More Indignant people move into the streets


students protest against government cuts

Public sector strikes have followed student protests against higher tuition fees and the scrapping of allowances. Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Getty

In the wake of the Royal Ascot, it seemed appropriate today to mention horse racing diplomacy.  Last month, the Queen of England became the first British monarch to visit Ireland in 100 years; and already it is being rumored that she will return this weekend to watch one of her horses race.  An easy and quick way to build on the foundation of peace between England and Ireland that she began in May.  Not wishing to be outdone by royalty, at least not hereditary royalty, the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, has invited the presidents of Armenian and Azerbaijani to Kazan to a horse race and some discussions of peace.

The Queen is also said to be going to Wimbledon this week, a truly busy woman and one who obviously likes sports, wagering and another chance to put on a new hat.  She might want to think about Trafalgar Square for later this summer, some one will need to be trying to make peace.  British unions, students, pensioners and public employees are planning a square conversion; over the course of a series of protests the unions are predicting 750,000 members will take part and hope to shut down schools, universities, courts, ports and job centers – millions are expected to in some way be involved.  The demonstrators plan on converting Trafalgar into a square protest in the now familiar way of  Syntagma Square (Athens),  La Puerta del Sol (Madrid) and the “mother of all square protests – Tahrir Square.  In mathematical terms would a square protest be a protest multiplied by itself and therefore much, much powerful?

Even though the battles still rage in Syria and Libya, the center of political unrest seems to be moving from the Arab world the Europe.  The reasons are very much the same; all of those protesting object to the current governments and their policies – the demonstrators want new governments and new policies; like the protesting Arabs, the Europeans are also protesting current economic conditions and hardships and they are calling it “economic suppression”.  Under the pressure of the recession, huge debts and falling revenues, European governments are faced with the same budget crisis we see in the United States at both the federal and state levels.  And they have the same tools available that we have, reduce expenses and then look for more revenue – that is tax someone or something more than it is currently taxed.  Those policies are not popular here or in Europe.

The Arab Spring is fast becoming the European Summer; will it lead to violence, confrontations between armies and citizens and even the overthrow of a government or two?  That is going to be the big question; but clearly the demonstrators are feed by the previous demonstrations in other countries and are getting their slogans and agendas from them.   A demonstrator in Athens, when asked if he was like the Indignados (the name the Spanish demonstrators took on), he said absolutely, “I am a super-Indignado.”  The word of course means simply indignant – and that word could be used for most of the people who have been in the streets in anger this year.

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