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THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF HOLLAND IN THE

1'9208

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THE COMMUNIST 't pARTY OF HOLLAND

IN THE 192081 INT~NAL DISCORD


AND COMINTERN INTERVENTION
by

Frederike: Verspoor

4
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thesis submitted,tothe Faculty


of Graduate Studies and ~search
in p~tial fu1fillment of th;
req uirements for the degree "'Of
Master of Arts.

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'March 197.5

Department of History
McGill Un~versity
Montreal

.,.

~o,

Frederike V~rs~oor

1976

\
1

Abstract
Like other communist :parties in the 19208, the Communist
Party ofHolland '(CPH) underwent a series of splits. This period
has

bee~~led n "crisis of 301shevizntlon" for the Dutch Party:

the elirnin,ation of the remnants of its social democratic origins,


the consolidation of Party organization, policy and tactics.
The troubles

w~ich

beset the Party,.however, cannot be'seen only

"

in theit intern2?tional context 1 tha t is. as part of the" P91i tics

At this' time the International

of/he Communist Interna tional.


<,
l'

c~nc~rned

i tself mainly with its larger and more important

f~

sections.

:!hile the influence of the Communist International

cannot be disregarded, other ,factors must be

consid~red,

larly two:

pal::~.icu-

the nature and organization of the Dutch Party as .

developed in its early years and the changed post-war conditions,


and the trade union policy and united

''1

P~rty

tactics of the

especially in relationship to the syn~icallsts.

leadership

./

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.C

~,

~;t'.I:t~
<i,

~ront

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resuIi1e

8Qllll.1e d'au tres ;partis COldlllunis tes pendant les annes '20,
,
le parti COlnl.1Uniste i.o;LlandG
a subi plusieurs sclssions.
,
,

:i?>ur le parti hollandais, -eette pr iocl~ a t q uali~ le de "cr IGe


l'~lll.!lnation c'oli1lllte e Ges origi19G

do 301chevi~atlon~:

et le raffermisser.lent de ,l'organisa tion,

Id s tro. tcile du parti.

do la poli tio, uc et do
- Le:; iJ.L'olllcG

q~l

ile peuvont cependant

fi
",'
C

tre, per~uc sGulcI.lent dans leur con te_:te

internat iona.l, c' Gc t-.a.... d:i;;.~e,

COII1f'.O

le~

faisant lia1'tic de l~ pol~ tiq uc


,

de l' Llrccrn.J. tiol1nlc COl.lT.1uniste.


80

?'

ac~o.i/lll le pD.rt~ d~n3 leG :lr&nes

OlolJL

}JlS

A cet cpoqUG, l'Internationale

pr6occupai-:t davp,ntal:.;e 'de scs group~c~ les plus lpo2lnt ct '


~uoiquc

plus irnpor"tnnts.

l'influence de l'Lnternatlonale

Con,mnis te 11e lJCut, tre -l.:::~ de ctcL cl' autre s facte urs" do i vent
6trepris en consia~rntion, dont plus partieuli~re@ent les de4x

..

"

suivants:

1..1 nature du parti llollandais et son organisation,

telles qu' elles 3~ sont dveloPl)es dans les premlre-s annc;:: du


par ti et lors des condi tions nouvelles cl' aprs-gyer.re J t la
polj tique

G~rnd

icalc

t la s tro.tGglG de fron t

COTllflun -des Cl ir 1-

:,eCl.n t ..;i' du' }Ja.rtl : plus 3pci21.IGrlle71t en rapport avec

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::-:yndi-

calisteG.
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Table of Contents
Page
il

Preface
Introduction
:::haptcr 1:

v
"

IjhaptGr 2:

1921-192L~

:'he De' I:adt-i3ouwman opposition

C~aptGr

3:

Opposition and Counter-opposition

Chapter

4:

l'he 3yndicalists and the CRH

Chapter 5:

l,

'l'he ;)utch Communist p'arty until 1921,

<

22

46

1924-1927"

192.5-1927

91
104,

Elle Hole of thG Comintern

>,

yoo1:notcs

113

3ib1ioGraplly

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Preface
This study of the Du tch Communist Party
VIaS

(CP1~)

in the 1920s

made posGible by a Dutch government scholarship which enabled "

me to Gpend almost ten months at the Internationale Instituut


. for 30ciale Geschiedenis (IISG) in Amsterdam to do the necessary
reseatch.
,

Jxcept for the work of Dr. Ger Harmsen

there has

beon little in the way of scholarly research into the history


of the CPL in

,.

~-.olland

or elsewhere.

Foreign sources, v/hen they

do rn~tion the Dutch Party are br ie1' and/or erroneous.

It

ViaS

n~ one of the major Comintern sections, holland's overscas

C;:L1pire notwi th::::;tandlngj

Inoeed, in the twenties, the Dutch

communists had little to do with revolutionary movements in the

1.

colonies.

Ehere docs exist, nowever, in the lISG, a v/eal,th of


GP~-i

primar.y source mgterial ,on the

in its early years espccially

in the forrn 0': paLlphleto, newspapers and correspondence.

':;:'here

are a180 merl'Qlrs, publis1l.ed and unpubl"hed, anl a number of,


relev~nt

inforr.1a t

COli1in tern publicatIons and documents 'Nhich contain


iOI1

on >the

..:.;p~ .

rhe

bllograph~

./ more, Jully.
)

discusses these sources

r
#'

.... \

'l'he specif lc area of ccr'ncern of this study


of the

CP1~

the instabillty

in the' twenties and Comin tern involverent - has bcen

partially and bric::,'ly treated by Dr. Earmsen but no extensive


examina tion haG yet appeared.
claim to

bP

~lhile

this study an by no means

definitive It is baGed on a gret deal of original


~

re~earch and treats of a subject hiihevto n~glect~d.

at 'the

Un~versity o~

Groningen

~QPBfully

iii

e,

it will give some idea>of V/hat still

need~

ta be donc.

3inco most of the source material io in Dutch l have trans

lated any quotes.'


,

tal,:e full responsibili ty for the accuracy

of thesc tran:::.la tiol1S.

Comin tcrn cOTilmunica tians to the

CP~~

usually appearcd in the Part:,r- ne\'n~pa.Der, the 'i'ribune, and have


f~ola

thus been transla ted

Dutch vlhen q uotcd.

Certain terr'1S

;'"

rcferrinG ta the Party havc not been translatcd, moetly for


~

re~sons

of precision.

Pqrtijbestuur, for example, translates

as Party management or leadership, not cerrtral commi ttee


or
,
executive ta \'/11ich i t is analogous.

Any quotes ln GerIilan or

1rench have beert left in their original form on the assuoption


that the l'eade'r ie lib;ly ta be familiar \'/i th' thecc two llnguageG.
11.1 thou[;h the research D.nd

is base.d arc m~r

O'ln

conclus~ons

1 an indeb ced to .Jr'.

on which this study

harmsen for the inval-

able assistance D.nd DoraI ~upport which he Gave ~.


aC3 L: ced P1e in locatln,:
"lith

GOliie

ai his o\'m:
~,

clsewherc and r,lany

fJ18.

~an

or ,the

.:e not only

cel' ial but very ldnc.1l:r 1,Jrovided

1".0

unpublis[l8d typescript not avnilable


articles 'on the CF: .. v/hich he ho.d
ln th,e absence of a cowpre-

\Jr i tten, published and unpublished.


",

hetls ive history of the Jut.ch Comr,mnist Par cy, he supplied l!1uch
of the background inforwation
\'li thout which m.y research would
,
l would also li1:e ta thanlc the staff
10n~er.
,
of the iISG for their co-operation and assistance and the

have tal:en jJ1uch

studen CS in Dr.

~.arlilsen'

vler~ccollege

for some interes tin,s

ins ..Lhts into :Jutch poIl ticS"~ , Gloser "'ta home, l \Ioul lil~e to
ackno\'lledge .the ssistance of J.
,

1:..., van

Alphen, 1,lirst ':;ccretary

"

for Press ftnd Cul curaI A:L'f::rc at the" .{oyal i:ethcrJ.andfJ "';;mbassy

Iv
111

Otta\'lD.

:;>inally l

and o.:: ....ls GO'TerriIlcnt; ';:or malnG rny researh poGGible.

111USt

thin1' ProfcsGor 1;. C. Schliepcr 1J hic, cri ti-

c-leus und ;dv ~ee 0


~eaknesscD

llY\'/r l tten

copy. pOintin: out a nUI"ber of

al1U er ara.

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Introduction
During the

1920~

\.-.,-V

the Third or CODuounist

~nternational,

iounded in 1919 and populf>l.Hy---knoYl_n as. the c.:orl1intern,

'.laS

trans-

iorlilod froIn a loosely organlzed In:Jtrumen t Qf wor Id revolution


into a ;,1Onolibllic instruLlent of .soviet' foreign policy, as enunciated by the COlnmunist Party
of the S-Ovlet,Union (CPSU) .
~-----------

.in

the process r.lell1ber partie's j designated as sections, were -"001sh8vized", that is, made to conform in ol"ganizatlon and policy to
th.<; dictates of the J.~usslan Gommunist fart y , regardless of ..
~

national peculi~rities-ana-exigencies, and forced to recognize


ancj.Jt~le

the suprer.lO.cy of 30viet .-{ussia

CPSU.

The transformation

1lwas not a STI100th one and in many cases required direct intervention from l oscow ~ resul ting in spli ts, expuls
..;;~rife.

lons- and

factional

The French and ,'}erman parties are notable exar'1ples.

:::n tllG early dayt; of the Corr.intern the r,ember sections l'Iere
Independent

na~lonal

cortlmw1ist. and GOllletir.lcG so?Iallst. parties

1001~inG to COr.lintern h'adqunMerG ln : OGCOW perhalJS J.~or guidance


'

and to the Russlan Party for inspiratJon but controlling

thell~

-~

Q\'Jn-h~fairG.

w~~ r~spccted

Soviet Jussia

because it had been

th~

first to overthrow the capitalist yoke; similarly the Dolshe-

vil~

or Russian cCommunist Party was

respect~9.

Dut in the early

twcnties i t was still -be-li:"cved that siTllilar su.ccess in Europe


_"

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v''-

and the rest of the worhl VIas lmrnnent. - I.n.dae_QJ revolution


"

outsi~e Russia was then not only considered likely but also

necessary in ord-er to ensure the success of socialism inside

Soviet RU8sia.

,Jhen it bcme apparent, nOWE;.V8r, that

~uropef

If

,vi
to say
nothing of the rest of the world, was not'going to emulate
,
'~

the Russian experience in tne foreseeable future, Soviet Russia

~ . and the CPSU rQse in prominence.

They were no longer

~rimu8

inter pares.

The failure of the revalution in .2:urope and elsewhere,


'"

while contributing ta the consolidation of the Comintern in


Russh:m hands and 'the creation o! subr,ssive member parties,
.

0'

was not the only factor ln the "bolshevizatiotl" of the Cominter4n.


rJ

A power struggle within the CPSU for the Party leadership, left

vacant by 1enin's death early i~ 1924, extended into the Comintern and i ts sections and l.1erged wi th centr ifigal' forcoes alrea?y
at work.

rhese centriEigal

force~

"" important and can perhaps


are'

best be understood by examining the nature _and p,urpose oI the


Q

~ommunist

International.

Lenin wa.nted to avoid the weal'messes

of the Second

Internat~onal,

a sociwist federation which had

crumbled when rr10st of i t$ mernbers forsook international solidari ty for nationa.l interests., 1:8 thu3 crca-ced a hierarchical
!
\ "
orGanization with a stron[, cnt~al' controllint; body poss"s::Jl1[';
coerclve powers.

~o

malntain discipline

bu~

allow Ireedorn of

e;:pre'Gaion he based th nev.' International on the prlnciple of


dernocra tic centralisTa,

'rhiD pr inciple meant,

ln theory, that an

in.sue could be fully and freely discuss,ed and deba'ted'> until a


"

decision vIas reached at which time aIl nembers' had to ',:omp~y


,

with that decision.


Communist Party:

The same princlplc was to apply to each

free distussion but central author i ty.

'fhe

'':\'lenty- onct Condi tions Ir passed a t the second ,J or ld Congre ss "of


,.
,.
./
the Comlntern in 1920 clearly enunciated these hierarchlcal and
Il

.,.,

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... rom var 10US
.
vIas some oppOS

,I h~ere

centralistic principles.

.l.

2uroJ2ean left vling leade,rs but it was insufficiel)t to effect a ; J Y

~UbG ~antial

db. n~ts

even to rGffiOVe the headq uarters frolll

OSCQW.

'Ehe .J~~8cutve Commi t cce of th' C:ommunist IntQlrnational


includin~:;

i tG sv.bdivi"siom:s -

administra ti're h~aclquarters or


decis ion-maldnc body to
Gubordinate.

~ho

3.

\'l8.S

then not simply an

norr..lnal leadership but

",

CPSU had only to takc over and

nin.:; the :1usslans had

even the C?SU,t ln tne or.:/; \'lac

wh~ch

Comintern to its own ends.

[inal

3.

fash~Q0

the

It is true that evon from {he bogin-

~redominated

somewhat in the

Cor,lint~rn

.];:ecutive. both n1J1.mericaJ-ly and, in pr.,estige. and hnd {,lCddlod


-'

the affair's of other po..rties, 'especially on questions of revolutiono..ry cactlcs, but they. had been res trained to certain extent
l the presence of' other members on the

~xecutiv8

a.r;ld by the

rGlative inepcmdence and indivldualjty of the nrrtional sections..'

..

:'hen, too, the ,major concern 118.d boon to further the cause dJ::

r0'Volatioh and

'

\'Ji

th 80~lid2..1.~i t;,r ',liJ"hin COl.lintern r,-ln::~.


:

still o;:isted.

lhis

3.1~

chanced,

ho~evcr,

as

'the 0113.nCe13 0.1:' 3. Juro},Jean l'ocy-olution rccede~ apd as JtaliA.


tl;~htened

11is grasp on the leadership of the CPSU.

'l'ohe ::;P3

r03e to ~scondancy in the Cdklntern and a~ it became more ~ominant ~hc power s!ru~gle8 nithin lts ranks were Gxt~nJod to the
,

Intern.2 tional and i tG soctions.

Opposing factions arosE}, 'or

Hore . cron ted, and \Jere favourod according ta the cur.rent line
The polic~eG enunciated by the Russian~controlled

in .. oscow.

"

Corntern relectod' the manip1,l.lation l'or the leadership rather .1

thl..n actual econorc, 3.nd political cendi, tionS".


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Obdience to

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orders from !',:oscow', rat-hier than correct tac.tics and

~,

-...

~~

...0'

became the majo.r' concel'n.


,

f.

toler.at~.

was no lpnger

,+,

Indivi~ual

interpre~

and action

!,:any communists left or were expelled

frorn the ir- parties, often oG.cause of direct interference from'


~

~,

I.oscow::those who remaincd fell in line.


\

0/

.l'he spli ts \~hieh oeeurre,d in almost aIl


Q

"

the comm~nist
')

~ecn

parties in the 19208 ean thus be

as tbe result of direct

and indirect 'interferen~e~by the Russian communis~ through the


.

,.

It i3 erron~'ous, however. to blame the COV1intern and

,Comintern.

the Russians for aIl the disseQsion apd,diseord


~

,,1{

whi~h

...}

ized the communist parties of the 1920s.

cha:r;:acter-

Personali ty conflic't8,

power struggles and dii'ferences of opini.,on


over taetlcs, o;r'gani,

intern-~ P~rty struggles.


t
_' '']'1impor:ant
" parties
Gma11eL(..

zation and policy also contributed' to

- ..
iB especia11y true

This
v~ich

of the

1~ss

vIere allo.led grea ter freedom of action - or inac tion - by

~ the Comintern Executive thafl the l~rger parties. ,.,.,.~e Communiot


Party of
...

~id

,.

l:o~land

(CPl~)

wac one :Juch ,Gecondary Party J~~F~.o3e

a~fair::::;

'1~

'

not greatly L,:'fcet COll1intern or Soviet iilterest::::;:"yct

ViaS

embroiled in, factional strife 'for the large" part of' the twentics .
. :}omintern in1Jerrference, al though. .important, can certainly not

account complete ly for the f~ur spli ts Whieh, ,,~?C~rred

GPE between 1921 and 19?7.

the

'

Other factors. must also be considered.


-

The following study of the four splits and of-the fact0rs invol;

<

ved aff.rds , -an interesting insight- into Comlntern behavior


\'/hen i ts interests were not directly l1,volved and converselYJ
into"the bellavior 'of a Communist Party 8Y.:'periencing a minimum
of Comintern interference.

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ix
';. . Since so li tt1e is genera11y known about the Dutch Commun;
ist Party, especia1ly in Znglish, Gomething should be first be
,

said about its structure.


posse8sid- on1y

Par a

~mber

of years the Party

rUdimentary o~.3anization due to ].. ts s~all s,ize.

Cl

~-' ~

1he leadership, or e~ecutive, 'was vested in ri body cal1ed the


o

Parti.jbestuur 'onGistinG of about eight Party r,18mberG ,~, a;r. though

~ti1 1925 n.c.tual control vms in the hands of a group of thrc'e\r

"

-;h~Partijbcstuur
,
~entra1

could be consldered roughly analogous -to; a

cb~~ittee.

At various times this body was

subdivid~d

by a po,litical bureau, 'an orgo..nizationa:l bureau and a presidi,um

- " . : ' 0,

The Party'rtself was divided into regionfil

(Dige1i.j li::sbestuur! .

"

"

sections (Afdeelingen) ,each of \'lhich ';Jas le'd -by an Afdeelings<'"

'
-

bestuur. ' Sections


located
in the same area were organized into
<~as

Pedera tiont'. _ In theory final authori ty

ixed in the annual

Coneress \llllch '.'las responsibl~ for filline; the Par ty positions


and -For decidinc on policl:os and" tD.cti.cs-~',' Lacl: of Illelnbershlp "
!.

~~

l)articipation "oe t\leen Conc;re.sses ;J.nd ::aulty cO;-,l.rdloication bet\'leen


"

the ~artiJb~htuur and t,pc ,rilembership, hOHever,

for the

'coHlmisslon anc1

:J..

I.ljil.~1

i t dl'-fi'icUl t

l'

ta e::et',c ise "Juch real control~

COD~~eGSCs

~hc uituQ ~lon -a cO'...!.';'cil {movm

or

f'l..

"

l'o illlpro':c

'-

the Parti.ir~nd, a -tra.qe union

board of ar'Oi tration \lere created.' 'rh$ CP


-, H" had,
,
aD

.. ,

CI

course, a Party nel,'l::>pap'G):',


the Tribun.e, and a T1JOnthly theore'1
~

1..

,
t

tical journQ.,h7w)ch changed wi th almost e)very Epli t.


~...-

Doth

publica tl9.,n han' Dore than,'one edi tor, three on four not be ing
,

uncommon.

As the Party became .. more closely baund to the 80mintern

and 'as i ts jfll.flbcrship .lncreased i t8 structure became Inuch mol:-e ~


'1-

cor.lp1ex but

thi~

did not occur until the 19308.

For, a -large
1 .. '

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part of the 1920s the question of Party organization was a major


issue in the CPH.

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Chapter 1:

The Dutch Communist Party until 1921

The Communist Party of Holland (CPH) officially came into

being on 16 November 1918 in Leiden when the Sociaal Democratische Partij (SDP) decided to follow the example of the Bolshevik party in Russia and change its~name.

The SDP thereby

disassociated itself from the "socialist betrayal" in the War


just ended and demonstrated its solidarity with the Bolshevik
Revolution and the Bolshevik party. A year late~ it joined the

Communist International, establishing ti~s which were to have a


profound effect on its developments.

The SDP, however, had

been in existence for nine years before it became the Dutch


90mmunist Party and became linked to an international movement.
This period had formed its character and structure and cannot
be ignored in examining the struggles and conflicts within the
CPH during the 1920s.
The SDP had emerged from a,ponflict, during the first

<

decade of this century, within the Sociaal Democratische Arbeiders


Partij (SDAP) between a reformist leadership

an~

a group of

revolutionary marxists, mostly young intellectuals.


in Europe soial democratic
l

controversy over the

par~ies

questio~

Elsewhere

were experiencing a similar

of reformism and revisionism.

Only

in the Netherlands, however, did the controversy terminate in an


open break and the creation of a new social democratic party.
The

~iate cause of the rup~ure was a weekly paper, known as

the Tribune, which had been founded in 1907-by the young intellectuals to voiee their views.

'Th~s

...

paper was often critical

of the reformist-minded SDAP ,leaders who in their turh, especially


,

--

)
P. J. Troelstra, took strong

e.

of the Tribune.
Tribune editors

except~Qr

to the views and existence

Early in 1909 the SDAP leadership presented the'


wit~

a choice'

either give up the Tribune ,and


,..-----

work'on a Party-controlled weekly or face expulsion.

The three

edto~s, David J. Wijnkoop, Wilhelm van Ravesteyn Jr., and J. C.

Ceton, chose the course


of independence.
,

A number of'c~-founders

and co-workers of the paper, among them Herman Gorter and Anton
Pannekoek, left the SDAP in sympathy.2

In March 1909 tne SDP

was formed, comprising approximately 400 members,J


chosen as chairman.
~

Wijnkoop was

Ceton and Gorter were elected to the leader-

ship (Partijbestuur), where Ravesteyn soon joined them.

The

new Party adopted the SDAP)program without modification, resolving to practice what the SDAP leaders had only preached. 4

It

also decided to continue to publish the Tribune in arder to


conduct propaganda, freely and openly, for Marxist principles
and tactics.
9~
?

the international level attempts were made by Camille

Huysmans, secretary of, the Secon~ International to which th~


SDAP belonged, to reconcile the differences and to restore unit y,
but the "Trlbunist s " were adamant.

5 The SDP was then granted

representati~n at the congresses of the International but no

vote. 6

It is intere~ting to note that Lenin was sympathetic

to the splinter group~ he approved of the firm stand taken by'


the Tribunists against opportuntsm and of their equally firm
)

adherence to
reflected

in

~evolutionary

Marxism.

ThIs approval is clearly

letters which he wrote to Wijnkoop and Gorter

during the War. 7


"

".

"J'

In Holland the srlP also made little headwity.


~/-

Until short,ly

beiore the outbreak /of the War, i t was engageq largely in fighting for its own survival, preserving its ideological and doctrinal.
purity and attacking the reformism of the SDAP. 8 It had,little
~influence

beyond its own membership, which hovered around 500.


(

'f

This rather precarious existence and limited scope of action


a number .Qf consequences for the SDP. 9 A high degree of

~ad

~entral'i-

zation was inevitable because,of its $rnall size and restricted


financial resources.

Leadership functions were therefore in the

hands of a small. group - specifical1y the "Tribune 'triurnvirate"


-" of Wjjnkoop, Ravesteyn and Ceton. lO A strong P.arty loyal ty was
engendered by the hostile environment and the Party leaders came
to be seen as the guardians of doctrinal

It is not

orthod~xy.

surprising that th SDP became a small, self-righteous sectarian


,group with a partriarchal and autopratic leadership.
Shortly before the War, but too late to ctiange its basic
character, the Party began to emerge from its isolation.

In \

1911 it lent support to a syndicalist strike and worked with

. syndicalists on an action committee against the rising cost of

livin~.ll

During the,War itself, which it cond~mned, the SDP


.."

joined with social anarchists, Christian


~nd
,

soci~lists,

pacifists

syndicalists in th carnpaign against mobilization, food

shortages ( cattsed by exports ) and rising costs. 12:

Co-operation

\between these groups in'demonstratiqns and food distribution soon

\:-~d to tr:~i; ..for~ation of the Revolutt-OnaiI;e'~'St>cialisti~che Comit


(RSC) which' caI!l,e under the de

fac1>o~ leadeh.shi~

of t)1e SDPer.s.

The socia1ists used the Cornmittee not only to organize demonstra/

tions

b~t

di~ect

also to

spontaneous

p~pular

demonstrations and

food riots into revolutionary manifestations, such as the


strike. 13 In this manner, the members of the SDP gained practical experience in agitation and made outside contacts.

At the

same 'time, many anti-war agi1ators were exposed to Marxist


theory.
efforts.

..

Irt 1917 the SDP began to reap the benefits of its


The food and work'shortage was becoming critical and

appeared likely to grow worse.

pop~lar

revolution was succeed-

ing Russia.

Hundreds of eager would-be revolutionaries now


joined the 'SDP ~nd by 1918 the Party had doubled i~ size. 14
- Nei ther the SDP nor the RSC were able,

(~owever,

a significant number of people from the SDAP.

to attract

Protest had arisen

in Party ranks when Troelstra decided to place natiortal unit y


-

~d

defence aboya the principle of class warfare, but partly

~because

the schism of 1909 had weakened the internal,opposition

- not aIl had left - no ~ffective counter position coalesced,15


Only a small group of about 200 persons under Henriette Roland~ ~

Holst broke

w~th

the SDAP

~~

....

1915.

At first it formed a

se~rate

organization, the Rev91utionaire Socialistische Verbond (RSV),


'.<If, " (

but a year 1ater, rpersuaded by Karl Radek at Zimmerwald, RolandHolst joined the SDP with about 150 of her followers. 16
The SDP

continue~
/0"

-~

to prosper outwardly in 1918.

Under

the newly introdUed universal manhood suffrage and proportional


'/

representation, tw~:'" SDP candidates, Wijnkoop and Ravesteyn, were


..,1 ' -

lected to the second or lower house (Tweede Kamer) of the Dutch


parliament.

There

. established an informal alliance with a


Christian socialist, J. W. Kruyt, and a sy~dicalist, H. Kolthek.
~ney
,

In Nvember the SDP held its ninth annual Congress in Leiden and
',became the Communistische Partij in Nederland, or Communistische , (
Partij Holland (CPH) , as it was more commonly known in the 1920s,17
At the Congress as weIl the ties with the syndica~ist labour
unions were fO:L"maTized.
"

1f

Sj;g~f,icanily, just a few ,~ays bef~re the Leiden congress


1

Hol1and's

,one,~ttempt
,
i"

ended in faill.ll;',e.

18

-~

at a pro"etarian {revoluti'on began and


! '

~i>

The SDP had not c6nsidered the time ripe

was only marginally involved.

Strangely enough, the main figure

in the attempt was the SDAP leader, Troelstra, who had allowed
himself to be

ca!ri~d

his own rhetoric.

away by the

revolutiana~y

atmosphere and

The defeat of the revolution was associated

with Troelstra's failure and therefore affected neither the


spirits of the SDP/CPH nor its reputation.

Revo1u{ionaty opti-

mism prevailed as e1sewhere in Europe and the Party continued


to attract new members.'

Erly in 1919 the CPH joined a the Third, or Commun~st"


International as soon as it was founded.

The following year a

delegation of Dutch communists attended the second Congress of


,the new body.

Then in 1920 Karl Radek, secretary of the Comin-

tern,.decided to establish a West European Bureau of the International 19 in Amsterdam, to be run by Dtch communists. Shbrtly
afterwards the Bureau was responsible for organizing a small
conference. 20
The schism of 1909 appeared to have been vindicated.
P~rty

was

st~adily

The

growing in size and gaining in influence.

It

had established ties with the then 'expanding syndicalist labour


congress.

Its membership in the Comintern not only gave it

t'

..
r

6
international stature but also
shevik revolution.

ent it the prestige of the Bol-

Finally, the SDP, and n~ the SDAP, had kept

faith with the teachings of Marx

hroughout the War years.

The tide of the revolution tu ned, however, and with it the


fortunes of the Dutch Communist Party, as well as of other leftist parties in Europe.

Capitalists recovered from their fright

and regained the upper hand.


piecemeal reform.
SDAP suffered.

Workers turned from revolution to

Party membership declined;21 even that of the

The number of organized workers aiso decreased.

Relations between the CPH and the syndicalists became strained.


All these factors aggravated the internal contradictions and
weaknesses of the Party and contributed to the lnternal conflict
which was developing.
The first conflict of note within the Party was the opposition, led by the poet Herman Gorter 22 and the astronomer-mathematician Anton Pannekoek,2J to the Party leadership and its
policy.

After 1919 the conflict took on international dimen-

sions when Gorter and Pannekoek extended their criticisms to the


Comintern and Boishev ism in .genera1.

By tha t time they formed

part of a group known as the ultra-left.

Both the internaI

policy quarrels and the broader ideological dispute were to have


long-lasting repercussions on the CPH.
The

Gorter-Panneko~k '~pposition

made its first public. ,


appearance at the eighth pa1ty Congress. in 1917. 24 Nei ther of
the leading protagonists was present however - Gorter was him,

self in Switzerland - but their views were presented by spokesIDen such as B. Luteraan and W. S. van Reesma.

The latter was ~i-

:
,

-'

~~__~__--~-

7
to play a role in subsequent' Party 'intrigues.

At the Congress

the Tribune editors, especially Wijnkoop and Ravesteyn. were


accused of having'made a distinction between Entente imperialism.
and German imperialism and of favouring the former.

The two

leaders were also reproached for co-operating with the Christian


socialiste and for
refusing to pali',ticipate
ln "t"he Zimmerwald,
t
~~-~
Kienthal and Stockholm conferences. 25 These conferences had as
their object the reconstruction of the Second International and
were

~pen

to even the socialist parties which had

in 1914 and had

suppor~ed

national defence.

b~oken

ranks

Wijnkoop objected

to th presence of these parties at the conferences, declaring


~

that he would

at~end

no conference which would only recrete the

defunct Second International with all its faults.


By 1918 the ultra-leftist tendencies of the opposition began

to manifest themselves . . -Party participation in elections to


!

representative institutions and Party involvement in trade


unions
'
\

came under strong attack. \The

opp~sition

regarded these bodies

as ineffective in reaching \he masses, as they were under capi\

talist control, and believed\that


the communists would do better
\
\

if they direc-ted the ir energ\s towards organiz iog the prole-

~iat

in workers' councils

ins~ead.26

'When the Party leadership

failed to heed this advice Gorter 'charged them with opprtunis~.27


('

Sometime in 1919 Gorter went to Germany and became involved


with the left wing of the Kommunistische,Partei Deutschlands
(KPD) which broke away that same year to become the Kommunistische Arbei ter Partei Deutschlands' (KAPD). 28
broke with the Comintern in 1920

Gort~r

'

When the KAPD

and Pannekoek had also

-,

8
D

effeetually broken with the CPH.

The bitter eonfliet between

the Gorter-Pannekoek following and:.,:the leadership was more or


less resolved a year later.

1 1

'

A few,of,the

le~ing ~pokesmen

such

as

Lut~raan

were expelled
and sympathetie local se'etions sueh
,'

as those at Zwolle and Ens.ehede had a large part of th~member


ship suspended for refusing to submit to diseipline. 29 In the
spring of 1921, Gorter formed the Kornrnunistische Arbeiders
Partij Nederland (KAPN) whieh attracted dissident eommunists
in the sections of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Bussum, Enschede and
Zwolle. JO
The Communist Party leadership was not so easily rid of aIl
l

opposition, however.

,,\

Roland-Holst, who shared many of Gorter's

views (nd his sentiments - she was also a gifted writer and
poet), did not follow him out of the Party.

~- she

he1d baek on the advice of Trotsky. JI

It is elaimed tha~
Pannekoek: for his .

part, remained co-editor, together with Roland-Holst and Ravesteyn, of the Nieuwe Tijd, a socialist journal founded in 1896
,

and sinee 1915 more or less in the hands of the SDP.

The Nieuwe

Tijd, especially sinee the end of the War, often earried articles by Gorter, Pannekoe'k and others, espousing ul tra-left
ideolog~and

attacking Party opportunism;

was un;ceeptable to th~'CPH leadership.J2

As sueh the journal


,)

F,urthermore the

decisions of the third Comintern Congress in 1921 dietated strict


Party control of the Party press.

In January 1922 the Nieuwe

., Ti,id was replaced by the Communistisehe Gids, which was .. elosely


regulated. JJ

Pannekoek was replaced by K. van Langeraad .


....'

The Gorter-Pannekoek opposition was also, after 1919, directed

9
against the Comintern and the Russian leaders.

The conflict with

the CPH leadership became only a part of the wider

ideologi~al

conflict over the feasibility of transplanting the Bolshevik


model of revolution

t~

highly developed capitalist countries.

