Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Contagion of Radical Labor Tactics

Those fellows at New Fabris definitely struck a nerve with their mediagenic bonbonnes de gaz and their threat to blow up the plant. Now there's talk of taking the same tack at yet another company, SKF in Fontenay-le-Comte (Vendée). This despite the fact that the workers at New Fabris came away disappointed from their meeting with Christian Estrosi.

The government's ploy seems to be to sit quietly and hope the movement goes pschitt. But radicalization (of a sort) seems to be spreading about as fast as the swine flu. To be sure, nothing has actually blown up yet (although there has been some machine-breaking). But if and when it does, the government will undoubtedly come down hard, and then--on verra.

As Raymond Aron said in 1978, "Ce peuple, apparemment tranquille, est encore dangereux." [quoted in this article by Perry Anderson]

The Long Agony Continues

Bakchich opines that the PS has become a "federation of baronies" and that Martine Aubry has been forced to allow the local barons a free hand in selecting their own lists for upcoming regional elections, ignoring the usual balance of courants. And the Socialists may well lose many of the regions they now control (20 of 22), further increasing the pressure on Aubry.

Despite this, a close advisor of Martine Aubry informs me directly and unequivocally that "Martine is a rock" and "will win in the end." Pay no attention to all those "wretched French journalists" who "understand nothing about politics." You read it here first, folks.

La Revue du MAUSS on the University Crisis

A special issue of La Revue du MAUSS is devoted to the university crisis. An editorial signed by Alain Caillé (the editor, whom I had the pleasure of meeting recently in Grenoble) and François Vatin sets forth 11 propositions, including:

Réorganiser les cursus pour, notamment, placer l'université au centre de l'enseignement supérieur, réorganiser les disciplines dont le nombre serait restreint, avancer vers un statut commun aux chercheurs et enseignants-chercheurs, revoir l'organisation et le financement universitaire forment un corpus modérément original. Mais c'est sur ce socle qu'ont été rédigés un manifeste puis un appel largement contresignés, qui représentent, dans la morosité ambiante, l'une des rares démarches constructives aujourd'hui proposées pour bâtir l'avenir de l'université