Belgium: ruling class can’t be trusted with ‘security’

Ruling class can’t be trusted with ‘security’

Eric Byl , from the December issue of ‘De Linkse Socialist/Lutte Socialiste’, newspapers of the Socialist Party’s sister party in Belgium

In Brussels, the metro shut down for almost a full week. Subway stations, schools and universities were closed. All shops in the main shopping street were closed. Heavily armed police and soldiers took to the streets and armoured vehicles were positioned at key locations in the city.

The threat was that Paris terrorist suspect Abdeslam, who’s still on the run, would detonate a belt bomb at one of these crowded places. But if the metro was closed, then why not the North-South railway axis that goes underground for miles in the centre of Brussels? If the risk was so high, why were the tram and bus drivers expected to be running those risks? Understandably, bus drivers from Ninove and Dilbeek refused to drive their buses into the capital.

Many workers are worried. However, we cannot let the right-wing government and politicians dominate the political agenda.

If we consider how this government deals with our wages, our benefits and our job security, we should have no confidence to entrust them with our security.

The Walloon transport minister, Di Antonio, from the Christian Democrats (CDH), called the regional strike in Hainaut on 23 November “inappropriate” in these times of terror and threatened to reconsider the state’s subsidies to the public transport company TEC. For the Flemish nationalists who lead the government (N-VA), it is all the fault of the “Islamo-socialists”.

If government and politicians now call for ‘national unity’ it is to cover up their own failures and use a smokescreen of racism, stigmatisation of deprived neighbourhoods and suspicion of refugees, to divide working people and their families, in order to weaken them.

If the labour movement does not respond, we can expect a tsunami of reactionary ideas and actions.

In Paris the state of emergency imposed by President Hollande following the Isis terrorist attacks has been used by riot police to break up public protests ahead of the UN climate change summit. Activists have also been put under house arrest, making a mockery of government claims to ‘defend democratic values’.