Lazrak set to break with Socialist Party
15 January 2004
AMSTERDAM — Having long ago ditched its enthusiasm for Maoism, the rigid discipline in the Dutch Socialist Party (SP) seems to be next on the casualty list, as its MP Ali Lazrak threatens to go it alone in Parliament.
Lazrak told the media on Thursday that it seems unavoidable that he would resign his membership of the opposition party.
“The chances that I will stay with the SP are very small,” he said after holding mediation talks with Tiny Kox, the chairman of the party’s Senate contingent.
“From the talks it has emerged that the SP is not willing to accept my criticisms,” Lazrak said.
He has said he will not hand back his seat to the SP, as the party’s rules dictate, but will sit in the Parliament, de Tweede Kamer, as a one-person party. “I have been elected,” he said.
One of the main points of contention is the rule which states its elected representatives have to pay their salaries into the SP’s coffers. MPs are then paid a wage by the party.
Lazrak has also attacked what he sees is the dictatorial style of SP leader Jan Marijnissen.
Party officials had hoped Kox could agree a compromise with Lazrak and persuade him to accept the party line.
The SP has nine MPs and 43,000 members making it the fourth largest party in the Netherlands and only slightly smaller than coalition government party, the free market Liberal VVD.
The defection of one of its MPs could place a serious question mark over the party’s old-style, centralised manner of operation.
The SP was set up in 1972 when “young people all over Western Europe and North America listened to the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan and challenged the sacred values and norms of the post-war period”, according to the official SP history.
Initially, the party followed the teachings of Chinese communist leader Mao Zedung.
“The great Mao who had ensured that one-in-four world citizens was no longer hungry and with no bosses over head, while the rest of the world was controlled by the traditional (capitalist) order,” the website says.
But gradually, the SP says, the scales fell away from the eyes of the party members and they began to see that the reality in China was very different. “The young SP distanced itself from foreign teachers and became a Dutch-centre party.”
Over time, the SP successfully profiled itself as the quintessential opposition party that could always be relied upon to challenge the establishment.
The Chinese red flag and the communist hammer and sickle gave way to a new symbol — a red tomato flying through the air. The SP describes it as part of the development from socialism to social-ism.
The tomato is “filled with healthy vitamins, but also a tremendous protest weapon against bad political play acting,” the SP says.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news and politics