Belgium, the country where compromise and moderation seemed for a long time to be part of the genetic make-up of society, is experiencing a level of social confrontation rarely seen before.

Yet again we saw this morning the ruthless killing of innocent people as they went about their daily lives. Marxists condemn such acts of terror, in the same way that they condemn the killing of thousands of people in Syria and other war-torn countries. The point is: what can be done to put an end to this barbarism?

‘This is the strongest strike ever’ commented the general secretary Marie Hélène Ska of the Christian union CSC. She is right. The national work stoppage on Monday 15th of December was without doubt the most “general” of 24 hour general strikes in the rich Belgian history of strikes.

Despite a harsh blizzard and traffic disruptions 250 people braved the weather to gather in Brussels, at the buildings of the Christian trade union CSC/ACV, to pay homage to the recently deceased President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. Erik Demeester of the Hands Off Venezuela (HOV) campaign and Veronique Coteur of Intal explained the political significance of the gathering: ‘Hugo Chavez was not only a president of Venezuela. He was above all an international revolutionary leader.

The water cannons and flash-balls1 used by the police in Brussels, Namur and Strasbourg were not enough to cool the anger of the Walloon steelworkers.  Images of the steelworkers in violent clashes with the police have been circulated internationally. Their anger erupted after the steel giant ArcelorMittal said it would close seven of the twelve cold processing facilities in Liège, eliminating 1300 jobs. 

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