Barcelona – Riot Police Cracks Down

Police in Spain is proceeding to beat up and shoot at peaceful protesters in Barcelona:

Spanish police fired rubber bullets and swung truncheons to disperse anti-crisis protesters in a Barcelona square Friday as cleaning crews cleared their tent camp.

Catalan police in anti-riot gear moved in after about 50 protesters sat down on the street to block a convoy of cleaning trucks leaving the Plaza de Cataluna square with remnants of the encampment.

Police, some with plastic shields, were shown on television dragging protesters along the street and swiping with truncheons at activists, who had been chanting: “They shall not pass.”

An AFP reporter at the scene saw rubber bullets fired.

The protest blockade was broken up within minutes but about 100 protesters regrouped in the square. They were surrounded by two police cordons blocking hundreds more people from entering from nearby roads.

Here is a clip:

Upgrade Democracy??

According to Wikipedia the main goals of the Spanish protests are to “Upgrade democracy, reduce influence of economic powers in politics”.

Since I’m not exactly sure what that means and since the exact goal of these protests doesn’t seem very clear or obvious it is hard for me to sympathize with these people.

If they are protesting the recent liberalization of the labor market and the recognition of an employer’s right to hire and fire employees as he deems necessary, and if all they are asking for is cosmetic changes in their current flavor of the taxation extortion racket (=democracy), if in fact they are maybe even asking for the government to fund health care and education even more extensively than it has already been doing with such blood money, then I have little to so sympathy for these protesters.

After all, abolitionists didn’t take to the streets to demand that “slavery be upgraded” either!

The goal to “reduce influence of economic powers in politics” means nothing so long as you allow for the existence of a state. A state by necessity always and everywhere lends itself to special interest meddling on the part of the rich and powerful a.k.a politics, it is a completely boring and predictable side effect of statism.

Nor do I have any sympathy with the police, however I would at least submit that those people have little to no choice than to obey their masters and to go where they are ordered to go and beat up whom they are ordered to beat up.

The protesters meanwhile could have made the demonstrations about spreading truth and knowledge about voluntaryism and against the concept of the state in general.

I may be missing something, but I see no such indications anywhere.

In which case … I don’t mind if they all together smash and kick each others’ heads in, at least it’ll turn off all those who really care to make true and meaningful change happen at some point from joining such movements.

(To be clear: I may very well be missing the true objectives of these protests, the above is only based upon the few pieces of information I was able to gather)

Civil Disobedience

On a related note, some thoughts on civil disobedience …

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Government Collapses, Crises, and Protests Around the World

Something seems to be brewing these days, now doesn’t it?

January 12th: In Lebanon the unity government collapses:

Lebanon’s unity government has collapsed after the Hezbollah movement and its political allies resigned from the cabinet over arguments stemming from a UN investigation into the assassination of Rafiq al-Hariri, the former Lebanese prime minister, in 2005.

January 14th: In Tunisia the President has stepped down and a state of emergency has been declared:

Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali has stepped down after 23 years in power as protests over economic issues snowballed into rallies against him.

Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi has taken over as interim president, and a state of emergency has been declared.

Mr Ben Ali left Tunisia with his family, and has since arrived in Saudi Arabia, officials said.

Earlier, French media said President Nicolas Sarkozy had rejected a request for his plane to land in France.

Dozens of people have died in recent weeks as unrest has swept the country and security forces have cracked down on demonstrations over unemployment, food price rises and corruption.

(…)

The protests started after an unemployed graduate set himself on fire when police tried to prevent him from selling vegetables without a permit. He died a few weeks later.

Note what’s at the root of the outrage here: Government restrictionism in action. This is what governments do all over the world, from minimum wage legislation to union legislation to antitrust legislation, and what have you; interesting to see people wake up to the injustice of these concepts. Although I do of course realize that that’s not all that this is about. :)

January 20th: Irish government collapses:

Irish Prime Minster Brian Cowen has called an Irish election for March 11th.

Speaking to a packed parliament, Cowen stated that he was reassigning six cabinet portfolios after six of his ministers resigned.

His comments ended a day of mounting chaos in the parliament as it became clear that the Green Party were preventing the Fianna Fail party from replacing the minsters who resigned .

Opposition leader Enda Kenny of Fine Gael said he was delighted there was finally an air of finality because of the naming of an election date.

The Irish collapse of course has to be seen in light of economic difficulties coupled with political disagreements.

January 25th: “Unprecedented” protests in Egypt:

The scope of Egypt’s protests today, calling for greater freedom and downfall of strongman President Hosni Mubarak, is unprecedented.

Though tens of thousands took to the streets of Cairo in 2005 calling for democratic reform, today’s protests are far beyond the action in the capital. Reporters and activists on the scene in Cairo say there was a spirit of anger and defiance in the crowds and there were protests of varying sizes in at least a half-dozen Egyptian cities.

It will be interesting to see if other US backed dictators will soon face similar challenges across the middle east. In particular Pakistan will be interesting to watch.

In any case … what a turbulent start into the year 2011. What a close succession of government failures, collapses, and mass protests in Europe and the Middle East!

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