Flemish socialists become ‘Vooruit’

Flemish socialist leader Conner Rousseau has been mandated to change the name of his party.  SP.A that stands for ‘socialist party differently’ will adopt the name ‘Vooruit’ (Forwards) by December.  Mr Rousseau revealed his ambition is to turn his party into a movement clearly facing the future.

“In coming months, together we will give shape to the Vooruit Project. Vooruit is more than a new name. It will become a movement facing the future in which we want to gather all progressive Flemings and pursue politics in a new, positive way.”

The SP.A name that could also be read as ‘Social Progressive Alternative’ was introduced in 2001.

Mr Rousseau indicated that since he became leader an operation to renew the party and turn it into a socialist movement had started.  “Behind the scenes we have been working hard for months to modernise and professionalise our organisation. We want to turn a traditional party into a movement that combats rigidity in politics and once again brings people together in a positive, ambitious and hope-bringing future-oriented project.”

The name ‘Vooruit’ is most readily associated with the Ghent arts centre, a now defunct newspaper and a festival hall building in Ghent with a bar favoured by students and the city’s left-wing intelligentsia.

Not everybody is happy with the new choice of name for the party.  The Ghent art centre Vooruit is worried it will create confusion. “For nearly 40 years the name has been associated with the Ghent art centre.  Artists, the public and staff have given meaning to this name.  It is a national and international brand that is valued. The use of the same name by a political party impinges on these efforts” the centre claimed.

The arts centre is based in Ferdinand Dierkens’ iconic Ghent building that earlier served as the festival hall of the Ghent-based labour movement. The name was also used by a socialist newspaper and regional edition of De Morgen.

Top stories