Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Le Quai de Ouistreham

Florence Aubenas (yes, that Florence Aubenas) spent six months in Normandy pretending to search for work and discovering that finding it isn't easy. The book she wrote about her experience is reviewed here.


Anonymous said...

This book is awesome. It's well-written, it's gripping, it's gritty, it's humane, and it's true.

It helped me in understanding the importance "pain" has in the pension reform protests. It made the whole recession and economic crisis come to life. I honestly think it'd so well in the US too, if it were translated (which I hope it will.)

Art, when you mentioned in your first post (commenting Desjardin's entry) that (paraphrasing) he was resigned to the move to 62, unlike the protesters, you missed a key point: the protesters are well aware they may have to work till age 62. But they're advocating freedom of choice: "if I am in such pain that I'd rather take a pension cut than keep working, let me. I have the right to choose for myself - the decision should not be made by guys who've never really "worked" in their entire life." (I'm summarizing).
Seriously, the issue for most people is not that all people want to stop at age 60, but that people who want to or need to (or have paid their dues, however few of them there may be) should be allowed to make that choice.
It's the key difference with the 95 protests, as far as I can tell.

It's distinct from the reaction to the "65 to 67" move - there, people strongly feel that 67 is too old to be working. Villepin clearly made the distinction, too. He said the government had a way out by keeping the 60 to 62 change but going back on the 65 to 67 change.

A factory worker actually told me: "Look, I'm not saying Mr.Woerth should work 10 years in my job, I'm just saying he should work for a year, with my pay. And THEN we'd negotiate the pension reform."

After Frêche's death, one said "Of course they can't understand retirement, these senators: they don't retire until they're dead!"

- the "work us till death" is also a recurring pattern of discourse.

Anonymous said...

(MYOS) sorry forgot to sign post above

FrédéricLN said...

I read (and perhaps didn't really review) the book, anyway run to the bookshop: it's the best book I've read since years.