Cracking the Movement - Squatting beyond the media - CONTENTS

The Great Victory of
the Household Garbage

The Self-Abuse of Nolympics

In the course of 1984 the Amsterdam city council figured out that the
city's image was so devastated that its economic disadvantages had
become greater than its touristic advantages. Amsterdam, which had
profiled itself in the early eighties as a place where you could behold
the latest social contrasts with your own eyes on the streets, suddenly
turned out to inspire physical disgust. The garbage along the streets,
the dog doo on the sidewalks, the torn-up roads, the purse-snatching
and car radio theft, the tens of thousands of unemployed, the parking
problem, the heroin needles in the doorways, the sluggish bureaucracy,
the grouchy Amsterdammers, the run-down houses, the epidemic graffiti,
the blind violence of the rioters and other "persistent drawbacks" lost
their folkloristic aspects and made living in the capital unbearable.

The "largest ad agency in the world" was hired to design a promotional
campaign which would give Amsterdammers back their self-respect and
would create the idea in the outside world that this lively city had
everything to offer. The concept was summed up in the slogan,
"Amsterdam has it", and the "it" was carefully not filled in even
approximately. On the posters and in the newspaper ads a space was
deliberately left white "to encourage reactions from the citizen;
graffiti is fine." They were after positive contributions to
Amsterdam, the Concept. The chief of garbage collectors summarized it
like this: "By means of catchy slogans we're trying to get
Amsterdammers to do their bit towards the big city clean-up." The city
anticipated that it would take a five-year campaign before the
population would again conform to and defend "social standards" on its
own. The authorities also tried to organize spectacular shows with the
proportions of a big riot to jack up the (inter)national style of the
place. It started with "Amsterdam fashion city" and the regatta "Sail",
but the people at City Hall soon got bigger pretensions. They applied
for candidacy for the 1992 Olympic Games.

Squatters had experimented before with arguments against so-called
"cityvorming"*, literally "suburbanization", but really a word for the
strategy of a mafiose coalition of city councillors and big capital to
rebuild the inner city into one big hotel chain cum* amusement center,
with casinos, sex industries, tourist shops and canal bikes. Around the
umpteenth imminent eviction at Singel 114 an "attack with high
sensational value" was committed on "the tourist product Amsterdam."
"At 2:23 p.m the tour boat would be at the place we intended to deal
with it. Shortly before that time everyone was ready with paint, smoke
bombs, camouflage nets and tires, trying not to be too conspicuous,
which didn't really come off in light of the heavy character of the
action. A cable fixed over the canal ahead of time was pulled tight, so
that the boat couldn't reverse, and scaffolding pipes were fastened
vertically to the bridge so that sailing forward was also impossible.
The moment that the tour boat stopped was the signal for the attack:
the paint splashed all around and, more quickly than expected, great
panic ensued among the captain and passengers. A few tourists crawled
under the benches. An American woman screamed, 'So this is nice
Amsterdam.' Tourist-hunting season got off to a turbulent start."

The tour boat action's effect was astonishing. A picture of the boat
amid clouds of smoke made the world press. The residents of Singel 114
gave "international interviews" day in day out about the new
phenomenon of anti-tourism. The "paint and smoke treatment" to the
city's image proved to hit the mark infinitely harder than attacking
objects belonging to the city or the speculators. A few more steps
were undertaken along the same lines, yet despite all surprise people
balked at consistently carrying this strategy through. On the one hand
because they had nothing against tourists per se; they were regularly
"tourist in their own city" (and elsewhere) themselves, and tourists
and tourism were so difficult to separate. On the other hand, these
mediumistic actions took place on such an abstract level that the
direct connection with one's own place and experience was already
getting too tenous. 

