As has become the norm, the streets of the major cities across
Europe are filled with protesters on Tuesday, May 1 (May Day),
speaking out against government spending cuts and rising
The May Day marches and protests have become such a
predictable and expected part of the working year, that one has
to wonder what sort of impact they are having nowadays. Surely it
would be more worthwhile marching on May 2 to throw a few people
But anyway. The message that most of the people are trying to
get across is sound, valid and fair. Of course, when you have
this amount of angry people thrown together, the likelihood of
there being no trouble at all is slim. When this writer worked
for an I.T. consultancy firm in London, May 1 was little less
than a nightmare. Wearing a suit on the underground trains on
that day was akin to wearing a sign saying "please abuse me, I am
a greedy fat cat taking all of your money and spending it on
avocado bagels and expensive cars".
On a couple of occasions, idiots disguised as protesters would
hand out flyers to anyone wearing a suit, and folded into the
paper would be razorblades. Anyone wearing a suit must be rich,
deserving on contempt and, as a result, deserving of shredded
fingers. Crazy thinking, but it meant that we were all advised
not to take anything from anyone on May 1.
Again, the vast majority of those taking to the streets are
doing so because they believe in the cause. This year, they have
more to shout about than ever. Twelve European countries are in
recession, including Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Italy, the
Netherlands, Belgium, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Slovenia,
Denmark and the UK.
There is a revived debate ongoing about whether austerity
measures being implemented across Europe will stifle economic
growth, and all of that makes economic sense. You will hear
experts on the TV talk about the cold, hard realities, the math,
the necessity for or against austerity. But few people talk about
those that are suffering.
So before we dismiss the people protesting as rabble, as
trouble-makers, or (ridiculously) as left-wing leeches sucking
their respective countries dry, how about we take a minute to
listen to them today. God knows, they're taking loud enough.
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