By Prof. JOSE MARIA SISON
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples’ Struggle
Dear Colleagues and Friends, Good afternoon!
We in the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS)are deeply pleased that the national chapter is being established in The Netherlands. We congratulate and thank the mass organizations for constituting themselves as the chapter and for convening this founding assembly.
It is fitting and proper that the ILPS-Netherlands comes into existence because the international office of our League is in The Netherlands and because the founding and second assemblies of the League have been held in Zutphen and Eindhoven, respectively. So many meetings of the ICC have been held here, relying on the support of mass organizations and people in The Netherlands.
We are gratified that the constitution of your chapter is in consonance with the ILPS Charter, that your chapter takes an anti-imperialist and democratic character and that you will take up major issues affecting your lives in The Netherlands. We learn much from your overview of Dutch society and the informative notes pertaining to the economic, social, political and cultural aspects. We welcome your determination to adopt and carry out a program of action.
The Netherlands is a small country of 41,500 square kilometres and has a population of 16.7 million. But it is one of the ten richest countries in the world. Its monopoly corporations in the industry, energy production, finance and service sectors are among the biggest in the world. They determine the policies, laws and actions of the Dutch state and they are the most crucial factor in the status quo of Dutch economic, social, political and cultural life.
A big portion of the profits of the Dutch monopoly corporations come from the export of goods and services and direct investments abroad. They amount to 80 per cent of the GDP. The current economic status of The Netherlands is traceable to its primitive accumulation of capital through manufacturing, colonial plunder and even slave trading and further industrial development into a modern imperialist power. It is closely allied to the US, UK and other European powers. It is a founding member of the European Union, OECD, WTO and the NATO..
Until 2008, The Netherlands had relatively low unemployment rates, steady economic growth, low government debt and a budget surplus despite the earlier bursting of the hightech bubble in 2000. But in the current worsening of the global economic and financial crisis, the Dutch economic growth has suddenly stopped and continues to slide. The state has used billions of euros to bail out the big banks and finance corporations. The economic and financial crisis has resulted in social degradation and political malaise.
Protest mass actions are increasing in The Netherlands. To establish the ILPS-Netherlands responds to the growing need for rallying and mobilizing the various sectors of Dutch society — workers, youth, women, migrants, refugees and others — to confront the worsening crisis and demand fundamental changes. The crisis has arisen from the exploitative capitalist ruling system. It has been created by the monopoly bourgeoisie, especially by the finance oligarchy, and the state that serves it against the rights and welfare of the people.
Under the neoliberal economic policy, the big banks and corporations in the imperialist countries have accelerated profit-taking and capital accumulation. They have done so by pressing down real wages, cutting back on social benefits, privatizing public assets, liberalizing investments and trade and doing away with regulations protective of labor, society and the environment. Thus, they have caused an economic and financial crisis comparable in severity the Great Depression of the 1930s.
And yet they are the ones that get the bailout from the state with the use of public funds. The workers and the rest of the people suffer from mass unemployment, decreased relief for unemployment, job insecurity, the rising costs of basic goods and services, the mortgage defaults, shortage of social housing, higher costs and lesser coverage of health insurance, reduced study benefits, delayed retirement and less pension and the like.
As the public debt crisis arises, because of the bailouts of the big banks and corporations, less state revenues from the stagnant economy and because of increased bureaucratic and military costs, they undertake as state policy one round of austerity measures after another to further push down wages and pensions, cut back on social benefits and services, reduce public sector employment, raise taxes, services fees and insurance premiums and other measures that victimize the people.
In a country that once boasted of having a welfare state, poverty is becoming noticeable. Even by watered down official statistics, it is admitted that 380,000 children, one in every nine, live in poverty; one in every 11 households does not have a warm meal every day. One in every 20 households does not have enough money for adequate heating at home.
