March 12, 2006

Political beasts

One of life's little passtimes as a stranger in a strange land is being a political spectator. Like a birdwatcher, I can check off some of the rarest species. (A fun example-- the conservative governing party of Denmark is called 'The Left'-- they are conservative old-style liberals, from before Reagan redefined the word). Another example, there are real live communists running around in Sweden-- they are even part of the coalition government that is in power. I hesitate to call them red-blooded communists because they are about the palest people you might ever encounter-- pale like the grey November sky over Erich Honecker's East Germany-- but in a political sense, yes, you could call them red-blooded communists. The leader of the party was put into the spotlight recently for his anti-democratic leanings and finally he said that he had stopped calling himself a communist, although he had never stopped believing in the ideas behind the movement. ! Put that in your pipe.
But an even rarer beast has just raised its head: syndicalism. Syndicalism made a splash as an anarchistic labor movement before the first world war. Real live snorting syndicalists are loose in the streets of Lund, waving red and black banners, and organizing a boycott of one of the very best bakeries/coffee shops in town. In the paper today they wrote that an older man walked past the demonstration and couldn't hold back his disgust. He stood in front of the activists and shouted, 'Why don't all you young people get jobs, then you won't have time to demonstrate!' to which one of the protesters replied, 'But it's Saturday!'


At March 15, 2006 4:48 PM , Anonymous tim said...

I wanted to be an anarcho-syndicalist for about a week once in 1990.


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