Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"What the parliament does, the street can undo"

Progressives, union activists and the anesthetized majority in North America can only look at the agressive and confident activism of the engaged French citizenry with envy and awe.  If we stood and fought with these kind of numbers and this kind of determination we'd be living in a different Canada today.
PARIS - Hundreds of thousands of French workers, students and functionaries walked out on strike Tuesday and paraded through the streets in what labor unions described as the beginning of a long-term showdown with President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Air and rail service throughout the country was disrupted by the protests - the fourth in a month.
They were aimed specifically at reversing a new law requiring people to work until age 62 rather than 60 before receiving their retirement pensions. But they also were a platform for broader-based political resentments that have been building among France's salary-earners, many of whom view Sarkozy's government as callous and too close to big business.

In the souring atmosphere, union leaders declared many of the strikes that on Tuesday nearly crippled the country would continue indefinitely or recur on an irregular schedule. The result could be gasoline shortages, curtailed rail and air travel, chaos at schools and perhaps even power cuts in France's main cities, they warned.

"We are going to continue," vowed Bernard Thibault, secretary general of the General Labor Federation. "The mobilization is not going to stop just because the senators have voted."

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