March 17, 2006


Paris Flambé: The student protests in France are getting worse. On Thursday, some 250,000 demonstrators took to the streets with more than 300 arrests made. The student violence is the worst since 1968. (Der Spiegel, 3/17/06)

Two weeks into the violent protests, the rage of French students shows no signs of subsiding. How angry are they? So angry that they're even carrying protest banners written in English in the anglophobic Republique. "Villepin: Give Up, in France You Are not the King!" and "We Shall Never Surrender!" The Academie francaise surely won't be pleased, but the banners do help ensure the maximum international media impact. [...]

For several weeks now, students in France have been protesting a new law introduced by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin that makes it easier for employers to fire young workers under the age of 26 from their first jobs. De Villepin's logic is that companies will be more inclined to hire younger workers if they know they also have the option of laying them off.

They'd rather strike than work but people think they'll make a fit fighting force if war with their Islamic minority comes?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 17, 2006 11:42 AM

There's supposed to be some huge anti-whatever rally in Times Square this weekend. Where are the hard hats when you need them, eh? My point is that this big rally will probably be, for the most part, peaceable. The damned French can't gather together to protest anything without burning down half the town and overturning cars.

Posted by: Bryan at March 17, 2006 12:00 PM

Only in France do you hear of striking from university. If they had a decent education system, these folks would be flunked for skipping classes and tests. On the other hand, this is valuable career experience for a French worker. I can't wait to see a job applicant who lists striking at university under his/her qualifications.

Posted by: Jay at March 17, 2006 12:04 PM


C'mon, I spent seven years on strike from my classes.

Posted by: oj at March 17, 2006 12:08 PM

This law, and similar laws in Spain, are the precise reason the unemployment rate in these countries is so high, astronomically so among the young. Small businesses in particular know, that once they hire someone, they can never get rid of them, even if they are not working out. Ergo, they almost never hire.

Marvelling at this new generation of French youth ... I've always resisted belief in parallel universes, but when one encounters the actual beings that obviously inhabit one ...

Posted by: Brother Qiao at March 17, 2006 12:10 PM

If they worked as hard at work as they're working at not working someone would be willing to pay them to work.

Posted by: oj at March 17, 2006 12:19 PM


I guess I'm looking at it from my own perspective; I'm 21 and at a nice private university with tuition paid for because of high entrance test scores. I've got this in common at least with my French counterparts: someone else is footing the bill.

Posted by: Jay at March 17, 2006 12:29 PM

Most young men would rather fight than work.

Posted by: Brandon at March 17, 2006 1:53 PM

Bryan, the word you're seaching for is anti- American.

Posted by: Genecis at March 17, 2006 2:19 PM

I don't even think they've though it through enough to be anti-American. They're anti-something, by gar, and they're adamant about it! They all remind me of Rik from The Young Ones.

Posted by: Bryan at March 17, 2006 2:22 PM

OJ "people think they'll make a fit fighting force if war with their Islamic minority comes?"
The famous Jean-Paul Sartre Brigade of Philosphes will be the vanguard.

Posted by: Genecis at March 17, 2006 2:27 PM

What about the Derrida Division, known for its precision?

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 17, 2006 2:29 PM

"people think they'll make a fit fighting force if war with their Islamic minority comes?" They only have to be as good as those who "fought" Hitler in the last War. What else do you expect?

Posted by: ic at March 17, 2006 2:36 PM

ic. I expect we'll take their chestnuts out of the fire again.

Posted by: erp at March 17, 2006 2:43 PM


They're supposed to be Hitler's forces in the coming genocide.

Posted by: oj at March 17, 2006 2:52 PM

This just further proves that the Muslim youths who rioted all over France a while back are in fact well-integrated, as they have adopted such quintessentially French customs as rioting massively for no particular reason!

Posted by: Mrk at March 17, 2006 3:20 PM


Natives riot to avoid work. Im migrants riot for work.

Posted by: oj at March 17, 2006 3:23 PM

They riot because they like it.

Posted by: Mrk at March 17, 2006 3:27 PM

"i know i'm shouting i like to shout"

Posted by: toe at March 17, 2006 4:34 PM

Actually, I'll bet the French truck drivers could run over lots of Muslims, if they wanted to.

Posted by: ratbert at March 17, 2006 10:10 PM

until they hit one with a bomb on his back -- kind of like a land based version of Battleship.

Posted by: toe at March 18, 2006 4:42 PM