Amsterdam Demo Opposes Cuts

ON 20 September, 25,000 people took to the streets of Amsterdam to angrily protest against huge cuts of 17 billion euros in welfare provision.

Ron Blom, Offensief, Amsterdam

The broad committee – ‘Turn the tide’ – that consists of over 300 organisations, called the demonstration. It includes the three main opposition parties – the Dutch Socialist Party (the broad left party in which Dutch CWI members are active), GroenLinks (‘Green Left’) and the social democratic party, PvdA.

The governing right wing coalition is made up of Christian Democrats (CDA), conservative liberals (VVD) and so called ‘leftwing’ liberals (D66). Under the guidance of Christian Democratic premier Balkenende, the coalition is determined to dismantle the welfare state.

But demonstrating alone is not enough. We will have to continue and push for other ways of protesting and to generalise and deepen the struggle.

Inside the trade union movement preparations are being made for strikes. This will not be easy because the trade union leadership has supported the ‘polder model’ (of wage restraints etc) for so many years.

Along with CWI comrades from Belgium, Offensief members formed a lively and visible block on last weekend’s demonstration. We shouted militant slogans and handed out thousands of leaflets that announced our public meeting straight after the demo, with international speakers from Sweden, France and Belgium.

During the meeting the speakers explained how we could struggle against the capitalists’ European-wide assault on workers and young people.