The Dutch Left, 1914-1920, 2nd part: The Dutch Left and the Russian Revolution

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The previous chapter on the history Dutch Left which appeared in IR 48, dealt with the passing of the SDAP, led by Troelstra, into the camp of the bourgeoisie when it voted for war credits in 1914; and with the splits in this party, the regroupment of revolution­ary minorities, essentially the ‘Tribunist' current around the SDP, created in 1909. But, the SDP leadership took a closed, sectarian attitude towards the Zimmerwald conference against the war in 1915. The chapter published in this issue shows how this position led to the abandonment of internationalism and the adoption of a pro-Entente position during the war. It examines the revolutionary attitudes and positions taken up by Gorter and others towards the Russian revolution and against the opportunist concessions of the SDP. The fact that the reaction by Gorter and Pannekoek was dispersed, that it began as a simple opposition, weighed heavily on the later evolution of the SDP, when it was transformed into a Communist Party in November 1918.


Development of the SDP: between revolution and opportunism

Despite the politics of the SDP leadership, Zimmerwald had a considerable echo in the working class in Holland, as it had in the belligerent countries. Roland-Holst carried out a lot of propaganda in the big towns. There was such a response from the workers that even the SDAP, under pressure from oppositional elements, published the Zimmerw­ald Manifesto in its daily, Het Volk.

Finally, in 1916, under the pressure of the workers and of the RSV - which it didn't want to have the sole reputation for carrying out revolutionary activity - the SDP reluct­antly adhered to the international socialist commission created at Zimmerwald[1]. There were several reasons for the SDP's change in attitude and its rapprochement with the RSV.

In the first place, Roland-Holt's RSV had moved much closer towards the ‘Tribunists'. It had even given tangible evidence of this leftward evolution: the members of the RSV who had still been in the SDAP left it in January 1916; in response to this party's explicit condemnation of the Zimmerwald movement at its congress, the small minority hostile to the 2nd International then turned to the SDP, Roland-Holst then argued that fusion with the ‘Tribunist' party was on the agenda. After this departure, there were no further splits in the SDAP except for the one that took place on its left in February 1917.

In the second place, and despite the comings and goings of its leadership, the SDP was gaining a growing sympathy in the working class. It had developed its propaganda to a considerable degree, against the war, the three year military service, unemployment and ration­ing. It was particularly active amongst the unemployed and the committees they had thrown up. Politically the party disposed of theoret­ical instruments which made it appears as the only serious Marxist party in Holland. The theoretical journal De Nieuwe Tijd (Modern Times), which had belonged to neither the SDAP nor the SDP but which since the 1909 split had published contributions from marxist theoret­icians belonging to both parties, now passed entirely into the hands of the revolutionary marxist current. The departure of Wilsaut and Van der Goes from the editorial board put an end to the presence of the opportunist and revisionist current within the only theoretical organ in Dutch.

It's notable that Roland-Holst was associated to Gorter and Pannekoek in order to ensure the editing of the review, which became an organ of combat "for socialism, for the liberation of humanity from capitalism."

In the third place, through the person of Pannekoek, the SDP got more and more involved in trying to gather together the revolutionary forces who were clearly against the war and for the revolution. From 1915, Pannekoek collabor­ated regularly with the German international­ist currents: Borchardt's ‘Lichtslrahlen' group in Berlin, then the ‘Arbeiterpolitik' group in Bremen, which began publishing its review in 1916 after leaving the SDP. In continuous contact with the German internationalists, Pannekoek was quite naturally put in charge - with Roland-Holst's collaboration - of editing the review Vorbote in January 1916. This review, edited in Switzerland, was the organ of the Zimmerwald left[2], hostile to the centrism of the pacifist current at Zimmerwald. It resolute­ly situated itself on the terrain of "the future 3rd International."

All this showed a positive evolution in the SDP and the Roland-Holst group. After a period of fluctuation, the ‘Tribunist' party was taking up its international responsibilities. Roland-Holst, having been with the Zimmerwald centre. Trotsky in particular, had moved left.

