The party was never taken serious by the ruling class and their media before 1994. They were always seen as a ''communist'' group, a danger to ''democracy and freedom''. Some journalists kept calling the SP a ''communist'' party way into 1995. But in reality the party had moved away from most radical communist principals. Under the leadership of Jan Marijnissen since 1986, the SP turned more pragmatic and more reformist every year. The dogmatic Maoists of the 70's were now pragmatic and moderate, although the capitalist media would still call them ''dangerous leftist''
Jan Marijnissen was able to take on the political establishment, mainly because the Party of Labour ( PvdA ) was turning to the right-wing. In 1994, a purple coalition was created between the social democratic PvdA and liberal VVD. Liberals in the Netherlands belong to the political right-wing, while the social democrats used to be left-wing and the christian democrats the center party. But this changed after 1990. The christian democrats moved to the right-wing too and with a now fully pro-capitalist PvdA, the capitalist forces were in complete control of Dutch politics!
Because of the turn to the right-wing by almost all major political parties, the SP was able to win some leftist votes. In 1998 they had 9 seats in the parliament and became known as a leftist opposition party. But at the same time the SP became more moderate and less socialist. They abandoned their last socialist manifest and replaced it with a one that called for a ''human and social Netherlands''. This was a move away from socialism and towards social democracy. Because there is now little difference between the SP propaganda and the propaganda of the traditional; Party of Labour ( PvdA ). Social democrats use the words ''Strong and social'' in their propaganda and the SP uses ''Human and social'', both parties use now social democratic rhetoric. None of them talk about socialism and the need for a workers government!
Because the Party of Labour was abandoning its leftist principals, the SP took over their part of their electorate. But many leftist voters remained loyal to the PvdA, this is because the electorate of the PvdA has changed since 1990. Before the collapse of the USSR and stalinism, most workers voted PvdA. They saw in the Party of Labour, a party that would represent them against the parties of capitalism ( christian democrats and the liberals ). But with the purple coalition in the 90's, the social democrats moved away from the working class and started to support capitalists too!
Now in 2013, the Party of Labour has entered a coalition government with the conservative liberal; People's Party for Freedom and Democracy ( VVD ). The VVD is founded in 1948 as a conservative liberal party. A party that supports individual freedoms, but is conservative on economic issues. The VVD has always been a party for the ruling class, as they choose to support those who owned the means of production. For them the free market economy is the absolute freedom, those who cannot work under the demands of the market, must deal with less money and less wealth. Unfortunate there are workers who vote VVD too. They think that this conservative liberal party can put an end to the ''leftist church'' as they call the establishment. Those workers are political conservative and have been brainwashed by the capitalist media, into thinking that the left-wing has caused the economic crisis!
Until recently the christian democrats were able to win the conservative vote. But this is no longer the case. The Christian Democratic Appeal ( CDA ) has lost many voters to the VVD and a new populist party since 2006; the Party of Freedom ( PVV ) led by the anti-Islamic; Geert Wilders. The PVV is a party that opposes Islamic culture and Muslims. It wants to ban the Koran and limit the freedoms for Muslims to participate in Dutch society. Geert Wilders even wanted to impose a tax on headscarfs for Islamic females!
The Socialist Party benefited from the turn to the right-wing of Dutch social democracy. It won 25 seats during the parliamentary elections in 22 November 2006. If the party was genuine socialist it should have used its seats for socialist propaganda and opposition to the capitalist government. But Jan Marijnissen wanted to follow the example of the Socialist Left Party of Norway, in joining a government coalition. Talks stated between the PvdA, CDA and SP. But the pro-capitalist social democrats and christian democrats demanded that the SP dropped more of their leftist principals. Also the two parties never wanted the SP in their coalition because it was too left-wing. The media blamed the SP for not joining the capitalist government. In 2007 they launched a dirty campaign against Jan Marijnissen and his party. Calling him a Maoist dictator and his party to be a dictatorial party!
