Communist Party of the Netherlands
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|Communist Party of the Netherlands|
|Leader|| David Wijnkoop (1908-1925)|
Lou de Visser (1925-1945)
Paul de Groot (1945-1967)
Marcus Bakker (1967-1982)
Ina Brouwer (1982-1991)
|Dissolved|| 1991 |
merged in to the GreenLeft
|International Affiliation||Comintern, Cominform|
|European Parliament Group||Grael|
|See also||Politics of the Netherlands|
 Party History
In 1907 Ceton and Wijnkoop founded De Tribune (The Tribune), a magazine in which they criticized the leadership of the SDAP of which they were a member. They were still oriented towards orthodox marxism and expected a proletarian revolution and opposed the leadership of the SDAP, who were more oriented towards more a revisionist ideology and a parliamentary and reformist political strategy. At a party congress in Deventer 1908 the leadership of the SDAP demanded that they stop publishing De Tribune or else they will be removed from the party ranks. Wijnkoop and Ceton refused and they and their supporters, including the poet Herman Gorter lost their membership to the SDAP. This conflict took place in almost all European Socialist parties, but the SDP was one of the parties founded as an orthodox marxist split. In 1909 dissenters founded a new party called, Social-Democratic Party (SDP).
In the 1910s the SDAP spent a lot attention to combatting the newly formed SDP. The mobilization for the First World War, which the SDAP supported and the SDP opposed further strengthened the differences between the parties. The Russian Revolution of 1917 fractured most European parties between their revolutionary and reformist factions, which had already happened in the Netherlands. The party entered the 1917 elections but was unable to win any seats.
In 1918 the SDP entered the elections again. Now it won two seats, Wijnkoop assumed the leadership of the party, The SDP formed a revolutionary parliamentary party with the League of Christian Socialists, which had one seats and the Socialist Party, also one seat. In 1919 the MP for the League of Christian Socialists joins the SDP and the MP for the Socialist Party leaves the revolutionary parliamentary party. In the same year the SDP joins the Comintern, the worldwide alliance of revolutionary socialist parties, which was lead by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. It was forced to change its name to Communist Party Holland (CPH) by the Comintern. In 1920 prominent communists Gorter and Pannekoek left the party, because they advocated council communism. In the 1922 elections the CPH retains its two seats. One of its unsuccessful candidates that year, Tan Malaka, was the first subject of the colonial Dutch East Indies to run for office in the Netherlands.
Before the 1925 elections Wijnkoop was replaced as party leader by De Visser under pressures of the Comintern. This was the cause of heavy internal division within the party. At the background of several of these conflicts is the conflict in the Soviet Union between Josef Stalin and Leon Trotsky. Wijnkoop, Henk Sneevliet a prominent international communist and an ally of Trotsky and other prominent membes were expelled from the party. Sneevliet founded the Revolutionary Socialist Union, which later becomes the Revolutionary Socialist Party. In 1926 the entire Rotterdam branch was expelled. These expellees joined Wijnkoop to form a separate Communist Party of Holland-Central Committee. All three, the RSP, the CPH-central committee and the old CPH, running under the name CPH Dutch section of the Communist International, enter the 1929 elections and both CPHs are able to win one seat, the RSP does not. In 1930 the CPHs are forced to merge by the Comintern.
After the mutiny on the Zeven Provinciën in the same year the independence the Dutch Indies becomes an important theme in the 1933 election. The party performs particularly well, it doubling its seats to four. This included the Indonesian nationalist Rustam Effendi, the first subject from the Dutch Indies to enter parliament. In the 1937 elections the party is able to retain its seats.
In 1940 the National Socialist occupation force forbade the CPN. The party continued illegally. It founded a resistance movement called Raad van Verzet (Resistance Council). It published a resistance newspaper called De Waarheid (The Truth). Both took part in the February Strike in 1941, the largest act of resistance in the Netherlands.
After the war, the party leadership is the hands of Paul de Groot, who has a strong grip on the party's organization.In 1945 the CPN is offered one minister in the cabinet Schermerhorn, mainly because of the CPNs role in the Dutch resisitance. It refuses because the CPN wanted a second minister. In 1946 the party obtains nearly 11% of the vote and 10 seats in the Tweede Kamer. It also the first time the party obtains seats in the Eerste Kamer. The electoral victory is linked to the role of the CPN in the Second World War-resistance.
