Today in Labour History
Sweated Labour in Java
Henri van Kol, a member of the First International and one of the founders of the Dutch Social Democratic Party, had owned a coffee plantation on Java since 1887. The even more radical Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis had invested 30,000 guilders in van Kol’s business. Labour contracts and wages were the same as on other plantations.
Both politicians concealed this investment from the outside world. Van Kol’s secretiveness might be explained by the fact that, as a member of the Dutch Parliament since 24 September 1897, he campaigned incessantly in support of the poor exploited Javanese.