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France: Government capitulation
Posted by: McQ on Monday, April 10, 2006

Not that I ever really doubted this eventual outcome:
French President Jacques Chirac announced today that a contested labor law would be taken off the books, handing a victory to student groups and labor unions who have demonstrated in the millions in recent weeks to have the measure scrapped.

The announcement is a blow for Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin, the chief architect of the law, who until late last week still categorically ruled out dropping the legislation. It comes only eight days after Mr. Chirac had formally enacted the legislation, albeit with promises of a speedy revision and far-reaching modifications.
France is dead ... they just don't know it yet.
 
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They have democracy. You know...mob rule.

6 wolves and 3 sheep voting about what to have for lunch.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
France is dead ... they just don’t know it yet.
Well, it looks like the Fifth Republic is dead, but doesn’t know it. The real question is what will succeed it. Will there will be a true Sixth Republic, or a People’s Republic of France, or, perhaps most likely, the Islamic Theocratic "Republic" of France?

And while that last option might be a nasty exporter of terrorism, I can’t help but feel some wry amusement at the possibility of an army that combines the typical capabilities of the French military with the typical capabilities of Arab armies.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Capet-ulation.

Heh.
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://www.myelectionanalysis.com
"France is dead ... they just don’t know it yet. "

Is that all you have to say about France and the CPE? It seems pretty insufficient to me.

The French government finally admitted that such an important and necessary labor reform cannot be decided without a national debate in the Parliament, in the media, and between the representatives and their consituency. It finally understood that when as many as 3 millions students and workers find it necessary to protest for several days, even several weeks for many among them (something that did not happen since 1968), they need to take them into account.
These protests were predictable for several reasons: the absence of debate in the Parliament, the discriminatory aspect of the law, and the new right for employers to fire without giving any reason. I guess this could also have bred some opposition in the United States.
The people then reacted to something that they believe was unacceptable (more than 60% of the French were against this law according to the polls), and the government eventually accepted to hear them: this, on the contrary, tends to prove that the french democracy is far from being dead.

As about "the Islamic Theocratic "Republic" of France", let me tell you this: France is a secular country that advocates the separation between the church and the state, which means that no religious institution has the power to influence french politics or the educational system (though freedom of religion is of course not challenged). As you know, this separation is not guaranteed in the United States. It is therefore closer to a theocratic regime than France.
 
Written By: Corisande
URL: http://corisandejover.blogspot.com
As you know, this separation is not guaranteed in the United States. It is therefore closer to a theocratic regime than France.

Ah, so that’s why Muslims in France rioted for weeks, and Muslims in the Christian Fascist United States . . . haven’t. Of course, you’ll probably tell me that they were just exercising their democratic freedoms when they torched all of those cars.
 
Written By: Brian Martinez
URL: http://cluebyfour.livejournal.com
Is that all you have to say about France and the CPE? It seems pretty insufficient to me.
That’s why we have comments.

Knock yourself out.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Those crazy French. They go marching the streets to preserve laws that enforce some kind of job security. They should take a cue from the United States. Here, the only thing that brings millions into the streets is to protest any effort to reduce the available pool of slave labor.

Which is worse?
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
France is a secular country that advocates the separation between the church and the state...
Irrelevant. If the Fifth Republic collapses (which was the original point, and which you’ve given us no reason to reconsider), then any laws currently in place become moot.

The question is not where France is now. The question is where it’s going. Have you looked at the demographics? What’s the birth rate among Caucasian French vs Muslim French and Muslim immigrants?

France has large areas with Muslim populations that are essentially abandoned by civil government - police don’t go there, etc. Those areas have been growing larger for years. The government seems powerless to do anything about that.

Those areas are a cancer eating away at the secular French system. It won’t be long before that cancer is irreversible. Denying that there is a problem by protestations of how secular France is will not work. Go down to one of the "citie’s" and see how secular they are.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Which is worse?
mk, I nominate that for best question you’ve ever asked.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
mk, I nominate that for best question you’ve ever asked.
Heh ... but I’d bet he doesn’t know why.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/
For all the fuss from both sides, the proposed changes in the French law would have likely had little impact on the unemployment rate... for the simple reason that there is next to no demand for the skills that French youths bring to the table.

