GreenLeft (GL)

GreenLeft (GL). Starting from the 1960s, the PvdA saw some competition on its left flank from a series of ‘small left’ parties. These parties embraced the new ideological currents of the New Left. The Pacifist Socialist Party, for instance, was highly motivated by pacificism, as its name suggests, and its infamous 1971 election poster featured a naked woman in a field with a cow and the slogan ‘disarming’.

The second member of the small left was the Political Party of Radicals, originally founded as a left-wing splinter from the ARP and KVP. It moved from a Christian left ideology into a more green set of views with time.

The Communist Party of the Netherlands had destalinised, and began to emphasize feminism and gay rights in its programme.

The final member of the ‘small left’ was the Evangelical People’s Party, another Christian left party which had split from the CDA.

These four parties eventually came together and merged into GreenLeft in 1991. GL’s name was meant to indicate that Green issues and Left-wing issues were one and the same and the party’s logo shows the word ‘Groen’ in red and ‘Links’ in green.

GL brought together a fairly radical group of left-libertarian sorts, with some members of the party initially advocating anarchism, but the party won credibility due to its credible opposition to the Purple governments from the left.

From 2002 to 2010 the party was led by Femke Halsema, who took the party down a more left-liberal course, moderating the party ideologically and adopting intellectual positions on the economy, aiming for a welfare state which ‘liberated’ people and so on.

Halsema was a popular leader, and her positioning of the party was meant to compete with the seemingly dying D66 and make the party ready for coalition. The party maintained some strength under Halsema but never reached government, however.

Halsema was replaced by Jolande Sap at the end of her term in office, Sap turned out to be a pretty poor leader, and it became increasingly clear that the party lacked a clear position in the Dutch party system, as it was surpassed on its left by the Socialists and D66 rebounded. The Party for the Animals also attracts significant support from people who’d otherwise support GreenLeft. The decision to support sending Dutch troops to the Afghan province of Kunduz was a disastrous one as it was totally unpopular with GL’s pacifist base. The party also supported the minority VVD/CDA government’s austerity budget in 2012, after Wilders refused to support it. After GL 6 of its 10 seats in 2012 Sap was made to step down. The party continues to languish in polls however.

GreenLeft’s positions are fairly typical green stuff. Environmentalism, pacifism, feminism (the party is one of the few Dutch parliamentary parties to have been led by a woman) and multiculturalism all loom large in its ideology. The party has come to be seen as arrogant and for the cultural elite. Its base is amongst the liberal professions and students.

The party, like most Green parties, was originally rather Eurosceptic, but now represents a rather pro-European view.

GreenLeft looks like it will lucky to save a second seat in the European parliament election right now.

Like most members of the European Green Party it is very loyal to the Greens/EFA group, voting with its group 98.7% of the time. It is the seventh most loyal party in the group.