What every American needs to know about the riots in France
With so much happening in our own economy, it's tempting to overlook what's happening in economies abroad. And the way France has been demonized by Fox News, some people might think that the riots are a good thing. They probably are right, but not for the reasons they imagine.
Regardless how you feel about France, it's important to recognize that the riots are not a uniquely 'French thing.' Nor are they a marginal outbreak in a largely functional economy.
They are not, as the French Interior Minister would like the world to think, the work of
"thugs" and "hooligans" from the far-left and far-right, as well as young delinquents from the Paris suburbs, who he said had infiltrated the march in the capital.Bullshit. These riots are more evidence of a widespread, ongoing, systemic problem; the natural and painful consequence of an unsustainable system based on monopoly, greed, and exploitation - just like the system we have here in the United States.
Between 250,000 and half a million people marched in 80 towns and cities across France in a show of force over a new youth job contract . . .But, according to the Interior Minister, the ones causing all the trouble were
"a few hundred delinquents out looking for a fight"Isn't it odd how every time someone dares to do something, other than wave a placard, they are labeled as outsiders, extremists, and generally considered pathological?
But, how much attention did Americans get by protesting peacefully before the Iraq war? None.
But now, Chirac is calling for negotiations.
Police made 300 arrests overnight, two-thirds of them in central Paris, where gangs of youths - described as outside troublemakers - fought running battles with police, vandalising cafes and burning bookshops.These protestors are angry and determined. But, what's all the fuss about?
Several hundred people overturned cars and hurled firebombs at riot police on the capital’s Place de la Sorbonne, as police repelled them with tear gas and water cannons, until calm returned early on Friday.
[The new employment contract] allows all companies to hire employees under 26 for a trial two-year period, during which they can be fired at any time.Naturally, French youth, who are already suffering from the highest unemployment rates in Europe (from 23% - 50% in some areas), are less than enamored by the measure, which essentially allows already abusive and exploitative employers to abuse a wider number of workers than they already do.
"They're offering us nothing but slavery," said Maud Pottier, 17, a student at Jules Verne High School in Sartrouville, north of Paris. "You'll get a job knowing that you've got to do every single thing they ask you to do because otherwise you may get sacked."Some attribute the passage of this law to the influence of "powerful trade [unions which have] succeeded in protecting those in work at the expense of those kept outside the labour market."
Indeed, De Villepin defends the law, insisting that it's better than
labour reforms in neighbouring Germany which have cut unemployment and social security benefits and forced people into accepting low-paid jobs. The French scheme at least guarantees pay levels agreed through collective bargaining.So in France (just like in America), government and corporations throw the ball in the union's court, which naturally pits union workers against non-union workers, and does nothing to improve the union's "bargaining power," which is minimal at best. Nevertheless, it gives the appearance of freedom.
But of course, we all know that the union is only half the story.
[In] France, as in Germany [and America], companies have been making record earnings . . . while cutting labour costs.Sound familiar?
[German companies have] shed 300,000 jobs in the last five years - mainly to recover the competitiveness lost when the Deutsche Mark entered the euro at an over-valued rate and to restore their position as the world's leading exporter.
[According to the Guradian] De Villepin . . . has hit the enduring paradox of French politics: the popular demand for change without change, or revolution without reform.What a load of crap! Of course, working people demand "revolution" without "reforms" that screw labor! There is nothing 'paradoxical' about that.
There is an obvious alternative that the corporate-run media conveniently NEVER presents.
Instead they blather on with platitudes that leave people feeling helpless or feed into nationalistic fervor.
The reaction to his scheme [mirrors] the populist hostility to foreign takeovers in a country where one in seven works for an overseas firm and almost half the capital tied up in the Cac-40 index of leading companies is foreign . . .Which, btw, also sounds familiar.
There is another problem. French [economic growth rates] are too low to create employment in the wake of improved investment and increased consumer spending.Ghee, I wonder WHY.
Only by encouraging companies to take on more labour can this poor level of growth be improved.So the new French law encourages companies to "hire more people" by firing others. Ingenious! Apparently, Americans are not alone.
But alas, even if this cockamamie scheme stays in place and bears some fruit, the Guardian admits that . . .
de Villepin [will] find its harvest diminished [read: devoured] by the monetarists in Frankfurt, over whom he has no control, [and who are set to raise interest rates] to 3% by the end of the year to stamp out a nonexistent inflationary risk.The European Central Bank - the European equivalent of the Federal Reserve. Now, I know why all this sounds familiar.
Wakeup up folks. The signs are the same in EVERY country. Our economies are being devoured before our eyes by global financiers.
Remember Greenspan - hailed as "the central banker's central banker" - these people are all in it together and they will NOT politely bow down.
If we want our economies back, we're going to have to take them back.