Vive la France!
Be there no mistake, the ruling elites in every nation are waging a class war against their populations. Throughout the world, regardless of whether a right or “center-left” party is in power, policies are being implemented that are designed to reduce wages, security, and benefits in order to maximize corporate profitability. It’s accepted in high circles of power that the only way to compete in the global low wage system is to reduce labor costs; and, given the unacceptability of fundamental change, they are certainly correct. The maintenance of high living standards is not compatible with a fully globalized laissez-faire capitalism.
There’s been a depressing lack of opposition to this onslaught which can largely be attributable to the influence of money and power on mainstream “left” political parties and unions. The only remaining viable option would seem to be mass street protests and strikes beyond the symbolic one dayers we’ve seen so far in some countries in Europe.
It’s far too early to be sure, but it appears the nucleus of an effective opposition may be rising in France. Millions of French are protesting in the streets and the country has been crippled by strikes over the past few days. Encouragingly, there’s widespread support for the protesters. This could be one of the most important developments in the world today. If successful, the protests would very likely be mimicked in other European countries and may possibly open the door to a substantial re-questioning of the uber-capitalist path. Europeans are rightly proud of their postwar social contract which has elevated living standards to the highest in the world – most have four to six weeks vacation per year, guaranteed health coverage, and employment security unrivaled elsewhere. All of these gains are under severe attack though, and will be lost without a very considerable fight.
Those of us in Colorado know that a forest fire starts small but can quickly engulf a very wide area. What’s happening in France is an expression of a rising temper that’s occurring, albeit still quite silently, throughout the world. One can only hope the battle intensifies and then spreads far beyond French borders. Vive la France!