In France

Posted in Extremism, Stumble and Fail at 8:15 am by George Smith

“Never try to get your peter sucked in France,” sings Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson on Frank Zappa’s In France. “They got some coffee, eatin’ right through the cup!”

The lyrics are funny, juvenile and half supercilious and but the band can’t wait to get back to France. Well, maybe they can but the view is not as unremittingly hostile as the usual treatment given to the French in the US.

Here’s a rhetorical question: Have you ever not seen some American, when presented with a critical view by a Frenchman (or an Englishman), retaliate with a version of “We saved your rotten asses in WW II!”

Anyway, news from France these days shows the French have guts, something lacking in the land of exceptionalism in all things.

In France:

The Interior Ministry said that 1.1 million people demonstrated throughout France on Tuesday, down from 1.23 million on Oct. 12. In Paris, the police said that 67,000 people demonstrated, down from 89,000. The main union, the C.G.T., said that 3.5 million people demonstrated throughout France on both days.

Unions, students and other workers have protested in a way that’s highly disruptive — blocking fuel distribution, ensuring one third of the country’s gas stations have gone empty. Among with many other actions.

All of it in response to austerity politics by the French government, the raising of the retirement age in France, along with other attacks on the social safetynet, for purposes of deficit cutting have the people in the street.

The French do not want American-style capitalism.

In 2010, that’s a logical and decent view to hold.

In the US, it’s obvious the opposite is in place.

The only social protester is by angry and nuts hick whites who hate the president and everyone not like them, who wish to destroy what little is actually left of any social safetynet. And, of course, protect the very wealthy from taxation.

Like Zappa, you could write a funny song about it. However, generally, the only songs written are like this or this. And they are neither funny nor satirical.

Pete Seeger it ain’t.

In France America.

The French do have some American-style rub off. The current national argument over the Roma has some similarity to the GOP antipathy toward Mexicans and the US Latino population. Only, by our standards, it’s more tepid. Their social generosity and tolerance would still seem to currently be much greater than ours.

The Tea Party has nothing on France.

These people are rattling wealth and the corporate establishment, something our protesters would never dream of doing:

“If it is not stopped quickly, this disorder which is aimed at paralysing the country could have consequences for jobs by damaging the normal running of economic activity,” [Sarkozy] said in a statement yesterday.

Jean Pelin, director general of France’s chemical industries association, said that the strike had already cost his sector an estimated billion euros in lost turnover, around 100 million euros (88 million) for every extra strike day.

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