Laws that limit a company’s ability to fire someone (or, for that matter, any job protection measure) increase the marginal cost per job. Raise the cost per job and, by economic definition, you’ll lower the supply of jobs... but you won’t eliminate the supply of jobs (the same rationale works for raising the minimum wage: do so and you’ll decrease the number of jobs, but you won’t eliminate them altogether).

So what accounts for the high unemployment among French youths? My guess is that French youths just don’t have the skill sets that French employers want and need. Perhaps their schools didn’t teach them what they need to know. Perhaps their attitudes towards work are such that French employers would just rather do without them hanging around. Or perhaps it is their attitude, expressed so nicely from time to time and, in particular, these past few weeks, that it is okay to trash stores and burn cars and throw stones at the police that make their prospective employers shy away from hiring them.... or, at the very least, be a whole lot more careful about who they hire.
 
Written By: steve
URL: http://
"the new right for employers to fire without giving any reason. I guess this could also have bred some opposition in the United States."

Employers in the US already have the right to to fire without giving any reason, unless restrained by a collective bargaining agreement.

"no religious institution has the power to influence french politics"
You are kidding, right? France is still pretty much a democratic republic, right? So if a religious institution urges its flock to vote a certain way, doesn’t that have some influence?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Well, i’ll do my best to reply shortly to these already numerous comments...

Billy Hollis,
I don’t see why the Vth Republic should collapse now. This is not something that is under debate right now in France, although some isolated people have been advocating a VIth Republic for several years (see c6r.org).
France has large areas with Muslim populations that are essentially abandoned by civil government
This is true. We would not have these problems now if the french government had not left these areas aside a few decades ago, at a time when it had North African workers come to France and when it just packed them into ugly projects.
Go down to one of the "citie’s" and see how secular they are.
Have you ever been there yourself?! I’ve actually been living in a "cité" for several years. It is horrible there, but this has nothing to do with the people being mostly Muslims. It looks like any extremely poor place, as you can find many in other European countries, in North and South America, or in Asia.

Steve,
Or perhaps it is their attitude, expressed so nicely from time to time and, in particular, these past few weeks, that it is okay to trash stores and burn cars and throw stones at the police that make their prospective employers shy away from hiring them
I know American newspapers talked about this violence a lot. Of course we condemn it, and some pictures of them shocked the whole country. But you need to know that they were only a few dozens, while 3 millions people were peacefully protesting. The French are not as violent as you may think. We have a lower crime rate than the United States. I invite you to come and witness it by yourself.

Timactual,
In France there are no religious lobbies. When religion is to be included in a law, as it happened with the "loi sur le laicité" (secular laws) for instance, there is a debate between the various state institutions, the religious institutions and the civil society. Religious institutions then do not "influence" our politics, but rather take part in a decision-making process involving other actors.


I’m not saying the french system is perfect, it needs reforms in various fields, and it will take time. However it is not as horrible as many here describe it. The French people are not a violent/uneducated/antisemistic nation, on the contrary. Some of them are, but you cannot judge a whole nation because of some mobs.
 
Written By: Corisande
URL: http://corisandejover.blogspot.com
Here, the only thing that brings millions into the streets is to protest any effort to reduce the available pool of slave labor.


Way cool....the slaves are marching (even now!) to preserve their ’right’ to be here without following the government rules for becoming official slaves.

I love your world view MK. Gosh we’re an evil country. How do you deal with being here? We’ve dragged 10-11 million foreigners out of their countries and so deluded them with our capitalistic brainwashing that they want to stay and be slaves, nay, not just want to stay, demand to stay!
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker, it’s the Bush Family Evil Empire Orbital Mind Control Rays....
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
In orbit? I thought it was still in the basement of the White House! Doh!!!!

I wonder if MK would like to discuss the closed shop laws in some of the states that require people to be members of a Union (which will protect them until it doesn’t) before they can get a job with certain companies.

Or rules that say I have to get a member of the Union to move my PC from one cube to another.

Or rules that specify how many bricks can be laid by one man in one day so that we can make sure no one gets left out employment wise.

