Tuesday, April 11, 2006

On the French Riots

I had a disagreement today with a buddy of mine when I stopped into work today, and I really think its indicative of the world today, and the difference in politics in the US and Europe.

He's a worldly kind of guy, or at least he'll tell you he is. But he is pretty bright, as smart as I am at least, maybe even more so in some of the subjects like philosophy and what not. He's farther to the left politically then I am, although he seems to be coming back to Earth a little more every year. We were talking about the riots in France, with the youth showing solidarity against one of the laws that is trying to be passed, the one that says that someone under 25 years old can be fired for no reason within two years.

My buddy was very tentative in what he was saying, mostly about he didn't believe that the guys should be allowed to do this, as it makes people disposable. What I want to know is how people aren't. It works somehow here- why should France be different? I mean, as a lefty, I definitely admire the ideas, the literary works, and the amazing influence of unions on French politics- a stronger labor movement in this country would be a good thing.

However, the French economy is horsefucked. Almost a quarter of the people under 25- my age- are unemployed. All it seems is that the government is trying to make it easier for companies to hire a guy and not worry about having to go to court just in case he's a lazy fuck who doesn't work.

My buddy was telling me that this makes people disposable; well, they fucking are! Not in life in general, of course, but to businesses? Yea. In most businesses, there is one, maybe two guys who are the driving force, the ones who make the business what it is, as strong as it is, etc. The rest tend to just be people that can come and go, and the business will not die. It might not function so well if they were gone, but it certainly won't go under if they are.

And I don't think that this is such a bad thing. Unions have gotten so far away from their original intent that its sad. It is no longer one for all and all for one, no longer that they work hard for the betterment of society, or for the safety of their men. Now, it is that they weld three pipes before lunch, and then have off the rest of the day...is this really what the Molly Maguires envisioned? A bunch of lazy asses beating up non-union guys and working just to make the bosses (only now, the bosses of the unions) richer? Unions don't seem as noble to me as they once did, mostly because, in their struggle for power, they have forgotten their original intent.

My friend says that he isn't too sure of all the issues, but that he admires the solidarity and strength of the French people. On this I agree. This country is too far right, so far to the point where corporations control far more than they need to, to the point where our own government, the government, "By the people, for the people, of the people" is no longer our own, and a stronger labor movement, a stronger Green Party, whatever, would be a great, great thing. Americans are fat and lazy and apathetic, and I admire the outright willingness of the French to fight for what they believe is right, by violence if necessary. Those Americans who call them cowards should take heed of this; these people are ballsy, and they live according to themselves, not us. Any country that can and will stand up to a bloated, imperialist America is OK in my book, and any group of students that can get a whole country, including the Unions, to support them, are heroes. You would be hard pressed, I think, to find an American who would support anything that is outside the realm of what FOXNEWS presents to them, and they certainly wouldn't fight for anything nowadays.

Anyway, I think that the French need something like this law. I don't agree with firing people for no reason, as that's bullshit also; however, I think that France will make an allowance to make jobs a little steadier. And yet, being able to get fired means you work hard. You have to; that's the name of the game. I am all for having a floor that no man can fall below. I am all for helping out the poor, having national healthcare so no one dies needlessly, and for taxing the fuck out of the rich to pay for this. However, there is a fine line between government assistance to those who truly need it, and the government handing out money to those who take advantage of it. I wonder if France has forgotten that....

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