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New International, March 1949


Frits Kief

The War in Indonesia

The Background of the Policies of the Parties in Holland


From New International, Vol. XV No. 3, March 1949, pp. 77–83.
Transcribed by Ted Crawford.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


We are glad to print the following article, written for us by Frits Kief, editor of the independent socialist weekly published in Holland, De Vlam, which was established by those socialist militants who distinguished themselves in the national resistance struggle against the German imperialist occupation during the war. It is encouraging to read that there are fighters in Holland who take their democratic, socialist and internationalist obligations seriously by speaking up and organizing against the infamous assault upon the Indonesian Republic launched by the Dutch reaction, in complicity with the Social Democrats, who rule a country which was subjected only recently to the same infamy and humiliation by German imperialism. We are obliged, however, to note in addition that Comrade Kief’s references to the role of American imperialism in the Dutch-Indonesian conflict, and in Asiatic affairs more generally, seems to indicate an appraisal of only one side of American policy which, for all the significance that it undoubtedly possesses, does not suffice for more rounded elucidation of American imperialism in world politics today, which invests it with a character no less reactionary in essentials than that of Dutch imperialism itself. – Ed.

* * * *

One should not expect a Dutch socialist to be able to make public any facts that are unknown to the outside world. For, whether he looks at an American daily or a provincial publication of Toowoomba in Australia, or reads the British or French journals, he is always forced to conclude that, as regards the direct facts, the world abroad is better informed than he. Except for one thing: a knowledge of the reactions of the Dutch people and the political and economic background for the behavior of the Dutch government and of the parties that support it.

Information about the actual events is perhaps characterized by the complaint of a member of Parliament who recently declared that those journalists who, because of their profession, read the foreign press regularly, are better informed than the MPs. The aim of this article therefore is two-fold: information to the world about the feelings and reactions within the Dutch population; and an analysis of the background of the government’s policy.

The military attack on the Indonesian Republic on December 18 came rather unexpectedly for the masses of the Dutch people. This is not to say that they had not reckoned with its taking place in the long run. Conservative and reactionary colonialist circles moved consistently in this direction from the very beginning and certainly after suspending the first military action. By means of the negotiations, however, and by a great number of declarations made by the PvdA (Party of Labor), they pretended that they continued to prefer peaceful consultation. The reinforcement of the Netherlands’ military forces was, it is true, in conflict with this pretense. So was the utterly biased information and the increasingly sharp tone used against the Republic. Still the Dutch government, up to the moment that it issued the order to attack, made a show of not desiring a military action.

However, not everyone was deceived. The two big progressive weeklies, De Groene Amsterdammer and Vrij Nederland, and in particular the independent socialist weekly, De Vlam, continually and doggedly pointed out the road that events would take.

De Vlam followed the development closely. In its issue of August 14, 1948, immediately after the present Drees cabinet was set up, the weekly wrote, on the basis of the way the government was constructed, that this cabinet was a declaration of war against the Indonesian Republic. This was written at a time when the ins and outs of the new government’s history were not yet known. It turned out later on that the reopening of the military action was indeed the principal question in the negotiations between the parties.

Role of the Catholic Church

We shall presently find the occasion to sketch the situation of the Dutch parties. For the moment it may suffice that the Roman Catholics made the demand that Lieutenant Governor-General Dr. van Mook be replaced by their retired prime minister, Dr. Beel, and that the post of Minister of Overseas Territories no longer be taken by a Social Democrat but by a Roman Catholic tainted with corporatist ideas, Mr. Sassen. To make matters acceptable to the Party of Labor, the position of Prime Minister was offered to Mr. Drees.

We must emphatically warn against any misunderstanding arising out of the title of “Prime Minister.” In Holland, this position does not have the same significance as, for example, in England. The Prime Minister is nothing but the chairman of the Cabinet Council and his constitutional position is not distinguished from that of any other minister.

Political Composition of Cabinet

Like Surinam (Dutch Guiana) and the Dutch Antilles (Curacao, Bonaire, etc.), Indonesia has been adopted into the Dutch constitution by a special formula. A new settlement of the relationship between our country and these territories implies a modification of the constitution. For such a modification, a clear majority is sufficient in the first instance. However, the constitution prescribes that Parliament shall thereupon be dissolved, that new elections shall be held and that the modification shall then have to poll a two-thirds majority to become law.

