Statement NCPN and CJB
There is a lot of commotion amongst the Dutch people concerning the recent revelations about transgressive behavior within the television program The Voice of Holland. Important and influential figures in the media sector, including Jeroen Rietbergen, Martijn Nieman, Marco Borsato and Ali B, were accused of sexually transgressive behavior towards female (and in some cases underage) candidates of the program. This behavior occurred throughout the entire duration of the program. The backlash is justified, but the revelations do not surprise us.
More than half of all women in the Netherlands and almost one fifth of all men have experienced sexually inappropriate behavior. This also occurs in the workplace: almost half of all workers experience some form of sexual harassment at work and 75% of these are working women. More than 30% of all working people are regularly confronted with forms of transgressive behavior, a large part of which is of a sexual nature. Most victims remain silent about this, usually out of insecurity or fear of reprisal, because the perpetrator is also their supervisor or a person in a position of power in their workplace.
So, this is not an isolated phenomenon in our society. The fundamental cause of this can be found in the capitalist socio-economic formation based on exploitation and oppression, on inequality and competition. The class relationship between capitalist and worker affects most aspects of life under capitalism. The capitalists, as owners of the means of production, have all the power over the working class. The workers depend on their supervisors for their livelihood in the form of their contracts or promotions. We also see this relationship clearly in the revelations about The Voice. Jeroen Rietbergen is brother-in-law of media magnate John de Mol, one of the richest persons in the Netherlands, and Ali B and Marco Borsato are both big names in the media sector and hold positions of power within the TV program in which they appear. Program participants depend on the people above them for their further professional advancement and are therefore in a position where transgressive behavior towards them can easily go unpunished.
At present, this systematic problem is being tackled anything but systematically. The responsibility for a safe workplace is placed with the individual capitalists, the owners of the companies and their managers. But time after time it becomes apparent that their main motivation is limiting the economic damage due to a bad reputation. Proactive policy with the risk of disruptions to the production process is not implemented because of the profit motive. In concrete terms, this means that these problems are often only considered afterwards. Long after countless workers (especially women and minorities) have suffered permanent damage. In addition, there is also the risk that the person making the report will be attacked; when one speaks out publicly, attacks from the bourgeois media often follow.
It is obvious that transgressive behavior must be combated and punished. However, this problem can only be tackled fundamentally with real workers’ power, socialism-communism. Socialism creates the necessary conditions to free us from inequality and oppression, and to live together in solidarity. The means of production must be socially owned, so that the workers can control their work and run their own workplace, and managers must serve not capital, but the collective will of the workers. The working people must become rulers of their own destiny. So that a safe society can be built for everyone. The women who work at Talpa have already clearly shown with their powerful advertisement in the newspaper AD where the power for change lies: with the people themselves – with the workers, with the women.
With this goal in mind, we also emphasize the importance of celebrating International Day Against Violence Against Women on November 25 and International Working Women’s Day on March 8. We are building a class-conscious and militant movement for the emancipation of women!
CC of the NCPN
CC of the CJB