The existence of two separate revolutionary groups in Holland no longer made any sense. It was time to regroup. On 16 February 1916, the SDP leadership expressed the hope for a fusion with the RSV. On 26 March, the latter's general assembly pronounced itself in favor of regroupment. Only the sections of The Hague and Rotterdam showed any great confusion, in that they only wanted to accept the fusion if syndicalist elements could also be integrated. These hesitations showed that, as with the SDP, there was still not a clear demarcation between the marxist and the revolutionary syndicalist currents.

Nevertheless, the fusion took place. The SDP, which gained 200 members, was now a party 700 strong. This growth, after a long period of numerical stagnation, allowed the party to put out a daily paper, De Tribune. The SDP also underwent a qualitative development. On 21 June, for the first time in its history, it was able to lead successfully a workers' demon­stration in Amsterdam against hunger and the war. The ‘sect' had really become a workers' party with a capacity to influence the action of broad layers of the proletariat.                                                                       

It is clear that the development of the marxist current in Holland in 1916 was the fruit of the whole reawakening of the inter­national proletariat after a year and a half of slaughter on the battlefields. 1916 was the turning point, prefiguring the revolution­ary upheaval in Russia in 1917. The resurgence of class struggle, after months of torpor and stupor, broke through the Union Sacree, In Germany there were the first political strikes against the war, after the arrest of Karl Liebknecht.

Although Holland was ‘neutral', it saw the same resurgence of workers' struggles. The beginning of an international wave of strikes and demonstrations against the effects of the war was also a reality in ‘little Holland'. In May and June in Amsterdam there were spont­aneous demonstrations by women against rationing. Committees of working class women were constit­uted in Amsterdam and other towns. There was a permanent state of agitation, taking the form of assemblies and demonstrations of working class men and women. These movements were extended into strikes throughout the country in July. These phenomena of profound discontent were undoubtedly pre-revolutionary. The situation in Holland had never been so favorable for the revolutionary current.

However, the SDP leadership would increasingly reveal an ambiguous and even opportunist attitude. Not on the level of the struggle for immediate demands, where the party was very active, but on the level of the political struggle.

First of all, the SDP tirelessly maintained its policy of a front with syndicalist and anarchist type organizations. The old cartel of organizations, the SAV, was dismantled on 25 February[3]. It was replaced in April 1916 by a ‘Revolutionary Socialist Committee' against the war and its consequences. The SDP, with Wijnkoop and Louis de Visser - both future leaders of the Stalinized CP in Holland - were de facto at the head of this cartel of organizations. Although the RSC was very active in the struggle against poverty and war, it appeared in fact as a general staff of struggles, substituting itself for their spontaneity. It was neither a workers' council - the revolution being absent - nor a central strike committee, which by its nature is temporary and linked to the extent of the struggle. It was a hybrid political organism, which far from bringing clarity about the objectives of the class struggle was a very confused compromise between different political currents within the workers movement.

With the RSC were the anarchist groupings which had already worked with the SDP. The most revolutionary of these was incontestably the Nieuwenhuis group. This group - ‘Social Anarchist Action' - was, though in a confused way, definitely a revolutionary group, above all because of the intransigent personality of Nieuwenhuis. This certainly wasn't the case with other groupings, who included the ‘Bond van Christen-Socialiston' whose political coloring was Christian-pacifist and parliamentarist; and the ‘Vrije Meuschen Verbon' (League of Free Men) who were inspired by Tolstoy. When the Nieuwenhuis group (and also the IAMV) left this cartel at the end of 1916, these were the only groups left, though they were soon joined in February 1917 by the small Socialist Party, a split of 200 people from the SDAP, and mainly a trade unionist and parliamentarist group.

