Declaration of the Central Committee of the NCPN (New communist Party of the Netherlands) referring to the recent parliamentary elections.Amsterdam, 17 May 2002.
The Netherlands make a sudden shift to the right.Voters want a change and go safe.Only intensification of the class-struggle in neighbourhoods and on the working-place and cooperation of the Left will make a positive perspective for dissatified people possible.
A coalition of CDA (Christian-Democrats Appeal), VVD (People's Party for Freedom and Democracy, rightwing party, participated in the outgoing "purple" government coalition) and LPF (List Pim Fortuyn) seems to be inevitable. Together they have an ample majority of 93 seats in the Dutch Lower Chamber (150 seats). For the time being there is no leftist option: employer's organisations and small and medium enterprise are satisfied.
The NCPN-Administration congratulates the SP (Socialist Party) with its seat-increase. The right-wing majority can only be successfully combatted within the Parliament and outside, if the entire Left works together.
The large majority of the Dutch population has punished the policy of the "purple" government coalition. Voters rejected massively the self-complacent backroom policy of the political establishment, based on the neoliberal norms of the EU (European Union). The "purple" government did not meet the specific needs of the people's majority. Recent years' economic growth has benefited the big shareholders, their representatives in top-management, but the "little guys" and "free-booters" as well, so many of which the Netherlands still have. However, large parts of the population were faced with stagnation of their purchase-power and attacks were launched on the collective securities. Justified anger in large strata of the population as regards favorising policies, unrevealed appropriation of large amounts by managers, continuous attacks on living-standards, demolition of collective care and fear of the "little guys" concerning the economic stagnation, made large parts of the people not believing anymore in the "purple" coalition. The attacks on the establishment were coming from the Right too, from the "free-booters", who feel any ruling as bothersome and superfluous. Both processes taken together caused today's political shift.
The "purple" government did not solve the problems in the healthcare sector, in public transport and education. Feelings of unsafety and lack of perspectives made large parts of the population ready for the right-wing populist one-liners of Pim Fortuyn. Fortuyn indicated the restrictions of the government within capitalism, but the discussion in the political parties about democracy after the terror- attack on his life remained limited to the Parliament and to an appeal just to vote. The newly started debate on the so-called renewal became narrower and was finally limited to a kind of mass-hystery around Fortuyn's person. An important part of the population sought a "safe harbour" with the young and brand new-looking chief-candidate of the CDA, Balkenende. They prefered safety above the uncertain adventure of the Pim Fortuyn List.
The losses of the PvdA (Workers' Party) arise from the disappointment of broad strata of the population because of the fact, that of all parties it were the social-democrats who took the initiative in many privatisations, cuts and other worsenings. The social-democrats were useful for capital and were even allowed to take the lead of the government, as long as they managed to make the population accept the worsening of its living-conditions. Without a powerful workers movement social-democracy has nothing to offer to the people within the framework of globalised capitalism. The chilly wind blowing through Europe as a consequence of new waves of mergers, take-overs, closings and volume-reductions makes powerful resistance against capital necessary and not collaberation with it. A social-democracy going strongly to the right has nothing to offer to the people. Properly abandoned by many voters, such a social-democracy is of much less significance for the rich and Kok and Melkert (leaders of the PvdA) are easily put aside. A cooperation of leftist and progressive parties and movements within, but particularly outside the Parliament as well, can give a perspective to the majority of the population.
The battle for power among the several international groups of capital is vehemently going on. The Bush-Administration has accelerated and deepened the struggle for markets, raw materials and cheap labour-forces. They regularly speak about "trade-wars" between the EU and the USA particularly. Its most recent expression is the steelwar. Although capitalism is involved in a vehement internal fight for power, it robs on a common basis and at accelerated speed anything, which is still left to be robbed to the farthest corners of the world. At the moment we live in a very turbulent and dangerous world. The result being that collective securities, which eat money according to the rich, are in danger to be demolished even further and faster than before.
European capital finds itself before big challenges, which at least have one thing in common. The competition struggle with the USA forces them to hollow out at high speed wages, social care and democratic achievements. Competition with the USA is only possible, if social-economic conditions in Europe will be pushed down to lower levels than in the USA, where millions of Americans live in miserable circumstances. Everything that is an obstacle to maintaining and increasing profit and returns, is put on the demolition-agenda. This new policy is orientated on breaking all social contracts of after-Second World War- Europe and renunciates anything that has still the slightest shred of a state of social care. European capital has to win or to loose.
