Monday, November 12, 2007

The PS on the Strikes

Where does the PS stand on the strikes? In the shadows, one might say. The party does not oppose the reforms of the special retirement regimes but is critical of the way the government has handled the negotiations. François Hollande accuses the regime of seeking "a test of strength, a conflict," while Julien Dray says that "responsibility for the [social protest] movement rests with the government." It is, of course, a nice example of the bind in which the Socialists find themselves on any number of issues: more or less in favor of reform yet hoping somehow that it will all go disastrously wrong and redound to their benefit. The UNEF, which is close to the PS, is in the same position with respect to the university strikes. Bruno Julliard's group took the lead in negotiating changes to the Pécresse Law last summer, but now it has joined the CCAU's strike call though apparently not backing the threat to block railroad stations. Again, the hope seems to be that a homeopathic dose of chaos will aid the cause. The dosage of chaos is hard to control, however.

ADDENDUM: Ségolène Royal encapsulates the ambivalence of the PS to perfection by announcing her belief that "the students are right to strike" while ignoring the strikers' stated goal of having the Pécresse law rescinded. For Royal, the goal of the strike should be to ensure that "the reform is revised."

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