This conglomerate of pacifist organizations, most of them alien to revolutionary marxism, had the effect of dragging the SDP leadership more and more into an opportunist practice. By allying itself with the ‘Christian Socialists' and the SP, the SDP was to fall rapidly into parliamentary adventurism and the kind of unprincipled politics it had formerly denounced in Troelstra. In 1917, in response to an increasingly tense social situation, the Dutch bourgeoisie installed universal suffrage. The SDP formed an electoral cartel with the two organizations. In relation to the pre-war situation, it marked some clear successes: 17,000 voters as opposed to 1,340 in 1913. This result certainly reflected a growing disaffection among the workers towards the SDAP. Nevertheless it was the beginning of a policy which within a year had become overtly parliamentarist. It was in reaction to this process that the anti-parliamentarism of the Dutch communist left was to develop.

But the opposition within the party didn't crystallize straight away around anti-parliam­entarism. It began in 1916 in response to the foreign policy of the Wijnkoop leadership. A powerful opposition to this policy grew up in the Amsterdam and Hague sections around Barend Luteraan, a member of the leadership, and Sieuwertsz van Reesema.

In effect, first Ravesteijn, then Wijnkoop, but also the majority of the SDP - which was more serious - had more and more adopted an orientation favorable to the Entente. This had already been expressed, though in an indirect way, in September 1914, through the pen of Ravesteijn. The latter affirmed that the defeat of Germany would be the most favor­able condition for the outbreak of revolution in Holland. It was certainly not new in the marxist camp - and this was to be repeated during the Second World War - to envisage what would be the epicenter of the coming revolut­ionary earthquake. Pannekoek responded in De Tribune, to put an end to this purely theoretical question: even if Germany was more devel­oped economically than Britain, it was a matter of indifference for marxists which of the two imperialist camps would gain the final victory: violent oppression by one camp and the more disguised forms of democratic deception were both unfavorable to the workers' movement. It was exactly the same response that the Italian and Dutch communist lefts made during the Second World War to currents like anarchism and Trotskyism.            

The discussion remained there. Ravestejn was clearly developing pro-Entente positions. But he was still isolated in the party; Wijnkoop himself, the SDP president, still had the same position as Pannekoek and Gorter. During the course of 1916, all this began to change. Wijnkoop suddenly ranged himself alongside Ravestejn, by saying that the main priority was the struggle against German militarism under the pretext - which was in any case false - that the Dutch bourgeoisie as a whole stood behind Germany. During the course of the year 1917, he began to use the same arguments as the social-chauvinists in the Entente countries. In an article approved by the editorial board of De Tribune - which showed that there was a real danger of opportunist gangrene in the SDP - Wijnkoop depicted Germany as the ‘feudal' rampart of reaction in Europe, carrying out the pillage and murder of conquered peoples; France, on the other hand, the heir of the Great Revolution, and a developed country like Britain would be incapable of such acts. This position was a clear abandonment of the internationalist principles of the SDP; it left the way open to a situation in which, if Holland's neutrality was violated by Germany, the SDP leadership wouldn't call for a struggle against both imperialist camps but would support the Entente.

This position, which marked a turning point in history of the SDP, gave rise to violent protests within the party. An opposition led by Barend Luteraan and Van Reesema launched a struggle against the editorial committee, which had allowed conceptions to be published in De Tribune which were totally foreign to the revolutionary essence of the party. This had been made easier by the fact that Gorter, ill and depressed[4] had in 1916 withdrawn from the editorial committee and momentarily found it impossible to participate in the activities of the party.

In order to defuse the opposition, Wijnkoop's leadership used a weapon which it would use more and more against its adversaries on the left: calumny. It claimed that the oppositionists, including Pannekoek and Gorter, were in fact partisans of Germany. Ravestejn wasn't the last to put this story around.

The opposition in reality took up the analysis that Gorter had made in 1914 in his pamphlet on imperialism and which had been officially accepted by the SDP as the basis for its propaganda. It clearly showed the need to fight against all the imperialist camps:

"It's not a question of fighting specially against German imperialism. All imperialisms are equally harmful for the proletariat." (article by Van Reesema in De Tribune, 21 May, 1917).

