Thursday, November 15, 2007

French Strikes: last death convulsions of old left?

Above: 'old left' fellow travelers cling to their status quo in France, as their political hulk slowly sinks.

Like the last wave of CPE student occupations, strikes and riots which handed Sarkozy a decisive victory in the following general election, the latest strike madness to hit France is hardly 'Paris 68'.

Instead of anything sensibly situationist or revolutionary like calling for real change, justice and equality, the current transport strikes are all about preserving the status quo for a minority elite of molly coddled state workers who want to retain the right to retire at 50 - while everyone else in the country suffers.

A poll today reports that 71% of the country wants Sarkozy to stand up to the strikers - and hopefully he will.

Meanwhile, we can expect more self harming trouble as the anti democratic and corrupt 'old left' in France convulses in it's last death throws. Already a wave of 'direct action' student strikes and occupations is under way. Just like the CPE strikes it seems these are led by a minority of macho militant Che Guevara wannabes acting against the wishes of the majority who just want to finish their degrees and get on in the world.

The Times reported today: At Nanterre University, where the May 1968 revolt started, anti protest students shouted “Allez les Bleus” – the football supporters’ encouragement – as riot police charged students who were picketing the entrance to their lecture rooms.

There may also be more riots and looting by the dispossessed 'under class' whose plight has been ignored by the left for generations. Ironically their best hope for a decent future lies with Sarkozy.

However there are growing signs that the strikes are not being as well supported by workers as the dinosaur unions would like - and already some union leaders are desperately trying to row back from the abyss of total marginalisation that the more intelligent amongst them can see for themselves and their members.

Hopefully the Arthur Scargill clones amongst them can be persuaded to look outside and smell the coffee.

If they come to their senses, France can get back to reality and catch up with the British who dealt with the corrupt unions during Thatcher's time (one of the few things she got right), and have reaped the benefits ever since.

In the meantime more and more educated French are coming to work in London; so many that they now call London 'Paris On Thames'.

With today's opening of the Eurostar high speed train service at St Pancras the French can now escape the current miserable state of their country at 300kph (168mph) and be in London just over 2 hours later.

The difference between the grotty Gare du Nord station in Paris, and the brilliant regeneration of London's St Pancreas says it all for the urgent need for radical reform in France, and an end to the blackmail rule of the conservative, bigoted and corrupt 'old left' reactionaries now trying to preserve the status quo, and their elitist position.

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