Friday, April 30, 2004

Mayday, mayday!

Even at the beginning of last month, Dublin seemed to be in a state of controlled panic over the coming weekend's May Day protests.

Customer feedback
Do you want fries with that? Mayday 2000 in London

Frank McGahon posted an excellent article on the protestors at Samizdata today. My feelings about these events are mixed.

On one hand, public violence is usually a great advertisment for whatever thugs are opposing. Think of de Gaulle's election victory after May 1968 or Bull Connor's police brutality in Selma.

On the other, I can easily imagine these people applying the same taste for violence and radicalism to taking grain from starving Ukrainian peasants, as Red Guards beating and humilating "reactionaries" or burning books in German streets.

I'm not certain, even today that humanity has really learned anything much from the mistakes of the past century. I doubt that the taste for violence is lacking in any of us: Certainly, it isn't in me, if my taste for Tarantino movies is anything to go by. All the most dynamic ideologies still seem to be radical, utopian, apocalyptic, collectivist and anti-bourgeois.