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This is Provo – Roel Van Duyn

PROVO is a monthly for anarchists, provos, beatniks, layabouts, tinkers, jailbirds, saints, sorcerers, pacifists, charlatans, philosophers, germ carriers, major domos, happeners, vegetarians, syndicalists, hustlers, incendiaries, marionettes, infant teachers, and of course we must not forget the men of the Internal Security Service.

PROVO opposes capitalism, communism, fascism, bureaucracy, militarism, snobbism, professionalism, dogmatism and authoritarianism.

PROVO feels it is faced with two choices: either desperate resistance or passive withering away. PROVO calls for resistance wherever it is possible. PROVO realises that in the end it will be the loser. However, it will not forfeit the chance to thoroughly provoke this society once more.

PROVO regards anarchism as the inspirational source for resistance. PROVO wants to renew anarchism and spread it among the young.

Why is PROVO called PROVO? Are we negative or positive? What is our norm? What are our ways? PROVO = PROVO because PROVO-behaviour is for us the one and only acceptable way in this society. To climb the social ladder and serve in a job means contributing towards coming nuclear destructions, towards capitalism and militarism. It means collaboration with the authorities and their cunning carrot-on-a-stick: TV. Call us anti-professionalists. We cannot perceive of a “job” as the popular careerists like to call it, which has not as its aim the prolongation of the state of emergency in which we live. The worker manufactures the inferior “desirable objects” from which the capitalist extorts his “increasing returns”. The civil servant keeps the records of the victims of bureaucracy. The inventions of technicians and learned men are immediately misused for military ends.

The asocial PROVO is the only ray of hope. Its activity is a spoke in the wheel of “progress” which thunders ahead at such speed that the bomb under the rails is not spotted.

We know that the attitude of the PROVO, a beatnik type we are told in Dr. Buikhuizen’s doctoral thesis, is not yet perfect.
Buikhuizen says: “Provo-ism is not an exponent of resistance against present society; PROVOS do not find their jobs unimportant; PROVO is for them a recreation.”

But we propagate provo-ism as resistance against this society. We hope that it will become clear to the PROVO that his “job” degrades him to a cog in the time bomb which this society is. We plead for full-time provocation. We wish to promote a development from the formula “PROVO equals provocative beatnik” to “PROVO equals anarchist, dangerous to the State”.

Today the PROVO is not uselessly occupied in provoking the police, rioting on the Dam, throwing crackers in letter boxes.

Tomorrow he has to face the police consciously as an enemy, making an assault on the palace on the Dam, and finally placing bombs in the letter box of the Interior Security Service. Because only the young, idling and provoking masses in the streets can still be set in motion, they are open to resistance, not the so-called working class which is tied hand and foot to the social system. The PROVOS form the last revolutionary class in the Netherlands.

We denounce capitalism, bureaucracy, militarism, and the inevitable political-military collapse of World War III. We acclaim resistance, freedom and creativity. In other words, we repudiate the positive and affirm the negative. Hence we love hatred and hate love. Our one norm is: let everyone in the name of his own existence wage war against the outside world to the very end.

We cannot convince the masses. We hardly want to. How one can put one’s trust in this apathetic, dependent, spiritless horde of cockroaches, beetles and ladybirds, is incomprehensible. However, our late Domela Nieuwenhuis, De Ligt, and others have tried, and their posterity still try. It was not successful, it is still not successful, and it won’t be in the future. We are turning the emergency into a virtue by provoking these masses. Our ways will not be prophetic or idealistic, but simply provocative. We are fully aware of the ultimate uselessness of our activities, we willingly believe that neither Johnson nor Kosygin will listen to us, and this is precisely the reason why we are free in what we do. We realise that a demonstration is senseless in the end. Therefore it is vital to make the best of a demonstration, for otherwise the demonstration would be useless, not only objectively, not only absolutely, but also relatively. We dare to say: demonstrate for demonstration’s sake, provoke for provocation’s sake. Resist for resistance’s sake!

Are we fed up with Juliana and Bernhard, Beatrix and Claus? Is the policeman really our best friend? Are we red, are we black? Of course we are fed up with Juliana and Bernhard, Beatrix and Claus. We are not the only ones. What is special about us is that we are also fed up with every monarchy, every republic, of whatever govern-mental system and every State and authority. We are anarchists.

Now it stands to reason that the policeman is our best friend. The policeman is the most unpopular representative of the State’s authority. The higher their numbers, the more impertinent and fascistic their behaviour, the better it is for us. The police provoke the masses just like we do. They do it from one side and we from the other. They make sure of irritating the people by their behaviour and thus, by authority. We endeavour to whip up this irritation into resistance. Eminently favourable in this respect is the fact that we can lure the police out of their hiding places just as soon as we think necessary. All we have to do is to sit in the street (the Bomb is a thankful and handy object for demonstration) or place a few flowers near a monument, and howling sirens announce the arrival of patrol cars with their grim-faced crews. Before the eyes of a large crowd they hack their way in on the peaceful demonstrators.
Can one imagine a better comrade than the policeman?

Red men with an inclination towards black magic, this is how we can sum up the anarchists best. No wonder the anarchist colours are red and black. With a red future in view we haul in Beelzebub to change the Here and Now. This change, in the first instance, is a demolition job, hence Evil. Thus in this way we make a destructive impression and are not ashamed of it. If the good God has created this society, it is as well for us to ally ourselves with the Devil.

That is why we do not believe in complete non-violence as a means of fighting. To aim at Good through Good, to act as if Evil does not exist in everything and everywhere, is too one-tracked and too short-sighted a way of thinking for us. Moreover, non-violent resistance in Europe has had little effect (against the A-bomb) because this method depends too much on mass participation and on a favourable public opinion. For Gandhi non-violent resistance was eminently suitable because he had the masses behind him, but for us it is only occasionally suitable as we do not have the masses behind us and never will.

Are we revolutionaries? Are we the builders of a new society? Do we believe in anarchy?

If only we could be revolutionaries. But we are more likely to see the sun rise in the West than the outbreak of a revolution in the Netherlands. If we lived in Spain for instance, or in the Dominican Republic, then we certainly would be revolutionaries. Here and now we cannot be much more than insurrectionaries. Even as an insurrectionist here, you can bash your head to pulp against the granite wall of bourgeois pettiness. The only thing we can resort to is provocation.

As our force is inadequate to function as the demolisher of the old society, so we also cannot be the builders of a new. That really would be a happening and a creative act! Police, the army and the state apparatus gone! The workers would take over the management of their own factories, the means of production would fall into the hands of the people and power would be decentralised. This is how it happened in parts of Spain before Franco conquered the country, this is how it was in the Ukraine before the communists drove out the anarchists.

In a condition of anarchy, man at least is free. In it he has the optimal conditions for human freedom and creativity. We believe in anarchy and we put it to you as an alternative, inspiring us to our last and first aim: resistance.

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