On the fall of the cabinet and the announcement of elections

2 August 2023

Statement of the Central Committee of the NCPN

On 7 July, it was announced that the Rutte IV cabinet was going to resign. This happened mainly under the pretext of disagreement on the issue of so-called family reunification, as part of the broader asylum policy on which parties could not agree. The real reasons for the cabinet’s fall have to do with developments that necessitate reshuffling the cards in the political system. New elections to the Lower House will take place on 22 November, with the aim of forming a new government to continue the social breakdown in the service of capital and thus against the working class. For the working class, the prospect of a better future lies not in the election result, but in the struggle of the working class and the strengthening of its party, the NCPN.

Why did the government fall?

In fact, the fall of the government is the expression of the need for capital to reshuffle the political system. This realignment stems from the need to adjust policies from the more Keynesian policies of recent times, where the state pumps money into the economy, to stricter fiscal policies. This also in view of growing discontent among large sections of the population that the government could no longer win over to capital’s agenda. Moreover, with this realignment in the political system, the capitalist class is anticipating the dark clouds hanging over the economy and the threat of a new capitalist economic crisis in the coming period.

While the more Keynesian policies of recent times gave capitalism a ‘breathing space’, they also cost a lot of money and cannot be continued indefinitely. Moreover, it ends up intensifying the underlying problem in the economy, which is the over-accumulation of capital, or the fact that capital accumulates while there are insufficient opportunities to invest that capital profitably in the economy. Both nationally and at the EU level, the bourgeoisie is therefore now seeking policy adjustment towards tighter fiscal policy. For the working class, this means that new austerity is coming and a new attack on what is left of social gains and rights.

At the same time, it has become increasingly clear that Rutte IV was unable to win over the population to the capitalists’ agenda. Dissatisfaction is growing among the working class, which faces rising costs, deteriorating working and living conditions and general deterioration of its standard of living. New faces, new illusions have to be deployed to manage and sell the capitalist system to the increasingly dissatisfied population.

A discontent in which the insight is growing that capitalism is no longer able to serve the interests of the population but only those of the rich. An insight in which the fable is punctured that when things go well for the rich this also has a positive effect on the rest of the population. Based on the fear of the ruling class that this insight will lead to a joining of forces, the media are increasingly focusing on aspects that fuel division among the population: racism, discrimination, and so on.

However, the collapse of the cabinet is also an expression of certain contradictions within the bourgeoisie itself. One example is the botched agriculture deal. Behind the phrases of support for either the environment or Dutch farmers, there are very different agendas.

Part of the capital is betting on reforming the economy in the interests of the so-called ‘green’ economy, in line with the EU’s ‘European Green Deal’. This ‘green’ policy, which in practice turns out not to be so ‘green’ at all but instead often leads to large-scale environmental degradation, aims at the controlled devaluation of capital – in the form of depreciating old factories, cars, buildings, etc. – in order to create new areas of investment for capital and secure profits for the ‘green’ monopolies. It shows that capitalism is willing to destroy in order to bring about even more profits for the bosses.

Against the agenda of the ‘European Green deal’ is the agenda of a section of capital that feels disadvantaged in distributing the spoils through the European Green Deal. This part of the capital aims to remove certain barriers to parts of the fossil industry and large-scale agricultural production, among others, and favourable policies to strengthen its competitiveness. They do not want this for the benefit of the people, but to secure the profits of the monopolies in these and other sectors.

Realignments in the political system: a growing reaction and new social democratic illusions

The electoral struggle has already begun, but will only really take off in the coming months. In the election campaign, all these contradictions will hardly come out in the open. Instead, all sorts of false oppositions will be put forward in the coming months in an attempt to divide, mislead and convince people to support one bourgeois political party or another. With that in mind, a big game of musical chairs is also taking place in the run-up to the elections. Many politicians announce their departure and parties push new faces to the fore, without changing their real character.

The election programmes and slogans for the upcoming elections are still being shaped by bourgeois political parties, but the role of each party in the reshuffle of the political system is clear in general terms.

