France

Are the strikes, blockades, and protests that seem to occur more frequently and with more vigor in France than in the rest of Europe possible because it has the lowest unionization rate on the continent? If the fight against the contract laws were being waged in, say, Germany, would the wide range of social grievances be subsumed to the trade unions’ “limited demands of … facing an employer“? I wonder if French social movements are able to move quickly and effectively in times like these because of their tolerance for difference and refusal to fetishize unity.

As usual, Archive is asking the right questions about leftist reports on the protests: Why are these events seen as separate from the riots in the banlieus, the No vote on the EU constitution, the strikes of the 90s, etc? History, after all, didn’t stop in May ’68 and restart just this week.

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