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Thursday 30 March 2006

What is going on?

Is France still on a general strike or what? The Journal en Français Facile is on strike. This is my primary source for news. Otherwise, I pick through Liberation articles or read anglophone expat blogs, which sadly and annoyingly mainly contain the idea that French youth should be grovelling for shitty jobs at which they can be fired without cause, rather than demand their rights be respected. Yeah, this is why American unemployment is much much higher, unions are weak and wages are low and you can lose your house over a health problem in America. No offense, but the anglophones have done a terrible job of protecting workers rights in their own countries and maybe should stop criticizing French protesters and start emulating them. Also, if the French social system annoys you so much, maybe it's not the country for you?

Before you quibble with me about American unemployment stats, please note that France uses a different method to count, which is probably more accurate and that America's unemployment in minority communities is much worse than in France's minority communities. Much, much worse. And being able to fire people left and right doesn't seem to be helping.

Anyway, could you imagine how different things would be in the US if journalists belonged to a union and did things like went on strike? I mean, sure, you could say it would hurt the idea of them being impartial. But if they don't ever do things like that, aren't the just being partial towards business and the owning class?

Still, I want my news. I listen to the podcast first thing before I go outside. It's like booting the french-understanding part of my brain. It eases me into speaking French for the day. Also, no news. I try getting my news from Radio Canada, but the accents are harder and they speak so quickly. And so often about Steven Harper.

Speaking of strikes and politically active Highschool students, the kids in LA give me so much hope for America. Maybe if the youth rise up, the government will stop oppressing folks so much. Alas, on the other hand, the Catholic church is a driving force behind this. Sometimes they are right and sometimes they are wrong. Their ability to mobilize people for civil rights is fantastic, but I worry they will also be able to mobilize people against civil rights too. The communal nature of a mass movement is not what gives it moral authority, but rather, the rightness of the cause. People marching for immigrant rights is fantastic, but the church has also tried to get people to march against women and gays. If they get skills at turning people out, this is not good overall. The kids, however, are organizing via mySpace with their own tools and of their own volition. I have faith in the youth.

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