Path: Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 262
Dutch Labor Party, 262
Variables and Codes for 1950-1962
For the concepts and variables below, use these links to Political Parties: A Cross-National Survey:
Governmental Status
Issue Orientation
Goal Orientation
Organizational Complexity
Organizational Power
Organizational Coherence
Membership Involvement
The "ac" code is for "adequacy-confidence"--a data quality measure ranging from 0 (low) to 9 (high)

Institutionalization Variables
, 1.01-1.06
1.01 year of origin and 1.02 name changes
1894, AC7
2, AC7
Most authors agree that the Dutch Labor Party is a direct descendant of the Social Democratic Workers Party, which split from the Social-Democratic League in 1894 after the league resolved not to participate in elections. This party grew in strength and continued until World War Two disrupted Dutch politics. In 1946, the new Dutch Labor Party was formed from a merger of leaders and members of the pre-war Social Democratic Workers Party, the Vrijzinnig Democratische Bond (a pre-war liberal party), a group of Catholics who had published an illegal periodical ("Christofoor") during the Nazi occupation, and the Christian-Democratic Union. Because a majority of the activists in this new party were identified as coming from the Social Democratic Workers Party, the Dutch Labor Party is considered to be the continuation of that party with a name change.
1.03 organizational discontinuity
10, AC8
This party experienced a major merger in 1946 upon its reconstitution as the Dutch Labor Party (see variable 1.02 above). Also, a minor split occurred in 1947 when some dissidents were led out of the party by Dr. Oud, and another minor one occurred in 1957 when some dissidents split off into the Pacifist Socialist Party.
1.04 leadership competition
16, AC7
Party leadership is generally attributed to the chairman of the executive committee. This position has changed hands twice since 1950, and each time the party congress has voted in a new chairman. In 1955 Evert Vermeer replaced retiring Koos Vorrink, and in 1961 J.G. Suurhoff was elected to the position vacated by Vermeer's death.
1.05 legislative instability
Instability is .06, AC9
During our time period, the Labor Party always held from 27 to 33 percent of the legislative seats.
1.06 electoral instability
Instability is .05, AC9
Elections were held in 1952, 1956, and 1959, with the Labor Party receiving from 29 to 33 percent of the vote in each.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
2.01 government discrimination
0 for 1950-56, AC8
0 for 1957-62, AC8
There is no information that would suggest government discrimination either for or against the Labor Party. Our consultant confirms that there was no discrimination.
2.02 governmental leadership
7 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
2 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
A Labor Party representative, Dr. Willem Drees, was the head of various cabinet coalitions during the years between 1947 and 1959. In December, 1958, the Labor Party, including Drees, was excluded in the formation of a new cabinet coalition. This exclusion continued through the remainder of our time period.
2.03 cabinet participation
7 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
2 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
The Labor Party participated in all government coalitions before 1959, thereafter remaining in opposition through 1962.
2.04 national participation
5 for 1950-56, AC6
5 for 1957-62, AC6
Based on a 1956 survey (sample size was 1234), the Labor Party's average deviation of votes from the population distribution is 8.25. The party is national in character, but draws support more strongly in urban areas and among the non-religious than in rural regions or the catholic south.
2.05 legislative strength
Strength is .30 for 1950-56, AC9, and .32 for 1957-62 , AC9
During our time period, the Labor Party always held from 27 to 33 percent of the legislative seats.
2.06 electoral strength
Strength is .31 for 1950-56, AC9, and .30 for 1957-62 , AC9
Elections were held in 1952, 1956, and 1959, with the Labor Party receiving from 29 to 33 percent of the vote in each.