The liberal VVD, which has led the past four cabinets since 2010 and remains the largest party in the polls, is not unaffected by the political shifts. The VVD, which fundamentally finds its support in the big monopolies and part of the petty bourgeoisie, is expressing the interests of the monopolies to pursue stricter fiscal policies and social breakdown. During the corona pandemic and crisis years, they were forced to adopt more Keynesian policies, but now they are eager to lead the new round of austerity and demolition policies.

The same goes for the other Liberal parties, such as coalition partner D66 but also Volt, which present themselves as advocates of a more “progressive” course. This is only appearance, as they are essentially oriented towards the same demolition of social achievements in favour of the interests of the big monopolies. Moreover, a characteristic feature of these parties is their glorification of the imperialist EU and NATO. They present themselves as champions of emancipation, democracy and peace. But in practice, both in the Netherlands and at the EU level, they are actually at the forefront of promoting demolition policies that are detrimental to discriminated or disadvantaged sections of the working class, measures restricting democratic rights, and driving imperialist interference and interventions.

Christian Democratic coalition partners CDA and ChristenUnie pretend to want a course of action that has more regard for the human dimension, the family and solidarity. But in reality, such slogans turn out time and again to be pretexts for demolishing public services in favour of capital. Words such as ‘values’, ‘justice’ and ‘peace’ are flaunted, while these parties invariably give their blessing to imperialist wars and interventions.

A very dangerous trend is the proliferation of reactionary, fascist parties such as the aforementioned PVV and FvD but also Ja21 and BVNL. These parties mostly present themselves as anti-establishment, ‘anti-system’ or even ‘anti-elite’. They present themselves as an alternative to the policies pursued by the liberal, Christian Democrat and formerly social democratic parties in recent decades, capitalising on the justified anger among large sections of the working class about the dismantling of social services and rights. But despite their sometimes radical slogans, they are in fact not parties against the system at all, but rather important shock troops and ‘reserves’ for capital. They find their commonalities in undisguised racism, misogyny and contempt for the working class – containing their absolute support for ‘the entrepreneurs’, for the exploiters. These far-right parties promote racism, Islamophobia and conspiracy theories, aiming to disorientate the working class and sow division, in favour of the capitalist class. They thus provide a breeding ground for reactionary views, which, although not yet always explicitly fascist, keep the options open for capital to introduce fascism against the labour movement, if capital deems it necessary in the future.

The BBB, which became the largest in the recent provincial elections in March, opposes certain elements of ‘green’ policies (by no means all of them). The BBB explicitly tries to represent the interests of agribusiness and big capitalist farmers. In no way does the BBB address the real causes of the problems facing poor farmers in the Netherlands. Namely, the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and the government’s agricultural policy, which is aimed at concentrating land and capital in the agricultural sector, leaving poor farmers, in particular, burdened by competition, the market power of monopolies and banks. More generally, BBB tries to present itself as an alternative to the policies pursued in recent years, but in fact, by and large, the policies BBB stands for do not differ substantially at all from the plans of the parties that ruled in recent years. In the process, BBB tries to channel the justified popular discontent in a reactionary direction, “flirting” with far-right elements.

Part of social democracy is trying to make a reboot in the form of a joint list between Labour and Green Left. Behind the phrases of ‘left unity’, these parties are trying to form a bloc for ‘green’ and ‘social’ policies, which in fact clearly serve the interests of the ‘green’ monopolies and have nothing to do with the interests of the working class or environmental protection. The tricks of social democracy are well known: it was the Labour Party that participated in previous governments to give demolition policies a ‘left’ sauce. It was thanks to the Green Left that the student debt system was finally implemented. Both parties supported imperialist wars and interventions. These were not ‘mistakes’ by certain politicians: this is the role that social democracy plays and will always play in favour of capital.

