Oh, I meant to tell you about May day. On May 1st there was a neo-Nazi ("Young Workers") march downtown. There were 100 or 200 of them, depending on various estimates, so we'll say 150. One hundred and fifty people who hate other people on the basis of things they didn't choose. I am always baffled by this. I hate plenty of people, but entirely on the basis of their choices. If there were a march against the people who stand in the doorways on trams I would be at the front (What do we want? To get off the tram! When do we want it? MOVE!) but disliking foreigners and homosexuals and brown people is just so ... boring.
They get to march, it's their right to march and they legally requested permission for their little rally in the town's main square with a march around the neighborhood, so that was that. Word went out and a lot of protesters showed up in another square nearby with the intention of blocking the marchers. There were 1000 or 2000 of us, so we'll say 2000 because that's the side that I was on and it sounds nicer. Plus the neo-Nazis were sticking together the whole time, whereas our side sort of wandered in and out, so I'd bet that it was 2000 people in attendance, just not all at once.
Our side had live music and the city mayor and generally a good atmosphere. Between us and them was a roving wall of six hundred police officers in full riot gear, which was pretty impressive, and I was glad for them that it was a cold day because those outfits look hot. The police were mostly nice, I would say some of them were a bit cranky about having to be there when they traditionally are supposed to be out kissing a girl under a flowering tree, I mean really those pants are ridiculous and any body would rather be kissing than wearing that.
I guess it was fun. It reminded me of my late teens, when we linked arms around Planned Parenthood and chanted to drown out Operation Rescue. We started out so bold and full of purpose and folk songs but eventually we were singing the theme song from Gilligan's Island, and honestly that makes sense. These people are silly; why take them seriously?
Some people on the blockade side got taken away in police vans (detained but not charged) and some people got tear-gassed; from my point of view it looked like theater; I think they wanted to have drama and the police were bored and that happened. I don't know how it looked to them though. There was some commentary about the amount of money spent on the police being sort of wasteful on the part of the protesters, and some friends suggested that if people hadn't protested it would have been more embarrassing for the marchers, like throwing a party that nobody attends, that they wanted to be challenged so they also got what they wanted. I don't know, I can't attribute a great deal of brains and planning to people who are simultaneously carrying signs that say: NATIONALISM NOT GLOBALISM and confederate flags. Oh yeah you read that right. In that light I wonder if it wouldn't be better to feel sorry for them than to laugh at them. I mean really: it would be the kind of stupid I feel when I have a cold except ALL THE TIME. But there's ignorance and willful ignorance and I don't know, I don't need to feel too sorry for too long. I think we could sing a few rounds of Gilligan for our own amusement and get out in time for some excellent kissing under the cherry trees.