Crikey’s political expert Hillary Bray loves sticking it to John Howard but can’t find any reason to agree with the May Day protestors around the world. But let’s first open our coverage with Neal Woolrich’s coverage of the protests in Sydney.

On Wednesday our Sydney man, Crullers, popped along to the offices of Australasian Correctional Management in Market Street, Sydney, to observe the media observing the M1 protests:

“Truth be told, I don’t think I can really tell Crikey subscribers anything more than they didn’t already suspect about the media coverage of the M1 protests. Unfortunately I was only there from 7am until about 8:45am, at which time I ducked off to the Federal Court to see young Jamie under the pump.

At, 7:30, the advertised start time for the protest, I would estimate there wouldn’t have been more than about 60 people there. People were moving in and out of the building unhindered, although at that hour obviously there weren’t that many workers around.

I obviously didn’t see the worst of whatever “violence” there was, but what I did see was magnified by the camera folk in attendance to the umpteenth degree. As I said from the top, no startling revelations there. In the time I was there, the ferals were standing shoulder to shoulder out the front of the building, and there was a line of cops behind them. There was occasionally a little bit of backward force – initiated by the ferals as far as I could tell – and the cops merely held their ground.

These incidents were few and far between and were usually restricted to a small section of the line. But whenever it happened, the camera crew dashed to the hot spot to get those close up, shaking camera shots that make for such drama on the news. I saw a few TV stories showing these incidents, and as everyone suspects, they appear far worse on the idiot box than at the scene.

Speaking of idiots, I thought the media would have done better to focus on them – there were plenty around.

For starters, they were encouraging people to blockade the ACM building – “if we can’t close down detention centres, let’s close down ACM”. Never mind that their actions (if successful) would create collateral damage to the “innocent” tenants in ACM’s building. These ferals who deplore carpet-bombing in Afghanistan because of the collateral damage it does to “innocent” civilians don’t mind taking out a few innocent businesses in their mindless protests.

One nitwit grabbed the microphone and in the middle of her mostly incoherent rant mentioned something about the “Constitutional right to free speech”. Funny, that. Last time I had a gander at the Constitution it didn’t contain a right to free speech.

If they’re getting simple things like this wrong, Lord help them make head or tail of a complicated issue like the Palestinian – Israeli conflict. Speaking of which, they had made head and tail of it and the jury has decided – Israel is a murderous regime, let’s march on their consulate.

Another speaker implored the crowd to “sack the Libs” to get rid of the mandatory detention policy. Sorry, sunshine. I think you’ll find the ALP introduced the policy and won’t be backing away from it even if they did take office tomorrow.

And I have sad news for Laurie Oakes – the National Union of Students has obviously obtained their leaked copy of the federal budget. They must, because they’re already organising protests against it.

Will have a complete story on the site after a few stiff scotches to calm me down.”

HILLARY’S TAKE ON MAY DAY AROUND THE WORLD

May 1. A pagan festival, appropriated by the Catholic Church but a day in times gone by inextricably linked with the opium of the people.

Today, the drugs involved must be LSD and angel dust. They’re the only possible explanation for the comments and the behaviour of the people who mark May Day ‘cos a lot of weird stuff goes down as the left tries to show us why capitalism doesn’t work.

Hillary is sitting back to watch how those stragglers left on the wilder shores of Marx, the defenders of lost causes, are filling in their day around the world. Here’s Part I of the report.

In Sydney, protesters attacked police horses, throwing marbles and firecrackers. Funny. OK, so the horses were asking for it by working for the pigs, man as the SMH reports, one protester shouted “Police are abusing horses!” but these people are probably vegans, too. Don’t vegans like horses? They also staged a protest against the only country in the Middle East that can be called a democracy. Stick that in your bong and smoke it.

In Melbourne yep, you guessed it they staged a demo outside Nike. It’s odd, ain’t it. These people don’t like the spread of American culture but they seem to have adopted the favourite targets of American protesters. It’s the same story with McDonalds as well. Why can’t these people give their rallies an Aussie touch. Bash the Burger King. Trash the KFC. Just think up something original, please.

In London, events have kicked off with a rally by the anti-car group Critical Mass. That’s the same Critical Mass group who often like to lie down in the middle of King Street, Newtown (it’s close to home). And Hillary thought these people were anti-globalisation or at least had read No Logo and opposed global but obviously not. They probably read about the activities planned for their local M1 (Copyright, Registered Trade Mark) on their local Indy Media (Copyright, Registered Trade Mark) website.

