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New ECB HQ: Now That's One Hot Frankfurter!

Clowns burning cars = a dialogue on fiscal policy in the ECB? (IMAGE: WSJ.com)

by Preston Clive

Holy guacamole. Talk about over-zealousness on both sides. 

Protests over economic policy and globalist finance (and modernization, and well, just about anything) are nothing new in Europe and in fact stretch way back through a great tradition of the working (or out of work) man speaking out en masse when he feels as though he has been deliberately deprived by fiscal policy and federal politics .  .  .  often, though not always, the same thing.

America calls itself the land of free speech and a beacon for the oppressed throughout the world, but Europeans are probably more involved with their countries' politics, and insure they get their voices heard, regardless of the cost. 

But boy o boy have banks been rankling folks and splitting them along ideological lines as of late; over the past news cycle we have seen Barack Obama of all people alienate and embarrass himself over his feathers growing all ruffled because his Western European allies have become founding members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank that he sees as an opponent to the World Bank in DC. Today it's the new building erected in Germany to house the European Central Bank, and its membership/management's preparation to inaugurate the new location with a suitably self-congratulatory ceremony for the skyscraper in Frankfurt--the countdown to this event has seen the anti-austerity/anti-capitalist Blockupy descend into the building's environs in the town's Ostend district and set off a series of clashes which blew the town up.

Scraps with the police have been ongoing--at least one police officer has been hauled to the hospital as a result of injuries sustained--it is alleged--by a protester's rock hitting him squarely in a vulnerable area. By the middle of the day, authorities pegged the size of the protesters at 3500, with the figure footnoted with the statement that this is expected to grow to around 10,000 as the day wears on.

Things have gotten ugly indeed: by midday it was reported that police had "detained" approximately 350 protesters and formally arrested five. Police claimed that 88 of their own had either been injured by stones or other thrown objects, or badly affected by tear gas thrown back at them or drifted into their own ranks. A large number of law enforcement vehicles had been set on fire, as is clearly visible in Twitter/Instagram/FB shots posted and shared to various social media and news vehicles, with windows broken and fires started.

Integrated into the Blockupy movement are anti capitalist/anti austerity activists flowing in from the Greek Syriza party, Spain’s Podemos and Germany’s Die Linke parties. They're coming in from special chartered buses from all round the continent, determined to cast a pall on the inauguration ceremony for an entity that they see as hijacking the future of all struggling middle and lower class Europeans.

A WSJ reporter interviewed some of the protesters--here's a quote:

“It’s important to be here and show that the troika’s policies are not being done in our name” said Judith, a 30-year-old protester who asked not to be identified with her last name.

“We can’t always make cuts at poor people’s expense and call them lazy Greeks, but we need to stand by in solidarity with them,” she said.

These protests stem, of course, from the Occupy Wall Street movement here in NYC--a movement which made not a whit of a truly practicable dent in the fiscal policy of Wall Street or the United States as a country; I fear, especially if violence continues to spark amid the assembly of Blockupy by destructive opportunists, that this will be the windup in Frankfurt as well--all for naught. All that will result is a high taxpayer bill to clean up and repair the damage.

This is the age of impunity, after all. Backlashes die out, governments know. Corporations know this also. Government or corporate entities simply wait out the protests, and move on once the attention to public angst vanishes with the coming of a new news cycle. 

It's a very different age we live in.

With that in mind, it would certainly be quite nice if the police and the protesters would just take it easy--especially the Blockupy protesters, who blame the police for the escalation of the situation. Don't take the bait of escalation--they'll only demonize you when you allow yourself to be provoked. You'll be tagged in the press as thugs and animals and savage anarchists--surely not an entity worthy of listening to.

Although, I confess, it is true indeed: they wouldn't have listened to you even if you behaved like a model schoolchild sitting quietly in kindergarten with his hands neatly folded, pencil sharpened, gum eraser placed at perfect 90 * angle to the pencil.

Preston Clive

3/18/2015***