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.

Misha Van Herck from Belgium explains how the main European harbours are set to play a vital role in the war preparations against Iraq. They can only be ‘replaced’ at a very high cost. Its is clear that without at least the passive collaboration of Belgium and Europe a war against Iraq would be impossible. The ports of Northern Europe will be filled with military equipment, supplies and ammunition.

Within a few days tens of thousands of workers and young people will come from whole over Europe to Brussels to protest against the EU, capitalist globalisation in Europe and the rest of the world and the new war in Afghanistan. These demonstrations are the next stage in the cycle of mobilisations started in Seattle and which culminated in the 300.000 strong demonstration in Genoa. Erik Demeester from the Editorial Board of Vonk/Unité, the Belgian Marxist paper for labour and youth, looks briefly at what's at stake in these protests.

Filip Staes reports on last weekend's antiwar demonstration in Brussels and on the 'shipspotting' activities of the Anti-War Committees set up by the supporters of Vonk in Antwerp. Antwerp has grown in importance for the war effort as a large part of the military hardware for the Gulf is transported through this port.

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