by Peter Mertens
Supporters of the Workers’ Party of Belgium marching in 2015. Prima News
The Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB) has seen surprising gains in recent months. Long marginalized electorally as a fringe Marxist organization, the PTB is now the third-largest political force in the French-speaking region of Wallonia, with polls giving the party 18 percent of voter support in the region, plus 10 percent in Brussels, Belgium’s capital.
With the 2019 federal elections approaching, the PTB aims to turn these results into a durable presence in Belgian politics.
Founded in 1979, the PTB entered the federal parliament for the first time in 2014 with two MPs, and has been working from the opposition to the current right-wing coalition in power in Belgium.
Peter Mertens, president of the party, sat down with Mario Cuenda García, a blogger and PPE student at the University of Warwick, and Tommaso Segantini, an independent freelance journalist who’s written for the New Arab, openDemocracy, and Telesur to discuss, among other topics, the prospects of the PTB in Belgium, its position on Europe, and the CETA affair of recent months.
Mertens stresses the need to create a counter-hegemonic bloc to the far right through a constant “presence of the ground” and a “strong anti-establishment discourse,” along with the creation of a transnational alliance of radical left-wing forces in Europe to provide an alternative to both the current policies of the European Union and rising nationalist forces.Read More »