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Workers Party of Belgium
The Workers' Party of Belgium (WPB), Partij van de Arbeid van België (PVDA) (in Dutch) or Parti du Travail de Belgique (PTB) (in French) is a Belgian communist party. It is one of the few parties that operates as a single Belgian party. Most other Belgian parties are either Flemish or Francophone. The WPB has no seats in the Belgian parliament.
The Workers Party of Belgium originated in the student movement at the end of the 1960s. Radicalized students (organized in the student union SVB - Studenten VakBeweging), mainly from the Catholic University of Leuven, turned towards the working-class movement. They considered the politics of the existing Communist Party of Belgium as being revisionist, i.e. too much turned toward the social-democratic politics (represented in Belgium by the Belgian Socialist Party). They were influenced by the ideas of the Chinese Communist Party, guerrilla movements in Latin America, the movement against Vietnam War, and the Leuven-Vlaams mouvement, the democratisation of the (then still French-speaking) University of Leuven (in the Flemish-speaking part of Belgium).
Their support and participation in an important strike in the coalmines made their turn towards a political party a definite one. They founded a periodical, AMADA (Alle Macht Aan De Arbeiders - all power to the workers), which became the first name of their party. In 1979 the first congress was held, which adopted a Marxist-Leninist program and changed the name to PVDA-PTB. Ludo Martens became the first president, and is still considered the most important ideologist of the party. A noticed observer at the first congress of the WPB was Laurent Kabila, who later became president of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
In recent years, the Communist Party of Belgium has virtually disappeared, leaving the Workers' Party of Belgium as the communist party of reference in Belgium. The weekly paper "Solidair / Solidaire" has some influence in the trade-union movement in Belgium.
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