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Nieuwenhuis, Ferdinand Domela (1846–1919)

Bert Altena

Subject Economic Systems » Socialist Systems
History » Political History

Place Low Countries » The Netherlands

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1800-1899, 1900-1999

Key-Topics anarchism, democracy, pacifism, revolution, socialism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.01102.x


Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis, founder of the Dutch socialist movement and of the Internationale Anti-Militaristische Vereeniging (International Anti-militarist Association) (IAMV), was born into a well-to-do family. In 1870 Domela Nieuwenhuis became a Lutheran clergyman, but soon expressed very latitudinarian convictions. Having lost two wives, he became agnostic, drawn towards social reform and socialism. In 1878 he considered himself a socialist. Leaving the church, he founded his own journal, Recht voor Allen (Equal Rights for Everyone, 1879), which later became the journal of the Dutch socialist movement. As the intellectual and political leader of the Dutch socialists, Domela Nieuwenhuis preached socialism throughout the country. At the end of 1886 he was sentenced to a year in prison for lèse majesté. In 1888, half a year after his release, he became the first socialist member of parliament, serving until 1891. During these years, Domela Nieuwenhuis moved away from Marxist socialism and the German Socialist Party in particular. His anti-parliamentarism and advocacy of the general strike in case of war were breaking points. He wrote several critiques of Marxian social democracy, published after his 1896 expulsion from the Second International as Le Socialisme en danger. There is no agreement about the timing of Domela Nieuwenhuis' transition to anarchism. Quite early on, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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