These laws that help by restricting the amount of work that can be done and by whom to force a company to hire more workers than it really needs are surely a great idea.
After all, it’s in the Constitution, I have a right to a job, even if I did major in advanced basketweaving and there aren’t any basketweaving companies where I can ply my skill. The government should force someone to hire me and make sure I always have a job. It’s my right!
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Looker, you are a rightwing Christian fanatic! A running dog lackey of neo-Fascist Monopoly Finance Captialism, the Mechano-Technic Engine of Multi-National Global Exploitation of Gays, Lesbians, Bi-sexuals, the Transgendered, women, the Poor and People of Colour. A Vile Militarist polluting our planet’s body politic, a slug and a hooligan... You don’t need MK when you’ve got me, baby! I attended a graduate school in the Social Sciences.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The same thing is happening in the U.S. with the "immigrant" protests. We’re just not as far along as France in the process of deterioration, but it’s the same general principle.
 
Written By: Fyro
URL: http://
It is horrible there, but this has nothing to do with the people being mostly Muslims.
No, of course not. How stupid of me. I’m sure it’s a complete coincidence.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Well Billy, mayhap I’m just naive or too PC, but I agree it’s nothing to do with the religion of the people. In my home state there are squalid, drug-ridden, violent areas one wouldn’t want to travel to and they’re all American Christians... it’s what you do in the squalor that makes things bad. They are squalid, unemployed MUSLIMS, from North Africa, but if we transplanted the folks from my Appalachian areas there, they’d be squalid, unemployed, white Christians.

The problem is the unemployment and hopelessness, once that’s there any ideology can breed, Commmunism, Fascism, Islamism. It happens that Islamism seems to be taking root, but that’s because Islam is part of their culture to begin with. If they’d have been Christians, it could be some form of White Christian Identity Movement, like Covenant, Sword and the Arm of the Lord (don’t ask) or the Mountain Kirke. If they had been more secularized it could have been Communists or Fascists.

It’s not being Muslim, it’s the large number of unemployed and alienated youth on the streets. You want problems, just let 40-50% of your men 13-23 stand around on street corners for a period stretching into weeks, and then you’ll have problems, buddy. Muslim problems, Skinhead problems, Fascist problems, Punk/Nihilist problems, some kind of problems.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
CORISANDE, You are sticking your head into the sand. Most of Europe will become muslim in less than twenty years if you do not take steps NOW. I don’t know what sort of mixture will become of dyspeptic elitist socialism and Islam, but I am guessing it will be sort of like mixing Oxygen and Methane under high pressure.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Well Billy, mayhap I’m just naive or too PC, but I agree it’s nothing to do with the religion of the people.


In this case it does. As Muslims, they are denied the opportunity to assimilate into the country, and get less opportunity than the original residents.

Of course, many prefer not to assimilate, so there’s plenty of blame to go around.

The causes of poverty can be many and varied. But in this case, I think the religion definitely is a factor because it sets apart a group that is economically and socially separated from the rest of French society.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Well, Billy I’m not so sure that your answer flies... I’d like a better discussion of HOW exactly being Muslim has inhibited their assimilation. I’d argue, instead, that racism and the cost of French dirigisme, and the job skills of the immigrants/refugees have had a larger impact on poverty in les cites than the religion of the inhabitants.

I would submit, respectfully and and to repeat myself, if you took an equal number of the denizens of Appalachia and transplanted THEM to France, given their job skills, their lack of acculturation, AND the French economy’s inability to absorb new workers, due to regulation and law, that 25-40% of those teens would be disaffected and unemployed. And it is that high youth unemployment and disaffection, which is mutual I agree, that is the fundamental problem in France. And to follow my example I would submit, again respectfully, that instead of Islamic extremeism, you would have "Snake Handlers", "Holy Rollers" and White Christian Identity groups in les cites, and that drug use, violence, and civil disorder would STILL reign in those areas.

I am not sure that the SPECIFIC religion of the groups contributes to the problems, makes them worse. I would argue that there are certain religions and ethnic groups that would contribute MORE positively, Jews, Confucianists, Indians-as an ethnic group- wouold take the banlieu’s and make them better than they are now, but I don’t think Muslims OR Christians make things worse simply on the basis of their religion(s).
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Well well well..
It s actually interesting to see how you all reacted to corisande’s article. I always thought one didn’t have to be rude and insulting to explain one’s point of view... and I must say some of you have prooved me wrong.

