two cases there were foreigners stabbed by a group Stormfronters.
We soon found the sustainability of these activists not very long. Discussions on drug use, total lack of organization, quarrels and confrontations with opponents led quickly to an exodus. Vanaf 2002 SFN collapsed into each other in 2003 finally disappearing.
SFN, moreover, was not illustrative of the rest of the resurgent Gabber Scene. When a folder action during the Rotterdam Dance Parade 2001 were given the SFN members with massive public reaction, forcing them to choose their heels. The decline of SFN was not exactly parallel with the second generation cronies. The Gabber Scene meanwhile grew by as cabbage. However, changes occurred with respect to the scene from the nineties. The music was still hard and fast, but was renewed. In addition, the appearance also changed. Remained bald heads, but the suits disappeared almost completely. The second generation copied many clothing characteristics of Skinheads: Jeans, Caskets, plaid shirts and especially T-Shirts, sweaters and jackets of the brand "Lonsdale". In girls, the "Heidi" look became popular, tight braids, blouse and short skirt.
What further noticed that arose The Gabber scene in the nineties and was great in the Randstad. From there it was the scene supporters across the country, but the orientation still remained peri. With the new generation seems to be much less the case. The Gabber Scene has many supporters outside the Randstad and in cities such as Amsterdam and Rotterdam seem hardly Gabbers walk around.
What is changed is the focus on racism and right-wing extremism. The bulk of the Gabber Scene and other fans of Hardcore nothing to do with this right-wing extremism. But part of the Gabbers believes that xenophobia, racism and right-wing extremism solid forms part of the subculture. Extreme right-wing symbolism as Celtic crosses, "88" and images from the film "American History X" (#2) were massively access to the Gabber Scene. However, it is questionable whether the meaning of such symbols always equally penetrates involved. De antifascistische film “American History X” is al genoemd.
But the combination of plates of Pim Fortuyn and Adolf Hitler, returning regularly to websites cronies, let one - to say the least - what distorted image of seeing political relations.
But whether the use of such symbolism is now supported by an elaborate political theory or not, in practice since it leads 2001 or to a swift increase in the number of violent incidents. In a multitude of places were Gabbers responsible for fights, assaults and other (often very serious) violence. So were thrown at several places firebombs to "immigrant" goals and was regularly sought confrontation with immigrants.
Also in this latter, the confrontations, however, occurs frequently in demand for, whether this is motivated right-wing violence. It is often difficult to figure out who started it, for example. Moreover, it regularly comes to conflicts that are more related to conflicts between different youth styles, then with racist violence. But there are also several examples of racism or extreme-right symbolism was indeed caused or contributed to violent conflict.
It therefore remains, as already stated above, difficult to establish in general terms that this is "real" right-wing extremism is, because its member world of ideas and ideology are often missing.
However, it is different with Gabbers who not only deal with this kind of criminal activity, but organize themselves into far-right groups. And also, we see the last time an increase. First, it involves Gabbers joining existing wing organizations. Second place goes to Gabbers who establish organizations with extreme right character.
To begin with the first, wing organizations have traditionally been interested in extremist youth groups, which they expect to be interested in their political ideas. In earlier times, for example, was tried by extreme right-wing organizations to gain support among football hooligans and skinheads. This variable success was achieved. Attempts to obtain now following in the Gabber scene are not always sincere. It is obviously very interested in the large amount Gabbers with extremist views, that could deliver as many memberships potentially. But at the same time there is also the realization that these young people are anything but beatific. First, age and lifestyle factors that often show a very stable political behavior: if these young people are already recruited, it is often for a short time. Shadowing a demonstration, a year member is still there in, but the experience of most parties, that it is then again it is with most recent. In addition, that the chance of damage is quite large collations Toral. Regularly come just this kind Members negative attention because of violence and the like. Yet it seems that the temptation to get new members or to have a few cups there at a demonstration, the parties nevertheless is decisive. A striking example is the new Dutch People's Union member Johnboy Willemse. Willemse comes from the gabber scene and has a past at Stormfront Netherlands. He is sentenced to prison for a number of serious violent crimes. Not really a c.v. to make a career in party politics. Asked about these antecedents NVU chairman Kusters gave, he had served his sentence and thus that's it. Thus indicating that a new member outweigh the additional reputational damage for the entire party.
The fish in the pond of the Gabber scene happened the last time all four extreme right-wing parties - the New Right, Nieuwe Nationale Partij, National Alliance and NCE – but not all equally intensive and not with equal success. New Right tried to stretch it under extreme right Gabbers popular internet forum Holland Hardcore for her cart, but that only yielded limited success. Michiel Smit also tried to exploit the unrest around the clothing brand Lonsdale. Because Lonsdale Clothes, popular in Gabber Scene, by a part of the carriers and is associated with increasing frequency by the outside world are extremely right ideas, clothing often caused unrest and conflicts. A number of schools and a few disco then decided to do the brand in the spell. New Right arose in some cases this pressure "Lonsdale forbidden" and gave young people advice against what they could undertake (#3). But many members do not put him on.
The NNP and the NCE managed to win only limited support among Gabbers. At the National Alliance is different. That party is the last time in a number of regions (Eindhoven, Friesland, Groningen) some supporters managed to acquire under Gabbers. Those supporters was visible on a number of demonstrations and meetings of the party, where a surprisingly large part of the audience consisted of Gabbers.