Unique historical, social, political and'e~onomic factors in


'Russia made possible - perhaps even n4!essary - the methods of
the Eolsheviks in tht country but conditions in Europe demanded
- - - - --,
4
othr"methods, as the German experience ha~demonstrated.J
In
his OP:n Letter to Comrade Lenin,J5 Gorter presented an anlysis
of the European situation

and outlined the form the revolution

should take in Europe.


Despite its international scope, the Dutch ultra-left did
have an important effect on the CPH.

Internationally it influ-

enced the impression outsiders had of the Party, for both Gortei
and Pannekoek were well known in the-socialist movement.
"Bureau incident" is a good example.

The

"'
Because -of -their r-eputa-

tion, Gorter and Pannekoek had been chosen, together

wi~h

-.Wijn-

koop and Ravesteyn, to run the West European Bureau of the


Com1ntern,
located
in Amsterdam.
1
.-

Wijnkoop and Ravesteyn refused

to work with their opponents, upon which aIl but Wijnkoop were
. ----replaced by S. J. Rutgers and R_oland-Holst. J6partly because of
- --this incident J7 and partlY beca~se the groupes inexperience in
clandestine dealings had led ta public exposure, J8 the Bureau
lasted only three months. J9

Radek removed it fram the hands

of the "Iutch Passes", as he called them. 4~ __ .


This incident, and the activities of Gorter and Pannekbe~'
in general - especially their dealings with the KAPD and their

Communi ml

propaganda - influenced Lenin when he wrote


an Infantile Disorder.

10

In it he censured the CPH for its ultra-

left ideas and'tactics.

The brochure appeared

jf~t

~f,or :the first

s.econd C.wnintern Congress where Wijnkoop saw i t


'"
~ime.
The Dutch leader first refused to accept
the author; he was convinced

t~at

Radek

'r

before the

hat Lenin was


en it. 41 He

"

hastened to explain to Lenin that there existed on1y a left-wing


)

fact~on in the CPH and that it was being rigor~ sly oppo~ed.

to subsequent

managed to have a letter to this effect append


editions of the brochure. 42 In Iater years
the belief 4that, despite these

actions~

koop expressed
\ ession of "Dutch

the

asses" and of Dutch ul tra-Ieftism had remaine

in the minds of
intervention in

Comintern leaders and had influenced


Dutch party affairs. 4J
c

It should be added

~hat

He

did li ttle to

Wijnkoop

create a favourable --impre~sion when at the

Congress he

<

.."

c1ashed with Zinoviev over the admission 0


r
Socialistische- Rartei Deutschlnds (USPD).

en~ry .be-C:U~?-~~OUgh

during the War the;t


Party (KPD).44

the-?--had broken

h~d

Wijnkoop opposed their

w~ h the

social

democrat~

not\yet joined t e German C>mmunist

He did support the

of the KAPD,

however, as indeed did Lenin.\-1 _ The


sion~

Unafhanglige

which Iater deci_\-~

and actions of th Comintern Exe utive may have been


\

influenced by these incidents i~ diff cult to evalua~e and will


1.,

be considered in another chapter.


Within the CPH itself,
direct consequences.

th~

ult

-left

It precipi tat

had more

the first serious internaI


\

"

~position

\,

Il'
"

Party conflict, a conflict


.hi therto beeQ of one mind'.'

betw~en l~ading

Party members who had


o

The authori ty, infall1bili ty and

"

..

'.

orthodoxy of the leadership~' especiall~ as embodied in the Tri=~


.
~ triumvirate, was challenged and put into question.
Gorter,
1'(

the revolutionary poet, was able to draw a significant personal


following, even if not always because'of his ideology.
leadership responded

wi~h

The

repressive measures and generally

showed themselves intolerant


of any opposition activity.
"

"

seriousOthreat for
-

~xample

was presented by the left opposition

'" in Amsterdam, the home territory of Wijnkoop and Ceton and the

largest section.

This was especially important before the

national elections in 1918 since Amsterdam was expected to be


t;:'

the main source of votes - anti-parliamentary agitation could


<5'

+.educe the support if not suppressed.

But

th~

leadership would

"

net even allow the issues to be discussed within the Party.


Van.~eeven

The

affir
gives a good illustration of their tactics.
r

W. Van Leeuven was part of the Dutch

.de~egation

CO>

second Comintern Congress.

to

~~e

He had
not sided with Wijnkoop on
;

such questions a~ the admission -of the German independehts, ~nd


~

at the CPH Congress in October 1920 presented a minority report


revealing the full extent of Wijnkoop's differences with the
w

Comintern leaders.

....

Wijnkoop's report'had minimized these dif~

Van Leeuven was d~screJ~~ed and effectively si~nced


by the Partijbestuur. 46 A'brochure in which he explained his
ferences. 45

position and told of the attempts to silence him and in which he

....

demonstrated the truth of Lepin's original criticism, was

officially ignored. 4?
J

, u

II>

as
12

--

(,

o
,

./

These and simi1ar actions of the Partijbestuur' against any,


~

thing hinting 9f left opposLtion, or,~iticism in grieral, e~oked


a protest from Party members who dld not necessarily share
, the
views o'f the ul tra-leftists.

Many

m~mbers

took exception to the

r~-----~------~~~

apbitrary manner in which the leadership silenced criticism


,~.

'

wlthout first al10wing fUJ.1 dis_cus~J~n Qf_ ,th~1~f;ues48_~nd felt

.~~~------

that the break with the Gorter-Pnnekoek group' in 1920-21 had


"

been forced by the

ta~tics

Of

th~.Partijbestuur.

"
1;

Fur:thermore,

"

not a few members were left with .-~he impression that there might
,
.
be sorne substance in the charges made by the opposition; otherwise why had

even'discussio~een

forbidden?

The Gorter-Pannekoek opposition thus set the ,stage for the


~"new

---e

opposition" which succeeded it by reating a precedent of

organized dissent and a favourab1e c1imate and by lea~ing pehind

a number

of unanswered questio~s.

The Party 1eadersh~~ had won

the battle but not the war.

.;,

'1,

<

\The opposi tion wh~h' confronted the~' ladership after the


"c' "

.. - ./

depatture of the rel'tists had been develop.ing sincee the end


"

of the 'War but remained .in the background whi1e the GorterPannekoek group occupied the" Party.

It had its roots


=- in,the
'

re1ationship, within the Party, between leaders and led and;


,

outside
unions.

t~e

Party, between tHe leaders az:.d the syndical:ist ,

The rank and f~le within the Party was increasing1y

unhappy with the lack

o~

organization and of democracy.

syndicalist Party members and syndrcalist


to the,CPH were upst by a,change in

~pe

po1icy entailing rapprochement with the

The

unidn~symp~thetic
,
,

'Q,

Party's trade union


refo~mist

uhions.

These

~.

13
two are as of dissatisfaction gave rise
within the CPH.

They

jo~ned ~orces

they went their separate ways.

t~

two opposition factions

for a tima but

It is this dual

th; end

i~

oppo~t~ion
f

was referred to ,as the "ne'w opposition".


, The internal opposition was

which

di~ectly

related to the rapid


,

expansion~~e-Fapt-y after--l917."

In 1916 the Party counted

557'members, in 1917, 713 members (after

th~

addition of Roland,

Holst' s group) .

By 1918 it had expanded to"1089 members, by

-'
,~,

1919 to 1799 members and by 1920 to 2431 members. 49

"

In a period

,1.

of fouI'

yea~s

The

theI'S had been almost a five-fold increase.

nature both of the new membership and of the Party itself created
a great deal of tension and complicated accommodation of the
influx.
The newcomers differed in ideas and temperament from most
,"

of the old members. ' They were young, intellectual, and imbued
with anarchist, syndicalist and romantic revolutionary ideas.
',>

Few J---"if any / were weII-schooled in Marxlst theory. 50

They were

also impatient for action, for immediate results and became more
sooas the Russian ~lution receded.

After the War they saw


"

the Party turn its attention to elections and to slow, painstak

ing work, in the trade unions.

They

al~o

realized that as ordin-

.'

ary members they had Iittie say in determining Party policy and
tactics.

While not-hecessarily sharing the ideolqgy of the

ultra-left then, they did share sorne of its critique of the..


leadership .

Havipg no special respect or understanding for the

founders and leaders of the Party, the newcomers were Qot reti"

cent about voicing their complaints and demanding a .say in Party

, j ~'~-- -

14

affairs.
The Party was ill-equipped and little prepared to met such
demand~.Partly b~9ause of i~s small size, the SDP had faiied

to

d~velop

an organizational structure or hierarchy.

When it

expanded there was no rnachinery to co-ordinate Party ac-tivi ties


be~ween

Congresses, to involve members in decision-making, to

deal with problerns and grievances.

The direction of the Party,

the administrative duties and-policy declsions, rested virtually


-in the hands of three men - Wijnkoop, Rafesteyn and Oeton - aided
-----

by a few others who also sat on the PartLjbestuur.


~

leaders filled aIl the positions of consequencel

The three
they were still

the editors of the Tribune (a daily since 1916), they formed the

..

'.

core of the,Partijbestuur and controlled the Party finances, and


after 1918 Wijnkoop and Ravesteyn occupied the Party's two seats
in the Dutc~ parliament. 5l Contact between the leaders and the
members was

maintane~ hro~gh

and the occasional communiqu.


ally into

sectio~s,

the Tribune, the annual Congresses


~he Party was divided territori-

each' with a secretary-treasurer.

Such

rudimentary and oligarchal organization may have been possible, \


and perhaps necessary, in a Party of 500 members, espscially
when

mos~f thern were locatetl in Amster~am, Rotterdam and Den


,

Haag (The Hague).

~--

When the Party expanded, however, it ceased

to function efficientIy-and many of the rnembers began to feel


that the old organization was stunting the growth and activity
of the Party.
,

This sentiment was

alr~ady

in evidence at the tenth Party


Congress held in Groningen in guly 1919. 52 Here much time was

15
spent in discussing the viability of having the direction of the
Party concentrated in so few PQop~e.
voiced.

Several complaints were

communication was fau1ty, guidelines from the Partij-

bestuur - especially coneerning trade union work - were few and


,

far between, rnembers had tao little say in determining pOlicy


1

and tactics, the quality of the Tribune had fallen beeause the
editors were too busy with their other duties.
Wijnkoop's reaction 'to these criticisrns indicated that the
leadership was not prepared to change and adapt to the new
situation.

He felt sirnp1y that t,here were no other qua1ified

pers ons to replace Ravesteyn, Ceton or ~imself. 53

In answering

a complaint in 1918 that the leadership was tao autocratie, he


said,
No,

beca~se

of the lack ,of initiative on the part of the

mernbers, direction must continue to be given by a few leading party cornrades and thus the leadershiptie to a certa.i'n extentJ
must become so.5 4

indeed,-~'if

mu~t

be autocra-

it is not yet such, it

The leaders were evidently not willing to r&linquish any of


their control, particularly not to any "young upstarts't".

They

regarded the new mernbers as unschooled, inexperienced. irresponsible and in need of a strong, guiding hand from above.
The leaders appeared equally unwilling to tolerate mueh
criticisrn of their views and behavior, even from Gorter and
Coercive rnea~ures were usd
...
ta suppress the le.ftist opposition: whole sections
were sus,

Pannekoek, two founding mernbers.

pended if too sympathetic and sorne mernbers, were expelled, a few

16
on the spurious gr..~ulliis- of be i,ng police ,spies. 55

who tried to speak out against the leadership, was discredited


,

and simply

growing number of members began to suspect

to divert attention from the faults in the Party organization


and policy and perhaps even to hide their own incompetence.
These members agreed with the leaders that a disciplined and
.'

united Party was necessary'in the struggle against the well~

organi'zed migh t of the capi talists; they conceded tha t absolute


freedom of Qpinion and criticism was therefore not possible.
But, they protested, this did not mean that there could be no
differences of opinion, ,no questioning of policy qnd tactics.
They also argued that the Party lacked proper discipline and
unit y and that the autocratie leadership was not effective.

As

proof they rointed to the alienation of the syndicalists, and


after 1921 to the decline in Party mernbership.
An internaI opposition arose, then, over dissatisfaction
with policy and tactics, with an jnadequate organ1'zation, with
'"

the

refusa~of
th leadership

.
suppreSSlO

to rnake any changes and with the,

, 56
any OppOSl. tlon.

more rnernber participation and

It sought better organization,

~more

effective leadership.

The

impetus came from new members, such as the young postal worker

J,

de Kadt, but older rnembers such as Roland-Holst wefe also involved.


At the sarne time that the internai opposition was coalescing,
.-----

friction was developing between the Party and its syndicalist


1

alliea.

Comrnunists in capitalist countries generally recognize

" '"

l'e

ignorea.~

the leaders of using strong arm tactics and police spy alarms

l'

Van Leeuven,

the need to work in the established labour movement; as Lenin had

:_ ,-t

17
,

said, the potentially revolutionary masses are to be found


there 57 .

They are already organized.and more amenable to pro-

__ ' paganda and agitation.

Also they are too important to be left

to counterrevolutionary elements.

The Dutch communists, with

the exception of the Gorter-Pannekoek group, never questioned


the necessity of working in the trade unions.

In fact, it was

the only way for the CPH, other than during the War, to effect
any mass action; the Dutch ultra-leftists were notably unsuccessfuI in their attempts to organize workers' councils.

The state

of organized labour in Holland, however, presented diffiulties.


"

The labour movement was broken up into a number of. national


federations and congresses - at one
for the most

par~

poin~,

hostile to each other.

seven 58

-, which were

The relationship of

the CPH to two of these federations was the source of a


deal of Party strife in the 1920s.

grea~

The two were the revolution-

ary-syndicalis't Nationaal Arbeids Sezretariaat (NAS) and the


"modern" reTormist Nederlandse Verbond van VakvereElligingen (NVV).
1

0<

The NAS was founded in 1893 and was under the influence of
-/

the anarchist Domela Nieuwenhuis, until his death in 1919.

It

eschewed any political affiliation, stood aside from party politics,' had a minimal and

decevtral~zed

organization and few member

benefits: and favoured only direct action - the strike. 59

After

the suppression of the railway workers' strike in 190J~Oa new


labuur, central was formed, the NVV, which favoured more peaceful
and indirect means to more immediate and material-ends.

It

offered greater member benefits and was more open to IGlitical


tactics and alliances. 61 The NVV grew fairly rapidly and soon

"

,)
"-

18

-----"
outnumbered the NAS, which suffered a corresponding
numbers.

~ecline

in

Relations betw~en the two groups were mutually anti-

pathetic.
After its formation the SDP followed the policy of the
SDAP in concentrating its efforts on the workers of the NVV
unions - with little result, 'however. 62 It viewed the extreme
anarcho-syndicalism of the NAS with misgiying.

Nor was it

encouraged by NAS hostili~y to political parties.

Nevertheless

in 1911 the SDP supported a syndicalist 'strike which the SDAP and
NVV condemned.

Afterwards it co-operated with syndica1ists in

,protesting the rising cost of living.

During the War this co~

operation continued.

In 1915 the SDP dropped its official

preference for the NVV when the latter called for a postpone-,
ment of the class struggle in favo~ of national defence. 63 At
the ninth Party Congress in 1918 the newly christened CPH
acknowledged the NAS as the only true and thriving revolutionary labour'organization and declared that the Party

wOHl~

hence-

'union~.

for th concentrate its work in the syndicalist


1

"

The alliance between the communists and syndicalists was


facilitated by the changing nature Of the NAS and the increase
in NAS membership during the War.
Marxists with less

'1

~osti1ity

The NAS ,leaders/rgarded the

and some of them, after the October

revolution in Russia, saw acommon bond.


those who joined the Party after 1917.

NAS workers were among


The NAS was also begin-

ning
to discard i ts more extreme anarcho-syn'dicalist ideas and
J
had even gone so far as to adopt, such
t 'lonarles.
.
64
s t rl' ke f un d an d pal. d f
unc

"~odern"

features as a

mJ
'
~I~se changes, together

19
with NAS involvement in strike

a~

food distribution

during the War attracted workers from other labour federations,


e~pecially

the NVV, who were fed up with the inaction of their

leaders on the food shortage.

In 1914 the NAS counted about

9000 members, in 1918 about 18,000 and in 1920 it reached a high


of almost 50,000.'65

The NVV, in comparlson, went from about

86,000 in 1914 to about 259,000 in 1920, only a three-fold


lncrease. 66

The CPH could understandably feel justified in

strengthening its ties with the syndicalists.


The accord between the'syndicalists and the communists soon
began to break down, however, as the political and economic
situation in the early 1920s caused the communist leaders to
re-evaluate their tactics.

The capitalist retrenchment and

improved food situation dealt a blow tQJorganized labour.

Strike

actions in 1919 and more so in 1920 were, on the whole, half,'hearted and unsuccessful. 67

Labour federations lost almost

half of their membership between 1920 and 1923;68 the NAS even
more. 69 Many who had joined the NAS unions during the War now
returned to the reformist unions.

The CPH leadership came to

two conclusions, both of which pointed to a


policy and tactics.

J.

c~ange

in trade union

First, they saw that uni~ied action of the

various labour organizations was more necessary than ever, in


order to co-ordinate and expand strike actions and to prevent
't

interneclne rivalry.

Sec,ond, they realized that the greater

part of organized labour would continue to be found in tqe NVV


\

and,other federations and that if the communists were to 'restrict' their activ~ty to work in the NAS unions, they would soon

20

be isolated from the working masses. 70

Added to these con'idera-

tions were the resolutions of the second Comintern Congress


1

~nin's

brochure against left-wing communism which directed

communists to work in the reformist and reactionary unions as


weIl as irt the revolutionary unions, in order to educate the
workers

adt

to expose the treachery of"their leaders. 71

The chang in trade union policy was announced at the


eleventh Party Congress held in Rotterdam in

Oct~ber

1920.

Ravesteyn introduced a resolution whic~ req~ired Brrty members.


in the light of the recent Comintern resolutions,
,

~o
work in
\

both the "modern" and syndicalist unions . . . and to work towards


the ir unifica ti~n "on a revolutionary basis". 72

This was cer-

tainly a departure from the trade union resolution of two years


before and met with much opposition, especially sinee the change
had been announced only a few weeks previous to the Congress.
Delegates expressed the fear that unification would mean assimilation of the NAS by the reformist NVV and that'any communist
moves in this direction would only alienate NAS
making substantial gains among NVV workers. 7J
men against the

reso~ution

workers without
The main spokes-

were Louis de Visser,' an expe1Ied

NVV member, and E. Bouwman, leader of the syndicalist transport


workers' union.

On the grounds that the majority of the Party

members had not yet seen the Comintern resolutions and that
such an" important policy and tactical change needed further
consideration, the Congress tabled the resolution until the f01Iowing year.
Having bare1y rid themse1ves of one

opp~sition

group, the

.
21

The Gorter-Pannekoek group

h~d,

Party leadership was now faced wi th two.

These two factions

\.

,
were not directly related to the opposition
which had preceded

r'

them.

however, of'fered the first

organized challenge to the Party leadership; -both i ts example


and the manner in which

J~t

was treated had an effect on the new

"opposition, especially the internally generated group.

The two

factions were different in origin and nature


from each
other but
c
/
\

it was not lQng before they made common cause in the face of an
intransigent leadership and sought
\

Executive (ECCr).

~he

These' four e lements

support of the Comintern


an opinionated and

inflexible leadership, a disgruntled and frustrated rank and


\

file, uneasy and suspicious syndicalists and an increasingly


concerned Comintern Executive - were to play a leading raIe in
the confrontations which split the CPH in th 1920s.

\
"

22
,

Chapter 2;

lh~ De Kadt-Bouwman opposition

~-

1921-1924
~

,-

The first split in the CPH had been the departure Of the

ultra-leftists in 1920-21. The second split ocurred in 1924


when a portion of the new opposition fol1owed
Q

the Party.

J.,

de Kadt out of

The syndica1ists under E. Bouwrnan remained.

The

latter had joined forces with "the internaI opposition after the
twe1fth Party Congress in 1921 but parted ways at the fourteenth

"
when an ECCI compromise proved
other.

~cceptable

t~ on~

and not the

In this per)od the'Comintern Executive intervened direct1y

in the affairs of the CPH\for the first time.


came from the

Dut~h

The initiative

PartYt however, rather than the ECCl: the

opposition turned to the Comintern when the dispute with the


Party leadership reached,an impasse.
~he

group which appea1ed to the ECCI was a coalition of the

two factions discussed in Chapter 1.

These two factions remained

separate unti1 after the twe1fth Party Congress he1d in November1921 in Gronigen. At the Congress 1 each attacked the Party . "',-'
leaqership but acted independently.
The main concern of the internal opposition was th manner
in which the leadership attempted to suppress the free expression
of opinion, particu1arly when an opinion was critica1 of the
)

leadership.

Before the Cngress a circular was distrib~ted pro-

testing this suppression.

At the Congress De Kadt, D. J. Struik,

G. van het Reve and others pointed out deficiencies, in the Party
organization but concentrated on demanding
criticism without

r~prisa1.

~he

freedom to voice

De Kadt pointed to the Twentlf-One

Conditions adopted. by the second.Comintern Congress to support

23 '
. this demand.

"The Moscow theses require that "opposition be

allowed to function freely, and even that this opposition be


-----

represented in the central coromi ttee. "


~ed

Wijnkoop" was not impres-

by De Kadt' s arguments; he described the latter as "more

enfant than terrible".


Most of the Congress was
union policy and tactics.

occupied~with

the question of trade

The resolution which had been tabled

at the Rotterdam Congress the previous year was re-submitted but


in a slightlY,modified and considerably

efP~nded_

forro.

A number

of paragraphs, dealing with the necessitY)for unit y and co-opera'tion created by the prevailing national and international situation, had been added; but in the section dealing with the unification of the syndicalist NAS and the refor:migj;
"on a revolutionary
cribed as

baS~aG-"been

ornitted.

the proviso

NVV

The NVV was des-

"yellow labour organization 'wi thout any revclutionary


organiz~tion

impulse" and the NAS as "an originally revolutionary

whose leadership- had- for the most J)art betrayed i ts' revolutionary
tradition".j

There was also a new_ clause calling for intensive


,

propaganda, in every labour


the Red

Interna~ional

org~nization,

for affiliation with

of Labour Unions (RILU), or Profintern.

which had been formed in Moscow the ye-ar before in opposition to


-

...

the reforrnist, Amsterdam-based

Int~rnational

Federation of Trade

Unions (IFTU').
The resolution agair drew strong protests from Bouwman and
other syndicalists.

Many--Q-L the arguments of the Rotterdam

Congress were repeated.

The

syndicalis~s

were in principle not

opposed to co-operation with other unions in strikes and other

24 .
labour actions nor even to
movement.

ventual unification of the labour

They weFe, however, against a merger at that point

because the larger and reactionary NVV would simply absorb the
CJ

, revolutionary but !=lmaller NAS.

Bouwman contended that the reso-

lution created only mistrust in the NAS, among leaders and


wopkers a1.ike; the CPH would therefore 10se what support i t did
o

have among the more revolutionary sections of the NAS and reduce
i ts chances of convincing the NAS-

~o j 0

in the RILU.

He also

expressed the' suspicion tha t the CPH leadership was not serious
Q

about wanting the NAS to j

in the RILU nor about having i t serve

as the oasis of a militant, revolutionary uni tied labour front,


<..

bt rather desired only the liquidation of

the~NAS.

The sharp anti-NAS- tone of a series of articles by Ravesteyn,


which appeared ~ in the Tribune before the (3)ongFrsQserved only

to confirm this suspicion.


(>

Those in the NAS who, like Bouwman, wibed to' see their

members moy from syndicalism to communism

wanted the NAS to

join the RILU instead of the syndicalist international in Berlin,


Cl

":>"felt 'ttla t

the ir position was being 'undermined by the resolution,

especially as seen in the light of Ravesteyn' s articles.4-

The

anarcho-syndicalist tradition was still strong and was highly


receptive to the anti-communist and anti-Profintern propaganda

..

of such figures as B. Lnsink, Jr., a member of the NAS executive


'-

and edi tor of the NAS newspaper, the Arbeld,.5


,!

Both the intent of

the resolution anq. the presumption of the tiny CPH to set the

condit~ons of unificat~on were~used to support this proiaganda.6


''. Arl the obj ections and warnings not wi thstanding, the reJ3olu-

--

25
o

\.tiol1 was passed 1455 to 277 -wi th 0154 abstentions.

e,

De Kadt and

his group supported the resolution. , Although a member of an NAS


union, De Kadt felt it would be folly for the c'ommunists to
restrict their activi ty to NAS up.ions. 7
Sorne attention appears to have been pid QY the Congress to
the grievances voiced by De Kadt especially regarding representation on the ce'ntral commi ttee.

'ta

sit on the Partijbestuur.

Both he and :6ouwman were chos~n

In his memoirs Ke ,wrote that it was

not long before he \ came to the conclusion that there was li ttle
to be accomplished through his position on the Partijbestuur,
however.

It was too tightly contr1l1ed by the Tribune triumvir-

ate, as Wi jnkoop,

'~aYe\steyn

and Ceton 'were known.

On the other

hand, he realized that "however important the fight for Party


democracy was, i t was not suffidient to .. justf'fy, the
existence of
,.,
~

an opposition". 8

~-

Such a general issue' was not very effective in

..,

winling support; i t vias too nebulous and risked being construed

as a thin veil for personal ambition.

Indeed, Wijnkoop and

Ravesteyn placea this interpretation on the opposi tian.

Nor can

i t be said tha,t. personal ambftion was entirely absent from De


Kadt' s motives.
De Kadt gave the ileed for m9re oncrete issues aS' his main
reason for seeking\ co-operation wi tl} the NAS

Party;~e1'nbers.

He

acknowledged the support ofle the' influential and hithly


respected
(,
o

-v

Henriette':. Roland-Holst but climed that her support was more


moral than practical. , An alliance wi th the other dissident group
in the Party wa~ unavoidable.

"Wi thout co-operation wi th Bouwman

and the NAS;;people in the Party, no strong position ws p6ssible

26

'\

'~
At any ra te ,) the' trade union pOl1.cy O~f the

,in the Party." 9

;fl-

dership was a ready target ar/<i had alr~ady" crea"'ted a body '01'-~"'"'?

opposition.

Bouwman, for his part. could also see merit in

<::>

joiu?-ng forces,' .. 'his position in the CPH would similarly be


;<

""S ..

l-

:.

~"

strengthened.

loo~e

Thus a

alliance was gradually formed between


.
the "internl" and the Ilexternal" opp~si tion. It was, however,
~

to prove'lof mixed b'nefit for De Kadt and his group"::;


,

't.

The ir

.._

identifibation with the syndica~st faction tended to obscure


.,..

the issue of the J.ncompetence of the leadershi}); it also branded


them as syndicaIist. lO
Nevertheless the two factions continued to
at the thirteenth Party Congress in

Ja~uary

and

co-opera~e
1

1923 they

suPpo~t~d
~-t

each other.

This time it was De Kadt\1 rather than Bouwman ... who


hel~ the spotlight. ll 'He as~ailed the trade union tactics bf the
Party leaders, -asserting that thel~ tactics were' alienating
even the most revolutionary workers and were not winning the
support of the

~orking

masses. 'But the weight of his criticism

was directed against the failure of the

leade~s to~uild

a strong,

effective, well-organized Communist PartFI


There is,o' so much lacking in

our

organization that one

tates sometimes to speak of a Party


~

party apparatus

~n

hesl~

the sense of a decent

This is a sign that leadership is

lacking, a sign that the leaders are not equal to their


task.

But it means more.

It also means that if they were


"
not capable in thirteen years, they will.9, no more capable
in the fourteenth. l2 "
,

Not onlyVorganizational

han~s

...

were needed, then; the y would be


-u

27
ineffective without first a change
~
...

concrete issue to support De


.t

the leadership.

i~

Kad~'s

contention had been

'

provi1dd by Wijnkoop himself a few mPfl~hs prior to the Congress.


In November 1922 he had delivered a speech in the lower house of
the Dutch parliament in which he -ha,d J}lade a proposaI to the
,

soci~l democr~ts,
> '

namely the

_SDAP,~o
,

to form a "workers' government". 13

join with th communists

"

The speech antagonized the


be~ause

opposition and other Party members, not so much

of its

content - the concept of a "workers' goverrunent" was currently


'"

being promoted by the Comintern - but more because the proposaI


',had been made on Wijnkoop' s own initiative without prior discussion in either the Party or the Partijbestuur.

Wijnkoop was
"

ostensib1y speaking for the CPH but the Party had no contraI
over what he said.

Wijnkoop evaded the_ }ssue of his irrespo,n-

sible bonduct and defended his speech on the grounds that it was
a Iogical consequence of the united front resolutions of the
,

"

Enlarged Comintern Executive in December i921.


-tions

~ad

These resolu-

reiriforced the stand taken by the Third Comintern

Congress that same year in condemning armed uprisings and cal1ing

for rapprochement with other working class pa;ties and associations.

The opposition rep1ied to Wijnkoop's defence that neither


.
,
"the Party leadersh ip nor" the Party newspaper, the Tribune, had
acquainted the rank and flle with the reso1utions and their
ramifications.

As a result the invitation to the SDAP had come

---a:s-a--shock-t-o---ffl~.who-had-.-long.

regarded the SDAP as an enemy.

"
The opposition further found fault with the proposaI since it

was an attempt to implement a united front from above rather than

28

1 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -____________________________________________________

,through concrete action of the masses.

From the Congress pro-'

ceedings it is vident that a number of Party members were disturbad by Wijnkoop's action, by his failure to inform or consult
~

wit~ the Party before announcing, in the name of the CPH, an


"

impor~arit

change in policy and tactics. -

Both De Kadt and Bouwman were re-elected to the Partijbestuur but failed, despite the general

dissatisfa~tion,

signifiqant support at the Congress.


if somewhat

"
unhapp~_about

t~

win any

Many of the members, even

the indifference and faults of their

.. <

leaders, may haV:e felt as J. A. N~ Knuttel


sid, the Party leadership must go.
are there?

didl

"De Kadt has

But what other candidates

Who will replace Wijnkoop, who Ceton?,,14

himself called upon the

delegates~to

Wrjnko~p

reject De Kadt's criticism

as he came "with neither a new policy or new plans".

Another

reason for the lack of success of the "opposition can perhaps be


~

found in the method of representation.

provisio~

that minori-

ties could send their own delegate to Congresses had been dropped
,

on the pretext that it was social democratic.

According to De-

/Kadt, in most sections the opppsition was often a.minority,

_~

sometimes a large one, and was therefore u~errepresented .. 15


.
After the Congress the opposi~ion began to organize o~tside
the Party, claiming that free discussion of issues in order to
. win support was no longer possible.1 6 Indeed, the columns of
the Tribune, the Party mouthpiece, were to aIl practical purposes
closed to the opposition after the Congress.

There was also the

thrat of expulsion, a weapon which Wijnkoop was wont to use

~freely and a~bitrarily.17

In his memoirs, De Kadt gave an addi-

29
--------

reason-for orgnizinga

to calI the attention of the Com-

to their _plight .
.Only if we could get the Comintern to step in and restor.e

d~mocracy

in the Party, could we continue as

within the Party.


.
o b V10US

a~

O)Position

An appeal to the International was

18

De Kadt claimed th~t an attempt had already been made ih 1922,


on an informal basis by some members of the opposition, to draw
the Comintern into the conflict but with no results. ( This was
not surprising, he added, as, Moscow ,interfered only when there
/

was open conflict or when a Communist Party started to follow ~


policy wh~h compromised the u Comintern. 19 In order to make itself
,

heard then, the opposition decided to draft a platform to be


(

sent to the Comintern as weIl as aIl the sections of the CPH.


This course was soon adopted.
.,

petence and

refor~ism

Circulars a ttacking the' incom-

of the leadership, the lack of organiza-

tion and the total absence of freedom to criticize were sent to


each section, to the Partijbestuur and to the Tribune.

One,

bearing 159 signatures, sorne belonging to prominent Party members, was also sent to the EGCI. 20 That same month, April, 1923
a Comit voor de Derde
chairman.

Inter~ationale was formed~an as

This "organized and undisciplined behavior u was cause

for the Partijbestuur to expel De

Kadt,~Bouwman

and others.

The actions of the opposition an~ of the Partijbestuur appear

-------_t.wO~bLLai::I..Yy_t:e_.Ub~een suf:tiGt~nt to ar~use the attention of the Comintern


/

for in May 1923 the EGGI decided to in~~e. It requested both


sides to send representatives to Moscow. ~ de Visser, who had

~o

ed with Bouwman at the 1920 Party ~ngress, went on be~a1f of


the Partijbestuur; Jansen (J. Proost), the permanent
sentati~ in Moscow, was to assist him.