In the following period is characterized by decreasing popularity for communism, the rise internal divisions and the methodical isolation of the CPN by other parties
With the rise of the Cold War, the party began to lose popularity. The 1948 communist coup in Czechoslovakia tainted the popularity of communism. In the 1948 elections they party loses two seats. In 1949 a group of Frisian communists were removed from the party ranks; they founded the Socialist Union, but they were unable to play a significant role. In the 1952 elections the party loses two additional seats. In 1956 the CPN loses votes again, but because of the expansion of parliament it wins an additional seat. In 1956 the party supported the Russian intervention against the Hungarian revolution. After the invasion the party bureau, located in Felix Meritis in Amsterdam, is attacked by people who oppose the invasion.
Meanwhile internal dissent against the strict leadership of De Groot is rising. In 1958 the Bruggroep (Bridge group) leaves the CPN in a conflict over the role of the communist union the Eenheidsvakcentrale (Unity Trade Union). Leaders of the Bruggroup were prominent resistance figures like Gerben Wagenaar and Henk Gortzak. The secret service claimed to be behind the split, while the CPN leadership claimed that the dissenters were agents working for the CIA. The Bruggroup founded a new party, the Socialistische Werkers Party (Socialist Workers' Party, SWP). In 1957 the Pacifist Socialist Party is founded which unites former members of the CPN, including members of the Socialist Union, and the PvdA and and other leftwing independents. In the following 1959 elections the CPN loses all but three seats, while the PSP wins to seats, the SWP is unable to win any seats and many SWP members, like Gortzak, later join the PSP
In the 1940s and 1950s the CPN is methodically isolated by other parties. Civil servants were forbidden to member of the CPN and it is not allowed separate time on public radio or television. The party's unequivocal support for decolonization of the Dutch Indies isolated the party in parliament. Because of its anti-NATO and EEC stances the party is blocked from the Foreign Affairs, Defense and Nuclear Energy committees in parliament. The Dutch secret service kept close tabs on the party. All other parties in parliament are deeply anti-communist, especially the social-democratic PvdA.
In 1963 elections the party gains one seat. The developing students' movement is an important impetus for the party. In 1964 the international conflict between the People's Republic of China and USSR also split the CPN. A group called Communist Unity Movement of the Netherlands left the CPN in that year. They went to several intense splits based on ideological and personal conflicts. In 1971 one of the small groups formed the Socialist Party, which became a successful political party after the mid 1990s. The CPN took a rather ambiguous stance in the conflict between the USSR and the PRC.
Before the 1967 elections De Groot is replaced by Marcus Bakker. De Groot is made honorary member of the CPN. The party wins another, making the total five. The CPN condemned the Soviet intervention against the Prague Spring. In 1971 yet another seat is added, and in 1972 the party had seven seats. The 1977 election sees a conflict between the social-democrat Joop den Uyl and christian-democrat Dries van Agt, many CPN-sympathizers vote for the social-democratic PvdA and the CPN loses all but two seats. In 1978 under pressure of new young members De Groot loses his honorary membership. In the 1981 elections the placement of American nuclear weapons is a major issue, the CPN who prominently led one of the campaigning groups, The Committee against the N-bomb, is rewarded with another seat.
In the 1982 the party gets its first mayor in the communist stronghold of Beerta. Before the elections of the same year Marcus Bakker is steps back in favour of Ina Brouwer. With her a new generation of younger often female MPs enters politics. She is able to keep the three seats. The CPN tries to renew its political program emphasizing New Left issues like feminism and gay rights. In reaction to this working class-oriented members found the Horizontal Council of Communists (called so because they were members from different local branches, breaking the vertical organization of democratic centralism). The group tries to pressure the CPN into returning to its old marxist course. In 1983 they leave the party and form the League of Communists in the Netherlands (Verbond van Communisten In Nederland). In 1986 both the CPN and VCN enter in the elections. Neither wins a seat in the Tweede Kamer. The CPN still has two senators. As one of the last acts of the party, the party leadership attended the festivities surrounding 50th anniversary of the German Democratic Republic.
In 1989 the party merged with three other small leftwing parties, namely the PSP, the green PPR and the left-wing Christian EVP to form the GreenLeft. In 1991, the year the party official disbanded; the VCN joined by other former members of the CPN, who left because they disagreed with the new course, founded the NCPN, which still exists to day.