2.07 outside origin
8, AC8
The founders of the Social Democratic Workers Party, the predecessor to the Dutch Labor Party, bolted from the Social Democratic League over the anarchist course of the league, as manifested by its resolution in 1893 to avoid participation in elections--even for purposes of agitation. These dissidents preferred a strategy of working within parliamentary democracy and formed the Social Democratic Workers Party for this purpose in 1894. In the same year, the Social Democratic League was declared illegal but continued as the League of Socialists. Because the founders of the Social Democratic Workers Party sought to dissociate themselves from the Social Democratic League, they are regarded as leaders of a major legal social organization in scoring this variable.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
5.01 ownership of means of production
2, AC7
The Labor Party favors nationalization of some industries but not all. However, while the party was in power little nationalization occurred, and the party seemed to favor controls and regulation in its actions.
5.02 government role in economic planning
2, AC7
The Labor Party favors an active government role in developing the economy, such as restricting capital movements, but in practice basically relied upon encouragement of productive activities through exhortation and alteration of the economic environment.
5.03 redistribution of wealth
3, AC7
The Labor Party proposes to redistribute wealth over time through large taxes on personal property and inheritance as well as increasing wages for workers with a graduated income tax. The party wishes to redistribute property ownership, tax capital gains, and increase pension benefits.
5.04 social welfare
5, AC5
The Labor Party favors socialized medical care, insurance, and welfare to unemployed and unemployable. No mention is made whether these programs are to be compulsory or voluntary, but the nature of these programs seem to indicate that they would be compulsory.
5.05 secularization of society
3, AC7
The Labor Party is opposed to a political system based on denominational parties, but is not against religion, per se. The party believes that all schools, including parochial schools, should be financed by the government.
5.06 support of the military
5 for 1st half, AC6 -
1 for 2nd half, AC6
In the early 1950's the Labor Party favored military conscription and a large increase in armed forces allocation in order to participate in the NATO alliance. Later the party favored a reduction in military spending on the grounds that the Netherlands was allocating more than its share as compared with other NATO members.
5.07 alignment with east-west blocs
5, AC9
The Labor Party strongly supported active membership in the NATO alliance, and was very anti-communist and especially anti-U.S.S.R.
5.08 anti-colonialism
0, AC8
The Labor Party's major concern regarding colonialism was the status of Dutch New Guinea. The party was generally in favor of granting independence , but no clear policy was apparent on how this was to be accomplished. During our time period, the party changed its views several times, wavering between several solutions including immediate independence, Dutch control for a time, and United Nations trusteeship. The party strongly opposed the stationing of troops in the area.
5.09 supranational integration
4, AC5
The Labor Party supports any attempt to integrate Western Europe politically, economically, or militarily. Since the party has proposed the creation of a powerful European parliament representing every nation joining, it seems probable that the party favors partial relinquishment of national sovereignty.
5.10 national integration
1, AC6
The PVDA (Labor Party) supports the current division of authority present in the Netherlands, where the national government is supreme and dominant and the local authorities handle daily administrative tasks.
5.11 electoral participation
5, AC6
The PVDA has always been a leader in supporting universal adult suffrage. The party has proposed to lower the minimum voting age to 18 from the traditional 23.
5.12 protection of civil rights
5, AC6
The PVDA is strongly in favor of abolishing discrimination which is most evident in the more homogeneous religious regions. The party favors legal and constitutional guarantees.
5.13 interference with civil liberties
5, AC6
The PVDA advocates freedom of expression, and no mention is made regarding moral censorship. Radio, television, and the press are basically "party media" and political censorship is unknown.
5.14 / 5.15 us--soviet experts left-right ratings
US says 3, non-communist left
Soviets say 2, it is a reformist party formed by merging of part of the social democratic worker's party and bourgeois clerical groups. Its 1959 party program proclaims as its goal "democratic socialism" along with the safeguarding of private property in the means of production.

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
6.00 open competition in the electoral process
4, AC9
The PVDA relies on open competition in the electoral process and participated in every election since the war.
6.10 restricting party competition
0, AC8
The PVDA wishes to restrict competition in so far as they would like to see denominational parties abolished. However, the party has relied only upon open competition to achieve this goal, and the party has no objections to the formation of new, non denominational parties if this goal is reached.
6.20 subverting the political system
0, AC8
Since the PVDA has enjoyed the many successes it has had within the political system and has participated in most government coalitions, the party does not wish to subvert the political process. In fact, the party was originally formed as a non-anarchist socialist party with the explicit desire to work within the system.