Du~ch

repre-

De Kadt and W. S. van

Reesma went for the opposition .. Reesma had been actively


invo1ved in the Gorter-Pannekoek opposition, but apparent1y more
for the sake of opposition and intrigue than of princip1e or
ideo1ogy and had remained in the ?PH in 1921.21

De Kadt found

Reesma's contacts with Bouwman usefu1 but rated him a dubious


ally.

His susp1cions were confirmed when Reesma, who was in

charge of the documentary evidence ,_ changeil the meaning ,,1'- sorne

~,

of Wijnkoop's and Ravesteyn's staternents when translating thern. 22 ,


When exposed, this falsification served only to damage the case
of the opposition.
In l\1oscow, a commission to investigate the dispute was
"

>

appointed.

A. Trachtenberg (USA) was secretary and Karl Radek

chairrnan.

In reaching a decision the members o'f the commission ,,,,.

"',
appear to have conducted a thorough and fair inquiry, maintaini~
an impartial att~tude throughout. 2J :vTheir main concern was
reunification of the Party and the recommendations made in their
report to the ECCr reflected

~~at

goal. ;

The official decis ion was communicat'd by the ECCr to the


CPH on 6,July 1923.2~
contributions of
1edged~

Tribute was first paid to the talents and

the.Party~ leaders and their authority acknow-'

But the ECCr then reproached the leaders for

impatient with
troublemakers.

o~positional

bein~

too

elements, for seeing them only as


-------

-~-----

The 'opposition, for i ts part, was juqged wrong

in having organized a party within the Party.

Nonetheless the

Jl
_

":t."~

commission felt it should be given a chance to work:in a normal


way within'the Party, as only then could unit y be restored.

To

this end the opposition was instructed to ~issolve its Comit


and the Partijbestuur was required to revoke its
expulsions and
,
suspensions.

Steps were also to be taken to ensure a democratic

solution of further disputes; in particular, a court of arbitration was to be established.

The Tribune was to open a weekly

column for discussion of Party issues.

Essentially, then, the

commission saw the immediate cause of the conflict to be an


organizational one and felt that differences could be worked out
equitably if the o~ganizational problem~ were solved.
The commission did not stop there, however.
~oncern~d

with the dissident trade union elements.

It was alse
It perceived
~

that th'e Dutcli: Communist Party lacked a firm base in the Dutch
labour movement, a movement which was furthermore divided into
hostile camps.

It was important, the commission believed, not

to alienate the trade unionists in the Party; the dut y of the


CPH leadership was "to subordinate all considerations, desires,
etc., be they ever so justified to one consideration, namelYI
how can the Dutch Party strengthen rather than weaken its ties
V!ith the trade unions."

Work in the mass organizations f the

reformist NVV was necessary but an end had to be made to the


hostile attitude towards the NAS.
-'

unton

~ature

This emphasis on the trade

of the opposition was to be of

stand taken by

th~

import~nce

in the

Comintern Executive the.follGwngyear.

~. -- - -- The -opp;si-tip~- for i ts part accepted the decision of the


ECCr commission witheut any serious reseryations and agreed to

<,

32
,

diSSOlfn' . i ts Comit. 25 \ The reaction of Wijnkoop and his associates,

-.::

n the other hand, was for the most part negative.

They

denied'vehemently that the opposition was principally related to


Party members active in trade unions and that no progress had
been made in the labour movement.

Whether they actually believed

this or not, it was obviously not to their advantage to admit


that,their policy towards the NAS was creating serious opposition.
Moscow saw a potential Profintern member in the NAS and would not
appreciate a poliey hostile to the Dutch syndicalists.

The objections of the Partijbestuur to the conclusions of


the commission were conveyed to the ECeI in a letter, the exact
contents of which were not disclosed to the Party. 26
was signed by Ravesteyn, De Visser, J.

~rommert,

Sterringa; Ceton and Wijnkoop were "absent".27

The letter

Jr., and G.
In it the role

of the trade union question was downplayed as much as possible.


The opposition

Wl.S

dismissed as being nothing more than "bandits,

spies, and traltors" who were motivated solely by personal 'ambition.

To _recognize -that the oPPo'si tion had legi timate existence

would do immeasurable harm to the Party, claimed the letter; to


allow any of the leading functions to fall intQ the hands of the
opposition would be fatal.

The

inter~e~ce

of the Comintern

Executive was described~as unwarranted meddling in internaI Party


matters, which the old experienced leadership were quite

capab~e

of handling, and the decision of the ECCI commission was attributed to "insufficient and one-sided information".

The general

tone throughout the letter was one of righteous indignation and


self-praise.

As" good communists who understand the necessi ty

)
JJ
of a strict p.iscipline", the letter concluded, the Dutch Party
leaders had accepted the decision and had carried out its
.,/
instrutions - but the responsibility for the ruinous onsequences which the decision would have on the

"di~cipline,

energy

and international activi t~l' of the CPH would rest wi th the ECCI.
The official and

Puflic

milder but conveyed the/same

reaction of the Partijbestuur was

messag~~

the deciston would be

implemented but under protest as it would have consequences which


"could be harmful for the Communist Party in particular and for
the labour movement in general, also ir)Zrnationally".28
Fortnally and ostensibly then, the re'commendations of the

Eccr

were put into effect.

A weekly discussion colurnn appeared,

expelled and suspended members were reinstated, an arbitration

board of two was appo in te d,.. and the Comite was disbanded.
spirit in which the reforms

we~e

The

carried out, however, did not

C)

provide a basis for a real conciliation.

Opposition and Partij-

bestuur were soon accusing each other of failure to comply with


the ECCI directives.
From the side of
stantially nothing

opposition came" the charge that sub-

hJ~ changed.

The Partijbestuur was persist-

ing in its faulty/~rade union policy and faulty united


/

tactics. 29 Thy/ a ttacks on the NAS had not ceased.


,
r/
,centralism ws still a stranger to the

ic rule

and egoce tric mentality of the


free 'd'scussion futile. JO

make

Revolutionary rhet

was still

empl yed to mask reformist practices.


o

y lip service to the Comintern

ons

c~aimed

the opposi-

1.

,
/

II

)4
tion. )1

"

In addition, the leaders were again guilty of underes/'

timating the revol~tionary situation in Ger~any.)2


This last charge referred' to Ithe' sceptical attitude of the
.-....,

leaders, Wijnkoop especially, towards the "October revolution"


p

in Germany in 192).

Wijnkoop was of the opinion that a revolu-

tionary situation had not existed in 0 c to ber and t(at the uprising was futile.

The Comintern Executive chose te ~e the failure

in terms of incorrect united front tactics l

,
'

Brandler had attempt-

ed to form a workers' government from above rather than a united


front from below.

De Kadt himself sided' wi.,th


the German "left",
,

or the Fischer-Maslow gr:,oup, which opposed' th; tactic of a workers'


_l_~

government from above and formed part of the

~~

new~' KPD

leadership.

wHe claims that he did so because their view~'~oihcidedJ) but he


may have been influenced by tf'le fact that the Fischer-Maslow

group had the backing of Zinoviev, the Comintern president .. He


was quick-to point out that while the Comintern Executive now
stressed the united front from below the Partijbestuur had failed
to fo11ow suit.

, De Kadt also argued that the Aiscrepancy between what the


'

Comintel!'n preached and w,hat the Parti.jbe,s"tuur practised, ~n aIl


areas of policies and tactics, was due to the incompetence of
the laders.
'Even if the leadership of the CPH was in complete agreement
wi th I,loscow and tried to implement the tactics of the
,

'

International here, it would then still be incapable of


properly implementing those tactics, becavse it does not
possess sufficient talent to give political leadership in

35
any direction wh~tsoever.34

The opposition's criticism was therefore no longer aimed at


effecting reforms in 1(1e Party but at persuading the Party "of
the political incompetence of its present leadership, and to
induce it to give the opposition1a chance to give political
leadership instead of just to speak about it". J5

The Party leaders, for their part, acbused the opposition

of having'reorganized and main!ained a

leader~hip

separate from

and in opposition to the Parti\testuur in order to undermine the


united front tactics in the labour movement, the Party newspaper,
the Party's

a~d

general. J6

Moreover, they claimed, the attacks on the Fartij-

to the German insurgents, and the Party in


.'

'"
be~tuur

were unfounded.

During his visit to Moscow in the fall

of 1923, Wijnkoop had spoken with Radek and had been told that
the manner in which the Dutch executive had interpreted and
implemented the decision of the

Eccr

commission was in full

agreement with the intentions of that decision. J7


The Party leaders further accused the opposition of not
caPrying out any true, communist opposition either in word or
deed, and of havi?g no practical grounds for its agitation.

An

article by". G.~ Sterringa in the Tribune reflects- this attitude

. .

\~

rather weIll.
policy and

the Opposltlon must attack on the grounds of

tactic~~

but it must first prove the policy and-tac-

tics of the leadership to be wrong; these were correct, however,

...

so there was in fact no basis for real opposition or for a change


The opposition was thus only a(Pl~t
to overthrow"the old leaders. J8 Ravesteyn described the pro~ram
in either

polic~

or tactics.

<1

..

36
J.'"

of the opposition as "Ote- toi de l, afin que je m'y mette". 39


,

Wijnkoop, as always, also had li ttle use for the opposition.


40
Its articles in the Tribune he dismi ss~d as "smut and impotence" .
In a letter to Ravesteyn in August 192) he described a visit by
"ci tizen De Kadt" .in particular1y contemptuous terms.
l am now beginning to understand their behaviorl
Bouwman in the trade union commission ....

they want

and in the

Tribune ta represent the labour movement in order to attack


the Fimmen front; 41 Van Reesma to keep a watchful eye on
0

the Tribune; and De Kadt as the intellect in the P[artijJ~stuur].

~ore ~hey;want

instructiona1 meetings in arder to

infect the Party with their insipid unonsense and filth, but
without any intntion (in any case they re impotent ta do
this) of coming up with any policy in the newspaper. 42
\

It is not surprising that no workable compromise was effected.'

..

The ECCr stepped in again "upon request of the supporters

of bath sides,,43 and in.March 1924 once more called representatives to Moscow.

L. Lakerveld was sent as spokesman for the

Parti.jbestuur and De Kadt ,for the 'opposi tion.\ A new commission


was appointed with Vasil Kolarof, a Bulgarian, as chairman and
Otto Kuusinen, a Finn, as secretary._44 After "prolonged negotia,
' 4
tions" a new accord was reached and drawn up. .5
"

In Moscow, th'l,opposition ' received the support of an impor~!

tant figure, H. Sneevliet.

He was an admirer of Roland-Holst

and had been a member of the SDP for a short time in 1912~46
Before the war he had been leader of a union of railroad and tram

t/,

workers but had left in 191) for the Dutch East Indies.

There

he helped fOUIlt! the--fndpnesian CQmmuniJr!: Party and acted as i ts


delegate, under the name of l\Iarihg; --to .!the second Comintern
Congress.

He was also involved in

ist Party in 1921.47

org~nizing

the Chinese Commun-

It is difficult to determine what effect

his support may' have had on the proceedings in Moscow since his
influence may have ~been offset by his Trotskyist sympathies. 48
/

....

In any case he emerged as an important figure in Holland after


his return in I\lay 1924, when he became chairman of the NAS and
co-editor of its
. koop.
. 49 '
to W~Jn

newspape~,

the Arbeid

and~leading

challenger

The report of the ECCI commission, Itin which the work and'
tactics of the Party with reference to the most important were

---

thoroughly ~iscusse~'.', 50 _~as=-- ~en~ to the Parti.ibestuur on 25


March 1924. 51 It ac,knowledged that for the most part the r com-------

mendations of the -first commission ha,d been implemented by both


sides but

regre~td

-.

that insufficient

certain important matters.

at~ention

had been/paid to

As a result the factional ~rife

'lI:,JP.

which harmed the activity and-nity'of the Party had worsene\:!,


and'poth sides were to blame.
However vague its introduction, this second

ommunication

of the Comintern Executive was much more detaile


and instructions than the first, although stil

quite tactful.

to

POi~

out those politi-

cal deviations and-organizatiotial faults

~Ch

had been brought

The ECCI

~ommissi~nGfelt ~necessary

in its critique

to light by the Party conflict and t~ s~~~t remedies.


convinced, however, that the

members_~1_both

It was

sides would be

..
- - - J8

1,

capable, with the help of the ECCr, "of clearlng away the present
O

difficulties standing in the way of the

~velopment

of their

party, sa experienced and rich in prospects".


"

The "political deviati!ons and organizational faults" were


d1scussed with reference to the German revolution, the colonial
policy of the CPH, the Party's united front tactics, the trade
union question, ~~ational problems and the opposition.

In

each case some criticism, direct or 'indirect, was made of the


Party leadership but generally guarded or qualified.
"
The attitude of the Part~jbestuur ta the German revolution
in 1923 did not meet wjth' the appraval of the ECCI.

Although

the CPH had provided material aid and had organized actions t- ~
prevent

de~~very

of arms and munitions to the German

~ourgeoisie,

the ECCI felt that the Dutch leaders had failed to exploit the
full propaganda value of
li~tle

t~e

events in Germany and had made

attempt ta unify the Dutch working masses into a militant

front agains;t.'- the Dutch bourgeoisie.


\

This was not to be expected

ei~her,

since ,the leading Party

t.,

members, when the struggle was at its peak, found 1t neces" to the masses.
sary to annaunce their,pessimistic theories
Withaut a daubt this passive stand af th Putch Party is a
:)

(j

big shortcoming and the Executive cannot he-lp but see


as the consequence of a danger'ous

devia~i6n

~t

to the right,

which, if not undone in time, could drive the Party into


opportunism and present a serioup danger to unity.
In its comment on the colonial polic~ bf the
Comintern Executive warned the CPH not ta

make~any

Party,

the

compromises

39

of

in the demand~for self-determihation - and th us in the right


-

revo1w~ion.

men't.

Nor were any concessions tO,be asked of the g01ern-

This last was an indirect reference to sorne statements

Which;~vesteyn

had made in the lower hbuse

tion of ce.rtain

~onditions

~eekihg4anDam~liora

in the Dutch East "Indies.

On the

whole the CPH does not appear to have been top concerned about

"

..

revolution in the colonies and had little contact with the Indonesian Communist Party.
With regard to the united, front, the $CCI

c~mmunication

noted that this was far from having been achieved but said that
there was," naturally" no reason to assume that the Dutch Party
"

regardd the united front as a parliamentary


social democratic party.

'coaliti~ ~ith

the

Neverthe:J..ess, to avoid "opportunist

Jllusi,ons", any offer of co-operation to the rformists would


(;

ha~e

to go hand in hand with concentrated agitation among the

masses.
Mere attentfon was 'paid to the/ 'application of the united

i(. ;

front to the labour movement.

:"-

Thel C6mintern Execative here

~'i

' . .

~..

emphasized that the united ~ront did not mean9h~y organizational,


o

...

1....

'\

...

_,

'-~

~j) ~

.~

..

unificat5.on of the trade unions


Q\lt' first and r.fremost the con'tIV.,"
.
quest of ,~he working masses. Organizational unity~between,the ~
1j

NAS and NVV was not the most important task, and was necessary
and possible only when 'the NVV had become revolutionary.

The

CPH was to form communist factions in the NVV unions but it was

also to s'upport and to co- opera te wi th the NAS


J

tionary labour organization in Holland.


relations

J'

the ECCr prescribed a

the only revolu-

To improve trade' union

trad~ uni~n comm19sion,52


a
..

40
o

trade union editor for the Tribune, and regular c~ntributions


by factory workers to the paper.
~tive

..

Co~intern

Clearly, the

Execu-

at ~his time considered c the Dutch party ties:$ith the NAS

~~s very important . . .


l'

The Comintern Executive was far from satisfied with the


organization of'

~ Pa:-ty.

Tne CPH, i t pointd out, was, still /

organized on the basis of geography ra ther than of f'8.ctory ~e~-~.


1

The concentration of many of the' leading functions in one

<

~er

on

Wijnkoop - gave the 'Party leadership a personal rather than a

'collective character.

of any new leading members


contr61.
~

", Party

This impeded the development and emergence


a~d mad~

dif'ficult reciprocal Party

The Executive was therefore of the opinion "that the

ca~

only gain if the most important party functions are

''"\ divided aIjlong a greate~ number of ,party members".


",

To~"',
\jsre a

more consistent implementation o'f democratic 'entralism the


/ Party Congress would'have to

'.

gi~-ri'

b~more

representative and

more control over i ts electe-d bodies.'


l

Part of this con-

trol .. would be "'xerc.ised through a control commission chosen b'y


1

and re~ponsible to_ .the Congress. '- Mention was also made of lia
Partijbestuur div~de~nto ~ polit~cal and organizational
bureau".

Responsibility and control were thus to be more widely

dispersed; the

personalized~and

highly centralized leadership

was cramping the growth and potential of the Party.

That the

Party"could not be politically effective if organizationally


,

",.'.'

stunted
,

appe~s

to have been in the minds of the Comintern

Executive.

The last section of the ECer communication, dealing


{-

"

with factional ptrife, brings this out more clearly.

41
After- pointing o'ut the tremendous prospects for the Party
<!.1

in Holland and acknowledging

tha~

its influenoe on the masses

was proportionately greater than its size. the EGGI blamed the
internaI situation,in the Party"for retarding its growth, paralyzing'its ~~tivity,
and posing a threat to the progress of the
---.....
1

~ommunist

movement.

In the opinion of the Gomintern Executive

the factional struggle's were based mainly an the differences of


,

opinion oVer Party tactices which could be resolved wi thin the


;

Party and the International,. i. e. they were not ideological.


f

The opposition faction would have to disappear but the members


,

of the opposition had to


Party discipline, freedom

~f '~i ticism

tlw~ thin

the limi ts of '

and', 'the ri'ght to propor-

tion~l representation in th? Party leadership".

The EGCI concluded by

,/

--~~~.

gu'aranteed,

dire~ting

bath sides to work together

,~

to resolve their difference-s. to' restore Party uni ty and discip-

,'j-,t-

line, and to remove the obstacles ta' the growth of the Party and
~

of its
on

',;>

El

infl~ence.

The second Gomintern intervention thus ended

note of goodwill and co-operation. , The complaints of

",

De Kadt's group had received attention but the leadership had

been
to'

fi

o~~y

lightly

do better".

reprima~ded,

no~

cohdemned, and instructed

It should be noted that the ECCI communication

tended " t~ emphasize the trade union nature of the apposi tian.
The subsequent fate of the De Kadt faction and the Qutcome of

the fifteenth Party Gongress will have to be considered with


this emphasis in mind.
The comtnunication of 25 r1!arch and i ts recommenda tions were
discussed at the fifteenth Party Congress

of

the CPH in

A~il

'--~-

42
1924 in the presence of two Comintern representatives, Jules
Humbert-Droz and Karl Kriebich.
for the KPD. 53

Paul Schlechte was also present

As the communication had not been published in

the Tribune, or otherwise circulated, its exact r contents were


known to only a few.

Wijn~n his opening speech to the Congress,5 4 declared


that ~.?arti,ibestuur was in agreement wi, th the Comintern
Execu,
ive on aIl but two pointsl

the evaluation of the revolutionary

situation in Germany and of the revolutionary nature of the


NAS.

"

But, he added, "that does notmean that if MOSCOr says

something to be a fac,);, that we can never say anything e Ise.

If

He saw in the discussion of the labour question a justifica-

-.

."

tion of the tactics of

~1'\

~he l~adership.

The crisis which had


"b~ech

ar' sen after the last Congress he blamed on the

o_f
:

discipline committed by sorne party members".

In

conclu~ing,

Wijnkoop announced that in accordance with the instructions of


the ECCI the Partijraad, or Party council (an enlarged central
committee established in 1921) would be, chosen directly by the
-Oongress, and that members of the oPP?sition would be gven
re~resentation

on various Party bodies - two would sit in the

Partijbestuur - but not on the editorial board.

Factionalism

must disappear and discipline be. restored.


,

Strenuous objections to Wijnkoop's speech came from De


,
Kadt .. He argued that the ECCI critique of the Parti,ibestuur
left the latter with no choice but
restore strict discipline, he

t~

c~aimed,

resign.

The calI to

was only a cover-up for

a lack of character - character was derived from policy, not

4)

from discipline.

De Kadt again expressed the willingnesr of

his group to assume the leadership of the Party.

"We, the

opposition, feel ourselves capable of, doing a better job."


Droz apparently did not take De Kadt very seriously.
.was most

i~pressed

He

by"Bouwman and his speech which stressed

that co-operation between the CPH and NAS was a prerequisite


for the true revolutionary unit y of the masses.

In reply to

Wijnkeop's speech Droz criticized Wijnkoop's attitude towards


Germany and reproached him for regarding the NAS as a "potential
instrument of revolution
force".

ll

rather than as a "living revolutionary

He reprimanded the opposition for now showing more

affection for the Party and for not believing in a united CPH.
The opposition itself was no longer united at the Congress.
The Comintern representatives regarded the NAS element in the
opposition to be the most important and had secured the agreement of the Partijbestuur to admit
its ranks.

Sn~evliet

and Bouwrnan to

55 At the Congress a new trade union resolution was

adopted which, while similar to the 1921 resolution, shif,ted


the ernphasis from organizational unification of the labour movement to unit Y of action in the class struggle. 56
leaders were willing

t~

accept the arrangement.


li;,

not.

>l'

The two NAS


De Kadt was

He was not satisfied with the guarantees for a better

functioning Party democracy.


After the Congress De Kadt left the CPH and in May 1924organlzed the Bond van Kommunistische Strijd-

en Propaganda

Clubs (BKSP) and started a newspaper, the Kommunist.

He was

joined by many of the internal opposition, including Roland-

>\

44

-'p

Holst, but not all.

Sorne were more optimistic than

and felt changes would be


the CPH.

m~de.

Ce

The NAS group also

Kadt

in

sta~ed

The BKSP existed as a small heterogenous group of


~

intellectuals,

individualis~s
"b

-r'

--

and anarchists until 1927, when

De Kadt flnally rejected combunism altogether and drifted into


\

conserva tism.
With' the exception of

D~
-,

Kadt and his supporters, it

appeared that a satisfactory settlement had been reached.

The

Eccr reported to the fifth C6mintern Congress in 1924 that


"after prolongedoand heated debates, harmony among the conflicting sections was at last reached which will make possible
l

fruitful work in the future".57

J. A. N. Knuttel wrote in the

Communistische Gids that the Party leadership was once more


"master in its own house";
the charges of faulty united front
'8
tactis and of not be ing in !,ccord wi th r.loscow had been proven
false.

58

This confidence was premature.

New discontent arose in

the Party ranks as it became evident that the leadership was


not prepared to mand its wa~s or re~nquish any of its power.
Even Knuttel himself changed his praise"to criticism.
years you have been able to saya

la partie c'est nDUS, but

that time is past, never to return." 59


however~

"For

The Party leaders,

having led the Party from its inception in 1909.

would not or could not adjust to changed circumstances.


\

They

had managed to rid themselves of the Gorter-Pannekoek group


,
and of the De Kadt faction but not of the demands for gr.~ater
member participation nor of the trade unlon question.

Both

-~

... #

" -------- - - -

45

.
these and

othe~~issues

soon gave rise to

~other

opposition

and further intercession by the Comintern Executive.

In May

"'-;

1925 rather than yield to the condi~ions laid down by the


.
opposition and the ECor, the ~arty leaders stepped down.

('

------

~-----------

"~

'.

\
o

"",

'

46
Chapter}:

Opposition and Counter-opposition

1924-1927

The third split in the CPH occurred yhen Wijnkoop, Ravestey?l" and Ceton, .fter having relinquished the leadership, let
.
...
the Party altogether and organized their own Communist Party.
This development was a highly signiftcant one for the CPH

,J.

marking the beginning of its transformation from a relatively


-

inde~endent

and somewhat eccentric Comintern member to an obeThe period precedi~g'

diant and orthodox Comintern section.

the split was marked by a renewal of agitation against theParty leaders and their policies, the assumption of the leader/"'
ship by the opposition when the old leaders resigned, agitation by the former leaders and their supporters aga.i_nsj;__ th~ new_
-~-~

_....-----------

leadershi-p---a:nd-rrnafrythe--;;q;ulsion of Wijnkoop and Raveisteyn


.- -

from the Party.

The first indication_that u~ty had not been restored


"

after-..:the depart~~e- of De jJt-C'lame when Sneevliet and Bouwm_an~


refused

~o

sit on the Partijbestuur on the grounds that the NAS

executive had forbidden them to do so.l

Nothing,- they claimed,

had changed in the anti-NAS attitude of the CPH leaders.

NAS resolution of 6 Septernber,1924 stated that full co-operation with the CPH would noi be possible until the, latter not
only ackno~ledged that irnflementation of the united front first
required the strengtRao~Jg and expansion of the NAS but also
put this principle

int~~ractice.2

The NAS delegation to the


1

third Profintern Congr~ss in 1924 had been forced to vote


against the unit y resolution because the NAS was still:too

"

47

small and wea , continued the


was fairly

re~olution.

The implication of

the CPH by refusing to build

cle~:

hindering tha unification of the Dutch labour


/

rapidly

deterior~ting rel~fionship

with the NAS was

a growfng dissatisfaction within Party ranks among those

supported tMe leadership at the fifteenth Congress but

ad hoped that the Congress wou14 serve as a catalyst for much

~~eded

changes, such as a more collective leadership.

When it

jlbecame evident that reform was not forthcom1ng, they became


In a rebuttai to Knuttel's opt~tic article,J R.

impatient.

Manuel warned that the situation had not been corrected and,
that if no action was taken to do so in the near futur~, qreappearance

o~

the pre-Congress situation could be expected,

this time with fatal consequences. 4


\j

The changes promised at the fifteenth Congress were indeed


--

a long time in being fulfilled.

The new trade union resolu-

j;ion and tpe new Party regula tions - providing for a trade

union cotission. a control commission and the division of the

parti.\?stuur into a political and an organizational bureau were fiot put into effect by the Partijraad until November 1924,
six months after the Congress. 5 The delay was partly
due to
1)
Wijnkoop's illness after he returned from the fifth Comintern
C9ngress.

Because he was reluctant to delegate any power or

responsibility, the Party lapsed i'nto inactivity artd organizational chaos. 6 Cries were aga in raised. especially in vJijnkoop' s
r/0wn section in Amsterdam, against the concentfation of Party
i

"

48

offices and control.

The majority of this section, one of the


largest and most important, turned against the old leaders 7and .
sought co-operation with the NAS. 8
Some of the leading spokesmen of the new opposition, L.
Seegars! R. l\lanuel and' P. Bergsma, sat in the Parti.ibes?t;uur
chosen in November 1 9 and Manuel became chairman of the trade
union commission.

Real power, however, was still concentrated

in the hands of the old leaders.


o

Fo~ exampl~,

a Dagelijks-

bestuur or 'presidium consisting of the Party chairman (Wijnkoop)


and the two secretary-treasurers

(C~ton

and J. Brommert) was

set up in addition to the poli tlical and organizational bureaux.


Here the important, iSsues couid be discussed and decisions
made in private and without interference.
On 24 November 1924 Wijnkoop gave clear indication that
he did not intend to abide by the decisions of the Comintern

..

Cox;;gress (r.fgarding Part yi reorganization), the Party Congress


- or tne-Partijraad.
the lower house

He again delivered an important speech to

withouto~rior

consultation with the Party or

.-:' even the Parti.ibestuur.

In i t he suggested the possibili ty of

a Labour Party, compriS&d of all the


~hich

,
9

social~st

the communists could co-operate.

spa~keti

1,

workers, with

,The spech immediately

a controversy which filled the columns of the Tribune

'-mftil ~,larch 1925 when the Parti,;bestuur delivered i ts official


verdict and called the case closed.
The, cri ticisms of

t~e~,v,peech

were similar to '-those made

earlier of the "wor k'rs va government" proposaI.

There' had been


/'

no previous discussion or consultation: the parliamentary faction

-'~ <

still believed

1.

that it can independently determine its stand on important


issues by by-passing aIl Party authorities, that it can
announce a new course in Parliament without even having
asked the Parti.jbestuur.'or P~rti,jraad for i ts opinion. 10
The content of the speech itself revealed opportunist and
liquidationist tendencies in that it p,laed the CPH second to

a Labour Party instead of having made clear that the CPH was

...

the only,t:ue workers' party and vanguard of


,
"

t~e

proletariat:

Wijnkoop had un

potential for a mass Dutch

Bolshevist party and

the workers.

Ravesteyn, in answer ta these and other criticisms, attributed the whole controversy to a misunderstanding : neither he
,
nor Wijnkoop had ever sa id a Labour Party was possible in the
foreseeable future.

Those who continued to "misunderstand" the

jnten~i~ns-of the sp~-accused of deliberately reading

things into it. ll


Wijnkoop did not speak in his own defence until
the matter was closed.
attacks on his speech

Iv~arch

when

.~

He then, like Ravesteyn, sald that the


~ere

based on a

misint~rpretation

of the

facts, and implied that the misinterpretation was deliberate.


He conceded <1that the question---.
should --have
been discussed before....
hand but argued that the political bureau had come into being
1ft,

just three days before his speech and that the speech would
have been pgroved had it been discussed.

He had therefore

not appeared suddenly wi th an "opportunist policy".

This sug-

~revented

his speech

gestion was a "nasty insinuation" and had

from becc;>ming "an excellent propaganda piece for communist


n..

The cri t:leisJll.A~,:his speech, he fel t., was based n


nothing more than illusion and sectarianism. 12
ideas".

The resolution of the Partijbestuur on the matter appeared


in the same issue of the Tribune as Wijnkoop's rebuttal.

The

Partijbestuur dissociated itself from any 5pportunist interpretation of the speech.

The idea of a Labour Party, it

declared, was an illusion used by the reformists; only under


"

the leadership of the CPH and the Communist International could


the Dutch working class achieve victory.lJ
<

It Vias too li ttle and too late to placa te th growing


opposition.

They.

qeman~ed

.more control within leading Party

bodies and a change in the candidate list for the' forthcoming


election in favour

Df

the opposition.

They charged the

ship - Wijnkoop, Ce:ton, Ravesteyn and Brommert


~he

with

~ader

~noring

decisions of the Rotterdam Congress and of the fifth

Comintern Congress, with sabotaging the decisions of the


Partijraad

~f

November, and with opportunism and inactivity.

They further condemned the lack of organization i~ the Party. 14


If the criticisms were familiar, so too was the reaction
of the leaders.

They declared the opposition to be the same as


~

the previous one both in its goal and its tactics; its goal
was as before nothing more thanl
Away with1 the founders of the old SDP, those who established the Communist Party in Holland as weIl cas tho'se who
Il

stand close to them pr who follow the same policy.15


1rJijnkoop, nevertheless, saw a danger in the sympathy of the

51.

~S
t~CPH

opposition for'the

and feare& that if the former group won

the upper hand


""
/
"
t
16
'
1 le

would become an NAS party run by Sneev-

Once again the Comintern was brought into the dispute.


Alr~ady

in December 1924 the CPH had received a letter from the

Organization Bureau of the Executive Committee of the Communist


International (ECCr) which contained ~riticisms of the organi-

z~tional deficienc~~_of th~

Party.l?

The Bureau had then

expressed dissatisfaction with the extent of member participation and with the size and rate of growth of the Party, a Party
~

which was already fifteen years old.

It attributedthe failure

of the Dutch communists to win over the mass


ing class to the Party's small membership.

o~

the Dutch work-

Expansion of the

Party was therefore the -"decisive party question".

The ECCr had

already set the CPH the tasJc of bringing i ts membership up to


3000 by the next Congress.

It is significant that no propagan-

da for the required increase in Party membership had appeared


in the Tribune.

Apparently lia few Dutch party members" had

objected to the task because the letter emphasized that it was


"completely final, serious-and practicai and was in no way
meant 'as orientation' "

The letter aiso pointed out that

increasing the 'size of the Paryy


was directIy dependent on
...-Party reorganizati'on.
-.

The difficulties in fulfilling this task will decrease in


proportion to your success in carrying out the reorganization ~of the Party] on the basis of factory cells, ~he
r~volutionizing

of the Tribune, the internaI reorganiza-

--

--e

52

"

tion of the Party structure. the creatiod.:"of an organiza-

1_=-_-

tion in the capital [Amsterdam], the formation of an


actively working staff of functionaries, and the general
18'''''
political ac:tivit;y of the Party. .
The special presidium or Dagelijksbestuur, which had been
by the Party leaders, was

consi~~ed

forme~

unnecessary by the ECCI

Organization Bureau.

