OPINION: Why Do We Let Rioters Hijack May Day?
The original May Day was a festival to celebrate Spring. Aah, how lovely – cakes, dancing, singing, tradition, feasting, the joy of sunshine and flowers… and then along came Socialism and made it International Workers Day…. Well OK, we get a day off work as it’s now a Bank Holiday so that’s nice… this could be good … But looking at the news yesterday of the riots in Paris… is that how we want to celebrate May Day or International Workers Day? No thanks.
They are two different celebrations of course but one seems to have overshadowed the other. All over Europe May Day was a pagan festival to celebrate the beginning of Summer and then became a Christian one. Both lovely in their own right. In England, we had dancing around the May Pole and you do still see it in some schools and especially in villages.
International Workers Day however now seems to be an excuse to march, demonstrate and ultimately riot, if you look at was has just happened in Paris. There were, of course, genuine marches and wreath laying by those celebrating International Workers day but they were disrupted by rioters…. Fighting with the police, throwing rocks, attacking shops and restaurants, and the riot police having to use tear gas, so the rioters will afterwards claim police brutality. What that has to do with workers’ rights I have no idea. But as always happens now it was taken over by those who don’t really care about workers’ rights at all, they just want to disrupt society, destroy everything in their path, frighten everyone and waste the time of the police. The only thing they probably hate more than us is themselves. Do they represent your average worker? No. Your average worker is probably terrified of them. And certainly won’t have an easy time getting home after a hard days slog with that mess going on in the streets. Smashing up pavements with a hammer achieves what?
I’m all for protesting, marching, having your say, standing up for what you believe in. But PEACEFULLY. We live in the West. We are blessed with democracy, freedom and a benevolent society. There is no place or need for violent protest, rioting, looting, destruction, threats, attacking the police, setting things on fire, and frightening and disrupting the lives of those who actually go to work and make society tick along. And then, of course, someone has to pick up the pieces, clean the place up, stick it all back together. The emergency services have to spend all day and night trying to control it when they could be doing other more important things.
It’s interesting but not surprising that the Paris rioters wore masks. I guess if you are going to smash up McDonald’s, break into the cash register, help yourself to drinks and throw food everywhere you may not want to be recognised. But those of us who have something real to say and campaign peacefully are always proud to show our faces.
Around the world, many people are oppressed. And today is probably a day when they genuinely want to march in solidarity, as in Taksim Square for instance. Why do we allow rioters and looters to take over? Why are the many to now be bullied by the few? And what has gone so wrong with us that rioting and looting is par for the course – we have had a bellyful of it ourselves.
And why, when we live in probably the most peaceful and prosperous time for the West, do so many want to destroy it all?