The good old-fashioned method of throwing stuff was extremely
attractive, but difficult to defend afterward. However concrete, the
action remained too theoretical to bring up with people inside and
outside the scenes. This sort of actions could have nothing whatsoever 
to do with a movement which is enlarged by sucking in outsiders.
Tourist actions were aimed at keeping aliens away. The paradox of a
movement which grows because people are deterred is unresolvable. This
was a consequence of the classical dilemma that actions are always
carried out according to the philosophy of preceding actions. After the
death of movement, they were not yet up to assessing this new situation
on its own value.

Thus it was up to a small group from outside the earlier movement to
further work out the concept of an action which aims to prevent an
event. The negative action is based on a great reverence for the
existent. It seeks its beginning not in criticizing failing structures
and past mistakes, but in rejecting a future which is being forcibly
imposed upon it. This made it possible to respect the leftover
unclassifiable "vague types" for their acquired attitude to living, but
also to consider the bomb-brewers, dreaming of the big bang, as a
lasting enrichment of the democratic landscape. It was not necessary
that the meeting between the participants be brought about with great
violence. They didn't have to arrange themselves under one political
heading; being anti was sufficient. You only had to bring your own
identity along as a sign of what you stood for. The very fact that the
squat movement had gone under made the aura of failure around "the
squatters" so strong that the image of success could be paired with it.
The best weapon against the pep talk that things are going great for
you is to indulge in shameless exhibitionism of your own fuckups. This
is the concept of image pollution. The point of this is not to
discredit the manager culture, but to propagate the beauty of
non-esthetics. Around the Olympic candidacy, from outside the movement,
a group suddenly discovered the power of failure.



Once the city had boarded the Olympic train, they immediately signed on
some "communications specialists" to work on the population as well as
the members of the International Olympics Committee (IOC). Under the
motto "Together we can do it", enthusiasm had to be cultivated for a
mega-project which no one had been consulted about or had had the
chance to air an opinion on. A mandate was sought in order to sanction
the bribery of IOC members. In times of budget cuts in every area, the
population needed to be artificially primed for this grandiose
frittering away of community funds. The promotion campaign needed to be
an enlarged version of "Amsterdam has it", with the same sanitary
objectives. While the slogan "Amsterdam has the Olympic fire" polished
the image of the capital on the Dutch-language posters, the foreign
posters trumpeted the vague phrase: "Holland wants the world to win".
3.5 million enclosures in bank mail, 3 million door-to-door circulars,
120,000 posters and brochure racks of various sizes, 1500 flags with
the action symbol and 120,000 pound bags of Olympic candies worth fl
510,000 were implemented as a tactic. Olympic sports bags, centerpiece
flags, paper and plastic shopping bags, toy buses with the Olympic
logo, 20,000 glasses, buttons, matches, stickers and pins and "36
different textile products with an Olympic aura" were available too.
The single with accompanying video, "Amsterdam wants the world to
win", was performed by the Hilversum Pedagogical Music Academy. The
total costs were reputed to amount to 20 million guilders.

Meanwhile the 88 IOC members were buttered up with the methods usual in
such circles, varying from free trips to the host country and a
videotape with accompanying VCR to gala dinners, buffets and other
trips to gastronomic Valhalla. Persistent rumors also surfaced of
gifts of jewelry inlaid with South African diamonds. The numerous
preliminary rounds in the promotional battle among the twelve
candidates for '92 offered plenty of opportunities not only for
corruption, but also for goal-specific actions.

Once the candidacy was presented during the Los Angeles Games in July
1984, Amsterdam policymakers turned out to already have flung
themselves into the devastating urban planning which was supposed to
accommodate games, athletes and press. The first anti-group immediately
appeared out of the districts which stood to suffer the most under
stadiums, parking facilities, highways, temporary accommodations and
security measures. The group rose up out of community work to become
the official "No Olympic Games Committee". It organized a residents'
protest and drew up an "anti-Olympics charter" which was sent to every
national Olympic committee in the world. "A number of people are also
involved in a somewhat more radical action group, which presents itself
under the name 'No Bread, No Games'", it was reported elsewhere. This
second group would take on all the unaccounted-for work.



