Statutes of the PVDA/PTB
Underneath is a selection of the official statutes of the Workers\x92 Party of Belgium, the PvdA
/PTB. It can be considered as the \x91constitution\x92 of this political party. A bilingual (dutch-french) text of the complete statutes can be found on their homepage: www.pvda.be. There are some English texts also, but not the statutes.
\x911. Can become a member of the Workers\x92 Party of Belgium: each person who has reached the age of 18 years, who accepts and propagates the party program and who acknowledges and applies the statutes, who joins the work of a party cell and pays his contribution.
2, He who wants to become a party member, presents a written request. He is recommended by a party member. The party cell decides whether the request is accepted, after investigation and discussion. This decision will thereafter be confirmed by the higher party body that delivers the membership card, and entrust the \x91organisation\x92 (sic) of the new member to a party cell (\x85)
9.The principal party work of a party member is situated in general within the line of his professional activity or where he is the most active. Preferably he is organised in the fitting party cell. Each party member is transferred as much as possible to the cell where he will work the most efficient. Hereby is considered the preference of the member, the interests of the whole, and the priorities of the party. The creation of, and association with a cell happens with the approval of the higher party body. A cell has at least three members (\x85)
11, The duties of a party cell are as follows:
Lead the class struggle firmly and help the masses get organised for this.
Study the politics and decisions of the party thoroughly, propagate them under the masses and implement them without hesitation; fulfil the tasks, entrusted by the party, accurately; help all members with their specific tasks, stimulate the creativity of the members in the accomplishment of the orientations, en make a regular balance sheet of the positive and negative experiences in the work.
Make numerous ties with avant-garde elements en try to win them for the party (\x85)
(8) Watch over the education in the party statutes and over the implementation of it.
(9) Organise the study of Marxism-leninism for the members, and strive towards applying it creatively. Criticize revisionism and the different opportunistic tendencies.
(10) Apply in all work the main line for the masses, search for the different tendencies in the masses, support and develop the right once, improve the wrong opinions via education. (\x85)
(15) Guard that no enemy agents and untrustful elements can enter the party, be on the guard for class enemies, and keep the secrets of the party very strictly. (\x85)
28. All members of the Workers\x92 Party of Belgium must maintain a collective discipline. This is necessary for an efficient approach of the work. The discipline is built on the correctness of the political line, on the political consciousness of the members, on their commitment to the party and on their close ties with the masses (\x85).
29. The individual is secondary to the organisation. Each member of the Belgian Workers\x92 Party is, according to his own means and possibilities, a representative of the whole party. Each party member defends therefore, at best will, the party and the official views approved by the Congress and the Central Committee. Each party members puts his own capacities at the service of the party and consequently of the working class. (\x85)
31. The lower bodies are secondary to the higher bodies.
The decisions of the higher bodies are thoroughly discussed and applied. Each member that doesn\x92t agree can express his criticism but is must apply the decisions. (\x85)
33, It is a fundamental communist principle to enforce the unity of the party and fight against the creation of schisms. The unity of the party is an absolute necessity for the victory of the revolution. It is the key for the revolutionary key of the working class and the people (\x85).
65. The fight is above all pointed against the revisionism that gave birth to the contrarevolutino in the socialist counries and caused the total degeneration of the party of Lenin and Stalin. Trotskyism is an outcome of this revisionism that has caused the disappearance of the socialist camp in Europe. (\x85.)
66. The party applies the principle of a battle on two fronts. The rightwing revisionism rejects all principles of Marxism-leninism and conforms with bourgeoisie and imperialism. In the end it assists reformism and has to be fought against. This battle also includes the awareness for left revisionism (\x85).
68. The battle against the bourgeois and lower middle class tendencies in the workers\x92 movement, also contains a political and ideological criticism towards reformism and anarchism. In this battle the communists try to gain the honest members of these tendencies and organisations for their revolutionary cause. (\x85)
Strategy of the revolutionary vanguard
82. The party is a vanguard organisation in the struggle for socialism. That is why she has, for a long historic period, only united a minority of the labour class and of the other working classes.
83. The party, as the highest organisational form of the labour class, connects to the many organisations that appeal to the masses to develop a class struggle on all areas. The party supports all these organisations and is actively involved in it. She searches for the right visions to take them over and propagate them. Her work of persuasion is directed at letting them all lead by the same revolutionary line for socialism.\x94
84. in order to create and maintain the broadest ties possible the party founds mass-organisations under her leadership with the purpose of giving the opportunity to non-members to tread in contact with the goals, the line and the ideology of the party and to support the realisation of the goals of the party on a certain terrain.
