Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

"Let's not reduce existence to consumption," says Martine Aubry. Jean-Luc Mélenchon has declared "war" on Sunday work. It's rather odd to see the left of the left, les bouffeurs de curé d'autrefois, today defending la paix dominicale. But economy minister Emmanuel Macron wants to "free" retailers to throw open their doors on Sundays, so self-declared "enemies of neoliberalism" must fight him tooth and nail. Yet Macron claims that his famous law will not only put more clerks to work but also drain more euros from the wallets of free-spending Chinese tourists.

It's hardly the stuff of an epic battle of the working class against the capitalist oppressor, this. First time tragedy, second time farce, third time sitcom. But, as Marx also reminds us, if man makes his own history, he does not do so under conditions of his own choosing, and Sunday hours seems to be all the Left has to work with these days. From my perspective in the Land of the Shopping Mall and 24x7 online consumerism, the capacity of French commentators to work themselves into a lather over whether stores should be allowed to open 7 Sundays a year or 12 or 15 seems rather ... quaint, although I would certainly go to the barricades on behalf of a law that would malls from blaring Katy Perry songs through their PA systems at 120 decibels.