Protesting the Perils of Capitalism Midst the Global Crunch

| 5/6/2009 2:09:59 PM

circle protestA tense French social climate has The Nation asking if the far-left side will erupt and seize power. Tough economic times may be pushing emerging French anti-capitalists groups over the brink of civility—but the president brushes it off. “Sarkozy is playing for time and is betting that people will get tired of the social protests, just like Maggie Thatcher did in the 1980s,” says Isabelle Sommier, a sociology professor at the Sorbonne. “But this is a very risky strategy, because we are sitting on a volcano.”

Workers have been getting very creative clamoring to get their voices heard, for example:

One way to negotiate is to hold your boss hostage. Boss-nappings reminiscent of the 1960s and 70s, in which, frustrated workers force the boss to stay in the factory or an office until they can work out their differences seems to be a reemerging tactic. “It’s a way to oblige the employers to actually face their employees, to look them in the eyes. There is no escape.” Different about today’s scheme though is that some of these bosses work for multi-national companies and have little authority over lay-offs and pay cuts.

Professors are hosting “classes” for subway passengers, protesting the marketization of academia. In front of Paris City Hall, academics, students and sympathizers have literally been walking in circles nonstop since March 24—to represent the ‘infinite circle of the obstinate.’

Other activists, sponsored by the New Anticapitalist party (NPA) are hosting “wild picnics” in supermarkets to protest high food prices. The plan is: go in, set up a table and eat anything in sight until you get kicked out. The NPA is a quickly growing political faction in France, and just in time for European Parliamentary elections in June.

Source: The Nation

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