The rightwing attack uses consciously the illusion, that policy comes first in decision-making. Policy, it is said, should be renewed. This renewal, however, restricts itself to the Parliament. The decisive influence of 'market(economy)' on the political and society-dimensions remains outside the picture. That's why the term 'political primacy' reveals this 'dictatorship of capital.'
The media have been commercialised during the last years at high speed and thus there is no public control on them anymore. The only thing that counts is how many people are watching and what are the interests of sponsors and owners. In the media-world ideals, values and norms do hardly count anymore. Educative tasks are more or less taboo. Who pays, has the say...The new journalist must score for his boss, but for himself too. With Fortuyn you could do that. His fast growing popularity had two reasons: his arrogant, but easy populism led many people to watch television and his rightwinged message fitted well in the policy of the power-elite. The result was a real media-show: debates of chief-candidates for people's entertainment. Politicians were forced to act like quizmasters and a search started for simple words and media-genious persons. 'How do I say it' became more important than 'what do I say': policy as a whirling American show. After Fortuyn's death the show went even on.
Television brings a would-be world into the living-room, a world in which false contradictions and would-be issues play a central role. It is easy to manipulate the voters in such a way. Many people get the impression, that they interfere with politics, but the real issues of power stay outside. Such a kind of 'policy' is already common in the USA. The consequence is, that only a third of the population participates and votes. We know the result, named Bush.
The NCPN points out, that the real issues don't get a chance in this way. The massive and sudden avertion for the 'purple' coalition demonstrates the gap between the picture presented by the media and the reality in neighbourhoods and workingplaces, as a large part of the voters experience.The NCPN calls upon the Left to gain the confidence of the people in the neighbourhoods and at the workingplace, everywhere where real life and work is. On the same day that the 'purple' coalition broke down, the population of Amsterdam choose to put an end to the privatisation of public transport in that city. A sound campaign at the basis led to gains. Only in such a way the tie between the population and the leftist political parties can be restored. This must become a lesson for social-democracy, not only within the PvdA, but in the trade-unions as well. The FNV-Leadership (Federation of Dutch Unions) called just before the elections for a moderation of wages falling into the trap of employers and rightwing parties.
Fortuyn has been used right from the beginning against the PvdA, against Melkert (Chairman of the Party) and figure-head Kok (outgoing Prime-Minister). The Wassenaar-Agreement, in which the class-peace was arranged, had finished its task! The 'purple' government had become an obstacle for the continuation and the sharpening of the neoliberal policy of the VVD (part of the government-coalition). A new government of VVD, together with CDA (Christian-Democrats) and LPF (List Pim Fortuyn) must continue and sharpen this neoliberal policy.
The WAO (Law on Incapacity to Work) must be abolished. Pensionfunds must be broken open. Employment must become much more flexible. The roads must be opened for freight-traffic. Wages must be reduced to face USA-competition (and Japan's). According to those people, the level of securities should not be feasible anymore for everybody. Today's budgets are sufficient. Only people with capital maintain their right to good education, to good healthcare and fast transport. Fortuyn had to take care of that. To distract the attention from this, he was prepared to stir up xenophoby with racist talk and he went so far as to bring up for discussion Article 1 of the Constitution. It is of extreme importance to carry out anti-capitalistic struggle together with the anti-racist struggle. Working people, wherever they are, should not let populist-talk divide them. Only the common struggle against capitalist exploitation in the Netherlands and elsewhere in the world can change the tide into a positive direction. The Left must put at a high place on its agenda the forging of unity of the working-class.
Fortuyn acted as a crowbar to break the Dutch political relations open and to replace them with a model, more like the American one. Work-expenditure increased less in the EU in the recent period, which is the consequence of intensified attacks by capital: mass-redundancies and wage-cuts. But where did work-expenditure increase less? Well, in Berlusconi's Italy! The lower the work-expenditure is, the higher exploitation. In the last four months of 2001 the Netherlands were the first with an increase in work-expenditure of 5%, much too high according to the common opinion of entrepreneurs.
The question seems to be, whether the consultation model shall be exploded completely or whether they still leave the system unimpaired accepting promises from the trade-union movement. At the political level rightwing forces have the power in their hands at the moment. But whatever the outcome will be referring to a new government, globalised capital is fighting its life and death struggle among its own forces and therefore polarisation in this country will increase. Class-struggle is back on the agenda.