Viridian Note 00192: Viridian Commentary

"Bruce Sterling" <>
Thursday, September 14, 2000 2:36 PM

Key concepts
Net activism, Euro fuel shock, Resistance Party, websites, cellphones, machine translation
Attention Conservation Notice
A veritable flood of public response from Viridians. Goes on and on.

(((Boy, the marvels of Internet activism. I'd barely hit the return key before a host of swift answers arrived from across the Atlantic. Suddenly even distant Texan dilettantes can be hip-deep in the digital entrails of a European crisis.)))

(((As we rashly inquired yesterday in Note 00191:)))

"'Lots of smaller companies are on the verge of bankruptcy because of the high prices,' said Ruben Hubbers, spokesman of the Resistance Party, which organized the action." ((("Resistance Party." Completely unheard-of. Who are they? A nice gold star <*> for the first Viridian to find their website.)))"

(((First in past the bar, and the well-nigh instant winner of that golden star:)))

RE: Viridian Note 00191: Euro Fuel Shock

"Hagerty, Daniel" (*)

Hey Bruce,

Apparently, from what I can glean from this Dutch "anti- fascist action" website, Ruben Hubbers is a member of the Verzets-Partij.

Here's their site:


(((Mere microseconds later:)))

Re: Viridian Note 00191: Euro Fuel Shock

"C. Adam O'Toole" <^*>

Hello Bruce,

Got it:

Here's his photo:

How's that for service?

Adam O.

(((Fast on their heels.)))

Re: Viridian Note 00191: Euro Fuel Shock

R Michael Harman (^^^^^****)

Well, I'm unable to conclusively locate a Resistance Party website, but has a page on a Ruben Hubbers. The antifa site belongs to a Dutch "antifascist" group. They only have one page in English, so for the most part it's not terribly accessible.

(((Barely out of the running.)))

Re: Viridian Note 00191: Euro Fuel Shock

Ian Clysdale (^^*)

Ooh. I wonder if I can win a gold star. :)

Anyways, as far as I can tell, the name of the party in Dutch is Verzets-Partij, which translates into the Resistance Party. Their home page is http://www.verzets-

There's a picture of Ruben Hubbers along with some more information on the Verzets-Partij at

However, I haven't been able to find anything that isn't in Dutch.


(((No problem with the Dutch. That's what machine translators are for. Watch those babies roll effectively into action.)))

RE: Viridian Note 00191: Euro Fuel Shock

Luke Schubert (^*)

O Wise Viridian Leader,

The closest I could find is and Unfortunately, I don't speak Dutch, and the automatic translation (from of the first web site (attached below) wasn't much help,

Luke, who couldn't resist the lure of a gold star.

(((These Babelfish gizmos define unintentional comedy.)))

"[Ultrarechtse] society
The Party

[Bloemendaals] married couple [mikt] worn Second Ventricle"

Harlem Journal 27April 2000

"[Bloemendaal] [John] [Oomkes]

"Whilst the potential fallacious reputation Rise The
party have two [Bloemendalers] this week one new
[extreemrechtse] political party launched. President is
the 19-Jari [Ruben] [Hubbers], who within 1997 when
minor [gekandideerd] was in front the
[Centrumdemocraten] towards the Harlem municipal
election. He provender [onvrede] with the present
politics tact upon when motive The Rise party wish
within 2002 stand out the Second Parliamentary
election. They claims one [ledenaantal] with 25.

"[Ruben] [Hubbers] the new party, who within [Rubens]
wife [Gaby] [Hubbers]-[Plasschaert] their secretary is
acquainted with, will themselves middle May announce
towards the [Kiesraad]. Whether this [adviescollege]
with sift wise [mannen] settlement goes with the
reputation is yet unsteady." (((etc etc etc)))

(((This other machine translator works a tad better, but not so you'd notice.)))

Re: Viridian Note 00191: Euro Fuel Shock

Brad Bulger (^^^^^^^***?)

I think that this is the Resistance Party web page:

because this looks like a message from the fellow mentioned in the story:

"Past this road reputation the Rise The party worn until swiftly share versus the [alsmaar] increasing [brandstofprijzen]. The patriotic politics, greedy within the raise with o.a. [accijnzen] and taxes, dead body insensible to the various protestation with population and industrial life. You [overweegt] not one debasement with the [accijnzen], solely platform this one of these days weather with 6 cent. Within various sectors is the peril upper and [dreigt] insolvency until various producers. With the politics hoof you little within foresee , they goes tranquil through with their quash works. (((etc etc etc)))

Passionate thanks until your attention. With latest esteem, R.D. [Hubbers] President

(((A rather more lucid analysis.)))

Re: Viridian Note 00191: Euro Fuel Shock

Joshua Thayer (^^^^*?)

