Besides Red, White, and Black

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WE INTERRUPT THIS POST TO WISH EVERYONE A HAPPY REVOLUTION DAY! 25 DE ABRIL 1974



Yes it has been 30 years since Portugal’s carnation revolution. I can’t tell you how much I wish I was in Lisbon this weekend. This is perhaps my most favorite holiday ever, and today is the 30th anniversary. 30 years since the dictatorship fell, since soldiers peacefully overthrew the fascists, and marched through the streets with carnations in their guns. I’ll start my morning by playing the once banned revolution songs, just like they did on the radio that morning. For more try this.

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A few hours today and last night were set aside to attend the Socalist Fest 2004(not the official name) with a kind friend, here in Amsterdam. I went because I’m always curious to hear passionate speakers, and spend time with eclectic grassroots groups. That and I have an affinity for old bearded marxists, pechuli scent, and clever block-text posters/t-shirts. Here’s what was on sale at the conference today.

Well, to my disappointment the speeches suffered from the same sickness many of these conferences suffer from. “Preachin to the choir.” Everyone who showed up already knew that they were against the war, against the right wing conservative governments world wide, and critical of globalization. The only purpose, therefore, getting together served was just to provide them with an auditorium to shout at each other in. I dig shouting, but I was bored. My friend said it best: “Why don’t we leftists stop repeating the same old slogans and make new strategies, why do our tshirts only have black, red and white on them – there are more colors to be used!”

I was mildy amused by the forum I attended “The Other America” which I went to hoping to talk about the Michael Harrington book. No such luck. Instead it was some Dutchman/American Labor Historian who seemed to insist that unions would be the force to save America from the right wing hawks. I’m a proud union member, but this guy really needed to get his head out of the books, unions have been on the run for decades, they’re too busy trying to stay above water, no time to occupy the whitehouse. Oddly enough I said nothing throughout the forum, I sat in silence listening to some well-informed yet rather broken analysis of how to change the US. One point that is worth passing on, these folks would love to be able to vote in a US election, and due to the way it influences the world, they’d like the whole world to be able to vote in US presidental elections. Logistically and legally impossible, but it illustrates a point. When do you hear someone in the states saying “Man, we should be able to vote for the PM in the Netherlands.”

Oh, I’ve added that clever gentleman – Tom Tomorrow, to my blogroll. You know… the guy who does the great comics.

Today’s Music: Johnny Cash & Willie Nelson – Storytellers

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