Marcus Bakker

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Marcus Bakker
CPN-fractievoorzitter Bakker bij een interpellatie in het Tweede Kamerdebat over de uitspraak van rechter Stheeman over - NL-HaNA 2.24.01.05 0 925-3894 WM153.jpg
Leader of the Communist Party of the Netherlands in the House of Representatives
In office
15 December 1963 – 7 September 1982
Preceded by Paul de Groot
Succeeded by Ina Brouwer
Member of the House of Representatives
In office
7 November 1956 – 16 September 1982
Personal details
Born Marcus Bakker
(1923-06-20)20 June 1923
Zaandam, Netherlands
Died 24 December 2009(2009-12-24) (aged 86)
Zaandam, Netherlands
Nationality Dutch
Political party Communist Party of the Netherlands (1943–1991)
GreenLeft (1991–1999)
Spouse(s) Els Ezerman
Occupation Politician, Journalist

Marcus Bakker (20 June 1923 – 24 December 2009) was a Dutch politician of the defunct Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPN) now merged into GreenLeft (GL). He was the Parliamentary leader in the House of Representatives from 15 December 1963 until 7 September 1982.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Bakker was the son of an accountant who worked for the slaughterhouse in Zaandam. He joined the then illegal Communist Party of the Netherlands (CPN) in 1943, during World War II. After the war he became an editor of the communist daily newspaper De Waarheid and an official of the CPN.

Politics[edit]

In 1953, Bakker became editor-in-chief of De Waarheid, and in 1956 a member of the House of Representatives. He was a confidant of the then party leader Paul de Groot, who took firm action against dissident movements within the party. Bakker wrote a book called De CPN in de oorlog (The CPN during the war, 1958), in which he accused prominent party members such as Gerben Wagenaar, Henk Gortzak, Frits Reuter and Bertus Brandsen of being spies. They were eventually expelled from the party.

In 1956, Bakker openly supported the crack down on demonstrations that expressed solidarity with the protests in Poznań in Communist-led Poland. Bakker did not accept criticism of the Soviet Union.

When the Netherlands were in the process of adopting a new constitution, the draft of Article 1 banned discrimination "on the grounds of religion, conviction, political orientation, race or gender". Bakker proposed to add "or any other ground" to this, which was accepted.

Life after politics[edit]

Bakker was succeeded as CPN leader by Ina Brouwer in 1982. He was not involved in the talks that led the party to merge with three other parties to form GreenLeft in 1991. He became a member of the new party, but cancelled his membership in 1999, when the party supported the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia.

Bakker published his memoirs, entitled Wissels - Bespiegelingen zonder berouw (Reflections without Contrition). He criticized his own role in the Cold War, but did not apologize for it. He also expressed regrets about labelling dissident party members spies. Bakker never distanced himself from communism as an ideology, although he stated that he felt 'used' by the communist practice in the Eastern Bloc. Particularly the revelation that the Soviet Union was behind the Katyn massacre was a disillusionment to Bakker.

The Marcus Bakkerzaal, a room in the current building of the Dutch House of Representatives, was named after Bakker in 1991.

Personal life[edit]

Bakker married Els Ezerman in 1946. The couple had five children. He died on December 24, 2009, at the age of 86.[1]

References[edit]

Party political offices
Preceded by
Paul de Groot
Leader of the Communist Party of the Netherlands
1963–1982
Succeeded by
Ina Brouwer
Preceded by
Paul de Groot
Leader of the Communist Party of the Netherlands
in the House of Representatives

1963–1982
Succeeded by
Ina Brouwer