Tuesday, February 22, 2005

But What About the Root Causes?

Belgium skips addressing the root causes and goes right for the pre-emptive strike. From Expatica:
Four politicians from different political parties have cooperated on a plan to exclude extremists from power in Belgium. Francis Delperee, from the francophone Christian social party CDH, has drawn up a law which would require all Belgian politicians to commit to respecting the European Convention on Human
Rights and the International Pact on Civil and Political Rights. ... If the proposal becomes law, it could eventually
lead to the banning of the Vlaams Belang whose previous incarnation as Vlaams Blok was last year judged "racist" by Belgian courts.
This exactly the wrong thing to do. I believe Vlaans Belang receives about a third of the votes cast in Antwerp. If V.B. and other such parties are outlawed, how are their supporters supposed to participate to the political life of the nation? How can they express their concerns and voice their positions if the parties that represent them are outlawed? They can't. And that's the point of the proposal.

How will the V.B. supporters respond? Will they suddenly embrace the CDH or Greens? Or will the outlawing of their party only reinforce their view of themselves as a beseiged minority, as victims? Rather than listening to V.B. and other like parties and trying to bring them into the mainstream, the other parties prefer to brand them, and by implication their supporters, as criminals.

In the long run this is not in the interest of Belgium. The resentment and anxiety of the supporters will not go away just because V.B. is outlawed. Indeed the resentments will increase. All this is laying the groundwork, opening the market if you will, for a future ideological entrepreneur, someone who can take advantage of the situation to forge a "new political movement." They can outlaw a political party but they can't outlaw forces that create it.
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