But this success should not be exaggerated, it is at most a few dozen here Gabbers. Much more successful than the existing right-wing parties have extreme right Gabber-interest organizations, organizations originated from the scene itself Gabber. Of these, very much, large and highly variable nature of. On the Internet there are hundreds of these clubs, often consisting of a gabber group from a particular town or region, standing on the Internet presents. That is often accompanied by violent language, symbols and photos, but often do these groups are more dangerous than they are. The risk is more in the dissemination of racist, extreme right, but often Nazi and anti-Semitic propaganda through these networks. But there are also several of these types of organizations that are serious intent and occasionally quite successful. One example is Holland Hardcore. This organization exists largely only on the Internet and consists of a large, semi-professional website with a forum in which hundreds Gabbers active. Through Holland Hardcore is very much right-wing hate propaganda disseminated and with the regularity of clockwork incited violence. In addition, participants and visitors invited to become a member of the extreme right-wing organizations or participate in extreme right actions. It is therefore not surprising that a number of people have moved from the participants of Holland Hardcore violent action, including, for example arson in an Islamic Primary School. After those people arrested and convicted, was also mentioned by the creators of Holland Hardcore on the site as heroes. Who Holland Hardcore some time following notice that participants visit the site in the first place because of their interest in Hardcore and Gabber Culture. Very often you see that they are swept up in a reasonably short period of time in all sorts of extreme right-wing discussion threads. It is not surprising that the people behind Holland Hardcore themselves are also active in right-wing activities.
Another group that dates back to the Gabber Scene, the United Dutch Aryan Brotherhood (VNAB), a club around the aforementioned Johnboy Willemse. This club knew within a few months within the gabber scene in the region between Nijmegen, Venlo and Den Bosch to acquire a reasonable supporters. Pamphlets were distributed and sold T-shirts. In addition, did a small part along with a demonstration of the NCE and the Rudolf Hess memorial in Germany. VNAB recently moved to the NCE, but it is still unclear whether this applies to the whole VNAB supporters.
A third organization is derived from the Gabber Scene Blood & Honour Nederland. However, this requires further explanation. Blood & Honour (B&H) Originally a British organization, which emerged in the eighties. The aim of the organization is through far-right music the "good cause" to serve. Through concerts and music distribution could be because money earned, but could also be souls won for the Nazi battle. In the course of the eighties and nineties it was B&H organization, who was active in many countries, where often very much money in going on. The organization was involved in serious violent crimes and terrorist actions. All activities not only led to success, but also for many infighting. In recent years it has become a fairly confusing tangle of organizations all claiming the real B&H to be. To make any line going the hassles especially about whether the music or politics must be central. Also in the Netherlands founded 2001 a B&H department and recently a second. This new organization seems to be a part Gabbers, but a separate category. For some time, it is a part of the Gabber Scene, especially from the extreme right Gabber Scene, use not only to imitate the dress of Skinheads, but to present themselves as "real" Skinhead. The Gabber Past is renounced and a showy turn is made in musical taste. This Gabber-Skinheads are however not at all appreciated by the Skinhead scene and are also easy to identify by their behavior and age as pretenders. Therefore, they have to rely on their own alternative skinhead organizations. This new Blood & Honour Group seems to develop into such an organization where these ex-Gabbers are welcome.
An interesting question is what will happen the next time. It's a matter of time until the Gabber scene again collapses, the fate of each subculture. It even seems that the current popularity all over his peaked. In the nineties, the end of the popularity of Gabber also meant the end of the extreme right Gabbers. Or that this time is also the case, However, it is questionable. The current generation of Gabbers has to do with a very different company than that of the nineties. To begin the debate on freedom of expression by the rise of Pim Fortuyn and the murder of Theo van Gogh put on edge, so there is much more room for expressing xenophobic, racist and extreme right-wing views. The social pressure against such ideas is shrunk.
Furthermore, the white character of the Gabber scene in the nineties still something that was given a striking, while at the moment there is thought more along ethnic lines in the whole society and organized.
Thirdly play modern media an important role in the current Gabber Scene. The Internet was in the nineties still in its infancy, it has become commonplace. In the dissemination of ideas, but also in the development of actions and organizations, the Internet has become very important. Very many young people - and also very much Gabbers - maintain their social network in part from the Internet. Often people only know each other virtually. This is certainly part of the explanation for the rapid spread and popularity of radical political ideas among some of the Gabbers.
If it's so, that Gabbers in the nineties, which far-right ideas held after, with the disappearance of the Gabber Scene arrived in isolation, as regards their ideas. And if that is a statement, why this group disappeared with the Gabber Scene, it would mean that this story does not have to repeat. Indeed, there is more acceptance of xenophobic ideas. In addition, it is possible to easily overcome the isolation area via the Internet.
On the other hand, it is typical of many youth cultures to inaugurate radical ideas, those with aging massively shaken. But there remains the question of the extent to remain standing in front of all kinds of serious inter-ethnic violence in the collective memory and hang in the future affect relationships in a number of regions. Further, the amount of violence which young people from this scene are responsible much larger and are often much more serious than the incidents that took place in the nineties.
(#1) - One of the three leaders of Stormfront Netherlands, Remy Hoven, stood within the extreme right as known for years for his drug addiction. The other two leaders were Paul Peters and Olivier Oomen. Peters brought SFN discredited by destroying a Jewish cemetery and is now leader of Voorpost Netherlands. Oomen is currently active in the National Alliance.
(#2) - American History X tells the story of a radical neo-Nazi in America, who commits a gruesome murder and turns away in prison for his political beliefs. The film's message is clear antifascist, but that often seems to not penetrate much Gabbers who rave about the film. Met stage name, in which the protagonist puts a black man with his head on the curb and then kicking death, enjoys cult status within part of the Gabber Scene.
(#3) – As part of this "campaign" Michiel Smit also registered the internet domain lonsdale.nl, without using further incidentally ever. (Begin april 2005 lonsdale.nl appears to be transferred to the Dutch importer of Lonsdale.)