- Workers Party of Belgium
"The Belgian Workers Party is also sometimes used as the name of the Belgian Labour Party that existed prior to World War II (when it was re-founded as the Belgian Socialist Party) and that after the foundation of the
Cominternwas faced with a dissident faction out of which arose the Communist Party of Belgium. Neither should this party be confused with the social-democratic Partij van de Arbeid in the Netherlands."
The Workers' Party of Belgium (WPB) (Dutch: "Partij van de Arbeid van België", French: "Parti du Travail de Belgique") is a Belgian
communistparty. It is one of the few parties that operates as a single Belgian party. Most other Belgian parties are either Flemish or Francophone. The WPB has no seats in the Belgian parliament, having usually won no more than 1% in elections (last time 0.84%, 56,167 votes).
The WPB hosts the
International Communist Seminar, which in recent years has become the one of the main worldwide gatherings of communist parties.
The Workers' Party of Belgium originated in the student movement at the end of the 1960s. Radicalized students (organized in the student union "SVB" - "Studenten VakBeweging"), mainly from the
Catholic University of Leuven, turned towards the working-class movement. They considered the politics of the existing Communist Party of Belgiumrevisionist, i.e. too much turned toward the social-democratic politics (represented in Belgium by the Belgian Socialist Party). They were influenced by the ideas of the Communist Party of China, guerrilla movements in Latin America, the movement against the Vietnam War, and the Leuven-Vlaams movement, all perceived as aspects of a worldwide struggle against colonial or neocolonial oppression and for civil or workers' rights.
Their support and participation in an important strike in the coalmines turned the movement into a political party. They founded a periodical, AMADA ("Alle Macht Aan De Arbeiders" - all power to the workers), which became the first name of their party. In 1979 the first congress was held, which adopted a
Maoistprogramme and changed the name into PVDA-PTB. Ludo Martensbecame the first president, and is still considered the most important ideologist of the party. A notable observer at the first congress of the WPB was Laurent Kabila, who later took power in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, naming himself president.
In recent years, the Communist Party of Belgium has virtually disappeared, leaving the Workers' Party of Belgium as the biggest communist party in Belgium. The weekly paper "Solidair" / "Solidaire" has some influence in the trade-union movement in Belgium.
The party formed an electoral coalition in Flanders with the
Arab European Leaguefor the 2003 elections, named "RESIST", running a campaign that also called for the establishment of Islamic confessional schools for children, which would be financed by the government. After poor results, the AEL left the coalition to found the Moslim Democratische Partij.
* [http://www.wpb.be/ Official web page]
* [http://www.wpb.be/icm/99en/DECL99DefEN.htm International Communist Seminar 1999 Declaration]
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