September 11, 2000
5:41 PM   Subscribe

All across Europe - in Britain, France, Belgium and the Netherlands - the people are rising up! Protesting! Blockading! Saying that the people united will never be defeated! Democracy is thriving! Why is this not being celebrated at Indymedia? Could it be because the people are rising up against left-wing policies?
posted by aaron (19 comments total)
aaron, doesn't baiting liberals on this messageboard get tiresome after awhile?
posted by jblock at 6:16 PM on September 11, 2000

Speaking as a Liberal, I have to agree with Aaron. I would go to any lenth to supress information concerning perhaps the most important of all Liberal issues: Tax on gasoline.

In fact, we sit in dark rooms eating hummus and vegan hotdogs and plan just how we can best use the money we receive from taxes on gas. A general breakdown of last nights meeting is as follows:

20% To Increase Teen Pregnancy (so they'll have abortions)
30% Desecration of the bible
50% Funding for Susan Sarandon
posted by Doug at 6:38 PM on September 11, 2000

Jblock, don't scold aaron for trying. If this is the best he can come up with, he could obviously use the practice.
posted by wiremommy at 6:40 PM on September 11, 2000

P.S. Oh, I'm sorry, are Doug and I "lowering the tone"?
posted by wiremommy at 6:51 PM on September 11, 2000've all gotten it wrong. The reason they're protesting in Europe is because I told them to. Geez, talk about not getting credit where credit is due...
posted by aramaic at 7:03 PM on September 11, 2000

::snicker:: Legitimate responses: zero. Attacks: 4. At least aramic is funny.
posted by aaron at 8:59 PM on September 11, 2000

Post a legitimate thread, get legitimate responses.

oh, and vice versa.
posted by mathowie at 9:26 PM on September 11, 2000

Sorry aaron. Try this on for size. This summer gas prices skyrocketed across the board, but moreso in Oregon. For no good reason. The citizens were up in arms. Who led the fight to find out why prices had gone up suddenly? Who got them back down? Why, our uber-liberal demo senator, Ron Wyden.

Poor, poor us. We had to pay almost $2 a gallon to gas up our SUVs.

Protesting high gas prices isn't liberal or conservative. It's short-sighted and greedy. Those are bi-partisan qualities.
posted by frykitty at 9:28 PM on September 11, 2000

Why is it not a legitimate question? Those people in Europe are doing many of the same things that S11 and all the others are doing in Melbourne and Seattle and the conventions and all the rest. That group should be very proud of the Europe protesters, but they're not. I'm seriously interested about this.

frykitty: I'm interested in the silence and lack of celebration about the people taking control, not in the argument about gas prices itself. In any case, you're incorrect. In the US, neither Ron Wyden nor anybody else of either party got prices down. It was market forces, combined with new EPA regulations and changes in production levels, that caused the price to shoot up, and it was market forces, combined with a slow-to-arrive adjustment to the new regs and changes in production levels, that brought them back down. It's a different matter in Europe, largely because the taxes there are much much higher than they are here, and it's getting to the point there that the prices are seriously affecting people, not just rising up to a grumbling level.
posted by aaron at 9:39 PM on September 11, 2000

Nice bait, aaron. Not taking it.

I do think your question is legitimate, if incendiary in this forum. In my opinion, we made this bed with our own stupidity. We built entire cities around a non-renewable resource that is damaging to the environment, and now we have to pay the piper. This is me playing "My Heart Bleeds for You" on the world's smallest violin.

The reason there is no celebration of these "empowering" events is there is no reason to celebrate. It's just people having a mass whine-in about getting hit in the pocketbook because of bad decisions. Decisions we made decades ago. No one ever said petroleum was renewable. We always knew it would run out. We knew it was vile for the planet a long, long time ago. Yet we decided to become dependent upon it anyway. Swift thinking, humanity. I've got a bridge to sell you.
posted by frykitty at 10:04 PM on September 11, 2000

Interesting fact I learned from this story, excerpted from AP:

“Heavy vehicles, usually banned from French roads on weekends, were permitted to drive Sunday to expedite fuel deliveries.”

