Meervoud is a left of centre nationalist think-tank and action group. Meervoud's goal is a sovereign Flanders. A strengthening of Flemish self-consciousness and the investiture of sovereign power in a Flemish state and the Flemish people are its strategic aims. In short, real democracy by and for the people in Flanders must triumph over pseudo-democracy, practiced by neo-liberals in the interests of global capitalism. To this end, Meervoud publishes a monthly magazine as well as pamphlets and books. Furthermore, Meervoud launches initiatives of its own or joins with other groups with similar political aims.
From when the Belgian state was set up in 1830 until the early 1980s, the power of the Belgian ruling class stemmed from their interests in heavy industry. During the 1980s, the Belgian economy experience a period of radical change. Nowadays, the Belgian economy has become nothing more than a cog in a world economic machine, operated by multi-national capitalists groups, who use the European Union to force the peoples of Europe to live by neo-liberal principles. These policies have destroyed social cohesion and eliminated democracy.
The Belgian ruling class, aided and abetted by global capitalists, still have the reigns of power very firmly in their hands. However, they are much less ideologically backed than they were in the past. Consequently the ruling class is forced to use more and more anti-social and anti-democratic means to maintain its grip on power. An example of this is the transfer of power to non-elected supra-national bodies such as the European Union.
The loss of ideological influence by the Belgian ruling class has served to erode the common frame of reference that Flanders and Wallonia had, since the two nations put together when Belgium succeeded from the Netherlands in 1830. Belgian state nationalism has given way to two national identities within the confines of the Belgian state: Flemish and Walloon. Slowly but surely the common good is no longer been viewed in terms of Belgium but rather in terms of Flanders and Wallonia.
The following priorities are of great importance to left-wing Flemish nationalists:
- Strengthening the Flemish collective consciousness by promoting the Dutch language (spoken by 22 million Europeans), ensuring the language laws in Brussels are respected and offering resistance to ever-increasing individualistic consumerism, where the English language is dominant. Immigrants in Flanders should not be discriminated against but should be encouraged (with state help) to integrate into Flemish society by becoming proficient in Dutch.
- National sovereignty for Flanders as an independent state, within a Confederation of European States. The present day European Union views peoples as nothing more than ethnic or regional groups to be granted limited cultural and even more limited economic autonomy, while real power is vested in unaccountable European institutions. An independent Flemish state must reclaim sovereignty by breaking the stranglehold of global capital, that has transferred national sovereignty to shareholders and managers.
- A Flemish state would be internationalist. An independent Flanders would strive to develop greater openness towards other nations and peoples. Conflicts between peoples should be resolved by peaceful means. An independent Flanders would seek to develop constructive relations with all its neighbours, including Wallonia . Left-wing Flemish nationalists strive for cooperation with all democratic nationalist movements in and outside Europe.
- Left-wing Flemish nationalist view greater sovereignty as being pivotal to the restoration of democracy. State power should stem from the will of people in Flanders in a democratic and autonomous legal framework. It is the source of all legal legitimacy. We reject the legitimacy of organisations such as the EU, the IMF, NATO and the OECD, which are not subject to any form of democratic control.
Democracy should also have its say in the socio-economic development of the nation. For example, Meervoud is for democratic controls on capital, a contractual framework within the economy, taking in government and companies. The framework would ensure that environmental legislation was respected and would guarantee that both the unions and consumers could have their say. Furthermore, we are for a socially responsible taxation system, full employment and social security for all. This is in stark contrast to policies practiced by neo-liberals.
Restoring democracy through greater sovereign powers being invested in the Flemish people will help reduce the divisions between rich and poor in Flanders and is the best way to ensure the prosperity and well-being of all Flemings.
Brussels, March 2005