Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Black Rain

(The painting is Europe, After The Rain by Max Ernst, from about 1941. A very good example of his decalomanie technique, where he painted two canvases, pushed them together while wet, then pulled them apart and let the chance events of the smeared paint trigger his subconcious to see imagery which he then tried to define. Click on the image, please to see it enlarged.)
 This morning dawned on France a s grey, cold drizzly day. Nicolas Sarkozy awoke in Deauville, where he was playing the big wheel to a meeting between himself, Angela Merkel and the President of Russia, Medeved. He probably felt relieved that the weather was so abysmal. The planned demonstration against his reforms and the continuing strike that was gradually shutting down the country would probably get rained out.
It wasn't. Instead, it was the biggest turn out yet. Almost 3,500,000 protestors were in the streets of France. The government grudgingly admitted to 1,500,000 after realizing that their strategy of down playing the numbers was only destroying their credibility even more.
Not only that, but the demonstrations had began to become violent. The provocations by the CRS were beginning to create an ugly mood in Lyon after a student was seriously injured by unprovoked police firing into a crowd during Sundays huge protests.
More than 2,000 gas stations were out of fuel and closed by late afternoon and commercial planes are being told that they better have enough fuel to take off if they land at any major French Airport, because, there isn't any on the ground.
Why? The major refineries have been on strike for the last 2 weeks. The entire system has been compromised. Tankers sit out in the ocean, refineries sit idle, storage tanks are being emptied and the last link, the fuel truckers refuse to work
The flash point for all of this was the Sarkozy Governments refusal to negotiate regarding their plans to raise the retirement age. They cut off discussions and voted the reforms through on a weeekend and then announced it after the fact.
Listen, it's not that the French are against the reform in itself. It's not that most of the economists realize that retirement has to be dealt with. The most respected economists in France happen to be Socialists, including Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who is the head of the International Money Fund (IMF). 
This is about Nicolas Sarkozy, his corrupt government and his stated aim to dismantle the Social Model adopted in France after the fall of DeGaulle in 1968 in a popular revolution against the Right. He has systematically set about dismantling the Health Care, Education and the Social Security System that has existed since the Mitterrand era.
This is about the smokescreen of using the false argument that France cannot afford to honor its social responsibilites while empowering the upper class with tax breaks and enabling them to export jobs out of France. 
This is about forming an unholy alliance with the extreme racist right in an attempt to exploit the intellectual fragmentation of the left. Even now, the government is trying to use the ruse of security alerts to discourage demonstrations. They have released "reports" that Al Qaeda is threatening to attack the demonstrations...so you better stay home under the covers! ...but why? Because of Sarkozy's commitment to Afghanistan and more so, the recent ruling against wearing the Burkha which is directed at and affects only a very small sub group of Islamic Women.
This is about using a persecuted class of people, the Gypsies as scapegoats because of the incident of crime in the illegal Romanian immigrant population.  
This is about an entire populations saying collectively "J'en ai marre!"
They've had it with this bling bling autocratic insensitive manipulative little fascist.
As of tonight, as the gas pumps go dead, the stores begin to empty of fresh produce and people hear that again the government claims it will be able to wait the strikes out "serenely", 71% of the population is enthusiastically supporting the strikes, because what is important is worth fighting for and as history has shown us, the French people will fight.....
The Resistance did in WW2, The People did it in the streets in 1968 and in the 80's.
It was a class struggle in the past, with unions and social injustice, now it is a personal struggle.
(If my account of what is happening in France seems different than what you have seen on the BBC, CNN or American Network News, remember, they only report what is available from the French Official News Services and don't really have reporters on the ground or the ability to translate and report from blogs and independent sources.) 


sr said...


microdot said...

SR, your comment made my rainy day a lot lighter...
Though I did manage to bike between the raindrops this afternoon. It's a very educational and enlightening time to be in France, I must say.