Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 28 February 2004

Netherlands: Government Scapegoats Asylum Seekers

THE DUTCH parliament's lower house voted on 17 February to expel up to 26,000 "failed asylum seekers" over the next three years. This cruel and inhumane policy has shocked and angered Dutch working people and also many people across Europe.

Offensief, CWI Netherlands

The bill marks the most draconian asylum policy in Europe. Many EU countries have strengthened anti-immigrant policies, including introducing barriers to people seeking work from the ten eastern European states due to join the EU in a few weeks. But the proposals of Jan Pieter Balkenende's right wing coalition government are the first to mean the forcible ejection of refugees.

The bill to expel thousands of refugees, which has to be passed by the upper house of Parliament, refers to asylum seekers who came to the Netherlands before April 2001. Many of these fled the war torn areas of the world, like the Balkans, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and Chechnya.

To send families back to these countries means deporting them to poverty, joblessness, and conflict. Most of these states are without a "functioning government" and are blighted by violence.

Human Rights Watch said the measures are a "deportation law violating international standards".

Anti-immigrant feelings are whipped up by the right wing parties in the Netherlands. Yet, in 2001, only 219 asylum seekers were granted permanent residence in the Netherlands: the lowest figure in all European states

The right play on the fears and grievances of Dutch working people, who face worsening living conditions. The economy is nearly at a standstill, unemployment is growing, and there is an acute housing shortage in one of the most densely populated countries in Europe.

Despite the scapegoating of immigrants by the politicians and media, large sections of the population oppose the legislation.

As the bitter fruit of the new bill becomes clear - increased ethnic tensions, inhumane treatment of families - and the fact that it will not be a solution to the Netherlands' economic woes, many more Dutch workers will oppose the government's policies.

The acute social and economic problems are not the result of an increase in the number of immigrants and refugees. It is the right-wing coalition government which is carrying out the largest round of welfare cuts since 1945, leading to increased poverty.

Pim Fortuyn policies

THE BILL on refugees is a crude attempt by the unpopular government to disguise its anti-working class policies behind anti-immigrant populism.

Until recently the Dutch capitalists encouraged immigration, so as to fill the worst jobs when the economy grew and to push down wages. Now that the economy is slowing down, the ruling class wants to lay the blame on foreign workers. The government hopes this will divide the working class and weaken its efforts to resist cutbacks.

Ever since the rise of the racist, populist Pim Fortuyn List, which leapt to second place in the 2002 elections, the main parties have adopted many of the anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim policies and rhetoric of the ultra-right.

Smaller parties, such as the Dutch Socialist Party (in which Offensief, the Dutch section of the CWI, participates), Green Left, and human rights groups, have attacked the bill.

Offensief opposes the bill and all racist immigration policies. Local protest actions are developing and a national demo against the bill has been called for 10 April.

The CWI in the Netherlands calls for a mass campaign, uniting immigrants and workers, to oppose the government's bill and the social cuts.

Last year saw large scale protests against the cutbacks and also a huge movement against the US led war on Iraq, which the Dutch government supported and assisted. This shows that working people can be brought together to fight the right-wing policies of the government.

It is essential that a united struggle also fights for jobs for all, for a huge increase in funding to the welfare state, and for decent and affordable housing. The wealth exists in society to provide these aims, but it needs to be under the ownership of the working class - in a planned, democratically run economy, under a socialist society.


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

In The Socialist 28 February 2004:

Global Warning

"We'll protect our homes"

EU Enlargement Brings Benefits For The Bosses

Workers Must Fight Attacks On Democratic Rights

University strike: Why Cardiff closed down

Back To The Future

Socialist Party workplace news and analysis

Fighting The Bosses And The BNP

When Workers Beat The Heath Government

Gershon's "Cunning Plan" For The Public Sector

International socialist news and analysis

World Currencies - Turbulent Times Ahead?

Netherlands: Government Scapegoats Asylum Seekers

Pakistan: Workers Fight Musharraf's Regime


Home   |   The Socialist 28 February 2004   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleTurkey: Erdogan seeks sweeping dictatorial powers in referendum

triangleNetherlands: Heavy defeat for austerity government

triangleRMT defeats ScotRail bosses: The guard stays on the train

triangleEurope and the workers' movement after Brexit


triangle40% of England's psychiatric wards are 'unsafe'

triangleSupport for Socialist Party campaigns at biggest ever Leeds Pride

triangleDerby Socialist Party: Solidarity with refugees - defend the right to asylum

triangleProtests in solidarity with LGBT+ people facing persecution in Chechnya


triangleChe Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter

triangleGermany: Election results in political earthquake

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


triangleThe end of the Tories?

triangleCapitalism and human progress


triangleBrutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis





Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't



Solidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide



Eyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events



Exemplary resistance by the people of Catalonia



Germany: Election results in political earthquake



Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!



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



French Labour reform protests



Catalonia: Student strike called



Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis



Solidarity with Catalonia in the Spanish state



Berlin hospital strike



Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?



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



Hurricane Harvey: A tragedy made far worse by capitalism

triangleMore International articles...

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

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party out the Tories

triangle11 Oct CWU fights court attempt to stop national strike

triangle11 Oct The fight against racial discrimination is tied to fighting against...

triangle11 Oct Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

triangle6 Oct Boeing bust-up threatens thousands of skilled jobs

triangle4 Oct The nasty party turns on itself... but the Tories must be driven out

More ...

triangle16 Oct Teesside Socialist Party: After the party conferences

triangle17 Oct London: TUC lobby & rally; and London march

triangle18 Oct Warrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

triangle18 Oct Hackney Socialist Party: 100 years ago - the Bolshevik-led revolution

More ...

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



October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017





















Platform setting: = No platform choice