Close the Fur Shops 
An article in the series Elite under Fire

This is not an political analysis but an idea about what people could do when they have analysed a certain situation.

Direct pressure is exerted on some individuals who are involved in the fur trade. The article is included in the series "The elite under fire" though the attacked persons at best belong to the lower echelons of the elite. But the higher elite is indirectly attacked because the closing of fur shops deprives elitepersons of goods only they can afford to buy. 

On a Dutch internet site the organisation Fur Free Amsterdam asks sympathisers to join a weekly picket line (since the end of December) in front of a fur shop in the centre of Amsterdam. During this action flyers are distributed about the use of fur of animals that should wander freely in the wilderness. In Holland the use of fur is not widely spread. The country has only ten fur shops and a few fashion designers that use fur though many ordinary shops sell clothing with fur lining mostly made from the furs of rabbits or foxes.

Activists blocked the entrance to the fur shop and approached all possible clients of the shop and also passers-by who were wearing fur clothing. During the demonstration of March 23 2001 some activists were arrested and only released at the end of the day when the shop had already closed. In addition they got a fine of forty euro. Nevertheless activists vowed to continue their action till the shop owner stopped selling furs.

The picket line is not the only activity. A few times the words ‘murderer’ and ‘fur equals murder’ were written on windows of the shop. Occasionally business signs were demolished and shop windows broken. The shop owner had to sell his car because time and again his tires were punctured or paint was thrown over the car. This happened even when his car was parked in front of his private house. Frequently the shop owner was at night by phone remembered of his attitude towards wild animals.

In this action the private life is disturbed of some people who are involved in an industry that makes dead fur from animals that should be alive. It is an example of an action method in which a small alternating minority of involved citizens puts such a pressure on leading individuals that these members of the elite will understand they cannot always disregard the wishes from people who belong to the masses.

Joost van Steenis (April 8 2001)


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