Andrés Nin

The Dutch Anarcho-Syndicalists Cause a Split

(9 August 1923)

From International Press Correspondence, Vol. 3 No. 55 [33], 9 August 1923, p. 592.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The Dutch “National Labor Secretariat” (N.A.S.) has been backed up by the revolutionary part of the Dutch organized proletariat for 30 years. But the organization has been unfortunate. For a number of years it has been headed by a sort of dynasty, the Lansink family, which has held the leading posts and paralysed the action of the union. The Lansink dynasty has passed the leading positions on from father to son. During recent times, Lansink père has been chairman of the N.A.S. and his son the secretary. The real leadership has been in the hands of the son. Within the N.A.S. itself, the great majority of the workers have been in sympathy with the Russian Revolution and with the R.I.L.U. But Lansink has done his best for two vears to prevent the organization from affiliating to the R.I.L.U. In 1920 he supported the organization of an anarcho-syndicalist conference in Berlin, which organization was to create a new International. In 1921 he declined to take part in the inaugural congress of the R.I.L.U., although his organization had chosen him as delegate for the purpose. He, the so-called anti-politician, proved himself in reality to be a sly and cunning “politician”, never committing himself definitely to anything. Thus in February 1922, he participated in the work done by the central council of the R.I.L.U., where he carried on the same game, without giving us any opportunity of inducing him to made any definite declaration. After this he again exerted every endeavor, in his capacity of master of the bureaucratic apparatus and of the daily paper issued by the organization in order to turn the N.A.S. aside from Moscow. But the will of the majority of the members began to make itself felt. The central council of the N.A.S declared itself to be opposed to the attempts being made by Rocker, Borghi, and their companions, to found an anarcho-syndicalist International. The central council gave instructions to the same effect to the delegates which it sent to the Berlin conference at Christmas 1922. After this the national congress resolved on affiliation with the R.I.L.U. But Lansink continued his war against Moscow, and went on inveighing against the Russian revolution and the 3rd International in the organ of the union.

A plebiscite taken among the members again resulted in a majority for affiliation to the R.I.L.U. But the executive of the R.I.L.U., aware of the schismatic intentions of Lansink and his clique, advised the N.A.S. not to affiliate either with Moscow or with Berlin, despite the results of the plebiscite, in order to preserve the unity of the organization. This has always been our attitude. We took up this position in Finland and in Norway, and shall further recommend it in all countries where affiliation to the R.I.L.U. could form an obstacle to the indispensable unity of the working class. Lansink and his family have however recognized that their positions are shaky, and have decided on a split at all costs.

Lansink convened a conference of the so-called “revolutionary, syndicalist, anti-political organizations” on June 24, in Utrecht, 21 organizations were represented at the conference, but the delegates took care to avoid making themselves ridiculous by stating the number of workers represented by these 21 organizations. In Utrecht, it was unanimously resolved that a new central be founded under the name of “Dutch Syndicalist Craft Union”, and a new periodical issued under the name of the Syndicalist. This was followed by a circular sent by the new central to all organizations, containing the following instructions: 1. Every organization has to resolve by vote on separation from the N.A.S. and affiliation to the N.S.V. (Nederlandsche Syndicalistich Vakverband). 2. In the case of organizations whose majority is in favor of Moscow, the minority must withdraw from the organization and form a new one. 3. The labor exchanges in agreement with the Berlin International must separate from the N.A.S. and enter into communication with the bureau of the N.S.V. 4. In the case of labor exchanges in winch those sympathizing with the Berlin International are in the minority, these sympathizing organizations must withdraw from the labor exchange.

Never before perhaps has a split been carried out with such deliberate cynicism. The new central has but a very insignificant number of followers, and what role can this tiny organization be expected to play in a country where there are more than half a million organized workers? This Dutch central is exactly suited to the impotent union which has its headquarters in Berlin, and which is making itself ridiculous by its assumption of the designation “International”.

The N.A.S. possesses the overwhelming majority of adherents, and has now a daily paper at its disposal which, freed from Lansink’s influence, may be hoped to accomplish good work for the cause of straightforward class warfare in Holland. This organization is following the advice given by the executive of the R.I.L.U., and is maintaining neutral attitude towards the Internationals, whilst championing the cause of labor unity in Holland. This attitude is the best which can be taken in the interest of the Dutch proletariat.

Last updated on 29 April 2023