Path: Table of Contents > Essay on Party Politics > Party 266
Dutch Communist Party, 266
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
1909, AC9
0, AC9
The Netherlands Communist Party was formed in 1909, when a group of intellectuals and revolutionary idealists split from the Social Democratic Workers Party (SDAP) to form the social democratic party. Immediately following the successful communist revolutionary seizure of power in Russia, this party established contacts with the soviet UNN, changed its name to the Communist Party of Holland in 1918, and joined the Comintern as a faithful member in 1919. The party's only name change since 1918 occurred in 1935 when the party became known as the Communist Party of the Netherlands.
1.03 organizational discontinuity
7, AC7
One split occurred during our time period in 1958 when a group of the CPN leadership was expelled from the party. These leaders brought with them a minor portion of the CPN membership and formed a new party, the Socialist Workers Party, in 1959. The SWP attacked the CPN and especially the party's leader, Paul de Groot, for its lack of openness and stern rules of discipline. The dissident communists filed a list in the 1959 legislative elections but won only .6 percent of the votes (compared to 2.4 percent for the CPN) and failed to win any seats.
1.04 leadership competition
9, AC6
Only one available source discusses the early leadership of the CPN at length. It credits W. Van Ravensteyn and D. Wijnkoop, editors of "De Tribune," as the parliamentary leaders of the party and Hermann Gorter and Anton Pannekoek as the theoreticians. These two sets of leaders differed on the question of tactics and communist participation in trade-unions and parliament. The Gorter-Pannekoek ultraleftist line was criticized by Lenin, and the two left the party in 1921 and the leadership to Ravensteyn and Wijnkoop. But Ravensteyn and Wijnkoop lost influence and were ousted as leaders in the 1926 congress. A period of leadership instability followed until the 1930 congress, when Paul de Groot was named general secretary. He remained in the top party position throughout our time period.
1.05 legislative instability
Instability is .38, AC9
The Communist Party percentage of seats in the legislature declined steadily throughout our time period from a high of 8 percent in 1950 to 2 percent in 1962.
1.06 electoral instability
Instability is .36, AC9
There were three elections during our time period, in 1952, 1956, and 1959. The communists contested all three, but they won a high of only 6 percent in the first and went down thereafter.

Governmental Status Variables, 2.01-2.07
2.01 government discrimination
2 for 1950-56, AC8 -
2 for 1957-62, AC8
Although the CPN has not been outlawed in the Netherlands, the government's antagonism towards the party is well known. Government discrimination against the CPN is apparent since the party is not allotted any government controlled radio or television time, thereby excluding the party from this media. A proposal which would cancel all votes received by a party if the votes from that region did not surpass a fixed minimum for the region was narrowly defeated in 1958. This law was aimed at lowering the number of parliamentary groups and probably would have affected the CPN legislative representation.
2.02 governmental leadership
0 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
0 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
The position of prime minister in the Netherlands was filled by a representative of the labor party (Drees) from 1950 to 1959. Thereafter, the position was filled by representatives of the catholic people's party (Beel and de Quay) through 1962.
2.03 cabinet participation
0 out of 7 for 1950-56, AC9
0 out of 6 for 1957-62, AC9
The CPN did not participate in the formation of coalition cabinets during our time period.
2.04 national participation
4, AC6
Based on a 1956 survey (sample size of 1234), the CPN's average deviation of votes from the population distribution was 15.75. The party is primarily regional in character, finding its greatest support in large cities, especially Amsterdam, and in the agrarian north of the Netherlands. The CPN draws virtually no support in the catholic south of the nation and very little in the Calvinist east.
2.05 legislative strength
Strength is .06 for 1950-56, AC9, and .03 for 1957-62 AC9
The Communist Party percentage of seats in the legislature declined steadily throughout our time period from a high of 8 percent in 1950 to 2 percent in 1962.
2.06 electoral strength
Strength is .06 for 1950-56, AC9, and .02 for 1957-62 , AC9
There were three elections during our time period, in 1952, 1956, and 1959. The communists contested all three, but they won a high of only 6 percent in the first and went down thereafter.
2.07 outside origin
8, AC9
The CPN was formed in 1909 by the ousted leaders of the SDAP and their followers. See discussion under variable 1.01.

