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February revolution 1917
What lessons for today?

21/02/2017: 23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

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Netherlands

Populist right stokes up ‘debate’ on ‘dual nationality’

www.socialistworld.net, 14/05/2007
website of the committee for a workers' international, CWI

How should socialists reply?

Bas De Ruiter, Offensief, cwi Netherlands

During last March’s provincial elections in the Netherlands (7 March) the nationalist/racist PVV party (Party for Freedom) dominated debate, questioning whether the new Christian Democrats (CDA)/Labour Party (PvdA) national government’s ministers and parliamentarians should have ‘dual nationality’ and questioned whether or not politicians with two passports were "loyal" to the Netherlands (two government Labour ministers hold dual passports, Dutch and Turkish and Moroccan).

The far right PVV did not take part in the provincial elections, but another the right wing party, the VVD, won seats and seemed to profit from the anti-immigrant, nationalist mood stirred up.

Although the Dutch Socialist Party was the "biggest winner" in the 7 March provincial elections in the Netherlands (increasing its seats from four to 12 in the upper house), the ‘dual nationality’ issue shows the dangers of a rise of racism and bigotry, fanned by demagogic, right wing politicians, if the workers’ movement and SP does not show the way ahead with clear, pro-worker policies. Unfortunately, the SP leaders did not give a clear socialist alternative to the anti-immigrant, ‘dual nationality’ issues whipped up the PVV populist right and mainstream right wing parties. Even worse, Jan Marijnissen, leader of the Dutch SP, echoed the ideas of the PVV, in a newspaper interview, when he stated "it would be an added plus" if migrants choose to hold only Dutch nationality.

Along with its electoral rise, the SP leadership, unfortunately ran counter to the mood of its supporters, and signaled a shift to the right in policies. Already, the SP is in local council coalitions that carry out privatisations, such as in Nijmegen, where the local bus service was sold off.

These cuts policies, along with not making a clear class distinction from the policies of the right wing and right populist parties, can lead to many workers becoming disillusioned with the SP.

The Dutch CWI (Offensief), which is part of the Dutch SP, calls for the party to adopt fighting, socialist policies to oppose the pro-capitalist policies of the main parties and their divide and rule attempts.

Below, we carry an article on the ‘dual nationality’ issue, from the current issue of ‘Offensief’, newspaper of the CWI Netherlands.

socialistworld.net

Geert Wilders, a leader and MP for the Party for Freedom (PVV), criticised two Labour Party state secretaries, Aboutaleb and Albayrak, because they hold Turkish and Moroccan nationality, respectively, as well as Dutch nationality. According to this populist right MP, this implies a ‘lack of loyalty’ towards the Dutch state. Wilders demanded both government officials should be obligated to stop holding Turkish and Moroccan nationality.

Socialists reject Wilders ‘loyalty’ arguments. All over the world there are millions of immigrants holding dual nationality, including hundreds of thousands of migrants within Europe. Amongst them, are many Dutch people. In truth, even for Wilders this discussion is not really about so-called ‘loyalty’ to the Dutch state: it is a cynical and opportunist attempt by a right wing populist to emphasise and to deepen existing antagonisms and divisions between different population groups in the Netherlands. If Wilders attack on the Labour Party’s state officials is successful it will be an incentive for the PVV leader and other right wing politicians to try and accuse each immigrant holding dual nationality of a ‘lack of loyalty’.

Wilders uses his rightwing populism to widen the divide between domestic and migrant workers in the Netherlands. By doing so, he tries to weaken collective resistance to the ruling economic policy of neo-liberalism. Wilders’ PVV party, just like other pro-capitalist parties, stands for more cuts in social security, tax cuts for the rich, and more privatisation and liberalisation in public sectors, such as public transport, education and health care.

Poisonous policies

Wilders, however, hides the ‘neo-liberal core’ of his party’s programme by making it seem that the budget cuts which he proposes will only be targeted against "migrant profiteers" and will not have any negative effect on domestic Dutch workers. According to Wilders’ poisonous policies, it is only the migrant population which threatens social security, causes rising unemployment amongst domestic workers, and so on. The fact that migrant workers suffer just as much - or possibly even more - from a policy of cuts in social security and rising unemployment (in times of economic crisis they are the first to lose their jobs), is conveniently not mentioned by Wilders.

In this context, it is, to say the least, very disturbing that Jan Marijnissen, leader of the broad left Dutch Socialist Party, said in an interview with the right wing newspaper, De Telegraaf (The Telegraph, 31 March 2007), that even though "giving up the dual nationality is anybody’s free choice (…) it would be an added plus if migrants would choose to only keep the Dutch nationality".

By stating it is a matter of ‘personal choice’ as to whether people hold single or dual nationality, Jan Marijnissen wants to prevent the SP being cast in the same political light as the PVV or the neo-liberal Union for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) - two parties which stated that having dual nationality should be forbidden or is not preferable.

