D66 and Dutch austerity

The Dutch municipality council elections were won by D66. This progressive liberal party was able to take many seats from the social democrats, who lost many voters in this election. D66 or Democrats 66 are a social liberal party and based themselves on social liberalism. Unlike historic social democrats, the social liberals support more classic free market principals. Democrats 66 is founded in 1966 by Hans van Mierlo, who favoured an American style presidential system in the Netherlands. Hans van Mierlo was a social liberal or progressive liberal. He supported a strong social security system, but unlike the social democrats he did not supported state ownership of key enterprises. Like most political parties, D66 has moved to the right-wing. Together with the Party of Labour ( PvdA ) the ''progressive'' liberals called for deregulations, privatisations and limited government in the 1990's. Today D66 offers no alternatives, they only won the elections because many PvdA voters abandoned the old labour party!

The Netherlands are ruled by a coalition government led by the conservative liberals of the VVD and the social democrats of the PvdA ( Labour Party ). Mark Rutte ( VVD ) is the prime minister and Lodewijk Asscher ( PvdA ) is deputy prime minister. The coalition government plans to enforce austerity plans on the Dutch working class. VVD and PvdA say this is ''necessary'' but revolutionary socialists reject this. Since 2012, the government wants to cut more then 18 billion euros. Last year they said that another 6 billion euros were needed to balance the budget. Yet these cuts are not necessary. They are purely political, intended to serve the ruling class and the EU bureaucracy in Brussels. The government has lowered income taxes for the super rich with almost -20% since 1990. Also the Netherlands are a tax heaven for big business!

While Mark Rutte says that the Dutch people must live with less, he and his PvdA partners have bought 37 Joint Strike Fighters from Lockheed for 4,5 billion euros. Cutting social security while buying 37 war planes, this proofs how hypocrite the VVD and PvdA are. Another plan is to transfer social security to the municipalities with 70% of the budget. This forces municipality councils to make disastrous choices on who is getting healthcare and who not. Elderly people are forced to stay at home and if they cannot take care of themselves, family must do it. Out of 2000 elderly homes, more then 800 to are to be closed!

Workers who lost their jobs and become unemployed for a long time, are now forced to work for financial support. The municipality councils force unemployed people to do meaningless work for 20 up to 30 hours a week. If they refuse they get cut in their financial support ( up to 100% ). Also if the municipality councils thinks an unemployed worker is not working good enough, he/she can be forced to attend discipline classes. Even clothing can play a role in keeping or loosing your financial support, unemployed workers are a social stigma. They are called ''lazy'' because the capitalist media has portrayed them as ''parasites of society''. Because living with financial support is such a social stigma, many workers fear the ''Bijstand'' as it is called in Dutch. Refusing to do the work ordered by your municipality council as an unemployed, can result in cuts to your financial support. Unemployed workers receive about 800 euros from the government, but only if they are single. Also if you have savings, you are force to spend it all before you receive financial support. Working to keep this financial support means you do not build up pensions, you have no collective rights and not even help to find real work!

Democrats 66 do not oppose austerity. They call themselves progressive and social liberal. But in reality they act like most liberals in the world. Like the Democratic Party of Barack Obama, D66 supports capitalism and western imperialism. In the Netherlands they are the biggest supporters of a federal Europe. D66 wants to unite all European nations to counter the USA, Russia and China on the world markets. But we revolutionary socialists say that unification under capitalism will not work. The European Union may have created a common market, but politically the ruling classes are still thinking nationally. Dutch workers also hate the idea of surrendering more political power to the bureaucracy in Brussels. D66 however does not care about the lower classes, they were never the party of the working class. The social liberals are more the party of higher educated students, bourgeois idealists and individualists!

The municipality council elections turned out to be a nightmare for the social democrats of the PvdA. They lost their majority in Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Since 1945, the social democrats ruled the municipality of Amsterdam, thanks to the vote of workers and immigrants. But since the party moved to the right-wing and started supporting anti-immigration laws, many immigrants have have turned against the PvdA. Democrats 66 were able to win many votes from previous PvdA voters. Revolutionary socialists think that people voted on D66 because of its simple message. The democrats are able to spread easy propaganda, but are still faced with the demands of capitalism. D66 stands in opposition to the cabinet of Mark Rute, but has not rejected it completely. Their leader; Alexander Pechtold has said he is willing to work with the government to carry out austerity!

