Wednesday, May 1, 2013

MAY DAY ...Today is Europe's Version of Labor Day ... Unlike Ours, It's a Celebration of Collectivism

Today is Europe's Labor Day holiday celebration. It bears little if any resemblance to our own celebration on the first Monday in September.

In my view, it comes down to one fundamental difference. We celebrate the individual worker while in the past they celebrated, and these days they protest, their failed and elitist based collectivist society.

Last year's European Labor Day (see link below) was marked by protests against austerity. And so is this year's. It seems that the worse things are, the bigger government grows, and the worse things then become.

It results in a vicious spiral downward. Then the celebrations turn into a massive protest, all for naught, as an ever growing government makes things even worse.

Suffice it to say that in the European example lessons abound for freedom loving self reliant Americans. We're not like them --- yet.

Clashes Mark May Day tells the story:

"Protesters took to the streets in Europe Wednesday to mark the continent's traditional labor day.

In Istanbul thousands of May Day protesters clashed with Turkish riot police as demonstrators tried to defy government attempts to choke off protests and ban an annual march on the city's landmark public square.

May Day protesters in Turkey clash with riot police as they try to break through barricades to reach Istanbul's main square on Wednesday.

In Athens, Greek unionists, retirees and leftists staged low-key rallies in the city center to commemorate May Day and protest the government's continuing austerity program that has pushed the Greek economy deep into recession and unemployment to record highs.

While in Madrid, Spanish labor unions mobilized tens of thousands of marchers in the capital and other cities to demand stronger measures by Spain's conservative government to reverse a steady loss of jobs that last week pushed the unemployment rate to 27%.

May 1 is a traditional workers' day holiday across most of Europe and in recent years has been used to protest against governments' austerity measures. The holiday is also celebrated in parts of Asia, with tens of thousands of workers marching in Indonesia Wednesday to demand higher wages. . . .

Turkish authorities have often used force in previous years to prevent the May rally happening in the center of Istanbul, although last year's protest proceeded peacefully. This year trade unions were denied permission to march on Taksim by the government, which said construction work there would make it too dangerous.

Groups of protesters who attempted to break through police barricades were met with tear gas and water cannons fired by security forces. Demonstrators also clashed with police in the nearby neighborhood of Besiktas, which houses the office of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan.

Istanbul Governor Huseyin Avni Mutlu said 22 policemen and 3 civilians were wounded in skirmishes between riot police and protesters and 72 people were arrested. . . .

May 1 was canceled as a national holiday in Turkey following a military coup in 1980, but was reinstated in 2010 under pressure from trade unions.

In Greece, protesters from three separate demonstrations converged on the main square in Athens in front of the Greek parliament chanting slogans and holding banners decrying government cuts. One banner read: "They are depriving us of our lives and our dignity. We will not let them."

The protests coincide with a symbolic strike called by Greece's two major labor unions—GSEE and ADEDY—as well as the Communist-backed PAME union, that partially disrupted public transport in the Greek capital and suspended ferry services around the country. Public hospitals were working on skeleton staff, while bank workers also walked off the job. . . .

Greece's economy is now in its sixth year of a deep recession made worse by waves of austerity measures the country has promised euro zone peers and the International Monetary Fund in exchange for two successive bailouts. After shrinking by more than 6% last year, Greece's economy is expected to contract by a further 4.5% this year, before staging a modest recovery in 2014.

Unemployment, already over 27%, is expected to continue rising, while some six in 10 youth are now without a job."

Summing Up

Our Founding Fathers established a country based on individual freedoms and limited government. The U.S. belief system is predicated on the essential dignity and worth of the individual citizen and is radically different from Europe's.

We believe in limited government and self reliance. Europeans put their faith in elitist big government and the power of the collective state.

As a result, We the People enjoy a nation where freedom reigns, elites are frowned upon, and each of us as individuals has equal rights and opportunities to live out our own versions of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Europe society simply isn't based on that fundamental set of beliefs and freedoms.

The European big government way of social-democracy is a failure, and its problems will only become worse as Europeans look to the governing elites and union leaders to solve their many problems.

Things just don't work that way. It's a self help world. And a wonderful one at that.

That's my take.

Thanks. Bob.

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