Monday, November 15, 2004

Vlaams Blok becomes Vlaams Belang

As predicted by us, as well as some others, the outlawed Vlaams Blok, found racist on somewhat dubious grounds and deprived of state funding in a country where private funding of political party is banned, has disbanded itself and formed a new party: Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest).

The new website gives the text of the “new”party’s manifesto, which is not all that different from the old one. Some of the terminology may have been toned down.

They proclaim themselves to be the party of the Flemish national interest, insisting that the state should serve the people, not the other way round, the obvious implication being that the Belgian state does not serve the Flemish people.

In some ways, the Vlaams Belang is fighting battles that were fought in the nineteenth century, showing that politically, the legacy of the French Revolution and its wars is alive and well on the Continent.

The ideology of the Vlaams Belang can be described, in the continental-European semantic context, as a “nationalist party of the right” (as opposed to the collectivist, etatist “left”). In an Anglosaxon context the term “conservative” would be used (as opposed to “liberal”). Indeed, we recognise man as a free agent, with all his human qualities and flaws, and we reject ideologies that presuppose the “makeability” of mankind and that advocate social engineering. Tradition, virtues and morality, as these have grown through time, must be respected and are constitutive elements of the society of the future.
The party insists on its separate identity from the other, Wallon part of Belgium and on the closeness of the Flemish language and culture to that of the Dutch; it opposes European integration, preferring to see co-operation between free nations; and, going on to its most controversial ideas, it insists that immigrants must accept and adopt the culture of the country they live in, or face repatriation.

It must be made clear to aliens and immigrants in Flanders that they are expected to comply with our laws, and also to adapt to our values and morality, to our habits and to important traditional principles of European civilization,such as the separation of church and state, democracy, freedom of speech and the equal status of men and women.
Their values include freedom, law and order together with equality before the law, an emphasis on the family and free enterprise.

Given their previous electoral success, their opinions that are likely to resonate with many people in the Flemish section of the country and their newly acquired status of political martyrdom, the Vlaams Belang is likely to grow in popularity. Given the determination of the Belgian government, supported by many in the European Parliament and other EU strata to destroy the party, we are likely to see an interesting fight that may, in the end, bring down the European Union together with its “home country”, Belgium.

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