The Belgian Labour Party (Dutch: Belgische Werkliedenpartij, BWP; French: Parti ouvrier belge, POB) was the first major socialist party in Belgium. Founded in 1885, the party was officially disbanded in 1940 and superseded by the Belgian Socialist Party in 1945.
Henri de Man
|Founder(s)||César De Paepe, Edward Anseele|
|Founded||6 April 1885|
|Dissolved||28 June 1940|
|Succeeded by||Belgian Socialist Party|
|Trade union wing||General Federation of Belgian Labour|
|Ideology||Social democracy |
|Political position||Centre-left to left-wing|
|International affiliation||Second International (1889-1916)|
Labour and Socialist International (1923-40)
In April 1885, a meeting of 112 workers took place in a room of the café De Zwaan on the Grand-Place in Brussels, at the same place where the First International had convened, and where Karl Marx had written The Communist Manifesto. At this meeting the Belgian Labour Party (POB or BWP) was created. Several groups had been represented at this meeting, including the BSP of Edward Anseele. The members were mainly craftsmen and not workers from industrial centres (with the exception of Ghent). When drafting a programme for the new party, it was feared that a radical programme would deter workers. On that basis it was decided that the word socialism would not be mentioned in the name of the party, a point of view which was also defended by Cesar De Paepe (1841–1890).
The Charter of Quaregnon (located in this municipality and not in Mons because of the Garde Civique's 'fusillade of Mons'), of 1894 provided the doctrinal basis for the Belgian socialists from 1894 until 1979. Before 1919, the district system in Belgian elections made it almost impossible for the Labour Party to get parliamentary seats in Flanders, and the Ghent socialist leader, Edward Anseele, was elected in Liège. After 1919, universal male suffrage and proportional representation greatly enhanced the party's parliamentary strength and it participated in several governments.
In the 1919 election, the Belgian Labour Party won 36.6% of the vote and increased their parliamentary representation from 26 to 70 seats. This was enough to deny the Catholic Party the majority it had enjoyed since 1884, which led the Catholic Party to form a coalition with Labour, forming a cabinet that contained Labour members. The Belgian Labour Party used this opportunity to demand and to have passed reforms such as the repeal of a law that prohibited picketing, an eight-hour workday, old-age pensions, inheritance taxes, and a graduated income tax.
Election results Edit
27 / 152
27 / 152
15 / 152
32 / 152
32 / 166
29 / 166
25 / 166
25 / 166
25 / 166
18 / 186
32 / 186
70 / 186
68 / 186
78 / 187
70 / 187
73 / 187
70 / 202
64 / 166
Notable members Edit
See also Edit
- Alderweireldt, Katrien (1997). "Les archives du journal le Peuple". Brood & Rozen. 2 (3). doi:10.21825/br.v2i3.2683.
- Donald F. Busky, Democratic Socialism: A Global Survey
- Kowalski, Werner. Geschichte der sozialistischen arbeiter-internationale: 1923 - 19. Berlin: Dt. Verl. d. Wissenschaften, 1985. p. 287
Further reading Edit
- Liebman, Marcel (1979). Les socialistes belges, 1885-1914 : la révolte et l'organisation. Brussels: Éditions Vie ouvrière.
- Van Haegendoren, Mieke (1989). Van werken krijg je vuile handen. Geschiedenis van de Belgische Werkliedenpartij, 1914-1940. Leuven: Acco. ISBN 9033419211.
- Witte, Els; Craeybeckx, Jan; Meynen, Alain (2009). Political History of Belgium from 1830 Onwards (New ed.). Brussels: ASP. ISBN 978-90-5487-517-8.
- Delsinne, Léon (1955). Le Parti ouvrier belge des origines à 1894. Brussels: Renaissance du livre. OCLC 13466311.
- Polasky, Janet L. (1995). The Democratic Socialism of Emile Vandervelde: Between Reform and Revolution. Oxford: Berg. ISBN 9780854963942.
- Van Ginderachter, Maarten (2005). Het rode vaderland: De vergeten geschiedenis van de communautaire spanningen in het Belgische socialisme voor WO I. Tielt: Lannoo. ISBN 9789020962970.