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Would you hire this man? (rioting French layabouts)
Toronto Star ^ | 4/2/2006 | Dominic Hilton

Posted on 04/03/2006 7:39:33 AM PDT by Neville72

Let's see if we have this right: French kids are rioting because they can't have jobs for life?

Am I the only one who thinks France is nuttier than frangipane?

Here is how I understand last week's wave of marches, riots and blockades in the land of loitering existentially in smoky cafés while making meaningful hand gestures:

Lots of over-educated youths with too much black in their wardrobes are desperate to dress up in balaclavas and bandannas and torch things because (now let me word this correctly) they are disillusioned that their government wants to help them get jobs, because when you get a job there is a big danger you might one day lose it, especially if you are crap at it.

I could have sworn that not long ago French youths were rioting because, thanks to workplace-protection laws so rigid you could dry your pantalons on them, no one under the age of 65 can break into the job market (unless their grand-père is head of the Union of Permanently Picketing Fonctionnaires, in which case there is always room for one more shop steward).

France's youth unemployment rate is consequently a staggering 23 per cent. The government's solution is this: In order to ease employers' worries about hiring graduates and then being stuck with them, regardless of their competency, for life, a new law will allow them to fire anyone under the age of 26 with fewer than two years on the job.

It is this law, designed to help students find work after university, that has them aux barricades. One minute French students are rioting for jobs, the next they are rioting because they might actually get a job but be required to perform well to keep it. How swiftly indignation adapts to circumstance.

Any anthropological textbook will tell you (using longer words) that France is a strange land with weird traditions. A few years ago, French prostitutes went on strike and took to the streets against plans to limit their soliciting. This protest was followed by a full-scale walkout by France's stilt-walkers (I'm serious!).

So perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that France's students are rioting before they have even got the jobs they are rioting about. Only the French could come up with the pre-emptive riot. Call it French Exceptionalism. Where else would you see a 12-metre banner demanding Regularisation?

The networks are loving the "romance" of "the heady scent of revolution, black coffee and Gauloises."

"French student power has an impressive record," the BBC drooled, gushing on about "the delicious sense of people power" as McDonald's gets trashed.

One young revolutionary was quoted as saying, "[This new fascist law the government is proposing] means that when I do get a job I will basically have to work as hard as I can to keep it!" (My emphasis, his accent).

What was that thing Francis Fukuyama said about the "Last Man," who so cannot bear having nothing to revolt against that he revolts against his own liberty? Well, I'm no Fukuyama (I never change my mind about something and sell books about it), but I've got two big things to say, and here they are:

First, it's impossible to ignore the fact (though everyone seems to be doing it but me) that it's cool to protest, and that's why a lot of people, especially young people, do it (about anything). Every teenager knows how "It's not fair!" What they don't know is that, as Derek Jeter once wrote, "The World Is Not Always Fair." C'est la vie.

Staging sit-ins or building blockades in university canteens doesn't have to have any more meaning than the fact kids are dyeing their hair blue and sitting cross-legged in snack shops — big deal.

As for the violence part, well, let's face it, it's fun to lob flaming things at people you don't know, especially if your country refuses to go to war with anyone ever (even when it gets invaded) and, unlike, say, the United States, you rarely get the opportunity to formally lob flaming things at people you don't know. "I had nowhere to go but the streets!"

But the thing that really irks me is how, as my friend (who edits a magazine) put it, "It's like '68 all over again, only this time the French students are demanding a decently paying middle-management job and mid-range Citroën for all! What gives?"

One report quoted Marion, a girl full of that ever-present "indignation," saying, "I haven't studied hard to get nothing at the end of it. I've earned the right to a secure job."

The French are so wedded to the public sector that the Fifth Republic is, in essence, nothing more than a prenup. If the government breaks the terms of the deal, the rioters can construct a Sixth Republic and the government gets nothing. Zéro.

Has everyone forgotten what La France is all about? A couple of years back a book appeared on France's bestseller lists called Bonjour Paresse: De l'art et la nécessité d'en faire le moins possible en entreprise (Hello Laziness: The Art and Importance of Doing the Least Possible in the Workplace).

"Finally," ran a review in The New York Times, "instead of dissembling behind ambiguous notions of Gallic joie de vivre, someone in this leisurely land has declared outright that the French should eschew the Anglo-Saxon work ethic and openly embrace sloth."

