On Friday, October 7, there was a massive general strike in Belgium, the first for 12 years, called by Socialist ABVV-FGTB union. In spite of all attempts to make it fail, the workers came out in great numbers both in Flanders and Wallonia. Since then the pressure has built up. Strikes have broken in different parts of the country. The Christian union has now been forced to back the movement and a new general strike is being prepared for October 28. Class struggle is back on the agenda in Belgium, and with a bang.

The night of January 17th 1961 Congolese independence leader Patrice Lumumba, was shot dead in Katanga. Forty years later a new book by Belgian sociologist Ludo De Witte uncovers proof of what everyone already knew: the complicity of the Belgian government and the United Nations in this crime. Pierre Dorremans looks at the political background of this case and explains the politics of Lumumba.

The dismissal of judge Connerotte in October 1996 sparked a mass movement which shocked the whole society in Belgium. Ordinary people were no longer afraid of challenging the state institutions: the police, the judges, the government, even the King. A Marxist analysis on the causes and effects of such a movement. The dismissal of judge Connerotte in October 1996 sparked a mass movement which shocked the whole society in Belgium. Ordinary people were no longer afraid of challenging the state institutions: the police, the judges, the government, even the King. A Marxist analysis on the causes and effects of such a movement.

The petrol price hike in the last few months has added fuel to the already existing social discontent in Belgium. Very soon after the truckers in France and the rest of Europe had paralysed their respective countries in the first half of September, the industrial workers in the South of Belgium took over and launched their own action, demonstrations and strikes to stop the further dwindling of the value of their income.

Only superlatives and historical comparisons can help us to understand the scope of the sudden collapse of the Sabena airline and the new commotion it has provoked in Belgium. As one trade union leader put it: "Our society is going from one shock to the other." In just one day 12,000 workers have lost their jobs and 36,000 jobs in service-providing companies are now in jeopardy. This amounts to the biggest single bankruptcy since the second world war.

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