Tuesday, May 1, 2012

European Labor Day Today

Today is May 1, aka International Workers' Day, or the European version of what we call our U.S. Labor Day the first Monday each September.

The European Labor Day is nowhere close to our U.S. Labor Day meaning and celebration.

Therein lies a story worth telling. You see, I've been affiliated with several European companies and have even been in Europe on their Labor Day. Believe me, it's all very much different than ours.

We really do believe and act as if all men are created equal and possessed with equal opportunities to live our lives as we choose and reach as far as we can. They don't and can't.

Our histories and societies are fundamentally different. I like ours. And that goes for our U.S. Labor Day celebrations and various activities as well.

For one thing, the Communist and Socialist Parties don't parade here as they do in Europe right alongside the other workers.

Perhaps I can't explain exactly what that means very well, but it's real and totally unlike life in America. The Communists and Socialists aren't the same as the working class in the U.S. They're not even deemed to be an important part of it.

Maybe the difference between the Europeans and us is all related to the fact that Europe has a long history of the royalty and aristocracy being in charge. We began with We the People in charge. And we've stayed that way ever since the Founding.

Thus, their Labor Day is seen by me as pitting the common man versus the elitists. Try as some of our politicians may, that approach has never taken hold in the U.S., even during the Depression years of the 1930s. We've always separated the political from the workplace.  Let's keep things that way, lest we end up like the Europeans. And they're not ones to copy, no matter what many of our politicians may say.

May Day Rallies Hit Europe leads off this way:

"May Day demonstrations are taking place across Europe Tuesday, with protesters in Greece, Spain and elsewhere heightening pressure on governments to scale back unpopular cutbacks as recession takes hold in the region.

This year' labor day celebration is serving as a rallying cry against the harsh diet of spending cuts and tax increases prescribed for the region's sovereign debt woes.

Crowds are gathering in Spain's largest cities using the May Day holiday to march against the government's economic reform packages that some fear could trigger more unemployment and deepen the country's recession.
The protesters are aiming to reverse official plans to slash spending and reform the labor market, but there is no clear sign that demonstrations will be able to push a government with a solid parliamentary majority off its path.

In Madrid, demonstrators packed the downtown Cibeles Square while police blocked traffic. Armed with placards, slogan-bearing shirts and emblematic red flags of the country's top unions, the protesters amassed around midday despite a hard rain similar to what thwarted larger turnouts at marches over the weekend.

Protesters waved signs reading "basta"—or "enough!"—and with drawings of scissors to symbolize the government's sharp cuts to a raft of social programs. Other marchers were calling for a new general strike.

Pedro Castro, a 70-year-old retired construction worker, said the turnout "was phenomenal" compared with other protests over the weekend.

Prime Minister Mariano "Rajoy is pummeling us with his cuts and the government needs to listen to us," he said.

A few blocks away police had cordoned off the Puerta del Sol to prevent a new encampment by the "indignant" movement, which took over the square last year. Later in May, the loosely organized group, Spain's version of Occupy Wall Street, has vowed to stage new demonstrations for its first anniversary.

Mr. Rajoy has pledged to continue with a batch of reforms intended to reduce the budget deficit. As part of those measures, the government is slashing spending on health care and education while also raising taxes."

Summing Up

We ain't Europe.  Not even close.

Neither is our history.  Not even close.

We the People have always been in charge here. All of us and not just the chosen few.

Let's all resolve to keep it that way.

That's what American Exceptionalism means to me, and that's why I'm always bullish on America, regardless of our short term issues.

Together we'll address and solve our problems and then move forward as fellow citizens, making up and belonging to what is the greatest country on earth.

That's long been the American way. It remains so today.

Happy Labor Day.

Thanks. Bob.