Wednesday, June 8, 2011

RIP Ludo Martens

Ludo Martens, founder of the Workers’ Party of Belgium, has passed away

The following is from the Workers Party of Belgium:

In the early morning of 5 June 2011, after a long and lingering illness, Ludo Martens, former president of the Workers’ Party of Belgium, passed away.

Together with Paul Goossens and Walter De Bock, Ludo Martens was one of the better known student leaders of May 1968 in Belgium. He translated the worldwide progressive current at the universities into the foundation of the Student Trade Union Movement (SVB), developed solidarity with the equal rights movement of black people in the United States, resisted narrow nationalism and exerted efforts to enhance the movement of solidarity between students and workers.

In 1979, Ludo Martens was instrumental in founding the Workers’ Party of Belgium (WPB), born from the merger between the student movement and the workers’ movement in the turbulent 1970s. Ludo Martens helped to put the principle of « serve the people » into practice by actively stimulating Kris Merckx in setting up Medicine for the People. Today’s eleven people’s clinics of Medicine for the People, providing free health care to more than 25,000 patients, remain one of the WPB’s major achievements. Today, the WPB counts 4,500 members and has chapters in 30 cities and 120 workplaces all over Belgium.

Ludo Martens led the WPB until 1999. The last decade of his life he was mainly active in the Democratic Republic of Congo. With his writings about Congolese liberation fighters Patrice Lumumba, Pierre Mulele and Leonie Abo he wanted to support the progressive movement in Congo. Returning history to those who made it, as he would put it.

Today however, unfortunately, we have to return history itself to Ludo. Ludo Martens is survived by two children. On Sunday morning 26 June, a simple commemoration will take place in Brussels.

For a more complete overview of Ludo Martens’ life and work, read more here (in French).

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