How kind of them. Banned? Why? It sounds typical - people want fresh produce in the store Monday morning; they want their furniture delivered, their corner-station gas tanks filled, their newspapers and mail brought to neighborhood distribution points, but they’ll be DAMNED if they want to get stuck behind a semi on the way back from their weekend trip to the country.
posted by lileks at 10:49 PM on September 11, 2000

Having just got to work after being stuck behind a queue of people panic buying fuel because of the blockades I think a few things should be pointed out.
I would not have any problem at all with my government charging 80p a litre for fuel if they used the duty levied to research alternative fuel sources, invest in the rail network so that passenger services were reliable and widespread and (more importantly) freight was taken off the roads onto the rail system. But they don't. They claim the increases in tax are for environmental reasons but there is scant evidence of any envronmental policies being implemented.
I live in a small rural community - I have no option but to drive to the nearest station 25 miles away (the bus service was cancelled several years ago when bus services were privatised), in a few days I will not have any petrol left and will not be able to make my trip to the station except by bike which, if I were to do so would take me about 3 hours. I will not be able to go to work, neither will much of the country and business will begin to suffer. You can bet your life the Government will sit up and listen when the country's large companies go to them.
Maybe this situation, if it escalates into paralysis of the country will highlight just how reliant society is on the internal combustion engine and make more people realise what will happen when the finite fossil fuel resources really start to become scarce.
Then again, the likely outcome is that a concession will be made to the road hauliers (the ones actually blockading the refineries), they'll go back to work on cheaper diesel and the Governement will get a pat on the back for averting a crisis.
Meanwhile we'll all still be choking the system (and ourselves) slowly to death.
posted by Markb at 2:19 AM on September 12, 2000

i strongly doubt that the majority of those vehicles transport foods, furniture et al. to be sold immediately at your local shop, store, station... "just in time" is/was the key, the way of delivering the parts for your favorite food / furniture product to the factories when needed. and the storage moved on the streets. that's why we can rave in empty warehouses...
posted by piefke3000 at 2:30 AM on September 12, 2000

Oh, we're rising up allright. If we can be bothered. Which we can't. But sit back and watch the backlash against the protesters, who already receive highly subsidised fuel [at least in the UK].

Till then, I shall rejoice in the decline in vehicle traffic, making our cities safer for cyclists and pedestrians and the air cleaner for all of us.

Truly, popular protests do have such positive outcomes...!
posted by theparanoidandroid at 4:44 AM on September 12, 2000

Fuck the protestors. Truck drivers and farmers are among the most subsidised and cosseted groups in the country. Lorries pay a disproportionately low road duty in comparison with cars, given their capacity to pollute the air and tear up the roads, especially on rural roads. Farmers fill their fields with allergy-inducing oilseed rape in order to claim the EU subsidy. When I asked my dad last night why exactly he was supporting two groups that he's never had a good word for in the past -- "you know, son, you never see a poor farmer in this country" -- he had to admit that I had a point.

Oh, and tax on fuel is designed to curtail supply.
posted by holgate at 5:01 AM on September 12, 2000

It's gotten terribly fractured in here down the "liberal/conservative" supposed split. That's too bad. Really cuts down on the amount of logic that can flow. I figure that market forces can be shaped by government policy to achieve specified ends (whether they do it with any competence is another thing). In this case, the fuel taxes would seem to price petrol up closer to the true cost, figuring in other pesky little market costs like pollution, environmental destruction from exploration, urban sprawl, and billboards :) Placing a price on these "externalities" could be a good way to use the market (conservative) to achieve some nice liberal ends.

Oh, and Wyden is taking credit for lowering gas prices in Oregon? That's funny. Our senators in the Midwest are also all claiming single handed credit for saving us from Big Oil.
posted by norm at 6:05 AM on September 12, 2000

It's also been suggested that the oil companies are tacitly encouraging the protests, in order to gain leverage over the government. They could seek injunctions against the blockades, but they don't. They could call in the police, bt they don't. Quite simply, they're loving it.
posted by holgate at 9:17 AM on September 12, 2000

I have not heard much about this story, I am just popping in to state my usual blockades are wrong thing. Blah blah, individuals, blah, right to move freely, blah. Carry on.
posted by thirteen at 9:27 AM on September 12, 2000

In the meantime, those of us who bike will continue to do so. I suggest saving up for a comfortable rig that you can use when OPEC goes and lays another Gas Crisis upon us all.
posted by RakDaddy at 1:07 PM on September 12, 2000

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