Netherlands

The situation in the Netherlands has dramatically changed in the recent period. From the period of “consensus” politics we now have a very polarised situation, with an aggressive ruling class facing a growingly militant working class. In these conditions the Socialist Party has emerged as a sizeable force to the left of the Labour Party.

The recent local elections in the Netherlands revealed a significant shift to the left taking place in Dutch society. This confirms what we said in the past, that the temporary rise of the Fortuyn list would be followed by an equally sharp shift to the left. The Netherlands is not immune from the developing class struggle on a world level.

The reaction of the media and the politicians to the massive “no” votes against the European Constitution in France and the Netherlands reveals the nature of our “elites”. However, all the propaganda was to no avail. A few days after the “non” vote in France, the same thing happened in the Netherlands.

Last Saturday March 19, in Brussels, three demonstrations were gathered in one huge wave of opposition to the plans of renewed militarism, increased deregulation, the dismantling of the social security system, increased job insecurity and other plans of the European Union. At the front of the demonstration marched the youth, followed by the heavy battalions of the working class and then the social movements.

Up until recently the Netherlands had served as a model of social and racial harmony to the rest of the world, a country to emulate or to learn from. This has radically changed with rapid shifts in the fortunes of the main political parties and, more importantly, huge mobilisations of the Dutch working class. Erik Demeester explains how and why.

On Saturday, October 2, Amsterdam saw what is possibly the biggest trade union demonstration in the history of the Netherlands. The workers were protesting against the government’s austerity package.

The Netherlands used to be the most politically boring country in Europe. It was dominated by extreme "political correctness", the very existence of problems was denied and there was a suffocating culture of "consensus". After the killing in May of Pim Fortuyn, the flamboyant far-right demagogue, the Dutch people have woken up to a completely new country.