The Socialist Party recently expelled six members from the party. According to the party top, these are radicalized communists who “want to take over the party”. But according to the SP members in question, a witch hunt is being held for members who criticize the course of the party.
“Every discussion is turned away”, says Olaf Kemerink. Just like Gus Ootjers, he has been expelled as a member. “Because of alleged membership of another political party, namely the Communist Platform and Marxist Forum. The party administration says they are political parties, but we do not agree.”
According to Kemerink and Ootjers, these are “pressure groups with a classical Marxist slant” operating within the party. “There should be room within the SP for several movements. But by labeling these groups as political parties, there is an excuse to expel people with a different opinion.”
‘Radicalized attic communists’
The party administration calls the Communist Platform and the Marxist Forum “in all respects” political parties. “These groups have their own ideology, program, board, meetings and decision-making”, says Arnout Hoekstra, the general secretary of the SP.
The SP says it will not accept double membership. “The statutes are very clear about this. And we also do not accept that a handful of radicalized attic communists are trying to take over our party,” says Hoekstra. “If you want to participate in the elections yourself, you have to found a party yourself.”
The Communist Platform has been around for some time, but according to the SP board it has recently taken a different direction. “Previously it was a small group of communists discussing Marxist books. But in recent months they have become more organized and try to attract larger groups.”
The group’s views are quite radical, says Hoekstra. “They say really scary things. They want to arm the population to engage in civil war. We will not accept that. We will not allow them to use our party to call for that.”
SP willing to take a step to the right
According to the expelled members, the party board has another reason to dismiss the Communist Platform as a political party. Namely, the criticism that resounds on the wish of the SP to co-rule after the next elections and the fact that party leader Lillian Marijnissen does not rule out cooperation with the VVD.
“At the General Members’ Meeting of ROOD, the youth department of the SP, a motion was passed against government participation. Marijnissen was quite shocked by that. It was subsequently attributed to Communist Platform,” says Kemerink. “Then followed the classification as a party and the cancellations.”
“The party is willing to take a step to the right for government participation,” said Ootjers. “More and more classic positions are being pushed aside. If that is accompanied by attacks on critical members, then it seems clear to me that the desire is to become salonfähig and to focus on government participation.”
‘My heart is still with the SP’
The SP board currently does not expect more cancellations to follow. Kemerink and Ootjers regret that they are no longer members. “My heart is still with the SP”, says Kemerink. “We prefer to come back”, Ootjers adds. The two are appealing against the cancellation.
Kemerink had a good chance of becoming a member of the board of ROOD, says the current chairman Arno van der Veen. “It has a major impact on RED that a serious board candidate is suddenly disbarred, without providing evidence and without rebuttal.”
Because the objection procedure is still ongoing, the board of ROOD finds it too drastic to deny Kemerink his candidacy. Therefore, he can still be elected next Sunday when the RED members elect the new board.
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