Communist Unity Movement of the Netherlands (Marxist–Leninist)


Communist Unity Movement of the Netherlands (Marxist–Leninist)
Kenml.jpg

Communist Unity Movement of the Netherlands (marxist-leninist) (in Dutch: Kommunistiese Eenheidsbeweging Nederland (marxisties-leninisties)) was a communist organization in the Netherlands.

The organization started as a pro-China leftist fraction within the Communist Party of the Netherlands in 1964. It that time it called itself Marxist-Leninist Centre (Marxistisch-Leninistisch Centrum), and it was based in the Section 33 in Blijdorp, Rotterdam. Leading figures (in an organization of only a handful of members) were Nico Schrevel and Daan Monjé. MLC started publishing the magazine Spartacus. Before the 21st CPN party congress MLC published the appeal 'For the Unity of the Communist Movement'. In the end of 1964 the CPN leadership expelled Schrevel and Monjé.

At this time MLC was one of two pro-Chinese factions expelled from the CPN. The other was assembled around the periodical Rode Vlag. Plans of a merger were however stalled, as the Rode Vlag-group maintained that it was still possible to convert CPN into a revolutionary party.

In March 1965 MLC changed its name to the Marxist-Leninist Centre of the Netherlands (Marxistisch Leninistisch Centrum Nederland). The name of Spartacus was changed to Rode Tribune, possibly since the name Spartacus was seen to have Trotskyist connotations. By this time the group had attracted a few more members, including some individuals from northern Holland. One of the new recruits was Pieter Boevé, an BVD agent. Boevé became the international secretary of MLCN. His double play was however discovered, and he was expelled. Later he set up his own League of Marxist-Leninists in the Netherlands.

In 1966 MLCN launched a youth wing, the Young Communist League. It didn't last however.

In January 1970 the name of MLCN was changed to KEN(ml). By this time the organization had grown, and started attracting radical students. Many of the people who joined KEN(ml) came from the Pacifist Socialist Party and its youth wing. Membership estimates vary from 200 to 300. KEN(ml) formed a youth wing, Marxist-Leninist Youth, and a students wing, Marxist-Leninist Students League. Nico Schrevel was the national political secretary of KEN(ml).

KEN(ml) also organized its own National Vietnam Committee (Landelijk Vietnam Komitee). Other KEN(ml) fronts were the League of Tenants and House-seekers (Bond van Huurders en Woningzoekenden, BHW) and Workers Power (Arbeidersmacht). KEN(ml) played a somewhat important role during the 1970 Rotterdam port strike through Arbeidersmacht, even though the KEN(ml) membership only had very few workers.

In the summer of 1971, the Red Youth branches of Nijmegen and Rotterdam crossed over to KEN(ml).

During the fall of 1971 KEN(ml) was riddled by internal strife. An issue dividing the organization was the role of intellectuals in the class struggle. The majority led by Monjé supported the line that the working class had to be the supreme force in the revolutionary struggle. They raised the slogan "From where will the correct ideas come? From practice or the study chamber?". The other group was centered around students at the Ekonomische Hogeschool in Tilburg. Their leader was Kees de Boer. In October the majority of the membership left to form the Communist Party of the Netherlands (marxist-leninist) (KPN(ml)) with Monjé as their leader. KPN(ml) took with them BHW and Arbeidersmacht.

Tilburg students now moved to Rotterdam to reconstruct the organization. This would bring yet more dissent. The dominance of the Tilburg students provoked a section to leave KEN(ml) in March 1972 and form the Marxist-Leninist Rotterdam Group. Similarly, a group of KEN(ml) cadres from Brabant who refused to move to the Rotterdam area on the orders of the KEN(ml) leadership broke away in August. They formed the Communist Circle of Breda (marxist-leninist). Veterans of the organization based in Rotterdam, Nico Schrevel and Gerrit Sterkman, also left the movement. By this time De Boer was the leader of KEN(ml).

After these events the remnants of KEN(ml) took a yet more sectarian turn. The cadres were directed to live in communes, were all aspects of daily life was under the control of the organization. Many members were expelled, accused of bourgeois deviations. In 1977 the different groups of expellees regrouped as the Group of Marxist-Leninists/Red Dawn.

In 1977 KEN(ml) registered itself for the parliamentary elections. One of the issues raised by KEN(ml) in the electoral campaign was a discourse in support of unity of independent Western European countries against the imperialism of the two Superpowers. In the end KEN(ml) got 2722 votes.

One the same line of opposing the hegemony of two superpowers, KEN(ml) had organized a front organization called 'Movement for Freedom and Independence' (Beweging voor Vrijheid en Onafhankelijkheid), which saw NATO as a necessary instrument to defend Western Europe.

KEN(ml) disbanded around 1985.

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