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French protests
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Thu, 6 Apr 2006 15:05:56 -0400

Begin forwarded message:

From: Steven Hertzberg <stevenstevensteven () gmail com>
Date: April 4, 2006 11:24:57 PM EDT
To: dave () farber net
Subject: French protests

I'm carefully watching international news as French protests escalate and turn violent, involving 1 to 3 million, with Sunday being the worst so far. Below is a summary cross sectional view of some of what I'm seeing in the
media.  I'd appreciate the thoughts of other IPers who are closer and
perhaps better versed in this issue.

The political institutional response seems to be similar to that of French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, who said: "these are just hoodlums, who
come to break and pillage."

However, Chirac does appear to be willing to amend the legislation, but it
is not yet clear how far he will go.

The global media mostly mimics the thoughts of David Rennie of the Irish
Independent in his piece "French protests more reaction than revolution," where he states that "Students' futile attempts to turn back the clock to
some golden age of influence is no more than militant nostalgia."
http://www.unison.ie/irish_independent/stories.php3? ca=27&si=1589838&issue_i

On the otherhand, Jerry White of the World Socialist web site states in his piece, "US media reacts to French protests with hatred and fear," that "all of the commentaries suggest the protests are illegitimate. They declare that
France's labor laws and social protections are outmoded and must be
"reformed" if corporations are to thrive and create jobs."

Jerry goes on to say that "The arguments that society simply cannot afford to provide for the basic needs of working people are becoming increasingly threadbare, not only for French workers but for their American counterparts as well. Despite their efforts to reassure themselves about popular support
for the profit system, the reality is that there are growing numbers of
workers and youth in America who realize that the real problem is that
society cannot afford to allow a tiny minority of the population to
monopolize the wealth created by working people. Despite the insistent
claims over the years about the death of the class struggle and the working class, the explosive events in France, as they so often have done throughout history, are a sign of what is coming throughout the world, and within the
US itself."

Steven Hertzberg

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