Monday, March 20, 2006

March of the sophists

Writing in Time Magazine, James Graff does more than the monthly’s circumspect and distant coverage of the student movement for national mediocrity, the opposition to the CPE.


«The young — those most in need of a leg up — heaped scorn on a law intended to help them. Serbian-born Zeljko Stojanovic, 19, joined the march with fellow high school students of foreign origin from the Parisian suburb of Saint-Denis. "They want to close off immigration and doom young people to the lousy jobs nobody else will take," said Stojanovic, who wants to be an auto mechanic. "We're the ones who'll suffer if the bosses can just fire people without cause." Privileged university students saw matters no differently. Said Florian Louis, 22, a history student at the prestigious L'Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales: "Maybe you can talk about labor flexibility in England or America, where there are lots of jobs. But not here. France wants no part in a race to the bottom." Neither young man seemed to understand how labor flexibility created those jobs in Britain or the U.S., underscoring the failure of the government to make a persuasive case for its policies.

[ . . . ]

But dumping an unpopular policy would leave the larger problem unanswered: How to modernize France? Jobs will not spring magically into being if the hated employment law is abandoned. Eventually, structural reforms will be needed to transform France's prospects — »

Graff quotes André Glucksmann who himself seems to be recycling a "class theory" concept which is so dated, it could only apply to a European nation-state:
«"Every generation we have a war, a revolt or a revolution," he says. "That's how we recycle our élite." Rising to the top of preliminary polls for the presidency are politicians who propose new ways of doing business: Sarkozy, who talks of a "rupture from the policies of the last 30 years," and Socialist Ségolène Royal, who has scandalized her party leadership by praising Tony Blair's pragmatic market policies. They'll hear none of that at the Sorbonne these days. But for all the fury last week, even France can't resist the winds of change forever.»

Just in the past hours a general strike has been called. The cleptocracy smells blood and wants no part of modernity in spite of the obvious harm it will do to their own social model: the whacky commune will be disbanded due to poverty. Not just a material one, but from a dearth of functioning ideas of how a society can positively sustain itself.
(Photo credit: 20 minutes)

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