January 10, 2007

Little Big Reds

This post began as a comment made in response to an earlier post, Belgian Reds Now "Smallest of the Big". I am elevating it to full post status for two reasons. First, the original came out around the holidays and I think may have missed some potential readers for that reason. Second, this is a valuable look at how the Belgian Party of Labor (PTB, as it is generally known) made an electoral breakthrough last year.

I am fortunate in having had ludok belgium, a longtime PTB activist, first write the original report, and then offer to respond to further questions about how the party made its breakthrough. This comment came in response to a query about how party activists developed the program that won them two seats and the pivotal position in the Hoboken municipal council in Antwerp, which is split between the bourgeios parties and the fascist Vlaams Belang. It is a valuable report on a campaign of meticulous work and summation in a mainly working class area.

ludok belgium's report

1. At a first stage the party members of the municipality stipulated the possible subjects for the inquiries. These were grouped in topics. These were - work in my neighbourhood - affordable neighbourhood - more opportunities for young people - safe neighbourhood - healthy neighbourhood . At each topic five proposals were added and you could make also yourself other proposals. For example under "work in my neighbourhood" were the proposals: .
  • jobs for youth
  • more workplaces in the municipality
  • not temporary but fixed jobs
  • right to early retirement
  • create more employment by less hours work with conservation of remuneration
  • other proposal
People were asked choose or make a proposal for each topic.

2. A beautiful leaflet was printed. Then inquiries were done. In that municipality there is a doctor practice of the Party, called 'medicine for the people'. We asked in the first place the patients and the sympathisizers to fill in the inquiry. There were 1500 answers in Hoboken and 1000 in Deurne. We looked which three proposals were most indicated. On these quoted problems, the party then searched for an answer. For example on the complaint that the electricity and the gas were too expensive, our answer was the establishment of a municipal energy company to control the price.

3. With our answers on the quoted problems we made a beautiful leaflet. This we put in the PO boxes of people. Afterwards we did house visits to ask people to vote for us with this program. We visited first people who had filled the inquiry in. Afterwards we visited other people. We wanted to obtain as many positive answers as there were votes necessary--the necessary number of votes to gain our aim of seats. The number of real votes correlated well with positive answers obtained on the question: will one vote for the party? This was 1850 persons in Hoboken.


celticfire said...

Added your link.

Welcome to the Maoistsphere.

Jimmy Higgins said...

Hey, thanks, old-timer. In truth, cf, it is good to see you back in bidness too and I'll link back to you (and other worthies like burningman and leftspot) just as soon as I a) figure out how, or b) get a local geek over here to help me out.

I was glad to see you also took up Nelson's blog-about-white-supremacy challenge for MLK day over at the Pottawatomie Creek blog. Let's try and make a little splash this year, and create favorable conditions for a real blogospheric onslaught next year.