Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/941/25081

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 March 2017

Netherlands: Heavy defeat for austerity government

Build a mass workers' party that fights for socialism

Geert Wilders' racist PVV failed to become the largest party but remain a far-right threat photo Peter van der Sluijs/CC

Geert Wilders' racist PVV failed to become the largest party but remain a far-right threat photo Peter van der Sluijs/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam

The most important feature of the elections is the colossal defeat for the outgoing austerity coalition government of the Liberal Party (VVD) and the Labour Party (PvdA).

The VVD and the media present the Liberal's 33 seats as a 'victory'. But the VVD lost eight seats and its coalition partner, the Labour Party, was reduced to a rump of nine seats having lost 29. Neoliberalism has suffered a serious election defeat.

Another important feature is that although it came second, the extreme right-wing Freedom Party (PVV), led by Geert Wilders, remained stuck on 20 seats.

Even with the strong winds of the asylum seekers crisis of 2016, Brexit and Trump's victory in its sails, the PVV failed in its aim to become the largest party.

It has more seats than in 2012, when it had supported the outgoing government, but in comparison with its high point in the polls the results were disappointing for Wilders.

Wilders poured out endless hateful racist tweets and remarks during the election, including his shameful call for "less Moroccans" in the Netherlands.

His campaign consisted of tweets and flying visits to a couple of cities. He did not try to organise a mass rally. More often than not there was more security people and press than PVV supporters around Wilders during his visits.

His bluff was called in a debate with VVD leader, Mark Rutte, when Wilders admitted that his demand for the policing of the 'use' of the Koran would never materialise.

But the lack of a big breakthrough by Wilders does not mean that the danger of the extreme right is over. Other parties adopted some of his clothing including the VVD. Moreover, the PVV is the second largest party and so the right-wing threat remains.

There is no reason for the EU leaders to congratulate themselves that the right-populist tide in Europe has been checked with the Dutch election results.

Green Left gains

The Green Left, Christian Democrats and the Democrats 66 profited from the mass exit of voters from the Labour Party and the VVD.

The Green Left (GL), now a liberal party with a green edge, gained most - partly through the popularity of its new young leader, Jesse Klaver. Its vote jumped from 2% to 8.9% (its previous highpoint was 7.3% in 1998).

Although the former Communist Party was one of its co-founders, the GL does not put forward clear pro-working class policies let alone talk about socialism. The GL helped the last coalition government to win majority votes in parliament, including sending a Dutch military mission to Afghanistan.

The Green Lefts, apart from obviously promoting 'green' environmental policies, also called for higher spending on higher education - demands that are popular among young people.

However, many workers are not enthusiastic about GL. One of the reasons for this is the fact that GL has been part of the political establishment for years. Those Dutch workers who have experienced the downside of globalisation and neoliberalism are concerned with the notion of 'progress' under capitalism that GL espouses.

The Dutch Socialist Party's (SP) vote fell slightly, to just over 9%, losing one seat. It failed to make any headway, despite years of austerity governments. Voters failed to see the difference between the SP and the many other opposition parties.

The potential of the party was clear in 2006, when it won over 16% of the vote and 25 seats. This potential still exists but to realise it the party needs to change course.

A socialist programme is the only way to get the SP out of its present stagnation, otherwise it will enter a phase of crisis.

The pressing problems facing the working class eg low pay, economic insecurity, expensive services, etc, will not ease with the election outcome.

The VVD will try to continue its austerity government with new parties but not without difficulty.

All possible coalitions have the disadvantage of involving complicated compromises and a lack of direction. New elections are not excluded, but the VVD will be concerned that another election could lead to a comeback for Wilders, creating a new crisis.

Workers in the Netherlands lack political representation. In spite of its stated intentions, the Socialist Party leadership failed in this respect. It is too eager to enter into coalition at local government level and makes little effort to mobilise against cuts.

None of the 28 parties that participated in the election are going to change the system. Dutch workers and youth will have to do that, organised in unions at work and in a broad political socialist alternative, locally and in government, linking up with worldwide protests against austerity, Trump, and capitalism in general.

A new workers' party is needed, which combines defence of workers' interests with the struggle for a socialist society.


During the election a diplomatic row broke out after the ruling Liberals banned Turkish ministers from entering the country to address Turkish referendum rallies.

Turkey's president Erdogan wants to consolidate his authoritarian regime by changing the constitution in a forthcoming referendum and is keen to mobilise votes from Turks resident in EU states.

Rutte's increasingly racist Liberals were fearful of losing votes to Wilders' party who would use such referendum rallies to fuel anti-Muslim/migrant prejudice.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 22 March 2017:


What we think

Tory splits brought to the surface - Corbyn must go on the attack


Socialist Party news and analysis

Tories scrap housing benefit for under-21s

Fight Tory attacks on women and children

Socialists demand reply to Livingstone's smear of Militant

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Northern Ireland: divisive election a warning

Jobstown Not Guilty: defend the right to protest

Netherlands: Heavy defeat for austerity government

Yemen: families left to starve by multinationals


Workplace news and analysis

Merseyrail guard found not guilty of "endangering safety"

End the seven-year public sector pay cap!

Aslef offer: unity needed with the RMT

Battle steps up in Unite general secretary election

Derby TAs' strike suspended after new offer

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

March against racism: Refugee Rights has lively bloc

We'll fight to save our NHS!

Biggest ever protest by Orgreave campaigners

Join the march against NHS cuts and privatisation in Cumbria

Battle for Wallsend walk-in NHS service

East London demonstration against A&E closure

Salford: International Women's Day meeting


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

"After seeing the branch's effect in the community, I decided to join"

'I'm writing this to tell you about the plight of disabled people'

Precise, visceral account of working class heroism

The Socialist inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 22 March 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Netherlands:

triangleTurkey: Erdogan seeks sweeping dictatorial powers in referendum

triangleRMT defeats ScotRail bosses: The guard stays on the train

triangleEurope and the workers' movement after Brexit

Government:

triangleRoyal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangleCampaign against political repression in Hong Kong

triangleHundreds turn out for rally aimed at removing west Wales Tory MP

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

Austerity:

triangleTories torn - bin them now

triangleNasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

triangleManchester rally discussed unionisation and nationalisation

Workers:

trianglePowerful picture of the Port Talbot steel workers' struggle

triangleNorth London hospital workers fight cuts and job losses

Socialism:

triangle'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

Election:

triangleThe Tories must be driven out

Green:

triangleCardiff East Socialist Party: Why you have to be Red to be Green

Socialist:

triangleConference on state spies: who's watching who?

Labour Party:

triangleUnite local government sector plans strike ballot

Liberals:

triangleConservatives humiliated in Richmond

International

International

18/10/17

Hong Kong

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong

11/10/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

4/10/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide

4/10/17

Catalonia

Eyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events

2/10/17

Catalonia

Exemplary resistance by the people of Catalonia

27/9/17

Germany

Germany: Election results in political earthquake

27/9/17

Catalonia

Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!

27/9/17

Germany

German elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance

27/9/17

France

French Labour reform protests

25/9/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Student strike called

20/9/17

Myanmar

Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis

20/9/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia in the Spanish state

15/9/17

Germany

Berlin hospital strike

13/9/17

Korea

Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?

13/9/17

Students

Interview with leader of students' union in the Spanish state: "When we fight, we win!"

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

triangle25 Oct Swansea Socialist Party: Mother Jones - A US labour pioneer

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2