Communist Party of the Netherlands

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Communist Party of the Netherlands

Communistische Partij Nederland
AbbreviationCPN
Founded14 February 1909
Dissolved15 June 1991
Split fromSocial Democratic Worker's Party (Netherlands)
Succeeded byNew Communist Party of the Netherlands-NCPN
Youth wingGeneral Dutch Youth League
Political orientationMarxism-Leninism (1917-1981)
Revisionism (1981-1991)


The Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPN), also known as the Communist Party of Holland, was the primary Marxist–Leninist communist party in the Netherlands. It was the driving force behind the anti-fascist resistance against the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands, which resulted in widespread bourgeois electoral successes after the war.

In the 1980s, the party increasingly adopted eurocommunism, resulting in the split of the Marxist-Leninist "League of Communists" in 1984; the League was composed of principled Marxist-Leninists opposed to the increasing revisionism in the CPN. When the CPN eventually liquidated itself in 1991 by merging into the liberal GreenLeft coalition, the remaining Marxist-Leninist membership of the party joined with the League of Communists in founding the New Communist Party of the Netherlands, which has since been the primary scientific socialist party in the country.

Founding[edit | edit source]

The CPN was founded in 1909 as the Social-Democratic Party (SDP), formerly the orthodox Marxist faction of the increasingly reformist Social Democratic Worker's Party (SDAP). After the Russian revolution in 1917, the party took the name communist, adopted Marxism–Leninism, and became a member of the Soviet-led Comintern. The party remained faithful to the USSR's version of Marxism–Leninism during the 1920s, which led to a split when a group around a prominent trotskyite, Henk Sneevliet, founded the Trotskyist "Revolutionary Socialist Party".

World War II and aftermath[edit | edit source]

Tn May 15 1940, immediately after the Nazi occupation, the party decided to organize an underground movement. In July 1940, the occupation force banned the CPN; the party continued illegally, forming a resistance movement together with the RSP. It published a resistance newspaper called De Waarheid (The Truth), which continued under the same name after the war as the party's official newspaper.

The CPN was instrumental in organizing the 1941 February Strike, which was met with bloody suppression by the Nazi occupier. Subsequently, the fascists capitalized on this excuse to begin in earnest the violent anti-communist persecution of CPN members across the whole of the Netherlands.

After the war, the party was led by Paul de Groot, who remained its chairman for 22 years. Bourgeois electoral performance by the CPN was considerable during the post-war period, including 11% of the national parliamentary vote and becoming the largest party in Amsterdam with over 31% of the votes; its party newspaper The Truth was the most widely circulated newspaper in the country during this time.

After the war, the Dutch security services continued their Nazi-era surveillance of the CPN and its membership, including attempts at infiltration and sabotage. The following period was characterized by decreasing popularity for communism in Western Europe, as well as smear campaigns and methodical isolation of the CPN by reactionary forces.

Late 20th century[edit | edit source]

In the 1960s the party did not choose sides in the conflict between the People's Republic of China and the USSR. Nevertheless, a Maoist group, called the Communist Unity Movement of the Netherlands split from the Party. In the 1970s and 1980s the Party began to move away from its Marxist-Leninist roots; several attempts at correcting the party's Marxist-Leninist line were undertaken, but they were ultimately unsuccessful when the CPN merged with the Pacifist Socialist Party, the Political Party of Radicals and the Evangelical People's Party in 1991 forming the liberal, social democratic coalition party "GreenLeft".

Members opposed to the merger, as well as those who had previously split off in opposition to the CPN's increasing revisionism, united in the New Communist Party of the Netherlands which exists to this day as the primary workers' party in the Netherlands.