Interviews and articles

Interview
Sofie Merckx is a doctor and member of the Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB-PVDA). She explains to us the action of Medicine for the People, an initiative of her party which has been offering free medical care for almost 50 years and mobilizes patients and carers in many thematic campaigns, which has long displeased the Belgian Order of Physicians. For her, the right to health is not limited to curative medicine, but implies being able to live in good health in all aspects of life, including at work. She also looks back at the management of the pandemic and the current political situation in Belgium, as a new government has just been formed.
Analysis
A new vaccine, developed by the US' Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech, is believed to be effective at 90 %. This rightly raises a lot of hope. Such a vaccine would be a great help in the fight against the coronavirus. The European Commission immediately concluded a costly contract with the company. However, many questions arise. Especially since it now appears that the CEO of Pfizer sold 62 % of his shares on the day of the announcement. Is it mainly a publicity stunt to boost Pfizer's share price? And will the vaccine be accesible?
Analysis
On November 14th, Parti Socialiste (PS) Deputy Prime Minister Pierre-Yves Dermagne stated in an interview with the financial newspaper De Tijd that "using a megaphone to demonstrate is not going to result in a revaluation of the lowest pensions". This gentleman is the governmental leader of the main left-wing party present in the Vivaldi coalition (that, like the composer's Four Seasons, includes 4 major political families: liberals, social democrats, christian democrats and greens, Ed). Like the rest of his interview, this statement reveals both the evolution of the Belgian PS and its fundamental difference with a Marxist party like the Workers’ Party of Belgium (PTB-PVDA).
Interview
The ink had barely dried on the new government's agreement when the coronavirus pandemic entered its second wave. Solidaire went to meet the PTB spokesperson in order to talk about this issue. This encounter was also an opportunity to proceed to an in-depth analysis of the new political situation created by the 'Vivaldi' government that regroups the four main political families, like the Four Seasons: Liberals, Social Democrats, Christian Democrats and Greens.
Analysis
In September, the company announced that about 100 jobs were threatened in Belgium. The unions have just learned during a video conference that this figure is doubled ... The aviation sector has been badly affected by the coronavirus crisis. Big aviation multinationals have been getting in each other's way in search of help from a number of states. That's quite ironic. When all goes well, they pay out astronomical dividends to their shareholders. When things go wrong, they make their workers pay and expect the community to pay the piper. In Germany, Lufthansa will thus be granted 12 billion euros of public money to survive, while the company has earned 9 billion of profit over the past 5 years.
Interview
On 17 July, the Federal Parliament set up a commission to examine Belgium's colonial past and draw lessons for the present and the future. Nabil Boukili, MP for the PTB-PVDA, who has been fighting racism and colonialism on the ground for years, is a member of this committee and is its rapporteur. He explains to us where this commission comes from and what it's meaning is.
Interview
"They have forgotten us. The working class, health care and the coming crisis". This is the title of Peter Mertens' new book, the fourth since he became chairman of the Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB-PVDA) in 2008. Before starting the interview, he points out that "this is not a book about the virus, it is a book about society."
Analysis
Four days after the start of the extraordinary European summit in Brussels, European Union leaders reached an agreement on a 'coronavirus' recovery plan. This plan is designed to address, on a European scale, the forecasted serious economic crisis. The European Union is going to launch a collective loan of 750 billion euro for the first time in its history. This could be an important step towards more solidarity between European countries, but the conditions imposed are challenging.
Interview
At a time when governments and the European Commission are financing the pharmaceutical industry to the tune of billions of euros, there is no guarantee that every citizen will have access to the coronavirus vaccine. To make it accessible to all, the Confederal Group of the European United Left and 10 left-wing parties are launching a "Right2Cure" campaign.
Analysis
Inspired by Donald Trump, the far right around the world has adopted the same motto: "It's because of China that we have this coronavirus. China must pay." After an initial joint campaign against the UN pact on migration, the far-right network is now carrying out coordinated attacks against China.
Analysis
The chairman of the FEB (Federation of Enterprises in Belgium) has been dreaming of a Social Pact for a long time. A dream from before the Covid-19 crisis. He's not the only one. For Georges-Louis Bouchez, the chairman of the MR (Mouvement réformateur, French-speaking liberal party), "it is time to conclude a new social contract". At the trade union level too, some are calling for a Social Pact. This caused a strong controversy at the top of the FGTB (socialist trade union federation). But what would this Pact be made of?
Analysis
More and more voices are calling for the removal of the statues of Leopold II from the public space. Why? What did he do in the Congo? And what is the link between colonization and racism today? Explanations.