Sunday, August 15, 2004
I'd like to thank BunkerMulligan, another homespun blogger, for stopping by. He commented on my piece-- or rather clarified-- the not so subtle difference between the 'classes' in Europe versus our own perceptions here.
"I remember Europe well in this regard. There is, to this day, a strong class
system, although there are now fewer classes. When we speak of "class" in this country, it comes nowhere close to what the real meaning of that word really describes."
BunkerMulligan is right, of course. A few years ago, I was astonished to find out there is a Polish political party called the 'Peasant Party'. They represent Polish rural voters. They deliberately chose that name, not only because it represents how rural Poles are regarded by their urban counterparts, but because they are well aware of their status and of how their concerns are met by other Polish political parties. In fact, they were at the time, taking on the dominant political party at the time. Soliadrity wanted to appropriate monies for a network of theaters and schools for the arts, while the Peasant Party was trying to find money for tractor parts so as to bring hundreds of tractors into the countryside. Poland was than and still is, a net importer of food.
Consider that Poland was at one time one of the great 'breadbaskets' of Europe, before World War One. Solidarity opposed the expenditure, saying that Poland needed to have and export a lively arts community, as opposed to an agricultural capacity that would not put the country into the spotlight. The measure was defeated in no small measure because Solidarity could not be seen caving into 'peasants'. The argument on the street was, 'if we cave now, what else will these peasants want?'
Thanks, Bunker, for the clarification and for reminding me.