Another winner of the municipality council elections was the ''Socialist'' Party. The SP is led by Emile Roemer and has profited from the turn to the right-wing by the PvdA. But Roemer and his SP are offering only moderate changes. Their alternatives are based on classic social democracy. More regulations, more government oversight and less markets. The SP does not favour a socialist republic nor a democratic planned economy. Because of its Stalinist/Maoist past, the SP is still limited to solving problems in their own nation. Although the SP is no longer Stalinist, its does favour classic social democracy in one nation. The party also opposes the European Union!

After the municipality elections, the Party for ''Freedom'' ( PVV ) caused a scandal. Their leader Geert Wilders, ask his voters if they wanted more or less Moroccans in the Netherlands. Many workers from Morocco were imported in the 60's, to work in Dutch factories. These workers were never integrated into Dutch society and were kept separated. Few elderly Moroccans speak Dutch and have kept their Moroccan life style. Now 50 years later, the Dutch complain about these people. White Dutch reject the Moroccan culture, their religion and their presence in the Netherlands. This is also a result of confrontations between Dutch-Moroccan youth and ethnic Dutch. Because many Dutch-Moroccans are raised in a different environment, they are split between two worlds. The conservative world of their parents and the very liberal world of Dutch society. Also because of racial discrimination on the labour market, few Dutch-Moroccans find a long-term job. Unemployment, frustration and poverty has driving many youth into petty crimes. These crimes are then exploited by the sensation media, to portray the Dutch-Moroccan youth as ''criminal'' ''anti-secular'' and ''anti-Dutch''!

The democrats of D66 are among the biggest opponents of the PVV. Alexander Pechtold has rejected the racism of Wilders, but also opposes the PVV for supporting a welfare state. The right-wing populists may hate immigrants and Islam, but Geert Wilders is a strong supporter of keeping the social security system affordable for people. D66 rejects the current Dutch healthcare system and wants to build a fully private owned healthcare system. D66 says that the free market economy will create jobs, the Dutch economy must be competitive and pure market based. In other words, we must dance at the feet of international capitalism according to these ''progressives''!

Although the Netherlands are called a ''high income'' economy. This is only partly true. Some Dutch are very rich, yet the average wage before taxes is 2.300 euros ( 3.170 dollars ) a month. After all taxes, most Dutch keep 1.800 euros ( 2.485 dollars ) for themselves. Very few earn wages that are higher then 60.000 euros a year. Only business executives, politicians and top bureaucrats are paid wages that exceed 60.000 euros. The government has ruled that all public executives are not paid more then 185.000 euros a year. In reality many are paid higher wages. The government does not seem to enforce their limit on wages for public executives. Revolutionary socialists call for a minimum wage of 1.500 euro after taxes and a maximum wage of 5.000 euros a month. We also call for politicians to earn a average working class salary, so that they can feel the results of their austerity plans. The members of the SP are the only Dutch politicians who are paid a average salary, but this is because their party rejects the high wages for politicians!

We must also recall the fact that taxes are high in the Netherlands. 1/3 of each salary is spend on renting or mortgage loan. Workers with minimum wage see 50% of their income go to house rent or mortgage. The Netherlands has a high taxing system for all products. 21% tax is what you pay on none-food products, on food there is a tax of 6%. Only two years ago the highest tax rate for none-food products was 19%, this was raised to 21% because of austerity. Workers with minimum to average wages are now facing higher prices in shops as the government raised taxes. Another austerity measure was raising the lowest income tax rate to 37%. So all workers with a salary up to 19.000 euros a year, are now forced to pay 4% more income tax. Workers with an average salary ( 27.600 euros ) pay an income tax of 42%, the highest income tax is now 52%. It used to be 70% in 1990 and 60% in 2001!

D66 remains the centre party of the Netherlands. Although progressive on many social issues like gay rights and euthanasia, the social liberals are supporting austerity like all capitalist political parties. They also favour a privatized healthcare system. D66 along with PvdA and VVD introduced neoliberalism in the 1990's during the cabinet of Wim Kok. Revolutionary socialist reject D66 and their capitalist logic. Their ideals are not progressive nor leftist. They are a bourgeois democratic party that favour the rule of capitalism over socialism. Like the American; Democratic Party, D66 is no way forward for workers and young people. Alexander Pechtold will show his true face when his party will enter a capitalist government. Then workers will see that the progressive democrats offer the same austerity logic, as the conservative liberals and social democrats!

Democrats 66 are led by Alexander Pechtold!

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism

Struggle, Solidarity, Socialism