Issue Orientation Variables, 5.01-5.15
5.01 ownership of means of production
5, AC6
The CPN advocates the nationalization of all large private industries, including banks, mines, airlines, steel and textile mills, and shipping companies. The party also desires the socialization of all insurances.
5.02 government role in economic planning
5, AC5
Evidence suggests that the CPN advocates government prescription and planning in all sectors of the economy, including production and distribution of all resources.
5.03 redistribution of wealth
3, AC5
The CPN has demanded an immediate increase in all wages, the imposition of rent ceilings, the confiscation of all large homes with subsequent improvements in low cost housing, and an increase in taxes pertaining to capital property. According to a survey, most members and supporters of the CPN do not favor a severe redistribution of property ownership, but all agree in the demand for redistribution of the national wealth.
5.04 social welfare
5, AC5
The CPN seems to advocate total government social welfare provisions, including the socialization and nationalization of all insurances.
5.05 secularization of society
3, AC6
Since the Netherlands is a highly religious oriented society, the CPN has not proposed the abolishment or discouragement of religious practices. However, the party favors the abolition of parochial schools, since the party has proposed the introduction of a free, neutral, compulsory school system.
5.06 support of the military
3, AC7
The CPN continually proposes the reduction by at least one-half of armed forces appropriations by the government. The CPN probably sees this issue as a step towards complete obliteration of the military and the establishment of a "people's militia" as espoused by the party's founders in 1909. During our time period, however, the CPN made no mention of any such desire, demanding only a large cut in the military budget.
5.07 alignment with east-west blocs
1, AC8
The CPN often expresses favoritism towards the USSR and has advocated a policy of rapproachment with the USSR. The party has not advocated the establishment of any alliance between the Netherlands and the USSR, but does propose the withdrawal of the nation from NATO.
5.08 anti-colonialism
5, AC9
Throughout the New Guinea issue, the CPN favored the withdrawal of the Netherlands from the colony and opposed the stationing of any armed forces on the island. Concerning the fate of the colony, the party was less sure. Indonesian incorporation of New Guinea was regarded as equally evil as continued Dutch control. Both nations were considered by the party to be colony seeking capitalist nations. However, in 1951 the CPN decided that the colony should be transferred to Indonesia on the ground that the people of Indonesia considered New Guinea as a part of their nation and culture, although the Indonesian government was still not considered deserving of the colony.
5.09 supranational integration
3, AC9
The CPN has opposed all attempts to include the Netherlands in plans of integration of Western Europe. The party opposed the membership of the nation in NATO and the common market as well as measures to allow international agreements of the Netherlands override any national bill which conflicts. The CPN regards de Gaulle and "Nazi" Germany (West Germany) as governments to avoid . Entanglements with them are out of the question.
5.10 national integration
1, AC3
The CPN seems to favor some measure of local control over community issues.
5.11 electoral participation
The Communist Party did not support the 1917 bill which introduced suffrage to all males over 25 because the party felt that such an enactment would not aid the population in its struggle against the elites of the nation. It is also possible that the party feared decreased support from dissatisfied and powerless people once the population at large was given a voice in their government through the vote. There is no information in our file concerning the CPN position on lowering the voting age to 23 in 1946 and 21 in 1967.
5.12 protection of civil rights
No information.
5.13 interference with civil liberties
3, AC3
Since the CPN wishes to abolish government discrimination in the allocation of radio and television time, the party probably supports freedom of expression. However, within the party itself, such freedom is not common, although open discussion of issues is claimed. It must also be remembered that government discrimination in radio-TV time is generally aimed at the CPN.
5.14 / 5.15 us--soviet experts left-right ratings
US says 4, communist
Soviets say 3, the party participated in the Moscow meetings of communist and workers parties in 1957 and 1960 and supported their documents. The party is taking a nationalist position with respect to national communism more recently.

Goal Orientation Variables, 6.01-6.55
6.00 open competition in the electoral process
3.5 for 1st half, AC6
4.0 for 2nd half, AC7
The CPN was basically oriented to the open competition strategy to achieve its goals. The party nominated candidates and campaigns during elections. The party did, however, occasionally attempt to disrupt the political system during the first half of our period.
6.10 restricting party competition
0, AC3
The party does not seem oriented towards restricting competition as a strategy. The party may indeed disrupt the activities of other parties, but no evidence actually states or implies such activities.
6.20 subverting the political system
.5 for 1st half, AC6
0 for 2nd half, AC7
While the CPN basically relied upon open competition in the electoral process in order to reach its goals, party members, probably with the party's knowledge and consent, engaged in disruptive acts against the government in the early 1950s. In one instance, party members and one parliamentarian were arrested attempting to bribe members of the armed forces to desert, and in another, several communists were arrested for causing a disturbance in the visitors' balcony of parliament.
6.30 propagandizing ideas and program
6.31--2, AC9. The CPN operates its own national newspaper, "De Waarheid," as well as other local newspapers and a monthly magazine. The party is not allowed the use of national radio or television.
6.32--2, AC6. The CPN operates party schools, educational conferences, and classes at all levels of the party hierarchy, coordinated by the central education department.
6.33--2 , AC6. The CPN passes resolutions through its central committee, and platforms are passed before each national election.
6.34--2, AC9. The CPN publishes a daily newspaper, "De Waarheid," which often contains the official positions of party leaders. The monthly magazine serves the same purpose.
6.50 providing for welfare of party members
No information.