Until October 17, 1986, the day of the IOC's deciding vote, a minimal
group of activists would succeed in achieving the maximal media effect
for at least two years. The fact that the administrators had been
using the candidacy for image improvement, which by definition belongs
in the media sphere, from the beginning, made it possible to slay them
with mere media presence. If the city had put all its money on, for
example, the stimulation of sports in Holland, such an exclusive media
strategy would have been impossible. Besides, the Olympic Games had
long been the equation of money + media, so interest in the sporting
element only appeared in the form of prickings of conscience in certain
managers with an athletic past.

So all attention could be focused on polluting the image. It is true
that resistance to the Amsterdam Games '92 began in the neighborhoods
affected, but at its climax it reached such a meta level that only
media scholars were really aware of where the next effect could be
realized. The success of "Nolympics", the collective name for all the
anti-initiatives, lay in its troublesome presence on every occasion for
which a link with Amsterdam and the Games was even suspected. Always
more people hanging around with their banners at the hotels and
conference centers where the Amsterdam triumph was supposed to take
shape bit by bit - that spoiled the air of success for many an
official. Their harness of businesslike optimism was gradually damaged
by a ruined atmosphere that came to hang over Amsterdam's candidacy.
One who fights his opponent in the media ring can only K.O. by availing
himself of a total media package. This is expressed in the word
"media" alone; they plied the local press with local arguments, wrote
in heavier language in their own papers, used objections of national
importance on radio and had mail on diverse letterheads delivered
constantly to IOC members all over the world. One of the letters came
from an attorneys' collective who referred to the violation of human
rights in Amsterdam in connection with the death of Hans Kok. Naturally
they did not neglect to show up at the compulsory hearing or on the
letters pages in the daily papers. 

Unscrupulously they copied all the methods and techniques of the enemy
foundation: the organizers' personal gift to the IOCers is followed by
a bag of marijuana, received in the mail, with a letter signed by mayor
Ed van Thijn: "After the South African diamonds, we're sending you
something with which you can clear your mind. The Dutch Olympics
Committee would like to acquaint you with one of the products of
Amsterdam. We hope in this manner to exert a positive influence on
your decision. Our national product can be obtained in 500 legal sales
outlets. Please don't be bothered by increasing opposition in
Amsterdam."

When it was made known through the slip of a councilperson's tongue
that every IOC member had received a free video recorder, the committee
requested to institute a criminal investigation against van Thijn for
attempted bribery. At the same time the committee put out its own 
well-made video film. An Olympic torch-bearer walked through Amsterdam,
running up against local problems. After clambering over the traffic
jams, he fell into some roadworks, landed in the middle of a squatters'
riot, gave a light to a balaclava with a bomb, stumbled into the red
light district and was robbed by a hash smoker, after slipping in the
dog shit.

The official "bidbook" in which the city of Amsterdam presented its
plans was countered even before publication with a "people's bidbook"
in which the "Amsterdam Never" argument was supported. A press packet
with the complete collection of clippings on the anti-actions was
offered to the IOCers with English subtitles. It shows, among other
things, that the municipality granted subsidies to the organizing
foundation, but not to the anti Games committee, which had put in a
request to annoy the regents. A small riot even broke out, generating
much press interest, over the copyright on the five Olympic rings,
which were used by Nolympics left, right and center. The committee so
emptied the symbols of meaning that, even if they were meant to be
cheerful and fresh, they were no longer capable of arousing any
enthusiasm.



