Meanwhile, In Paris

The French government is trying to reform the labor laws to make France more competitive and reduce unemployment. The French unions and leftists are not happy. The 24 team UEFA Euro 2016 football championship is scheduled to begin June 10 and continue through July 10. Millions of tourists are expected and, strategically, the unions are threatening to close the airlines and the rails. Demonstrations and street riots have been ongoing for several weeks now and things are getting more violent.

Brit journo Philip Turle gives a fairly succinct explanation of the situation:

Let’s join the festivities at the riot du jour:


9 thoughts on “Meanwhile, In Paris”

  1. I have cousins over there who were supposed to be taking a river cruise but the Seine is so high (20 feet higher) the boat can’t get under the bridges. Consequently, they are going around by bus. They were at Giverny the other day. I hope they come home before the unions blow the place up. Usually they have done this in the spring or fall and not in summer.

    This may not be the summer to be in Europe. I’ll see what next summer looks like before I make any plans. Last summer was a bust.

  2. I hope the government digs in and stand their ground. They unions are not going to be winning any support as this goes on, especially if it disrupts the games. The voters chose this labor law change and they shouldn’t allow a violent minority to determine their policy choices.

  3. What’s funny is that it is a Socialist administration that is pushing these reforms. Even they can see that what can’t go on won’t go on.

  4. I was at a dinner party last week and there were two working class immigrants from Eastern Europe there as well. We got to talking and they were Bernie supporters and really talking up socialism. I asked them “Why are you even here? Why did you leave socialist countries to come to the Capitalist West?” They answered their societies were too poor and lacked opportunity. One began talking up the Swiss referendum on Guaranteed Income (which failed today) and how great this would be.

    I soon realized that cause and effect logic is something that escaped these guys. They couldn’t see the connection between how miserable their home countries were and the socialism that defined those countries and their success here and how the system enabled that success.

    They had a politics of envy and greed.

    The host chose his guests well, a nice mix of people from various social circles he moved in.

    So when you report that the unions and the Left are not happy, I feel I have an understanding of what is motivating their unhappiness. They’re driven more by emotion than logic, more by self-interest than national interest, the country they pass on to their children is not worth any form of sacrifice today in order to make the future better.

  5. My middle daughter is a Bernie supporter. She is also well educated and speaks four languages including Arabic. She works for a very high end art gallery in LA and moves in social circles that include people who pay a million dollars for a painting that I don’t even like. She is off to Zurich this week to another art show and thinks her boss is grooming her to be a director. The connection between Socialism and prosperity is not one these people make.

    She is the one who went to Cuba about ten years ago and quickly realized, because she is fluent in Spanish, that it is a prison. Still, she doesn’t make the connection.

    I haven’t talked to her about Venezuela.

  6. That story about the Eastern Euro’s boggles the mind. I grew up around balcony socialists, who always prattled on about this n’ that, but they always lived comfortably (usually very) in the west. The Russians and Eastern Europeans I’d met had little good to say about any of it. I chased my tail for years, I dunno, maybe you’ve got to live long enough to see it for what it is.

  7. I know lots of 1st generation Poles. A few made it here during Solidarity but most after the wall fell. No nostalgia for socialism with any of them. Many like Trump, although they are loath to admit it in Chicago.

  8. I don’t know much life history about those guys. They talked about how their parents were assigned housing and how that was much better than having to bust a nut to make a mortgage payment every month.

    Clearly these guys are the minority and don’t represent all folks, but they’re out there. Look at the Swiss referendum, only 20% support. That 20% could think that paying people not to work would be a good thing for society is eye-opening.

    I think that they are so focused on their own lives, free housing, free monthly $2,500 from Guaranteed Income, that they don’t expend a moment’s thought on how this plays out writ large. Same with Bernie’s people, free college, and whatever else he’s promising them.

    The warm embrace of socialism prevents people from spreading their wings. I wonder if these guys would still have the same attitude if they were in the economy of the 60s-90s rather than the bare-bones, gig economy of present?

  9. I’m aware that a significant number of Russians, for example, still admire Stalin and the Party system, as bizarre as that seems. Particularly now, in the internet era, when so much of what occurred can be known. Those I’d met however, often struggled to recall anything positive to say about life there.

    I did have a client from St. Petersburg, who often spoke of the beautiful architecture, and was fortunate (or well connected enough) to have lived in a decent apartment building, but she was the exception. Everyone else, snow, more snow, mud, bad cigarettes, bad vodka, bad attitudes. I juxtapose that with the recollections of my grandparents who always romanticized the “old country”. In reality, they were peasants in a dictatorship, which when given the opportunity, got on that boat.

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