6.30 propagandizing ideas and program
6.31--2, AC9. The PVDA has a party newspaper and there is a socialist radio and TV association, which is formally independent of the party.
6.32--2, AC8. The research institute provides the PVDA with political education and propaganda.
6.33--2, AC9. Party resolutions and platforms passed quite often, especially when congress meets.
6.34--2, AC9. Position papers are published very often, especially in the party newspaper. Such papers may reflect the position of the party or of individuals in the party.
6.50 providing for welfare of party members
6.51, 6.52, 6.53, and 6.54--AC1. There is no information suggesting that the PVDA provides food, clothing, shelter, employment services, basic education, or intercedes with the government on behalf of a citizen.
6.55--2, AC9. The PVDA provides a recreational service through entertainment shows broadcast over the socialist radio and TV association.

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
7.01 sources of funds
7, AC8
The PVDA apparently relies upon membership dues for the bulk of its funds, but may receive donations from the party affiliated trade union.
7.02 source of members
5 (sector 01), AC9
Membership in the PVDA is entirely direct. Many of the party's members come from the socialist trade union federation, the largest in the nation, but membership in the union is not automatic membership in the PVDA .
7.03 sources of leaders
2 (sectors 01, 03), AC6
Most of the leaders in the PVDA apparently have either a labor or educational background.
7.04 relations with domestic parties
4 for 1st half, AC9
5 for 2nd half, AC9
Before 1959 the PVDA participated with various parties, especially with the KVP, in cabinet coalitions and as a consequence formed parliamentary alliances in support of the government coalition with these parties. From 1959 to 1962 the PVDA was excluded from cabinet coalitions, and often voted with other opposition parties (often the communists) against the government.
7.05 relations with foreign organizations
3, AC8
The Labor Party is a member of the Socialist International, but the party's independence is not hampered by this affiliation. The Socialist International is a very weak organization and cannot pass a resolution which would bind its members unless the resolution is passed unanimously.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
8.01 structural articulation
11, AC9
There exist many national organs within the PVDA, each of which has relatively clear and unambiguous responsibilities of a specific kind. Selection procedures are well defined and usually the responsibility of a different organ than that whose membership is being chosen.
8.02 intensiveness of organization
4, AC8
The congress of the PVDA is attended by six to eight hundred local party organizations. Therefore, on the average, a local party represents 15,700 people, or about 8,000 voters. It is very probable that the party is organized down to the ward basis with over 1000 voters per ward, and certainly less than 50,000 voters per ward.
8.03 extensiveness of organization
6, AC3
The PVDA seems to have some intensive organization in every section of the nation, although in some areas membership is rather small.
8.04 frequency of local meetings
6, AC6
There is little information pertaining to frequency of local organizational meetings, but one source indicates that such meetings are held quite regularly and very often.
8.05 frequency of national meetings
3, AC8
The council of the PVDA meets twice yearly, occasionally more, and the executive committee meets two or three times during a year.
8.06 maintaining records
16, AC8
The PVDA publishes its program and propaganda through the party newspaper, "Het Vrije Volk." The party is affiliated with the research institute and therefore has at its disposal a research division. Since party members pay dues and membership changes are constantly available, it can be inferred that lists are available.
8.07 pervasiveness of organization
18, AC7
Many socioeconomic sectors have been penetrated by ancillary organizations of the PVDA. The largest trade union in the Netherlands is affiliated with the party, and since 70 percent of the union's membership vote for the Labor Party, party control is fairly high. The PVDA has also penetrated the youth and women's sectors as well as the two largest religious blocks with their own organizations.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
9.01 nationalization of structure
5, AC8
The national party organs of the PVDA are superior to the regional and local organs, and some kind of a hierarchy is discernible. The parliamentary organization is formally subordinate to the executive committee, council, and congress in the party's structure.