The influence of the old Marxist wing of CPN in the GreenLeft is rather small. The "new" generation has been very prominent: Ina Brouwer led the party in the 1994 elections and one of the party's senators Jos van der Lans has been a member of the CPN. The former party chair who was very influential in the formulation of the new liberal course, Herman Meijer, was one of the gay right activist who joined the CPN in the 1970s.
The CPN changed its name two times. It was originally founded as Sociaal-Democratische Partij (Social-Democratic party; SDP) but after the Russian Revolution the term social-democracy became linked to the reformist socialists, while the term communist was linked to Leninist revolutionary socialism. All section of the Comintern were obliged to adopt the name 'Communist Party'. In 1919 the party changed its name to Communistische Partij Holland (Communist Party Holland; CPH). In 1935 the party changed its name again to Communistische Partij Nederland (Communist Party Netherlands; CPN) because many members of the Comintern did not know where Holland was.
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 Ideology & Issues
 Ideological Development
The SDP was founded as an orthodox marxist party advocating an economic and social revolution that would overthrow the capitalist economic and political system, in favour for a socialist dictatorship of the proletariat, this in turn would evolve into a classless, communist society.
After the Russian Revolution the party become oriented towards marxism/leninism the official ideology of the USSR and the Comintern. This advocate the overthrow of the state by a vanguard party, which would reform the country to become socialist. The party remained faithful to the USSR's version marxist/leninist during the 1920s, when Trotsky's interpretation became an important ideological competitor of Stalin's. This lead to split, a group around a prominent ally of Trotsky, Henk Sneevliet left the party to form the Revolutionary Socialist Party.
In the 1960s the party did not choose sides in the conflict between the People's Republic of China and the USSR, nevertheless a Maoist group, called Communist Unity Movement of the Netherlands split from the party. In the 1970s and 1980s the party began to move away from its marxist/leninist roots and began embrace a more libertarian and eurocommunist programme with a strong emphasis on feminism.
 Social Policy
An important issue for the Communists has always been the practical needs of the working class. Most simply put the party advocated higher wages and lower prices (in capitalist economics this demand is contradictory, because higher wages will lead to higher prices and vice versa). The work conditions in factories should be improved. Child labour should be banned completely. The work day should be regulated. Laws against striking should be repealed.
The CPN advocated a strong role of the state in the economy. The state should supply cheap housing, free and neutral education and health care insurance. Important industries should be nationalized in the short term (in the long term the entire economy should be planned). Taxation should be progressive. Those without jobs should receive benefits.
 Foreign Policy Issues
One of the most important early issues of the Communists was their opposition to the First World War. After 1918 the recognition of the USSR and the independence of Indonesia became important issues. During the Second World War the party was active in resistance movement. After the war, its foreign policy was explicitly anti-German and pro-USSR. It favoured Soviet interventions in Czechoslovakia and Hungary and sought Dutch recognition of the East Germany. It opposed Dutch membership of NATO and the EEC. In the 1970s and 1980s its policy became more anti-American, supporting the Viet kong in Vietnam War. It played an important role in the popular opposition against the placement of nuclear weapons in the Netherlands.
 Domestic Issues
The party also emphasized the radical democratization of the Dutch political system. It opposed monarchy. It sought to abolish the Council of State and the Eerste Kamer. A referendum and trial by jury should be implemented. Citizen should appoint civil servants.
In this table the election results of the CPN in Tweede Kamer, Eerste Kamer, Provincial and European elections is represented, as well as the party's political leadership: the fractievoorzitter, is the chair of the parliamentary party and the lijsttrekker is the party's top candidate in the general election, these posts are normally taken by the party's leader. The membership of CPN is also represented.