The crisis of the capitalist system in the world and in The Netherlands, which has plunged to a new level since 2008, is already protracted and there is no end in sight because the imperialist powers cling to the neoliberal policy of so-called free market globalization. The monopoly bourgeoisie holds the view that it can continue to make profits and rule by being able to play off one sector against another in society and by being able to exploit the working people in the less developed and more so in the underdeveloped countries.
The so-called multi-party democracy in The Netherlands is becoming exposed as a mere variety show of the political agents of the monopoly bourgeoisie. These include the Christian democrats, social democrats and liberal democrats who keep on devising ways for delivering greater portions of the social wealth to the monopoly corporations, providing financial packages to the corporate bosses and intensifying the exploitation of the working people.
The workers are becoming disgusted with the tripartite social consultation or polder model in which the labor representative is always outnumbered and overwhelmed by representatives of government and the employers and which serves to facilitate and impose anti-worker and anti-people measures. The workers are also disappointed with the FNV for failing to stop the anti-worker and anti-people measures and for being obsessed with class collaboration with the monopoly bourgeoisie.
The Dutch students still appear to be apathetic, sedated by the traditional, egoistic, pro-imperialist and neoliberal ideas and sentiments that they imbibe from the educational system and mass media. But they re beginning to stir against the reduced state financing for educational and cultural institutions and against the scheme to eliminate study financing and OV student travel. The youth in general resent the fact that they are victimized by the rising rate of unemployment, that they do not get the jobs that they have studied and trained for and that they get lower rates of compensation.
Migrant workers and refugees have contributed to the productivity and improvement of the quality of life in The Netherlands. Many of them have taken the dirty, dangerous and low-compensated jobs that in earlier better times the Dutch preferred not to take. But as the crisis worsens, they are increasingly subjected to various form of discrimination — chauvinism, racism and religious bigotry.
In varying degrees of ingenuity or crudeness, various agents of the Dutch monopoly bourgeoisie in various institutions try to cover up the capitalist roots of the crisis. The worst reactionaries scapegoat the migrant workers and refugees for the deterioration of working and living conditions of the host people. And they also whip up the ultra-reactionary currents of fascism, xenophobia, racism, Islam-bashing and war hysteria jibing up with the military interventions and wars of aggression carried out by the US and the NATO.
We have described briefly the situation and some of the major problems in The Netherlands. The ILPS-Netherlands faces a lot challenges it must respond to. It must set forth the tasks to carry out in order to advance the struggle of the people in The Netherlands along the anti-imperialist and democratic line in the direction of socialism. You must draw up a Program of Action which can guide you in arousing, organizing and mobilizing the people.
In arousing the people, your chapter must hold seminars, conferences and forums concerning vital issues in The Netherlands and in the world. Your member-organizations must participate and you must invite the public in general, including the organizations you wish to win over as possible member-organizations, allies and cooperators. You must issue statements to declare the stand of the ILPS-Netherlands on issues and propose the necessary and appropriate course of action. You must publish a website and electronic newsletter as constant means of information and education.
In organizing the people, your chapter must direct your member-organizations to increase their respective membership and to seek out organizations to become member-organizations of ILPS-Netherlands. The 17 concerns of the ILPS can serve as guideposts for seeking organizations to join the chapter. Organizations are qualified to join the chapter if they adhere to the anti-imperialist and democratic line and agree to comply with the requirements of membership under the constitution of your chapter and the ILPS Charter.
In mobilizing the people, your chapter must call them to participate in mass campaigns or joint activities to raise resources and realize a project or celebrate historic events and to carry out mass actions on issues in order to make protests as well as to make demands. You must initiate as many campaigns and activities as you can, mobilizing your member-organizations and getting the support of other organizations and the public in general. You must also join and cooperate in the good initiatives of organizations that are your allies and friends.
We oppose all forms of exploitation and oppression in any country and against imperialist war and plunder. We fight for national independence, democracy, social justice, all-round development and world peace. We are against domination by imperialism and reaction. We want a fundamentally new and better world.