May Day MaydaySunday, May 2 2004 at 01:21 Politics, Philosophy, Society
Here we go again. Today is May 1st, as you might have noticed. For the majority of the civilized world ? that is, everything apart from the US and Canada ? that means International Workers' Day, the day devoted to celebrating and commemorating the struggle of the labor class throughout the world. Around here, it's usually celebrated by young people, usually around 16-17 years of age, getting drunk off their arses, wearing masks, taking to the streets, vandalizing and throwing bricks at the police. I would call these people "Militant Extreme Leftists" ? indeed, that's what they call themselves at least ? except that's not really what they are. In reality, these people have absolutely no idea what communism, socialism, capitalism, or really any other socioeconomic system actually entails and probably can't tell left from right without a demagogue to bark propaganda at them. They are militant, however.
It appears that young people have some sort of builtin trigger that kicks in halfway through puberty and basically tells them to go out and revolt against everyone and everything. It could be their parents, their teachers, the family dog, or indeed the society they live in; it really does not matter ? the revolt is its own raison d'�tre and isn't really supposed to accomplish anything. As long as these people are revolting against something, it doesn't really matter what they're revolting against or why.
There's a small crux to be solved, though; justification. While most teenagers have at least the decency to rebel in private, preferably against their parents or the family dog, and not make a big fuss about it, some instead choose to adopt a suitable tag-on ideology and slap a neat pin (Two for $1.99, comes in both swastika and hammer-and-sickle models ? buy now and get an 'anarchy A' one for free!) on their jacket. Now they are no longer teenagers with more angst than brains, they're freedom fighters.
Generally, the ideology these hormone filled teens choose is ? or at least, what they would like to make it out to be is ? radical leftism/anarchosyndicalism. The reason for this I believe is simple; they are simple tag-on ideologies which in today's society are fairly socially acceptable, at least compared to alternatives on the other end of the spectrum - such as neofascism. Someone with a pin saying "Class Struggle" is in some obscure way more acceptable than someone sporting a Hakenkreuz in public, and perhaps most important of all, the former person won't be yelled at by his mother and sent to bed without dessert.
Now, I've mentioned "tag-on ideologies" a couple of times and it's time to elaborate on what I mean by this. If you would go to one of these street-taking events, pick out a bunch of random people and ask them about the most important social and economic aspects of their ideology, I can assure you that most if not all would be stumped and have no clue what you are talking about. These people aren't there to actually change anything ? they're there to hit The Man in the noggin with a brick. These people have never read Das Kapital, the Manifest or any other literature on the subject. They have no political or social studies education. The only thing that connects them to any real political ideology is the vague notion that somewhere in this is a bunch of bearded old men who talked a lot about freeing the working class from the oppression of the capitalists.
This is of course disastrous, but fortunately enough for these people, they are blissfully ignorant of this and couldn't really care less. The main point, perhaps, that makes this so disastrous is that it completely diminishes any chance the serious left-wing politicians and lobby groups had at being taken seriously ? there are intelligent, well-educated people out there who carry on real political struggles, and trust me, the last thing these people need is to be associated with these braindead conformist vandals who only cause trouble for everyone. What's worse, these people have been slowly seeping into serious groups, slowly but surely rotting them out from within.
If by any remote chance one of these people actually know what the ideologies they are rebelling for really mean, they need to get a grip. What these angst-ridden two-bit thugs and vandals are doing is helping absolutely no one, and the fact that all this is still continuing on really makes me question the intelligence of today's youth. In case of these people are reading this and decide to attempt redeem themselves (as if), what I recommend is first and foremost education. Read about what the hell you're actually saying and get a social science education. That's the only way to change the world.
Until this happens, though, I see no reason for giving these people any more attention than what comes out of a high-pressure hose and a tear gas grenade.
Have YOU read "Das Kapital" or the manifest you speak of?
These are people who see that there's something very wrong in this world and they want to change it. Whether they go about it the wrong way or the right way is irrelevant. The road to hell is always paved with good intentions. I'd say not giving a shit about anything but your own little life is even worse. Take us estonians for example. There were some good reasons against joining the EU. Granted, there were more good reasons for joining it than against it, but nonetheless, there was an anti-EU movement. When the results of the poll finally came in and it was decided that we were going to join after all, exactly 5 people got off their asses and went outside waving flags and asking for our freedom back. Would you rather have such attitude? We call it "pohhuism" which comes from the russian word "hui" which means cock. ("Po hui" -- literally "along the cock.") "Pohhuism" is the "not giving a fuck about anything" attitude.
Besides, isn't socialism about giving more power to the people themselves instead of letting the ruling class decide everything? In this sense, these "angst-ridden" teens are right.
Also, I can't see how you can describe them as "conformists" since they are anything but conformist -- they rebel against the social structure of our society. Yes, some if not most of them are idiots. What can you do? Most people in the world are bleedin' morons. I bet that most people who advocate capitalism aren't any better either.
And make this comment box a bit bigger. It's too tiny.
Read my post again. These people are not communists, socialists, and they are NOT rebels trying to change anything. They're rebels without a cause, just rebelling for the fuck of it.
They are conformist because they aren't rebelling, they're just joining the mass of angsty vandals, where they find they belong.