On February 23, the two top leaders of the Vlaams Belang party (VB) addressed a group of nearly 100 Americans in Arlington, Virginia. Now the largest party in Belgium, the VB is one of the most successful European political parties battling for immigration restriction and local autonomy. Party spokesman Philip Dewinter and chairman Frank Vanhecke stressed to an enthusiastic audience that their struggle is America’s struggle, that they are fighting for the preservation of Western Civilization everywhere. The meeting was organized by the Robert A. Taft Club, which brings speakers to the northern Virginia area.
Mr. Dewinter, who spoke first, immediately revealed his Confederate sympathies by saying how pleased he was to be speaking “on the good side of the Potomac River.” He opened with a salute to the “visionary” Patrick Buchanan, noting that the book Death of the West was a warning to all Western people. Europe, he said, is where the conflict is sharpest because the continent “is about to be taken over without a fight by people who are hostile to Western Civilization.” The newcomers are largely Muslim, with the effect that “Europe is gradually turning into Eurabia.”
Mr. Dewinter spoke of a serious demographic crisis, pointing out that average European lifetime fertility of 1.2 to 1.4 is far below the replacement rate of 2.2. Unless Europeans start having more children, the white population of the continent could drop from 738 million in 2005 to 606 million by 2050. Some countries will suffer more than others; Bulgaria, for example, is likely to lose 40 percent of its population. “We are living on a dying continent,” Mr. Dewinter warned, “but we are not dead yet.”
Muslims living in Europe, he said, have a lifetime fertility of 3.5, and this high birth rate combined with immigration of as many as two million non-Westerners a year could spell the end of the West as we know it. No one is sure exactly how many Muslims live in Europe, but estimates run from 15 to 50 million, and since 2000, Mohammed has been the most common boy’s name in Brussels, Amsterdam, and Rotterdam. Mr. Dewinter quoted Libya’s Muammar al-Gaddafi who, citing the highest estimate, predicted that “the 50 million Muslims in Europe will turn Europe Islamic in a few decades.” This is, indeed, the fate the VB works to prevent. “Islam is a primitive religion,” said Mr. Dewinter, that could “lead Europe back to the Dark Ages.”
The party spokesman pointed out that not one European country has been able to integrate its Muslim population, and said that this reflects the desire of Muslims to keep their own way of life rather than become European. They come, he said, only because they are “attracted to our generous welfare system,” and their hatred for Europe was perhaps most vividly on display at the end of 2005 in France, during the riots that he called an “ethnic and civil war.”
“We oppose immigration by people who are alien and even hostile to our European and Western values,” said Mr. Dewinter, heaping scorn on a Belgian government that still encourages immigration. He reminded the audience that the VB stands for the independence of Flanders from Belgium, a country artificially created as a buffer zone between neighboring powers only in 1830. As for his homeland, he said, immigrants who come with no interest in the language and history of Flanders should “love it or leave it.”
In conclusion, he brought the audience to its feet by addressing Americans directly. “We share the same Western civilization,” he said. “Join us in our struggle for Western survival!”
Party chairman Frank Vanhecke spoke next, noting that the evening’s program consisted of “two convicted and proud political criminals.” (Both men have been convicted under Belgium’s suffocating anti-free speech laws.) This was because, although “Europe is at war with a growing number of religious fanatics who want to destroy our way of life, the European establishment is at war with people like us!”
He reminded the audience that in 2004 the Supreme Court of Belgium declared the party “a criminal organization” on the basis of 16 quotations from party-related literature. Most, he pointed out, were statistics on crime rates and welfare payments, but the Supreme Court concluded that the VB published them with the intention of inciting hate. “How can one know our intentions” he asked, “and how can one become a criminal by telling the simple truth?”
He explained that Belgium has discovered a new crime: Islamophobia. Its first alleged outbreak was in December 2005, when Mr. Dewinter gave an interview to The Jewish Week. Asked why “Jews should vote for a party that espouses xenophobia,” Mr. Dewinter replied: “Xenophobia is not the word I would use. If it absolutely must be a ‘phobia,’ let it be ‘Islamophobia.’”
The Belgian Socialist Party has now joined an appeal to the Belgian Council of State (the supreme court in cases of administrative law) that is likely to result in “defunding” for the Vlaams Belang, or the withholding for one year of the tens of millions of dollars the state turns over to the party annually on the basis of its electoral record. Belgium bans private campaign finance, so defunding would be a very heavy blow, but the VB has already set aside a substantial sum in the expectation of losing the case. As Mr. Vanhecke explained, Belgian elites have decided that the VB is an enemy of the state, and since “it is illogical for the state to fund its own enemies,” the government will starve the party.
Mr. Vanhecke predicted his party will suffer further attacks from opponents who care nothing for democratic principles or the will of the people. “Freedom of speech is absolutely essential,” he said. “We ask US citizens to protest this lack of free speech in Europe.” If Americans do nothing, he warned, they too will be strangled by European-style totalitarianism. “We are fighting for the West,” he explained; “we are fighting for you.” He, too, brought the audience to its feet, with a ringing quotation from The Lord of the Rings: “Men of the West, stand and fight!”
The two leaders were together at the podium during the lively question and answer session that followed. In answer to what the future would bring, Mr. Dewinter replied simply, “The next step is to take power—it will happen.” As for raising the birth rate, “We defend traditional values,” he explained, “and have always opposed abortion and such aberrations as gay marriage.” He said that in this sense, European survival was ultimately a question of moral values “and those values must return.”
Mr. Dewinter explained that the left supports Muslim immigration for two reasons. First, “Multiculturalism is a new religion” that has replaced the horror that was known as Communism. Second, because the VB has attracted so much of the working class, the Socialists are “in search of new voters.” He pointed out that in neighboring Holland 80 percent of Muslims vote socialist because they want more welfare and because the left panders to them. In Belgium, some public schools already serve Halal meals in conformity with Muslim dietary laws. Even worse, immigrants can become Belgian citizens after just three years; they need take no test, profess no loyalty, and show no proficiency in French or Flemish. It is now a race to see whether Europeans can take back their country before foreigners dominate it completely.
Mr. Dewinter pointed out that European socialists have made an intolerable bargain: “They have to hate their identity and way of life if they are to maintain their political power.” The whites who remain in the leftist parties are also signing their own death warrants as the new electorate is now putting fellow Muslims in office—what Mr. Dewinter calls Islamosocialism—rather than voting for the Europeans who first welcomed them.
Whenever anyone criticizes multiculturalism, he explained, its supporters point to the United States as a successful example. “Is multiculturalism working in America?” he asked with a smile. “No, no,” cried the audience.
Mr. Vanhecke went on to explain why so many of the left’s traditional, blue-collar voters support the VB. “They are confronted on the first line by the problems of the multicultural society,” he said. They cannot buy their way out of crime, miserable schools, and militant Islam that openly despises Europe. He added that “young people are beginning to vote massively for our party.” They have seen what immigration does to their schools, and some also vote for the Vlaams Belang as a form of adolescent rebellion. More white-collar voters and intellectuals are moving to the party, however, as more begin to realize that despite what the left preaches, civilizations are not equal, that what Europe has created must endure.
For American patriots and race realists who, themselves, have no voice in government, the evening’s double lecture was an inspiration. The audience was heartened to see attractive elected officials, articulate in a language not their own, calling for a defense of the West. The VB’s platform—an end to Third-World immigration, primacy of European values, demographic recovery, deportation of illegals, local autonomy—is very close to what readers of American Renaissance would endorse.
It is clear that, at least in Flanders, men of the West will stand and fight.