Crushing defeat for Dutch social democrats

The Party of Labour has suffered a humiliated defeated during the 2017 parliamentary elections. Dutch social democrats lost over 30 seats in the Tweede Kamer, the main parliament of the Netherlands. The winners were the greens of GreenLeft, conservatives of the Christian Democratic Appeal and the liberals of Democrats 66. Other winners are the far-right: Party of Freedom and the Forum for Democracy. These two nationalist parties are very anti-immigrant. The Socialist Party (a moderate leftist party) failed to increase its seats again, after stagnating in the 2012 elections. Now the moderate socialists ended up with 14 seats, losing one seat. The right-wing: Party for Freedom and Democracy remains the biggest party although it lost almost seven seats!

Social democracy has suffered a crushing defeat, the PvdA (Party of Labour) lost over 2/3 of its seats. Back in 2012, the social democrats were able to profit from a media race. They portrayed themselves as the only left-wing force against the right-wing conservative liberals of the VVD (Party for Freedom and Democracy). Many leftist Dutch voted on the PvdA and were betrayed when the social democrats entered a right-wing government with the VVD. In five years the working class suffered under the austerity regime of Mark Rutte, who was fully supported by Diederik Samsom of the PvdA. Angered at this final betrayal, the working class base of the social democrats turned its back on them. Now the PvdA is reduced to nine seats in parliament. A huge humiliation for a party that was regarded as a party of power since 1945!

The greens of GreenLeft were able to increase their seats. Jesse Claver is the youngest party-leader and under his command, the green liberals grew in support. Revolutionary socialists however do not celebrate this. Because at local levels, GreenLeft is supportive of austerity and cuts to social services. Although a green party they are not eco-socialists, nor do the wish to replace capitalism. GreenLeft is a center-leftist party on a platform which comes close to social liberalism. Some regard the party as representatives of the higher educated progressives, living in urban centers. It is true that Claver’s party is progressive on many issues, but their desire to be part of the BIG BOYS means that the greens will have to abandon many leftist ideas, in order to participate in a coalition government with parties that support capitalism and austerity!

Democrats 66 are the main social liberal party. Although they call themselves progressive and social liberal, D66 has supported many austerity governments. The Democrats are a mixture between the right-wing VVD (individualists) and the former leftist PvdA (collectivists). In the late 1960’s, D66 was founded and seen as a progressive leftist force until the 1990’s, when it participated in the first austerity government of Wim Kok (PvdA). After the rise of Jan Peter Balkenende of the Christian Democratic Appeal, the democrats joined forces with the conservatives and liberal conservatives. Out of all political parties in the Netherlands, D66 is the most secular and they are not liked by the religious parties like the Christian Union and the Political Reformed Party!

The Party for Freedom (PVV) and the Forum for Democracy are right-wing nationalist parties. Geert Wilders is the supreme leader and only member of the PVV. He rules his nationalist party with iron fist and does not allow a membership based system. Thierry Baudet’s Forum for Democracy can be regarded as a wolf in sheep clothing. On the outside they look like a populist party, calling for more power to the people. But on the inside Thierry Baudet is a white nationalist, who loves the period when Europeans were still in command of the world. He is also very chauvinist and wrote that woman should submit to male dominance. However this is not why he was elected. Many Dutch fear of losing their ”culture”. This fear has been drilled into them by the right-wing media. Now that black activists and anti-racists dare to fight against colonialist remnants like Black Pete, many white Dutch feel under siege. It is similar to the whites of southern USA states in the 1960’s. Back then many whites were afraid to losing their privileges as blacks fought against the Apartheid.

Moderate socialists are united in the Socialist Party or SP. This party is seen as the most leftist of all Dutch political parties. In reality however they are not revolutionary. The SP is a very moderate party, more classic social democratic then actual socialist in nature. They are led by Emile Roemer, who is a nice person but lacks a class consciousness. Revolutionary socialists have tried to work inside the SP, but the party-leadership used old bureaucratic methods to prevent any socialist group from joining. Although article 3 of the SP’s constitution calls for the formation of a socialist society in the Netherlands, the party itself rarely speaks of socialism as a alternative to capitalism. Still the SP is the only party willing to fight neoliberalism and austerity!


After years of supporting austerity, the PvdA has been crushed