An example: the city parks department planned to contribute to the
Olympic mood by planting a flowerbed along an access road to Amsterdam
in the shape of five rings, the Amsterdam coat of arms and "1992".
Harry, on none of the committees, reports, "We were driving into the
city one night in a van when we suddenly saw the flowerbed. We
immediately pulled over and tore it apart." The chance passersby then
sent a report to the inside press with the announcement, "Once again
tourism and other political-economic objects will be targeted." The
action sparked inspiration in others. A week later the "propagandistic
flowerbed" was restored with violets, and that night the "autonomous"
activists returned, this time with shovels and a photographer, to
thoroughly redo the work. The picture of the destruction shows a
balaclava'd gardener in heated action, clods flying. A letter was
printed next to the photo in the dailies: "This is the beginning of a
long struggle, a seven-year war if necessary if it's up to us. The
initiators of the money-guzzling promotional campaign will become
targets in the creation of an unsafe climate in Amsterdam." No Bread No
Games subsequently prepared a postcard on which two antis were
spreading out a Nolympics flag in the ruined bed. A large print run of
these was provided with the addresses of the IOC members and could be
sent with a personal anti-arguments. The postage stamp was also 
pre-printed. After all this messing about, the flowerbed had to be put
under the care of Beuker security.



However anonymous and bizarre the Nolympics actions were, the No
Committee always had a respectable face handy for press and other
authorities to get furious at. This was one Saar Boerlage, an amiable
middle-aged lady who was well-known in political circles as a
passionate advocate and an expert university instructor. She was one of
the founders of the "No Olympic Games Committee" and remained its
spokeswoman from beginning to end through unfamiliarity with the action
traditions. It was a shocking fact that a framework inside which heavy
actions were done had a frontwoman with a surname and face that before
long all of Holland knew. She could thereby be the dumpster into which
every journalist, manager and administrator could pour out their
frustration and fascination. She embodied the self-abuse of a nation.
Because who would take on the thankless task of consistently pushing
the bumblings of Holland Inc. in the faces of the leaders of the "We
are the champions" feeling and refuse to be flustered by all the bad
press, as over the course of the action it becomes more and more
focused on herself? In media actions a central hostess is essential.
And what could be more exquisite than a matronly type, who can
bullshit any spluttering journalist into a corner?

The actions were concentrated on businesspeople's two Achilles' heels:
humor and confusion. The imagebuilders knew they were gambling, and
they felt slightly ridiculous to begin with when required by business
life to beg for money. In such a situation every joke hits like a
sledgehammer. Moreover, one splotch on a three-piece suit is more
effective than 100 good arguments. Thus, the International Sports
Federation was invited to hold its conference in Amsterdam, so it
might be favorably impressed by the sporty city. The invitees were on
the way to a dinner with mayor van Thijn in the Maritime Museum and
had walked from their hotel to a waiting tour boat. There, from a
bridge, 100 demonstrators pelted them with paint, eggs and rotten
tomatoes. The police charged down the canal, first to drive away the
throwers and then to keep the livid sports guys in check. The president
of the federation: "If the vast majority of the Dutch people stands
behind the Games, then we have obviously met the small minority
tonight."

Other sports events too got a visit. The night before the first 67th
International Open Golf Championship in Noordwijk three holes were
completely dug up. The participants of the world baseball championships
had the honor of walking through a "Nolympics triumphal arch" on the
way to their reception in the Historic Museum and picking up a leaflet
with the counterarguments. And the night before the World Women's
Hockey Championship in the super-guarded Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen,
the Astroturf was decorated with the Nolympic rings. Right before it
was finished three of the five artists were picked up. The Nolympics
argument that Holland could not sufficiently guard its sports events
against attacks was hereby confirmed.

A spokesperson for the No Olympic Games Committee said he found the
action "spectacular" and "playful". "They're just asking for it. They
never wanted to take their opponents seriously. Now van Thijn is trying
to squelch the opposition by playing so-called hardball. Naturally
it's rotten for the people who are locked up, but what's happening now
is showing the true face of the Olympic Games." After two days in a
police cell, Piet, one of the arrestees, immediately filed two
complaints. One for "unlawful imprisonment" (they were not allowed to
detain him longer than six hours for vandalism) and one for
"mistreatment by seven police officers". He wanted fl 50,000 damages.



