High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Let Us Be Ungovernable
column Miscellaneous

Let Us Be Ungovernable

Every single working day, I drive past the French border. At the final car park before you reach the border, on the concrete shoulder where the checkpoint used to be, the French have scribbled – in beautiful red lettering – “Soyons ingouvernables”. Let us be uncontrollable, ungovernable. Back in the 1960s, that would have sounded like an act of imagination – an act of resistance against the ruling classes.

Similar to “soyons réalistes, exigeons l’impossible” (“Let us be realistic, let us demand the impossible”). But what does that mean, actually? The anarchist’s “¡No pasarán!”, rejecting the state? Or is it the group of people who no longer feel at home in this state, and decide to live outside of it. Those who withdraw. With each political construction there is a group that does not join in, refuses to do so. Those that are indifferent, and no longer cast their votes. But there are also those who want to overthrow the state, replace it by a different order. Is this group growing in numbers? And is it becoming aware of the power it holds? Will it become active? Activist?

Let us block everything

Now, the graffiti artists have broadened the scope of their political message, scrawled on that concrete shoulder at the motorway car park near the French border. Yesterday, they expressed their unwillingness to be governed by the powers that be (Soyons ingouvernables).

Today, they are turning to action: Bloquons tout. Or, at least: they are making a call to action. And that ‘action’ should be radical and totalitarian: let us block everything, make everything grind to a halt. In reality, this means blocking the roads, preventing people from getting to work, or tourists from reaching their holiday destinations. Just how long are they planning to keep that up? What is it they want to accomplish in doing so? Meanwhile, in Flanders and Belgium a new government is being formed.

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