On the pretext that the basis of the cabinet, composed of Roman Catholics and Social Democrats, could not produce this two-thirds majority, the Roman Catholics insisted upon an extension to the right, by admitting a Conservative Liberal and a Conservative Protestant. These points may sound strange, but we shall presently have the opportunity to characterize their relationship more clearly. That is how the new cabinet came to be formed. In this connection it should be noted that both our Conservative Liberals and our Conservative Protestants looked upon the reopening of armed action as desirable, and therefore conducted their election campaign in part from this standpoint. So, everyone who had eyes in his head and could use them was able to gather from the replacement of Dr. van Mook by Dr. Beel – the man who prepared the first military action and launched it – and from the shift of the government’s basis to the right, that the new military action was only a question of finding the right moment. That moment had to come and it had to be before January 1, 1949. For the Linggadjati agreement of November, 1946, and again with the Renville accord of January, 1948, the date of January 1, 1949, had been fixed for the transmission of Dutch sovereignty over Indonesia.

It is well to keep this in mind for here lies the explanation for the development of the events. It was in the profound interests of the Indonesian Republic, having this date in view, for the negotiations to run smoothly enough to allow for the transmission of sovereignty to take place at the time due. On the other hand, it was in the Dutch colonial interests to spin out and confine the negotiations in such a way that by January 1, 1949, a critical situation should arise which would produce a pretext for military action.

The question of the extent of the mistakes of the Republic – apart from the consideration that this republic is only a nascent state and certainly cannot come up to the requirements of an old established power – is surely of secondary importance. The only point of interest is that the Dutch government exploited the mistakes – and provoked them – in order to have the opportunity of dragging out the negotiations in the first place, and in the second place, to be in possession of the necessary pretexts.

Military Intervention The above is not a matter of hindsight. The course of this development was outlined by us in De Vlam from week to week. It is therefore preposterous for the Dutch government to try to create the impression that, except for the Communists, it had the whole nation entirely behind it. In this respect, we repeat, not only De Vlam but also De Groene Amsterdammer and Vrij Nederland made public continuously their disquietude about the developments.

The unloosing of forcible action was proclaimed by wireless on Saturday night, December 18, 1948, at 11 p.m. Dutch propaganda abroad aims to create the idea that Holland had to act militarily because the situation had become untenable. The argument is concentrated mainly on three points: Dutch sovereignty, including the territories of the Republic; violations of the truce; and – this is particularly accented – the impotence of the Republican government in having its orders obeyed by its military forces.

It is remarkable how two-faced a game the Dutch government plays. To make inclusion into Benelux, the Western-European Union, and the Atlantic Pact acceptable, it argues that the abandoning of part of Dutch sovereignty is inevitable. The Social Democratic leaders in particular make a propaganda display of this argument, all the more so since they have accepted the view of the European federalists. With regard to the truce violations, it is likewise very strange. The government complains that the Republicans have systematically penetrated the Dutch sphere of occupation and killed officials who were cooperating with the Netherlands. But in saying this, it admits that the Dutch military machine in the controlled region was not able to maintain “order” and also that in its descriptions of resisting people who deal with collaborators it follows the same line of thought that guided the German occupation.

Finally, with regard to the “military powers in the background.” The Dutch government reproaches the Republic for displaying symptoms which are no less severely – if not more – evident on the Dutch side. The Dutch militarists have, to this day, sabotaged every course that offered the possibility of agreement. They set up concentration camps for Indonesians on a large scale; they engaged in “purging actions” on South Celebes, among other places, which are a match for the most barbaric atrocities of Hitler’s SS, and honored the executive commander; at Boridowoso, they suffocated prisoners of war in the train (a committee of colonial dames is presenting a petition for mercy in behalf of the guilty party who was very moderately punished); and in Pakisadji they methodically burned down dessas (one of the few facts that have become known here) just .as the Germans did in Lidice and Putten.

But the worst act committed by the military was their internment of the Republican leaders in the old-fashioned colonial way, followed by having the Dutch representative in the Security Council declare that they enjoy complete freedom of action.

It is therefore no accident that practically all the reports of the welfare committee of the UN are unfavorable to the Dutch government. In this respect it is humiliating that systematic attempts are made in Holland to belittle these reports and even to undermine their authority by stating that the military and other representatives have indulged too freely in sexual and alcoholic excesses. It is not hard to understand that matters are pretty bad when such arguments have to be made. Hitler, too, in one of his speeches, repeatedly called Churchill a soak. Although this is one of the most indecent and rude utterances, it is nevertheless symptomatic of the “spirit here.” There are differences in shading, but none in essentials.