Author Corinne Maier "worked" for years at the state-owned Electricité de France. Here are some excerpts from her manifesto:

"What you do is pointless. You can be replaced from one day to the next by any cretin sitting next to you. So work as little as possible and spend time (not too much, if you can help it) cultivating your personal network so that you're untouchable when the next restructuring comes around."

"You're not judged on merit, but on whether you look and sound the part. Speak lots of leaden jargon: People will suspect you have an inside track."

"Make a beeline for the most useless positions (research, strategy and business development), where it is impossible to assess your `contribution to the wealth of the firm.' Avoid `on the ground' operational roles like the plague."

"Tell yourself that the absurd ideology underpinning this corporate bullshit cannot last forever. It will go the same way as the dialectical materialism of the communist system."

France's latest "revolution" is its most embarrassing yet. Not even a strike by stilt-walking prostitutes could rival this effort. Expect to read about it next week.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dominic Hilton is a British freelance writer based in Philadelphia. He has just completed his first book, This Is The World.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs
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To: Vicomte13
But the freedom I treasure does not include the deference to money that you think is part and parcel of the American Way. Now, it IS part of the American way. It's the part of the American way that I reject and that disgusts me. That is not what I was flying in the military to protect.

But is not the protests of the French yutes all based on money? They want to ensure that they get the money without having to strive to earn it. Or am I missing something.

And help me to understand how French culture is different to American culture in terms of deference to money? I see the pre-war sweetheart oil contracts with Saddam to be standard fare for the French who didn't seem to care much about thier involvement with the UN Oil for Fools program.

Is that what you mean by deference to money? If so I get it and would agree with you that there is quite a distinction between the cultures.

41 posted on 04/03/2006 10:04:36 AM PDT by corkoman
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To: syncked

I understand that. But I'd always heard horror stories about "socialized medicine" and wasn't quite sure of the quality of health care that I would receive after I moved to France.

Incidentally, it's a combination of the government picking our pockets and us paying for it ourselves. The government pays a portion of most things and the rest is paid by the patient. Well, we pay the doctor and the government reimburses us via direct deposit into our bank account within several days of the doctor visit. We have supplemental insurance that reimburses us for almost everything (if not everything) that the government does not pay for, including vision and dental.

42 posted on 04/03/2006 10:05:15 AM PDT by Minette
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To: Vicomte13
Well, you certainly make it sound much more promising than it appears to a bystander.

I still find their social policies a bit self-defeating, but time will tell how that goes - especially given the increasing trend of interdependent globalization.

Personally, I believe there is a flux between socialism and capitalism in which there is a constant striving toward an equilibrium point, much like the the supply and demand curves are in constant, mutually adjusting flux toward a constantly fluctuating equilibrium point.

I see socialism as tending to focus on the collective- often at the expense of the individual, with capitalism tending to focus on the individual - often at the expense of the collective.

In an era of increasing globalization, I also believe that neither nor both will be sufficient for the maintenance of a globalized society and that an entirely different approach is necessary.

I have spent the past several years on just this issue, but dare not discuss it on this or any public forum as it would inevitably be misunderstood, and consequently derided.

43 posted on 04/03/2006 10:17:29 AM PDT by the anti-liberal (Hey, Al Qaeda: Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent)
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To: Vicomte13
So, call me a socialist, or a communist, or a whatever-the-hell-you-like-ist.

This is where you are wrong; we do not owe our fellow citizens a living, or even a dime.

The Grand Folly of France was starting down that road in 1789. That is what you get from mob rule.

Corporations are sock puppets compared to Government taking from the productive citizen to give handouts to the idle leach.

44 posted on 04/03/2006 10:29:20 AM PDT by higgmeister (In the Shadow of The Big Chicken.)
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To: nutmeg

read later

45 posted on 04/03/2006 10:30:14 AM PDT by nutmeg (NEVER trust democRATs with our national security)
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To: Vicomte13

Well, without sarcasm, let me say "thanks" for your military service. I offer that to anyone who has served regardless of political beliefs. As for shutting you up, or sending you back to France, I wouldn't dream of it. You make my case far better than I do. As for my right to work in France I believe that all of Europe has rather severe restrictions, and Jacques Chirac's response to English(Anglo-Saxon) being spoken at a meeting last week certainly has freedom of speech implications for a non-French speaker such as moi.
The "Kelo" Supreme Court's majority, those that voted against the individual, were all moderate-to-liberal politically. Note that two, Breyer and Ginsburg, are arch-liberals appointed by that great friend of the common man, Bill Clinton. Check the record. How do you explain the supposedly evil-capitalist-leaning Anton Scalia voting for the individual? Rumor has it that Sandra Day O'Connor, first woman appointed to the Court(by Ronald Reagan no less) might have been nominated by George Bush as the first female Chief Justice, had she not retired in disgust because of the Kelo vote.