|1918||2||0||0||n/a||David Wijnkoop||David Wijnkoop||unknown|
|1919||3||0||8||n/a||David Wijnkoop||no elections||unknown|
|1920||3||0||8||n/a||David Wijnkoop||no elections||unknown|
|1921||3||0||8||n/a||David Wijnkoop||no elections||unknown|
|1922||2||0||8||n/a||David Wijnkoop||David Wijnkoop||unknown|
|1923||2||0||7||n/a||David Wijnkoop||no elections||unknown|
|1924||2||0||7||n/a||David Wijnkoop||no elections||unknown|
|1925||1||0||7||n/a||Lou de Visser||Lou de Visser||unknown|
|1926||1||0||7||n/a||Lou de Visser||no elections||unknown|
|1927||1||0||7||n/a||Lou de Visser||no elections||unknown|
|1928||1||0||7||n/a||Lou de Visser||no elections||unknown|
|1929||1+1*||0||7||n/a||Lou de Visser|
|Lou de Visser|
|1930||1+1*||0||7||n/a||Lou de Visser|
|1931||2||0||10||n/a||Lou de Visser||no elections||unknown|
|1932||1||0||10||n/a||Lou de Visser||no elections||unknown|
|1934||4||0||10||n/a||Lou de Vissser||Lou de Visser||unknown|
|1935||4||0||12||n/a||Lou de Visser||no elections||unknown|
|1936||4||0||12||n/a||Lou de Visser||no elections||unknown|
|1937||4||0||12||n/a||Lou de Visser||Lou de Visser||unknown|
|1938||4||0||12||n/a||Lou de Visser||no elections||unknown|
|1939||4||0||12||n/a||Lou de Visser||no elections||unknown|
|1946||10||4||58||n/a||Paul de Groot||Paul de Groot||50,000|
|1947||10||4||58||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||53,000|
|1948||8||4||58||n/a||Paul de Groot||Paul de Groot||53,000|
|1949||8||4||58||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||34,000|
|1950||8||4||31||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||27,392|
|1951||8||3||31||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||unknown|
|1952||6||3||31||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||unknown|
|1953||6||2||31||n/a||Paul de Groot||Paul de Groot||17,000|
|1954||6||2||24||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||unknown|
|1955||6||2||24||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||15,463|
|1956||7||4||24||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||unknown|
|1957||7||4||24||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||12,858|
|1958||7||4||18||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||12,317|
|1959||3||4||18||n/a||Paul de Groot||Paul de Groot||11,262|
|1960||3||2||18||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||unknown|
|1961||3||2||18||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||unknown|
|1962||3||2||13||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||unknown|
|1963||4||1||13||n/a||Paul de Groot||Paul de Groot||unknown|
|1964||4||1||13||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||unknown|
|1965||4||1||13||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||unknown|
|1966||4||1||13||n/a||Paul de Groot||no elections||unknown|
|1967||5||1||13||n/a||Marcus Bakker||Marcus Bakker||unknown|
|1968||5||1||13||n/a||Marcus Bakker||no election||unknown|
|1969||5||1||13||n/a||Marcus Bakker||no election||unknown|
|1970||5||1||27||n/a||Marcus Bakker||no election||unknown|
|1971||6||3||27||n/a||Marcus Bakker||Marcus Bakker||unknown|
|1972||7||3||27||n/a||Marcus Bakker||Marcus Bakker||unknown|
|1973||7||3||27||n/a||Marcus Bakker||no election||10,147|
|1974||7||4||19||n/a||Marcus Bakker||no election||unknown|
|1975||7||4||19||n/a||Marcus Bakker||no election||unknown|
|1976||7||4||19||n/a||Marcus Bakker||no election||11,550|
|1977||2||2||19||n/a||Marcus Bakker||Marcus Bakker||13,082|
|1978||2||2||5||n/a||Marcus Bakker||no election||15,298|
|1979||2||2||5||0||Marcus Bakker||no election||14,979|
|1980||2||1||5||0||Marcus Bakker||no election||15,510|
|1981||3||1||5||0||Marcus Bakker||no election||15,014|
|1982||3||2||14+5**||0||Ina Brouwer||Ina Brouwer||14,370|
|1983||3||2||14+5**||0||Ina Brouwer||no election||14,370|
|1984||3||2||14+5**||1||Ina Brouwer||no election||13,868|
|1985||3||2||14+5**||1||Ina Brouwer||no election||11,594|
|1986||0||2||4+4**||1||Cees IJmkers***||Ina Brouwer||9,000|
|1987||0||2||4+4**||1||Fenne Bolding***||no elections||8,500|
|1988||0||2||4+4**||1||Fenne Bolding***||no elections||7,000|
* separate CPH-Central Committee party.
** estimate of the seats in combined CPN/PSP/(PPR) lists.
*** chair of the parliamentary party in the Eerste Kamer.
 Muncipal and Provincial Government
The party supplied only one mayor, namely Hanneke Jagersma in the CPN stronghold of Beerta. In the late 1940s the CPN participated in several local executives but after the USSR's intervention in Hungary, these all fell. In the 1950s the party got an absolute majority in the city council of Finsterwolde the municipality was consequently put under control of the national government. In the 1980s the party again started to cooperate in local executives.