Along with all this digging and scribbling the official No Committee
persisted in being annoyingly present at IOC meetings. At the 90th
session in East Berlin, with Erich Honnecker as speaker of honor, the
opponents showed up again. Saar Boerlage, the only Dutch person who had
managed to get across the border, handed out leaflets and spoke with the
promotion teams from Paris and Brisbane, "who were very interested in my
arguments." Her posters were illustrated with the Olympic Games logo,
except one of the five rings was replaced by a bomb, which was supposed
to point out the danger of attacks during the Amsterdam Games. When she
called an international press conference by the fountain under the
Fernsehturm, she was arrested by the Kriminal Polizei and after six
hours of interrogation expelled from the country. A letter-to-the-editor
writer took this up: "When the DDR made things impossible for Saar, van
Thijn should have quit his activities. Now he has continued in his
outlandish activities, which are doomed to fail anyway, under the
protection of a totalitarian state." Another letter writer responded
under the heading "Letdown in Berlin is Godsend for Amsterdam": "Many
Amsterdammers will have registered the clumsy presentation in East
Berlin with approval."

The group visited Lausanne, where the IOC had its seat, several times.
In December 1985 all the candidate cities gathered in the Palace Hotel
for a first round. "Two demonstrators forced their way into the leading
hotel, wrenched themselves out of the desperate grip of the Olympic
press representative and before the eyes of the shocked company
unfurled their banner 'Nolympics in Amsterdam'. At a signal from the
IOC president the hotel staff interfered and the demonstrators were
ejected into the street. The calamity, however, had already occurred
and in the next few hours the news of the Amsterdam demonstration raced
around the world." The group also took advantage of the opportunity to
take photographs which would later turn up everywhere. Always with
that same one, neat banner held up by two people: in front of the
Palais de Beaulieu, next to a burly statue, before Lausanne-Palace. The
last photo summed up the strategy: it showed a crouching photographer
snapping three officials smiling at the camera, while at the back to
the right, before the columns of the hotel entrance, the duo with
banner stole the show.

Gunnar Ericsson visited Amsterdam as a "senior IOC inspector" and was
treated early in the morning to the banner and a bit of music by 30
people. "We did that to wake up the three IOC inspectors." Ericsson
spoke with Saar and finds it "an amusing breakfast". At the end of
February 1986 Nolympics were back in Lausanne, where Amsterdam was
offering its bidbook. "Two demonstrators, all told, chilled to the
bone, stood by the IOC headquarters, the Chateau de Vidy, waiting for
the delegation from the capital. The two were even allowed inside to
present the IOC chairman with 'the people's bidbook'."

The more the deadline approached and the banner frequency increased,
the more irritated was the organizers' reaction. In every interview
they had to comment on the Nolympics actions. Ed van Thijn: "Naturally
we're easy as hell to blackmail. Every Amsterdam citizen we lock horns
with can threaten that he's going to approach the IOC." Embroidering on
the reasoning, "Spain has its Basques; we've all got something," van
Thijn kept presenting his opponents as proof of "the power of Dutch
democracy". The face of the daft right wing in Holland, the fat regent
Vonhoff, sat on the presidium of the advocates. He too briefly tried to
hold himself back: "Holland without activist groups? That's like
Holland without tulips, wooden shoes and windmills."

But while the ringleaders acted as though nothing was wrong, at the
lower levels of the organization the promotors were starting to stress
out and develop an allergy to the press. In Seoul, which lay outside
the range of Nolympics, a last presentation was in the works.
Amsterdam's act was a flop; they had forgotten to bring the scale
models of the Olympic city and tried to entertain the crowd with an
"amazing magic show by world champion Ger Koppers." For this Van Thijn
was described as "the one who has to clean up the mess, trying to poke
up the feeble Olympic fire a little bit." The critical press was
revolted just by the mountains of exclusive comestibles. "The kind of
things on those tables would eventually have to come out the nostrils
of even the most spoilt gourmand."

