Yeah, I know “May Day” was a couple of days ago. But I’ve been sick and not paying much attention to the computer.
In any case, I wanted to bring attention to this article about the “May Day” riots in Greece, aimed at “protesting” the Greek government’s plans to enact “austerity” measures on the country while it gets a hundred billion dollars or so of “bailout” money from the rest of Europe:
Greek riot police have used tear gas to disperse angry protesters in Athens, during a march against government cuts to tackle the country’s crippling debt.
Clashes erupted at the finance ministry and a state TV truck was petrol bombed. A tense stand-off continues, with protesters hurling bottles and rocks.
Thousands of Greeks are taking part in May Day rallies called by trade unions and left-wing parties.
The EU is demanding the austerity cuts in exchange for a huge bail-out deal.
The anti-austerity protests, meanwhile, are continuing, and a nationwide general strike is planned for Wednesday:
Dozens of Communist protesters broke into the ancient Acropolis at dawn, draping giant banners on the Parthenon temple reading: “Peoples of Europe Rise Up.”
“We want to send a message to the farthest reaches of Greece and Europe,” Communist MP Nikos Papaconstantinou said.
“Similar measures that eliminate social security are taken across Europe. But popular anger will rattle imperialist organisations.”
So, what is the brave vanguard of the revolution taking to the streets to put a stop to?
[Austerity measures] include:
Scrapping bonus payments for public sector workers Capping annual holiday bonuses and axing them for higher earners Banning increases in public sector salaries and pensions for at least three years Increasing VAT from 21% to 23% Raising taxes on fuel, alcohol and tobacco by 10% Taxing illegal construction
None of these measures strikes me as particularly galling, especially given the plain fact that ill-considered public sector spending was the problem in the first place. But nevermind all that. The unions, the socialists, and the communists are taking to the streets to engage in violence and issue absurd, unrealistic demands in the name of “the people.”
Such people would be more than happy to see the entire country collapse under the weight of its on profligacy than to allow one public employee to suffer a cap on bonus payments. Indeed, one is reminded of a certain passage from Richard Pipes’ venerable biography of the famous Russian liberal, Petr Struve:
But all along — and with mounting vehemence — [Struve] warned also against the radical reactionaries. Like the bureaucrats, the radicals also refused to acknowledge the new constitutional order and persisted in acting as if nothing had happened: they simply availed themselves of all the tried methods of “revolutionary” combat, which under the new conditions had become utterly self-destructive insofar as it was a “revolution” against their own people and their own government that they were conducting.
Now they’re burning banks and killing people… for the people?