France is a beautiful country with it’s difficulties and challenges. I believe the US is too. I believe some of us over here are crazy fanatic christians as I believe some muslims in France are decent and very very mainstream people. Islam is not synonym of terrorism. Ignorance is.

I think we should all think about how we are so quick at imposing value judgments on others. When we don’t agree with certain things, we should offer arguments. Not simplistic and ridiculous feedbacks (yeah I’m thinking of you Billy Hollis).

I invite all of you that have never gone to France to go there and discover it. I invite you to stop being simplistic in your views and opinions. Is it too hard to ask of americans that they respect others the way they want to be respected?

I will stop here. i’m sure the feedback on this one will be more than entertaining.
Good night to all of you,
Bonsoir à tous,

Emily
 
Written By: Emily
URL: http://
Well Emily, we may disagree amonst each other over the EXACT cause of France’s malaise, but don’t get too comfortable. Billy thinks the problem is, in part intrinsic to the Muslim community, I view it as a problem exogenous to the Muslim community, in large part. However, both he and I would agree that France has got a whole heapin’ helpin’ of trouble and La Belle Pays needs to make drastic changes to its socio-economic model.

Ooooh, ooh I used "exogenous!" A decade of college was NOT in vain!
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Corisande wrote: "(though freedom of religion is of course not challenged)"

If I’m understanding you correctly, you’re saying the people in France are free to practice their religion without government interference. So why is there a prohibition on burkas and other personal religious artifacts worn on the person in your public schools? Or has that law been changed?
 
Written By: Unknown
URL: http://
hey guys, before you jump on mk, remember, he’s against illegal immigration, although for class reasons.
 
Written By: Chris
URL: http://
I always thought one didn’t have to be rude and insulting to explain one’s point of view... and I must say some of you have prooved me wrong.
Rude and insulting? Paging Jacques Chirac and Dominque de Villepin...
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
And, yes, Emily, I am indeed a rude and simplisme American. You know, from that country that saved France’s a$$ twice in the last hundred years - three times if you count the Cold War.

And got repaid by back-stabbing and haughty assurances that France’s superior leaders understood so much better how to deal with the world.

And now, I see a nation with double our unemployment and half our growth rate. You savvy compound interest? Get out your calculator and see what kind of economic gap that will lead to in twenty years.

Coupled with an aging population and no willingness to undergo any reforms that would result in reversal in direction, I’d say France is well and truly scr*ewed. But what do I know? I’m "simplistic and ridiculous".

In this thread, I said:
But in the end, I don’t want France to become an economic basket case. I don’t want it to be rife with civil war, or under the effective control of a Muslim minority-on-the-way-to-majority. They lie at the center of Europe. What we hope Iraq does to the Middle East is mirrored in what France might do to Europe in reverse.
I still feel that way. But every time anybody tries to point out the problems France faces, we get snooty replies such as Emily’s and Corisande’s. "Hey, everything just hunky dory over in France! You should go there and see for yourself!" No thanks, I can read newspapers. I’m pretty sure two rounds of riots in six months is not fiction, though some of you would obviously like to believe it is.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Joe, I don’t think you and I are as far apart as you seem to believe. I too think a good deal of the problem is exogenous (yeah, I went to college, though it was just a state university in Tennessee - probably be sniffed at by someone from Ecole Nationale d’Administration). You referred to racism, for example, which is part and parcel of the problems of being Muslim.

I did not mean to imply that the Muslim community in France is completely responsible for it’s own woes. I tried to make that plain when I said there was enough blame to go around. I think we can all agree that the Muslims in France were given a dirty deal from the get go.

But even if racism is a big part of the problem, the Muslims in France suffer from racism because they are Muslim, so their religion/culture is still at the root of the problem.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Let me throw a provocative thought into the debate:

It’s true that Muslims in France are not well integrated in broader French society.

But, after all, the last 3 major terrorist attacks on the West (9/11, Madrid, London) were performed by Muslims who lived and were considered fully integrated in the very countries they attacked.

In France, the "revolts de les banlieues" were no terrorist act but a social upheaval, a general movement of discontent against the social situation and the constant discrimination faced by young people from the banlieues.

In light of this, is the US/UK model of integration really successful?
 
Written By: Splash
URL: http://

 
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