Because the socialists around De Vlam in particular, as appears from the articles published in it, took the reopening of attack by main force before January 1, 1949, seriously into account, the attack of December 18 did not come about unexpectedly. They had taken steps to raise their voice in protest. Moreover, they had been forewarned, because a Conservative Protestant member of Parliament had let his tongue run away with him in a small country town – Leerdam – apparently under the impression that on that day, “according to plan,” the action would be started. This member of Parliament, Mr.Beernink, said at the time: “I believe I may say that if the government should not start a new action under the prevailing circumstances, or should not press it, the Christian Historical fraction will have to renounce its confidence in this government.”

Role of Labor Parties

On the initiative of De Vlam, an emergency meeting was called on the very night of Sunday, December 19, and on that occasion the “Peace in Indonesia” Committee was born. De Vlam itself published a manifesto in 100,000 copies. The Amsterdam committee convened a mass protest meeting which was attended by several thousand workers and intellectuals. Following this example, a number of local committees have come into existence and other meetings have been called in Rotterdam, The Hague and a good number of smaller towns. On January 23, the local committees were assembled throughout the country so that the action against the government’s policy could be pressed as much as possible.

It will of course be asked what was the attitude of both workers’ parties, the “Partij van de Arbeid” (Party of Labor) and the CPN (Communist Party of the Netherlands) , of the non-confessional trade unions, the EVC (Unity Trade Union Center) and the NVV (Dutch Trade Unions).

The CPN found itself in a very awkward position. It had recently supported the revolt at Madiun, organized by the Stalinist Moeso who had just returned to Indonesia from Moscow, and on that occasion it had called the Republican leaders agents of American imperialism. Therefore, when forcible action was started it could not very well take the part of the Republican government and, consequently, it has left itself a large white space in this question. The EVC, which is allied to the CPN, could not twist the situation as it wanted to, either.

This fact is of interest because it serves to disprove the rumors spread by the government that the Republic is a Communist bulwark. We wish to observe in this connection that this whole history is characteristic of the attitude of Holland toward the Republic, for in the beginning Soekarno and his associates were made out to be “Japanese servants.”

In judging the policy of the PvdA, it is necessary to distinguish clearly between the official declarations of the party chiefs and the views of large sections of the party membership. For while the masses of the Dutch workers hardly reacted at all, the expedition, violently upset and convulsed the ranks of the PvdA.

It goes without saying that the party’s leadership, co-responsible as it is for the policy pursued by the government and for the present coalition government itself, supports that policy out and out. In practice, this means that, to the outside world, any appearance of opposition is ignored or suppressed as much as possible.

Yet the party leadership was forced to call an extraordinary congress which, in spite of the very bad preparations and of only biased information, saw a large number of the delegates – one-third – denounce the policy of the government. In addition, a resolution of ex-Minister Vos was accepted which, without saying so in so many words, included a statement of disapproval. The fact that this could happen as it did is an indication of the confusion which actually prevails.

Duplicity of Labor Leaders

Characteristic of the gestures of the party leadership is that its chairman, Koos Vorrink, boarded a plane that very afternoon to try, by government commission, to win over the Norwegian member of the Security Council by impressing him that the policy of the government is supported by the PvdA. If Vorrink had not met with an accident on that occasion, this fine trick would never have leaked out.

We do not wish to go further into the matter of party democracy that follows from this line of conduct. It may suffice to state that the party chiefs declared that they are “personally responsible” and that consequently they cannot allow themselves to be bound by party decision.

Meaning of Imperialism

The modern trade union, the NVV, has not played a very fine role either. Whereas a few years ago its secretary, van der Lende, declared at a public meeting attended by 40,000 that the NCV would use the strike weapon against the employment of armed force, the directors of the union now agreed to Mr. Ad Vermeulen traveling to the United States to keep the American dock workers and seamen from strike action against the use of military force by the Dutch. It is obvious that the role played in this regard by these trade union leaders is a humiliating, not to say a treacherous one.

Many must have wondered about the cause of this Dutch intransigence, since Holland itself has just escaped the pressure of such a domination and has to thank the success of Allied arms for its present existence.

The simple formula, right though it is, that we are dealing here with colonial imperialism, is insufficient for an objective judgment. The familiar colonial imperialism does indeed play a considerable part in the conflict, as appeared, for example; from the quick rise of Indonesian shares by 20 per cent and more immediately after the military action became known. However, there are a few other aspects of the matter to which attention should be drawn.

