ManiFiesta 2022 ends with a call to change the world as we want it

The 12th edition of the ManiFiesta festival was held in the Belgian city of Ostend from September 17-18. It was attended by over 14,000 people

September 21, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
ManiFiesta 2022 - Belgium
PTB president Raoul Hedebouw addressing ManiFiesta 2022. 

The ManiFiesta 2022 festival, organized at the Wellington racetrack in the Belgian city of Ostend from September 17-18, concluded with a resolve to mobilize for alternatives for the future. The 12th edition of ManiFiesta was organized by the Solidarity magazine and Medicine For the People (MPLP). Over 14,000 people participated. Around 160 events including political discussions, speeches, debates, book fairs, exhibitions, a food festival, and 35 concerts were organized as part of the festival. 

Raoul Hedebouw, president of the Workers Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA), Bolivian Vice-President David Choquehuanca, Chris Mitchell from the Enough is Enough movement in the UK, Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, Holocaust survivor Simon Gronowski, British economist Grace Blakeley, author and PTB leader Peter Mertens, Belgian trade unionist Thierry Bodson, Starbucks union organizer from Memphis, USA, Nabretta Hardin, and Member of European Parliament (MEP) from the PTB Marc Botenga were among those who participated in the festival and addressed the gathering. Cadres of the PTB and youth-student groups like RedFox and Comac volunteered throughout the event to assist the participants and ensure its successful completion.

ManiFiesta, or the ‘festival of solidarity’, has been organized in Belgium since 2010 by Solidarity and the MPLP. While Solidarity is a bi-monthly Marxist magazine published by the PTB, MPLP is an initiative of the party that seeks to provide accessible and quality health and medical care to the common people of Belgium. Since 1971, MPLP has been providing quality universal medical services to the working masses across Belgium. It currently employs over 200 health workers in 11 health centers across the country. This year’s ManiFiesta held discussions on various issues like the cost of living crisis, challenges and strategies in unionizing, war, peace and international solidarity, climate crisis, strengthening of public services, and the right to energy.

Addressing ManiFiesta on September 18, Hedebouw said, “We are in the middle of the bankruptcy of capitalism. We need to take the essential sectors out of the hands of multinationals and take back our future.”

He has also called on all PTB members and supporters to “support union mobilizations for purchasing power.”

In a letter of solidarity to ManiFiesta 2022, UK’s leftist leader Jeremy Corbyn said, “given the global situation, our governments must take action immediately, whether it be the cost of living crisis or climate disaster. It is absolutely imperative that the progressive forces and our movement push those at the top to act in the best interest of all of us and the very future of our planet.”

“We also need to overthrow the war machine. It’s a matter of life or death. Let’s mobilize together, build a global movement for peace by resolutely committing ourselves to a world without war and nuclear weapons. True security is when everyone has access to healthcare, education and a shelter. We never rest on our laurels until these principles are a reality for every person living on our planet,” he added