Friday, October 22, 2010

Showdown

So, we seem to be headed for a showdown in the current crisis, albeit a protracted one. The Senate will vote to approve the reform under the single-vote special procedure. The unions have already scheduled two further days of mobilization, the first next week and the second on Nov. 6. If Sarkozy thought that the opposition would melt after the vote and allow him to get on with his ministerial shakeup, he miscalculated, but I suspect that he rather relishes the fight, since it allows him to display "resolve," and disorder generally strengthens the "party of order."

The unions have maintained solidarity for the moment. Many details remain to be negotiated even after passage of the legislation, so leaders may see the mobilization as a way of strengthening their bargaining position and as a warning to the government that there are limits to what can be tolerated. The risk is that more radical elements, having flexed their muscles with some success to date, will want to test their strength still further.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Art, I'm afraid you're right. A special amendment was voted (going in the direction of the CFDT and the Royal socialists, since it goes toward the Piketty-Bozio solution) but the CFDT did not break rank - thinking that such a debate, after months of hearing it was an impossible idea, would lead nowhere.
The unions are playing it cool because there's such general "ras le bol", with "passe-droits", "président des riches", etc, that radical elements don't have to do much in order to cause a
And then Sarkozy will win because 1° he'll be the first ever who did not budge and 2° frightened populations will go back to those in power, representing order - even if they are UMP and the frightened weren't so fond of UMP.

Sarkozy and Fillon are slightly at odds though - not regarding the goal, but regarding the means.
According to Aphatie, they actually fought - Fillon wants to stay, Sarkozy wants him to go. And Fillon's got quite a following among the Députés.
http://blog.rtl.fr/aphatie/20101022/altercation-sarkozy-fillon-mercredi-matin-22-10.html

The whole thing has been one miscalculation after the other: For example, Soubie insisted there was no need to vote on the issue before the summer, thinking the turmoil would calm down before the Fall. He also thought the Woerth affair would disappear on its own. And finally he's the one who's requested the "single-vote" procedure - meaning lawmakers can't make the law, they can only vote "yes" or "no". They're ALL pretty upset about it, even though only the left wing is screaming bloody murder about it.

I wonder if presence is mandatory :p if not, I wonder how many will show!

Eva Joly weighs in:
http://www.estrepublicain.fr/fr/a-la-une/info/4016041-Retraites-le-requisitoire-d-Eva-Joly

So does The Guardian:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/oct/20/france-protest

A homemade sign in Lyon makes Le Monde's front page:
http://www.arretsurimages.net/vite-dit.php#9428

MYOS

Anonymous said...

From my own little point of view on the world as a Francilien, I don't see these strikes as being much of a big deal in terms of upsetting the daily routine of suburbanites. I've seen bigger, more prolonged,...more everything. I'm really not terribly inconvenienced getting to work and back home again, and I take the RER D and then the RER B lines.

The Gulf of Mexico states has hurricane season in the Fall, France has strikes. And the scale of these strikes are like a medium-sized hurricane whose name we'll forget the year later.

If I had no idea there were strikes and somebody told that the RER D line was slow or partly shut-down due to maintenance problems & sabotage by idiots (which is plausible), I would not have noticed the difference.


Chris P.

Anonymous said...

*SUPERB* photospread about the protests - from US source (Boston)
http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/10/france_on_strike.html

My favorites are the kissing teens blocking the police, the black boy with a crutch whom the plainclothes are trying to "subdue'", and the boy who's clearly outgrown his jacket, dragged away by the police with a bleeding cheekbone. The funniest ones are the old woman in a wheelchair holding the hand-drawn sign, and the decked-out fearsome riot police in front of the "bienvenue/welcome" signs in the airport.
The contrast between "casseurs" (hooded, often masked, often boys) and the protesters (teens including many girls, old people, etc) is striking.

Anonymous said...

Funny: The current House representatives remember their first protest - for many of them, May 68 (either on the pro or con side). NKM recalls a "fake protest" her class had staged in Polytechnique. My favorite is Christian Paul who protested so that his high school, public but reserved to boys, would accept girls - and the following years, the first year class became co-ed.

http://www.bakchich.info/Deputes-ma-premiere-manif,12192.html