By the end o the month the Dageli,jks':'


j
,
19
but litt le else had changed.
bestuur had ceased to exist
u

In the light of this letter it is not surprising that the


Comintern Executive lent a sympathetic ear to opposition demands
to have power and responsibility more evenly distributed in the
Party.

The opposition asked specifically that their candidates

be placed on the even-number places on the CPH list for the


general election.

Thi p would give them the chance of having

at least one of their spolcesmen ln Parliament as i t was unlikely


that the CPH would win more-than two

s~ts.

The Comintern

Executive worked out a compromise. incorporating the request,


in consultation with the representatives of both sides.

The

inves:~igatl.on into;-the dispute was handled by a new Dut.,.ch

commission with, Heinz Neumann (Germany) as chairman and


Gallagher "'-Great Britain) as-~-;;~etary. 20

~v.

The Parti,ibestuur

rnajority , as it was sometimes called, sent as its 'spokesmen

Wijnkoop. G. van het Reve. J. Nooter and J. Proost.


named was no longer the

permane~t

The last

representative of the CPH in


q

Noscow; Wijnkoop had been elected to the ECCI in 1924.


, ma and Seegars went as the opposition representatives'.

BergsIn

addition. the NAS for the first time sent its own delegation,
~

_\

53
Bouwman and N. Kitsz, to present its grievances and demands. 2l
The NAS also sent a telegram, outlining the essence of
t'

i ts demands, to i ts

den.

representa~ive

in l'Iloscow, J. van Wijngaar-

Wijngaarden had been appointed December 1924

Il

to maintain

,~

contact and good relations" with the RILU.'22

The te1egram

informed him'that a meeting of the, NAS tr,ade union leaders ~


haq. discussed

~the

subversive work of the ':Wijnkoop element"

')

against the NAS and had concluded that open confllct-was unavoldable.

Better relations, the telegram continued, could only come

about through the "radical ~~imi.nation~f the] Wijnk~op element


from aIl 1eadil"lg functions". 3
-',.

..

The comprom1se proposaI of the ECC

.,.

et with protest from

"-

the Partljbestuur de1egation .. They c1aimed that it pIayed into


,

"-

the hands of an tlq,rtiffo't.i-<a1, externaI1y created opposition",


that is, of the NAS and De Kadt' s Bond van F:ommunistische Strij den .Fropaganda

Club~

(BKSP).

They further argued tha t the coroi~

promise as i t stood would turn the workers ln the CPH against


<:l

the Comintern because it played into the hands' of those who


wished to sabotage the united
it

fro~.

"
Finally, they held that

failed to provide .even a basis for a dialogue which could

lead to consolidation of the CPH.

The -delegation appealed to

~he Comintern Presidium for a "satisfactory solution" based

upon i ts own prop.gsals which woHfd~have granted the oppos i tion


repres~ntation

proportional to the number of votes

i~

could .
T

win at

-e

th~

forthcoming Party Congress. 24

There was also an attempt at

. ,.

compromise by a group Ied

by A. S-. de Leeuw and Jan Rqmein whereby L.

de Visser, a worker

54
,

and not of the opposi tien (at

tha~ /~H~t), would be 'placed

second on the candidat list..

Apparently Wijnkoop was flot


"
completely adverse to a change i~ th list 25 but Ravesteyn, . wh~

t
----------7-

was second., would


he-- w;~ld -ha~~to

supp~rt

n~t

hear of

down to third

mov~ng

p~ace

wher~

ii ttle-<'~bh.nce--Of-gatn~~ aS$-.--Z6----wrjnKooP-,""C"hhl....07"~f7"e.------

Ravesteyn.

The Cornintern Executive and PresFdium.

however, rejected the proposaIs of the Partijbestuur delegation and adhered to the original compromise.
On 25 April the

rep~rted

to

~he

rnajority

and

Partijbestuur. 27

minori, ty

delegations

majori ty

The

delegation
~

said that it had 'found three points, ,lto{:n organizational


v~

nature", impossible to carry out.


1

c:!'"

'J

The'Partijbestur decided to

reserve judgement until the offici~l text


waserecelved.
-y

\ ~

l '

...

It

also fixed lIhe date for the -'next.,pongress as 9 and 10 May, to


_1-

be held in Amsterdam.
The official text reached Holltl'M ,on l hlay'an..d the Parti,j',,;.

bestuur met immediately to deal 'with it.


~. ~,

"Resolution

Con~erning

'"

Not only was

thi~

the Crisi~' in the Dutch Party" rnuch more

extensive in i t's 6ri ticism of the Party, and i ts l,eaders than


pr~vios
tI

ECCr pronouncernents, it was-also much sharper in tone.

The , Cornintern Executive finds that the development of' the


Cl,'

Communist Party in Holland towards a revolutionary,


prole,
.
~:

tarian mass party is occu~ring unusually ,slowly.

Th'"is

fact is to qe explained on the one hand by the particular


difficulties of revolutionary activity in Holland and by
the old

tradition~

of the

putc~

labour movernent, and on

the other hand by the passive attitude and ertain devia-

, =. .

"

"

"T,

. ,.

55

"".r "\a.a.

tions of the Party leadership in the past-Tew yers.


-, f

Reflecting upon t~ troubles of the preceding year, th~ resq..l.4athe~

tion expressed dissatisfaction with the manner in which

CPH had .bnly partia],.ly implemented the decisions and recommendations of~-tne-Comlrrtern an- h-ad--ceB-t-inued-to_ conmLt__ ?-.Tr_0:rl?
in policy and tactics.

These errors were to be

tac~cs.
The Comintern Executive first found "signs of opportunist devia tions" in cer_tain speeches and articles on the united
'

... _

r....

front by the CPH pffTliamentary~rfepresentatives.

---------------------

Its own concep-

- tion of united front tactics was apparently not always reflected


c'

'

by

Il

le~ding

Dutch comrade". ' Wrse than these verbal deviations,

however, was the "general passivi ty" of the Pax:ty leaders as


-

_ _ ~_ -~ _ _ _ _

-.. \:J ______ _

shown by their failure to carry out the united front tactics in


a revolutionary manner and'to link them,to mass movements.
Another deviation was round in
colonial reform in Parliament.

('

Rav~steyn's

support of

The CPH-parliamentary faction'

was reminded by the Executive to d~fend a consistent revolutionary policy on the right -of separation.
~inally

the Comintern Executive again gave much c01Jsiderq

. '- ation to the trade unioh question.

l t f-sul teq_ the", CPH wi th

.J

failure '~'to explo i t to full advantage the left opposition in


the reformist unions and to bring about a closer and more
"

friendly accord with the NAS.


'noted, the Party had only
'~S.

>

'

.j

I..)~

t ..~
- - -_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ~t.

.,

provoked and alienated the

On the other hand the ECCl blamed the NAS for not trying
~

.. ..

'
Since the Rotterdam Congress, it

furthe~

~
f

fou~' in~yni te~

front tactics, in colonial policy and in trade union policy and

"

56

---e

- -------to--establish a more normal relationship wi th the CPH, It


- ---------'----praised the A~sterdam section which ~hrough its-"coir.ect~r~eol~a~-~---
tionship with the NAS" had been the only section to achieve
positive results.
Following its analysis of the Dutch Party situation, the
Comintern Executive enumerated' nip~ correctives, three of which
the Partijbestuur declared unacceptable on the grounds that

they would stabilize rather th an eliminate the opposition; who


would only continue to sabotage, the implementation of ~te;n
~
..... ...
'r
policy in Holland. 29 The points to which the Partijbestuur
~

objected dealt with the placing of opposition members in key


Party positions.

The second place on the candidate list was

to be filled by someone from the minority, that is, the


tion.

opp~si-'

As an al ternat/ive the CPH could draw up a list of aIl

worker candidates.

A member from the minori ty was als-o to De-

named to the Party secretariat as second secretary.


a minority choice

wa~

Finally

to be given the post of second political

editor for the Tribune.


The PartijbestuUr insisted that it challenged only these
three points.

It concurred with the other points on Party

organization and would take into consideration the crlticism


contained in the EGCl resolution, although this criticism was
c

not wholly justified.

In the meantime a telegram was sent to


,

Moscow:

Partijbestuur CPH, having Teceived letter

'

\0f 1 E~ec~tive,

is
wi th exception "':Of
-,

minor~tY'jof same opinion as Party

delegation, that

organizat"onal measures are

thre~

--

----------- ----

___J

57
"

unaccept~ble,

--~------~--

--

~Par--t--bjbes-tuur

f~mation.

because they stabilize faction


therefore declare i ts

po~i tions

open"

staying at its post until Congress.J~


There was apparently no reply to this telegram~-};L - Nor did
the Comintern

Executiv~

send a representative to the Congress.

Perhaps the Executive was

occupie~

with more, pressing matters


(Ji

and did not seriously consider the possibility.that its resolutions would be rejected by the Congress, or

tha~

the Dutch leaders

would carry out their threats to resign.


Thus while the Comintern Executive

was~'being

"
drawn more

and more into the internaI affairs of the CPH and was beginning
to show greater initiative in directing them it had yet to take

-e

an openly active and direct role as was the case elsewhere in


Europe. J2 Its actions so far h~d been largely the resuit of
reques-ts by Dutch Party-members for intercess-ion and mediation.
-Even the "crisis" following the sixteenth Party Congress was
o

precipitated by a member of the CPH.


f

The turbulent sixteenth Party Congress took place as


,.~_:..--

---

announced 9-10 l'jay in the "Harmonie" building in Amsterdam. JJ


Facing the leadership and the delegates were not only the Comintern instructions but also the fast approaching general election.
A sense of urgency was thereby added to the Congress proceedings.
Wijnkoop and De Visser were chosen to
Congress.

~reside

over the

It saon pecame clear that Wijnkoop had the

on his side, albeit not a large one.

majori~ye

A motion 't5 remove ~~j~- .

koop, Ravesteyn and Ceton from aIl leadership positions was

_~h;r~~Olu.tion,

easily defeated 57 to 19 wi th 9 abstentions but


'"

--

---------------------------

------------58---

of the minori ty demanding immediate implementation of the Comltl:------tern directives and an

all~worker

candidate list was defeated

by a sma]er _marginl- 97 5 ~o(06 wi th 22 abstentions. J4

resolution introduced by the Rotterdam section, led by Ravesteyn,


declared four - not three - organizational changes unacceptable
on the grounds that they would consolidate_ the opposition and
thus turn the CPH into a sectarian NAS party in opposition to
the Comintern.

The additional

mea~re

unacc~t-

now considered

able required the composition of the new Partijbestuur to be


proportional, based on the relative numbers of the majority and
mJnority in the Party.35

ThewBotterdam mtion was passed by a

narrow majority, 863 to 809 with Jl abstentions. 36


\

After this last defeat the opposition announced its withdrawal from the Party leadership and the trade union commission:
___ llanuv, Seegars, Bergsnia would step dow l1 together
Lakevel t and H. van der Gla.s.

wi~h

H__ yar"l

The Congress then pro'ceeded ta

draw up the candidate list'for the forthcoming parliarnentary


elections.

Wijnkoop was first,followed by Ravesteyn, De Visser,

an Indonesian member, a female member and five workers. 37


new PartLjbestuur was also chosen consisting

Il

~lijnkoop,

teyn, Ceton, De Visser, Brommert, G. Sterringa, H. P.

A
Raves-

~S~am

Ponsen, J. F. Fredericks, G. van Burink. and H. van Walree.?8


Then spoke the chair-man of the control commission. -G.
Q

]\,annoury.

kannoury, a founding

m~mber

and member of the first

Parti,ibestuur in 1909 ~ 39 had been long a cri tic of the triurn-

virate4~nd thus was sympathetic to the opposition, but he canno~


be considerGd

p~~t

of this opposition.

He was rather a man of

59

.
j

/r-

----pr-rrc-i-pe---who believe---:Ul.ai the rules m1.l.8.1J?~ followed,

Thus

at the Congress he fel t obliged, in the'! absence of a Cominterl)


representative, to point out that the Congress lacked the right
to make up a candidate list which conflicted with the CominternIs instructions; the list was

null and void,

ther~fore

Nor

did the Congress, he declared, have the authority to reject a


' t ern d
"
41
Comln
eC1Slon.

Wijnkoop retored that this was no more than Ivlannoury's


42
personalopinion.
Nevertheless, he did add b~fore the. end of
the Congrss that should the ECCI veto

t~

action of the Con-

gress, those who had been chosen would not take up their positions, as the CPB

~ad

no intention of coming into conflict with

-~-------------~

'fhe Comintern. 43

- - - - - -------------- ~-------- -----------Eannoury in the meantime sent the following telegrall1 to

After CPH Congress declared Comintern resolution unac--~---cep-ta"b-le ,- l, as chairman of __ t


_i

P~rty control commission,

--------thought l should make clear to the Congress that the

candidate list composed contrary to the resolution was


,
l'd
lnva
l.

R' equest ru l'lng. 44

""-

'rhe ECCI Presidium replied immediately to r'lannoury' s wire


with the statement that if it were indeed true that there was
not a minority candidate in second place on the list lia serious
breach of discipline" had been committed and
would take the necessary action.

furth~

~e

Executive

information was re-

questcd,4 5

.,
The Partijbestuur protested that directly after the Congress

1
;"'\.
1

--

60

.-"JI'>

it--,-_too, had sent a

and had said that a full

telegraIT}_~to l':IOSCOW

report would follow - the - twowires h~d probablycrosse-paths. 49

Another

telegram~as

Congress had

de~~~d

then snt ta

~he

ECer

explaining that the

against special provisiDn for the minority

in the leadership, in 'the edi tor ial commi ttee and in a par liamen~ary faction of two.

The mino~ity was ,still al10wed to run

its nominees in these and other positions on1y not on a proportional basis.
Instead of following this course, explained the
tel~graffi,

the minority had refused to run at aIl.

Since a

general election was imminent it had been necessary to put


/

togetber _a candi-da"te l-ist--t-o -presen L ta the

pub-ltc-,~~~

i t--

was not in accordance with the instructions of the-Comntern


Executive.

The Congress, continued the telegram, had then

however instructed the ~artijbestuur ta request another decision


li~t

from the ECCr on the composition of the


telegram.

- hence the first

1'here had been no "breach of discipline".

Should

the ECCI decide that bath groups must be represented on the


---~--

---- - ---

\-~--;

----~---

list, the Congress declsioITl'roUd----{}e--F-e-v-oke.d,_.n_which


the signers of the telegram

woUl~' ~eSign. 47

A-l-l-

c~se

o~~~he mQ~b_erS ___u_.__

of the newly-elected Partijbestuur had signed, with the exception of De Visser.

...

Jie had added his own note a~!lo~ncini hIs

-G> -

',,-

immediate and unconditional withdrawal from the election list


in order to conform ta international discipline. ,
Three days later, on 15 I,.ay, a second telegram signed by
Otto Kuusinen (l"inland-) was received from Loscow.
and to the pointl

It was short

"The PreJ3idium rejects al'l resignations and

insists that the decision of the Executive be carried out. 1148

61
The Tribune of 18 T.la

carried the announcement of the resigria-

tha-Earti"b stuur

---tofrof

and Fredbricks.

~ith

--

the exception of Da-Yisser-anud_____


-----

-_

__

__

W jnkoop, Ravesteyn and three others also with-

drew fro~ the can, idate list: De Visser, Fredericks and the
:

Ji.C'.

other cardidate_l/ remained.

Wijnkoop and his group, said the

Tribune Istatement, had fel t that a unified l-'arty was impo~~le


1

on the

qasi~

of the Executive resolution and had therefore made

good their promise to step down.

The l-'arty was thus without

leaders ip and without,a candidate list for the general elction.


There matters stood when the representative from the Comin- ....,1....,.
-

si -yilatio .
wC/.s
,

iHe had been present at the previous, Congress and

fore somewhat familiar with the troubles in the CPH,

/
f

On the one hand the

-out

s faced with no easy problem.

cr isis

d to be resolved before the el~ction, on the other the

!
ex-leade~s

"

difficul ~\'

;'
f

--

!
)

i-mm0vabl~-making

a __Cluick :res_olution very

Droz, during his stay, initially tried to reconcil-

____J__~--=-=-'tt-t_he
,/

remained

~wo
-

opposing, grQuj)s. _ W}len,

--1 __ -

--_

___

___

__

__

__

__

~h~~_ f~~~ed

he handed the
-

._._

leadership',over to the opposition, or mfnori ty grour,- -His- f-ir-s-t-action concerned the candida te

l1sT.~emtz-ing --tha:t--liLijnko_op____

waul -not change h-is mind ,DrDzhelpe_d graw up a new list wi th


De Visser and Seegars respec3ively occupying first and secon
place. 49 He then called a Party conference for 24 May to deal
.with the questions of the Party leadership, the Tribune ditors

-----

...

and tne

organiz~ional

bureau.

De Visser was appointed interim

chairman of the Party.


,
1

At the conference Droz delivered a speech explaining the

62

,~
---

action of the 'Executive. 50

He __s,tre..sse~ the necessi ~y of main-

~- - -~---tainiIlg irrt-ernat-ional-difrC-ipline -m-a- perl04-G-f -eapi talis"L_


,
stabiliz~tion in order to avoid right deviations, and pointed

out the repercussions which the action of the Dutch Party Congress would have on the upholding of this discipline.

A decision

by the Executive was based upon talks with aIl tnose' concerned,
he stated,

~nd altho~gh

carried out.

it could be appealed it must first be

Otherwise no international discipline was possibles

if Holland could reject a ruling, other sections could do the


sarne.

Besides creating a dangerous precedent by its action, the


--

Party Congress made inevitable the formation of factions within


the Party who would attempt to preserve international discipline.
,

In the

opi~ion

motion,

-+-

of Zinoviev and the Presidium, the Rotterdam

r.~jecting

t0e latest Comintern instructions, Has the

-rirst--step -un-t-he-:POad u>--a-brealLrith i.. osow, - -the


road of Fros--- - - - sard (in Prance) and Hoeglund (in Sweden).

Indeed, declared

- - -------

Droz, the enernies _orcommufilSm-nad already--ifi--teFf>~~ed

the

Con-_ __

gress action in thi light.

___

the whole, the united front policy of the Party had been p-j}proved
------ - - - --- -

by the
1

.seCI.

_ __ __

Only 'deviati~-' such- ao 1;ne- Labour Party--spe.-\i;-J.,~____--I

denounced.
were,
,

After this

reassuranc~"

however, the ECCI

representative offered sorne criticisms of the Party and the old


leaders.

Despite the age of the Party, he pointed out, its

influence was not great.

e.

~-------------------- .. -- .. --

This failing he attributed in part to

the absence of a true collective leadership:


~Jijnkoop

is too personal; he

~as

"The policy of

attracted too little and

/
j

63
----Pe-pelled too much."

---------~-

Wijnkoop had said in l\:oscow that there was


coul~

not one worker in the CPH who


in Parliament.

represent communist policy

DrQz found this a serious

koop's leadership of fifteen

~sic~

years.

re~lection

on Wijn-

51

After stressing the need for co-operation with the NAS and

for the creation of a proper organization, Droz turned to more


immediate concerns.
majority
ority

On the basis of the Congress vote the

was given six places on the Partijbestuur, the

four.

min-

One of the two editors and one of the two organiza-

tion secretaries was ta be a

minority

choice.

Bath majority

and minority were to co-operate in carrying out the one correct


Comintern policy, concluded Droz.
Sorne of the
their positions.

rnajority

members, however, refused to take up

They claimed that Droz had assured them before

the conference that the new Partijbestuur would be a provisional


---- - -

~'t

one and that he would,

O~h NOBCOW,

request a new EceI

which would reinstate the old leadership. 52

r~lirrg

The conference1had

proven these assurances to ~e- false, they said; they thus refused
to serve.

A new Partijbestuur was thenppointed.

composeQQT-rr-v_i~_~r {chair man) ,

Van-de:r:--Glas

It was

(vi~-chajrman)I-- __ _

- - - - - - -- -- - - - -

A. Wins (secretary), Seegars (secretary)., f"anuel, L.

Lakevelt~

-----

A. S. de Leeuw, "Perfors"-, D-. - Snalker and H. van Welzea. 53


Both De ~isser an~ Wins,

The last two were candidate members.


although of the

majority, had decided to co-operate in the

new leadership rather than let it faii under the control Of the
,"
opposition. There were other Party members, Knuttei among thern,
who also- differed with

~ijnkoop

on the question of participation.

64

perhaps not happy wi th the new state of affairs they fel t

~'Jhile

'

it wrong to

...

withdra~

~--------------------~

from the

l~adership

their demands had not been met.

simply because ail

By retaining a measure of con-

trol they could work from within to realize their goals; by


relinquishing it they lost this opportunity and left the1direction of the Party to their
Because the

Enlar~ed

opponen~s.

~J'

Comintern Executive had decided that

central committes of small parties were to have only a presidium, chosen by the central commi ttee, the poli tical bureau and

the organizational bureau of the CPH were abolished.

De Visser,

Seegars, lrlanuel, De Leeuw and Wins m~_de p-==tIH~ presidium.

Wins.

54 The proportion

ahd r.1anue l became the edi-tors, of the Tribune.i~i\.

of

"majorit~and

intermediate
~Jth

gro~p

"minority" was about equal, i;,hen, with an

<If.

holding the balance.

'

aIl these organizational matters settled, the new

leaders exhorted the members to bury past differences a.nd to '\


work

together,'especiall~

"L~anifesto
~olicy

to the Dutch

for the approaching election.

~'1orkers",

describing the trade union

of the .new Party leadership, was issued on 2 June.

~tres=

__________~si~the
continuity
of policy and leadership and the strength-- -- -- ~-~-~--enecr -uni ty of trre--Yarty,~ the--mani-f~s-to---prr>-ci~iITl~'d~ih~-)arty'S-------

_____ solidarity with the entire Dutch proletariat.


, --would work with both the NAS, where the left
of the Dutch working class

W~B

-'~~~--

The communists
re~olutionary

wing

to be found, and with the left

wing in the reformist Nederlandse Verbond van Va,kvereenigingen


(NVV) , to bring about
~n

..

NAS party.

united front; the CPH would not become

Regret was expressed in the manifesto over the

65
obstacles wpich the NAS had placed in the way of fruitful co-

operation, especially its separate candidate li st for the general


election.

55 -----

This separate list was the product of an alliance between


the NAS and De Kadt' s

renega~e

T~e

group, the BKSP.

alliance

1.

was cemented about the time of the Congress in reaction to the


,

failure of the ECCr resolution to demand the resignation of


.,..the old leaders; criticism was not enough. In addition the
resolution had, even taken -certain NAS communists to tasle
trated in their efforts ta- get rid of the

"

"~'Jijnlwop

Frus-

element",

Sneevliet, Bouwman and others s.ought to join forces wi th their


De l~~dt sa,irl-in h_~s memoirs that the proposaI

___former' allies.

was for Sneevliet nothing more than a

t force Wijn-

manoe~vre

lcoop and Ravesteyn ot of the leadership. 56 This may have been


\ "
th~_ case as the ECCr cold Hot very weIl have ignored a second
,

spli t in the CPH, especially - whe'n the split Vlould have involved
the only labdur organization in which th Party- nad any-_infll!:-_
~

'V.>

ence. -On the other hand it is


~

unliy~ly-that-theComintern

'

-Execu{lv- woul!;l- allow

~he

CPH to be-run by a labour organiza-

tion; !.10SCOW's sympathy for Sneevliet is also to be questioned.

""

In any-cas-e-tWht--e-ver 4heir mo-t-i vest--_Snaevljg~ Bouwman and

---

---"~---

--- - - -

four other NAS P-arty membars srvenJt:tc--e- shor tly -a:-f'-te-r--t-he


Congress tbat tbey had teiminated their memUership in the CPH
because of the anti-NAS nature of the Congress and the breach.
of discipline commi tted by the Congress

a~a4Lst.

the

Com~ntern. 57

At the same time the formation of a Revolutionair Arbeiders


Comit (RAC) was announced.

"

1&

58

The Comit was a

BI~SP-NAS

!
66
coali tion and presented i ts own list of candidates for the

parli~mentary elections~59
vOn the list were C. Kitsz (NAS),
,
~

Snee'vliet (NAS), J. Mauri te (BKSP) and Roland-Holst (BKSP),


a~ong

others.

The Comintern racted, to the independent list

wi th an, appea.L tl1-.-t_ "ail separate lists and opposing candidates"


:..

.J

be wi thdrawn in the

..

inte~ests

o'f a united class struggle. 60 ,

The'RAC was not mentioned by name, however;

A week l~ter,

rn a meeting on J June, the RAC was disbanded.

With the definite withdrawal of Wijnkoop ancf Ravesteyn from the


leadership there was little reason for its contirluation.
BKSPers,

especially De Kadt, disagreedl

Th~

61

a simple chanee In

. -i~~der~h~p-w-a-s-n-~~t~e~n~O~u~g~h~.&62--A~s~a~r~e~s~u~l+t~o~f~t~h~e~d~l~s~a~g~r~e~e~me~n~t---------the RAC list was not officially withdrawn and

";'0 tes

-,,-

pol~ed

12,656

This probably was""ipartially respgnsible for the losses


~he

CPH j it polled only 36,786 votes, 17,OOO,less


than in the prevf'ous.election and lost one of its two seats. 63

suffered by

Shortly aitr the elections Sneevliet,

Bouw~an

and other

NAS communist;rejo-ined the --CPH-;-1:ogther with -a -flumber of ex __ ~-_. \.

CPH and. ex - BKSP

"

("

me~bers; irll:fUdi~g -,~ ;Land .;KaTs t-. A


_.

- .

--l

For the time

'

being relations between 'the NAS and CPH appeared to have -irnproved
-

to the exte\t th~t 1Hjnkoop accused the new leaders of having

-,_-_-~-__-a_-~-~?Wed the7arty to fa-rr- i-n-t-e- t-he -C-l-utches",o.f, the NAS. 65


~

r_

_ _ _ _ _ _

In

~~_~,..

~r~

_ _ _ "

_r_~

__

September, for example, the syndicalists and~-corrii1unists unaei-...;:-~ ---~ C

"

_'tool(a

-C-01'l1r!rOn

ac'ti-on--against the .government, an undertalcing which

earned ;he praise of Sneevliet. 96


~

Then in December, at' its


-~

Congress and afte.r:-prolonged negotiations and ;talks in .:oscow


;7

with Profintern repre sen tat~ves, the l'lAS 'of~cially joined that
\"

9'

~evente~th Party Congress in May 1926


OPPosi~ion reappear - o~~ntYJat, l:ast. Until then~ it

, body.67

Qnly after the

did NAS
\

remained fairly quiet, and if not fully co-operative, at least


nut openly belligerant.
,

After sixteen years of leading the Yarty, ~HjnkQOp, Ravesteyn artd~Ceton were now ordlnary'members.
the decision to resign?
~ajority

What had prompted

behind him, albeit a narrow one.

Harmsen suggests

that he may have wished to avoi.p' a direct conflict wi th the

International and by his resignation have ho.vecl to de,monstr

.'

"

'.
68
of his opponents.
,.

incompete~ce

the

'>.~~

..

sudden one.

Giv~n

enough

~ope,

~e

'

l'

intern
flot

- '

/ - '

At the end of 1925 "WiJnkoop wrote to Ravesteyn oi'

our tacti~', already announced last year in the Parti,jbes~

tuur, in cai3e we had to wi thdraw. be cause of the dilemma

-----L'_.-!._l.j13.v~ o!ten tenough warned that l Vlould, at a certain


''-..

- - - - - -_____~p~o,,-,int ,_ when the poli tical and organizational mant>euvres

~~~~_____ beli~ved~ t~~~~~~~.h~g the~~elves - or perhaps the Co


WO~d step fi1 as hangman. In ariy-case-, ' the-<iecsion -was

).

"

At the Congress 'Wi-j.nkoop did have, a.

--

~__
"' _ _ _ _ _

--

~ _ _ ~_

.....

----,- -..':'...-began te conflict' too gre.atly 4wi th the'''Pri~cipl~; ~nd

'-

'\

--.-

pr~c~ices ],a1d 'clown by M'oscow J . no lon~er lend myse"lf for

"

the leadership
His

o'f

the' Dutch section of .~h: Comintern. 69


".li

l~tters

in this period reflect further a somewhat fatalistic

--- - attrtu;-;::r,e;-;:~-"',>"==-----4>+-""';-~--ceT-ta<linly
",.:J
~

_ _--..:::stronger than

will."

70

Gad' s "ha-nd 1 ~i.~e. circumstafieeB


~,

,f'~

Ravesteyn himself was. qui eQ, pegsi-

-----~------~---

---- - - - - ----

mistie ibout the


future o~ the Party even,befdre th
,
~

ECCr accord

was reaehed,71
l..

Due lq.rgely t a belief that the.y." were ind' spenshne and


c,

1
:L
,r

, ,c

'.
(

"'-"
J

l'
,f

."

.-----------~------------------~-- ----__~6~c~j____~__

that the Party coulai not -:functo'll without' them,


,

I(l

';Jj

jnkoop and

Ravesteyn at first led no active oppos i tion, al though 'v'Jijnkoop

\continue~

to speak to var10us gatherings and to conslidate h,is

F'

ties with Edo Fimme-.


'leader
of the left',opposiilitm in the NVV
,
.
and secretary of the Internat'ionai Fecferation or 'rransport
, \lJ~rkers:' 72" rrhis

Il

,'~ \

1eft opp~sition" supperted a united labour

f"ont wh ich would include communists.

.. \

\jnkoop had become

\
,;

involved wi th, i t around 1923 seeing Fimmen, as the key to winning ~I


the' NVV for the communists:

In the face ''''of the qAS oriented

policy of the new leaders , he


felt that it was more than ever
1
J

necessary for him te win as much

influ~ncar

ip the Fimmen move


-ment as possible; he continued to support Fimmen even after the
,

latter's reformlst behavior during 'the English gene~al strike

,>

<>

"

iR "1926.
Other than these, activities
'\ o~ our part". 73
, . d"any
av.~"l

,'"

Vlij~1;:o6p

favoured "passivity

Ravesteyn counselled patience ahd wishe to

'
fronta t
con

~
lon~.

74. ue
,., t on, on tl le

th,er h and, tended


Q

towards positive action from the start and was fairly active in
his sectlon - one of the eight Amsterdam sDl.b-sections - which

wa~ largely loyal and f~hich he was organizational secr~tary.

It was nt Ceton's instie;fLtion "that sorne hundred Party O1embers


reacted to the

~anifesto

of

?,

June with a counter-manifesto in

whic~ the Partijbestuur d~cumnt was attacked as a pro-NAS


planifesto because

'1 the opp6~i tlonal

WOf'k",o"f the commun::ts in

the NVV is made int0 a ,p1eans for the' expansion of the HAS". 75
~

This
l

protes~
'J

was sent to the Comintern Executive as weIl as

circulated within the Party.


, l '

,
- - - - - -----------------

69

There were other actions on behalf of the former leaders.


In July, on the ini tiati ve of the Amsterdam sub-section t'ITan--.._~~

---'-

den", of which the pro-ylijnkoop J. Nooter was secretary, a


resolution was aeni to the ECCr and all sections of the Inter-

national directed a t winning suppor;t, before the next

~ongress, for the return of'the

d
-'
ld' lade..rs

ta power.

~Il orld

?6

In i t

the. spectre of an anarcho-syndicalist CPH was raised .


.from wi thin the communist youth

organi~atioh .
1

the Zaaier,

The pro-

.came addTtional ,support for the old leadership.

Wi,inkoop grpup, however, lef by j',l. Lisser and P. "etsch('}T and


l

concentrate,d in Amsterdam, was in the minority.

Nonetheless i t

prove.d very active, becoming embroiled in a conflict with the -"- ...
~
leadership of the Zaaier, the CPH and
tlmately the Commur.lst

'1-

'"

Youth International (CYf).7?

"'J

, -

fhe trouble began when the Amster-

dam section ~f t,he Zaaier "susp'ended L. Lakevel:t;

78

and_ attaclced

the incompetence and highhandedness of the national leaders.hi'p,


of which Lal:evelt was a mernber. 79
~ssues,

the contrbversy was

.Jhatever the ostensible

~e~uced

ta a question of for or

ae;ainst 1.Hjhl:oop and hence for or against ,.international communo

ist policy and discipl.ine.

'

The Zaaier Congre:sg,.-in_August, 8t)- at

.....

---...

which the conflict was resolve-d, was almost a mirrol' image of

the CPR Congress:

...

much sharper in' its critique of the old


Q

leadership and with the

roles'reversed~

The opposition was

<~

'>

. easily defeated and the Congress heralded as a victory for the


CPt: leadership, for uni ty and for
~

The Zaaier

Con~ress:is

disciplin~. 81

of interest

a continuation 04 the struggles \'li thin

~ot

only because it was

th~ CPU but also because


a.

"

1,

'--

70

_e--, __ __
~

representa tives who attended the Congress.

On the eve of the

Congress an open letter wa~ received fro~ a conference of the

cyr

.:!..n i t the nevi le~dership was praised

o;ing. held in 13crlin.

-- - - - - - - -- _ _ _ _ _ 1 _ _ _

_ ___

__

C!on~r~ss o~

and th old one condemned as rightist. , At tr'le

of

""."

the CYl

represen~atives

equated

support~of

the Comintern with

(
I~e

fiGht against the Hijp.koop Group".

He conde'mned the

countcr:Jilanifes to _of June and the July resolution of the


)

"~ilan-

den" sub-section and introduced "a resolution V/hich far exceded


the

Eeer

resolution in its cri ticism of the old leade;;'ship.8}

The autumn brought new

s~tbacks.

FirS't Wijnkoop was for-

bidden by the Party ,presi#dium to do any more public speaking


"

beCJluse -of hise-." undisciplined and uncomradely behavior". 84

hi~

In

speaking ertgagements he usually made sorne remakrs, often


~

dealing with the NAS, calculated to provoke the now leadership.


/

t1

~\

'rhe Parti.ibestuur' attempted to put pressure on various sections


which had invi ted vJijnkoop to speal,;: - he still enjoyed much
popu~arity

- ta find another speaker, but with little 'success.


<l

II

Jijnkoop"himself was asked to appear'before the presidium "to


dis'uss .. his position on Party policy" :
"1

sion

~5' ~~hen

failed~o tal place ~ the presidium decla.red tha t i t had

--~

such time as he cared to appear before the presidium.


'

A second setback followed on the heels of the first.

~he

day after the speaking ban was imposed the presidium dismissed
the

l~adership

(Afdeelingsbestuur) 'of

t~~terdam
-

section and

- -----

suspended ,i ts members - among them }~.a:vsteyn, G. van Eurink and

{'

this discus-

- -no other choice but ta Dan any public speeches by vJljnkaop until

1-,

o_f_the_~evere c_r~t_l_'c~~_m_of_th_e_ c:ld_I__


e_ad~r_S_bvY~ t_h_e_~~~erna:-i-O_n_a~-_-_ -- -

r-----------------------------.--.. __ . _- ---- -------------------------;;-----71


J. Hoogcarspel - because of "systematic sabotage of party
---- d

"
" --86
eC1Slons .

( ...q

The "sabotage

tl

referred ta the-h{jJ.din&-back of
~

money collacted from Tribune sales by the Rotterdam section.

It appeared, however, that the moner, an amount ofLfl?5, had


i
" been used to pay an arrears in rent on the Party offices and
~ 0

-----

--~

----

that the whole matter had been settled sorne


'd''
lUro

pre~~

ac t 'lon. 87

day~

before the

rhe fact that the Rotterdam section was


:s

almost solidly pro-Wijnkoop and fiad for sorne time been at odds
o

wi th the Parti,ibestuur makes the issue of the money'S'eem m()re


a pretext than a reason.