Back in Amsterdam they decided to keep completely silent about the
anti-Olympic actions, and the papers obediently followed suit.
Nolympics reported: "When we wake up the whole Amstel hotel early in
the morning, because IOC member Jao Havelange is staying there, the
police are there, almost laughing. Whatever you do, keep things calm,
is the policy these days. Every riot is to the advantage of the
Nolympics movement, they figure. If the Olympic tram is pelted with
paint bombs, there is no publicity about it. That's a lot different
from their hysterical reaction when the tour boat was the target."



But then something happened that could not be kept quiet. On the night
of August 21st, 1986, two bombs exploded, destroying the front door of
the Olympic Games Foundation building and the only satellite dish
antenna for telephone traffic in Amsterdam. The attacks were claimed by
the "Out of the Blue Revolutionary Cells Command". At this "important
link in the propaganda for the Olympic Games" a bomb was placed in the
heart of the dish antenna, but the most damage was caused by a chemical
liquid which was sprayed in the cable channel and destroyed the
internal wiring. Signs were found at both locations reading, "Warning - explosives - do not approach". In the press statement, which was found
in a garbage can at the squatted complex De Binnenpret, it says, "With
these attacks we mean to inflict direct damage on the polished-up image
of the city of Amsterdam." A poster was attached on which Ed van Thijn,
with a fanatical expression, is personally pressing the button on the
explosive box with which the dish was blown up, with the caption,
"Olympic fire in Amsterdam".
Hordes of journalists promptly phoned up Saar Boerlage to note down her
denial of involvement. To their amazement, a "hurrah mood" prevailed on
the No Committee. Saar in the media: "We would never have thought of
something like this ourselves, but we're happy with the way it went.
This incident is making the world press and that's unfavorable for
Amsterdam. We'd be crazy to commit attacks; if a court found out we
were behind it, we'd be sentenced to pay for the damage. This is one
more blow for the organizers. They're trying in a boorish way to lure
the Games to Amsterdam and give opponents no chance to propagate their
objections. The authorities are encouraging violence that way." This
reaction proved the superiority of the media strategy. The multiplier
effect worked: others' planting bombs did not act as a restraint, but
strengthened the strategy of dragging down the own image. So the
committee could wonder astonished why "we didn't think of it
ourselves" and they could use the attacks as an extra argument against
the Games. This watertight reasoning had to be adopted by whiny
journalists. The new argument was now: "More attacks expected if Games
come to Amsterdam". Saar Boerlage remarked, "Those boys and girls were
not after anyone else's life or property. Of course, the authorities
will have to pass judgment on this. But not in terms of serious crime,
as van Thijn has done."

Two weeks later there was a last incident before the caravans left for
Lausanne to witness the IOC vote. The annual floral procession, which
travels from the Dutch bulb-growing area through Amsterdam, was
dominated by the Olympics. For this reason the police had mobilized
extra manpower, such as arrest squads. As the floats moved past the
Binnenpret, activists with sandwich boards attempted to walk along with
the procession. The texts read, "Mexico 1968: hundreds dead", "München
1972: hostages burned", "Montreal 1976: the people are still paying",
"Amsterdam 1992: out of the blue?" The police chased the demonstrators
out of the parade, and they got on their bikes and headed for the Dam
under police escort to go hand out leaflets.



After the bombings things were as tense as they had ever been. The plan
was to bring the tension to a climax in Lausanne. First Saar and her
committee would arrive with the famous banners. A secret weapon was
concealed for later in the week: the savage hordes who would come to
confirm Amsterdam's bad image. "From Amsterdam a bus trip is being
organized that no tour operator can touch. The trip will take four days
and cost about 90 guilders. Accommodations will be available." "Because
the No Committee had needed no membership file or broad base for their
work in the media, certain circles were now being warmed up for a nice
outing. It appealed to the target group and they understood what was
desired of them. Two punk bands went along to provide a musical touch.
The last-minute tickets for this "wonderfully planned vacation" were
distributed at trusted addresses. 