46 posted on 04/03/2006 10:33:32 AM PDT by syncked
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To: Minette
We have supplemental insurance that reimburses us for almost everything (if not everything) that the government does not pay for, including vision and dental.

How many MRI systems or CAT Scan systems do you have available for your use at your local hospital? Is there a waiting list? How many types of organ transplants are done at your local Hospital and what is the current waiting time? What about Oncology at your local hospital? Do they cure people or just make one comfortable while dying the natural socialist way?

47 posted on 04/03/2006 10:38:17 AM PDT by higgmeister (In the Shadow of The Big Chicken.)
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To: Vicomte13
So, this 10% who are Maghreban, you have called them "Muslim", but this is only very partly true.

I didn't really see the riots a couple of months ago as having much to do with Islam. We're talking about a group of young men who drink, do drugs, frequent prostitutes and listen to the same thuggish type of music as the American underclass. It's tough to find a link between them and Islam, other than that their parents or grandparents came from somewhere in North Africa.

48 posted on 04/03/2006 10:41:52 AM PDT by Potowmack ("In politics, madame, you need two things: friends, but above all an enemy." Brian Mulroney)
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To: Vicomte13
RE: Your post #38

Could you direct me to a good book outlining which collaborators (spit) made out during the Vichy regime?
49 posted on 04/03/2006 10:45:27 AM PDT by investigateworld (Abortion stops a beating heart)
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To: Neville72
The signature block says it all.

Il n'y a pas d'honte être français. Il y a seulement l'honte dans rester de français.
(There is no shame in being French. There is only shame in staying French.)

LonePalm, le Républicain du verre cassé (The Broken Glass Republican)

50 posted on 04/03/2006 11:08:33 AM PDT by LonePalm (Commander and Chef)
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To: 2banana

And Lucent Technologies is going to allow itself to be taken over by these clowns?

51 posted on 04/03/2006 11:14:06 AM PDT by quadrant
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To: Potowmack

"With cries of 'God is Great' bands of youths armed with whatever they
could get hold of went on a rampage and forced the police to flee"

This is from Independent Media Research, but it can be found all over the web. Now mind you, Christians usually are wont to say "God is Love", and Jews say "God is One". The bands of yutes in Paris didn't use these phrases. As far as drinking, taking drugs, frequenting prostitutes(in spite of being destitute. Does France have socialized prostitution?) and thuggish music are concerned, note that the 9/11 hijackers are on record as having gone to a strip club the night before qualifying for their 70+ virgins.

52 posted on 04/03/2006 11:43:45 AM PDT by syncked
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To: 2banana
How did these people conquerer the whole of Europe (plus Egypt) just a few short generations ago?

They were not led by a Frenchman.

53 posted on 04/03/2006 11:58:26 AM PDT by Bon mots
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To: quadrant

Lucent has been run by liberals for years. Think about it-what greedy capitalist conservative would spend big bucks to ditch a name like Bell Labs, with it's world wide name recognition, for "Lucent" and it's accompanying zen-buddhist-like-circle emblem thingy?

54 posted on 04/03/2006 12:07:01 PM PDT by syncked
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To: investigateworld

No book comes to mind.

The whole corporate structure of France went over to the fascists.

We need to remember just why it was that France failed so quickly.
It was because France was divided almost perfectly down the middle between socialists/communists, on the one side, and corporatist/fascists on the other.
These two domestic factions hated each other intensely, and the government was socialist, but the military command was quasi-fascist.
The degree of hatred and distrust exceeded even the current level of partisan hatred in America.

The left wing of French government was spiritually akin to the Soviets. The right wing of French government was spiritually akin to the fascists in Italy and Spain, with a dose of anti-Semitism akin to (although not anywhere near extreme as) the German Nazis.

So, when the French military collapsed, practically for the want of desire of the French general command to fight, the Parliament voted in Petain as national leader, and the French fascists took command of the government. They were nationalist adversaries of the Germans, still, but ideologically they were very much in tune with the fascist corporatists.