By its possession of the rich Indian islands, Holland has for a long time lived above its own financial status. This position was, it is true, already crumbling before the war. Because of the industrialization in the Far East, in Japan, in India and in Indonesia itself – stimulated by the big world crisis of the ‘30s which advanced it far beyond the start that had been made in the First World War – Indonesia could not continue to be an object of colonial exploitation in every respect. However, the considerable wealth of the Dutch, and the position of Holland as an investing power, was built upon the possession of Indonesia. We might point out in this regard that the policy of the Dutch government in London always took into account this possession, as well as the economic value it represented.

This possession not only meant very great wealth for a top few, it also meant prosperity for the middle classes, the colonial officials and the employees of the Dutch East Indies plantations. It opened up to the Dutch intelligentsia the possibility of making a living overseas or of being active on the large estates. Moreover, it meant a relatively high standard of living for the Dutch working class in comparison with the surrounding countries.

Holland has been impoverished by the German occupation. The investors have had to dispose of their American funds to a considerable extent. The German hinterland – that other important source of Dutch prosperity, because of our situation as a transit country as well as our position of providers of agricultural and fishery products – is, for the time being, still eliminated; and in view of the shifts which have taken place in the world economic situation, it is questionable if it will ever regain its old position for the Dutch economy. The Dutch density of population is one of the highest in the world. Therefore Holland has to keep its eyes open for means of economic recovery. A quick recovery of the German hinterland is, we repeat, not to be expected. The speedy increase of population drives toward industrialization but there already seems to be a discrepancy between the possibilities of investment and the general Dutch standard of living, which is, moreover, deepened by the demands of armaments for the war in Indonesia as well as for participation in the Western European Union. A new turning point all over the world is casting its shadow before it (note, for example, Fritz Sternberg’s The Coming Crisis). So it is obvious that the colonial forces in this country, whose prosperity has always been derived from colonial possessions, strive for as quick a recovery of the mastery of this object of exploitation as possible. In this respect, it should, be noted that, from school days onward, Dutch thought, in the average politically-unskilled worker, is dominated by the conception of “our” colonial possessions. Furthermore, the investment in Indonesian funds stretches over to the small savers. If, therefore, on the one hand the formula is accepted that the conflict with the Republic is the outcome of Dutch imperialist interests, and on the other hand the Marxian classification is considered correct, we are nevertheless of the opinion that there are shadings of difference and that these nuances reach expression at the same time within the political parties. It is of interest, however, to take the foregoing into account every time.

Weight of Dutch Parties

Dutch party relations are distinguished in many respects from those in other countries and it is certainly true that they can be explained with great difficulty because it is often the case that confessional, more than political, ideologies play the leading part.

The largest party is the Roman Catholic People’s Party, hence a party of Roman Catholics. It therefore includes, in fact, all kinds of social shadings. The cement which holds it together is the Roman Catholic religion, although the most reactionary and purely colonialist wing has separated itself recently and formed a party of its own under the leadership of the former Minister of Colonies Welter. This party is particularly strong in the Southern Netherlands. It contains industrialists, business capitalists, farmers and workers, and, of course, intellectuals and officials. The class antagonisms which are indubitably present are fought out every time on the backs of the workers. A brief attempt on the part of the Social Democracy, after the liberation, to penetrate the Roman Catholic worker masses, failed, since it proclaimed the thesis that it could form a government only in combination with the Romans. Moreover, since the episcopacy, on the occasion of the elections, issued the advice to vote for the KVP (Roman Catholic People’s Party), the fate of the Social Democratic break-through attempt was sealed.

Ideological Basis of Parties

At this point it should be observed that in the leading Roman Catholic circles of our country, that is, with Messrs. Romme (chairman of the fraction in the government), Kortenhorst (chairman of the Parliament, and Sassen (ex-Minister of Overseas Territories), corporatist, not to say fascist, ideas are having a field day. We shall come back to the meaning of the Roman ideology in connection with the Indonesian question.

The second party is the Party of Labor. It originated in the fusion of the former Social Democracy with Protestant-Christian progressive liberal and a few small Roman groups. The Dutch Social Democracy having always belonged to the groups most to the right in the International, has, ever since its conversion into the PvdA, stored away in the attic, both theoretically and practically, the program of socialism, such as the expropriation of the propertied classes, the socialization of the means of production, the class struggle, and made a principle out of unprincipled opportunism. We can state explicitly that this is no “leftist” backbiting but that we are only formulating what is proclaimed every day by the leaders of the party themselves. The social structure of the PvdA has also changed since the fusion. It is true that the party still has a number of workers among its members but the bourgeois and intellectual element has grown powerfully. This is one of the factors in the shift of its front to the right. Many socialists did not therefore follow the road of the PvdA, so that we have here a great number of workers who are politically unorganized or who have grown indifferent.