The special Olympic train of officials had already left. A private
enterprise by the supporters, sponsored by the firm Sorbo (kitchenware
manufacturers), also presented itself, setting out for Switzerland in
vans. In Lausanne the activists' coach (decked out with slogans like
"No Way Eddie!") and the Sorbo vans came across each other the first
night. Flip: "Those vans drove very close alongside us and we kicked
some dents into them."

The group of action tourists was received in the Martin Luther King
center, "the only wreck in Lausanne". It sat beside a river which
emptied into the lake of Geneva. Large tents were set up on the grass
next to the building. The presence of "van Thijn's household garbage"
in the place where he needed it least was enough to cause total culture
shock among the assembled world press, the Swiss police and the
officials. "Saar Boerlage's greasy hangers-on" not only wore their
leather jackets, army boots and Nolympics t-shirts, but left behind
mountains of refuse wherever they went. They were constantly yelling,
jumping, tugging at fences and hitting between the railings with bars
so that a godawful racket rang out. They danced in the planters. They
carried around slogans that even by their own standards went over the
limit: "Amsterdam supports apartheid", "No games No bombs", "MĚ┼Ěnchen
'72 = Amsterdam '92" and "MĚ┼Ěnchen can be repeated - Amsterdam
fights!". Two opponents from Barcelona also appeared in Lausanne at one
point with their own banner, were filmed by Spanish TV and to their
surprise were allowed to join up with the troop from Amsterdam.

In the clean, sterile environment of Lausanne it seemed as if the
barbarians had invaded civilization. The action style was based on the
SPASSGUERILLA logic based on knowing what the adversary hates most to
hear or see about itself, and going that one better. But at the same
time something else happened: it suddenly sank in to the Amsterdam
squat experience how extremely clean and respectable the world is.
Amid the giggles that set in, the insight flashed up of how wonderful
their own filth was. Up until then the unclassifiables had had no
interest in others' rejection of their appearance. Now they understood
that tidy people just couldn't take so much gunge. 

Flip: "The noise demos in front of the gate always go according to the
same pattern: jumping out of the bus, making a racket for an hour with
whistles, rattles and horns, handing out pamphlets, waving banners and
then back on the bus, back to our base." The travel organization
followed a Spartan regime in order not to miss a single opportunity to
give act de presence. The group was already awake at 6:00 to be able to
ruin breakfast in the Calgary Palace Hotel around 7:30. The outings
were totally aimed at the world press, who were walking around
frustrated too since the IOC members were completely unavailable. They
only flashed by in buses and plush cars. The police remained friendly,
so as not to bring Lausanne a bad name under the watching eye of the
reporters. 

The night before the vote they set off again, this time to the hotel
where the gentlemen were sleeping. Flip: "An enthusiastic horde jumps
out of the buses again, runs down the street where to heighten the
action's effectiveness the bus of IOC members is just driving up. To
get into the hotel they have to pass the roaring crowd." This was the
only time that the dignified gentlemen made bodily contact with the
rabble. "This was the demo that did it. A few hysterical activists
started to accost the Mercedeses. Some idiot with his face bright red
with agitation wouldn't stop crying 'fuck you capitalist bastard' and
jabbing his middle finger in the IOCers' faces, picking fights in
passing with other activists who didn't like it. The fun idea came up
to slap stickers onto the IOC members' backs. A fossil of an IOCer
almost had heart failure and had to be propped up by his chauffeur.
People seemed more and more capable of becoming wild with rage just at
the sight of an IOCer." Joop: "The story that we threw beer bottles is
nonsense. Someone accidentally dropped a bag with a few bottles in it.
That's all. At most somebody hit a bus." Flip: "The prince of Monaco
got a gob of phlegm in his face, that was funny. This action became
completely successful when the riot police was sent after us. They came
running over the whole street, they made a better-organized impression
than our own riot police. So, we broke up quickly, beat a chaotic
retreat in the flush of victory. Now the press was happy too." Betsy:
"We were stopped again by the cops because there was so much junk in
the street; I believe people started to pick it up." Joop: "It was a
typical Amsterdam demonstration at the hotel in Lausanne. But for the
IOC members it would have been the hot topic of the evening at dinner."
That night the company amused itself at a benefit concert held in a
youth cultural center. 



