Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Spring Fund Drive: Keep CounterPunch Afloat
CounterPunch is a lifeboat of sanity in today’s turbulent political seas. Please make a tax-deductible donation and help us continue to fight Trump and his enablers on both sides of the aisle. Every dollar counts!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Get on Message with the Sissy French

 

Why aren’t young people here aren’t taking to the streets along with their French counterparts to demand better treatment from employers and the government. A second question might be why the U.S. labor movement isn’t out on the street with them.

French young people are angry that they face 20 percent employment, and they’re angry that the government’s “solution” to this crisis is a law that would allow employers to fire them “without cause” any time within three years of their being hired.

Young Americans face similar jobless rates, but forget three years’ probation; they can be fired any time throughout their careers without their employer having to give a reason. Heck, they can be fired for having the wrong bumper sticker on their car in the company parking lot. The only people who cannot be fired casually like that in America are the 9 percent who still have a union, and even then, it’s getting increasingly easy for the boss to give workers the sack.

Why the militancy in France, and the lack of it here in America?

We Americans like to think we’re tough. And lately, following the lead of our bold president and secretary of defense, we’ve taken to characterizing the French as sissies. But when it comes to gumption, young French people have shown us up. They’re not taking this abuse. They may not drive around, gangsta rap blaring, with “Fear This” stickers on their SUV windows, but they’re bringing the French economy to a halt by sitting on rail lines, blocking trains, by blocking major traffic arteries, by closing down the centers of major cities.

American workers, in contrast, are bemoaning their declining wages, watching quiescently as companies declare fake “bankruptcies” in order to void long-standing pension obligations and union contracts that leave them facing old ages of penury, and signing up for “retraining” programs so they can go from $25/hour automotive jobs into $6/hour burger saleswork–if they can even find them.

Americans are also voting into office political hacks who then endorse trade agreements that subsidize the export of jobs to low-wage, anti-union countries like China, India and Indonesia, who gut worker rights here at home, and who in myriad ways act to empower and enrich the rich and the corporations while disempowering and impoverishing working people.

France remains one country where lifestyle and culture are valued. French people still insist on taking time to enjoy life, on having vacations when they are most enjoyable (summer), on receiving a fair wage, and on having some security in one’s job and health. Here in the U.S., we Americans are working longer and harder every year even as our standard of living falls, no one is job-secure , health benefits are being gutted and our hope of retirement security is being undermined by political charlatans and an administration that is bankrupting the country.

The youth of France are standing up and fighting against the effort by a conservative government to Americanize their economy. Good for them!

When will we Americans wake up, take to the streets, and demand that our economy be humanized?

DAVE LINDORFF is the author of Killing Time: an Investigation into the Death Row Case of Mumia Abu-Jamal. His new book of CounterPunch columns titled “This Can’t be Happening!” is published by Common Courage Press. Lindorff’s new book, “The Case for Impeachment“,
co-authored by Barbara Olshansky, is due out May 1.

He can be reached at: dlindorff@yahoo.com

 

 

 

More articles by:

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

Weekend Edition
May 25, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
Could Anything Cause the GOP to Dump Trump?
Pete Tucker
Is the Washington Post Soft on Amazon?
Conn Hallinan
Iran: Sanctions & War
Jeffrey St. Clair
Out of Space: John McCain, Telescopes and the Desecration of Mount Graham
John Laforge
Senate Puts CIA Back on Torture Track
David Rosen
Santa Fe High School Shooting: an Incel Killing?
Gary Leupp
Pompeo’s Iran Speech and the 21 Demands
Jonathan Power
Bang, Bang to Trump
Robert Fisk
You Can’t Commit Genocide Without the Help of Local People
Brian Cloughley
Washington’s Provocations in the South China Sea
Louis Proyect
Requiem for a Mountain Lion
Robert Fantina
The U.S. and Israel: a Match Made in Hell
Kevin Martin
The Libya Model: It’s Not Always All About Trump
Susie Day
Trump, the NYPD and the People We Call “Animals”
Pepe Escobar
How Iran Will Respond to Trump
Sarah Anderson
When CEO’s Earn 5,000 Times as Much as a Company’s Workers
Ralph Nader
Audit the Outlaw Military Budget Draining America’s Necessities
Chris Wright
The Significance of Karl Marx
David Schultz
Indict or Not: the Choice Mueller May Have to Make and Which is Worse for Trump
George Payne
The NFL Moves to Silence Voices of Dissent
Razan Azzarkani
America’s Treatment of Palestinians Has Grown Horrendously Cruel
Katalina Khoury
The Need to Evaluate the Human Constructs Enabling Palestinian Genocide
George Ochenski
Tillerson, the Truth and Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department
Jill Richardson
Our Immigration Debate Needs a Lot More Humanity
George Payne
The Direction of No Return: a Meditation on America’s Decent into Tyranny
Judith Deutsch
Pension Systems and the Deadly Hand of the Market
Shamus Cooke
Oregon’s Poor People’s Campaign and DSA Partner Against State Democrats
Thomas Barker
Only a Mass Struggle From Below Can End the Bloodshed in Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
Australia’s China Syndrome
Missy Comley Beattie
Say “I Love You”
Ron Jacobs
A Photographic Revenge
Saurav Sarkar
War and Moral Injury
Clark T. Scott
The Shell Game and “The Bank Dick”
Seth Sandronsky
The State of Worker Safety in America
Thomas Knapp
Making Gridlock Great Again
Manuel E. Yepe
The US Will Have to Ask for Forgive
Laura Finley
Stop Blaming Women and Girls for Men’s Violence Against Them
Rob Okun
Raising Boys to Love and Care, Not to Kill
Kevin Martin
It’s Not Always All About Trump
Christopher Brauchli
What Conflicts of Interest?
Winslow Myers
Real Security
George Wuerthner
Happy Talk About Weeds
Abel Cohen
Give the People What They Want: Shame
Douglas Valentine
Memorial Day
May 24, 2018
Gary Leupp
Art of the Dealbreaker: Trump’s Cancellation of the Summit with Kim
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail