It is May Day today and I have blogged before about this anniversary, its history and traditions, here, and also here and lastly here. Today at lunchtime I was walking back to the office after a meeting and chanced upon a May Day demonstration in central Melbourne. It was a rather mild affair with a few dozen of protesters, but they did manage to stop the traffic for a few minutes while the crowd watched with expressions ranging from apathy to mild amusement to annoyance. The police were there to keep an eye on things and the demonstrators moved on after a while.
We are still relatively fortunate here in Australia in these terrible times of economic crisis. The unemployment rate tends to be quite low compared to other Western nations, the economy (although not booming) is still fairly healthy, and our lifestyle is still quite relaxed. We are counting our blessings, but the question is, till when? How long will the mining boom that has buoyed up the economy last? Will international pressures force our economy down sooner rather than later.? One thinks of the fat and lean cows, and we must prepare ourselves for the worse…
I dare say that labour demonstrations marking May Day that will take place across the world will be more vehement and rather more well-attended than the Melbourne one. Europe with its backdrop of unpopular austerity measures and rising social unrest will play a leading role in these demonstrations, I should think. Greece, Spain and Portugal are set to hold large nationwide demonstrations. At a Paris rally, National Front leader Marine Le Pen is expected to tell her supporters who they should vote for in Sunday's presidential run-off vote. The Occupy protest movement has urged May Day action spanning the globe…
The Occupy protest movement released a statement that said: “The Occupy Movement has called for A Day Without the 99% on May 1st, 2012”. This is in reference to its slogan that the wealthy 1% rules over a powerless 99%. The main Occupy rally will be in New York in the afternoon rush hour. The Occupy movement in San Francisco called for a Golden Gate Bridge protest, with the statement there being: “This May Day we look forward to seeing strong, powerful picket lines, unlike anything the Golden Gate Bridge bosses have seen before”.
Rallies have already taken place across Asia, with the protest in Hong Kong attracting about 5,000 workers who marched demanding a rise in the minimum wage. In Jakarta, Indonesia, more than 9,000 workers marched to the state palace calling for better pay and job protection. In Manila, the Philippines, some 8,000 workers rallied near the Malacanang palace to call for pay increases.
We live in interesting times, and things are going to get all the more interesting as time progresses. As with any crisis a resolution will follow - history teaches us that. In any resolution some things will get better, but also there will be many casualties. One hopes that some good sense prevails and we vote in some politicians that will think of the greater, longer term good.
HA LONG BAY, VIETNAM
21 hours ago