Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://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.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


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:

triangleNottingham Covid surge caused by Tory mismanagement

triangleNigeria: Mass protests force government to disband killer cop unit

triangleTransport for London funding crunch

triangleThe Socialist Inbox

Austerity:

triangleWhy the Socialist Party is backing Hugo Pierre for Unison general secretary

triangleWorld capitalism's terrified strategists abandon austerity - for now

triangleNon-fiction: This Land - the story of a movement

Workers:

triangleStop NHS meltdown

triangleGreek workers and socialists celebrate convictions of Golden Dawn fascists

Socialism:

triangleSocialism 2020: Will you help our finance appeal?

Election:

triangleBristol North Socialist Party: US presidential election - What next?

Green:

triangleNationalise Tata Steel to save jobs

Socialist:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: The protests in Nigeria

Labour Party:

triangleUnite votes to cut affiliation fee to Labour

Liberals:

triangleLib Dems: little bosses' party elects eager pro-austerity leader

International

International

14/10/20

Fascists

Greek workers and socialists celebrate convictions of Golden Dawn fascists

14/10/20

Nigeria

Nigeria: Mass protests force government to disband killer cop unit

7/10/20

Azerbaijan

'Frozen conflict' reignites in Nagorno-Karabakh enclave

7/10/20

Germany

Germany: "Heroes" strike to demand a pay rise

30/9/20

US

Trump's failure over western US wildfires

30/9/20

Police

US: Police escape justice over Breonna Taylor killing

30/9/20

South Africa

South Africa: Working class unity to stop violence against women

30/9/20

Nigeria

Still crawling at 60: Capitalism has failed Nigeria

23/9/20

Thailand

Thailand: Youth rising against hated junta

16/9/20

Egypt

Egypt: Support for al-Sisi dwindles as his regime increases repression

16/9/20

Nigeria

Nigerian police repress peaceful anti-government protest

9/9/20

Belarus

Belarus: Mass opposition continues to defy repression by Lukashenko's regime

9/9/20

Iran

Strike wave marks new stage in revival of Iranian workers' movement

2/9/20

Israel

Mass protests in Israel demand Netanyahu's resignation

19/8/20

Lebanon

Revolutionary mood in Lebanon following horrific explosion

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


October 2020

September 2020

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999