Berliners get it lucky on May Day. In one of those hangovers from pagan days adopted by the Christians, they gather at night around bonfires to mark St Walpurgis Night, recalling a medieval rite of spring believed to scare off witches. That means it’s easy to set things on fire. If only idiots in Detroit could claim such a philosophical justification for Devil’s Night.

From the last bulletin, protestors had taken advantage of proceedings to fire flares at the police and, no doubt, recall all the good times they enjoyed with their pals from the Stassi. They had also stormed a supermarket. Selling the broadest range of goods at the cheapest profitable price is a very evil thing to do.

France, though, is today’s hotspot. I love Paris in the spring time. I love Paris in the fall. I love Paris in the summer when it sizzles. I love Paris in the winter when it drizzles and who knows what we’re going to get today?

Here’s what the first edition of The Times reports:

“Thousands of flag-waving supporters of the far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen marched through central Paris this morning, to a gathering point at the Place de L’Opera, where M Le Pen began an hour-long address. Police were deployed in force to prevent clashes between his supporters and rival protesters, who are being bussed in from around the country and are due to march later in the day. The march routes were lined with riot police, as the authorities have warned of a serious risk of violence.”

Of course, we know why Le Pen is such a hot issue at the moments. That’s right. Alons, lefties de la patrie! He only made it into the final round of voting for the presidency because the left couldn’t get of their arses. The London Daily Telegraph carried this hilarious report a few days after the first round of voting: “The Socialist Party website is laden with mea culpas from Leftists, who regret squandering their ballot on no-hopers. One expressed guilt about her “error” in voting for Arlette Laguiller, the Trotskyist veteran leader of the Workers’ Struggle party, “out of sympathy and feminine solidarity”.”

The simple truth in France is that the left decided to stay home or indulge in intellectual masturbation while Le Pen’s vote increased by the thinnest of margins and the left’s laziness or self-indulgence consigned Lionel Jospin’s presidential chances to the dustbin of history. Indeed, when they’re out on the street, how exactly do the French know that capitalism doesn’t work? To paraphrase a few lefties, they’ve never even tried it.

And Hillary’s Protest of the Day award? So far, in third place, are the 15,000 souls who turned up outside Manilla’s presidential palace, demanding the restoration of the deposed Joseph Estrada. You can just imagine what the chants were: “We want to be exploited by a kleptocracy!” “Bring back the drunk!” “Another few weeks and there would have been a military coup and it would have been back to the Marcos days!” Nothing like having a sense of humour, is there?

Second place goes to the 20,000 demonstrators who joined Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov in Moscow. They obviously carried tick-a-box banners “Bring back the system that gave you (a) the Gulag, (b) millions of deaths from famine, (c) Chernobyl, (d) a whole range of other environmental catastrophes (e) suppression of the avant-garde, (f) state sponsored anti-Semitism, (g) another few million more dead in the war because she’d shot all the generals on trumped up charges while failing to provide you with toilet paper or tampons”.

The leaders at the time of writing, however, have got to be the 500 workers who rallied in Phnom Penh. They should know that capitalism doesn’t work. They had such a good teacher Pol Pot.

REACTION TO HILLARY’S MAY DAY SPRAY

Hillary’s ears are still ringing from the howls of protest she copped from M1 protestors angry at the unfavourable reviews Hillary gave them in her spray yesterday. But she’s bravely filed several reports that are sure to offend even more. Please send your abusive emails direct to [email protected] and let’s see what she’s got to add today.

KINDNESS TO TROTS

Hillary has received several hurt e-mail messages from tender Trots after yesterday’s piece on the M1 protests, so must make some amends.

Hillary was listening to the Parrot have his morning squawk on Thursday and was amused to hear him ask “Why don’t these people demonstrating outside the Israeli Consulate go back to their own country and try doing that?”

Gloria should perhaps remember that (a) most of them were Australians and (b) if they were Palestinians, then the Israeli government probably won’t let them go back.

Hillary was happy, however, to help a sole subscriber who sent this message in: “In Brisbane, the Trotskies protested at Boeing HQ. I can’t see the link. Do they manufacture some of the bomber planes? Hoping you can shed some light on this.”

Boeing indeed make a bomber – the mighty B-52, currently being used in what the Trots call “the war on the Third World”. And here’s an interesting fact – Boeing developed the 747, the plane that made international air travel possible for the proletariat, from it. Hillary recalls that the old Soviet Union was big on things like internal passports, but do the Trots really mean that we should stay at home?

Hillary Bray can be contacted at [email protected]

Peter Fray

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