Friday, March 20, 2009

Sunny skies, Anarchists and European style Communists

Yesterday thousands marched through the Place de Bastille of every labor and political persuasion, young and old out for a day in the Parisian sun. The T-shirt above was worn by a member of an anarchist group who strenuously distanced himself from the communists. He believed a very long strike was necessary to bring the government down, not a day strike under blue skies. I was struck by the many elderly people sporting communist banners and arm bands. I mentioned my years in Ukraine and what happened there under communism including the deliberate starvation or deportation of Ukrainian farmers causing the death of 7 million of them. But, that wasn't real communism they replied! Wishful thinking at best. It's so interesting to be in a country where people pay 40% of their income for taxes for social programs that pay them more than they were making if they lose their jobs, where the university costs about $900 a year, where there is full socialized medicine and where the people believe the government is not doing enough. So yesterday millions marched in France for more even though there is no more. I would not like to be an elected official here. At least when I was in the middle of the sea of marchers everyone was having a good time and there were no outbreaks of violence. Not sure how the day ended but everyone was back to work today as far as I could see. Shalom from Paris. David Schneier

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