We have already remarked that the political parties of Holland have been built up largely on a confessional basis. Therefore we have in addition three conservative Protestant-Christian parties. The largest, the Anti-Revolutionary Party, originated as a party of the bourgeoisie and the workers, in contrast to the Christian Historical Union which, though it started from the same confessional group, has mainly organized the people with the “double names” – the nobility – and the upper middle classes. Both parties, however, have shown in the course of their existence a policy of tinkering with their social order. They embrace officials, small tradesmen, farmers, industrialists, intellectuals, a large number of large and small investors and Christian workers. Their policy is conservative-liberal.

British Influence

By their side is the People’s Party of Freedom and Democracy, a more or less modernized conservative-liberal party, mainly supported by industry, trade and navigation. Finally, there are the Communists. They need no further description. In general, they do not differ from the Communist Parties abroad – they follow the instructions of Moscow just as faithfully. The only difference may be that the CPN is even more incompetent and even more dependent than any other Stalinist party in the world.

With this sketch of the party situation, we can return to the Indonesian problem. It will be understood that in view of the structure and the social basis of the various parties, the ideology of colonialism is rather general. At the same time it will be understood that, given the economic portrait of Holland we have drawn, the inclination to plunge into colonial adventures is almost without restraint.

This is undoubtedly bound up with the structure of our industry which is made up for the most part of minor concerns with a few mammoth concerns at the top. These concerns have special interests in Indortesia as a field of raw materials. Philips and the allied electro-technical industry (rubber, cotton, etc.) the AKU (artificial silk), and Unilever (copra and other nut products) and also, of course, the big oil companies such as Batavian and Royal Shell. In addition, investment-capitalism plays a leading part in this respect.

We have already pointed out that the thought of Indonesia as the starting point for the recovery of Dutch capitalism was the prominent idea of the Dutch Gerbrandy cabinet in London. The proclamation of the Indonesian Republic on August 17, 1945, therefore upset all their plans and it is not surprising that Mr. Gerbrandy is among the outstanding champions of an aggressive policy toward the Republic. At the same time, however, an open action against the Republic could not be undertaken because of Holland’s military weakness. Besides, the situation in Holland itself did not allow it. The Dutch Minister of Overseas Territories, the PvdA-man Prof. Logemann, at one time attempted to win the British for this purpose (we cannot swallow the story that the conflict with the Indonesian Republic is an internal affair whose settlement does not lie within the scope of the Allied military power). But the British were not prepared for it.

The then Premier Prof. Schermerhorn thereupon endeavored to pursue a realistic policy by trying to come to an agreement with the Republic. Every attempt was, however, systematically torpedoed by the. Roman Catholic Mr. Romme, and time and again the suspicions of the Republic were aroused. That was the case at the negotiations in Holland at the “De Hoge Veluwe” estate (Romme wrote at the time: the Week of Shame), that was the case when signing the fundamental accord of Linggadjati when Romme linked up with the accord an interpretation, that was unacceptable to the Republic, that was the case when he moved the military action of July, 1947. That was the case after the Renville agreement and it is the case now when he incites a nullification of the decisions of the security Council of the UN.

In this policy of Mr. Romme – Dr. Beel in Batavia is his political associate and partner – not only do economic and political considerations play an important part, but so do ideological and more particularly Roman Catholic considerations. Romme denied a short time ago an intervention by the Vatican reported by the New York Herald Tribune. His fanatical attacks on the Mohammedan Premier of the Republic, Mohammed Hatta, point to the opposite conclusion. Romme realizes only too well that Indonesia would become a predominantly Mohammedan state. In view of the hostility of the Roman Church against any power which is an obstacle to Rome’s influence – which is why this church is the consistent enemy of other religions, as well as the enemy of socialism, and the reason why it supports clerical-fascist powers – we have in the case of our Roman Catholic colonialists an action combined out of economic, political and clerical motives. With the Conservative Protestants, on the other hand, reactionary and obsolete ideas, with respect to domestic policy as well, are the dominating drive. If it fits anywhere, the well-known phrase of Marx that “the tradition of all dead generations weighs like an Alp upon the mind of the living,” applies to this grouping.

