The Christian Workers’ Movement as a Mass Foundation of the Flemish Movement
The successful breakthrough of the Flemish Movement during the first half of the 20th century was mainly due to the massive support it managed to obtain from, especially, the Christian Workers’ Movement. Nationwide, the latter was clearly inferior to the Socialist Workers’ Movement, but, in Flanders, it assumed a very strong position from the very outset. Being the largest mass organization in Flanders, the Christian Workers’ Movement — already by virtue of its very existence — epitomized the so-called “Flemish Vitality”. Still, it also exhibited a distinct interest in matters relating to the Flemish Question. The development of the Christian Workers’ Movement took place while in constant competition with the Socialist Movement. The Flemish/Nederduits/Dutch language came to be associated with the Catholic religion and with the social and economic emancipation of the Flemish people. Because their language was downgraded, a growing number of Flemings felt like second rank citizens in Belgium. The Christian Workers’ Movement increasingly regarded Flemish emancipation and the social struggle as two sides of one and the same coin.
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