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The Ideology of the Rotterdam Rondos 1978-1983, review


pincheapnnasty
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Punk Met Een Hoofdletter R. De Politieke Ideologie Van Rotterdams Punkcollectief De Rondos 1978-1983
Anne de Rooij, Scriptie History Of Political Culture And National Identities 2012

https://studenttheses.universiteitleiden.nl/access/item%3A2604307/view

This MA thesis has many details on the views of the Rotterdam band the Rondos. Mainly based, sometimes word by word copied, on their autobiography, written by singer Johannes van der Weert; and on interviewing Van der Weert. The thesis would have been less one-sided if also non-Maoist punks like Kotx or Bunker OESO in Rotterdam, and elsewhere, would have been interviewed on the reproaches Van der Weert made to all punks except the Rondos. The Rondos interview in Leiden fanzine Pin is ascribed to the wrong interviewer name and has a wrong quote. Ms De Rooij omits its critical questions on the 1979 Chinese government.

The author makes mistakes on Amsterdam and Rotterdam general political history. Rotterdam was NOT a communist bulwark compared to Amsterdam. Usually, in Rotterdam, the Communist Party of the Netherlands got about 10% of the votes of the social-democrat PvdA. While in Amsterdam, it was often over 50%. Maoism was small in the Netherlands (except the Socialist Party which soon broke with Maoism). Most Rotterdam Maoists were not dockworkers, but like most West European Maoists about 1980, sons (and fewer daughters) from well-off Roman Catholic families (Trotskyists were often from secular well-off families).

 


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Henk den Toom (Madrotter)
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Thanks! Read it and actually learned a thing or two 🙂 Leaves out some stuff too I think.... As for myself.... I got into punk after the Sex Pistols on tv in Ferry Maat's Disco Circus and Iggy's performance at Top Pop but I was 12 at the time, it wasn't until later when I started playing in a punk band myself (Pleeboy) at the end of '78 and we started interacting with loads of punks and later in 1980 when I, like so many others at the time, ran away from home and started living in squat houses in Rotterdam that I really got involved with the whole punk scene....  With my friends from Pleeboy we often visited the Rondos' home-base Schoonderloo, I fondly remember the full tour of the building by Rondos drummer Wim and we made our first magazine, also called Pleeboy, there (we released two issues).... My very first punk concert was the Rondos with other bands at the Binnenstads concert....Although born in Rotterdam I moved to a small place outside Rotterdam, Krimpen a/d IJssel when I was 8, and we had no idea about the inner politics of the Rotterdam punk scene and by the time we started going to Kaasee every weekend the Rondos had fallen out of favor with a HUGE portion of the Rotterdam punk scene. Kaasee was basically dominated by the members of Rotterdam punk band Kotx and their fans (Kotx singer Cor later on became a close friend of mine) when we started going there.... Around the time that the Rondos quit Leo Schelvis who was the owner of record shop Haddock (a great record shop where I bought tons of records back in the days) released a flexi disc with one song on it, an anti Rondos song, the music played by various members of the bands The Dolbies and Stealer, Leo got in a conflict with the Rondos because Leo was selling the Rondos records for a bit more then the fixed price the Rondos wanted... It was a pretty big thing at the time and should've been included I think, you can hear the flexi disc here:

  I think the main reason that the Rondos became so hated by a huge part of the Rotterdam punk scene was their constant preaching. Calling people fascists because they were smoking a bit of hash (smuggled from countries where dictators were ruling), that sort of thing, and things at the time, in Rotterdam, could get pretty violent when it came to the Rondos.....

A few years ago I jammed with Marja from Bunker Oeso and Maarten, the old guitar player from the Rondos and we had a pretty long conversation about it all after playing.... Maarten, who had already left the Rondos before they called it quits had no idea about all the violence in the Rondos aftermath and I don't want to speak for anybody else but I think Maarten, and bass player Frank, who I knew when he was a regular in the cafe I was working in the 90's and with whom I've had many conversations about that time are not at all as portrait in the piece, as I know them they are very relaxed and not at all as hard-core politically as some other members of the Rondos.... Marja and Roger, from Bunker Oeso had their own problems with the Rondos back then, but it's better if Marja tells about that herself if she would feel inclined to do so....

 

But anyway... the Rondos, I still have their Red Attack lp, and I still play it every now and then, I loved them as a young teenager and they were a big influence, watching them and the Tandstickorshocks on a small black and white tv as a 14 year old, there's just no way to describe the impact that had on me back then, and the times that I met them at Schoonderloo I found them all very nice, very friendly and very helpful....


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pincheapnnasty
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Thanks Henk, for your long informative reply! My Pin and your Pleeboy exchanged some issues. The paradox of my interview for Pin with the Rondos was that I probably knew more about Maoism than they did: especially its downsides, like English+Dutch KEN-ML leaders advocating killing of anarchists; anarchists in concentration camps and all rock music then banned in China, etc.

When they stopped, the Rondos should not have claimed: punk is dead. They should have said: punk is dead INSIDE US, without speaking for anyone but themselves.

More about Rondos, Crass etc. in my article on the Netherlands in 1977-1982 in the 4 volumes about anarchism to be published by Active Distribution https://anarchismandpunk.noblogs.org/


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Henk den Toom (Madrotter)
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A few years ago I read a biography about Mao (Mao: The Unknown Story by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday) and the book was quite colored by the intense hatred towards Mao from one of the writers but even if half that book was true Mao was a truly terrible man.... During the Cultural Revolution, if you had a book, a record, even a painting on the wall that could be a death sentence while he was building his God awful heavily fortified ugly buildings all over China, often demolishing incredibly beautiful old buildings to build them, surrounded by book, records and paintings, like all those of his ilk he was terribly paranoid....

"Punk is dead inside us"... That really is beautifully said 🙂

The essence of punk, in a lot of ways, was standing up against how dull it all had become, against authority etc. etc. etc., and then you have the Rondos telling everybody ALL THE TIME what to do and what not to do... Small wonder so many of my fellow punks at the time got sick of it.... And I'm sure they meant well but they just couldn't see that and they couldn't relate to a lot of us I guess.... In some ways they did get it right as far as the Rotterdam punk scene goes though, it really was destroyed by violence and heroin for a huge part, I know, I was there, in the middle of it all....

But shit, really, they really had it together for a while, Schoonderloo was an incredible place, they put out great music and art and their influence was, again, for a while, enormous in the Dutch punk scene...

 

 


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pincheapnnasty
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Hi Henk, thanks for your extensive reply!

As you saw, I am not defending the Chinese 70s-80s government at all, their imprisonment of anarchists, invasion of Vietnam, banning of all rock music etc. But we should also not forget that before Mao, in many ways it was even worse: Japanese occupiers killing millions of Chinese and military dictator Chiang Kai Shek (NATO ally) using the dead bodies of his murdered enemies as fuel for trains.

'their influence was ... enormous in the Dutch punk scene.' I'd say more so in post 79-80 writings on punk than in 79-80 punk scene reality. Half or more of the Rotterdam scene was not influenced by them. My Leiden is not that far from Rotterdam. The then two Leiden fanzines were both strongly critical of the Rondos. As far as I remember there was not even one Rondos fan in Leiden.

 


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