Anarchy 66/This is Provo

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This is Provo


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.[1] 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![2]

editor’s notes

  1. “The move­ment had its origin in a group of anarch­ists, pro­min­ent among whom was a young man Roel van Duyn. A Dr. Buik­huizen wrote an article on the dis­con­ten­ted and some­times vi­ol­ent young­sters. He called them pro­vocateurs or ‘provos’ who were pin­prick­ing au­thor­ity to find out its real faith. When a year ago another group of anarch­ists emerged, among them van Duyn, they took the name ‘Provos’ for them­selves and their maga­zine.”—Man­chester Guard­ian, 18.6.66.
  2. This first issue of provo (which was seized by the po­lice because of its art­icle on ex­plos­ives) in­cluded a re­port on po­lice vi­ol­ence when Provos placed a bunch of flowers at the foot of the Na­tional Com­memor­ation Monu­ment in pro­test at Claus von Amsberg’s visit to Amster­dam before his mar­riage to Prin­cess Beatrix.