Here's their home page:

The new Resistance Party was very recently created, and is actually an extreme right group:

Looks like it was started just this year, by some youths and mostly Ruben Hubbers, who seems like quite the political activist at only 19 years old. The party claims about 25 members. The are putting forward a program of directives to bring the Dutch to an honest, righteous future. They want to get into the government by 2002. They seem to be taking up issues with crime, alcohol and drugs, sex, immigrants and that sort of thing.

As best as I can tell... My Dutch is pretty bad, so if I try to understand much more I'll wind up presenting more misinformation than not...


(((Some studied net.professionalism here)))

Resistance Party found

"Mitchell Porter" <>

Ruben Hubbers himself can be seen at He was formerly the youngest candidate for the CentrumDemokraten, which along with the Resistance Party is listed as an extreme-right group by (see under "Parties"; the CD is described in English, under "English"). appears to be their oil- prices protest site ("Hogere benzineprijzen? NEE" sounds like "Higher oil prices? NO").

(((On-the-ground reportage from a concerned Briton. Swell set of sites.)))

Re: Viridian Note 00191: Euro Fuel Shock

Nick Gibbins (*)

There's even more Viridian irony in this situation than you suggest in Note 00191. The UK's high duty and tax on fuel was intended as a disincentive to road use, for environmental reasons. The last (Conservative) government instituted a escalator on fuel duty that kept increases at 5% above inflation, but the current government abolished the escalator in the last budget.

Many of the road haulage industry's woes are due to over-competitiveness in the industry, rather than fuel taxation, and they're some of the more notorious carbon emitters as well.

The protesters are claiming that they have popular support. An opinion poll reported on Tuesday 12th showed that 78% of motorists were in favour of the protests. Far from being an honest expression of solidarity, this poll is more likely to be result of the traditional British attitude of 'I'm alright Jack' self-interest == cheap fuel is cheap fuel, after all.

Related links:

Transport 2000

UK environmental pressure group opposed to reductions in fuel taxation.

No truck with the truckers Report by Transform Scotland, the campaign for sustainable transport

A well-reasoned report on the projected effects of the most recent budget on the haulage industry. Of particular interest is Section 2, which refutes many of the current arguments being made against fuel taxation.

Budget sets Britain on road to better transport and environment HM Treasury

Treasury press release summarising environmental taxation for road users in the last budget.

Vehicle Certification Agency Data on Vehicle Emissions

Searchable database giving the dirty on the dirty == CO2 emissions, listed by model. Scorn your friends for their choice of vehicle (or better still, take their keys and force them to bicycle).

Nick Gibbins

(((Meanwhile, in Viridian Europe)))

Re: Viridian Note 00191:Euro Fuel

Carl Guderian <*>

I was in Brussels when the blockading trucks came through, and people have been able to use the Dutch blockades outside of A'dam as an excuse for coming in late. I take the train and metro, and work in a business that only moves bits. As they say here, "Niet Mijn Probleem!"

"Resistance Party" == yuk.

One of a batch of extreme-right parties littering the landscape. They've only been around since April and haven't updated their website since July 15th.

Do you know what the Dutch fascist said to the National Front (France) and Vlaamse Blok (Belgium) guys who came over? "Piss off, you foreigners!"

See URL for text. Here's a free translation.

(((The very same text as above, but Carl Guderian is not a bot, but a fully-functional, literate human being!)))

Haarlems Dagblad, 27 April 2000 "Bloemendaal (coastal city near Amsterdam & Haarlem)

John Oomkes (reporter)

"Under the possibly misleading name Resistance Party, two Bloemendalers have this week founded a new extreme- right party. President is 19-year-old Ruben Hubbers, who in 1997 was underage candidate for Center Democrat (CD, a merely far-right party) in the Haarlem [city] council election. He is dissatisfied with the present political business and wants to be a driving force. The VP wants to participate in the 2002 elections for the Second Chamber [like House of Commons or House of Representatives]. The VP claims a membership of 25."

To make a long story short, the Haarlem public prosecutor's office is looking to bust the Resistance Party for their misleading name and incitement to hate- crimes. The Resistance Party loathe crime, drugs (marijuana and hash addiction!), and mooching immigrants. They think the present Dutch government is corrupt and neds to get back to basics and family values.

Hubbers goes on to distance himself from the CD, his one-time employer. The CD are too far-right for Hubbers' taste. Hubbers considers himself in the mainstream right. He applauds the work of the WWII Resistance of 1940-45 and hopes to carry on their good work now.

Now you can disinfect your monitor and hard drive and then take a shower.

(((More somber political analysis from Blighty.)))

Re: Viridian Note 00191: Euro Fuel Shock

"David Jennings" (^*)

One of the less hysterical points made by truckers has been "All we want is parity with rest of the EC on road taxes and fuel duty".

The assumption could be that the rest of the EC is 'enjoying' lower prices than its blockade-stricken neighbour states. The fear is that 'foreign' competition will get a tank full of gas on the Continent, then pop across the Channel to the UK and spend a week trucking round the country, undercutting the natives' rates and paying no duty or road tax, before going back to the Continent to fill up again.