9.02 selecting the national leader
6, AC6
The chairmanship of the executive committee is chosen by vote of the congress. However, there is evidence that would suggest that the candidate chosen is nominated by the executive committee and the vote in congress is merely a ratification of this nominee. Note that in 1961 Suurhoff was elected unanimously by the congress.
9.03 selecting parliamentary candidates
5, AC6
Each district proposes a candidate list to the national party council and executive committee. These national bodies may alter the lists and have final decision on a list's composition.
9.04 allocating funds
No information.
9.05 formulating policy
5, AC7
Any individual or organization within the party may submit policy positions to the party congress where each position is voted upon. Those positions which are adopted by the congress are official party policy. Since the executive committee's proposals are usually passed, it has more power in forming policy.
9.06 controlling communications
7, AC9
The PVDA owns and operates its own newspaper, "Het Vrije Volk." The newspaper reached a large constituency comparable to any competing media.
9.07 administering discipline
0, AC6
The PVDA allows its parliamentary representatives to vote as they wish on legislative bills, to the extent that they are not continually disloyal to party principles. If a representative is found to be disloyal, he may be threatened with exclusion from candidacy in the next election.
9.08 leadership concentration
2, AC7
Several leaders within the PVDA occasionally speak in behalf of the party, but they are not considered to be binding spokesmen by themselves. Pronouncements are made by the chairman of the executive committee, the secretary, the leader of the parliamentary group, and by Willem Drees, a leader in government coalitions.

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
10.01 legislative cohesion
.90, AC5
The parliamentary group of the PVDA seems to vote as a fairly solid block. On two controversial votes, the group experienced only one member voting against the block. Since legislators are allowed to vote their conscience and since the group allows debate within the group before final decisions concerning official orientation towards the vote, cohesion is probably strong but not rigid.
10.02 ideological factionalism
4, AC5
Ideology is subject to debate within the PVDA, and ideological factions do exist in the religious working groups recognized by the party constitution. In 1954, the protestant working group numbered some 4,500 members and the catholic around 800 members. Our consultant also advises that a group of Marxists formed the social-democratic center and claimed status as a working group within the party.
10.03 issue factionalism
6, AC8
Two large factions were created within the party over the New Guinea issue, and other foreign policy issues had a divisive effect. A small number of socialists split with the party and helped form the Pacifist Socialist Party over NATO and armaments.
10.04 leadership factionalism
2, AC3
Factions within the PVDA do not seem to be motivated by any charismatic leaders, although a small number of these leaders do exist. Sam de Wolff, leader of the social democratic center, was identified as such a leader by one of our consultants.
10.05 strategic or tactical factionalism
0, AC3
There do not seem to be any factions within the PVDA concerning tactical or strategic methods or goals.
10.06 party purges
0 for 1st half, AC5
0 for 2nd half, AC5
There is no mention of any involuntary departures from the PVDA.

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 membership requirements
3, AC6
Evidence exists which suggests that all members of the PVDA must register and pay dues. Since most of the party's funds come from membership dues and since membership lists are likely, it is most probable that these two requirements are necessary.
11.02 membership participation
2, AC5
There is little information available concerning membership participation, but from what little there is it seems that most members attend local party meetings and do some occasional work for the party, such as canvassing the voters during election years.
11.03 material incentives
0, AC3
The information in our file does not suggest that material incentives were important in motivating militant behavior.
11.04 purposive incentives
2, AC3
Since the PVDA has strong ideological appeal to labor and some intellectuals, it is probable that a large number of party militants are motivated by purposive incentive.
11.05 doctrinism
1, AC5
The information in our file implies that the only body of literature considered to embody party doctrine is the body of principles upon which the party was reorganized after World War Two. These principles are not referred to often, but when a party program is passed, this is the justification occasionally used. One of our consultants suggests that the Dutch literature, which we do not have, discusses pre-war sources of party principles.
11.06 personalism
0, AC3
Since the PVDA has placed the name of Willem Drees on the top of all candidate lists, some personalism is evident. However, personalism is considered to be a rare motivating force behind militants in the Netherlands.