Netherlands Labor Party

Netherlands Labor Party

 

(Partij van de Arbeid), a political party in the Netherlands formed in February 1946 primarily on the base of the Socialist Democratic Workers Party.

The Labor Party unites members of the Dutch working class, the petite bourgeoisie, the intelligentsia, and business circles. It is the major influence in the Netherlands Federation of Trade Unions, which had 650,000 members in 1973. The leadership of the party advocates class collaboration. The party program adopted in 1959 proclaims the goal of the party to be democratic socialism. The Labor Party is a member of the Socialist International. The leaders of the party from 1945 to 1946 (W. Schermerhorn) and from 1948 to 1958 (W. Drees) headed governments of the Netherlands that adopted legislative measures banning Communists from government service (1948), “limiting expenditures” by workers (1957), joining NATO and other Western European blocs, and approving the Paris Agreements of 1954. The Dutch socialists actively support European “integration.”

At the same time, under pressure from rank-and-file members of the party, the ninth congress of the Labor Party in 1963 advocated “general controlled disarmament” and the cessation of nuclear testing. The tenth congress in 1965 declared that it was necessary “to strive for the prevention of the spread of nuclear weapons” and advocated wider contacts with socialist countries. After its 12th congress in 1969, the party experienced heightened internal dissension. In 1970 a number of rightist leaders, including former prime minister Drees, left the Labor Party and founded the Democratic Socialists ‘70. In 1971 the leader of the young Socialists (the New Left), A. van der Louw, was elected party chairman.

In 1971 the Labor Party formed a unified electoral bloc with the Democrats 1966 and with the Political Party of Radicals. The preelection program adopted by the Labor Party at its 14th congress in 1972 served as the basis of the preelection platform of these parties. In particular, it contained demands for a policy of détente, the creation of a system of security in Europe, the curtailment of military expenditures, and the prohibition of nuclear weapons on the territory of the Netherlands.

In the parliamentary elections of 1972, the Labor Party received 27.4 percent of the vote. It held 18 seats in the first chamber and 43 seats in the second chamber. Membership numbered 98,000 in 1976. The chairman of the party is J. van den Heivel (1976). The press organs are the monthlies Partijkrant and S en D.

A. D. POPOV

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