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News :: Elections & Legislation : Globalization : Housing : Peace & War

Socialist Party Makes Big Gains In The Netherlands

Dutch voters were fed up with both the ruling Christian Democrat (CDA) government led by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenede as well as the powerful Labor Party (PvdA) and Liberal Party (VVD). All three parties have carried out the policies of austerity and privatization that are components of the drive for higher corporate profit as well as integration into the capitalist European Union.
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Socialist Party Makes Big Gains In The Netherlands

By Steven Argue

Dutch voters gave the Socialist Party (SP) 26 parliamentary seats in the November 22 elections. That is a significant jump from the current 9 seats the party now holds.

Dutch voters were fed up with both the ruling Christian Democrat (CDA) government led by Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenede as well as the powerful Labor Party (PvdA) and Liberal Party (VVD). All three parties have carried out the policies of austerity and privatization that are components of the drive for higher corporate profit as well as integration into the capitalist European Union.

The Labor Party (PvdA) has been discredited for their former “Purple Coalition? government with the Liberal Party (VVD). That government carried out eight years of privatization while neglecting healthcare and education, policies that promoted growing inequalities.

The Socialist Party rejected this “Purple Coalition? and remained an opposition to it from the left. With voters now moving to the left this principled stand has meant losses for the Labor Party (PvdA). In addition the Socialist Party has now replaced the Liberal Party (VVD) as the third largest party in the country.

The Socialist Party, for their part, opposes membership in the European Union, opposes the imperialist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and opposed the sending of Dutch troops that are now withdrawn from Iraq, calls for public ownership of production, and calls for an end to privatization. Instead of calling for austerity the Socialist Party called for more social programs including more care for the elderly, more teachers, more public transportation, and free child-care. The SP also called for amnesty from deportation for failed asylum seekers.

Also gaining seats was the extreme right Party of Freedom (PVV), they now hold 9 seats. The PVV’s anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim program dovetails that of Christian Democrat Prime Minisister Balkenede. Rita Verdonk, Balkenede’s immigration minister, has called for the outlawing of burkas and other face apparel.

The Socialist Party has stated that their priorities are, “stopping 'market-working' in the health care sector, and the recent 500 million euro sweetener to industry, money which could have been much better spent elsewhere, are the priorities.? In addition, the Socialists Party wants to see, “unnecessary defence spending, in particular the purchase from the US of a new fighter plane (the JSF) reallocated, and a major change of direction as regards Iraq and Afghanistan.?

A critical question will be what the Socialist Party does with their newly acquired power. If they form a coalition government with the capitalist parties, including the PvdA, CDA, and VVD, they will be participating in an anti-worker government and will discredit themselves. Yet SP leader Jan Marijnissen has not even ruled out a coalition government with the CDA. Although Marijnissen stated that he is pessimistic about being able to form such a government with the CDA, the idea that the SP would even consider putting the pro-austerity, pro-privatization, racist, pro-war, and capitalist CDA back in power, no matter how many concessions the CDA makes, would be a betrayal and political blunder similar to that the Labor Party (PvdA) made in the “Purple Coalition? with the VVD.

True socialists do not seek unprincipled alliances and compromises in parliament to form capitalist governments. Instead we use our electoral victories to completely discredit the bourgeois government and to further mobilize the working class in the streets, to prepare the working class for winning a majority socialist government, for the establishment of a revolutionary workers’ democracy, and for the socialist overturn of capitalism for a socialist egalitarian society.

All Power To The Proletariat!


Steven Argue is a writer for Liberation News:
lists.riseup.net/www/info/liberation_news

Socialist Party (Netherlands) Election Platform
international.sp.nl/goals/firstturnleft.stm
(Graph thanks to BBC news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6175956.stm)
 
 


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