A few days ago, Mudrake posted a piece about student "riots" at the Sorbonne in Paris and the dull silent echo they created in America. I pointed out that the riots were in fact the results of typical right wing provocation by "casseurs" which always results in head lines and photos that are used to discredit populist demonstrations.
The student demonstrators, who were in the streets all over France are being listened to.
The immediate demand that the role of researchers be kept as a government funded sector of the Universities, instead of being privatized was for the most part, settled in favor of the student and teachers demands.
Later, last Thursday, 3 million French workers participated in a General Strike.
The discussion that followed the post for the most part debated the cause, and the effectiveness of popular action in the streets and more so, why can this not occur in America? There were also missgivings about the apropriateness of these actions. Are they merely ritual street theater or do they really accomplish anything?
In the 3M plant at Pthiviers, France, an executive, Luc Rousselet has been kept hostage in his office by the workers overnight. The workers are demanding that 3M provide better treatment for 125 workers who were to be layed off and that pay and other issues are to be discussed before he is allowed to leave.
In this as well as other situations of direct worker action against executives and CEOs here in recent weeks, the police have been reluctant to intervene. In fact Mr. Rousselet has stated that he knows the workers have a lot to complain about and he is sympathetic to their demands.
His statement would have been unthinkable only a few weeks ago.
The Prefect of the Departement, sort of like the governor of an American State, but with more direct military authority has stated that he will not send in the police and 3M must negotiate directly with the workers.
Last night, the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy spoke at a meeting of his party, The UMP at the L'Elysee in the heart of Paris. Outside were over 3,000 demonstrators burning tires as the police stood by. This time, there were no Casseurs...or provacative actions because, it's becoming clear...time is up. It doesn't work.
Even in the main stream press, Le Point, Figaro...the present government is being referred to as Zombies.
So tell me more about your take on the effectiveness of organized populist actions with a purpose.....