Netherlands

Provincial elections in a small country such as the Netherlands would normally be considered a rather boring event and not worth mentioning. However, the recent elections of 20 March led to the rise of the right-wing Forum voor Democratie (FvD) party, and the Rutte government lost its majority in the senate. This represents a turning point after a few years of relative stability.

Comrades and supporters from around the world are continuing to put pressure on the Pakistani state to release the Marxist student activist, Rawal Asad, who is still being held on the scandalous charge of sedition and has been denied bail. Meanwhile, protests are ongoing in Pakistan, where comrades, students and workers are demanding that Rawal be immediately released.

The Dutch Marxists have launched a new paper, Revolutie(Revolution), which has replaced the old paper, Vonk. On 24 March they held a public event to announce the name change. The change did not come from nowhere. The new name connects much better to the new objective situation in the Netherlands.

The International Marxist Tendency has been celebrating the centenary of the Russian Revolution all year, releasing articles, videos and reading guides to commemorate the occasion. Around the day of anniversary itself (7 November by the modern calendar), we hosted a series of meetings, parties and events throughout the world. We have already published reports from Mexico, ...

In normal times, the Dutch general elections would not make headline news around the world. But we are not in normal times. The Netherlands, for decades were considered one of the solid, stable, north European countries. That is no longer the case, as the crisis of world capitalism impacts on this small country.

On December 9th, 2016, Geert Wilders was sentenced in The Hague for group defamation and incitement of discrimination. However, the court did not impose any punishment. In their understanding Wilders was already punished enough by the media attention the court case got. The reaction to this from wider society reflects the polarized situation in the Netherlands.

On the April 6th the Netherlands held a consultative referendum on the Association Treaty of the European Union with Ukraine. The referendum was organised by a coalition of right-wing “Eurosceptic” groups that wanted a “No” vote in order to deliver a symbolic blow to the EU and to create friction between the EU countries.

The student struggle has flared up in Amsterdam. In a period of a few weeks, two university buildings have been occupied. At the moment of writing, the building of the executive board of the University of Amsterdam (UvA), the famous Maagdenhuis, is being occupied by students. Their struggle is against the "efficiency-oriented" top-down management, for which the profit motive is more important than the interests of students and lecturers.

Last week, the new king of the Netherlands, Willem-Alexander, declared that the era of the welfare state was over and that the Netherlands are moving towards a ‘participation society’. This is a reflection of the crisis of capitalism, where all the gains of the past will be destroyed, unless the capitalist system is overthrown.

On April 30th, the Netherlands celebrated Queensday as usual. However, this time the ceremony was different, as it was also the day Queen Beatrix abdicated and her son Willem Alexander was inaugurated as the first King of the Netherlands since 1890.

Last Wednesday (September 12) the Dutch parliamentary elections were held. The end result was polarisation between the right-wing Liberals and the Labour Party. The left-reformist Socialist Party at one stage seemed to be positioned to come first in the polls, but eventually lost its gains to Labour.

The Dutch comrades of Vonk have now published the first edition of their paper in May. This is a big step forward for the IMT in the Netherlands.
The comrades are planning to release at least 4 papers a year. Click on the picture if you are interested in a subscription, or for further information.

The Dutch government has collapsed. After seven weeks of discussing a new austerity package, rightwing populist Wilders decided to stop supporting Rutte’s coalition of Christian Democrats and rightwing Liberals. Centre parties in parliament now have ‘saved the day’ and helped to implement a smaller package of austerity cuts before the September general elections.

At the beginning of February we reported on the militant strike of the cleaners in the Netherlands. Now, after a long drawn out battle, they have won most of their demands, setting a good precedent for the rest of the Dutch labour movement.

In the Netherlands there is a very militant cleaners’ strike that has been going on for more than a month. This is not the first time; in 2010 they were out on strike for nine weeks, the longest strike in the Netherlands since the 1930s. There are lessons in this for the whole labour movement.

About 15,000 Dutch students demonstrated last Friday in The Hague against the cuts in higher education. This was the first big protest against Mark Rutte’s new right-wing government, and the biggest student demonstration since 1988.

The Netherlands has been further destabilised by the impact of the world crisis of capitalism. An already fragmented political set up saw even more fragmentation in last week’s elections. There is huge volatility in Dutch society, as the major parties bend to the needs of capital. Whatever coalition is formed will be called on to implement harsh cuts. The Dutch working class will not allow their hard fought for gains to be taken away without a fight.

The Dutch coalition has fallen under the growing pressure of the economic crisis. What sparked it off was pressure from NATO to extend the stay of Dutch troops in Afghanistan, but it clearly highlights the growing class divide in Dutch society.

The government of the Netherlands recently granted the US military use of its islands in the Caribbean, with the excuse that this is to help in the “war against drugs”. In reality, this is a direct threat to the Chavez government in Venezuela.

We are proud to announce the International Marxist Tendency’s weblog for the Netherlands: Vonk. Vonk will publish articles in the Dutch language, offering a Marxist analysis about the situation in the Netherlands.


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The situation in the Netherlands has dramatically changed in the recent period. From the period of “consensus” politics we now have a very polarised situation, with an aggressive ruling class facing a growingly militant working class. In these conditions the Socialist Party has emerged as a sizeable force to the left of the Labour Party.

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The recent local elections in the Netherlands revealed a significant shift to the left taking place in Dutch society. This confirms what we said in the past, that the temporary rise of the Fortuyn list would be followed by an equally sharp shift to the left. The Netherlands is not immune from the developing class struggle on a world level.

The reaction of the media and the politicians to the massive “no” votes against the European Constitution in France and the Netherlands reveals the nature of our “elites”. However, all the propaganda was to no avail. A few days after the “non” vote in France, the same thing happened in the Netherlands.

Last Saturday March 19, in Brussels, three demonstrations were gathered in one huge wave of opposition to the plans of renewed militarism, increased deregulation, the dismantling of the social security system, increased job insecurity and other plans of the European Union. At the front of the demonstration marched the youth, followed by the heavy battalions of the working class and then the social movements.

Up until recently the Netherlands had served as a model of social and racial harmony to the rest of the world, a country to emulate or to learn from. This has radically changed with rapid shifts in the fortunes of the main political parties and, more importantly, huge mobilisations of the Dutch working class. Erik Demeester explains how and why.

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On Saturday, October 2, Amsterdam saw what is possibly the biggest trade union demonstration in the history of the Netherlands. The workers were protesting against the government’s austerity package.

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The Netherlands used to be the most politically boring country in Europe. It was dominated by extreme "political correctness", the very existence of problems was denied and there was a suffocating culture of "consensus". After the killing in May of Pim Fortuyn, the flamboyant far-right demagogue, the Dutch people have woken up to a completely new country.

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