The struggle between the party board of the SP and the youth department Red is approaching a new climax. A number of young people from Red accuse the party administration of computer peacekeeping and Stasi practices; party veteran Eric Smaling has begun a reconciliation attempt, and tonight the Party Council, the highest body within the SP, is meeting on the high arguing.
Commitment of the conflict is the expulsion of six radical young members active on the Communist Platform and its affiliated Marxist Forum. The party administration kicked them out because of communist sympathies.
According to the SP, double membership of these organizations is not compatible with the party membership. Nor would they reject violence if it is necessary to reform society, which the young people deny.
Witch hunt for critical members
“ We are socialists, not communists,” said Chairman Jannie Visscher earlier in an explanation of the expulsion. One week ago, the party board stopped Roods financial and administrative support because one of the six young people, Olaf Kemerink, was elected to its chairman by the members of Rood. And Red doesnt want to drop him, despite the pressure from the party board.
In a massive article on the communisme.nu website, the radical Red-youth accuse the SP board this week of a witch hunt on critical members.
One of the authors is Gus Ootjers, one of the six disbarred members. He says: We have consulted experts and this appears to be a computer breach and an unlawful use of personal data. These are Stasi customs from the party administration.”
Lawyers consulted by DeccEit say that the SP may have violated the law. To prove that members were members of, among other things, the Marxist Platform website, at least one SP member checked whether they had an account on that website. That was done by gambling their usernames, the SP youngsters argue. In this way, the SP would have checked whether some hundred SP members have an account on the site.
But its not just allowed, the lawyers say. “It is a matter of membership of a political party, which is a sensitive personal data. That should not be used,” says privacy lawyer Arnoud Engelfriet.
The SP submits in a reply that the party used only publicly accessible information. Similarly, the party would have received the information resulting from the investigation from an SP Member and not requested it, the party argues.
Former member of the House Eric Smaling, now chairman of the SP Group in the Provincial States of North Holland, sees the struggle between the party administration and the young. “The party board is a bit on a collision course,” he says. “Young people are still in development and should be able to be more radical within a party”. Smaling has started a petition to persuade those involved to think and reconcile. It has so far been signed by 500 SPers.
“Being a Communist is something you can do elsewhere.”
Whether this reconciliation will happen is doubtful: the party administration and Rood are diametrically opposed to each other. An illustration of this is that young people have turned against government participation by the SP, while party leader Marijnissen hopes to be able to join the party after the elections. Although preferably in a cabinet as left as possible, it does not exclude even cooperation with the VVD, which the SP did before.
Sources around the party summit say that the disbarred young people are trying to hijack the party through the youth organisation and that it is therefore quite right that the party administration has intervened. “Fine if you want to be a communist, but then do it somewhere else,” says an insider.
The Party Council is considering this evening a confidential proposal from the Party Board, which is in the hands of DeccEit. It says that “the Communist Platform wants to transform our party into a Communist and/or classical Marxist party. We are distancing ourselves from the Communist Platform because it is contrary to our principles and we reject the method of forming a party within the SP and thus gaining influence.”
Private Internet Meeting
The party board proposes to set up a commission to investigate how to restore the relationship with Red. “As far as we are concerned, this committee is a mix of experienced SPs and involved young people. The starting point is and remains that our youth organisation is one in the SP.”
The Party Council has a closed Internet meeting this evening because it is an internal party matter. Party President Jannie Visscher does not want to react to this in anticipation.
With the participation of Joost Schellevis and Jeroen Stans