Now, that was virtually the whole French right.
We should remember that from 1941 until 1944 or so, practically all of the active Resistance in France was Communist. The French right was fascist, and the Nazis were their ideological allies, although the French right were still French nationalists and resented German domination. So, what you had was all of the major French industries, the entirety of it, continuing to operate, stepping up to war production, for the Germans, with French corporate leadership squeezing the hell out of French labor. The French laborer was exploited by the French corporatists for their PROFIT, and for the benefit of the whole fascist cause everywhere. Renault cooperated enthusiastically with the German war effort. THAT'S the main moral reason why Renault was nationalized as soon as the free French government was restored.

This is also why the French are specifically suspicious of corporatism.

Remember, in France during the occupation, the only fighting heroes were Communists. The French right, the republicans and business class. Were, as a class (if not always as individuals) Vichy, and cooperative with the fascists. Now, this didn't mean that they were eager to kill Jews, and there was plenty of hiding Jews. But in social terms, the French right saw in the German conquest the opportunity to bring well in hand labor and the left, kill the Communists, and establish a corporatist state in France which would focus on iron-fisted production and rule for maximum profits. Vichy was not about race war, but it WAS about class war. It was the moment of full domination by the corporate far right, and they viewed French laborers as work units, essentially livestock, to be driven to the greatest extent possible. Communists and any sort of labor organization was, of course, subversive, and murderously attacked.

THAT'S why the French are distrustful of unregulated corporatism. Because that was Vichy France. And it's why the French view labor organization and control, and direct labor presence in corporate board rooms, etc., as an essential tool of democratic control of the country. The last time the French capital class was completely unregulated by French workers, it went over as a class to fascism with a vengeance.

55 posted on 04/03/2006 12:08:45 PM PDT by Vicomte13 (Et alors?)
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To: Vicomte13
Again, I'm in debt to you for enlightening me.
And knowing how opinionated FReepers are, they would also share similar views, should we ever find ourselves in France's position.
56 posted on 04/03/2006 12:19:12 PM PDT by investigateworld (Abortion stops a beating heart)
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To: Vicomte13

iron-fisted production

full domination by the corporate far right

fascism with a vengeance

Funny how the communist totalitarians are held in great esteem while the fascist totalitarians are abomination.

Communists snicker at the pathetic body count that the fascists were able to roll-up. No beats the communists at murdering millions with very little complaints in the media.

Funny how that works.

57 posted on 04/03/2006 12:33:24 PM PDT by corkoman
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To: Vicomte13

"The whole corporate structure of France went over to the fascists."

And if they had refused? But never mind. Which side of schizophrenic pe-War France built the Maginot Line along the border with unfriendly Germany but not that of friendly Belgique? If the military was pro-Facist, why did they put the Wehrmacht through the trouble of going through Belgium? Just open up the gates and... Germany overwhelmed France because of superior weapony. And just to be fair, the "anglo-saxons" as you derisivly call them, were taking old muskets out of museums in desperation after Verdun, Britain having suffered from quai-socialism since Ramsey MacDonald. The socialists/communists weren't interested in armament developments or armies. Witness the job Uncle Joe Stalin did to the Red Army in 1937, murdering, among many, many others, the brilliant Marshall Tuckachevsky.
You started this argument with the notion that we "anglo-saxons" were angry at France for not following our model. Assuming we think our model is superior(and we know it is) why would we want to force it upon you and cause ourselves extra competition?

58 posted on 04/03/2006 1:04:05 PM PDT by syncked
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To: higgmeister

You can't be serious.

Are you aware that the first face transplant surgery ever performed in the world was recently done in France by French doctors? Do you honestly think that no one in France ever gets cured of anything, that everyone just dies the "natural socialist way"?

I realize this is not what you want to hear, but I've waited less time for all of the medical care I've required here (which, thankfully, has not been much) than I did in the U.S. My husband had minor outpatient surgery last year that was scheduled within 2-3 weeks. Our 6 local hospitals have all of the basic medical equipment, including MRI and CT scan machines. In fact, the university hospital just added some new type of heart scanner. And doctors here still make house calls.

59 posted on 04/03/2006 1:30:24 PM PDT by Minette
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To: Vicomte13
And over time we will see the differences.

We are looking at the differences right now. Time is up.

The French model yields massive unemployment, riots, a slerotic economy, religious and racial problems, and national keep waiting, OK, and maybe pick up an Arabic dictionary while you bide your time.

60 posted on 04/03/2006 1:36:38 PM PDT by Monti Cello
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