Autonomy Variables, 7.01-7.05
7.01 sources of funds
7, AC3
Evidence seems to suggest that the CPN receives most of its support directly from party sources, including membership dues and revenue received through party newspaper subscriptions. Most parties in the Netherlands must rely on such sources since most business contributions reach the liberal party, which best represents business interests. Usually about ninety percent of a party's support comes from party sources, excepting the liberal party.
7.02 source of members
5 (sector 01), AC5
Membership in the CPN is entirely direct, and most members come from the labor sector of the population. Although the CPN does operate its own labor union, the EVC, no evidence suggests that membership in the EVC results in indirect membership in the CPN.
7.03 sources of leaders
1 (sector 01), AC3
The bulk of the CPN leadership seems to originate in the labor sector of the population.
7.04 relations with domestic parties
7, AC9
The CPN did not participate in any cabinet coalitions during our time period. Until 1959, the CPN usually fought alone as an opposition party against the government because none of the other opposition parties wished to cooperate with the CPN in forming an alliance aimed at the government. When the labor party became an opposition party in 1959, the two parties were often aligned against the government, but there was no opposition alliance.
7.05 relations with foreign organizations
2, AC7
The CPN normally follows the advice or dictates of the Comintern, of which the party was a member, or the Soviet Union. The strength with which the party conforms to these dictates may vary according to the circumstances within the Netherlands at the time, as well as the ability of the party to make abrupt changes in policy without increasing factionalism within the party.

Organizational Complexity Variables, 8.01-8.07
8.01 structural articulation
9, AC6
Many organs can be identified as existing within the national sphere of the CPN, including the central committee, national conference, party congress, political bureau, secretariat, and the political control committees. Each of these organs has clearly specified responsibilities. Selection procedures involve a considerable amount of informal cooperation, for the central committee, dominated by the secretary general (de Groot), chooses members of lower national bodies.
8.02 intensiveness of organization
6, AC6
The basic unit of the CPN is the "cell" which usually consists of less than thirty party members who must be involved in the same enterprise (such as a particular factory or business). Cells which include more than thirty members normally are subdivided.
8.03 extensiveness of organization
5, AC3
Since the formation of a cell merely requires a minimum of three party members within the same enterprise, it is quite likely that this unit can be found in most cities and regions of the nation. Coverage probably is most incomplete in the catholic regions, and the strength of these organizations probably is greatest in the industrial regions of the west and north.
8.04 frequency of local meetings
6, AC3
Since the cell is given many responsibilities, including the distribution of party literare, political education, and economic planning and reporting concerning the state of the members" enterprise, it is quite probable that this body must have quite frequent meetings of at least the monthly variety.
8.05 frequency of national meetings
Although information exists concerning national meetings of governing organs, such as the central committee, no information reports the frequency of these meetings.
8.06 maintaining records
10, AC5
The CPN expends considerable energies in publishing party programs and propaganda, especially through the party's official newspaper, "De Waarheid." Although there is no mention concerning the existence of any party archive or research division, the party probably does maintain accurate and complete membership lists since dues are a requirement and the cells probably must keep lists of their own.
8.07 pervasiveness of organization
8, AC5
Ancillary organizations of the CPN have penetrated some socioeconomic sectors, but party control over them is mixed and questionable. The EVC, the labor union of the CPN, generally is highly controlled by the party. But the other organizations, such as the youth, student, and women's groups, are partly autonomous of the party in that they are members of the international bodies of their respective interests and not actually operated by the CPN. But since most members of these groups, including the leadership, are members of the CPN, some control does exist.

