May Day

Today is a state holiday in Portugal: Dia do Trabalhador, meaning Day of the Worker…or Labor Day. It’s observed by many other nations in Europe as well, and honors the ideals of social justice and the national contributions of the working class — a vanishing breed in these days of ever-increasing income inequality.

Several years of austerity and its attendant suffering has led to an alarming rise in nationalism and extreme right-wing parties across the continent, not just in the nations so grievously harmed by austerity, but also in the wealthier nations now feeling threatened by emigrants who are desperately searching for work.

Sweden is one of the latter, and it’s from there that a friend sent this dispatch:

First of May is a public holiday in Sweden, and traditionally used for demonstrations about social justice. The working class and the leftist parties have long claimed it as their own holiday.

But now there are closet Nazis in our government, and their representatives are demonstrating too — as well as those from other, even more Nazi right wing parties like Svenskarnas Parti (“The Swedes’ Party”). Swedish law says that as long as a request for a permit has been handed in and approved on time, everyone has a right to hold demonstrations (even if the mere existence of these demonstrations could be considered hate speech). And the police are pretty much required to approve all timely requests, lest the denied party accuse them of discrimination. So we’re stuck with them.

This year, though, the parish of the small city Jönköping has taken matters into its own hands, by having church bells ring out a danger warning from a church a few hundred meters from the square where the Svenskarnas Parti was demonstrating.

This signal hasn’t been used since World War II. Pretty strong stuff.

You can hear the bells here.

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About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
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8 Responses to May Day

  1. Ana_ñ says:

    Given the climate of distrust, I’m afraid I don’t understand the intention of the parish. The extreme right wing Svenskarnas Parti is demonstrating near the church, so the bells ring out a danger warning. What I don’t know is if the church consider this party dangerous, I mean, they are against it, or they think the national situation is in danger and call for people to attend the demonstration, that is, they are in favour of the party.

  2. Inge says:

    Given how close the church is and how much noise bells make, it can only be meant to disrupt the demonstration. You’d not be able to get a word spoken, especially since it lasted a long time those bells ringing, as i understand it.

  3. Rover says:

    “there are closet Nazis in our government”
    Godwin’s Law defeats the text as early as the 2nd line.

    Now Portugal’s problem is the absolute opposite, a total domination of socialist parties in power and communist parties elected for the last 40 years. And still people want more of it!

    • oregon expat says:

      Godwin’s Law would not apply if the individuals referred to are indeed neo-Nazis. I’m not up on Swedish politics, but a quick Google search shows that the Svenskarnas Parti does seem to be regularly called a neo-Nazi party. Here’s an English language news article on that event, which goes into a bit more detail. The comments section shows some fairly polarized opinions regarding Swedish culture and immigrants, particularly Muslim immigrants.

      As for Portugal, again I’m no expert, but it seems that its current suffering comes not from socialism but from the austerity-mandated shifts away from it, and toward the new normal of high unemployment, high income inequality, and the destruction of middle class purchasing power. As Portugal nears the end of its bailout, its government debt is far higher than when the bailout began (129% of GDP now, compared to 94% in 2010) — apparently a shocking surprise to the technocrats who believe austerity cures all ills, but no surprise at all to anyone who actually lives here.

      • Rover says:

        This “neo” thing is very fashionable. “neonazis”, “neoliberals” etc. It’s like the bogeyman, nobody knows what it is, or it if exists, but it sounds like evil! 😉

        As for Portugal, here’s two important things that need to be considered:
        First, austerity is not moving away from socialist policies, but towards them: raising VAT to 23.25% to cover the hole in the pension system is as close as it gets to the very definition of socialism.
        Second, numbers have shown that Portugal had its biggest economical downturn during the days of hardest-socialism-state-investments (2000-2007) and then borrowed an incredible amount of money. With public debt and spending rampant, the worldwide crysis only accelerated the inevitable.

        Here’s recent numbers for the growth of several relevant countries during that period:
        Portugal 9,97%
        Noruega 13,09%
        Itália 13,61%
        Estados Unidos 15,13%
        Malta 16,86%
        Alemanha 17,06%
        Bélgia 17,43%
        França 17,82%
        Dinamarca 17,98%
        Holanda 19,93%
        Áustria 21,83%
        Suíça 23,38%

        There was no “cushion” to withhold the innevitable. A bit scary 🙂

  4. Marie says:

    Hi,

    Funny, I came across your blog while searching on info about May Day in Portugal. I’m also an expat from Oregon, except I live I Holland. I’m visiting Portugal at the moment. Your comments struck me because Holland is not as bad off as Portugal, but, like Sweden and many other European countries, we have an influential anti-immigrant party which has been gaining votes from people looking for scapegoats for the problems going on. One of the most recent stories was when, after doing well in city elections, the leader of this party lead a room in chanting for support of less Moroccans in the country, which is basically his party’s platform. I’m sometimes not sure how much he actually believes what he says or how much of it is the thrill of all the attention he gets.

    Anyway, I just wanted to add things from another country.

  5. John in the USA says:

    I think it funny that an American, whose entire history until your generation (and mine) was so adamantly against the excesses of Marxism, would both encourage the labelling of NATIVE WORKERS as ‘nazi,’ for merely standing up for the rights that the Labor movement won for their grandparents, seventy-five years ago, while talking about a ‘Labor Day’ event! The socialists are those who wish to suck off the teat of the government, doing nothing (as many illegal aliens do, in whatever country they find themselves) and complaining while they do it, that it’s not enough!

    Why are nationalists to be vilified for asking their gov’t to care for THEM, and not for those who don’t belong? Why is it the African and Arabic nations don’t have models of social welfare, like the West does? Is it because they aren’t Christian, and don’t have a genetic altruistic gene in their makeup? Why should we then care for them, when they don’t care for their own?

    The blog writers of the Alt Right are pointing out all these inequities (and schizophrenia) of White Liberals agitating for the ‘xenos,’ while (at the same time) demeaning the White workers of each native land for being WHITE workers ! … and noting that it approaches a RELIGION of anti-White hatred and idolatry of the non-White, while being white. What the Jews call ‘selbsthass.’

    just sayin’…..

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