Members of Offensief, the Dutch section of the Committee for a Workers’ International, are also involved in the Socialist Party (SP) in the Netherlands. The SP in the Netherlands has developed from a smaller party of Maoist origin into a broader party of 40,000 members today. The SP played an important role in the No vote campaign on the European constitution in May of this year. While the leadership of the SP is dropping the idea of changing the system and advocates the idea of forming coalitions with parties that clearly defend capitalism, it is still an important focal point for left activists and young people. Offensief members, while carrying out independent work, fight for an international, socialist and Marxist programme within the SP and Rood, its youth organisation.
Johan Kwisthout is a Socialist Party councillor in the city of Breda and a member of Offensief. He convened the meeting in Breda and is writing in a personal capacity.
Socialist Party Breda holds public meeting to support TURCP earthquake appeal
The public meeting of the SP in Breda which took place on 24 October decided to actively support the “Trade Union Rights Campaign Pakistan” (TURCP). The TURC which organises trade union activists in Pakistan and Kashmir is playing an important role in organising relief work in the earthquake affected areas.
Trade union activists and socialists from Kashmir and Pakistan are involved in setting up relief coordination committees which are campaigning for the democratic distribution of aid as well as for elected committees to organise the rebuilding of lives in the areas.
The SP meeting discussed the background of the earthquake disaster and the reasons why the poorest in the world are always hit hardest in so-called natural disasters.
We example discussed the political and economic reasons which explain the underfunding of schools and other public building and the subsequent collapse of those buildings while the houses of the rich were often untouched by the earthquake. The neglect of public buildings was one of the reasons of the high death toll. But we also discussed that the poor often do not have any choice but to settle down in the most dangerous/ vulnerable areas. The comparison was made with Bangladesh where the poor have the choice between living in areas that are either at high risk of flooding or are completely barren and desert-like.
The meeting decided to launch a campaign within the SP for financial support but to also approach the trade unions for support. The treasurer of the branch agreed that the SP branch will double the amount of whatever figure will be raised by the SP membership in Breda and trade unionists in the coming weeks. In addition to that it was agreed to approach the remaining parties in the council in Breda and to try and convince them of making a joint donation to the victims of the earthquake.