According to Wikipedia:
“May Day occurs on May 1 and refers to several public holidays. In many countries, May Day is synonymous with International Workers’ Day, or Labour Day, a day of political demonstrations and celebrations organised by the unions, anarchists, and socialist groups. May Day is also a traditional holiday in many cultures.”
Well, today is that day! And, when Zan and I spent a little time at Berlin-Hauptbahnhof, there were wandering teams of emergency response ninjas in tactical Samurai armour and riot helmets anchored on their belts.
Well, this is a day that still a day of demonstrations and even some expected leitmotif rioting at night.
Night because 1 May is also a day for celebration as well. It is a holiday day and all the shops are closed. The weather is already warm and blue. There should be lots of amazing things going on outside all day and I will surely bring my cameras — still and video — as Zan and I jump onto our bikes and pick around the city, seeing what’s going on and being just about as touristy as humanly possible!
OK, Berlin is not so much about dancing around the Maypole — this is neither the happy Hawaii Nei “May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii” nor is it the Pagan adoration of nature with roots in Germanic paganism.
Maybe in the South of Germany or elsewhere, but in Berlin, with its sometimes dangerous and surely passionate confluence of the East and the West, they care more about self-serving concepts of Utopia and the brotherhood of man and the Holy nobility of the Worker more than they ever consider Realpolitik — “so, how will anarchy work in a Modern, global, connected world, pray tell.” Or even, something as simple as, “how will your proposed Marxist utopia afford to survive if not thrive in this interconnected, market-driven, capital-seeking, economy?”
Well, anyway, I really think that this is sort of a rite of passage for young hooligans everywhere, from throughout Europe.
I have been told by my European classmates that there’s a certain form of earnest intellectual who’s into this: Communist, Marxist, and also radical green as well as radical environmentalist, and so forth.
And, it is sort of like being a soldier and never having been deployed to a war zone: you never quite command respect as a clerk or a pencil-pusher if you don’t do a good rioting someone, some time, on May 1, during your youth. The same holds true with anyone who indeed wants their wings in the world of academia, of counter-culture, of avant-garde “fight the powers” reform, and the like.
You need to cough on some pepper spray, massage the bumps and bruises from a nice billy-clubing, and then get that invaluable brand in the form of a misdemeanor or — even better — felony for civil disobedience — the only criminal charge that is actually more valuable, offering more legitimacy and street cred, than a proper PhD.