Unfortunately - and this was a disquieting sign for the party as a whole - the opposit­ion found itself isolated, devoid of support. Gorter was still hesitating about committing himself to the fight. Pannekoek and Roland-Holst were more involved in international activity than in SDP work. This was a sign of organizational weakness which at the time was a constant feature of marxist leaders of an international stature; and it was to have its consequences in 1917 and 1918.

The situation in 1917, particularly the Russian revolution and its repercussions in Holland, further accentuated the cleavages in the SDP.

1917: The SDP and the Revolution

The Russian revolution of 1917 was not a surprise for revolutionaries like Gorter, who was convinced that the war would give birth to the revolution. In a letter to Wijnkoop in March 1916, Gorter showed an unshakeable confidence in the revolutionary action of the international proletariat: "I am awaiting very big movements after the war."

However, the long-awaited revolutionary events came in the middle of the war. The Russian revolution had an enormous echo in Holland. It showed quite clearly that the proletarian revolution was also on the agenda in Western Europe; that what was happening was not a "Russian" phenomenon but an international wave of revolutionary struggles. From this point of view, the year 1917 was a decisive one for the evolution of the SDP, now confronted with the first signs of the international revolution, with the mass action which it had been calling for since the beginning of the war.

a) First pre-revolutionary signs in Holland

The year 1917 opened a new period of agitation against war, hunger, unemployment. In February, while the revolution was breaking out in Russia, the workers of Amsterdam demonstrated violently against the absence of foodstuffs and the policies of the municipal authorities.

The demonstrations rapidly took a political turn; not only were they directed against the government but also against social democracy. The latter had several elected ‘sheriffs' in the Amsterdam municipality. Wibaut, one of the leaders of the SDAP, had actually been president of the city's provisions committee since December1916. As such, the workers held him responsible for the food shortages.                                    

But Wibaut and Vliegen - another SDAP bigwig, elected to the town hall - called in the army on 10 February to ‘reestablish order' after the looting of the bakeries.                      

This was the first concrete manifestation of the SDAP's commitment to standing alongside the bourgeoisie to repress any reaction by the workers. The SDAP's solidarity with the established order was demonstrated even more clearly in July, during the course of a week which would go down in history as the ‘bloody week'. Following women's demonstrations against shortages and the pillaging of shops, the municipality, with the support of all the social democratic sheriffs, banned all demonstrations. The proletariat reacted straight away: a 24-hour strike called by the RSC was followed by a massive strike by 20,000 workers in Amsterdam. The movement spread rapidly to the majority of big towns in Holland. But in Amsterdam and other towns the troops and the police fired on the workers. For the first time since the beginning of the war, workers fell to the bullets of the bourgeoisie's forces'.

In Amsterdam, Vliegen and above all Wibaut[5] had a heavy responsibility for this bloody repression. Wibaut didn't hesitate to contrast the unemployed and the demonstrators, which he saw as no more than "debauched youth", with "the modern workers' movement" organized in the unions and the SDAP. In an article in Het Volk he even justified the repression, which, according to him, had been "limited". He also called for "other means to ensure order". Such language, which was not disavowed by the SDAP leadership, was the language of the ruling class. Thus, even thought the SDAP officially hesitated to give total support to Wibaut[6], the Dutch social democracy had initiated a policy which was more fully developed in Germany in 1919 by Noske and Scheidemann. On a small scale, Troelstra's party opened the way to open collaboration with the bourgeoisie against the revolutionary movement.

The ‘bloody week' made much clearer the demarcation between the revolutionary SDP and the SDAP, which had become a traitor to the working class. The SDP could thus call on the workers "to break openly from the traitors to the working class, the modern Judases, the valets of capital - the leadership of the SDAP and the NVV." (De Tribune, 23 July, 1917).                                                                                                          

These events in Holland were undeniably connected to the Russian revolution, which not only encouraged demonstrations and strikes in the proletariat, but also agitation in the army. Thus, although the phenomenon was limited, after October 1917 soldiers' councils were formed in some localities, while a whole movement was developing against military discipline.

