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 changed qualitatively compared to the 1990s when it still had a reputation as a country of compromises and gradualism, of relative class peace where everything was supposed to be resolved through dialogue.
Since then the Netherlands has seen the emergence and subsequent murder of the right-wing populist Pim Fortuyn, the rise of the left-reformist Socialist Party as a party challenging the Labour Party, and the appearance on the scene of that anti-Islamic demagogue Geert Wilders. How things have changed!
The Netherlands is also not immune from the world economic crisis. Unemployment is set to rise to 8% in 2010. Youth unemployment will be 10%. Gone are the hopes that the Netherlands could escape the effects of the recession.
The Dutch cabinet consists of a coalition of Christian-Democrats and the Labour Party (PvdA). The Labour Party is in deep crisis and is seeing all its support wither away. The party’s shift away from the ideas of socialism and to the right has not brought the results the leadership was hoping for.
The left-reformist Socialist Party (SP) has absorbed most of the Labour Party’s left wing. The Socialist Party itself however does not advocate a real break with capitalism either. It proposes to “reform” capitalism, but this utopian programme has its limits. We are fighting within the SP and the unions for a real socialist programme in which the banks, insurance companies and monopolies would be taken over, with compensation only for those in need. This is the only way of offering a way forward for the Netherlands. This totally differs from the bail-outs and “nationalisations” of ABN AMRO and Fortis by minister Wouter Bos. Those nationalisations were only meant to save the rich bankers, who continue to get bonuses of millions of euros, by using the money of the Dutch working people.
Such a programme is what the Netherlands need, because “the left” now is associated with bureaucratism, careerism, and no clear vision. This is the reason behind the rise of the right-wing demagogue Geert Wilders. Wilders’ programme is anti-immigrant, anti-islamic and populist. The only way of reducing Geert Wilders’ influence is by putting forward a real socialist programme, instead of the Labour Party’s right-reformism and the Socialist Party’s left-reformism.
However, as the Netherlands is a small country, developments in the world market have an immense impact. That is why socialism can only be achieved internationally, and the Socialist Netherlands will need to be linked to a Socialist United States of Europe and a World Socialist Federation. Join us now!