12 March 1946 – 5 June 2011
Ludo Martens, founder of the Workers’ Party of Belgium, author of “Another View of Stalin,” has passed away.
Please find below the press statement in which the Party Bureau of the Workers’ Party of Belgium announces the passing away of Ludo Martens, founder and for many years also chairman of the Workers’ Party of Belgium. Many have known him mainly as the initiator of the Brussels International Communist Seminar, which he presided from 1992 to the early years of the 21st century. From his analysis of the degeneration and final overthrow of socialism in the Soviet Union and other countries in Eastern Europe, he saw the necessity but also the possibility of re-unifying and reinforcing the world communist movement on the basis of scientific socialism, in a spirit of internationalism.
Baudouin Deckers, member of the Party Bureau, head of the Department for International Relations
In the early morning of Sunday, 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.