Facing East 1: Henk Sneevliet

Henk Sneevliet is not that well known in the English-speaking world. He was a Dutch socialist who was active in the early years of the Communist Party in the Netherlands, and later led the RSAP, the independent anti-Stalinist grouping that was aligned with the POUM. Being outside the mainstreams of Stalinism and Trotskyism has meant that (like the POUM, and like their Sneevliet’s close associates in Belgium, around Georges Vereeken) there is noone to conserve and curate his memory. In Asia, however, he is regarded as a hero of the anti-imperialist movement, for his role in Indonesian independence and the formation of the Chinese Communist Party. Hence this interesting thing:

Mind and Heart for Revolutionary Socialism in Europe and Asia

Sneevliet exhibition

Sneevliet Exhibition at the Memorial Hall of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China, Shanghai
29 June 2009 – 10 August 2009
In Commemoration of the 126th Anniversary of the Birth of Sneevliet
Flyer of exhibition (.pdf, 1.2 Mb)

Henk SneevlietOn June 29 an exhibition is opening on the life of Dutch revolutionary Henk Sneevliet (1883-1942) at the Memorial Hall of the First National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Shanghai. Many of the documents on display are part of IISH collections. Never before has the IISH lent such a large number of documents for an exhibition in Asia.

In China Sneevliet is still admired for his part in the foundation of the Chinese communist party. It was Sneevliet who helped advance Mao Zedong in the party.

Sneevliet exhibitionThe exhibition shows a broad view of Sneevliet’s political and personal life. Official documents as well as personal letters are on display. Some of Sneevliet’s notes were even written in Shanghai.

Most of the exhibited archival documents are part of the Sneevliet papers. There are also documents from the F.M. Wibaut papers and the Willem van Ravesteyn papers, which are also IISH collections.

This site contains an Outline of his Life, with many documents of Sneevliet’s political and personal life, and a chronology.

Below the fold, Dutch socialist ex libris from the IISG.

Albert Hahn, c 1914

Albert Hahn, c 1905

Georg Rueter, c 1915

Albert Hahn jr, c 1919

W.A. van de Walle, 1927

Fré Cohen, 1926

Johan Briedé, 1929

Eli Smalhout, before 1930

Chris Beekman, 1930

Fré Cohen, 1933

Huib de Ru, s.a.

Fré Cohen, 1934
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Published in: on July 26, 2009 at 2:08 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. amazing, that Sneevliet’s live is commemorated in China … but I assume, that they will not allow publishing many of his texts in chinese translation … the same thing with Chen duxiu, the founder of the CP who joined the Left Opposition in 1927, he is remembered as important intellectual in the 1919 movement and as party founder but nothing is said about his criticism of the alliance with the Guomindang in 1926, etc.

  2. […] part of the ILP Contingent), Jef Last (Holland – Last, another veteran of Spain, had been in Sneevliet’s RSAP, but I’m not sure where he was in 1957), Witte (Demetrious Yotopoulos, leader of […]


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