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.
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
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.