Socialist alternative needed

But this ‘differentiation’ by Marijnissen has no practical relevance. In the struggle for a socialist alternative to the capitalist system - a profit-first society which creates the problems facing migrant and domestic workers across the world - the question of holding more than one nationality should not be allowed to divide working class people. The struggle against cuts, privatisations, and for better wages and living conditions, needs workers’ unity, across all national, religious, gender and other divisions.

The workers’ movement is weakened when the working class is divided, including on the basis of nationality. And this danger lurks if socialists do not put a clear class alternative to the propaganda and lies of the right wing. The fears and anxieties of Dutch workers, which the anti-immigrant, populist right try to play on, must be answered with socialist policies. Socialists must oppose bosses’ attempts to push down wages and working conditions by using cheap, super-exploited immigrant labour. All workers need to be united in unions to resist big business attacks and to protect and vastly improve workplace conditions. Furthermore, the workers’ movement must not allow immigrants to become scapegoats for the lack of affordable and social housing, or the continuing erosion of the health service and welfare state - it is neo-liberal governments, acting on behalf of big business, that is responsible for this, and only a united workers’ movement can successfully stop the attacks and win new rights.



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NEWS

Yemen: International protests in support of TOTAL/G4S workers
20/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Solidarity spreads for victims of wage robbery and killing by multinational corporations

Netherlands: Anti-immigrant Freedom Party leading polls ahead of general elections
18/02/2017, Pieter Brans, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Netherlands), Amsterdam:
Only a choice between the “regular” and far-right?

Solidarity: French presidential candidate Mélenchon backs #JobstownNotGuilty campaign
17/02/2017, socialistworld.net :
Support the international solidarity campaign

Britain: Council cuts can be fought - and they must be
16/02/2017, Editorial comments from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) :
Corbyn needs to stand up to Brexit rebels

Spain: Pablo Iglesias wins clear victory in Podemos congress
15/02/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spain:
Time to build the class struggle on the streets

US: A socialist strategy to defeat Trump
14/02/2017, Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council Woman and member of Socialist Alternative :
Escalate the resistance toward shutdowns on March 8 and May 1!

Greece: Athens’ bus cleaners win bulk of wages owed
14/02/2017, Eleni Mitsou (Xekinima - CWI Greece) and Apostolis Cassimere’s (Board Member of OASA - Athens Bus Workers’ Union):
The struggle continues!

Scotland: Greens back SNP government austerity budget
13/02/2017, Matt Dobson, Socialist Paty Scotland (CWI), Glasgow:
TUSC council elections candidates put forward 100% anti-austerity programme

Yemen: Workers protest at parliament against TOTAL and G4S
07/02/2017, Socialistworld.net:
Security workers demand wages and arrest of colleagues’ killers

Romania: Biggest street protests since 1989
04/02/2017, Mâna de Lucru (CWI supporters in Romania):
What position should the left take?

Quebec: Terrorist Attack in Québec City
01/02/2017, Socialist Alternative (CWI in Canada) :
Counter terrorism and hate with solidarity

CWI: 9th Latin American school a success
31/01/2017, socialistworld.net:
Over 200 participate in Sao Paolo CWI continental gathering

US: Airport protests help block Trump travel ban
30/01/2017, Socialist Alternative reporters, US :
Defend immigrant communities

China: CWI member Hu Xufang forced to flee
28/01/2017, chinaworker.info reporters :
Xu and his family are victims of China’s deepening police crackdown

Russia: Duma legislates to decriminalise domestic violence
26/01/2017, From Socialist Alternative (Russian CWI) website (socialist.news) :
For unified struggle for women’s rights and against capitalism

Tamil Nadu: Mass protests against state repression
26/01/2017, Isai Priya, from Tamil Solidarity website :
Support the right to assemble and protest - release those arrested immediately!

Bangladesh: Hartal protest against power plant
25/01/2017, Pete Mason, Socialist Party (CWI in England and Wales) :
Follows mass strike of garment workers in December

Côte d’Ivoire: Social revolts shake Ouattara regime
24/01/2017, Militant Côte d’Ivoire (CWI group in Côte d’Ivoire) :
Public sector strike and soldiers’ mutiny expose reality behind “economic growth”

Taiwan: US foreign policy under Trump
24/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info:
Island risks being pawn in his game

US: CWI joins protests around the world against Trump
23/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
Photo gallery selection of CWI actions during weekend of mass protests

US: Kshama Sawant responds to Trump inauguration speech
23/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
Socialist council member speaks

Russian Revolution Centenary: New site celebrates and defends October socialist revolution
20/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
1917revolution.org brings rich lessons of 100 years ago to wide audience

Kazakhstan: Regime increases repression
20/01/2017, Andrei Prigor from Campaign Kazakhstan:
Citizens forced to register with police at all times

US: Global resistance against Trump’s inauguration
20/01/2017, socialistworld.net :
CWI organizes protests as millions prepare to fight Trump’s agenda

Portugal: Purge in the Left Bloc
20/01/2017, Ysmail, Socialismo Revolucionário (CWI in Portugal):
6 CWI members expelled in undemocratic attack

India: Struggle against land grab in Pune
16/01/2017, Venkatesh Harale, New Socialist Alternative (CWI in India):
Socialists and villagers wage tireless battle

CWI Comment and Analysis

ANALYSIS

February revolution 1917: What lessons for today?
21/02/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales), printed in the Socialist (paper of the Socialist Party):
23 February 1917 (8 March in today’s calendar) marked the beginning of the socialist revolution in Russia, which sparked a revolutionary wave that would travel around the world.

