Friday, October 17, 2008

Inside the NPA

Brent Whelan, who contributed the post on the Besancenot rally earlier this week, has launched his own blog, and in his latest post he takes us inside a meeting of the local NPA committee in the 14th arrdt.


I quote verbatim from the blog Ceteris Paribus:


Extrait de l'éditorial du Washington Post soutenant (non sans réserves parfois idiotes) Barack Obama :
A McCain presidency would not equal four more years, but outside of his inner circle, Mr. McCain would draw on many of the same policymakers who have brought us to our current state. We believe they have richly earned, and might even benefit from, some years in the political wilderness.
Et ça donne, en traduction dans Le Monde (un habitué du genre) :
Le Washington Post précise que, selon lui, une présidence de McCain n'équivaudrait pas à quatre années supplémentaires d'administration Bush mais qu'elle profiterait aux mêmes décideurs. "Nous pensons qu'ils se sont enrichis, et qu'ils ont même tiré bénéfice de ces années de désert politique", peut-on lire dans cet éditorial, qui sera publié vendredi dans l'édition papier du journal.
Nous pensons pour notre part que plusieurs heures de lecture d'un dictionnaire anglais / français seraient une punition largement méritée - et peut-être même profitable- pour le journaliste qui a commis cet affreux contresens

The Man in the Street and the Market

The following is a guest post contributed by Lisa Pham, an Australian writer who is currently studying journalism at Sciences Po in Paris.

“I have no faith in the stock exchange, and this crisis proves I’m right.”
By Lisa Pham in Paris
October 15 2008

As the sun warmed the Parisian streets, market goers were making the most of their Sunday morning. Marché d’Aligre is one of the cheapest fruit and vegetable markets in the French capital, with buyers queuing up for bananas, fresh cauliflower and ripe tomatoes.

In a week that saw the Paris Bourse experience its worst ever single-day loss, the impact on daily living costs for French people has not yet been felt.

“We don’t yet know how the government is going to react,” says Vincent, a 40 year-old employment researcher. He keeps his money in three different bank accounts: ING Direct, Caisse d’Epargne and Banque Populaire. “I have no faith in the stock exchange, and this crisis proves I’m right,” he says.

For 49-year-old Alain S., an engineer, the plummeting shares have little impact on his routine. He and his wife are at the market doing their weekly shopping. “We don’t have any shares, so we’re not worried,” he says.

Vincent M., a student, shares this sentiment. “I know it’s being talked about a lot, but I feel like the situation doesn’t concern me directly just yet.” The long-term effects of the financial crisis are unclear, in particular whether price hikes should be expected. “I have simple habits,” continues the 21-year-old, “so not much will change.”

Many market goers are hesitant to comment on the situation because they feel like they don’t understand what’s happening. Nevertheless Mohamed, a 36-year-old electrician, is nervous about the future. His wife even more so. “We don’t have much money,” he explains. “We have some savings in the bank and my wife says that we have to withdraw it all.”

Their fear is reminiscent of the Great Depression of 1929, when customers took money out of all their accounts because they were worried about the banks becoming insolvent. This, however, only deepened the economic damage.

Does Mohamed trust his bank? “Not at all,” he replies staunchly. Fearing unemployment and inflation ahead, he and his wife are trying to pay more attention to what they spend. Shopping at the Sunday market is cheaper than at grocery stores.

Similarly 54-year-old Fateho, who works in opinion polls, is being careful with her money. “I’m looking for the cheapest things,” she explains, “I check out each stand when I’m at the market. I’ve decreased my spending habits and I’m trying to cook more at home.” While she says she has confidence in her bank, it’s a little shaky. “Touch wood!” she jokes.

For Cristina, a 31-year-old teacher, it’s too soon to predict what consequences the financial crisis will have on the French economy. If prices increase she’ll inevitably change how she spends money, but if not, she thinks it will be the same. “Maybe less travelling,” she admits.