~~~y ~~~w days b~fre, Ravesteyn had


--------

---------

made a speech at a city couneil meeting in Rotterdam, describing the CPH as beeoming a syndicalist party in which there
~

woulD be no place for him.


. t . 88

as an t l-communJ..s

'rhe l'ribur1.e had denounced th' speech


\

The presidium tried to have a new Afdee-

lingsbestuur chosen but the majority of the

s~etion

stood behind

, the GUGpended leaders and \'lere Gubseq untly also su:::ppended.


Only a rump section loyal ta t~~ ~ew Partij~estuu~ remained.
The next attaclc was directed against the Communistische
Gids, the monthly theorrticral journal of the '- ~arty.

The Com-

munistische Glds, which had replaced tfte Nieuwe Tijd in


1-922,89 wt\s in the hands of pro-~'Jijnkoop editorsl

Ravesteyn,.

J.\.nu
' --tt c l_, 90 J . ome
D
'
- u Id er an d l'\.. van Langeraa.
d
ln,
\J "...
"1.....

December the Gids received

0n 4

t ... ~,

i ntice from the Partijbestuur that

the journal was ta be given up because of fina~cial diffic~l


ties. 91 It was r~placed by a joint CPH-~AS monthly, Klassenstrijd, over whieh the CPH, however, had no direct control.
/

The e.tii torD of the new' journal were Sneevliet, Ro-rand='l-lolst,

)
72

emerged. Klassenstrijd became an opposition mouthpiece and was,

'.

rn its turn, also replaced.


'rowards the end of 1925 came the first signs of positive
and concrete action on the part of the old leaders and their
8ujPorters.

---~de~s,

Impatient with the relatlve lnactivity of their

a jumber of followers had already defected.

attributeq the 108s ta dissatisfaction


ordinated and concrete action.

with.th~

--

------

of co-

br~ng

their sup-

porters t-oge-ther. 9~ ~- He-- als~o --r?-~l-z-e-d----ttrcft--the-new--l~4B-~",s""*",hhloi,p,-- _ _ __


,
would not collapse ast-'::,,, soon aB he had expected. Ravesteyn was
.)

---

abse~ce

ne felt that a conference to

- explciin the position of the old leaders would

Wijnkoop

dubioU8 but, as can

~e
l' ,

seen from hls speech in the

cit~

council

meeting, he was already ~eginning to sever his ties with communism. 94 Afte,r his section had been 8uspended he had wanted syrno

pathetic sections to provoke their own~uspension or ~xpulsion.95


Nevertheless, at the instigation of
pices of the suspended Rotterdam

~ijnkoop

.
section,

and under the aus-

a calI

ViaS

issued for

a national conference of aIl federations, sections and individual'1

members-who still sllpported the old leaders and their policy .

"

'

A federatiorr,consisted of alI/the sections of ~ designate~


,
~

Wijnkoop had the support of,at least one

re~ion;

tion, 'the Federa tir)D

bf

the

!~orth.

~uch

federa-

The circular
of 6
.

Jan~ry

1926 announcing the conference efu~ha~ized that it would be


purely informative in nature:
organization 96

"no 'faction f)rmation', no sparate

lt

lJ'Ji.jnkoo~,

did not appear, at this time


.'

'1-------

ta have __ the creation

73

~ - . ......
' ~____O_f_a

t_y~l~'n~~m~i~n~d~'L;;-I~nh;D~e:;c~e~rt;nb;errOil,9i2E151e_hnerawrm0li't~eJ<:;t(J0nfR't:a:1v:'te'ns:tte-ee--;-y_n_~__

new par
stress ing the informa ti ve charac/ter of the planned confer ellce.
"There is absolute ly no though t

of

a new party." 9 7

I,n l',arch

l'

1926 after the conference he aeain wrote, "Under the present


circumstances, l be1ieve that you want a split, that is a new

'"

. - par-tV-_Dr~olnething similar, as li ttle as l do." 98


---

!'

'(' at 'IJijnkoop did want was agitation for certain specifie


-

goa l-s ""reminis ce n_t_0 f_ e ar lier oppa si tian deIVands,

a new

before Apr il to choose a new leadership, lifting of all

~e ss
suspen-~

sions and of the speaking interdict, free disc~ssion in the

--------

Tribune of aIl political and orgalf-zationa1


~----

~uestions - ~t
/-

1east until the Congress, and--adherenee to a loyal united front


strategy ~,,~ 1 '.romsl-FirnIl1en-Purce11". 99, Th'ese demands, as' weIl
,

as criticisms of the new le~d~rship, were made at the ~onferenee


Until the CPH Congrcss in

he1d 17 January 1926.

ay, the uncon-

sti tutionali ty of the Parti,jbestuur and i ts "conspiracy

~i th

the

~JA3 against international communism", 100 forrned the basis of


the opposition oL.the
One

~ight

"~'Jijnkoop

r;roup".

say that as far as Wijnkoop and his supporters

were concerned the shoe was now on the other foot.

The demands

for free discusSlon and remova1 of suspensions had only a year


"

or sa befare been directed towards the ald leaders. --'On the


O-theLllanctL thase who

~had

formerly been in the opposition" were

not innocent of into1erant and arbitrary behavior now that they


,
had a measure of_control. 1 t is, un1ike1y that e i ther side "
----~-

appreciated the irony of the' situation.


-0..----,

tJhrle -scH-i~y--9-ppo-ged to the new 1eaderShiP~ by


il

, ,
".

74
the Comintern representative, Wijnkoop was still favourably

d isposed tOVlards the International, al thou~h he d id--h~-mi-s- ~----

r-___~r~_ _~g=>-.l~v..:.....:i~n:':'g~s~a~b=_o=_u=_t

the "rnuddy si tuati,qn" in j,oscow and the effects

---------rcrr-'

of further intervention.

r~e

wanted to avoid a breaK

102

'

a:rrd -

when Ravesteyn, before the January conference, professed to


belong no longer to the International, Wijnkoop declared that
he would not let himself be pushed out. lO ) He was, in fact,
still a member' of the Comintern Executive, having been eleGted
--~---------

at the fifth ,iorld Congress in 1924.


What was the behavior and attitude of the ECCIafter the.
ab-dication--of the -o-ld .leaders?

rEhere is no evidence of n-stile

Indeed, after the 24 Lay conf~rence, 'when Wijnkoop


1\.

---------r-.-ad .been less--than -co-operative, the S"xecutive made ano-ther------feeliI;1gs.

attempt ta return Wijnkoop

an~

Ravesteyn to the fold.

In a

lette>r daoted 13 June 1925 and addressed to bath, Dro?' informed


theTi; that the :C:CCI Presidium in i ts meetl'P:r; of 12 June "aprs
avoir entendu un rapport sur lasituation du parti hollandais

dcider de vous demander


...---- si vous
pour l' Intcrnation;e

~tes disposs a travailler

commu~~~~XPlained,

felt that thei: abilities and energy" which "for

t~.e ti~nE:,'!....

could n \. , be utilized by the CPH, should not go to waste,


v

"'":

The

would be provislonal and details were to be worked out by


/

mutual agreement.

Three areas of work were suggested in

th~

letter - in the Eastern department of the Cornintern, in China


itself, or in regular collaboration.6n Comintern newspapers and
journals - but ~Jijnkoop and j~Westeyn were invi ted to malee 'their
,
104
own sueges t lons.
.
/' "

r -

'

75

,
recei~e

did reluest and

sorne kind of work from the International


Th'18 wor lt

, 1 0 5 - lorr h

- t rans l a t ln;
pernap8
W 'le h h e was pal. d . 106
n

was of short d

~ration

however; accordinc to

~Jijnkoop

it lasted

. 1.-- t mlJn,ns.
.
,107
b n t e1gu

,'-

3.avesteyn - :::; initial reation to the IJroposal, of Wllich he _ _ Iirst hard through anqtber

--.

30ur~--~~~~o-Yr~e~g~a~r~d~~i~t~a:s an

attempt ta ..pend hilJl away " to China for

safe-b~eping,

Neverthe-

'-. less he was ':trs agrable" to doing some Vlork for the International and presented a proposal of his own.

He was willing,_he

V/rote ta the EGCI, ta take upon himseif the task of strengthening the weak tics between the Spanish-spealting world and the
t

~---

..... -

-C;~intern out on t'wo -eondi tians 1

tha t his residenc'e remain in

~otterQam

and that he be granted a year to learn


lOs
which time he would be given living expenses.

Spani~~,

Droz replied. for the Comintern Secretariat, that


f/

during

then~

were alreadv capable people at work in that area but asked


aavesteyn ta 6onsider' working for the Information Lureau in
.:lerlin which was Uhder the direction of "GenosS'en Professor
Varga, der oft den

~Junsch

ausgesprochen ha t, Sie fr die l.i tar-

bei t in seinem i3ro zu gevrinnen".

....

"eines der wichtigsten Organe der


ta answer the

inq~iries

of

t~e

The Bureau, added Droz, was


I~omintern",

ECCi. 109

having largely

In
a postscript he
d

wrote that Rav~S'~eyn might be able to maintain his residence in


1,

'.'

~otteI'dtm.~ Ra,ecteyn -repl-ied that he accepted the job in princi-

pIe if "uch were the case. 110

The Secretariat wrote baclt

D-

few

weets Inter exprcssirg i ts pleasure :at Ravesteyn' s acceptap.ce

- --

----------.-

\~

---

76

----------

,':

and instru~ted him to wark out the practical details - including


th e

~:

quest~n

f reSl. d ence - Wl. th \' argar:


~ 111

Raves
' t eyn th en wra t e

to Varga but apparently with unsatisfactory results, for in a

----

letter of 5 Octobe\ 1925 to the EGer he eOl11plained that Varga


.~

--~

--

tabe ignorant of the residence stipu-lation and

Ravesteyn to move, to Berlin.

eXpec-tect-~-~~-

Urider 4those circumstances, con-

.
th e pOSl. t lon.
. - 112
eue
l d d Raves t eyn, h e h a d h a d t 0 d ec l lne
ln trris currespondence the Gomintern Executive appears aspolite and accommodating when canfronted with a rather presumptuous

attit~de

on the part pf an ex-leader of an old but sma11


l

_ ..

Communist Party.

,,\

'

Later the Executive was not to be so uooer\

st_andi~g,

__:1 th_oU'g~ t even gave Ravesteyn the chance to mend

his wa~s when he began to attack tfie C6mintern itse1f ln public.


Beside~

..

Jchc indiv-klual contacts wi th the former leaders,

the EG~I also concerned


affairs in_-.Zcmerai.

ttse l! ri th

the new leadership an.d Party

I.~I ~qGularly [;ent communiqus ~

and some-

"

times a representa 'live - Ito the r~artl,jbestuu.r wi th pra~Ge or


~

criticishl ~nd recommendations or instructions.

sentati~~

was

~sent,

An ~CGr repre-

for example, in August 1925 when the

Parti,jbestuur passed a resolution c9'Ddemnine the appea:l of the ~


(

sub-section-,uEilandenIl11)?ts an attempt to organize "an internf..-

.-

tional r,ightist faction" against the Comintern and the leader- ,,,
ship of the CP"h. 114

In 3ep.tember 1925 the C'omintern Executive declared i ts


approval of the resolutions of the 2 l } l>lay conference
;

---e -

its support of the new Party

a:S--v7Tra~-----'-

leade~ship.

Por the
first time in the existence of) the CPH we address
j
h

",

tI

77
you with

..

feeling of great satisfaction.

Finally your

Party has." b(gUn to carry out a policy which

w~ll

make

it to beCOhle a mass Party .... 115

possible fo

'Ehe return of a nunber of HI:SP and i~A:3 comrades VIas t'egarded as


~a~gOOEl-~;

tb~_e_lecti()n ~:resfts
1

were--pronounc-ed favourable --

- - ----

~~-

_____ _
---------~-

fllhe ECCI. al~o _g~V~ in_structio~s for

under' the circumstanes.


necessary organizational

cha~es Vil thln

on factory cell formation.

the CllH, mostly baSBd


",

A Presidium resolution of December 1925, deating mainly


with the if'otterdam affair, wa,s more critic)..l, however, of the
b es t uur an d somewa
h t concl
'. l'la-ory
t
t
P ar t lJ

th e OppOSl. t 10n.
.
116

The cri ticism and recommendations were ac~epted a t a Parti.jbestuur meeting on 18 January in the presence of an ECeI reprsentative.
j

? ~Jijnl~oo'p, receiv:ine._JNord

ll

"of

th.e contents of the

resolution, did not appear too optimistic about this

~Uhl-

(..

schvlUng" .

118

.'" ~'1

Indeed, the fuext resolution, in i .arch 1926, Gharply cri ti1

."cized

~avesteyn

"

for his contriQbutions to bourgeois periodicals

and corlIl1anded him to liml t his actlvi ty to th~ :international. 119


After having fai1ed ta obtain a position with the International t
3.avesteyn had turned 'to wri tirlg articles for bourgeois period i"

'cals; these articles ften contained attacl:s on the CPll and on


the Comintern which he regar'led as' a "new Church".

;{aveGteyn'

sL;ply iG,norc the rcsolution,

refusin~

to ackno'n1edge hi,G

errors and Gbmi 15 -to the Corn~ntern ~el118.l}dQ~ _The I-arti.ibe~~ll.~~____. ~ _ _

then informed,him that it would move his

~xpu13ion

nt the forth-

to be held 22-24 Lay 1926 in Amsterdam. 120

Towards the end of April,,; tv,ro LECC l representa tl ves, E.


Ir5rnle and Van Overstraeten, arrived in Holland ta make a last
attempt before the Conbress to conciliate the former leaders

and to reach a comPJ'0mlse \'li th the suspended Ro tterdam section.


-,---~~~~~-

Harnle gaVe 'Jlijnlcoop a copy of the December' re,solut ion and


,

-~~--~~-'a"s,..-bJr.:"'ert-d -fo~ his' cTITllT.TI;rlts-~_l2L -in-his

epy--lJfij-nkoop- -~et---f-orth--h-is-

own interpretation oir. the Party crisis rand - of the faul tg-, of ~ the
. an d 0 ff ere d a so l U t"lon. 122'
new l eaders'}np
He .... c h arge d th at ' th e
-~~-

CPli was now malting less headway wi th the united front.

...

'rhis

'1..

he a ttr ib~ted
to the abrogation. of Party sta tutes and Party demo,

" ,/

cracy, and to the

~dentifcation

of the CPE leadership lith the

"anti-communist tsectarian PQlicy of the leadine NAS lea ers".


He sa\'l the' i0correct .uni ted front policy of the leadership as
the real cause for the crisis in the Party.

Since it mqnifested

itsclf outwardly as an organizational crisis, however, the


organiza tion~l v ioia tions would have to be corrected firet and
dispipline restored, befor& the questions of policy could be
sttled.

'rllis meant, wrote lJijnkoop, that the old statutes

"would have to be reinstated, all.expulsions and suspensions


rescinded, and a Parti,jbestuur, properly elected. '

He then demanded'

an end to the P~rty's identification with the NAS and a concentrat~d

effort to win the trust of the growing. left,wing in the

..(He

mass (reformist) trade unionr1.

appealed to the sense of

responsibility G-f-the ECCI repr-sent:;ti))es to help


,"

clc-a-r---avv-ai-'-~------

the obstuclGS which had been 'put in the way of the nbrmal development of the CPIl.
'l'he tv/o .2CC l representatives also sent a letter to Ravesteyn
\

79

- termi~e

warning him tha't if he did not

his C011abolation with

the bourgeois pr_!g9l2 -__8,nd El!~ his seyice~ at the disposal of the
Comintern he riGked

bci~g

ex;e11ed from

th~

Party.l2 J

teyn drafted, but apparentl:! did no t mail, a ""Garcas'tic and very


/

----- - -rude r-epIY--y't~llln6 "the

tWQ

representatlves to Lund th~ir own

I---_ _ _ _~_-

124
'
b U8lneS3.

-----

-,----------.'

1--------~-'l.'P:""hlHe-:;;-fti,. ;z,~d~"~
. ,~8Y--'W"-:i;'.:t;+-h--'
h ___t-th:h ~tte r'dFim sec i ion yi e Ide d

Raves-

;;'8

f ew positive
'-'

~J ijnkoop

resu1 ts as the lettcr,R,c to


,

'

and rlaves'teyn.

'rhe suspended

members, convinced that they wer in the right, refused to make


any compromises; the other side would_have to surrender fir&t. 125
----+Th~y,algo

~at

demanded uncopditiona1 admission ta

the~

Party Congress,

i8, with full discussion and voting "riehts.


Faced VIi th the intransigence of the ~[rjl1koop group: and

especially o,f ',Jijnl:oop and

B'tnr~toY+l.~--th-e--Gemintern

repre::;enta-

'.

tivCG Vlcre not lil:ely to b very sympathetic towards their caUGe.


Al thouGn ~.Jijnl:::oop hn.d earlier clai:ned tha t he w_a3~ not t~linldng ~
Gi ..a_seC-ond party

hiG actions and those


of his supporters were
,

making a brcak inev~tabie.

A1rea~y their refusaI to submit to


.:.

Part;/ and C,prni~t'ern ~i~CiPln.e had c~sed the Partijbestuur"ta


enter

mo~ion~

to

e~pei ~ijnkoo~

and

~ave~teyn

on the

a~enda

for

~
126
th e P ar t y Congre...,s-.-------,

rEhe seventeentJ:l Party C.ongress was he1d "n 22-24, j,Iay 1926 1
127
in Amsterdam.
Wljnkoop and Ravesteyn had been requested to
-

--

/"

attend buLc.h.o.:le

~to

'be

~bsen;. 128

Both HDrnle

an~

O".ferstraetell

were, of course,1 present.


The Co~eress first considered the demand of unconditional

-{

Over-

---'-----

-------/~--

..
\

tl

80
straetm sa:'id that i

t~

admission would have to be decided by' the

Congress, ~fter both s~~~s had been gi ven the 'pportuni ty~ to
present their

cases.l~9,

A motion to admit the Rotterdam section

with full right p was defeated 102J J2l setions) to 276 (16
,
0
sections) with 162 abstentions (2 ~~C:tiOt,lS) .13_
A:::1lumber of

---

[
.1

'\

deJega:teB-therl declared the. Gongress--=to'be 3mproper and walked


,
Afte~

out.

gress approva-l r"'-ar -i;he"e-xpulsion of


third m!er

e~sily secured~on-

they departed the Parti.ibestuur

.3(~ri?k.

~Jijnkoop,

l-(avesteyn and' a

Those who ha- quit -'the Congress were

considered' to llave 'forrer:fe-d th-e h. membership. .

. >

t-

In a' speech ta the Congress the rrext day, liornle recapitul~ted the shortcomings of the old leadrs ~and their leadership,

"",
but not unsympathetically.

'rhe old leaders, he said, ha:d failed


, '

to maintain contac t wi th the r.1asses and -.to t:rane form the Party

...

from a propaganda party to.!'1 mass party; they q,ad also failed
to understand \vhat dehocratic centralism meant.
{

