In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2010. Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, pp. 93–108
In 1971 the Dutch Socialistische Partij(Socialist Party) started as a maoist sect. Over the course of its existence, the party has considerably changed in appearance. The revolutionary avant-garde metamorphosed into a reformist, change-oriented but still radical party which got 16% of the vote in the national elections of November 2006. This article deals with the change of the party seen as a political pariah into the third party of the Netherlands. The driving force behind all of its adaptations until today was the SP’s populist orientation, which was embedded in the party’s Maoist outlook that outlasted all of the reforms. In the 1980s the party began to view itself as the ‘voice of the people’, claiming that it was in a better position than anyone else to know the mind of the populace. This pretence of the SP was founded on its implementation of Mao’s ‘mass line’. The doctrinal and organizational innovation was meant to remove obstacles between the party and its grassroots support potential.