The Anatomy of a Fading Protest

The Anatomy of a Fading Protest
Image created by Steven Alber & AI

The teachers' strike has now concluded for the time being. One could pretend it ended in victory for the educators, but in reality, Kaja Kallas scored yet another point, reaffirming the transformation of Estonian politics into farce. The €17 pay raise achieved by the teachers, who had started the strike with such determination and dedication at the beginning of last week, doesn't even warrant a smirk. Subtract the income tax from that, and what remains is mere mockery. It's sad that the respected teaching community allowed themselves to be humiliated in this way, but upon reflection, perhaps one can understand their reasoning.

Bow Down, Mister!

It's in the Estonian blood to bow before lords. Therefore, the teachers' protest against injustice seemed like an over-the-top solution to the average Estonian. In the media, one could stumble upon opinions trying to discredit the teachers' strike at all costs. "How can educated people go on strike over a salary? A true Estonian doesn't toil for money, but for ideals. Shame on you, government-opposing useful idiots, who fail to understand that there's no money to be had, because spending 10 million out of a 17 billion budget on some teachers is outrageous extravagance! You're not welders, whose salary reaches €4,000, or garbage collectors making €3,000, who should earn more because their work isn't creative like yours, you who can live on pure love for your profession," such claims were used to hammer the disobedient school teachers.

The Shame of Half Measures.

The Minister of Education, who had just recently assured that he could find €10 million in his ministry to more generously meet the teachers' salary demands, suddenly started mumbling about €5.7 million, which had to be scraped together from various ministry budgets. The minister probably thought half a loaf was better than none. However, by this time, Reemo Voltri, the leader of the Educational Workers' Union leading the strike, was tired of the attention and public attacks, and was relieved to be able to shift the focus away from himself at the negotiation table. Who can blame him, but he should have considered the possibility of not being able to carry the strike through to the end earlier.

Keep Quiet and Carry On Serving!

Next time a strike is planned in the Estonian state, Kaja Kallas can remind the miscreants how the teachers were unable to shake her stoic superiority, and why anyone else should be able to do so. Numerous high taxes, unlimited donations to so-called needy recipients around the world, a larger and better-paid bureaucracy, funding for NGOs protecting minority interests from their spray cans, and a silent and uncomplaining citizenry toiling away – this is the paradise we have reached under the leadership of the Reform Party. Not even some dissatisfied teachers can spoil this bliss. The only thing they can do is leave the school and seek a more profitable profession in productive labor.

Vsevolod Jürgenson