Many in the media choose to attack the SP on their politics regarding payment for parliament and city council members. The Socialist Party asks their elected members to live on a average salary. As a representative of the Dutch people in the parliament you get paid almost 8.900 euro's a month for your work ( 144.400 U.S. dollars a year ). The SP thinks this to too much and reduces this to 2.300 euro ( 37.317 U.S. dollars a year ) for their members. This is also done in city councils were SP members must pay the party their salary. Many new SP city councilors refused to pay the party their income. They wanted to keep their money and the capitalist media exploited this to the core. But the Socialist Party remained committed to its principals and elected representatives must pay their full salary to the party. They only receive an income based on the average salary in the Netherlands!
After 2006, the SP did their best to turn the now pro-capitalist PvdA, back to traditional social democracy. But the social democrats refused and became more right-wing every year. They lowered corporate taxes from 29% to 25% and the pension-age was raised from 65 to 67 years. The social democratic party said that people now must work longer, since most humans grow older then 40 years ago. The SP did not choose to attack the PvdA on these right-wing issues, they kept their criticism limited. Many people known the Socialist Party as an activist party that protested against the injustice of capitalism. But since 2006, their protests are more limited and less radical!
After more then 22 years, Jan Marijnissen choose to step down as political leader. He was replaced by Angnes Kant. She was however not a good party leader. The capitalist media saw this and attacked the SP on their ''weak'' female leader. Just before the elections in 2010, the SP choose a new leader. Emile Roemer, a former school teacher, was now the face of the Socialist Party. He joined the party in 1980 and worked on his city council for the SP. Roemer is a nice man, a person you would have as a school teacher for your kids. But he is too moderate and too friendly to the capitalist parties. This was reflected during the elections which reduced the SP from 25 seats to 15 seats!
Again the SP remained moderate. This was done in hope that the party could enter a coalition government with the social democrats and christian democrats. For two years the SP did very little to attack the capitalist social democrats. Most Dutch however like Emile Roemer and the polls gave him between 25 and 30 seats. But even this did not changed the reformist line of the party. Emile Roemer remained too friendly, when the elections came the tide turned. PvdA leader Diederik Samsom was portrayed in the media as the left-wing candidate against the right-wing premier; Mark Rutte!
The polls shifted the left-wing vote from SP to PvdA. Many choose to vote PvdA to prevent the hatred VVD from taking power. Mark Rutte and his liberals had ruled with the christian democrats for two years before their coalition broke, they wanted massive austerity programs. Revolutionary socialists tried to warn that a vote on the PvdA was bad. But the Dutch were blinded by their fear of the liberals and their austerity programs. Emile Roemer should have attacked Samsom on his pro-capitalist principals and that he too stood for austerity and massive cuts. But he did not and the SP kept their 15 seats, they did not win anything. The PvdA won 39 seats and the VVD 41. This allowed Mark Rutte to form a new capitalist government with Diederik Samsom and the PvdA. Left-wing voters were shocked when Samsom joined with the liberals and planned massive budget cuts and austerity programs. We revolutionary socialists knew this would happen!
At this movement the Socialist Party is still reformist and still tries to move the PvdA back to the left-wing. Wikipedia has classified the SP as a social democratic party, which is their rightful ideology. Although the SP still calls for a socialist society in article 3 of their constitution, their program is social democratic and not socialist. This is not a good development. With three social democratic parties, the capitalist left-wing has enough to choose. Right-wing social democrats are from the PvdA, the centrist social democrats are the greens of GreenLeft and the leftist social democrats are the members of the SP!
What the Dutch need now is a party that stands for them. A good socialist party that fight for them and not for the capitalists. Unfortunate Emile Roemer and his SP are too moderate and don't seem to understand that social democracy is not the way forward. The party seems to be focused on winning seats in the parliament, not to fight for a socialist society. Meanwhile Geert Wilders is able to win the protest votes, his PVV is growing in the polls. That is why we revolutionary socialists call for a genuine Socialist Party. If the SP cannot become socialist again, then a new workers party must be build. In South Africa this is already done with the creation of the Workers and Socialist Party!