The CPE Uproar
Much is being written in the French press about the CPE - First Job Contract (the letters stand for "contrat première embauche"). This is Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin's plan for giving jobs to the immigrants of the suburban ghettoes. According to the plan an employer may fire a worker within two years after hiring him. But the main objection to the plan is that it favors immigrants over lower-class ethnic Frenchmen. It is,in fact, a thinly disguised guarantee of employment for the immigrants (and children thereof) and a betrayal of young French people without a university education who will be in need of employment after high school. The anti-CPE demonstrations (see my earlier post below entitled "Possible Violence Tomorrow") have been going on for several days throughout France. But as with most French protests, this one, too, has been seized by the left-wing groups and exploited for their own purposes. So the legitimate protesters, i.e., the French who need jobs, are eclipsed in numbers and violent acts by the left-plus-Muslim contingency. If you go to voxgalliae, and scroll down to the title "Casseurs anti-CPE en action", then click the horizontal bar, you will see a video of the violence in the Sèvres-Babylone section of Paris. The following excerpts come from Via-Resistancia, a google group.
We followed one of the demonstrations against the CPE in the south of France.
The Cuban flag flying high, left-wing college students and high-schoolers led the procession. All the unions followed close at hand. The atmosphere was rather happy and fun-filled, but behind this "family" event, the countless left-wing organizations of the extreme-left were there: pro-palestinians, opponents of the American "occupation" in Iraq, the anti-GMO crowd, and ATTAC that made its presence felt by its demands for an alternative to "free enterprise".
First observation: not only have these people not changed much in twenty years, they seem to have regressed...
Second observation: the left has become radicalized and the socialists move discreetly to the sidelines whenever the CNT and the LCR hog the sidewalks, very much at home in this atmosphere. The CFDT struts its power and counter-balances a bit the weight of the extreme-left whose numbers dominate...
Note from Tiberge: The French distinguish between various shades of "left" more so than Americans. The writer seems to consider the socialists as more or less moderate. The CNT (National Confederation of Labor) claims to be anarchistic and revolutionary, the LCR (Communist Revolutionary League) is clearly extreme-left, while the CFDT (French Democratic Confederation of Labor) is less so.
In the crowd we talked nevertheless to some young people who were not very political. They were left-leaning, but without strong convictions. They were there to protest the CPE and were unconcerned about the left's seizure of the rally...They feared unemployment, were doubtful about their education, their future. Suddenly they opened up to us. Scepticism and pessimism prevailed.
These young people are sincerely worried and though not particularly won over by the left, they drift in that direction because of the stupidity of the government. Once again the right appears to be against the younger generation, not to understand their concerns, and to have nothing to propose that would be of interest to twenty-year olds.
Note from Tiberge: This is putting it mildly. The government is clearly against its own youth. Furthermore, the terms "right" and "left" have little meaning anymore. You are either a "patriot" or you are not.
This demonstration has, without any doubt, permitted the ultra-left and the unions to get back in the saddle and recapture some lost prestige...It has re-mobilized what has traditionally been called the "people of the left"...