The working class also has nothing to expect from other social democratic parties that present themselves as more ‘radical’, such as the SP, PvdD and BIJ1. Behind phrases about ‘systemic change’ and ‘anti-capitalism’ lurks reformism, attempts to reform – i.e. maintain – a system that has nothing to offer the working class but exploitation and war. These parties support imperialist alliances such as the EU, which can supposedly serve the interests of the people rather than those of big business through ‘democratisation’. More generally, they promote illusions that the bourgeois state can function in the service of the people. They create illusions about the possibility of the working class changing society without the ownership of the means of production and power passing from the capitalist class to the working class. They supported numerous government and EU measures in recent years that were not in the interest of the working class. Behind this weak and hypocritical ‘anti-capitalism’ is also anti-communism. For instance, just before the fall of the government, all these parties voted in favour of an anti-communist motion concerning the Soviet famine in the 1930s. A motion that grossly falsifies history and promotes the unhistorical equation between communism and fascism.  In these ways, this part of social democracy – with a more ‘leftist’ or ‘radical’ profile – also plays its part in channelling working-class people who want to rebel in a direction that is ultimately harmless to the system.

Finally, the reactionary Christian party SGP promotes backward views on women as well as homosexuals and other minorities, while as an ‘opposition party’ it often shows willingness to help a government get a majority to push through demolition measures. The DENK party has a social-democratic façade aimed against racism and Islamophobia, but also has links to reactionary, far-right elements.

In summary, we can observe two trends. Characteristic, on the one hand, is the creation of new illusions about the possibility of things getting better if we voted for one party or another, mainly but certainly not exclusively from social democratic quarters. But at the same time, there is a general tendency in a reactionary direction. This expresses itself not only through the openly reactionary, fascist parties. More generally, social services, democratic rights and freedoms are under pressure.

The agenda of the next government

Regardless of what individual parties propose and which parts of capital they are an expression of, capital’s agenda has some general features. Irrespective of election slogans and programmes, each party will implement this general agenda if they participate in government. This agenda consists of the following main points:

  1. Securing capitalism and capital’s profits in view of worrying economic forecasts;
  2. Further erosion of labour rights, social rights and public services, and passing on the cost of public services to working people;
  3. The curtailment of political and trade union rights and increased use of the repressive apparatus of the civil state;
  4. Strengthening the international position of Dutch capital, including the position of the Dutch bourgeoisie within the imperialist alliances in which it participates, namely the EU and NATO, including in the context of the imperialist war in Ukraine and growing inter-imperialist antagonisms.

These are strategic objectives of Dutch capital, which have been pursued for a long time and have already manifested themselves in numerous laws passed by the

Lower and Upper Houses have gone and directives from the EU. The new government will implement these dictates of capital, regardless of the composition of the government and the political colour of the ruling parties. For the working class, this means a new attack on living standards, incomes and what is left of public services.

The need for struggle and strengthening of the party

It is imperative to strengthen the working class struggle against decline and demolition policies. The NCPN will make efforts to strengthen the struggle in workplaces and neighbourhoods in the coming period.

The NCPN will not participate in these elections, mainly due to the large financial but also other organisational barriers. The party also does not provide voting advice. After all, it is clear the bourgeois political parties – whether they call themselves right or ‘left’ – have nothing to offer the working class. Therefore, the working class and other oppressed sections of the population need not expect anything from the elections. The result of the elections will be a new government that continues and intensifies the policies of demolition.

The hope for a better future, the capacity to stop the demolition policies and the power to force improvements all lie solely in strengthening the labour movement. That is what the NCPN is dedicating all its energies to. We call on the working class and all other oppressed sections of the population of the Netherlands to organise themselves, at their workplaces and in their neighbourhoods to resist the unacceptable bill that this rotten system presents to us.

Organising this struggle does not go without strengthening the political party that consistently serves the interests of the working class. The strengthening of the party, in which great strides have been made in the recent period, also creates conditions for more frequent elections in the future and the election of communist people’s representatives who can support this struggle. Only communist people’s representatives, precisely because their aim is not to manage this system but to overthrow it, can expose bourgeois policies, consistently oppose any deterioration and press for improvements wherever possible. Communist councillor Rinze Visser in Fryske Marren sets that example.

The priority is to build the party and the Communist Youth Movement (CJB) at grassroots level: in companies, neighbourhoods, educational institutions, and by extension in the trade union movement, student movement and other social movements. What is important is to strengthen the party at all levels and intensify its intervention. Above all, the only answer to the attacks on our rights prepared by capital is the decisive strengthening of the NCPN!

Struggle is the only way!

Join the Communist Party!

Central Committee of the NCPN