In the following figure one can see the election results of the provincial election of 1962 per province. It shows the areas where the CPN is strong, namely North Holland and too a lesser extent Groningen and South Holland. The party is very weak in rural and catholic Limburg and Brabant.
The support for the SDP, which was founded before the introduction of universal suffrage was strong in the leftwing intellectual elite, and educated working class circles. This was mainly limited to Amsterdam and Rotterdam. With the introduction of universal suffrage, the SDP, and later CPH began to branch out to the poorest circles of the working classes. In the Zaanstreek, around Zaandam and the harbour cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam the party was especially strong. After the Second World War, the CPN branched out to the poor rural province of Groningen and other poor rural areas like West Friesland. In some Groningen municipalities like Finsterwolde, Beerta, the party won near absolute majorities. In these municipalities, which now form Reiderland the refounded CPN, NCPN still performs particularly well. In the 1950s the general support for the CPN weakened with the rise of Cold War. In the 1960s and 1970s the CPN began to gain support form students. In the 1980s the party lost its working class support
 Organizational structure
The party was organized on the principle of democratic centralism. The party's board was the highest organ of the party, it decided the order of the First Chamber, Second Chamber, European Parliament candidates list, has the last say over the party program and had the ability to remove members for the party's ranks. It was elected by the party's congres. The party saw its political unity and strong discipline as conditions for its ideological zeal.
Between 1946 and 1980, the party's headquarters was located in Felix Meritis in Amsterdam.
 Linked & Pillarized organisations
The party had a small, but strong communist pillar around it. Important organizations were the communist trade union, the Rode Vakcentrale (Red Trade Union) before 1940 and the Eenheidsvakcentrale (Unity Trade Union) between 1945 and 1960, and the party's paper, De Tribune (the Tribune) before 1940 and De Waarheid (The Truth), which was founded as a resistance paper and named after its Soviet counterpart after 1940. The party's youth organization was the formally independent General Dutch Youth League. The party's scientific organization was the Instituut voor Politiek en Sociaal Onderzoek (Institute for Political and Social Research) which published Politiek en Cultuur (Politics and Culture). The CPN had its own publisher called Pegasus.
 International organisations
 Relationships to other parties
For a long time the Communists were methodically isolated, partially because of its revolutionary ideology and partially because of the antagonistic style of its politics. The communist used this style to prevent its electorate from moving to its competitors.
The relationship between the social-democratic SDAP (before the Second World War) and the PvdA (after the Second World War) has always been troublesome. The SDP has split from the SDAP over ideological difference, orthodox marxist, revolutionary politics versus revisionist and reformist politics. The social-democrats saw the communists as insignificant while the communist taunted the social-democrats by calling them "servants to capitalism" and "social fascists". During the Cold War, the PvdA embraced Atlanticism, NATO and the alliance with the United States, while the CPN advocated stronger links with the USSR. The PvdA had the strongest anti-communists in its ranks. During the 1970s when a more radicalized PvdA advocated a large progressive coalition, they still excluded the CPN.
The relationship with the leftwing splits and the communists was notoriously bad. The CPH ignored the RSP during its four year term in the 1930s. The PSP which was partially composed of those expelled from the CPN, was denounced as a party of agents of the CIA. The CPN methodically vote against proposals of the PSP, even when they supported them. In the 1980s the PSP and the CPN grew closer as they both campaigned against nuclear armament and both began to embrace New Left and libertarian politics. In 1984 they formed a common list for the European Election together with the green PPR and the GPN. In the 1989 the CPN, PSP and PPR were joined by the leftwing christian EVP in the formation of the GreenLeft.
The relationships with the other parties whether liberal or christian democratic was very poor.
 International Comparison
The CPN is one of the only communist parties to be formed before the Russian Revolution. It lies between the Northern European communist parties, like the Communist Party of Sweden and the Southern European communist parties, like the Italian Communist Party. Like its Italian counterparts, and unlike its Swedish counterparts it was methodically isolated in parliament. Like its Swedish counterparts, but unlike its Italian counterparts, it gained around 5% of the vote. Like its Italian counterpart it was closely linked to Moscow until the 1960s. In the 1970s it became involved in New Left politics, like its Swedish counterpart.