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Vive la France!

October 14, 2010

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!

From → Dynamics, Suppression

3 Comments
  1. Calgacus permalink

    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.

    Highly dubious. All that Europe had to do to maintain its welfare state with ease was not cut its throat and get on the Euro. The less neoliberal, the more prosperous. The UK, not on the Euro, survived the financial crisis quite well before austerity. Denmark, not on the Euro, does well. Positive action is required to destroy your economy, not a succumbing to mysterious outside forces. The thing is that if all the other lemmings are jumping off a cliff, it is just not fashionable to run your economy according to principles that work for the majority.

  2. I think we’re saying mostly the same thing. The rulers in Europe made the decision to go with the Euro precisely to join the low wage competition economy. Positive action was taken and it wasn’t by democratic popular choice. Once in this brave new world, the drive towards low labor costs became inevitable. The UK is one of the leaders in the austerity drive so it’s more than just being on the Euro.

  3. I do not hold out hope when the battling against the excesses of capitalism is occurring with the most privileged workers.

    Rather, when capitalism has fully exploited the pool of low wage and poorly organized workers, my hope is that labour from both the “formerly” high wage and the newly developed countries see their common interest in going global the same way that capital went global.

    Labout needs to meet capital on the same playing field, rather than what has been at play whereby capital flowed out from under the constraints that labour placed on it in the high wage countries.

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