Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Striking Workers Attack EU Buildings In Strasbourg

By Elaine Meinel Supkis

I once ran around Strasbourg during the Student Uprisings in 1968. Well, this time, it is the workers who are rioting. This got near zero coverage in America unlike, say, riots in China, eh? What a surprize...NOT.

From Associated Press:
Demonstrators fought with police and smashed windows at the European Parliament building Monday during a protest over a proposal to make port operations in the European Union more competitive.

Strikes and work slowdowns also disrupted cargo handling at several ports as unions pressed their opposition to the plan even as EU legislators predicted it would be rejected.

Police used water cannons and tear gas trying to keep thousands of protesters away from the EU legislature in this eastern French city. But the mob surged forward, hurling rocks, logs and metal fences to shatter windows along a 150-foot stretch of the building's front.

Earlier, officers fired pepper gas into a crowd of protesting dock workers from major European ports who threw flares, glasses and stones at officers. At least three protesters were detained.

Workers in yellow vests accompanied by marching bands set off smoke bombs and waved banners saying "Victory to the dockers." Some cars were set afire, and smoke mingled with the smell of pepper spray in parts of the old town.
Ah, memories! Lovely city, the old town is utterly medieval and when I was there, paved with wonderful cobblestones which we put to good use. Also, the tanks had trouble clanking around sharp corners there which is why the rabbit warrens of old towns were splendid venues for street action.

Unlike America which has been built deliberately so the capitol is far from all forms of commerce and activity of the peons, the European countries are all easily accessible especially thanks to the splendid public transportation systems, again, unlike America. When we had our last antiwar demonstration, all the Amtrak trains were stopped for hours forcing the march organizers to put things on hold and naturally, the venal pressitutes pretended this was due to lack of good organization. And unlike in Europe, the demonstration was utterly peaceful and sweet. Not like South Koreans who go bezerk at the drop of a drumstick!

Unlike the cowed populace here, the European workers know, if they don't actively fight back, they will end up slaves like the Americans who are not roll models any more than Russians but are feared as possible enemies of union organizing, seeing how defunct and demoralized the Americans have become over the years, losing ground, influence and now all the labor gains they fought so hard for before turning "anticommunist" in the fifties which is what killed them.

Cleaving to their enemies was a disaster!

The American press is utterly hostile to unions. If they strike, the media goes for the "how did the mean strikers ruin whatever" stories and when unions are destroyed, the press celebrates this with stories about how, despite all things that workers must pay shooting up in price, wages stay down thanks to worker inability to get even a few pennies more, isn't this great, it means inflation will be confined to the lower levels of society and not bug the rulers as they debase the currency!


Because our media want us to think China is falling apart, they carry stories like this on the front pages. From the NYT:
A week of protests by villagers in China's southern industrial heartland over government land seizures exploded into violence over the weekend, as thousands of police officers brandishing automatic weapons and electric stun batons moved to suppress the demonstrations, residents of the village said Monday.

The residents of the village, Panlong, in Guangdong Province, said that as many as 60 people were wounded and that at least one person, a 13-year-old girl, was killed by security forces. The police denied any responsibility, saying the girl died of a heart attack.
Of course, the lesson again is this: want something? Better be ready to fight for it and this means facing death. For the forces that need to suppress the will of the people can and will and do kill anyone in its path but the only way of stopping it is to stand in its path.

The Chinese student who, in that famous film, refused to let the tanks go around him, was murdered under torture, you know. I was representing the students back then, in 1989, and when I learned he was arrested, we demanded he be turned loose, I had arranged passage to America for him but they wouldn't turn him loose at the last minute and then denied they even had him and no one has seen him since.

From Xinhua net:
Hu Jintao said that a shift in the country's mode of economic growth is an important and urgent strategic task which is crucial to maintaining national economic and social development.

During an inspection tour to east China's Fujian Province from Jan. 12 to 16, Hu called for stronger resolve and more vigorous measures to promote conservation-minded, environment-minded and safety-minded development.

China will push economic and social development truly on the track of human-centered, all-round, coordinated and sustainable development, said Hu, who is also General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee.

While in Fujian, Hu visited rural villages, companies and urban communities to oversee how they boost local economic and social development in a scientific way.
Cumbersomely and slowly, the communist leaders who successfully ignored the peasants and workers is waking up to their own possible demise and are struggling to find some sort of solution and you can bet, they will only do this so long as the people downstairs make a very loud racket.

America is so big and mobile, we think we can Grapes of Wrath our way to a new state and make money again so we seldom stand and fight. The fights over New Orleans are sporatic and desperate and a rearguard action because, again, things are so diffuse, when people were evacuated, for example, they were deliberately sent to the far corners of the imperial realms.

This is harder to do in smaller places. Russia did this for centuries, this is what Siberia meant to them.

Our Siberia is the strip mall/strip joint countryside that is formless and barren. The eternal Motel 666.
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