National Secretariat of the CJB
22 september 2017 – The CJB was present at the yearly festival organised by the “Communist Youth of Greece (KNE)”. The festival of KNE-Odigitis (Odigitis being the monthly magazine of the KNE) is the biggest yearly cultural festival in Greece, and is visited by hundreds of thousands of people. During the festival the KNE organised an international seminar where delegates of communist and anti-imperialist youth organisations from all over the world could exchange their experiences, under the slogan: “Exchange of experience from the struggles of youth in our countries”. In this article you will find the contribution of the CJB at the seminar.
On behalf of the Communist Youth Movement of the Netherlands I would like to thank the KNE for inviting us for the 43rd Festival of KNE-Odigitis. We are glad to participate in the events that are organized in the framework of the Festival.
I will start by outlining briefly some recent developments and the situation of the working class in the Netherlands, the task that the CJB identifies for itself in these circumstances, some developments in the labour movement and the experiences of the struggle of the youth in the Netherlands, in particular the activity and orientation of the CJB. For those of you who are unfamiliar with our organisation, the Communist Youth Movement was founded in 2003 as the youth organisation of the New Communist Party of the Netherlands.
General economic and political developments in the Netherlands
For the economy the bourgeois economists and politicians proclaim that everything is going very well. The reality is however that the contradictions are intensifying, and that capital finds it difficult to really escape from the economic recession and move on to a phase of capitalist economic recovery and growth. Nevertheless, compared to other countries in the EU the Dutch economy generally seems to be quite able to move towards capitalist recovery – which of course is a temporary recovery – in part thanks to the extensive austerity measures and attacks on the rights and achievements of the workers that the previous governments have successfully passed.
In March there were national parliamentary elections. In general the elections took a shift to the right, with parties adopting nationalist and anti-immigration stances. The negotiations and the process of forming a government are still ongoing, reflecting the difficulties in the economy and the contradictions within the bourgeois. It is most likely that a government will be formed with at its core the VVD, D66 and CDA (liberal and Christian-democratic parties). They promise all kinds of privileges for the workers of specific sectors, that must of course be paid by the workers in other sectors. In reality all “commitments” they make are completely insignificant
They promise all kinds of privileges for the workers of specific sectors, that must of course be paid by the workers in other sectors. In reality all “commitments” they make are completely insignificant
The situation of the working class
What do these developments mean for the workers? In recent years there has been a tremendous attack on the rights and achievements of the workers. The labour market has become a jungle, where every individual worker is left at the mercy of the employers. The so-called “flexible jobs” torment the workers, especially people of young age that enter the production process. The retirement age has been moved to 71. Health care and studying have become very expensive commodities. And so on.
Specifically for the young workers it is increasingly clear that they are deployed by capital as cheap labour power, with less and less rights, to push down the wages of the working class in general. In this way they are being used both against older workers and against their future selves, when they are no longer young.
The task for the CJB with regard to these developments
As the Communist Youth Movement we see it as our task to understand the conditions and the role of the youth that is part of working class or that comes from working class families. We have the specific task to make them conscious of their class position and to organise them in defiance of the demands of capital. Our task is to develop the class struggle among the youth, and to intervene within the labour movement in such a way that their positions and actions correspond to the class interests of the young workers. Likewise, we resolved to analyse the position of students in secondary, vocational and university education, to bring class consciousness to the student movement, and to orient student unions towards the class struggle.
Our task is to develop the class struggle among the youth, and to intervene within the labour movement in such a way that their positions and actions correspond to the class interests of the young workers
Developments in the labour and popular movements
In May the biggest Dutch trade union federation, the Dutch Federation of Trade Unions (FNV), had its congress. Although the militant forces were not strengthened at the congress, the militancy at the workplaces is increasing. More specifically we see that there has been an increase in the number of mobilizations and strikes against the developments described earlier, for example by workers in the transport sector or elementary school teachers. They demand higher wages, better working conditions and less workload. Nevertheless, the resistance of the working class is by far not analogous to the attack that the bourgeois has unleashed.
The youth sections of the trade unions, where we as CJB have a presence, are being reorganised. We are examining these developments and we are trying to find the best way to intervene in the trade union movement, strengthening its orientation towards the class struggle and the opposition to capital and its supporters within the movement.
We try to organise our members that study at the university, to struggle for a class-oriented student movement
In the student movement the situation is very difficult. On many universities there is no organised student union, and many of the student unions that exist are incorporated in the management of the university in accordance with the policy of the government, the EU and the Bologna agenda. Most students with a working class background and future face many difficulties. We try to organise our members that study at the university, to struggle for a class-oriented student movement. At the same time we are looking for ways to develop our intervention in secondary schools and vocational schools (MBO).
The intervention of the CJB and the difficulties that we face
However, we are increasingly faced with the fact that the autonomous intervention of the communists, of the CJB, on the workplaces, universities and schools will be a necessary condition not only for the strengthening of our organisation, both qualitatively and in numbers, but also for the strengthening of the labour movement and the student movement, and for the prevalence of the class oriented line of struggle.
This is our general orientation. Still, we struggle daily with the many difficulties that we face, such as: finding ways to mobilise our members and other workers and students that have hardly any experience with demanding and struggling, to build up our sections, to shape our members in order to become communists, to develop our activity in the peace movement, to develop a strategy against fascism, or to find the right relationship between the youth organisation and the party.
Still, we struggle daily with the many difficulties that we face, such as: finding ways to mobilise our members and other workers and students that have hardly any experience with demanding and struggling, to build up our sections, to shape our members in order to become communists, to develop our activity in the peace movement, to develop a strategy against fascism, or to find the right relationship between the youth organisation and the party.
activity of our members in their workplaces, their studies and within the labour and student movement. By educating our members we provide them with the theoretical tools for understanding reality, both everyone’s personal situation and wider developments. It enables members to do their political work in the CJB and the masses, while confronting the objective influence of bourgeois ideology and strengthening our perception of socialism-communism, as a system characterized by social property of the means of production, central planning of the economy and labour power.
In this context we also value the exchange of experience and cooperation with other communist youth organisations. Therefore we try to participate in the Meeting of European Communist Youth Organisations (MECYO), and to strengthen our bilateral relations with other organisations, especially of neighbouring countries and in Europe.
We grow stronger and more proud, and we are determined to become a strong, militant, mass organisation that is able to educate and shape the next generation of the vanguard of the working class
Overall we carefully estimate that we are making progress, step by step, we strengthen our organisation and our party, ideologically, politically and organisationally. We grow stronger and more proud, and we are determined to become a strong, militant, mass organisation that is able to educate and shape the next generation of the vanguard of the working class, our generation, in order for the working class to organise its resistance and counterattack against the policies of the governments and the EU that serve in the interests of the bourgeois, and, in the end, to fulfil its historical task of ending the exploitation of man by man, building a better future. In that process we are inspired by and we learn from the experiences of the history of the revolutionary labour movement, in particular of the Great Socialist October Revolution that ‘broke the ice, opened the road, and showed the way’ 100 years ago.
I once again thank the KNE for their hospitality. Thank you for your attention.