On D-day, after the first demonstration at 8:00, a "lawn meeting" was
held before the Palais de Beaulieu, where the decision would be made.
The question was what to do when the result was made known. Before they
knew it, they had landed in a tactical debate. A small group around
Piet and Hein, "who had otherwise kept pretty aloof from the big
group", thought that this was a nice opportunity to bring down van
Thijn. Sandra: "They wanted to play leader. Everyone thought the
proposals they made were too heavy considering the Swiss riot police's
action the night before. The police had come at us like it was Brazil,
with vans that looked like they were from an exterminators' team. Their
clean approach and their marching made it unclear what they planned to
do. Did they just want to chase us away or really get us?" Piet and
Hein's faction still hadn't figured out that they had landed in a
media action and the strategy of being "simply unclassifiable" was
heading for a resounding success. 

Things came to a head around the question where and how many smoke
bombs should be set off. The compromise was an "Olympic smoke torch"
which was carried by the "living work of art" Fabiola. The "dying torch
with the Amsterdam Olympic fire" was lit at the entry gates, at exactly
the moment that the assembled IOC was being photographed on the steps.
The smoke floated beautifully through the group portrait. 

Shortly after it was announced that Barcelona had won, and that
Amsterdam had already lost in the first round with the lowest number
of votes of all the cities (5 of 130). At this the group boarded the
buses, cheering, to go back home. "The best part might have been the
hilarious feeling about how all those inflated Dutch delegates were
degraded to almost nothing. 'Five votes!' everyone was yelling all day.
For the elite the world was briefly reversed. The people from Nolympics
became world news. In contrast to the official delegation, who were
reduced to extras and got very little international press."

The strategy of constant presence was now taken to the extreme. The
Nolympics buses were back in Amsterdam quickly enough to arrive at the
same time as the disappointed returning delegates. They were to give a
last press conference in the World Trade Center. A segment of the
Nolympics traveling association, it is true, felt more like going
straight home, but they were dropped off in front of the office
complex unasked. Another banner was made: "No way, ha ha!" and "4
million guilders per vote". When the delegation arrived at the trade
center on the Olympic train's final run, the regents had to walk from
the station over the public road to the building's entrance. On the
street they bumped into the same Nolympics group that had tormented
them to exasperation in Lausanne. This was too much for most of the
officials. Now it was their turn to physically approach the enemy. They
pushed the activists aside and tried to fly into them, but the latter
reacted nimbly and vocally. The fat Vonhoff got spit in his face. In a
rage Vonhoff dragged the activist to the nearby police officers to have
him arrested, but the activist was freed by his comrades. Once inside
Vonhoff demanded to mayor van Thijn that the boy be arrested. When a
new load of police arrived, they arrested him. He was released the same
evening.

The excitement in the press over this incident had already reached
unheard-of heights. In one fell swoop "Saar Boerlage and her 
hangers-on" got all the blame for the city's tremendous flop in front 
of the world. An activist asked afterward, "What's so awful about spit 
anyway? How is it so much more radical than a pie? Spit is so awful
because it comes from the human body. And that's something the elite
don't want to be. They aren't bodies, they are Order."

Amidst the mudslinging which continued for a few weeks, a newspaper
published an interview with Saar and her No Olympic Games Committee.
Saar: "Our last message to the members of the IOC is that we think
Amsterdam is a lovely city. We have said that we want to keep it that
way." Question: "Mayor van Thijn said over the weekend that No Olympics
was responsible for the loss of seven to twelve votes in Lausanne. What
do you think of that?" Answer: "Let's hope so. That would be a great
honor for us."