Amsterdam’s Anarchist Revolt
Provo staged political and cultural interventions into the symbolic and everyday spaces of Holland from 1962–1967. In this first book-length English-language study of their history, Richard Kempton narrates the rise and fall of Provo from early Dutch “happenings” staged in 1962 to the “Death of Provo” in 1967. He chronicles Robert Jasper Grootveld’s anarchist anti-cancer campaign, the riots against Princess Beatrix’s marriage to an ex-Nazi, and the famous White Bicycle program. He also comments on parallel contemporary and near-contemporary movements (including Dada and Situationism), Amsterdam’s previous anarchist traditions, the spread of Provo through Holland and the development of the Kabouter party, and ends by offering an existentialist critique of Provo and other anarchist movements of the 1960s.
“This book is more than welcome. It begins to remedy the striking paucity of reading matter in English on the Provo movement—a movement with so many lessons, both positive and negative, for radicals today.” — Donald Nicholson-Smith, translator of Guy Debord’s The Society of the Spectacle
“Thanks to Kempton’s engaging history, Amsterdam’s Provos will careen into your heart on their white bicycles, toss you a chicken, and renew an anarchism that both provoked authority and promised a free and communal civic space.” — Cindy Milstein, Institute for Anarchist Studies
“Absurd and artistic as well as effective and influential, today’s Left could learn a lot from the Provo’s spirited anarchy.” — Stephen Duncombe, author of Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy
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