International Socialists (Netherlands)

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International Socialists (Dutch: Internationale Socialisten) is a revolutionary, Trotskyist organisation in the Netherlands. It is part of the International Socialist Tendency led by the British Socialist Workers Party.

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[edit] Ideology

The IS believes that real change in the Netherlands can only come through revolution, although it is not opposed in principle to electoral work. It does not participate in such work at present, but believes in an activist party. The IS sees itself as standing in the tradition of people like Leon Trotsky, Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg. It is anti-capitalist, anti-war and in general against "all ideas that put people against people", like racism, sexism and homophobia. Currently, the Internationale Socialisten are largely active in the anti-war and anti-occupation movements, as well as the resistance against the rightwing government led by Balkenende.

Politically, the IS is located on the left of more mainstream leftwing parties like the Socialistische Partij and GroenLinks. It is part of the International Socialist Tendency, which also includes the British Socialist Workers Party and the German Linksruck.

[edit] Activities

The IS does not participate at present in parliamentary democracy and does not stand candidates at elections. Instead, it puts much of its energy in outreach, education and protest activities. It sees much value in the productions of its monthly magazine De Socialist, formatted on the example of the SWP's Socialist Worker newspaper. De Socialist is sold at any protest meeting or demonstration at which the IS is present, as well as on the street. The IS also publishes a wide range of booklets, both translations of SWP books and original material.

Every year, the IS organises its own 'Marxism school', which is open to anybody interested, in which the more theoretical issues of socialism and activism are discussed. It also holds regular discussion meetings and is often present at political meetings organised by other groups, either invited or uninvited.

For its protest actions, the IS has a tradition of working in broad coalitions with other leftwing parties and pressure groups, rather than separately organising actions. The IS is part of the Keer het Tij protest coalition against the Balkenende government, as well as the anti-war movement.

The IS has long worked together with the Socialistische Partij (SP) in protest actions as well as organisations like the Dutch Social Forum and at their party conference of November 2005, the IS decided to take things a step further by formally entering the party. The IS would still exist as an independent organisation, but its members were asked to join the SP as well and play an active role within that party. The IS sees the relationship between itself and the SP as similar to that of the British SWP with RESPECT. The SP however does not see the relationship in this way and responded by not allowing IS members to be a member of both the IS and the SP in fear of attempts to radicalize it's members by IS members. So far only two out of the nearly 170 have allowed IS members to join the SP.

Internationally, the IS has taken part in the first two European Social Forums held in Florence and Paris, and is often active in international protests.

[edit] Influence

The exact membership figures are unknown, but an educated guess would put the amount of active members of the Internationale Socialisten at roughly a hundred to a hundred fifty. Its members and sympathisers are largely found in the big Dutch cities and university towns and large parts of its members are students or former students.

[edit] External links

International Socialists (Netherlands)

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