There is currently an increasingly greater social class disparity between workers and capitalists in Europe. This is the opinion of Peter Mertens, general secretary of the Belgian Workers’ Party (PTB).
“Many workers in Europe have a job, but they don’t know if they will still have one at the end of the month. The last big struggles took place in the United Kingdom and France. And in France, this year, 3.6 million people took to the streets. Therefore, there were more people taking to the streets this year than in May 1968. The historic May 68. In the United Kingdom it is the same. There have been more people fighting in the last two years than in the 70s against Thatcher”, points out Mertens.
In an interview with Brasil de Fato during the Dilemmas of Humanity Conference in Johannesburg, Mertens analyzes the scenario of social struggles on the European continent and the need to organize the working class according to the new face of the world of work.
“After the Second World War, we had strong unions, we had a strong class struggle, we had strong class parties, political parties. And now they have seen some losses, neoliberalism attacked all of this and part of the labor movement is on the defensive. This is the reality, I know. But there are some people talking about the time when we were very powerful. Back then this, back then that. That’s all true.”
“If we want to inspire new workers, young workers, the working class as it is, we have to face the needs of today. The working class of today is not the same as it was 50 years ago. It is a different format. There is more uberization, more young people. We need to organize ourselves again”, says the party leader.
Mertens also points out that to face the neoliberal crisis and the scenario of wars, such as in Ukraine and Gaza, it is necessary “to have popular parties and movements with a socialist perspective”.
“The deadline is impossible to say, but what can be said today is that if we don’t have a socialist perspective in this terminal period we won’t get there. So on this point I agree with Naomi Klein when she says that in periods of turbulence, those who they have theories that are inspiring, they can win. Or it is the fascist theory, in the same period, that can win. So, I think we need to talk more about socialism, more about how to get to socialism based on what we do today”, ends.
Editing: Thalita Pires