BIJ1 stands for a society that respects and appreciates our differences and focuses on what binds us together. There is no place for any form of racism, not for anti-black racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Asian racism, Nazism, hatred towards Muslims or hatred of the Roma and Sinti communities. This also means recognising specific forms of racism, including and especially when they overlap with other identities that are marginalised.
The Netherlands has a long history of human trafficking, slavery, colonialism and exploitation for its own economic prosperity. This is accompanied by a self-image of superiority and innocence. We cannot close the chapters of this false identity and this period of injustice if we are not prepared to apologise and take action to rectify any inequalities that resulted from it. Together we must protect and uphold the values of freedom and democracy. Only then will we be able to build a fair society that is safe for all. That is why we must fight together against racism and in favour of decolonisation.
Whereas current politics all too often assume that racism in the Netherlands does not actually exist and is only about single instances, BIJ1 wants the government to recognise that racism and colonialism have played an important and not to be underestimated role in shaping our society.
This racist and colonial formation still continues today. The lack of legal redress and the refusal to tackle racism as an institutional problem are perpetuating inequalities in various areas. From under-representation in secondary school for children of colour, to racism in healthcare. From legislation harming the self-determination of Muslim women, to the way in which our legal system is organised. From racism in the police, to discrimination within the labour market. From racism in the workplace, to algorithms that draw wrong conclusions based on biased data.
And also from dealing with other countries in an international context, to the lack of urgency to fight the climate crisis, which hits the countries that contribute least to climate change the hardest. The capitalist system of (international) inequality, exploitation and oppression still uses racism and a normalised colonial idea. Hence the fight against racism and for decolonisation goes hand in hand with the anti-imperialist fight.
The fight against racism, colonialism and other forms of inequality and oppression is a core value of BIJ1 and must take place at all levels. The following points are the first practical steps we can take against racism and in favour of decolonisation.
Racism is not an afterthought
- Tackling racism in all facets of our society will become a top priority. We will install a Ministry of Equality which will be active in the fight against racism and other forms of inequality.
- There will be wide-ranging independent research into racism within public authorities at all levels: from municipalities to ministries, from the tax authorities to the police.
- The registration of ethnicity by government bodies should only take place after a thorough assessment of the usefulness of such registration
- We are going to improve compliance with Article 1 of our Constitution. There will be better enforcement on the design and implementation of racist policies and expressions.
- We will ban and dissolve organisations where racist ideas are exchanged.
Tackling racist violence
- More attention should be paid to tackling racist terrorism. Racist attacks, including attacks on synagogues and mosques, should be fiercely combated by de-radicalisation and educational measures. Further radicalisation in prisons must be prevented.
- Reports of racist violence should be taken more seriously. A safe society for all will become a top priority. In addition, nationality is added as a ground for discrimination to Article 137 of the Penal Code.
- Legal definitions of racism, anti-black racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Asian racism, Muslim hatred and hatred of the Roma and Sinti will be introduced. These are explicitly included in anti-discrimination legislation and relate to the structural nature of these forms of oppression.
- Blackfacing, such as black Pete, will be banned in public spaces.
- Racist police violence and ethnic profiling should be prevented and dealt with.
Excuses and restoration of rights
- The government will provide an official apology for our history of slavery and colonial occupation. In doing so, the Netherlands recognises the Indonesian independence date of 17 August 1945. The Netherlands bears all (legal and financial) consequences arising from that apology and recognition.
- There will be full restoration of rights for the community of Indonesia. No expense or effort will be spared.
- There will be extensive and independent research into the appropriation of capital and property from former colonies and from Jews in the Second World War, the value of stolen labour from enslaved people and contract workers, and the money that Indonesia paid in exchange for the transfer of sovereignty. The Netherlands is unconditionally committed to recuperation.
- Keti Koti becomes a bank holiday. Commemorating the suffering of slavery and celebrating its end will become a part of Dutch culture.
- Colonial street names will be provided with explanation or will be removed. Images of colonial figures and the Golden Coach are given a new purpose in museums. The vacant place in public space, for example, will be filled by statues of heroes of anti-colonial resistance. Artists and experts with roots in the former colonies, as well as local residents, will have a decisive say in this matter.
No place for nazism and hatred
- We will install national programmes to tackle anti-Semitism, anti-black racism and discrimination towards Muslims. These programmes will include an independent hotline. From now on, reports of anti-Jewish, anti-black and anti-Muslim violence will be discussed by local, regional and national safety departments.
- We will draw up a fair definition of anti-Semitism so that Nazi ideas and conspiracy theories about the ‘degenerate Jewish race’, ‘rich Jews’, a ‘global Jewish conspiracy’ and ‘cultural Marxism’ can be adequately addressed. The IHRA definition is not a fair definition of anti-Semitism.
- Possession of Nazi attributes should only be reserved for museums and licensees. Private ownership and trade are prohibited unless they have a licence.
- Holocaust denial and worship of Hitler will be prohibited by law.
- We will ensure that municipalities are aware of the principle of equality in contact with Roma, Sinti and people living in caravans or trailers. The extermination policy against them may be off the table, but the stigma in the treatment of these communities by the government and municipalities is not. We will invest in preserving and promoting their cultures.