Corrrespondence: The Belgian “Socialist” Party

We have received the following from a correspondent in Belgium and reproduce it without necessarily subscribing to viewpoints conveyed in parts of it.

The Belgian Social-Democrats are going through a crisis at the moment. Every election they lose votes to the nationalist parties (Flemish nationalists and Walloon nationalists). The most important reason for the decline of the party is the ideological turn to the right of their leaders. They want to reform the party into a pragmatic “centre-party”, atfer the example of the “Sozialistitche Parei Deutschlands” (SPD).

The Social-Democrat Ministers in the present government are nearly avowedly capitalist. Henri Simonet, theoretician of the right-wing and Minister of Economic Affairs, is a supporter of free trade. He only wants a few reforms, so that the capitalist system works “at its best”. In opposition to his policy are the left-wingers (mainly “Young Socialists”) and the Trade Unions. They want a turn to the left; that means, in their opinions, nationalisation of the basic industries under workers’ control. So in fact they want state capitalism.

The majority of the left wing is in favour of the so-called “revolutionary-reformism”, an idea of the French “Marxist” Andre Gorz. They believe that by struggling for reforms the workers will become socialists. In their opinion the B.S.P., reformed into a new vanguard party, will lead the masses gradually to the “inevitable” socialist revolution.

But among the left-wingers there are a few who are in practice in favour of world socialism. They want to give the workers a socialist consciousness, so that the workers can make their own revolution in future. Of course, those who are in practice for world socialism constitute a very small minority in the left wing. But, most important: there are socialists in Belgium.

In March 1973, an Ideological Congress will be held. There are only two possibilities: either the Congress will be in favour of a “centre-party” which can win the votes of the middle class, or the Congress will be in favour of the nationalisation of basic industry. It’s almost sure the right-wingers will be in the majority. For real socialists it doesn’t make any difference: in practice the party will always support capitalism.

There is only one alternative: to unite all socialists in a new real socialist party; only then the establishment of Socialism will become possible in future.

Mechelen, Belgium.

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