the tracl unions


,

tuni~m

~~~en worl~ in

ha~ b~come
-

ancL

'Il

r_Et:or!!!~S'r.:l

important, strong temnants of oppor/

'17

became apparent; "r igh t c<9mmunists" failed

to understand that "close ties wi th the ~~A.3 wer necessary ~

".

agitate honestly

fO:z;:

the unit y of the labour movement.J. Jl

Harnle

added, h~wever, th~_t no concess ions were to be made to', thB

'anarehi~t, ~yi1dicalist
,

and sectarian~_~.J..jl
"'elerne~+~ ~
,,'Jl"J.~ NAoSo.
,
_ ________

. A new trade uniort- r.e-soIUtion was passed at the Congress.


============::!iT~ORt~lrf'!ie NAS, ~the

only revolutionary labour organization,

affilia ted wi th the R1LU" was a ttributed tri'e "historie task" of '
f
~

") - -

unifying the divided Dutch labour movement.

ThIs task-enta{led,

-recognizaQ_the resolutiop, the "expansion and strengthening of

-.

81

\
the NAS".

-.

Party -\embers were instructed to oppose as an "oppor-

tun'ist dev,.ticn" any tendency towards" liquida,tion


l

'rhe

resol/ti~autioned; rhoweve~,

tha t

ott the

'Yco=-o~e~on

l'lS.

VIi th the

~"_._----

le-ft wing ~n the J~VV ~ is no't""to be taken to mean that the ruem-

.."

bers of th

tr.arsferred to tJ:le-' NAS" The nces.


13
sary expanSlon was ~ to come from unorganized ~ork@rs.
.
-

--

--~--~~~~~~-----'--~~-

'l'he Party leadership heralded the Congressl" wh en it was

1
1

oAI-er, as rliarking the final liquidation of the old social demo-

tr:tiC influences in the Party a;;d the


tion.

cpr'-'
h ~~--inallv

"The

'-I~

arose. ,,133

-..

Ci

Wi~nkoop

To

bolshevisa- .. ___ _

triumnhed
o"er --=t..he--..SDP-whence it
.rr

~~ctory of
Q

tb

-;.

'\

c-

__ {_.

:::r /

_'3~~~Beroep

th~t th~
. .7

In order to,. rescue. the commun-

is t. movemrt in - ~and from th i8 ;ern:ilc ious infl ue rfq~ 'a .. Comi w'

/-

op, de

2) l..ay 1926.

Wl th

Inte~natio'?jale"

0/'

:.--,a."

and his followers it appared rather

NAS had triumphed over 'the CPE.

h~~-"lreadY

(CBl)

the lntentlpn of 'preparlng n'ti,

/ ""

been _organized "

app~aI

to tM

-..

anticipated sixt~~ Cominterl'1 Co~gr;sso. 1)4 .. 'l.'he.o. ln 3 iuly 1926,


,
'
tbe Gommunistis~he Gids reappeared as a bi~onthly newspaper
under the joint -ecil torship ,l.~f t'he threEa--~rTrfb~ists"

Wij n~,' .#

Ostens-ib_ly;: -indep.~.A-.(JenL.oL~""--",,--,",,-~~--=~_"_~---j

Ravesteyn "and Ceton. 135

..!J

from the CBr, the '<JG ids g~~e the Comit i ts supp'o-rt "bf)caus we
nhare the" views of t-he

Ce~i tt'ee ,.~. lJ?

,-rhe ed i tor ial in ;hi's .

G'

f-J-rst issue, whidb was mainly ~v~jnkoopts effort, Cfs.cribe~~ne


<>

of' the main tasks of tIfe paper as


1

Cominternl
-------

'0'
the;_o~~e_0u?5iated

",

by the'

~'.

-----

ihe- intensified strnggle for the uni ty

10:

the lab-our--move:::-'-----.:;---

, ment, national].y an~ interna tionally" and f0r 1:0,e, prolet

n,

. ..

;...

- - -; /

~.!

-- -

---

,-

-------:---~---~~---~------.-.

,J,

.\
_

'\

"J

~o-~---

..
82

tarian united front; struggle' against the ..spli tting [o/J


and th~ withdrawal from the labour unions, and for organiz,
"137
ing the unorganized. , '
"1

'

In each issue the "correct" united front poli~y and tactics, as

laid down ~ the C'omintern, was propagated and the artarho-

syn~ic~ism, whicN had "penetrated:" the CPH, was exposed.

out any restraints,


.'

now open1y

his

full support: for the reformist Fimmen movement and ~is a ti-NAs
sentimehts.

"'Havesteyn simply became more virulent in ,hi

on the "new Church"


(

~Jijnkoop

Wi th-', '

."

and~n

outl.de agi tators and contrib

a'ttacks
ed

nothing to the .Q..i..9&.13 8 '


'L'he break w i'tb tlle PH was now almosot compfete:
\J

f~41ed tQ r.egain the :leadership on his own terms, ,WijnkooP


turned to regrouping'~is fol~owers into a new party which would
"
,
.uphold true co'mmunist doctrine, oppose the false doctrine of-.

\ t-

the CPH and seek r-ecogni1!ion fr.om

-'

.,

"o.scow as the uphold-er of the

true ioctr.ine .
Steps were beingp , taken toward~ the formation of a new party
In September 1926, at the fa~ conference of the

by the fali,

F:ederation of the. North. a formaI' calI was made for the organi,

,..

zation of a new party by those who were still loyal to Cbmintern'


policy.

Wijnkoop was guest speaker.

The conference declared

the sixteenth Party Congress 'in 192~ to have been the last legi'tim'a te congress of the CPil and any decisi
,

s mhde by a "so-calla

J?arti,ibestuur" ) $ince that time to be invalide


;

\.

The real CPH was,-

said to consist of the Pederation 'of the North and other federations, sections, members and bodies which had adhered to the,
1

1
..!'......

.'

).

'-->

.1

Comintern-approved Party statutes of'1924-and to the Interna-

1/

tional united front tactics.

A resolution was passed to request

) .

r.'

the Comite van Beroe,p op de Internationale, 'Organized


in I.,ay, to
.reconstruct the tru~ CPH. 1 39

.'

'Ehe month followin.f', on 17 October, the C.PH-Landelij k Comit

(Ha tiona1 Commi ttee) - later ch~ged to Cl'H-Centraa1 Comit - was

...

officia1ly organized.

'l'he metinl chos'e a provisional te ader-

) ship which inc1uded Wijnkoop, Ravesteyn and Ceton.

lr.e~olved that the...


the policy of

th~

It also

CPH-LC would, iQ accordance with Leninism and


.

International strive for "the

s~rengtheriing,

the'revolutionizing, and the organizational un~y of the labour


movement ...

'.

on the basis of the mass labour movernent


which
140
"
in Holland meant on the ft'asis of the 'NVV.
. It aIs a meant cotl

i 3 '

op.eration wi th Fimnren' s newspaper, , ,Eenheid and wi th his "Eenheid'"


..,

'.

committees. rA congress was announced for the followrng year,


the ."true" se.venteenth' Party Congress, and particiQ..tion in the
provincial a~d municipal ~lections aeicted ~pon.
~

'rhere, now existed two Dutch 'Communist, Parties, each claiming exclusive right to bear the name Communistische Partij

Holland, Se ctie van de Ds=rde Intetna tionale.

The original CPH

- designated
'f;I

CPH_A~stei141

of Wijnkoop, on the
Comintern.

o~her

by the Wijnkoop,group - had, of

cou~, official ~ecognition and sanction.

The Communist Party.

hand, was round1y condemned by the

In December 1926 a reso1ution of the Dutch commis-

sion of. the ECCI, which ratified the expulsion

~f

Wijnkoop and

Ravesteyn from the Comintern, was passed in the closing session


of the

~nlarged

Executive.

'

--;-,-.~

};ere
trie two ex-leaders were accused
,

84
o
l,
of misusing the revol~tionary rl~me o~ the Corninte}n and of the
"142
Communist Party. "
The Executiv~ aiso i~sued a proclamat~n

e'

Uto the putch workers" in which alPl the Pfist and present' errors

'.

or Wijnlwop - his' opportunism, his se c.tarianism, ohis passi ~i ty,

his soci-al-democra tic'

viewp~int

w~~e en~me~ated ~ and

held

partly res'podsible for the stagnation of-th~ c~~munist movement


.
... .
in" Holland.
Any connection between the
Comintern
'and Uthe party
,
of Wijnkoop and Ravesteyn...U was disclaimed and the "camp of
~

(\

---

t'IIijnkoop" was pronounc~d a "c~mp o~ renega.des".

rr- .

J-

Nevertheless, the p.os~tion _of the CPh-CC until the sixth


.

'

Comintern Congress in 1928 was, on the whol, not unfavourable.


A number of high-rank~ng Comintern f:l'gures,

,
and Willial]l Gallagher in the ECCr and J. vv. Kruyt in the Inter
national Workers Relief (!WR), pleaded VJijnkoop' s
~

Wijnkoop was able to maintain

internation~l

cause~

144

connections thro

his leading position in the Dutch section of- ihe n'IR, whl
more or less under the control of the Wijnkoop
A t, the na tional

1928 .

..

~evel

the support for Wijnko!lp and his party

wa,s not inconsiderable al though not enough to overpower the

Amste1 gr,upo

'The outcome of the 1927 municipal-e1ections give

a general' indication of the situation. 145 Developments within

5
the official CPH were also favourable 50r 1"1-ijnko.op' s position.

~as

Fr iction wi th the NAS

leading to a final break, in the summer

of 1927, between that organization and the communists. 1


,

46

There

was as well a growing dissatis.(action wi th the leaaership of'


R. l,:anuel, or Van Riel as he was then known. l:anuel had. been
one 'of the opposition leaders 'before the .sixteenth Congress 'and '"

l'

8.5
~

...

had afterwards become a Tribune editor and a member of thB Party


presidium.

In j.:ay 1927, a number of communists, among them


,)

....

F.o.-thfee CPH-Amst

wrote tb

"

ECCI criticizing the

failure of the C?H-Aciu e

carry out Comintern po11cy and

t~e

.."

recommending t4e unification of the two parties under a 1eader'ship which wou1d and cou1d imp1em~nt Comintern po1icy. 14 7

~/i:I':~

The Congress on 8-9 ctober

Z7 -

proc1airned as the seven-

teenth CPH Congress - took place th refore in a period of high


',~
.
148
".
. S'.
.
expectatlons.
A te1egram was lrst sent to ta1ln expresslng
Cidari ty wi th the Soviet Union, "father1and of the wor.kers and
of cornmunisrn".

At the Congress, in l>eaction to overtures from .,

the~Amstel party, declarations were repeates1y made that the

reason for the- split and continued separati'.on waEt? a matter of


policy - trade union policy and united front po1icy

and not

merely a question of discipline. as the Amste1 group. maintained ~


An irregular Partijbestuur choien by an irrcgular
o

conference~

..

>

sa id the chairman, Hoogcarspel, had betrayed the true communist

C/PO~iCY

of

th~

Party; a

nU~ber

to break ties temporarily

of'

v~ith

communist~

had then been willing "

the International in order to

remain tIi'ue to the rightR po1icy..


~Je

consider ourse1ves as bearers of the po1icy of/the


,

t\

Communist International and as part of the Comintern .


...
>(

A1though
be joined to the Communist
. \'le l1}ay not t present
,
International organizationally, we are the only representatives

~f

its policy 'in

H~1~and.149

This po1icy, as interpreted iri the trade upion reso1ution

....'passed by the Congress, was "to promote, and rea1i!Z the organiza-

...

labou~e~ent ~ationally

86

tional unit y of the


and internat ionally".15 0 In Holland, continued the resolution, where the NVV
was the only non-cbnfessional labour organization which had
succeeded in becoming a large and powerful organization - in

.,..

1927 it encompassed half of the organized labour movement unification was only possible "upon the organizational basis
of-the NVV".

This meant that the Yarty should concentrate its

efforts upon expanding the revolutionizing the NVV.


-

"

(J

The name of the Party was changed at the


Centraal Comlt/e.152
also chosen.

Co~gress

to -CPH-

A new exe Ulve,


t'
or cen t ra l comml'tt ee, was

Wijhkoop and Ceton were again included but Raves-

teyn h~d left the party in June. 153


From 17 July to l September 1928 the sixth
of the Communist International took place.
a significant one.

Wor~d

Condress

'rhis Congress was

In the four-year interval since the last

World Congress Stalin had adroitly removed any potential contenders for the position vacated by Lenin's death and had consolida ted his own claim.

First the "le ft opposition" represented

by Trotski had bee-n defeated .and then the "right opposition" of


Bukharin was vanquished.

With Stalin's aspendency the Comintern

Zinoviev, Radek, Neumann and others whom ~Hjnkoop


.
'
as prejudiced against his cause had dlsappearedcfrom

also changed.
~egarded

the

Exec~ive.

Stalin himself was much admired by Wijnkoop.

Nonethel'ess the Congress proved a disappointment ta the hopes


held by the Wijnkoop group.

A letter and a telegram were sent

by the CPE-CC ta the Congress containing an avowal of the Party's


loyal ty 'ltO the program and
)

palic~ of

the Comintern and an appeal

,.

"

87
to the Congress "to' find ways \nd means to re-establish the
Dutch section of the
application of the

Internatio~l on the basis of unconditional

in~ernation~l ~6mmunist

strategy". 154

appeal wac unanimously rejected by'the Congress, and the


koop group severely criticized. 155

The
Wijn~

The documents presented to

the Congress were described as lia serious attempt to decWive


the Dutch workers". 156

The ex-leaders of the Dutch Par,ty were


,

charged wi th hav ing deThonstra ted ir? years past "ser ious opporo

tunist deviations" in their poliy, and wi th having cO,ntinuously contravened Comintern resolutions until, through a

s~ies

of open infringements of discipline, they had placed themselves


outside the International.

The Wijnkoop group therefore had no

right whatsoever to calI itself a Communist Party, decided the


Congress, nor had it anything in common with communism or the
Comir'ltern.

It was merely)a "sectarian schismatic organizat'ion" .


..
L._
'l'here was no need to "restore" the Dutch Communist Party - "i 't
exists. as ~a~
section of the Third International".157
,- -

The

Comintern under Stalinist control was obviously even less sym"-

pathetic than in earlier days.


Wijnkoop and his group persisted, however, and in 1929 the
.
158
party counted 1322 members and 52 sections.
That same year,
with 30,000 votes, Wijnkoop was once more elected to the lower
house. 159 Relations with the Amstel CPH were extremely hostile;
d

the two sides often came ta blows.

An attempt was made at one

point by sorne members in the Amstel group to place Bur ink, head

.~f the re~gade Rotterdam section, in compromising situations. 160


Part of t~e intensity'of this internecine warfare wa~ probably
\

,
<

88
due to the lack of labour action in this period.
no one to fight besides each other.

161

They had

Part oI the ~~arpness was

also likely due to the fact that neither one was in a strong ~
enough position to overv/helm the other.
In 1930 Wijnkoop finally yielded to the pressure of the
International and the CPh-Amstel and merged his party with the
latter.

l,.ost of i ts members

~imply

sections of the official Party;

registered wi th the local

~ijnkoop

and three others were

allowed to rejoin after Comintern approval and after confession


162 Although the official agreement was reached
of their errors.
21 June,

~Jijnkoop

had

~oreseen

the merger since the resul ts of

the parliamentary elections the year beTore, and had since the
end of

J~nuary

1930 taken the stand that his party should, as

soon as possible, join the official

s~ction of the Comintern. 16J

He explained his motives for this stand as being largely international in nature.

The world political-economic situation of

1930 made unit y of the Dutch communists more necessary than ever
before, and this necessity, in his view, now took precedence
over ,-illl else.

"Uni ty now ... above everything." 164

Other bonsiderations may have played a part in ~ijnkaop's


decision - espec ially the changes wi thin the Comintern
. - and wi thin
the Amstel ~PH.
~its

The avowed purpose of the CPH-CC had been, sinee

ineeptiop, ta return to the' fold of

maintain its poliey.

and to

But the Comintern of

alized, bolshevised and monolithie instrum

depersont

of Soviet, and

Stalinist, foreign poliey.'

InternaI disputes, individual differ-

ences were secondary to the

qu~stibn o~

obedience.

Purthermore
~

,.
the Comintern now regardsd'social democrats, that is, right
opportunists, as social fascists.'

The CPH-CC would either have

ta submit or fore go its Comintetn adhererice.


submi t ra ther than to make the

Wijnkoop chose ta

bra!~.,

The CPH-Amstel had also undergone internal changes.

Under

the pressure
Qtnd guidance of the Comintern, i t was "reorganized"
,
,
at its Congress in February 19JO. 165 One consequence of the
"reorganization" was the disappearance of Bergsma, l"anuel and
~

Seegars - leaders of the opposition which replaced the old


1eaders - from the leadership.166

There had ~een growing dis- '

satisfaction wi thin Party ranks wi th the "Van Riel"

t~~

is

Iianuel, group and when it refused to consider the social democrats

..

as Gocial fascists it waa ousted.


Dr. Harmsen has called the 1930 Congress a turning point
in the histo1\'y of the-Party.

,"For the 'first tim the P a r t y " .

experienced p'aJ-itical unity.,,16 7

No renl split and certainly

no new party had arisen from the removal pf the "V?n 'Rie!" c;roup.
In the

thirtle~

bolshevisation of the Party made rapid ,roeress,

ideologlcal schoollng ~ached a high level r- membership Inqreased 168 and the cPt became a loyal and obedient section of the

Communist lnternational.
Not

on~y

the "Van Riel" group had left the Party.

A few

years befare, in 1927, the NAS had finally broken with the CPH.
The absence of the two groups hostile to t'Hjnkoop certainly
.J

facilitated the eventual rapprochement between the CPL-Amstel


and the

CP1~-CC 1

Df the four spli ts in the CPII this thlrd split was the mos t
.'

90

,
suc~e~ded

sighificant for here the opposition

..

in gaining control

df the Party, -although more by defaJlt than through active


rmoval of the old leaders.

This split also marked the

direct confrontation"between the,CPH and the Comintern.

f~rst

Thirdly,
~

it resulted in the-creation of a second Dutch Communist Party


led/by the old leadrs and professing loyalty to the IntBrna-tional.

--

Finally, i t ended wi th the 'reunification of the fficial

Party and the break-away

None of the other groups which

par~y.
1

broke with the CPH in the 1920s returned to the fold, although
some indi vidual members ?lay have done so.
One last split remains 'ta be considereda

the departure

"

of the syndicalists from the CPH in 1927.


severed aIl tis

.
with

This tim'e Sneevlet

the communists .

...

,1

"

'.

"

()

- - .,
"

"

, ,
\

/1

91
Chapter 4:

The Syndicalists and the CPH

The accord whith had be'en reached


CPH in 1925 was of shoriJ, dura tian.

1925-i927

betw~en th)~AS

and the

In 1927 the syndicalists

and the corr@unists parted ways, each repudiating the other.


,

International issues played a


--~

role in this conflict than

~arger

in the two previous Party conflicts but these cannot be

~epar-

ated from the uneasy relationship which had always existed and continued to exist even after the departure -Gd \Hjnkoop between the l"lAS and the CPH.

',rhe syndicalist liaison wi Ui the

Dutch communists was ah'laYs a tenuous one, finally made unten,

able because of conflicting interests and personalities and


i'rJ.ternational pressures.
Cl

The Comintern was invol ved both

directly and indirectly and also helped

~o

preeipitate the

break, whieh occurred about this time as VIeIl, between the NAS
l

and the Red

'

Inter~ational

of Labour Unions.

The RILU, or Profintern, was organized in. 1921 in


tion to the reformist or "yqllow

ll

OppOSl~

International Federation of

Trade Unions (IFTU) which ha'd its headquarters in

Am~terdam.

-/

The Red International in turn was opposed, a year later, by a


syndiealis~

international, the IAA, formed in Berlin.


,

'rhe NAS

membership, seeking internatlonai,ties after the ~Jar, was


divided over which of the two Internationals to join - the red
or the syndiealist. 'A grou:p .. led by
favoured I.~os'~"'ow"

Bou~man

and 'r. Dissel

another led by B. Lansink Jr .. favoure d Ber lin. 1

The former group, however, objected to Article 10 of the RILU


1

statutes whieh provided for an'exchange

~f repre~entatives

with

. 92
the Comintern, in other words, a formaI link wi th a poli tical
. a t'lon: 2
organJ,z

\.......__ -

In l'larch 1922 at a special NAS' Congress


a resolution
was
,
,
lntroduced for afTITlation \'Ii th the rtILU 6n tv/o ondi tions 1
that the l'JAS move-t"c-have Article 10 dropped at the next RILU
1

Congress and that the NAS reject any organizational tie;:; v/ith
any poli tical party in H_olland and maintain i ts right of indeThe NAS C~ngress felt thes .conditions
.
t
were insufficien-e and re j ect_ed the re solutio'n. 3
pendent decision-making.

\~eanwhile,

the fall Congfess of the RILU droppedo the offend-

ing clause a t the instigation of t~..r French CGTU (syndicalist)


and called upon aIl syndi~list ~nions4to joi~~th~ RILU, rath~r

than the newly forrned syndicalist international in Berlin.


i~AS

was now face1.L wi th invi ta t~ons from both.

ensued among the membership.


the NAS

J"oscO\'~ WlS

durn, 7302 to 6849. 5

The

A long debate

At the Easter 1923 Congress of

favoured 99- 84, a,.nd in a suboeq uent referen~

Jecause the majority was so narrow and


~

bec~use the Lansink groui threatened to lea~e the NAS, it ~as

decided to work for fusi'On of the two Internationals and to rnake


no final decision ta join either until the next Congress in
6 ,Jl1he ,postponement failed, however, to pr~~ent Lansink
1925.
and his group
from breaking away , and forming, on 24 June 1923,
,
(/
the Ne4erlandse Syndicalistische Verbond (NSV).
In 1921-t the NAS received an invitation to attend the third
Profintern (RILU) Congress and sent Dissel anp A. Langkemper.
At, the Congress the NAS delegtion voted against a "uni ty resol.,u:tionlt on -the grounc;ls that i ts implementation under the prevailing

'.

1.

De

93
condi tions

~in

Holland .would mean

reformist" labour

.
absorption

"
of the NAS by the

orga~iza tions. 7 ANAS resolution o-f 6 Septem- ,

ber' 1924 reaffirmed the stand tal:en by the dele'gation.


NA~

de..fined the task of the

as
agitation for unification on a
-

It

~,.

words, uni ty.' could only be realrevolution~ry basia; in other


' ......... fl'"

:i,zed if "a large and internlly si;;rong" l'iAS. e;~isted.

An inrease

in the strength and numbers of the NAS was aiso considered

opposition'~prk in the-reformist unions. 8

necessary for effective

This attitude towards the united front formed the basis Qf aIl
sub"sequent discussions and disagreements wj. th the CP,;; and RILU,
on the question of tactics.
In December 1924 the NAS moved closer to affiliation with
the RILU when i t sent a pTmanent
o ,

represe~~ati ve

to j"oscow-. 9

"

Ear1y t~e following year Bouwman and t~. Ki tsz, together wi th


S. A. Losovski, drafted a resolution on' the task of the NAS ,in
the united front.

The resolu tin' contaiJ-ct"'4.esentia1iy the


,

ondi tions under which th~ NA$' would join' 'the R'tLU . . The most

important of ths~, in the light of lateV'developm~nts, w~s ~he.


11

clause that the l'lAS should cultivate 'the le,ft opposition'and

the Fimmen-element lO in tlhe NVV and ANV 1l , not wi th the ob,j ect

,.

of recrui t-ing members for the NAS, b~t in order to create a

strong, left oppositiona1 minority movement in those organiza, . 12


'-rhe resolution did add, however, that ~trengthening,.
t ~ons.
'.
,
,
of T'lAS !Anions - from t'11e rnks of unorgnized workers :. was a'
p

necessary condition. for unit y


At the NAS Congress in December 1925 the resolution was
,easily passed, 119" to 4, and the NAS joined the RILU. 1J

'

..

1>

The

.
,

..

.,

Il?-

,.. .

94

outcome was no tloubt greatlyo influenced by the earlier .resigna-

f'

tions <:1"f h'ijnkoop and

liquidate the NAS

othe~s

~n"the

wh.om

~he

name of th'e

NAS fel t were trying tO

unit~d

,~n~tne;

front.

J
,

,.

development which impressed~the NAS, -espec~ally its thairman

" Sneevliet, was the' formation ln April. 1925 of the Anglo-Russian,

J~int Advisory C~uncil (on trade u~ion unit y):' composed of British

'.

and Russian labour leaders . . At the time' Sneevliett was favourably


~

l"

impressed by this success on t?e part of

~e

Russian

14

'u~lcfis.

1926 began with optimism about the future of NAS-communist


f

co-opera~ion,

both nationally and internationally, yet before

"

the year was half, over the optimism had already worn thin.
-

'"

"",1

After i'lay' frict'ion betwe.en

th~ synd'icalists and communists again


"

Sneev liet rnay :

reached the point where open conf).ict threatened.


have, as De Kadt suggests, fel t

that wi th L'Jijnkoop c out of the

'Il

Party he cQuld
move freely to manipulate the CPH.
,
a ttempts ~to change' the Party' s policy, however,

15

ne

t~o

In

met wi \i

deterrnilled resistance.
On J ilay the English general str ike
, began, and nine days
. la tex collapsed.

'l,!any fel t th failure was due to the betrayal


<J

0 -

'

by thea reformist British trade union leaders whom


had trusOted.
c ient cause to

th~

Russians

For Sneevliet and others thois betrayal \'las suffi-

,-'

ce~~'

further co-operation wi th th'e reformists,

both ha tionally and inter.ationally. '16

The, Russians, however,

did not wish to"sever their connections wi th an important member


.

,0.

.a

of the Amsterdam International and con'rtnued to


the COUncil until September 1927.

...

p~rtic,ipate

in

The CPH initially took Sneev-

j,iet's view 17 but SP9n changed i ts mind, in

f'avour~ of continued
~

.&

1"'---..,..----------..,:;":"1I!~-----------------

. -.

,
"

95

co-operation~ in conformity with the Comint~rn policy:

e, .

:'

'

, The issue of the collaboration wi th the r~ist labo.ur


l8
leaders in,Holland too~, oU a more acute "forme Fimmen
had
refused tiL_support the strike' in any way and after i ts collapse~ moved i0drea-s ingly to the r igh t.

He vehemently denounced the

. ,NAS and called fQr ts compleOte assimilation by the NYv .<19


~

Sneevliet and other 'l~AS c~mmuni~-:ts demanded that aIl communists

and r~volutionaries wi tht;lraw from Fimmen' s '!EenheidC!:' commi ttes


fi

and denounc-his

dU~liCit?i20 aIl ~fforts should henceforth be

'tl

>

directed towards defending and

ex~anding

the ,NAS.

The CPH,

Il

~ollowing the lead, sei by ~oscow, ~e~used tp disas,ociaia itself

- -1

from the "Enheid Il movernent al though 'i t did cri ticize the anti-~:..
21
revolutionaryand anti-NAS behavior of the movement's leaders.
'~

'

'-;--

"

It argued -that the ccimmunists had to stay in order to" prevent


thEl"rank and file, who 'formed the intler core of left-oriented
\wo
~rkers; froID being

...

misle~

,
22 '
by the se leaders.

The NAS then withdrew aIl i ts members from the "Eenheid u


\

Gommittees and began to encoura~e dis~ffected workers in the -

f'. .reformist

unions to j:in the

NA~

unions.

I.~~nel

--------

-~

criticized

----

NAS~9f

. these act.i.,ons as left deviations' and reminded the

December 1925 --unrty ,resoluti0I'!'

its

He acknowledgErl that th~ NAS

had to defend i tself against attacks''''by Fimmen and others but


felt i t had the responsib.l1i ty tD-- cont,inue ~o seek contact wi th

~\

those
,

':"

,J,

~orkers

..

;:..:-;~, , .;-.,,~~~ ,."."""


~\,f":,,
.

who regarded the

~enheld

".

commlttees as meetIng

"places' fort the left opposition. 24-

rrhese .and other

exh'o~tations

led the NAS to accuse the new CFH leadership of r continuing


'25
~vijnkoop's policy in another' guis.@.
..,

0.

,l'

f ,.

__

96
An attempt at

reconcilia~ion

was made at a conference of

NAS and CPH leaders 13-14 November.

,'

A j oint commission was to

be formed to prOJ11ote and facilita te co-operation between the~


two,~ut mhe~ the 'NAS heard that in, Amsterdam non-organized

Vlorkers VIere being encouraged by the communists to join .modern


~

and" neutral unions, it boycotted the commission. 26


The following rl1o.nth the Enlqrged Comintern Executive issued
a statement by "i ts labour commission on the question of CPH
o

,relations with the left wing in the reforrnist 'unions and with
'.

the IjAS. 27

IJntil this tirne the Comintern Executive, had, byand,

largEi, been favourably inclined towards the


tionary labour

f~deratie>n

i~A3.

As a revolu-

in which the communists had SOlne

,
influence and as a potential.RILU member it was not to be alien-

Je

/ ated.

1
1

The ECel, however, had always upheld the,necessity of

worldng in 'the rcformist


and
reactionary unions and was always
1
careful to 's-tress the leading pbsi t ion of 'the

-.Cornmuni~t

Party

in regards to labour organizations, especially after the problems

w~ th

the Fischer-i.aslow' a~d Schumacher oppositions in Germany.28

Neither tha NAS as a whole nor Sneev~iet in_particular was


~

prepared to acknowledge this.

A clash over questions of ~icy l

and

discipli~e

was

t~erefo~e

highly probable.

The

quarr~l

over

co-operation with the reformists in the "Eenheid" committees


\

."

had already given evidence of a growing incornpatibi-lity.

The

EGCl labo'ur commission statement only ~xacerbated the situation ..

1Ji th this statement i t beeame clear that the ECer had


dropped i ts co,.ncilia tory a tti tude towards the NAS.

The'

NA~

communists were censured for obstructing Profintern ,-,tactics,


for
J

97
violating the terms of their. 1925 Congress resolution and for
forming an NAS anti-Party faction in the- CPH. 2 9 The CPH was
f'

instructed to combat any ,atteinpts to liquidate the NAS but at


the same time to concentrate its energies in the larger NAS
o~ganizations

and 140

~onduct

an "ideological campaign in the

NAS as preparation for the dissolution of the small,'nonviable


organizations".3 0 When this document ~~ached the NAS, leadership
- through Dissel, their ).:oscow representative - i t was immedi.ately s.en as coromi

tti~' t!'-e e~H

to prapagandAarm;Ul ta the

NAS, but,_} t was not mad\ public until l\lay. 31

In D~~r as weIl two articles appeared in the Gommunist~


International, the journal of the ECCr, with c~iticisms of the
NAS.3 2 One of the articles, IIThe Da~ly Ta?k of the Communast
Parties in the Labour Organizations" \Vas written by a Russian.
trade union leader and EGCI member, G. Smolianski; the other,
." The Labour i,;ovement in" Bolland and the Task of the GPH" was' ,
wri~t~n

by L. de Visser.

Sm~anski's

article dealt with the


.
. case of countries which had a divlded labour movement and an

----

inJependent revolu'tionary
labour frganiza tion, ,and w.Qere,
because the labour organizations were usually ~arger

t~an

the

1-

Gommunist Pa:r:ty, the role of the Party als vanguard of th worI'.:.-J

Jng class and as leader of the labour movement was often und erestimated.

Holland was

c1t~d

as a classic example.
,

I1ere the
;

NAS was both stronger and older than t r CPlI and was strongly
steeped in syndicalist tradition, which caused it to regard
other

organi~ations

as

funptions of a'par:ty.33

~uperfluous

and to assume the

po~itical

It deemed communist -clls in trade


t,

98
~

unions unnecessary, conducted a destructive campaign against


,

<;,

the "Eenhe'id" commi ttees and maintained a number of


organizations merely for show.

'~n his aiticl~

qe

smal~

labour

Visse~ accused

the HAS of not adhering to the 1925 resolution and of saDotaging

..

co-operation between the NAS and~.the communists.


The rlA3 leaders decided to protest and sent a long letter,
, dpted

IJ~January

1927, to the central council of the RILU. 34

, The letter, signed by Sneevliet, Bouwman

seven others,

a~

accused the Comintern of encouraging the CPH in i ts anti-NAS


campaign and requested that the two articles in the 'Communist
,

Int~national

Qe censured, that no section of the Comintern be

altowed to co:operate with Fimmen and that the latest guidelines


