Edward Anseele  

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"Zo geeft de kracht en impact van de schertsnaam “biefstuksocialist” indirect aan hoe sterk die (literaire) beeldvorming werkte. De “biefstuksocialist” kwam uit Cyriel Buysses roman ’n Leeuw van Vlaanderen, waar het duidelijk naar Anseele gemodelleerde socialistische personage met dienst Jan Kappuyns tijdens een meeting riep dat de werkman voor alles “beafstukken” wilde."[1]

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Edward Anseele (26 July 1856 – 18 February 1938) was a Belgian socialist politician. Although his parents rather belonged to the lower middle class (his father was a shoemaker), Edward Anseele became active in the early socialist movement. Anseele attended the Royal Athenaeum in Ghent until the age of 17.


The socialist congress of 1877 in Ghent was the start of his socialist commitment. He became employed as a journalist of the magazine De Volkswil, later transformed into the socialist daily Vooruit! (English: "Forward!"). He organized a cooperative bakery Vooruit which was founded in 1880. This was the start of a complete range of cooperative ventures which in the long term would create an industrial empire. This way, Anseele tried to create a counterweight to the capitalist ventures, and was able to provide support to workers' actions. During the economic crisis of the thirties this network of cooperatives would be largely lost.

Anseele was for a long time municipality Council member and alderman in Ghent, temporary burgomaster and a Member of Parliament. He was one of the founders of the socialist Belgische Werkliedenpartij. During World War I the Germans offered him the title of President of Belgium, which he declined. After the war, he was rewarded for this stance with several ministerial functions: from 1918 until 1921, he was the minister for Public Works and from 1925 until 1927 minister of Railroads and PTT (Mail Telegraph and Telephone). In 1930, he got the honorary title of Minister of State.


  • Voor 't volk geofferd (1881)
  • De omwenteling van 1830 (1882)
  • De algemeene werkstaking (1888)
  • De ware vijand van werkman en kleinen burger (1890)
  • De samenwerking en het socialisme (1902)
  • Vooruit en de Vlaamsche Beweging (1913)

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