The Frogmarch

"I've got to pull up my stakes and roll, man." --Jean-Jacques Libris de Kerouac

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

In 21st Century France...

...general strikes have their own websites (link en francais) with Google Maps providing directions to the nearest manifestation.

[photo: control station for the St. Just and Fourviere funiculaires, unattended, as usual. There's a giant red "emergency stop" button in the center of the board, and the CRT at right tracks meters/second and distance from platform in real time. But there's never anyone in the booth.]

The one-day strike, which the organizers are calling "Black Thursday", will supposedly be the largest of the Sarkozy administration. What's it about? Well, the usual: "pour l'emploi, les salaries et la defense du service public," as well as the all-important pouvoir d'achat ("buying power", or what we would call cost-of-living). The real purpose, if I'm correctly reading between the lines, is for the unions to flex their muscle at a time when Sarko is pushing reform aimed at addressing the financial crisis.

What's it mean for me? Simply that I must remember to wear good walking shoes for my Thursday commute, and not plan to leave town.

[photo: Tongue-in-cheek (I think) graffiti next to Arabic (I think) graffiti in a Vieux-Lyon alleyway. "Fortunately, even the most complete adherence to The System doesn't prevent subversion! This man never speaks out except when necessary, only makes love at the prescribed times, and for all that, his eyes burn like two rebellious coals! Take a lesson from him, and stop boring the crap out of everybody!"]

Update: Black Thursday passed without too much disruption; there were minor scuffles with police in Paris, but all in all things were peaceful and orderly. Video from the Lyon manif can be seen here (interviews en francais).


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