Dutch Social Democracy

There remains the Social Democracy. Although its leaders speak loftily of their constructive and positive intentions, the basis of their Indonesian policy is in reality perfectly negative: the fear of Bolshevism. But that is not the only thing. The Dutch Social Democracy regards party relations in this clerical country, as they are at present, as unassailable. In other words, it is the opinion that in Holland only a policy of cooperation with the Roman Catholics is possible. And since it does not want to act as an oppositional party, as it did formerly – and it does not wish it particularly because it starts from the immovability of the political constellation – it has become the prisoner of the Roman Catholics.

To put it differently: the Party of Labor has, by this conception, blocked off its own road toward breaking this conception. As a matter of fact, it has placed every obstruction in its own way at attempting to win the adherents of the clerical parties.

The Dutch Social Democracy sees the outbreak of an armed conflict between Russia and the United States only as a question of a relatively short time. It is therefore one of the prime movers with regard to Dutch armament, and it also allows itself to be seduced by the suggestions of our colonialists that the maintenance of Dutch sovereignty over Indonesia would contribute to damming up Bolshevism in the Far East. It thus intends to play the American game and now discovers, to its disappointment, that the Americans think somewhat differently about it.

This is not the place to elaborate our view of Russian-American relations, therefore it may suffice to state it without further expansion.

Estimate of Social Democracy

We are of the opinion that while Russia, during the Second World War, had a strong and, right now, a mobilized military potential, it has been considerably weakened economically and has suffered heavy losses of manpower. It is further our opinion that Russia is committing not a military but a political aggression which can becurtailed by means of political and economic measures, with all the greater chance of success because the Russian political aggression starts with a long-term perspective before it.

In our view, this situation is regarded by the present leading American politicians in the same way, so that US politics are directed to the satisfying of the national and social aspirations of the Asiatic nations. They take into consideration that the achievement of independent political structures is a sounder basis for the strong deployment of military and economic power than colonial domination, however camouflaged. By virtue of their economic-authority, the Americans are, moreover, in a position to support-but also forced to support, with an impending turn in mind – the military and economic upbuilding of the Asiatic areas.

Does Holland regard it this way? No, it thinks in all seriousness that by playing the colonial game it is facing up to Bolshevism. And as this is its opinion, and the Roman Catholic party is the main pace-setter of the anti-Russian campaign, the Social Democracy has become the captive of the Roman Catholics in this respect as well.

Because the opposition to the course of the government does not have a clear concept of the reality either; because, furthermore, it is only in part fundamentally socialist; it concentrates mainly on the rejection of main force and on expressing the formula that the Indonesian people has the right to decide upon its own political and economic development.

However much this may be acclaimed, it is nonetheless an inner weakness which seriously handicaps the driving force and alertness of the opposition. In any case, the lack of real political insight hampers the creation of the basis on which a new socialist workers’ party could be established. This is not to say, of course, that this problem should not be put forward right now. But it is only at the beginning of its ripening.

The Dutch government apparently aims at resisting the decisions of the Security Council and not executing them. This can have no other consequence than to drive the Republic, or its leaders, into the arms of the United States and thereby to make the Republic an American position. In consequence, we will have the queer spectacle of our Dutch anti-Bolsheviks playing the game of the Russians.

For Holland, this policy will have very disastrous consequences. It would lay our country open to American sanctions – the withdrawal of Marshall aid – and thereby precipitate a speedy impoverishment which, because of the German occupation, is not small as it is. Holland would then fall into a serious economic and political crisis which would involve all sorts of possibilities of fascist and Stalinist extremism.

That is how we independent socialists see the tendency in the coming development. We are not, however, of the opinion that this is a hopeless perspective for a genuine socialist workers’ movement – on the contrary.

We believe that Holland is now passing through the collapse of the old reformism and that, in the near future, a process of the maturing of radically and fundamentally socialist ideas can be achieved, a process that will undoubtedly also lead in the end to organizational consequences. Therefore it is not saying too much to state that the war in Indonesia is not only a result of the revolution carried out at their end but that it will at the same time be the beginning of a spiritual and political revolution in Holland itself.

This war, taking place in the very period in which the union of all nations is before us for consideration, is, seen dialectically, “part of that power which always aims at evil and always produces good” (as Goethe’s Faust puts it), an apparently inevitable phase in the struggle against all ruling classes and therefore a factor in the real revolutionization of the Dutch proletariat.

Frits Kief

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