Put into practice
Since more than 30 years, Belgium has known a very well organised communist party, the PVDA/PTB. A strictly centralised party, first based on maoist principles, and later fully returning to the teachings of Lenin and Stalin. To reach their goals, a lot of members stay silent about their membership; although a lot of them are very active in all layers of civil society, and, should it be said, also do a lot of great work (the fighting of racism, the exposure of imperialism and neo-colonialism, the supplying of cheap health care, the support of radical syndicalists, etc). Around the party, there are a few dozen of organisations that are very closely linked and are obviously satellites, but are never officially named like that (for reasons of funding, policing, disguising their true goals, and getting more \x91sympathy\x92 with other activists).
Most of the members are true idealists, that put their own individual benefits secondary to a better world, although be it, applying a very strict and top-down Leninist-Stalinist party-perspective.
When reading this selection of exerpts from the statutes, it is quite easy to understand why many people in Belgium compare this extremely strict partymembership with affiliation of a religious sect. The statutes replace normal morality (i.e. straigtforwardness, truthfulness, mutual respect,\x85) and an appeal to individual responsibility, with the authoritarian submission towards higher and mostly mysterious party bodies. As it is the duty of the party members to promote the \x91real\x92 revolution, they must only pledge loyalty towards their own party. This party teaches them another kind of political morality, where there should be absolutely no moral obstacles to lie, cheat, sabotage, infiltrate towards movements and people active in other tendencies of the antiglobalist movement. (The text clearly refers to their radical battle against anarchists, trotskists and other left reformists.). You have to undergo it to believe it.
It is a constant in the Belgian left wing radical movements that the PVDA forces itself into the most important topics of the moment. It was like that 25 years ago with the massive anti-nuclear protests, it was like that with the EU-summit in Brussels in 2001, and with the antiwar-movement in 2003 and 2004. The result is always a \x91purification\x92 of the movement, where a hardcore \x91radical\x92 group, lead by the pvda or a spin off group, splits itself from a broader group of activists.
The official head of the multimedia department of the party was, until the year 2000, Han Soete, until he went \x91underground\x92 and was, only a few months later, one of the founders of the \x91independent\x92 imc Belgium. Mr Soete never quit the party off course, but knew very well that there were much bigger possibilities of spreading the political message of the party through this independent medium than via the official party-mediums (like www.solidair.org and the paper version of it). The same goes for a lot of the hard core members of imc.Belgium. Their names can be found on other pages concerning the Belgian situation, e.g. BelgiumPtbPvda
Indymedia Belgium is situated in the building of the PVDA, and shares space with an organisation called Getbasic, a party spin off (born from a symbiosis between Aanzet and Media Circus) that gets funded for 150.000 euro a year. It is impossible to disconnect Getbasic and indymedia. Getbasic itself says that indymedia Belgium is her biggest partner and that she will use this medium preferably to spread her message to the movement. Off course quite some of the hardest working imc.be \x91volunteers\x92 are on the payroll of Getbasic, and quite some of the expensive media-equipment and renting comes from this funding (and the former funding of Media Circus).
For years and years some hardcore members, lead by Han Soete and Christophe Callewaert, have used some very efficient strategies to abort every kind of resolving of this problem on a local level. Just as they do now on a global imc level. They don\x92t really answer the accusations, avoid difficult questions, they insult back, shoot the messenger, take a little detail and only talk about that, hide the truth, constantly call for more meetings and time and so called mediation, and know by experience that if they play this game long enough, grass roots decision making will always be impossible, and people will eventually turn away to other, more clear, issues. They are so persistent because they are very, very organised.
Members of the pvda have a very strict moral code, as shown in the official statutes. They have a very clear political agenda that they will keep hidden at all price. As they have a history of being sneaky, it is very hard, almost impossible, to really prove their membership of the party. It is not hard however to make an account of all the ties between the inner circle and the party, and of their plain lies and manipulations (that leave traces on the internet), and collect dozens of testimonies of well respected activist and independent imcistas in Belgium. How else could so many people put so much energy into showing that the current team of indymedia.be are, with a few exceptions, all secret members of one political party, and that this fact makes it truelly impossible to work with them? These accusations don\x92t come from another rival party; they come from the mouths of dozens of activists from a lot of different social and political backgrounds, but with a shared love for the indymedia-concept.
To allow this abuse any further would be the end of all credibility towards independent journalism and open-publishing in Belgium and abroad. The call for desaffiliaton of imc.be or at least for the retrieval for the url Belgium.indymedia.org has already been a very very long and tiring process, but it is a legitimate one.
Dreamer-Activist, volonteer of imc.ovl and former contributor to imc.be since 2001.
(edited by Pim)
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- 04 May 2005