The SDP drew real benefit from the situation. By participating fully in the strikes and demonstrations, by being subjected to the repression - a number of its militants were in prison - the SDP appeared as a real revolutionary party; not a party of the sectarian ‘phase' but a militant, active organization.

This activity contrasted sharply with the SDP's ambiguities in its foreign policy, vis-a-vis the Entente and above all the Russian revolution. It was as though the development of the party was pushing it - with its concern to hold on to its new found ‘popularity' in the workers' milieu - to make opportunist concessions to reinforce the influence it had acquired on the electoral terrain in 1917.

b) The SDP leadership and the Russian Revolution

The party which, at the beginning of the war Lenin had considered to be, along with the Bolshevik party, the most revolutionary and the most able to work towards the constitution of the new International, was to find itself singularly distant from the Bolsheviks in 1917.

This was true at least for the majority of the party, the leadership of which was totally dominated by the Wijnkoop-Ravestejn-Ceton trio. The minority, after the departure of Gorter and the elimination of Luteraan from the SDP leadership, found itself isolated. It was the minority which - with the moral authority of Gorter and Pannekoek - waged the most resolute struggle to support Bolshevism and defend the proletarian character of the Russian revolution. This attitude was in any case a common feature of all the lefts which formed themselves either as an opposition or as a fraction within the different Socialist parties.

The majority's distrust towards the Bolsheviks derived directly from its pro-Entente positions. In the first place it was expressed when the Bolshevik leaders went across Germany to get back to Russia. This journey was disapproved of by De Tribune who saw it as a compromise with Germany.

In fact, this distrust was a poor cover for a support for the policies of Kerensky who in July 1917 began a military offensive against Germany. To justify this policy, van Ravesteijn ‑ in De Tribune - didn't hesitate to compare Kerensky's Russia with Revolutionary France in 1792. Ideologically Ravestejn's position, and also Wijnkoop's, was identical to that of the Mensheviks: it was a question of realizing the bourgeois revolution and of exporting it militarily in order to crush the ‘feudal and reactionary' German Empire.

This implicit support to the Kerensky government provoked a violent reaction from the opposition. The latter, through the pen of Pannekoek and Gorter, placed itself resolutely on the side of the Bolsheviks, denouncing both Russian bourgeois democracy and the conception of a bourgeois revolution comparable to 1792 in France. For Pannekoek, this was not a ‘bourgeois' revolution on the march, but the counter-revolutionary politics of imperialism. His standpoint was identical to that of the Bolsheviks in 1917:

"Any war ... waged with the bourgeoisie against another state is a weakening of the class struggle, and consequently treason and forfeit against the cause of the proletariat."  (De Nieuwe Tijd, 1917, p.444-445).

The wanderings of the SDP leadership stopped there. When the seizure of power by the councils was known about in November, it was greeted enthusiastically by De Tribune.

But the minority around Gorter, Pannekoek and Luteraan expressed doubts about the leadership's sudden revolutionary enthusiasm. By refusing once again to participate in the third (and last) conference of the Zimmerwald movement in Stockholm in September[7], it showed that it wasn't prepared to commit itself to the building of the 3rd Internation­al. The verbal radicalism used to condemn ‘opportunism' did not really conceal the narrowly national policies of the Wijnkoop leadership. Its internationalism was purely verbal and most often determined by the prevailing atmosphere.

It isn't surprising that, when the debates over Brest Litovsk came to light, on the quest­ion of peace or revolutionary war, the leader­ship announced itself as the champion of revolutionary war at any price. In Russia, Bukharin and Trotsky had been partisans of the revolutionary war in order, as they saw it, to accelerate the expansion of the proletarian revolution in Europe. There was no ambiguity with them: ‘revolutionary war' wasn't a war against Germany within the plans of the Entente; it was a question of breaking the encirclement of revolutionary Russia to extend the revolution not only to Germany but to the whole of Europe, including the Entente countries.

