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.

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.

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 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.

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.

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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