So there is a sub-text here of concern about UK's further integration into Europe. The 'received wisdom' is that Tony Blair is nudging public opinion as firmly as he can to the point where his government takes Britain closer to union. The specific concern is that, for some people, unless there is harmonisation of fuel duty & road taxes, this will be all losses and no gains.

We see a worrying international feedback loop embedded in this dynamic. Any government that does the responsible thing and raises taxes on fossil fuels faster than its neighbours will be prey to damaging protests, until it relents and retreats to the same tax rates as the least responsible neighbour.

You also wrote:

>(((These truckers must have email. There's a Seattle-WTO
>style wasp-swarm thing going on here: the disparate
>interest groups, the international coordination, the lack
>of authorization from conventional labor authorities, the
>wide variety of chosen targets, the suddenness of it ==
>it's all too effective not to be digital.)))

Speaking as a UK citizen, what has frustrated me over the last couple of days is the lack of any digitally organised counter-movement to express the feeling that some of us (a minority, apparently, but a significant minority) back the Government. It's a first for me with any popular protest == I would be happy to see higher fuel duty.

I keep checking Friends of the Earth's web site, but there's just a few lame press releases about how they're backing Tony Blair to stand firm.

Apart from FoE's director making points about high fuel prices being good for the economy (by encouraging efficiency) on a 'highbrow' news programme on BBC's minority interest channel, there has been no coverage that I've seen of the reasons for standing firm.

Meanwhile Greenpeace UK's website is a design abomination. It told me to upgrade my IE5 browser to Netscape 4.7 and download 6 plugins that I already have before I could properly enjoy the site. Just before it crashed my iMac, I saw enough to conclude that the design straitjacket did not allow for daily updates about current issues.

UK greens still have much to do to find a voice in the media!

Speaking from Sheffield, England's fifth largest city, my own hope is that people will start to realise how nice their towns and cities could be with less of our eternal gridlock.

Regards, David

(((It's not the grungy websites == it's all about the mobile phones!)))

Re: Viridian Note 00191: Euro Fuel Shock

"Thomas Womack" <>

The reports in the British news focus on the use of mobile phones, both for planning and for on-the-spot co- ordination. None of the protestors interviewed has mentioned email.

These protests have been brewing for quite a while:

The first batch of activity began last month, but people started blockading oil refineries last Wednesday, and the problem's grown from there. The fuel crisis is the main topic of conversation, on phone and off. You can have a distressing kind of fun listening to people spread panic: bread-rationing at one supermarket in Derby rapidly became rumors of bread-rationing everywhere in Britain.

The TV news in the UK spends twenty-five minutes talking about the fuel crisis and five minutes on the rest of Earth's activity. I've not seen that solid coverage of a single issue since the Gulf War.


(((Dare we Britons even use email? Perfidious Albion tapes and taps everything!)))

Re: Viridian Note 00191: Euro Fuel Shock

Charlie Stross <>

The UK activists use fax machines, claim to have no leadership, and many are militant farmers. They probably won't be using email because of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, which was passed a couple of weeks ago.


((But wait == despite those spook wiretaps, a British "E- Petition" powered by a "List-Bot" carries a load of focussed grievance both hither and yon.)))

Other related fuel protest stuff, but no

Marc Erickson <>

Garry Russell, Boycott the Pumps organizer (admin@boycott-

Other links at the top of the window under Related Sites. The Original UK Fuel Protest Site

"GREEDY Fuel Protest Update!

"Breaking News: The Government are to take decisive action Thursday at 7am according to reports from a government source.

"Updates shortly...

"Tony Blair's has now arrogantly stated that "he cannot and he will not" change government policy due to pressure from the fuel protests. His comments are only having one effect == he is confirming public opinion that he thinks he is infallible == just as in the Millennium Dome, eh Tony?!

"What Tony Blair and other politicians, on all sides, are actually saying to us is that we only have a say at election time. Therefore we are only a democracy at the lead up to elections. He sees the rest of his term as his own personal dictatorship and what he says goes.

"Accountants Chantrey Vellacott revealed the Treasury gets L330million extra a year for every one-dollar rise in the world oil price == mainly because of increased VAT and revenue from North Sea producers.

"Oil has risen from $22 to $34 a barrel since the March Budget == equal to a L4BILLION boost to the public purse. Chantrey's economics chief Maurice Fitzpatrick said this was enough to allow a fuel tax cut of 8p a litre, or 36p a gallon. AEEU engineering union boss Sir Ken Jackson said Mr Brown should cut duty by at least 2p to ease 'ridiculous prices.'

"If Tony Blair will not listen to public protests, what will he listen to? For years his government have ignored the arguments of The Petrol Retailers Association The RAC The AA Countless other protesters (like and boycott-the-pumps)

"If YOU think that Tony Blair should listen to you please add your vote to the thousands of others who feel just the same as you. Enter you e-mail address below and then click on the Vote Now button

"E-petition powered by ListBot"

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