of the labour c0mmission of the ECCI, be' retracted. 35

In the

meantime, the letter concludjd, any alliance with the CPE was
no longer possible.

A f-ew days berore. th is letter wao sent


.,.

Sneevliet end ~ouwman had, ,in fact, informed ~he~Partijbestuui


1

of their withdrawal from al~ Pariy positions, includin~ the


executive. 36
A suggestion was also mad in the letter to the RILU that
bef,ore the
inquiry.

~atter

reached any conclusions it should hold an'

rrJe ,council accepted the suggestion and sent a "rench-

man, Delobelle, to Holland where he spent part of I\.arch ans


,Apr il.

Accordlng to the NAS, in i ts q uadr iennial re'port, Delo-

belle was sympathetic and would h~ve presented a' report favour~
~

.,..:

abke to the
.arriving in

~~AS

had he not been de tained

~oscow

~ Fra~., th"reby

too late to influence the course of events. 3 ?

Consequently, claimed the NAZ, the Comintern was able to force

!'

99

.
the ::{.:I:LU tOI. "s ide against the NAS.

"-The RILU became the instru-

ment of the' C I9mmunis-tl l lPternational], which in i ts turn was


d'r i ven to i tG deed by the Dutch sect ion, the CPE.,,)8
As evidence for this charge the

i~AS

pointed to a telegram

sf 14 or 16 ",ay 1927 39 from both the dILU and Comintern execu",

tives, and to an open letter from the RILU executive at the end
of Lay.

Pr imarily on the basis of the la tter, the NAS severed

its ties wi th the CPB, the COI11intern and the "Comintern controlled" RILU.
The telegram was aimed at the direct and independent involvernent of certain NAS figures in the Amsterdarr municipal elec'l'he NAS leadership had depied any official connection,
1
in this and any other election, with inde pendent candida tes

tions.

who happened to be NAS members, but upheld their right to run.

40

The JILU.and the Comintern, however, in their telegram called


_upon the :liAS \'lorkers to vote for th' communist candidates.
"

'l'heyL~.';'''''

charged Sneevliet with sectarianism in his anti-CPH attitudes


o

and in his creation of a' separate fiAS list, an'ci declarqd 'that
i t VIas he and the other
~ILU

N..~S

leaders who, in breaking wi th the

and its tactics, were'the true liftuidators of the NAS ~

the communists vlanted only to strengthen the HAS by means of


the correct revolutionary policy. 41

,';-Jhether ei ther the Comintern

or the RILU executives actually believed this, the NAS 'membership


did not.

"

On 24 Laya meeting of the various managing committees of

.'

e,

HAS affiJ,.iates and of the HAS e,xecutive was held to discuss the
si tua tion.

'The "tel'egram was seen as an a ttempt to crea te ser ious

,....

100

contradictions in the NAS for the purpose of harming the NAS


and it was concluded that a

~harp

stand would have to be

~aken

"42

against, the 11quidationist policy of the RILU and the Comintetn.


<

th~refore ~e

Dissel wquld

-4

recalled and the demadds of the NAS

be presented to the RILU once more.

The reply of the RILU, it

was decided, would deterri1ine future international ties.

'rwo

days after the mGeting Sneevliet and twenty others form!lly left

-.

the CPiI. 43

~hi3 aa,:tion was likely both a protest against the

Comintern statement of Decernber and a reflection of the belief


that the CPE VIas behind much of the harassment of the N'AS.
'l'he reply of the RILU came

o~

JO Lay in. the form of an

4L~

letter ta

a~l

dAS members.

ope~

-~

. It \lias an appeal ta the

I~AS

rank

and file to correct the errors of their leaders, espeoially in


their united front tacties, and,to carry out the

EceI

in regardq to small federations, whose

could no longer

be justified on the basis

o~

e~istenGe

revolutionary

clas~

directive

struggle.

These lederations have been vegetating for years now withou~

being able ta increase sub'stantially their membership

or to exere ise any influence upon the [9ther] workers.


They cxist,,' in"'faot, without purpose or goal and really
only obstruct, by th~ir existence, the development of an
~,

effective class eonsciaus opposition in the modern and


neutral unions. 45

~.

The development of sueh an opposition would be better served,


~rgued

the letter; if the small federations worked wlthin these

other unions.
We

t~erefore

propose that, 'until the next NAS congress, you

','
,

101

'kiseus~~'among the members the question of work in


..
and neutral unions, and the transfer of the small

the modern

'

NAS

federations to these unions and that you make preparations


for the

liquida~ion

of these small federations.

46

This was not an attempt to liquidate the NAS, assured the RILU,
but rather an attempt to help the NAS

emer~e

i~s

from

isolation

from the \vorldng masses and ta e-xpand the revolutionary labour


movement in :rolland.

The latter task entailed, among other

things, that thfa NAG wor1\: to create a strong opposition within


1

t~e

urions to desert to the

t~an

reIormist unions, rather


i~AS.

induee the members of these

..

The letter concluded with a

wrningl

the NAS would be ,unable to exist or to function effec-

tively without international c'ontacts and the .ULU.


A large part of the ;.iAS membe rship though t otherwise.

ln

a meeting on 19 June, of the managing eommittees (besturen) and


10caL.q,rades councils (plaatselirjke atbeiders secretariaten),
i t vms emph:ltleally dbcidcd tho. t; to currjr out the propoco.l of
:UI~U

the

"vlould mako the o}:istonce of the 1'JA3 as :11.n

ind~pendent

"

revolutionary organization impossible''" 47

A statement

l'laS

dravm

up which declared that the existence of a powerful IrA':; was a

necessary preliminary to any

"-

at1;emp~-.!d..ni~tion,

and

tha~

"any order to disband its small f~derations and to cease


recruit'r
inE; lllembers from the ranks of the organized would be rejected.

~J..1he statement was J'ent to the .~I1U executive wi th the informath l. t th e....
l'AS was no t prepare d t 0 a It er l. t s pOS l. t'lon. 48,

t 10n
'

.'

On 6 July came the answer:

the RILU executi\rE'l

prepared -to change i ts Jecis ion and th


()

r iJAS would

~o

ViaS

also not

well to

--

102

te

yield

discipline. 49

NAS account"

lt/hat followed, accordlng to the olfficial

was a period "of ideological. preparation"

NAS cadre for the formaI break with the HILD.

0)

the

After the election

of a new NAS executive, fought on the basis of mai~taining or

severing the connection with the RILU, and a referendum, the

RILU was notfied that as


be a member. 50
sed or expe lled.

,r

,1 April

nad ceased to

Those w~bjected

were suppres-

Sneevliet formed his own Revolutionaire Social"

istische Parti.jt: (l{SP) and the NAS opened negotiations wi th the

~ederlandse Syndicalistische Verbond. 5l

The co-operation between

communists and syndicalists.which had begun over ten ycars before


wa~

now finally\at an

~nd.

The ,brea~ as a wh~le can be s~en in the light of a syndi~al.. _ _ ? - - -

~:.

iat desire to' be independent of any po]..i tical, or~iz.} tion, a


<'

desj,re aggravated by the attempt of Loscow and the Dutch '::ommunist Party to ma,ke the l'lAS conform to orthodox united front
,
tactics and to co~munist disciplIne.
Dut another impdrtant

11

factor in the break may well have been the.:;:,- tempcrament and '
ideology of the

~~A;3

chairman,

r;:;.

~neevlie

t.

Althoubh he h8.8 once

been "an important figure in the internation<al communis t, mover:-lent,


,

as a l'abour leader he now disapproved of tampering by the

1--.,.

Hussians in western labour affair's, , of which they knew nothing.


The Russians

pr~sur~ed t'~establish

guidelines for trade union

tactics"he felt, when thcy had no ftxperience with an independrnt_


labour movement in their own country.

~e also questioned the

right of nat).onal, Communist Party leaders io malee decisions


about trade lunion policy.

"~Jhat

experience do the leaders of

103
,

the communist parties have in tradB union activity and tactics?


Precious little."S2
to

co-op~ration

These,ideas, tog~ther with NAS opposition

with counter-revolutionary unions, raised the

spectre in koscow of a resurgence of the '3chumacher tac~ic of


t
1924 53

ln addition to his syndicalist sentiments, Sneevliet also


"had marked Trotskyis-t---SYnpaW;;

--

----

He openly cri ticized the

~--taIn 'oy Stalin and the methods used to get rid of 'f:rot-

ski.

After the British general str lke in . ay 1926, he slded

with Trotski in attacking the

contin~ed

{)

existence of the Anglo-

rtussian Council and the errors of the Russians.

l[is Trotekyist

sympathies were reflected in the Arbeid and Klassenstrijd, both


of which Viere denounced as organs of the Russian opposition by
the ECCr. 54 3neevliet, and Roland-H61st later set up a Trotski
aid committee after Trotski had fled to Turkey.5 6

"e

tJhile the Trotskyist leanings of Sneevliet were probably


not suffie lent reason alone for the Comintenn to make an effort
to remove him in 1926 and 192?,57 ~hey may have influenced him
l'

in his decision to break with an inereasingly Stalinized and


1

bolshevized International.

lt has also been said that failing

in, . his attempt to win control of the CPli, Sneevliet left it to

se t up his own party . .5B


for their own reasons,

'rhe other syndicalists in the Party,

w~re

prepared to follow him and did.

'rh us , unlike the French Communist Party 1 th CPJ:1 was unable to'
split the syndicalist federation in its country or to make any
part of it subordinate ta the Party.

104

>

Chapter

5:

The Role of the Comintern

Between ~d 1927 the Duteh Communist-Party was split ~


There

four time9'

hav~

been a number of

for the instability of the Party

durin~

explanatio~s

advaneed

this period; nearly all

of them involve the Comint.rn: .)This is not' unusual when one


eonsiders tl'lat most of the spli ts in many of the other eommunist pari;.ffs were pree ip.i ta ted by 1.,Sseow.
was of the opinlon that
koop and

~,~ton w~s

until 1926. i
C

to

valida_~e

~ ~oseow-based

Ravesteyn espeeially.

plot to oust him,

~ijn-

behind' aIl the troubles whieh beset the Party

fhere app~ars ~o be no coperete evidenee, ~o0ever,


this point of view.

'.Even

ld~jnkOOP

did not regard

the Comintern interventions ln terms of a personal vendetta,


although he did believe certain of the

leaders to be
prejudiced against him and the other Duteh leaders. 2 Nor was
Cominter~

the CPE large or important enough to vJarrant consta,nt P'leddling

in its affa{rs as was th~ case nith other sections ofothe


}

Communist International.

'rbe Comintern did play a role, especi-

all y in the last three spli~s, but other factors.must also be


~sidered:

'Ehese factors have been diseussed ln the preceding


chapte'rs.
;;Differences of opinion within the Party over how jt should be
run, an uneasy rela tionship wi th the syndi.ealists, and siraple
personality clashes aIl contribute4 to the tensions whieh lay
at the root of the confliets wi thin the CPl: in the 1920s.

The

Comin Lern provided the framework and frarlle of referenee wi thin

whieh these confliets were enaeted and resolved; it did not


ereate them.

Neve-rtheless, beeause the Comintern did provide a

105

framework and did intervene at times, it indirectly influenced


the course and perhaps the outcome of each of the conflicts.'
Its role is therefore o~ significance in this context. Also,
..
the importance of i ts presence l,.nd ,intervent"ion inreased wi th
each split.

l'his was partly due to the growing interest the

Cominterh was taking in

t~e

internal affairs of its sections,

however' small and unimportant, and


1
-~ i

part~

due to a natural ten-

dency to become more involved with each suceeding conflict.


The first rupture in the CPij involved the Comintern insbfar
as the latter expounded a theory and strategy of revolution with
which the Gorter-Fannekoek opposition

dis~greed.

The Gorter-

Pannek"oek o,pposi tion, which had arisen when the CPh was still
the Sociaal Democratische Partij and was initially based on a
'quarrel .;wi th the Party leadershi,p over i ts poli'cies and prac~tices,

became.part of the ultra-left in-Europe which questioned

the wisdom of working in organizations - including trade unions


- and institutions controlled

~y

the capitalistG.

Lenin wrote
~

a brochure against this "left-wingcomrnunisrn" and the second


Comintern Congress endorsed his

~iews

but no direct action was

then taln against the ul tra-leftists.

A purge of sorts was

carried out in the Dutch Communist Party but entirely at the


instieation of the Party leadership and not only because of the
yltra-left views

o~

the opposition.

,,'

In any case the irnportancB

of this opposition lies in the effect it may have l'lad bn later


1,'

Comintern intervention in Dutch Party affairs.


_____ -:::---:-that Gorter' s beho.vior, as far baclc as the

~-Jar

~lijn1:oop

believed

and manifested

at the Zimnerwld and l\ienthal congresses which Gorter attended,

.'

106

was- responsible "for many Vlrong ideas" . . whih Zinoviev and Radek,
and even Lenin, had about his and Ravesteyn's POlicy.3

Wijhkodp

had been able ta correct these ideas in an addendum to Lenin's


Left-:Jing Communism brochure but he felt that the d<=;tmage had
been done and that the impre~sion remaind. 4

The exact nature

of ihis impression is not made clear - identification wi th the


ultra-left views of Gorter or Gdrter's charges of right opportunism.

Wijnkoop appears to be referring

t~

the former but in the

light of his and Ravesteyn 1 s policies it is unlilcely tltat the


,

Comintern :2:xecutivB-continued to see them as ultra-left.


~mpression~most

The

prqbably in the minds of Radek, Zinoviev and

others would have oeen tnat of a sectarian and rather headstrong


Communist Party.

Radek' G remark about the "Dutch asses" 5 reveals

somethine of his impressions.

In any event, when the

Committee of the Comintern was

c~lled

~xecutive

upon to arbitrate in

Dutch Party disputes, the Party leadership was not unfairly


treated, indced more fairly than after the removal of Radek and
Z. inoviev.

The conIlict which prcceded the second split occasioned


the first direct and official Comintern intervention when the
opposition requested the 2CCI fr help.
conflict to have been provoked by
there is li ttTe--Bvi-dence for this.

Ravesteyn believed the

Co~intern machinations~

but

The settlements whlch were

reached do not appear to have b'een motivated by a desire to


remove the Party leaders from-their posts.

/'

Nor does it appear

at this time that the ECCr wished to crete a permanent opposi-

tion which would weaken but not replace the leadership.

At the

10?

..

..

,.

(\,

/'
n

192L} Par'ty Congress, the Comi1).tern ~representatives .,paid more

attention to the syndicalists than to De Kadt and his group,


The ECer cold not, however, have considered a syndicalist
oppo~sitio'n

as a desirable cC1:Unterweight in

Communist Party,

From the deliberatlops and decisions of the two


which deal t wi th the De l\adt-Bouwman opposition i t wouid seem
that the main concern of the commissions was to reunite th
antagonistB and to improve the operation of the CPE,
able patience was displayed in the face of a rather
attitude on the part of the Party leadership,

COns,ide1
arrog~nt

De Kadt left

when he feit that too much patience v/as being exhibi ted but
he was not forced out,
appealing to

~,lOSCoW

He had, however, set the precedent of

to settle internal Party disputes",

Comintern

intervention, once begun, couid only continue,


The third break in the

~PiI

and the events surroundi.ng i t

involved the Comintern to a greter ext8nt t~an previusly~,


Again the .!:ECer '."Ias as1::ed ta lntercede but tlPls time i ts decisions
,containrad harsher cri ticisTt1s nd more

det~iled

instructions,

giving the CrsE less lecway in settling i ts d~fferences,

This

time aD weIl the Party leaders refused ~o accept ~ome qf the


instructions, believing ~hat the ECer had acted on false informa~
tion and that ,these instructiobi"would
do immeasurable harm to
,
the Party if carried out.?

Since 1921 Wijnkoop had aIf~ady

expressed the fear that the policy and tactics of the CPE

leadership would n,ot always meet wi th the approvai of

~.osc6w

becaus,e ofo the latter' s ignorance of Dutch ctndi tions.

ne

was

not prepared,' how~.ver, 'to defy int\,national disciP~ne openly

I~

in order ta preserve his'right to interpret international tactics


o

on a natienal level.

In December 192; he wrote to Ravesteyn


J

l have often enough warned that at a particular point,


d

that is, when the

politlc~l

should conflict too


of

I,.OSCOW,

great~y

and organizational manoeuvres

.
wlth

. .
practlces and policies
\

the

would no longer make myself available for the


\

leadership of'tne Dutch section of the Comintern. o


~ijnkoop
1

()

--..

seems to riave believed that ~he correctness of his

Fimmen-movement,~

tact5:cs, especia.-ily his involvement with' the


would becom evident.after he stepped down. 10

....

The Comintern Executiv was not concerned with the reasons

..

fo~

the objections to certain of its


--

with maintainlng discipline.


c

tions by the

"

CP~-{

r!;>

If'

instr~9tions
{,.~.;.)

:'

but rather '-

The rejection of these instruc-

Congress was an act of disobedience not to

b~e

easily over lool~ed. As Droz po inted out, i t set an unheal thy


Il ()
precedent.
The leaders.also broke international d~scipline
when ,they ,resigned agains t the express order of the EGCr to
remain in their positions.

It could be argued that they \Vere

'" indirectly for,ce~ out by their refusaI to set obedience to'


::oscow above their better judgn!ent, but again i t cannot be shovm

,-

that ~here was a plot to remove the old leader~


,

~.

case could be made for the -argument that the comirtte~ ~

Executiye wanted to keep the old leaders in check but the 1925-26

rupture ts more complicated than that.

AlI the communist parties

were being required to

"bolshev~ze"

their organization but the

Dutch Party was going about i t very slowly.


required

"Bolshevization"

arnong other things an organizational struqJ;ure based


LJ

()

109
on

fac~ory

In the light of the

cells'to build up a mass party.

failure of t1ie CPE to gain a

strort~

..

foothold in Othe ;working

masses, much less increase its membership

o;po.~i tion

dmanqs and complaints of the

si~nificantly,

the

vlere not unreasonable ..

The COfilintern directives were aimed at improv,ing the situation


of "the CPH and making i ~ more effective";

'1'0 have acknowledged

" of the
the superior wisdom, as Wijnkoop would have it,

n~tional

o.

Party leaders in' these matters was neither Comintern policy or


>

"

pr'actice.

That their.(.. interprtation of what ailed the CPH and

of what remedies were neded did not coincide wi th ihat of thec

Dutch Party leaders was thus cause for the resignation of the
latter.

pn the other hand, the Comintern Executive did


the leaders to resign or to

~eav

the Party.

Even

0ot~want

w~en

they

refused to co-operate irr the new leadership repeated attempts


1

were made to involve them in Par'tJC affairs.

no settlement was

reached as peither the Co~intern Exec~tive nor the former


leade~~were

pre1?8!ed to yield.

",!ijnkoop refused tb recoenize

that the Exec'uti ve could know mor~ -about Dutch Party affairs
and the Dutch labour situation than he and the
did.

ot~ex-Ieader8

Indeed his opinion of the Comiritern leadership at this

time was qui te low as -indicated by one of his letters to Ravesteyn.


q

.'

l am of the opinion

=i

"

tha~

the International, which in

Germany despi te everytbir% 'tould n,?t put th", Ruth [r'ischer]


. -Scholem group in i ts place, which in Scandinavia allows"
Hansen to_- f1,.:tmble along, whlch in the Balkans Vias unable to

!1

110
Sofia-sc~~dal,.which

prevent the latest

in Italy rightly

or wrongly but against its will must'let Bordiga go,


which in France knowS; not .what ;to do 'wi th the best peo

ple, which in Engiand f?rtunatel~ can't interfere, which


in America)had bullied the;whole 'affair, etc, etc . ..
u

actuallyr at

th~

ri

moment, is gving no leadership, but was

,..

broken up into li ttle groups V/hich for arbi trary r"easons


gather"around Stalin 12 or_Zinoviev, Tomski or Losofs~i,
....

. e"tc~ IJ
~t

"

"

,the same time

Cornintern.

~Jijnkoop

sincerely professed his loyal ty to the

The Comintern Executive,

OIT

the other hand, was not

concerned wi th Uijnkoop' s opinions on the CPH flor could i t accept


loyal ty ctn vJ ijnkoop'
s terms; i t wanted conformi ty and
o

b,edience.
,

ln the~end
vJijnkoop rec~gniied this to be the case and yielded.
,
The fourth split may be viewed as an a ttempt to r.id the
CPH ofw trouble'some syn.dicalists, espec ially Sneevliet, and
.,

,
t

possibly to S:li t the s~ndicalict, m.oveme~"


n [olland, so ,as to
make a part of i t subordina te to the CPE and the Comintern.
J

___

'rhe

latter played a large role in forcing ,the departure of the syn-

dicalists from the D'utch' PaFty by i t~ endeavor to make -the !'l"AS

conform ta the exigencie;s of national and international communism and to make i t intcf an obed ient labour federa tian.
'rhe
...
relationship between the NAS and i ts communist allies had,
however,

~ways

been a troubled one and i t is doubtful that the

synd icallsts V/ould have


tern missives
a time the Cominter

0'"

ln the CPE without

tolerant

ng the l~AS. 14

Por

permissive

,1

III

in i ts attitude towards the syndicalists but as the

l,lAS

made

' '

little headway in the Dutch labour movement, in fact it re~esped

\/

both in total numbers and in proportion to the total number of


organized workers, 15 and as the rIAS leadership came into conflict
wi th Comintern policy and tac tics , espee ially on the united
front, it was not ~ be expeeted that the Comintern~ Vlould continue"
to be syrnpathetic towards the syn?'-icalistG.

..

-lor

about to ailovi i tself to be run by syndicalists.,


"

VllS

the

C:PH

There' was no

reason for them to remain in the ?arty any longer, then; the
treatment of Trotslci,

t~_

instructions from jV,oSCoW to disband

small unions and growing CPt: unco-operativeness were aIl good


reasons for them to leave.

rhe nature

f the Comin tern was

such, qov:ever, th'at i-t did not consider their departure as a


v indica t ion of :J ijnkoop t s pqs i tion on trade .union tactics.

On
,.

the contrary, whatever the original i~sues, the one issue noVi
was obed ience and the transformation of the CPE into a dutiful
section of the Communist International.
Q

In i ts repo..rt to the s ixth Comintern .congress in 1920, the'


ECCI summed up the pa,st troubles of the CPH./
~he

<;lS

an

a crisis o( :3olshevization, of

fram a le ft Soc ial Democratie Fart y to a CommuIJist Party .

.,

It was a difficult process:


,

Communist Executive
...

~'rom

the crystallizati0n of\a.

-.

among leaders who were still

urider the influence of the conceptions of the old "DutchLarxist"

~ChOOl

rt~t
c

deviations and

passivi ty whih eharaeteri1?ed the Party during the ~1ijnkoop

r
...

'1

pralonged crisis in the Communist Party of

be described

III

bb

112
~eadership

in 1921-l925 have been overcome with the help

of the """CCI
~
. 16 - .

"

This evaluation has some truth in it.

The Party,' which had

begun before the :'Jar as a sp+inter social' d.emocrC::,tic party 1ed'


b;y- revolutionarl j,~arxists, needed to ;:tdjust to changed condi-'
tions after the

~lar

and to accommodate it'self to the conditions

imposed by Comintern melllbership: -' Even 'viijnkoop recognized' tha t


the

Il

old-f.:arxist and' practical-agi tational presence" of the old

leaders presented

[,lOSCOW

part of the issue was


~ne

in

Il

wi th

problem. 17

He also saw that

the 'question of the relative autonomy

choosing of qualified people to carry out the internation-

al and national communist strategy" .18

He just failed for a

long time to realize that'the Comintern was develofing into an


organization which Vlotfld not allow this kind of independ~nce
and individualism.

Ap Gruber points out, one by one each' of

the communist part ies Vias brought into lin~~ organiza tionally
and poli t.ically, wi th

vlha~

the

CUL

rmt line ln', Los~ow was .19

Obedience and the cxigencies of 30viet foreign policy became


1

the euidlng principles of the Comint.ern especiall'y


,

The Dutch Communist Party as i t

~",as

could n,ever have survived the twenties in any


\.

op

....

1928.

led by :Jijnkoop and Ravesteyn

a~er

ca~e.

...

,.

Il)
:?ootnotes
..-,

or

Chapter 1

'-,,} ,!

1. For an' account of -the onf1ict see G. Harmsed. "Communisme dicht


bij huis" in :lat is ComI'lUnisme? t Arnersfor't t [.l.965]. ':;eries 2.
no. III; A. J. Koeje.mans. David Wi~nkooPt ,een mens in de stri.id
". voor het socialisme, Ams"terdam, 19 7; and 'd. ~ra:n Ravesteyn. De
.} wording van het comr,1Unlsme ip ~~eder land 1907-1925. Amsterdam,

LJ

19lt8.

,-

2.3ee Rave;:;teyn, De wordlng, pp.


).Ibid L

IL Ibid..

79 and )2 for narlles of others.

p. 10).
A n_~rograT!l

and )04.

was adopted in 1912; see Koe jemans, pp. 121

5. Ravesteyn. De wording, p. 107;

J. A. N. l:nutte1, "De geschiedmis van de CPE (tot 1926)". unpub. ms., p. 4.

6. l~utte 1. "De geschiedenis".

"t\7.

~uoted in G. tlarmsen, ."Neder1anders en de bolsjewistische revolu) tie" l.lgemeep Handelsb1ad (Supplement). 10 June 1967, pp. 1)
. and 15.

8.Ravesteyn. De wording. chapter III.

9. J. liarmsen, "Voorspel, ons-caan en verloop van het schisTl1a in


het nederlandsa communisme; de geschiedenis van de ':;Pl:-8C (de
',Jijnkoop partij) 1926-Jo" .. ededeelingenblad. no. 29 (August
1~(6), pp. 5-6.
10 ...1avesteyn .Je wording. 186. ' " ... the leadership of the yet sma11
party, conceptrated in the trio, but especia11y in the pair,.
whtch united aIl the important functions in itself
"
11.Ibid., p.126; K~utte1, ~Degesohiedenis". p. 5.
12. Knuttel, liVe geschiedenis". p. 6.
1). Ibid.

p. C.

14. riarmsen. "Voorspe1". p.

j4 (note 1)}.

15. }~nuttel, "De geschiedenis", p. 5; harmsen. "Communisnle", p. 128 .

16.1:rmsen, "Neder1anders".

"

17. Vers1ag van het negende .iaar-congres, 1918 (80ngresvers1ag 1918).


Par r{!ore i'ri~6rmation about Congress proceedings see the .i3iblio-graphy. Eere they will be desi,gnated as Congresverla,; plus date

114
if in pamphlet form or.~s "Congresverlag" , plus date if the y
appeared in the Party newspaper '9nly.

lB. For a full


I~ovember l
Amsterdaru,

"revolution" see-h. J. Seheffer,


revolutle ie niet door in~,

n~een

19. G. ,;ollau calls l t. the "Provi8ional Arn-Gterdam Bureau of the


International" in International comr'lunism and '.'101" Id revolution, London, 1961, p. 140.
' , .
20. Ibid ..
. "...

21. : IarltlS en , "Voors1)el", p. 34 (note 13).


22.His epie poem "Pan" i8 cons~dered a ,masterpiece of pr:oletarian
verse.
3ee l~. van Ravesteyn, Herman Gorter, de 'dichter van Pan,
rtotterdam, .;t.928 .

23. 3ee

Rq.v~steyn,

De wording, p.

135.

24. Congresverlag 1917~ l~utte1, "De geschiedenis", ,P. 3; ~avesteyn,


Je wording, pp. ~91-162.
t
25. Congresverslag 1917.
2G~3ee for examp1e

1ft.

:l

Pannekoe~,

De arbeiders, het parlement en


het communisme, n.d., n.p., a brochure writt~n about this tiffie.,

27.~:. Gorter, ,j'De eenheid van het internationale proletaria-at:',


ilieu"le ri,jd, Xl..J.V, 8 ahd ~iet opportunisme in de.nederlandscne

communistische parti,j, Arasterdam, 1921. ,

,J

.:'

28 ... ~. doland-Lolst, iierman Gorter, AIl1sterd'am" 19J3.


29.J. de l-:adt, Dit mi.jn COnl.lllunistenti,jd, .-.lilsterdrlIn, 1965, p. 201.
~

)O.l:nuttel, ";Je t;eschiedenis", p. 13. Por the prograr of the KAP1~,.


see j~. Gortep, lloeliehting tot het ontwerp- prograrn der KAPi"~ 1
n.p~, [l921}.
31. At the Ithird Comintern 80ngress \'{hieh she attended as part of
fhe Duteh dolega tion. De lCad t, Communis tentl,j d, p. 192 j ;{aveGteyn, Je wQrding, p. 215.
~:.."
:.J.::...~ee:

"verJ:
" , 1 3.rln;
."
1 'd , . I r-'VI
7 ~L. oland')
, .
l'fl.eUWe 'ilJ
\ . . , 16/1 7, p 4 0./;
" .-.6\,- ~ 8l.n
' d e van d
'
,
n
'
,
~,. 'd , ".,
'TJ.' rI 1 2'3 / 2 4 ,
e dl.UVI'8 .J..:q d" , l''leuwe
.l.l.J
P~). 705-713; .Jijnl:oop' s letters ta rtavesteyn ln -the lal1 of 1921
in the i1avesteyn Correspondence (:1av. 80rr.) 10cated,)'n the
Internationale Instituut van Sociale Geschiedenis in A~sterdam.
t
.... 0 1 S',

80mlliunistische Gids, January 1922, pp. 1-2.

LA.

3h.l:.. llorner
Pa elcoelU, "De derde internationale en de wereldrevo1utie", .;..;",;:~~",--~ri'-=i"",'~d, XXV, ~, pp. 161-169.

115
,

J5. H. Gorter, Open brief aan parti.jgenoot Lenin, Amsterdam, 1921.


J6.Koejemans, p. 196.
,

J7.No11au, p. 140.
J8.;:oejemans, p. 196; :"(avesteyn, De wording, pp. 209'-210.
tJ

J9.Nollau, p. 140.
40. r:oejmans. p. 196.
41. Ibid., p. 200; letter from ~J. van Leuven ta' Partijbestuur 19
October 1920 quoted in harmsen, "Voorspel", pp. 6-7.

42.Fbr text of letter see Koejemans. pp. J07-JOa, and Tribune 17


August 1920. ln h,is letter of 19 October 1920 (.see note 41)
Leuven c1aims to be the authr.' See also Congresverslag 1920,
ynkoo p ' s 'opening speech.
43.~Jijnl\.oop to navesteyn,

6 January 192.6.

(Rav. Corr.)

Lt4.Koejemans, p. 201; ,:armsen, "Voorspel". pp. 6 and 3J (not J).

45.Conf:resverslqg 1920. 3ee alsc>


begoinnng 21 ScpteTi1ber 1920.

~/ijnkoop's

articles in the rribune

46.De Kadt. Communistentijd, ~p. 176-176.


1

47 ~'.J. van Leuven, :Jreed marxistische 1::13.sse- inz ich t, n. p. 1920.


1.J.2.,:nuttel\, ".Qe gCGchiedenis", p. 13.
1}9.harlllsen. "Voorspe1", p. J4 (Dote 13).
50. Ci.

j~arm3en,

Jaan Goulouze. ui t het leven van een communis-,


-.
:

~trecht,' 1967, p. 24ff.

51. 3ee p. 4.
.

,. ,

In addition t; their parli:.iliiintat'y seats ',Jijnkoop and

~avesteyn a1so sat on municipal co~nc~ls. Wijnkoop in Amsterdam,

Ravesteyn in 11otterdarn. Tnere weri;,q'iiler corr.munists. as weIl,


Qn various r,mnic ipal cGuncils. . ( ,~':t,
,
1

,.

52. Congresvers1ag 1919.

\'1 1'\
'
,\

,}'

.\

.~'

53. ICnuttJ;:l, "De sesch'iedenis", p. Il.


54.~uoted

"!
!

'.,(~

in r:oejep1ans, 189.

55. :Vi,jnl;:oop to Ravesteyn, 9 August 1921 (.~av. Corr.); De l:adt,


Cormnunictentijd. p: 221 descriQ~s the leaders as beins afflicted
with "spyitis".

116

Struik~

56.,Joe for e;:ample D. 'JI.


"Ijet Groningsch congres 1er communistische partij", l';ieuwe l'i,jd, XXIV, 14, pp. 1.J-64-L~69, and
D. K. ,linter, "~:et twoolfde congres d~r conillmnistische partlj,",
:'Tieuwe Ti.id, XX'fI, 23/24, pp. 743-56.
.
57.'1. 1. Lenin, Left-win
1~0.

cor.ununism:

an infantile d'so der, n.p.,

5%.j. de la Eella, Jr., Je nederlandsche val\:bewegin; ... de\vaJ:vereeniGingsinternationale~ n.p., 1932, p.

6. \

59.For a short history of the AS Gee i " Perthus, ea.'" Voor vri.iheid
en socialisme, :1otterdam, 1953, pp. 127-140.
50.A. J. c/;.{tir, De sPo,orwegstalc.ing'n van 1903, Leid.en, 1935.
61.?or a comparison of thq ilA3 and ~NV see. J. !... ~1elker, "De
verhouding tussen vakbeweging en socialistische partij in
