in Dutch: Jonge Socialisten in de PvdA, acronym: JS
The Dutch Young Socialists is the political youth movement linked to the Dutch social-democratic PvdA. The JS has a long history, dating back to the AJC (Arbeiders Jeugd Centrale) in the beginning of the twentieth century, and it has been called the JS since 1977. Currently, the JS has about 2000 members between 12 and 28 years old. Its main three tasks are to: change politics, by fighting for the ideals of the Dutch social-democratic youth; train future politicians, by organising masterclasses and academies and by supporting the talented members of the organisation; become a movement, in which politics is not just about long meetings and complicated issues, but includes activism, idealism and excitement.
The JS is well known for its political activism and daring campaigns. During the 2016 Ukraine referendum, they recreated the famous Berlin Wall-painting, now portraying right-wing extremist Geert Wilders kissing Russian president Vladimir Putin. This poster was not only heavily discussed in Dutch news, it also reached other countries via The Guardian and Politico. Another major event was the Miniskirt-protest in Amsterdam in January 2016. After the sexual assault scandal in Cologne, the mayor of Cologne responded that women should keep an arm-length distance away from men, and dress ‘more appropriately’. Together with other youth organisations, the JS organised a demonstration in which over a hundred men walked in miniskirts through Amsterdam.
All these former candidate-MPs have been Young Socialists!
Besides the political campaigns, the JS has a strong programme to train its members to become better debaters and more experienced politicians. Every year, two training weekends are organised in which workshops are given on presenting, debating, negotiating and writing. The JS has a good track record in fostering political talent. Many of its former members have become influential Dutch politicians or have contributed to society in many other ways. At this moment, one member of parliament and junior minister has been the president of the JS.
The JS is a member of YES (Young European Socialists) and IUSY (International Union of Socialist Youth). As a member of these organisations, the JS visits international congresses, seminars and summer camps, and JS-members are invited to join these trips. The JS also helps its international colleagues with campaigning and joins European campaigns, such as the European Youth Plan! During our election campaign, young socialists from all around Europe came to the Netherlands to join our campaign.
If you are interested to support or join the JS, you can contact the international secretary, Shirodj Raghoenath. He can tell you more about our organisation and the things you can do for the JS if you don’t speak Dutch. The board is open to new ideas about organising English-spoken events or inviting foreign guests to our organisation.