India: Upheaval in Tamil Nadu
09/02/2017, Sajith Attepuram, New Socialist Alternative (NSA) (CWI India) :
Corruption, nepotism, and other crimes of ruling party exposed

Britain: Universal basic income demand gains ground
08/02/2017, Judy Beishon, from The Socialist (weekly newspaper of the Socialist Party – CWI England & Wales) :
What approach should socialists take?

CWI and Izquierda Revolucionaria – Towards unification
06/02/2017, Socialistworld.net :
Joint declaration of the CWI’s IEC and Izquierda Revolucionaria’s IEC

France: After Sarkozy, Juppé and Valls, now Fillon is on the way out
06/02/2017, Alex Rouillard, Gauche Révolutionnaire (CWI in France) :
Space opening up to left of Socialist Party

Syria: Is an end to the war in sight?
03/02/2017, Serge Jordan (CWI) :
New movements for change will need to arm themselves with the lessons of the Syrian tragedy

Sri Lanka: The year 2017
31/01/2017, Siritunga Jayasuriya, United Socialist Party (CWI in Sri Lanka) :
Between oppression and struggle

Canada: Where are Trudeau’s ‘Sunny Ways’?
31/01/2017, Tim Heffernan, Socialist Alternative (CWI Canada), Toronto

:
Battles of Indigenous peoples, youth, workers will test Liberal government

Russian Revolution Centenary: January 1917 - On the eve of revolution
29/01/2017, Niall Mulholland, from 1917revolution.org :
War, hunger, hated Tsarist regime: class tensions reach breaking point

Afghanistan: The limits of US power
28/01/2017, Judy Beishon, from Socialism Today (February 2017 issue), monthly magazine of the Socialist Party (CWI England & Wales)<br />
<br />
:
Imperialism’s 15-year adventure a bloody catastrophe for millions

US: Build 100 days of resistance to Trump’s agenda!
27/01/2017, Bryan Koulouris, Socialist Alternative, US :
Establishment deeply divided as mass resistance explodes

Millions on women's marches around the world
25/01/2017, Editorial from the Socialist, paper of the Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) and reports from US marches :
Reports from mass women's marches against Trump

China: New US President’s approach to China
21/01/2017, Vincent Kolo, chinaworker.info :
Outbursts raise fears of confrontation

Ireland North: Snap elections called to Stormont Assembly
17/01/2017, Daniel Waldron, Socialist Party (CWI Ireland), Belfast :
Build a socialist alternative to the ‘Orange’ versus ‘Green’ headcount

Spain: What kind of Podemos do workers and youth need?
17/01/2017, Izquierda Revolucionaria, Spanish state, editorial :
Debate within leadership touches on fundamental issues for future of party

US: Trump prepares vicious attacks
05/01/2017, Philip Locker and Tom Crean, Socialist Alternative (US):
Mass resistance needed!

Russian Revolution centenary
02/01/2017, Editorial from Socialism Today, Dec/Jan 2017 edition:
Defending the legacy in a new era

2017:Upheaval and fightback will continue
01/01/2017, Peter Taaffe, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) general secretary :
Everything to play for in 2017

Britain's shifting political contours
22/12/2016, Hannah Sell, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales) from Socialism Today Dec/Jan 2017 edition :
Capitalist establishment in disarray

CWI International Executive Committee: European capitalism “battered by events”
16/12/2016, Kevin Henry, Socialist Party (CWI in Ireland) :
Report of discussion on Europe at CWI IEC meeting in November

CWI International Executive Committee: World shaken by seismic political events
14/12/2016, Kevin Parslow, Socialist Party (CWI in England & Wales):
Report of first session of the CWI International Executive Committee, discussing World Relations

World capitalism in deep crisis
08/12/2016, CWI :
Perspectives documents agreed by November CWI international meeting

Sudan: Three day nationwide strike shuts down the country, in unique defiance of Al-Bashir’s rule
30/11/2016, Serge Jordan, CWI:
Escalation of the struggle needed to overthrow repressive regime

US: Trump prepares attacks on working people,immigrants and women
27/11/2016, Tom Crean and Philip Locker, Socialist Alternative (USA):
We must prepare massive resistance!

Cuba: Fidel Castro, leader of 1959 revolution, dies at 90
26/11/2016, Tony Saunois, CWI :
Castro's life and the Cuban Revolution