Heder l.alDd (1)00'-1963) ", l ededeelingenblad,. no. ']8 (December 1970).
52.Ibid., p. 6.
63.

1~arr,1Sen,

"Voorspel~ "". 5.
'~~

6 l l-. delclcer, p. 8.'

j'

3cretariaat in iJederland over


referred to as ~AS

her~after

G6.~:iella,

p, 28

67.B. DouwTilan, 'De strijd der nedcrlai1dsche vat~)e\'Jeging in 1920",


Irieuwe 'i'i,jd, XXVI, 2, pp. 1}5-51.
.
68.1. Corncl1scen et al., De taaie rooie rakkers, Utrecht, 1965,

56.

p.

--"..

..

76 . .3~e "Een nleuw taal~", 'rribune. 2 and 4 October 1920. ,{aVestefn


later Gave another reasonl to prevent the syndicalicts fron /
tal,inr; Qver the Party, llavel,teyn, De 'lOrd ing, p. 20).
[
71. 3ee for exav!ple Jadel:' s speech in J. DeGras, ed'., The Sowflun" st
Interntl.tion~l, 1919-194'3: ,Documents, vol. l, ~ondon, ,195 7
?
~)IL 53- ,-)1;
t

<

.'

72.Con~re8vorsla6

1920.
1

73.1bid. and articles in

~ribune,

..

October 1920.

117
Chapter 2
t

l.~or

the proceedings see Congresverslag 1921.

2. Ibid. . :-{e was probably referring,"to .the twelfth condition dealing vii ~h del'locra tic centralism.

3.nHd ..

4. Harmsen , "v.oor$pel" , 7.
5.2. Bou\'Tt1an,' Il;)e eenheidsresolutie dr C.P. ", Nieuwe ri';d,' XXVI,
23/24,
pp. 1733-735 . .
,
1

6.3ee '.J. S. van Rcesma, "j)ol~nten inzal:e het eenheidsfront",


Cornmunistische Gids, February 1922, p. 110.

y. For hi8 opinion of the

NAS and of the ro le of the CPIl in the


labour novemcnt oee "De leooen der ~letaalstaking", Cornmunistische
~ids, l"ebruary 19221" pp. 93-98 .
.\ 8. De Kadt, CommuniGtenti.id, p. 2/-1-4.

9.Ibid.,

D.

2l~9.

10. A development which :;:)e l:adt had foreseen and had V/ished to avoid.
See ibid., pp. 2 l l-4 and 250.
"

Il.3ee Con7,resverslag 1923 for proceedinbs.


12. Ibid ..
13. D. J. '.1 ijn!toop, '':;r i8 is en eenhe ici:::;front (rede gehouden in d
'.rweede :~o.mer der ";ta tEh'1 'General ~-Tover,lbcr 1922), Ams\erdar'l, 1S222.
14.Congrcsversla1. 1923.

15. Je i:adt, COI.lIunistenti.jd, ;p. 257.


l6.~id.,

p. 260.

17.:;armsen, '''/oorspel'', pp. 10 and J4 (note 10). See also J. 2ngels,


Voor een stri'dend ocialisme een korte schets van mi'n leven ,
n.p., 1970.
Private edition.
l:::.Je ::?-dt, Cor,lTl1unistenti.id, p. 260.
19.Ibid., p. 243. \

-e

20. =:o.r11180n , "Voorspel", p. 9.


21. See Je -~:adt, COnluunistenti,id, p. 211-7.
22. Ibid. -:- p. 266.

118
23.3ee ibid., pp. 279-304 for an acpount of the investigation and
. i ts rwsu1 ts.
24.Text of 1ettcr

p~inted

in Tribune, 23 Ju1y 192).

25. Ibid ..
26. Pr intod in :;or:lI!1UnistiGche Gids, L~ and 18 Septmber 1926 and 16,
October 1926. ,';:he -cone and style appear to be Raveste~;rn's.
27. Ibid., an ;lijnlcoop to :iavesteyn, 2 August 1923.

(Rav. COl~r.)

2.'llr ibune, 23 July,192).

29 .. J. '3. van Reesma, "Organisatle en po1itiel:", rrribune, 22 October


1923.
)0.

~e L., "De eenzijdi(;e geestgeste1dheid van partij en partijgenotel'l ale oQrzaak vo.n de onvruchtbaarheid der partijdiscussies",
rribune, 0 ctober 192).
~

)l.De I:adt,
3:92).
_

"~Jht 'Nill

de ovJ3os1tie?" , Eribune, 19 and 2G i{overnber


,

~_1

32. Ibid.
,

33. De ::adt, COIIII.lun1etenti,id, pp. 3+7- )18.


)1+.De Eadt,

".Jn..t will de oppositie?".

35. Iblj ..
36. "De aanval1cn op onze partij", 'l'ribunc, 21 .:Jecerl1bc!:' 192J.
37."lJit de partij", '11 r lbune, )1 Octo'Jel' 192).

3e . i.:.: OO zcl:er i8 de bedoeling van ~.osl:ou :let" , 'rribune, 1 October


.1923.
39.Raveatcyn, Dc

~ordinG;

p. 222.
')

-40. ilijnl:oop to Ravesteyn, 9 August 192J.

(Rav. Corr.)

41. Ii. r.efo:trJlis t united fr on t movement, 1ed by Edo PiITllnen, w i th which


'.JiJnlcoop
became involved .
...

) 2 .". J'lJnJCOOp
)
t 0 "I.aves
J
4
A
t 19"',J
ceyn, 2"'uguC"
'::'-1'

1..1

43.Letter of

~CC:;:

(.:1av. Corr.)

to cp:r, printed in the ::ommunist, 26 Ju1y 1924.

44.De ::adt;' Cor.1I!1Unistenti.id, p. J48.

L~.6.Prom

the fourth to tho fifth Vlorld con :ress, London,


:Iencoforth refcrred ta as BCCI report
)

192L~,

p. 41.

~----------~D----------------------------------------------------~--------------------

119

47.3ee 'H. hlaring, "Report to the Executive of cornrade li. I.iaring" ,


Il July 1922 in H. Gruber, Soviet Russia masters the Comlnternj
international communism in the era of Stalin'c ascendency,
Garden City" New York, 1974, pp. 364-375.
48.De Kadt,

Comm~1istenti.jd,

p. 349.

49.Already in 1919 - after" he had been expel1ed from the Dutch


East Indies - Sneevliet had> been suggested as third Tribune
editor. He declined when the other editors opposed the proposaI.
I::nuttel, "De" gGsch~edenls", p. Il.
50.ZCC~ re~ort

1924, p. 41.

51. Text in r:orllmunist, 26JuJ:y, 1924.


1

52. One had been organized in


ing well.

l~Zbut

appa:r;ently was not function

p. JJ3 believes him to


:53. A p'Seudonym. De :;::adt, Comr.1unistenti,fd,
,
be ~ .)~ Hesse.

54.Por proceedin&s see Congresverslag 1924.


55. Dc l':adi', COInlJ1unlstentij d: p. 362.
56.R. !,:anuel, "De beteekenis van ons congres''', Communistische Gids,
July 1924, pp. ~04-411.

57.ECO!

r~~ori-1924,

53. "Na hat congres"

1\

p. 41;
Gommunistische Gids,

59.ICnutte1-to- Ravestcyn, 13 .,.arch 1925.

:,:a"J

1924, pp. 257-259,.-

Olav. Corr.)

120
Chapter J
1. Knutte1, "De geschiedenis"-, p. 15.
2.~AS

verslag 1924, ~ 87-88.

3. See p. 44.

4. I,ianuel, "De beteekenis van ons congres 1".


pseudonym of Van :::'iel.

L:anue1 later used the

5. 1r ibune , 2 110vember 1924.

6. Harmsen, "Voorspe1", p. 1).


7.Knutte1, "De geschiedenis"_, p. 15.

e. Tribune,

3 I.:ay 1925.

9. Tribune,

(3 ~ovember 192L~.

10. Tribune, 18

l~ebruary-

See the text of

th~

ECCl reso1ution.

1925___ See the article by J. Care1son.

Il. Tribune, 3 and 4-ecember 1924.


12. Tribune, 19 ..arch 1924.
13. Ibid ..
1'+. Tribune, 6 and 7 i,.ay 1925.
and Dergsma.

See articles by Van aie1 C~anue1)..

15. Tribune , 15 April 1925.


-16. Tribune, 3 Lay 1925; I:oejemans, p. 210.
17. Tribune, 10 ?ebruary 1925.

18. Ibid ..

---

-- -

---

19. Tribune, 27 Decer.1ber 1924.

..20. Tribune ,

3 April

,.21. Tribune, 15

'.

1925~-

Apri~25;

22. liAS verslag 1924 ,_~ 88J8>~

23. 'i'ribune, 29 April

J.9.Z-~~-~- __ _

24.Embodied in "0 n twerp van de resolutie in zake de Eol1q..ndsche


partij-crisia u , Tribune,
5 Lay 1925 .
..
25.~~ijnkoop to Raveste~n,

6 _~ebruary 1925.

I?

(Rav. Corr.)

r-----------------r--------------------- - - - - --------121'

26. Koe jemal1s, p. 214'-

e-

27. Tribune , 28 April 1925.


,,28. 1fribune, ) i:ay 1925"

Ifext reprinted._
o

29. Ibid ..

30. l'ribune, ) j,ay 1925.

-.

\ -

31. Tr ibune, 18: ,ay 1925.


32. See the Bib1iography. for books dea1ing wi th spli t~ in the other
communist parties.
3). See Tribune, 9-1) r:ay 1925 for the Congress pt'lOceedings ("Congresver~lagll 1925).
....;..
1

'34.Tribune,' 11-12 l,.ay 1925. At times the Congress wou1d~..take a


vote by de1egates, a t other tilnes i t wou1d count the number of
Party members represented by each de1egate. The first motIon
was by de1egates; the second and third by a total memberphip
count.
,
_,...
35. Tribune, ) .ay 1925-; point "fil on the ECeI reso1ution.
36.'Trlbune, 11i:ay 1925.
37. Tribune, 1) .. :ay 1925.
a

33. TrIbune, 11 j.lay 1925.


39. Ra\r~steyn, :;:)e Hording. pp. 160-161.

40.See Con[;resvrs1uG 1917.


c
17

L~1.1'r ibun , 1) l.ay 1925.

42. :Laid ..

...

43. Tribune, 11
1

44. Tribune

12

j,~ay

1925.

;,~ay

1925.
/

45. Tribune, 18 ;:ay 1925.,


1-1-6. Ibid-,
47 ..,Text ifl ibid .
48. Ibid . -

,\

49. Ibid ..

----------------------------------------------------.----------------~---------------

122'

.,

"

Q:?

Text of speech in :rr,ibune, 28-'29 t:ay 1925.

"

51. Actual1y s ixte<en' years.


,

,,52. Tribune, 26 May 1925.


,

5J.Tribune, 25 L:ay 1925. A. 'S. de Leeuw used the pseudonym of A.


de ~ries; the real name of "Pe"rfors" VIas' not avai1ab1e.
l'

54. Ibid .

the Congress,

...

62. Tribune, "l:2 June 1925.


:63. Ibid .

\.

64. Tribune, 23 June 1925>.

65. Tribune, 2

. 66. '.i'ribune,

'-

..

. -<II

June 1925.

7 September 1925.
."

vern1ag
j>.:>
,'V
,
III:lToor~pel", 'p.
16
68 l'-arr1'""en

'

j.

69.~"Jijnkoop to Rave9teyn, 17 December 1925. ,(Rav. Corr:-)

70.",Jijnl{oop to Raveste,yn, 12 ;.arcl1 1925 (aav. Corr.)


~

-~

71.Ravest,eyn to :Cnutte1, 10 Ap1>li1 1925 cited .in i\:oejemans, pp.


212-213::"
'
72. ',Iijnko'op to Havesteyn, 7 Optober 1925 and 3 noverber 1925.
(Rav. Corr.)
.
73. ',Iijnkoop to :1avesteyn, 17 December ,1925.
'0

(Rav. Corr.)

t
.

<

'.

,
1

123

",

74.t'/ijnroop to Ravesteyn, 7 October 1925.


7~.Trbune,

of

'(Rav.
Corr.)
,

12 June 192).

..

-16. Tribune, 7 September 1925.


,',

77.3ee Tribune, 28 Ju1y - 22 August 1925 "for the is~es_and'proGress of t~~ 9nI?lict.
,

78.,Tribune,
23 Ju1y 1925.
,
8

3,ee article by A. Po1ak.

.3e~ 1etter ,from :,:. Lisser.

'29. Tribune , 14 Augu'st -1925.


f
o

BOJr:,ocee,di~gS rcpor:ted ln 'l1riobune


!.S:riburte, 17 August 1928. ---

17-21 August 1925.

8?

See 1etter from CY:!: in Tribune, 4 August 192.5..

<,

33. Tribune , 17-13 August 1925.


1

"-

84. Tribune 1 20 October 1925. '


85. Ibid ..

.,

SC Tr i bune , 21 Octobell, 192-5.

87. Larnsen, "Voorspe1" ,- p. 19.

83. Tribune, 18 October


1925.
,

rn--Scc

D.

8.

~o.I:nut:ei',

~iG

-.

~'

hOVlcver-, ffird---modified
qua1ifi<9d Gupport of, the
d1d ,leadership. See his 1ettcrs of 3 ~arch 192.5 1 ~o ~,:arch
1925 ~d 11/17 April 1925 to Raveste, n.
(Rav. Corr. )

91."Communistische Gids,I DeC81;1ber 1925.

1-2.

--

2.

. ; J--

9 "....... r '1-DU11e, 26 Dycember 1925 .


r"l

th ~av~steyn, 17 December .1925. (Rav. Corr.)


-spe~-ches/ and articles in the "bourge~is" press at

,.93.: Ji jnkoop

..

'

94.0ther
tiLle a1so ref1ected his growing. estrangement .

this

95.:{avestcyn to I:nutte1, 23 Oc.tober ~925, ~,in Koejema'ns, 12.


21a.
f
9 6 . rlarmsen.
r

1"
v oorspe

111 r

,p. 19 . , .. ..

97-. 'vlijl1koop to Ravesteyn 1 5 December 1925t


*,

(Rav. Corr.)

....

98.'.!ijnl'i:Oop ."to Ravesteyn, 15 i"arch 1926. : (RaV. Corr.)

"

124
99.,JijnJwop to J,avesteyn, 1J January 1926.

(Rav. Coq:'.)

100. ',Ji jnlwop to Ravesteyn, J :lovelllber:- 192.5.

tRav. Corr.)

*'

101. VJijn!wop to

~8.vesteyn,

102.'JJijnkoop to Ravesteyn, J Hovember 192.5.

;,

(Rav. Corr.)

12 and 17 December
,
, 1925.

10J.,J Ijn:~oop to J:1aveGtcyn, (; JanUar;)T '1926.

(;1av. Corr.)

(Rav. Corr.)

104. Droz to ~JijJ1koop and Ravc8tcyn, 1J June ..lj25.


"

~
,( Rav., Corr. ),

105.~:oeje[;ans,

pp. 2'16. . . 217.

'

106 . .lijnkoop to Ravestcyn, J November 1925.

(Rav. Corr.)' ,

108. Concept 'orief o..2.n

:EI':~~I.

(Rav. Corr.)

109.Droz to .~8.TreGte~rnl 5 August 1925.

110.;::'aveGte-~/n

(Rav. Corr;)

to 2GCI Secrotrrriat, 5 3e})tember

ll1.~":einz ta :1.eves-ceyn,

26 3eptemoer 1925.

192~5].

(Rav .

(Rav. Corr."'"

to BCGl, 5 October 1925.


reply to this }etter in ~avesteyn's

112.~aveGteyn

was no

(q
11 .J':1'--'
.:;,ee p.
-'"

11'L ''':r ibune, 7 JepteL"lber 1925.

115. :;.')'"' 11Junc ,


116.:jo"~

pUbiished in the rrlbu'l'1e.


22 and 25 January 1920. "

3ce comr,lentary

issu-es

J"-'

Il'7. 'l'riLune, ,,22 Jal"l.tiar;';T 192'S.

11[, .. 1ijnl:oop to

~8.vesteyn,

12 Dec8ruber 1925.

(Rav. Corr.)
3

119',:.3eegars to :=i.avesteyn, 7 J1.pri1 ~926.

( ..1av. Corr.)

"

120";l'3.rti.ibeGtuur to :ia'resteyn, 14 Lay 1920.


f21. :-l.ijnl~oop to Ravesteyn, 20

ua;)'

1926.

(Rav. Corr.)

(it3,v. Corr.)

122. ::'epr ln ted in Coml1utllG tische GIds, J Ju1y 192t.

j:t tcd

21 l.ay 1926.

, \

12J. Eorn1e Q.nd Overc:tt'aeten to Javesteyn, 2[3 April 1920.

C~av.

U::'-;orr.)

124.t}Clvesteyn to l-!.orn 18 8.n Ovcr8tractcn, J ; ay 1926.


(Rav.' 8orr.)
~here 18 no indication whether the lettcr wao sent.

125

,
125. Tribune, 25 1,ay 19f26.

...

126."Ontvlerp resolutie betreffende de oude 1eiding", 24 Lay 1926.


(Rav. Corr.)
J.27. See 'ir ibune, 2L~- 26 LatT 1926 for proceed ings.
1926)
'.
'128.Uij'nlcoop ....,to ~avesteyn, 20 Lay 1926.

(~av.

',_,

( "Congresvers1ag"

Corr.)

129.'rribune, ~5 Lay 1926.


Farw~e
,,10 ,1 ,
IJO ,L,

1I1/oor~spe111

21. ':';
'~

1)"

IJ1. 'Er i bune, 25 Lay 1926.

i32.~1epTintec1 in '.l.'ribune

18 October 1926.

IJ3. Tr ihune, 25 J ,a:/ 1926.


1JfL Communistische Gids,
3 Ju1y 1926, IIVerllaring".
,
135. Continui ty \Vas stressed by number ing the first issue
no.l.
""

Volu~ 'T,

136.Coml'1unistische Gids, 3 July 1926, IIVerklaring" .


,

1J3.3ee text of his speech of 8 June 1.926 reprinted in Communistischc Gids, J and 17 July 1926 .
.'

fil

'J'
h ",l
'" . d s , Il Jeptcmber 1926.
Cl3C.C
IJ o" ; '...I0mLlUnlG
ri

..

1LW. 80Ii1IJlUnistischc Gids, 23 October 1<)26.


\

141.3ecause Party headquarters were located on the AQstel.


,142 . .cribune, 1[; iJecember 1926.
14J.l'ribune,. 5 January 1927.
144.E:oejer!12.ns 1

1J.

226;

~;armsen,

,nT/oorspel", pp.

2L~-25.

1/.j.5 ... :ar,nsen, IIT!oorGpe1"', p. 23.

"

146.300 pp. 101 and 102.


V~7.Tribw1C,

14r.3ee

1-

-24 Junc 1927 .

COD~unistlsche

', ~ l'Dl. ct ,.
l ,,)J.

--'"

3ids, 15 October 1927 for the proceedincs.


/

'.

126
1.50. Ibid..

..y underlining.

_1.51. LiAS verslag 1920, p. 1.


1.52.?or an

explana~tion

of "the change see


\

:~oejemansJ

p.

1.53.Coli1ll1u!listlsc11e Gids, l~iTJune 1927.


154. Ci ted in Tri buna, I l Septelilber 1922 frolJ1 Pr::lvda, _6 September

1922.

155. '1.'r ibune, Il SeptGillber 1928.


15G.-:ited in ibid., from Pravda, 6 5epterilber 1928.
157. Ibid ..
-,
15 0n ,arrnsen, "Voorspe1", p. 23.

159. Ibid. p. 28.


part~/ 21,000.

drew"J7,OOO votes, .3neevliet's

160.naFIllscn, "Voorspel", p. 2'. Although J. 'fisscher was blamed


and expel1ed for this aif i~ it i8 strong1y suspected that a
, part of the Partijbestuur, e~pecial1y Van Rie~ l:.anuel) was
bohind it.
.\
161. See Harmson,

"Voorspe-l", p. 29.

162. :Cor a dC;$cr iptlon of t1:tc negotia tions ~nd final agreement see
ibid. PP: )0-)2 and ::oejerMlnE, PI>. 235-238.
16J.',JijnkooJ! to .1avcstcyn, J June 1930.

( Hay.
"

161+.Ibid ..
1(;5.

]omr~1Uniqtischc

\ )
Gids, 2 8 J une 19) 0 ( l as t lssue.
1.... - ..

16G.~armscn, Daan/Goul~Uze, p. 51.

1G7. Ibid ..

.
il'

- 163. Fraro '1,100 in 1930, before the merger, ta 10,000 in 1939.

127
Chapter 4

1. HAS verslag 1924, pp. '74-75


2. lb id. " p. 65.

'

J,Ibid ..

4.A qrochure, Internationale verbindinrren vai1 het N.A:S


of . oslwu?, which presented arguments of both sides, was
buted among members.
5. i~AS verslag 1924, p. ?8.

6. Ibid. , p. 79.
7. Ibid., p. 87.
no
8.Ibid. , p. uo.

9.3ee p . 53.

.,

10.See p. 60.

11. A1gemene iieder 1andse Vakverbond, a ') neutral" labour federa tipn
.about the size of the NA3, Della, p. 16.
12.rlA3 verslat 19Z8, p.

')0

Ou.

13.Ibid., pl. 92.


j'

14.See h1s introduction to det eenheidsprobiecm, translation of a


speech given by .Losovsl;:i in August 1925 at. the CGJl'U Conbress in
Paris.
1 .
15 . .Je Kadt, COn1munistenti.j d, p. 403.
,

lS.See liAS versla{; 1928, p. 105, and SnGev1iet'~ comments in


Verkeerde eenheidsfront talctiel:, het engelsch-russisch eenheids.Qom1t gewonen e.a..'te 1icht bevonden, Amsterdam, August 1927,
pp. 45 and 8.
,
17. Tribune , 25 UGust 1926.
18. See p. 68.,
19. Tribune, 10 and IJ August1926.
20.~ribune,

21.~ribune, 11 October 1926.

c'

'~
\,

3 August 1926 and 15 October 1926.

22. Tribune, 2} October 1926.

128
23. Ibid .
24.NAS verslag 1928, ~. 99.
25. Ibid., p. 101; rribunc, 6 ;"ay 1927.
26.:lMS verslag 1928, pp. 106-107. _
27. l'hcse groups favoured wi thdrawing l'rom the "capi ta1ist eontrol". 1ed" unions and organizine; the worl:e-rs outside the existing
labour movement, an eeho of the earlier ultra-1eft (see' Chapter
1) .
1

2C.l:S vers1ag 1923, pp. 106-107.

29. Ibid ..
JO. In the Arbeid, 7 i,.ay 1927., The CPH did not publish it at al1.
,

"

31. Commurst International, 28 Deeember 1926.


32.For an illustration of this attitude see Sneevliet's introduction in Vc~~eerde eenheidjftonttaktiek.
J3.NAS verslag 1928, pp. 108-116.

34. Ibjd., p. 115.

<

..1

J5.?ribune, 12 Jan'uary 1927.


36.HA3 vers1ae: 1928, pp. 117-119.
37. Ibid,., fl.- 1'20.
,

38.14 Lay aecordinG to .lA3 verc1a,r; 1928, p. 120; 16 1.ay according


to the Tribune, 17 l.ay 1927.

~,.areh 192(1,~ dea1s

39.2or Sneev1iet's view see Tribune, 17


his edi tor ial in the Arbe id, 12 Lareh 1927.

"-

with

40.3e8 tcxt of teJ.egram-Ln Tribune, 17 i.}ay 1927.

41.~ext of st~tement in NAS v9rs1ag 1923, pp. 122-i23~

42. 'rribun'e, 27 ~ .ay 1927.


the p~per.
,.

'l'he departure. was gi ven li ttle nptice in


,
~

43.1'ext in "'!A::/vers1a,g 1928, pp. 128-1J5.


44. Ibid. , p. 1JJ.

45.Ibid., 1) 1J4.

4 f r Dl'd . , l) . 136.
J.

>

.,

129
Cl

47.Ibid., p. 138.
l~8.

Ibid ..

49.Ipid"
,
50. Ibid.

p. 142.
1

pp. 144-158.
,

51. "'erk;er'de eenheidsirontta!diek, p. 42 .


.52. 'rhe COll1runis t International betvleen tle fifth and sixth world
congresses 1?24-8, London. 1920, p. 186. '(::~CCI report 1928)
.5.3. lbid ..

54. For the: Il Trot'skyism" in the CPI-I 8ee the 1,~artnour;'{ correspondence
in the 1133 ~hich contains relevant clippings from the Tribune,
Impr~corr and other publications.
Other than Sneevliet's
d epartre th'erc was no split, in, the CPE over this issue.!'

5.5. G. Earmsen

1
ft l.r.
A. S. de Leeuw, communictische poli ticus tussen
de were1door1ogen", Lededeelingnblad 26 (April 1964), ,p. 1.3.

56. In any case he does no t appear to have been official1y rlenounced


" as

SUdl.

'

57.I:nuttel,' "Je eeschiedenis", p. 17.

\.

..

130

.Chapter

LRavsteyn, De wording, 'pp. 224-239; '4. van Ravesteyn, IITwee


maal geroyeerd". Communistische Gids, 3 and 17...-Ju1y 1926.
"

2.'See', for examp1e, his 1etter of 6 January ;b926 to Ravesteyn.


(Rav. Corr.)
',-

;. Ibid ..

),

4.,Ibid .

S.Sec po,

91

6.~ee

p. 10

/ )
,

n.l.

7.3ee pp. 5J, $6- 57.


.

8.Lettcr of 17 Decerllber' 1925.

(Rav. Cor,r.)

9.See p. 68.
10. \Jijnkoop to Ravcsteyn, 17 December 19::5.

(Rav. Corr.)

11.3ee p. 62.
12.~ijnkoop

favourcct Stalin. See His )etter' of 15' 3eptember 1926


to Ravesteyn. (Rav. Corr.)
,

13. Letter of 18 Apr rI 1926.


14.See

Pp~

96

(Rav.' Corr.)

and~100.

15.i~A3 vers1ap; 192L~, p. 41 and ~;AS vers1 ,.,. 1928, p.

47.

ll.jC?I report 1920, p. lu?,


17.~I;ijnl;:oop
/

ta .:tavesteyn,& 15 i.arch 1926.

18.iJijnl::oop to i-{avesteyn, 7 October 1925.

(?"aV., Corr.)
(R'av. Corr.)

./

19~Grul;:ler, Soviet :;,ussia, passim.

\,

.J
,

,
J

IJI

Bibliography
,r

The rrpird (Communist ) International


Below is a partial list of publications on the Communist
International.

There is little said abeut the Communist Party

pr-

o.f Bolland (CPlI) in any


them but they provide information
about J"e
about the International in general
,ti larger sections,

an~

necessary for an understanding of the period being discussed.


Actual documepts m~y"be found~in publications of the Comintern
and i ts sections. - A fairly good collection of these publications is to be found in the Interrationale Instituut for Sociale
Geschiedenis (lIS8-) in -:tmsterdam.,

G. K. liall has pUblisheJ a

"-

catalogue of their books and pamphlets (Alfabetisfhe catalogus


van de boekeh en brochures van het Internationale Instltuut van
Sociale Geschiedenis,
Amsterdam, 1970).
,

Documents are also to

be found in published collections, notably that of J. Degras


cited below.

fhere are also a number of docuwents in the two

books by h. Grubcr.
Jorkenau, F., 'vJor Id communism, Ann Arbor, 196J.
3raunt~1, J., History of the International, vol.

New York, 1967.

II:

1914-43,

Trans. by J. Clark.
,

Cole, 8-. D. li., Socialist thoughtl communism and social


cracy, 1914-1931, London, 1958.

demo~

De br as., J., e d. , "';;';;;~~~~~=-::--=~';;;':"':-=-:~~~""-r':;::"<",,?,--;:::~"",,,,,",,_ _d=-o:::..c~u


ments, London, 195
.'

Vrachlcovi tch, J.., l'he CorniQtern 1


York, 1966.

hislor ical highlights,

i~ew

'rhe revo lutionar;y interna tionals 1964-194},


Stanford Unive"rsi ty Press, 1966.
"

_ _--:"..-_...,.--_--::"!:-'

Fischer, R., Stalin and German communisml


of the state party, Cambridge, 19 G.

a stud

in the ori ins

'e

IJ2

...

Gruber, H., International communism ln the era of Lenin, Cornell


University Press, 1967.
- - - - - - , Soviet RussJ:'l masters the Cominternj international
communism in the era of Stalin's ascendency, Garden City,
l{ew York, 1974.
'
li.umbert-Droz, J., i'i.moires: de Lnine 3taline, dix ans de
service de l'Internationale Communiste 1921-31, Neuchatel,
1971. 2 vol. :Jroz has li ttle to say about his encounters
wi th the) Dutch" cOIllmunists, unfortunately; his observations
would have been interesting.
Lazitch. B., Lnine'et la Ille internatlonale, Paris, 1951.
- - - - - - , Les partis communistes d'Europe 1919-1955, Paris,
1956. Contains a short and somewhat inaccurat~ section on
the Dutch Party.
No11au, G., International communisln'and world revolution,
1961. Trans. by V, Anderson.

Lon~on,

,Specifie references to the Dutch Communist Party are to be


found in. the Communist International, a:rnonthly publication of
the Comintern Executiv

(~CCI)

and in the

~eports

of the Execu-

tive to the fifth and sixth :Jor1d Congre'sses of the International.


\

These reports were published in Great Britatn by the British


(

Communist Party as

l<~rOTi1

the fourth to the fifth 'Nor Id congress,

London, 1924, and 11he Conm:unist International between the fifth


and sixth world congresses 1224-8, London, 1928.

Comlntern docu-

ments

dire~t1y

relating to the GPrl were usua11y pub1ished by the

Party in its newspaper (see below) .


. The Communlst Party of Bolland (OPE)
The main sources of information, both on the CPE itself
and on it's- relationship with the International are the various
Party

pub1ica~ions.

especial1y the Party rrewspaper, the Tribune,

for the years 1917-19JO (vols. X-XXIV),

Others are:

the Nieuwe

'ri,jd 19J.7-1921 (vols. X:D-XXVr). a social-democratic monthly

lJJ
,

affiliated wi th the CPE until i ts demise in 1921; the Communistische Gids 1922-1925 (vols. I-IV) , a m~nthly which replaced the
Nieuwe 'l'i,idj the Communistische tGids 1926-19.30 (vols. V-XI), the
of thQ breakaway '.Jijnkoop group; and the Kommunist 1924 (vol. 1),
publication of the Jond van Strijd- ewYropaganda Clubs led by
De Kadt.

AlI of these pericfdicals and newspapers are available


~

at the Internationale Instituut voor Sociale


Geschiedenis .
...
Ano/ther important source of information is the correspondence of uv. van :~aveGteyn and, to a lesser extent, tha t of G.
L,:annoury.

:3oth collections are also located in the IISG.

The

former consists largely of letters from ,Jijnkoop ta rtavesteyn,


the latter is

mo~tly

Unfortunately

iJijnl~oop's

concerned with matters of Party discipline,


personal pap<t2rs are not located at the
/

c'

Insti tuut; apparently they are\ now somewhere ,in !,;oscow.


Reports of the annual Party Congresses (Congresverslaggen)
war~

pUblished in the rribune.

They werc also published

ately in pamphlet lormj the IISG has these ta J..92 1-1-.

sep~r

A nur.lber of

pamphlets of the pcriod dealing ,vi iTh Party questions are to be


found at the Insti tuut as weIl.

'.2here are too many for aIl of

them to be listed but a few of the mo~e relevant ones should be


mentloned.

[rhe catalogue of the Instituut (published by G. 1(: ~

Hall and noted 'above)


, will contan the others",
Gorter, H., Open brief aan partijgenoot Lenin, Amsterdam, 1921.
Gorter' s latter to Lenin attacking tM feasibili ty of a
Russian style revolution in Europe.,
- - - - - , Eet opportunisme in de nederlandsche comrnunistis"che
partij, Amsterdam, 1921.
- - - - - , Toclichting tat het ontwerp-prop;ram der 10lPH, n. p.
19V Program of the Dutch ultra-leftists. ~,
i


, r

Leuven, W. van, Breed marxistische klasse-inzicht, n.p., .1920.


A historical analysis of the SDP-CPH and of its trade
union policy, coritaining shar,p cri ticism of the "radicalism" and "opportunisrn" of the Party leadership. LelJven
had sided \Ili th the R ussians and against ~Hjnl::oop at the
second Comintern Congress on the question of the admission
of the German Independents.
-

[Pannel~oe1: "

AJ

,~.'Je arh.eiders c-het parlement en het communisme,

n.p., n. ci.

AnGther"

u1tr...a~lcft

tract. - -

:Jijnkoop, J. J., De tactische stromingen in de Derde Internationale, n. p., [921J.


"

- - - - - - - - , Crisis en eenheidsfront, Amsterdam, 1922.


Speech de1ivered by ~fjnkoop in the lower house proposing
a "workers' government" with the socialists.
A f.ew Party member"S undertook to write their memoirs,
gcnera11y justifications of their respective positions in the
Party disputes.

Although they are biased, they

vide sorne import

-----

alties of

nonet~~e~s

pro-

lon and--an ins ight into the person-

th~_eriod.

(ps. i. ~oe'r'~-,-,.:'.Lor een stri 'dend


een
schets van mi . n 1even , n. p., 1970.
19 7 private
0001;: cdi tion, en1arged and_ rev.lscd by autho_r; loca ted in
II3G.) :C;ngels waf3 one of the rnclnbers ex'pelled in 1922, on
tlle suspicion of beiRC a police spy.

Enbels, J.

l~orte

l\:adt, J. de-,' Bit mi,jn cOl,lmunistenti,j d, Al,lsterdam, 1965. An


entertainin~ nd infdrm~tive account of the author's youthful invo1vement -vri th commw1sr,l.
Bias and inaccuracies are
present but do not detract fro~ the value of the book as a
who1e.
Knuttel, J. A. N., ".;)e geschiedenis van de CP';: (tot 1926)11, i.s.
A brie! historical account, rather than proper mem~irs,
written ta justify the stand taln by I:nuttel ln 1926.
In
s~venteen pages it traces the history or Party dissension
and conflicts. A copy i8 in. the possession of Dr. 1{armsen.
?"avesteyn, ~J. van, De wardin
an het communiomc in neder land,
Amsterdam, 1948. A his-wry of the SDP CPE to 1920 wi th
emphacis on the ear.Ly years. lt is a heavi1y .-g~f1~ account
coloured by~the sense of injustice felt by the author (even
in 194<?) at the hands of the opposition and Loseow in the
19208.
Still of sorne-value, however.

,
13.5
On the whole there~exist few scholarly studies op the./

communist movement in the Netherlands.

T~ere

"
prehensive study on the Party or movement.

is

a~

yet no com-

Selected aspects

tI

have been explored in articles, Qbtably by ~r. Ger Harmsen who


.~\

appears- to be
an

the"~uthority

These articles are

invaluab:;:,,,,~~~_,,e.~

Books:

on the subject.

of factual and bibliographical

inform~~ion.

'"

CorneliGsen, 1. et al:; De taaie rooie rakkers, Utrecht, 1965.


collection Ol articles on various aspects of the left
in the netherlands between the t'NO iJorld t1ars.

'

Harmsen, G., Daa Goulouze ui t het levei van een communist,


,
Utrecht, 19 '7 .. AlthQugh mainly conc,erned wi th the 1930s
P
and after, the book gi ves a valuable insight in to' the
' . .,_ ~~?fluenoc:es upon and influxes into the CPh in the ~920s. ~-"

--

l:ulst, H. van et al, Eet roode vaandel volgen wij, Den )taag, 1964.
A history of the SDAP and Dutch socialism 1880 to 1940 by
thre~ former SDAP rnembers. Somewhat of an official Party J
history with anecdotes.
Koejemans, A. J., David H,jnkoop, een mens in de stri,id voor het
so c ialisme, Amsterdam".. 1967. " Ey n contcr,J.porary of ~1ijnkoop.
..
Lore anecdo,tal thah scli'olarly but contains sorne valuable
inforllmtion.!. Also pleasant readi'pg;

aavesteyn, ~'l. van, .iEerman Corter, de dichter van Pan, J.otter..dam,


.
1928 . . ~\ study of Gorter as _poet.
Gorter V18.s' dcad by this
time.
'"

\.

aitter, P. ll., .Ji.inkoop, Baarn, n.d. A short cketch or '.Jijnkoop


by a nOfl:- communist contemporary, based on interviews.
Roland-llolst,

11.,

IierrJlan Gorter, Amsterdaw, 1933.


!)

Scheffer, i1. J", :'Jovember 1918:


~ournaal van en revolu'cie die
niet doorging, Amsterdam, 19 8. An account of the abortive
revolution in l:olland after the first Jorld :Jar. not too
relevant here as the comlnunists played only a minor rol~ in _
the cour::Je of events but still of sorfle value.
...
Article s:
..
Il r<
li:

d'le h t b i J' h u l Sil, J.. nIa t J.S vOT.1nUnlsnle,


l.ar msen, ,u.,
Vorj~lunJ,Pme
Amersfort, Il.96 il, Ser es II, no. VII.
T

'.

'"1

'

1)6
lIarfl~sen, G., "Dr. J. A. N. Knuttel, neerlandicus cn cornmunist

(1978-1965)", ms.

in possession of author.

, Een ex-communist schrijft zijn memoires, Jacques


van zwar-t-wi t tot wi t- zwart", article in Nieuwe
IZo terdamse Courant in possession ~of authqr; undated.
Corn ents and corrections on ~e Kadt's me~Qir.

---d~e--:l~~a~dt

- - - - - - , Gebrt3k aan visie en verstarring kenmerken de


'jubilerende' CPr~", ~Jieuwe 110tterdamse Courant w eli ks
bijvoegsel), 29 ,-.l,arch 19 9, pp. 1 and , 7.
- - - - - - - - , "Geschiedenis en geschiedsdhrijvi'hg van het nede-rlandse c.ommLmlsme"" ms. in possession of author.
- - - - - - , "}:oe groot is De Groot?", De Gids, 1966, pp. 1)7150.
- - - - - - , "J:r. A. S. de Leeuw, communistische pol~ticus
tussen de were1door1ogen", :,ededeelingenblad, no. 26 (April
1964), pp. 5-27.
0

"

"

- - - - - - - - , "Neder1and, de CPIJ en de Sowjetunie - zigzag de


oorlog in ll , Bericht van de Tweede 'J1ere1d Oor1og, no. 21,
section 2, pp. 573-575.
o

- - - - - - , ''l'Iederlanders en de boljewistische retrolutie",


A1g1meen Hande1sblad (Suppl~lent), 10 June 1967, pp. 1) and
15.
- - - - - - , ""'oorspe;J,., ontstaan en verloop van het schisma in
het nederlandse co<mmtmism'e; de gecchiedenis van d. CPE-CC
(de :r]ijnkoop-partij) 1926-1930"/, Lededeelingenb1ad, no."
29 o (August 1966), pp. 3-3E.3.
!I, /
(
o

:'Jelcter, J. L., ":)e verhouding tus sen de vakbewegint; en socia1istische 'partij in l:eder land (190J-191)) "" . ededee1ingenblad, no., 38 (Decewber 1970), pp. J-22.
The 'l'rade 1ion :;J.uestion - the HAS

A leit

motiv in al1 the Party conflicts of the 1920s, the

question of trade union policy was inextricably bound

~p

with

the re1ationship between the :PE and the nnarcho-syndica1ist

:'lAS.
)

At;ain a ,corprehensive,
scholarly study of the
.

~~AS,

of its

-r

relationship vii th the , CP1: or of Cpr. trade union po1icy is lacking.

\velckcr, in the 'article

clt"d

above, deals wi,th the :MS to

131

"

some ex~ent but only t~I-1~i.3.

Sources used. other ;than material

from the Dutch Coromun~st fart y an~ the Comintern (see above) were
".

largely the

fur-yearl~ reports" of the NAS, ~ issues of the

NA3 paper, the Arbeid, and pamph'lts, aIl available in the IISG.

.,

..r

Reports:,

~__

.
in Nederland

iaat in Nederland .
en le kwartal 1 28.
Pamphlets:
Jouwman, E., i2.e zevenjarige oorlog tegen de CP}[ om de u1 tbouw
van het NA3, n.p.,"'rt.d. Probably around 1927.

Books:
Bella, S. de la, De ne'derl'andsche vakbewegin'g ~ de- vakvereeni.;ingsinternationale, n. p., 1932.
"-

-r

Perthus, L., ed., Voor- vri.iheid 'en socialisme, Hotterdam, 1953.


About [lnd in COmTt1er.lora tion of 3nee~iet who Y/as shot, by ,the l~az is.
'
:1uter, A. J. C., .:)e opoor\Jegi:3ta~nGen van 190), Lciden, 1935.
i'lot directly,relevant but 12portant for, an understanding of
-.,;;-l>- the Dutch labour raovement.
..
,)
':-j ;,
A grcat deal still rerains to be done in writing the history
of the Comnunist- Party of }Iol1and (or the i'\ether1ands, as it
becar,le l\:noNn in -the 19308), section of the Gornmunist International.
,i,any more pOGsible 'sources need to. be exp10red for information.

The above will hopefully provide a beginning .

'