Contrary to all expectations, Gorter - for exactly the same reasons as the Russian left communists - stood alongside the SDP leadership in supporting Trotsky's and Bukharin's pos­ition. Gorter made a vigorous attack on Pannak­oek, who entirely supported Lenin's position for a rapid peace with Germany.

Pannekoek started from the obvious fact that "Russia can't fight any more." In no way could the revolution be exported by military force; its ‘strong side' resided in the outbreak of class struggles in other countries: "Force of arms is the weak side of the proletariat." (De Tribune, 5 December 1917).

Gorter was completely mistaken. For several months he left aside any criticism of the SDP leadership. He thought that Pannakoek's position was a version of the pacifism he had combated in 1915, a negation of the arming of the proletariat. According to him, a revolutionary war had to be fought against the German Empire, because from now on "force of arms was the strong point of the proletariat." (De Tribune, 12 January 1918).

However, Gorter began to change his position. Since the summer of 1917 he had been in Switzer­land, officially for reasons of health. In fact he wanted to get away from the Dutch party and work in collaboration with Russian and Swiss revolutionaries. Through his contact with Platten and Berzin - both ‘Zimmerwaldians' and Lenin's collaborators - he got in touch with Russian revolutionaries. An intensive correspondence began with Lenin. He was convinced of the correctness of Lenin's position on peace with Germany. And it was he who undertook to trans­late into Dutch the Theses on "the unfortunate peace."

Gorter was now free to fight alongside Pannekoek against the SDP leadership, and to support without reservation the revolutionary character of Russia and the internationalism of the Bolsheviks.

c) The Russian revolution and the World Revolution

Contrary to a very tenacious legend, for two years the Dutch left in the SDP defended the proletarian character of the Russian revolut­ion. This was seen as the first stage of the world revolution. Gorter and the minority vigorously denounced the Menshevik idea, ex­pressed by Ravestejn, of a bourgeois revolution in Russia. Such a conception could only reinforce the position favorable to the Entente and perpetuate the imperialist war in the name of ‘revolutionary' war. When, with the degeneration of the Russian revolution and the subordination of the 3rd International to the interests of the Russian state, the left began to defend the idea of a ‘dual' revolution in Russia - part bourgeois, part proletarian - it was in a different perspective from that of Menshevism. For the left, a bourgeois revolut­ion could only mean state capitalism and counter-revolution. It was something emerging not at the beginning but at the end of the revolutionary wave.

In 1917 and 1918, Gorter and the minority were the most ardent partisans of Bolshevism. They were the real introducers and propagators of Lenin's conceptions. It was Gorter who, in 1918, took the initiative of translating State and Revolution. In a naive way, he helped to make a real personality cult of Lenin. In his 1918 pamphlet The World Revolution, the future scourge of ‘leaders' recognized Lenin as the leader of the revolution: "He is the leader of the Russian revolution, he must become leader of the world revolution."[8]

Gorter's pamphlet - which wasn't an official SDP publication - was one of his most import­ant theoretical and political contributions. It had the merit of drawing a certain number of lessons from the Russian revolution, from the point of view of its organization. Like Lenin, Gorter proclaimed that the workers' councils were the finally discovered form of revolution­ary power, a form valid not only for Russia but for all the countries of the world:

"In this organization of workers' councils, the working class of the world has found its organization, its centralization, its form  and its being." (ibid).

The localist and federalist conception of workers' councils which was subsequently devel­oped by the ‘Unionist' current around Ruhle was totally absent in the Dutch left. Neither was there any idea of a federation of proletarian states, a notion developed later in the CI under Zinoviev. The form of the world power of the proletariat would be "in the near future the central workers' council of the world." (ibid).