Organizational Power Variables, 9.01-9.08
9.01 nationalization of structure
5, AC6
The CPN seems to be organized in a hierarchical structure which begins at the top with the central committee and then filters through the districts into the sections and finally to the cell.
9.02 selecting the national leader
7, AC5
The secretary general is appointed by the members of the political bureau as this organ chooses the members of the secretariat. However, the political bureau is chosen by the central committee where actual power is centered. There is evidence which suggests that choosing the secretary general involves some measure of inner power struggle.
9.03 selecting parliamentary candidates
9, AC6
The central committee is charged with the task of selecting those party members who shall be candidates in legislature elections.
9.04 allocating funds
5, AC3
Membership dues are probably collected by the leaders in each respective cell, who transfer most of the funds to the central committee, the organ which manages all central funds. Parliamentarians of the party must also donate all salaries received for their governmental duties.
9.05 formulating policy
7, AC5
Although the task of formulating party policy is charged to the central committee, all pronouncements of CPN policy are made by Paul de Groot, the secretary general. De Groot exerts an extreme amount of power within the central committee and is often compared with Stalin in the USSR. Policy probably is not only announced by de Groot but formulated by him as well. There is one additional factor involved which complicates the search for the actual formulator of party policy--the influence of the USSR over the CPN leadership. As has been noted before (see 7.05), the CPN normally follows the dictates of the USSR and Comintern concerning party policy. This factor may dilute some of de Groot's influence.
9.06 controlling communications
5, AC8
The party newspaper, "De Waarheid," is national in scope and controlled by the national organs of the CPN. The party is not allowed access to the radio or television through government refusal to grant the party free time.
9.07 administering discipline
4, AC6
The central committee has the power to discipline any CPN representative in parliament and has expelled members from the party on occasion. The central political control board, appointed by the central committee, sees to be responsible for the administration of discipline concerning members of the party as a whole.
9.08 leadership concentration
6, AC9
Paul de Groot remained the unchallenged leader of the CPN throughout our time period. He was able to personally commit the party to binding courses of action.

Coherence Variables, 10.01-10.06
10.01 legislative cohesion
1.0, AC9
Representatives of the CPN in parliament always voted as a bloc during our time period.
10.02 ideological factionalism
0 for 1st half, AC5
6 for 2nd half, AC7
Following the "debunking" of Stalin by Nikita Khrushchev in 1956, the CPN was split into two distinct factions. Although the question of de Groot's "cult of personality" was basic to the factionalization, other party issues were at stake, such as the issue of the EVC's merger with the socialist trade union, advocated by de Groot and Moscow. Party dissenters were purged in 1958 and formed a small socialist's workers party in 1959. This party recognized freedom of expression within the Communist Party (SWP).
10.03 issue factionalism
0, AC5
Although the CPN was divided into two groups after 1956, issues did not seem to be of any importance. Those members expelled from the party in 1958 did not take a stance on any issue which was different from the position of the CPN, except in the case of intra-party issues, which basically were ideological in nature.
10.04 leadership factionalism
0 for 1st half, AC5
6 for 2nd half, AC7
The factionalization of the CPN in 1956 and resultant purge of party revisionists in 1958 was basically over the ideology of the party concerning freedom of expression versus the de Groot "cult of personality." This split within the party also involved the contesting of de Groot's leadership. The continued attacks upon de Groot by the purged Socialist Workers Party demonstrated the leadership factionalism which characterized the CPN after 1956.
10.05 strategic or tactical factionalism
0, AC3
The lack of indication of any CPN factionalism concerning tactics or strategy is suggestive that the party does not allow open discussion of this issue. The CPN does not allow any real openness in discussing any part of party policy.
10.06 party purges
0 for 1st half, AC5
1 for 2nd half, AC9
The CPN experienced at least one purge during our time period, that of 1958. The purge involved the expulsion of at least four important party leaders, and these were followed into the new Socialist Workers Party by approximately 10 percent of the party's membership.

Involvement Variables, 11.01-11.06
11.01 membership requirements
3, AC3
The CPN requires its members to pay party dues. Registration of membership is most probably required as well, since the dues must be collected and each party member must be contacted concerning meetings and required party activities. It is not known whether the party requires a probationary period of its members, for although this is typical of communist parties, no evidence of this requirement rests within our file.
11.02 membership participation
4, AC6
The party requires that all members must participate in party activities whenever called upon. However, most members are not requested to perform party activities on any regular basis, and in fact are seldom summoned to aid the party. Militants are usually chosen from each cell on the basis of their convictions, and normally only a select few are selected to perform party activities frequently. All members are required to attend meetings and often are forced to attend political education classes held by the CPN.
11.03 material incentives
0, AC5
It seems very unlikely that any of the party's militants are motivated by material incentives. In fact, the opposite may be true. Most party militants are "blacklisted" by employers whenever they participate in activities of the party, such as organizing strikes, walk-offs, or any employee demands felt by the employer to be unreasonable. Therefore, a CPN member may suffer materially by his militancy.
11.04 purposive incentives
3, AC5
The CPN chooses its militants (those who are often called upon by the party to perform activities) by virtue of the member's convictions and his thoroughness in political education. Militants are usually motivated basically by purposive incentives.
11.05 doctrinism
2, AC5
The leaders and members of the CPN continually refer to the works of Marx and of Lenin. Usually these references are of a general nature, direct quotes quite uncommon.
11.06 personalism
0, AC4
Although Paul de Groot may be considered to be a powerful personality, there is no evidence suggesting any motivation caused by personalism within the CPN.