The SP tries as far as possible to attract support from voters, because this gives us a more powerful voice within the institutions of parliamentary democracy. We are not, however, merely an electoral union. If you want to change society for the better there is a great deal of work to be done outside as well as inside parliament and council chamber, on both the national and local level. We are active in campaigns against unaffordably high rents and unacceptably bad working conditions, and for the protection of the environment and better health care for all; against further erosion of social security and for a reasonable income for everyone; for equality of opportunity and against the growing worldwide gulf between rich and poor; against the widening social division and for a more caring society.
We are committed to giving people the opportunity at all times to discuss our political views, whether by contacting our parliamentary group in The Hague, approaching the local branch, or through other sections of our party, such as our Policy Bureau and the SP Environment Alarm Team. This team receives numerous calls alerting us to scandals great and small, and helps people to organise campaigns for a cleaner and safer environment. The SP Helpline is there for people who are having problems with their boss or landlord, the local council or tax collectors. We can often bring complainants together, finding a basis for common actions: acting together always makes you stronger. Many SP members are active in their works’ council and trade union, working with colleagues to demand safe working conditions and a decent wage.
In a society where the market is acquiring ever more power and the state and public authorities ever less, the SP stands firmly behind the principle of public ownership. Where the free market rules, the thickness of a person’s wallet determines whether he or she will have access to health care, education, cultural events, social security and transport. This kind of social divide should have no place in a civilised society. It is for this reason that we oppose the sell-off of publicly-owned enterprises, the farming out of public services and the giving up of any democratic control over the direction of our society.
Equality of opportunity for all children is one of the spearheads of our politics. In the SP, young people can work within our youth organisation ‘Red’ (‘Rood’, pronounced ‘rote’) under its slogan Active against injustice. Red pays a lot of attention to the education of its members and is active in campaigns for employment and housing for young people. Several times a year we produce the hard-hitting papers A3 and Page UP, for distribution around universities and schools for vocational education.
Older members also get the chance to make themselves heard. The SP’s ‘Platform for older people’ (Ouderenplatform) organises meetings and actions around issues of importance to older people and produces the paper ‘Older People Now’ (Ouderen Nu).
Together with people who work in health care - united in the committee ‘Health Care For All’- we are active in the campaign against the growing divide in health care provision. That health care provision could be improved, we have attempted to demonstrate in the two medical centres established and run by the SP, with salaried doctors and an emphasis on preventative medicine and early intervention to diagnose illness. Our doctors try to identify the real causes of health problems, which are often connected to working and living conditions.
The SP maintains good contacts with progressive organisations throughout the world, exchanging views and - where possible - co-operating across borders on issues such as war and peace, globalisation and the unfair division of wealth in the world. In June 2005 the SP was the backbone of the succesful ‘no’-campaign against the European Constitution in the Netherlands, in which a great majority of the Dutch people supported our objections to the development of a European superstate. In the European Parliament the SP tries to show how the drive for European unification as currently defined is above all inspired by the major multinationals and will have negative consequences for the general population. The SP took part in the international campaigns against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and combats international corporations which undermine working conditions and pollute the environment.