Socialist Worker

Racist right in Netherlands could see election breakthrough

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2546

Dutch fascist Geert Wilders of the Freedom Party

Geert Wilders of the far right  Freedom Party (Pic: Metropolico.org/Filckr creative commons)


As people in the Netherlands vote in a general election today, Wednesday, the result could be another breakthrough for the racist right.

Leading the pack were far right Islamophobe Geert Wilders—and a Tory prime minister who has copied much of his playbook.

Wilders has told supporters there will be “fewer Moroccans” and called Dutch-Turkish people a “fifth column” in the country. He has also pledged to ban the Koran and close down mosques.

Muslim feminist activist Berna Toprak told Socialist Worker, “I was born and raised here in the Netherlands, but I don’t know how long I will be perceived as a Dutch person.

“The consequence of this kind of politics is that the definition of Dutch identity becomes more and more restricted to just white people.

“They blur the line between foreigners and Dutch people who have a different religion or cultural background, so I become ‘foreign’ in the country where I was born.”

Turkish ministers were banned from the Netherlands last week as they campaigned among people with dual citizenship for votes in Turkey’s coming referendum.

Biting

The Telegraaf newspaper’s front page on Monday was a large picture of a police dog biting a Dutch-Turkish protester, with the headline “WE are the boss here”.

The election result should be known early on Thursday morning, but wrangling over who forms the next coalition could last days or weeks. There are no good options.

The outgoing government is a Tory-Labour coalition, led by racist Tory Mark Rutte, that has viciously attacked working conditions and the welfare state.

Anti-racists prepare for mass protest in Amsterdam as general election looms
Anti-racists prepare for mass protest in Amsterdam
  Read More

Berna said, “The establishment has let people down, and that includes the main left parties. Labour and the Socialist Party were supposed to stand up for the middle class and the working class. But they seem to be more about protecting the powerful.”

Berna is voting for a new party, Artikel 1, named after the anti-discrimination clause in the Dutch constitution. Formed by well-known Surinamese-Dutch activist Sylvana Simon, it could be part of forging a new alternative in the future.

So could an anti-racist demonstration on Saturday—part of the international day of action that includes marches in London, Glasgow and Cardiff.

Berna said, “There is always potential to do something about it. It gives me hope to see a huge number of people with different ethnic backgrounds who were born here and are speaking out against the oppression they face.

“I hope on the march we can create a new narrative of how we relate to each other and how we tackle this racist regime. We need to stand together—we are the majority, with a lot of minorities in it, and the Netherlands is going to have to get used to that.

Stand up to racism demonstrations, Saturday 18 March
London: assemble 12 noon, Portland Place
Glasgow: assemble 11am, Holland St
Cardiff: assemble 11am, Grange gardens
For transport details and publicity to download and print, go to standuptoracism.org.uk/national-demo-refugees-migrants-welcome-stand-racism-islamophobia-anti-semitism

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