The proletarian revolution could only take off in the main industrialized countries, and not in a single country. It had to be a simultaneous phenomenon: "socialism has to be born simultaneously in a number of countries, in all countries or at least the main ones." Here Gorter is expressing the oft-repeated idea that Western Europe is the epicenter of the true workers' revolution, given the numerical and historical weight of the prol­etariat in relation to the peasantry: "The truly and completely proletarian revolution will have to be made in Western Europe itself." (ibid). The revolution would be a longer and more difficult process than in Russia, con­fronting a much better armed bourgeoisie; at the same time, "the proletariat of western Europe is alone as a revolutionary class." (ibid). No ‘infantile' impatience about the revolutionary course here - the reproach made later on against the communist left within the 3rd International.

It's notable that the only criticism made, indirectly, against the Bolsheviks in The World Revolution was directed against the slogan of ‘the right of peoples to self-determination'. For Gorter, this was well behind the positions of Pannekoek and Rosa Luxemburg who rejected the whole framework of the ‘nation'. Such a slogan "could only be guaranteed by socialism, it could only be intro­duced by socialism, or after its establishment." (ibid). It's true that Gorter - who was for the independence of the Dutch East Indies and thus supported the SDP's slogans on this - made an explicit distinction between the west, where only the revolution was on the agenda, and the east, where it was still necessary to demand the independence of the colonies or semi-colonies:

"In dealing with this right, it is important to distinguish western and eastern Europe, between the Asiatic states and the colonies." (ibid).

Lenin could easily show the inconsistency of Gorter's position, which appeared less as a divergence of principles than a tactical question to be examined according to geo-­historical areas[9].

In any case, this pamphlet had a consid­erable echo both in Holland and in a number of other countries where it had been trans­lated immediately.


[1] However the SDP participated neither in the Kienthal conference or the one at Stockholm. It didn't participate in any of the conferences held between 1915 and 1917.

[2] Only two issues appeared, Radek in Switzerland was effectively in charge of it.

[3] The syndicalist currents, represented by the federation of employees and sailors, were in fact afraid of the SDP's growing hold on the SAV.

[4] Gorter had lost his wife, which made him depressed. At the same time, his illness weakened him. It was impossible for him to speak at the workers' meetings. It's also certain that his return to poetry - he published his great poem Pan in 1917 - almost completely absorbed him.

[5] FM Wibaut (1859-1936) had joined the SDAP in 1897. He was a member of municipal council of Amsterdam from 1907 to 1931 and a sheriff from 1914 to 1931. Vliegen (1862-1947) had been one of the founders of the SDAP in 1894.

[6] Later, Troelstra, in his Memoirs (‘Gedenkschriften'), which came out between 1927 and 1931, cynically supported Wibaut's repressive policies of the party: "A few days later Wibaut wrote in Het Volk an article in which described this violence as inevitable, but he said that it was deplorable that a democratic municipality should have to intervene against the population in this way. In his article he expressed the urgent hope that the professionals of the police could think of a non-violent way of preventing looting. In my opinion, one cannot allow oneself to be led by such sensibilities in one's argumentation. If we social democrats have conquered an important position of strength, that is in the interests of the whole working class, and consequently this position of strength must be defended by all means, by violence if necessary." (Gendenkschriften 4, p. 72-72, Amsterdam, 1931.)

[7] Despite opposition from Lenin, who wanted to form the 3rd International immediately, in April 1917 the Bolsheviks delegated their representatives to the Stockholm conference. This is not to be confused with the conference of the parties of the 2nd International, which was to take place in the same town at the same time. In fact, it never happened, as the French social patriots refused to sit down with the German social patriots.

[8] In this pamphlet Gorter tended to idolize Lenin the individual, no longer seeing him as an expression of a party: "The strength of his mind and his soul is equal to that of Marx. If Marx surpasses him in theoretical knowledge, in dialectical strength, he surpasses Marx in his actions ... and we love him as we love Marx. As with Marx, his mind and soul immediately inspire us with love."

[9] "Gorter is against the self-determination of his country, but for that of the Dutch East Indies, oppressed by ‘his' nation!" (Lenin, ‘The Discussion on National Self-Determination Summed Up', 1916)

History of the workers' movement: 

Development of proletarian consciousness and organisation: