@NYT and @LeMonde_EN consider Macron’s ‘Pension Reform’.

Old Socialist comments.

The New York Times :

Headline: Macron Faces Pivotal Week in His Attempt to Change France at Its Core

Sub-headline: Huge crowds are again expected to protest President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the retirement age before a decisive vote that could redefine his nation and his legacy.

@NYT publishes Roger Cohen’s apologetic for the Neo-Liberal Macron’s attempt to rob French Workers of retirement at 62, surely not a surprise? A sample of Mr. Cohen’s ‘reportage’:

A favorite phrase of Emmanuel Macron, the French president, is that in life “you have to take your risks.” He did, and rose from nowhere to lead France at the age of 39. Now, six years later, he has decided to risk his political future on reshaping France at the very point where it is most resistant to change.

Mr. Macron’s battle with the French street over his plan to raise the legal age of retirement to 64 from 62 is expected to culminate this week in a decisive vote in both houses of Parliament on Thursday. Before then, if the last several weeks are any guide, the president can expect more than a million French citizens to rally in protests around the country, hoping to beat back the change. In Paris, they will demonstrate in streets piled high with trash, uncollected because of strikes.

With his attempt to overhaul France’s pension system, Mr. Macron has taken on the fierce French resistance to a world of unbridled capitalism, the nation’s deep attachment to social solidarity and the pervasive view that a long and painful sentence of work is offset only by the liberating rewards of a pensioner’s life. It is an enormous gamble.

“Every country has a soul and the soul of France is equality,” François Hollande, Mr. Macron’s predecessor as president, famously said. Profit remains suspicious to many French people who view it as a subterfuge of the rich. The 1.28 million protesters in the streets of France last week — 3.5 million according to labor unions — had an unequivocal message for Mr. Macron: “Work less to live more,” as one slogan put it.

Note that ‘worker laziness’ is and will be, the almost silent rhetorical armature, of the Neo-Liberal Cadre’s self-presentation. Think of the Greek Crisis of 2014, and the invention of the ‘Virtuous Norther Tier’, verses the ‘Profligate Southern Tier’ reframed for this political occasion.

More samples of Mr. Cohen’s ‘reportage’ :

Mr. Macron, 45, appears unmoved, resolute in his conviction that the change is essential to France’s economic health because today’s workers pay the pensions of a growing number of retirees, who live longer.

“It’s simple,” Mr. Macron said last year. “If we do not solve the problem of our retirees, we cannot invest in all the rest. It’s nothing less than a choice of the society we want.”

That may be logical, but the reservoir of sympathy on which Mr. Macron could once depend has evaporated. The pivot point of his second term, still less than a year old and accompanied until now by sense of drift, appears imminent.

Europe’s wunderkind is wounded. To some degree, he is vulnerable. Yet he insists, in the quixotic style he has often demonstrated, on the most difficult of changes at a time when 40 percent of French families say they struggle to make ends meet.

Cohen gives the game away with this descriptor: ‘Europe’s wunderkind’ . He has written a 1,546 word exercise in apologetic propaganda.

What to make of this from Political Technocrat Alain Duhamel ?

Mr. Macron’s hodgepodge centrist political party, Renaissance — formerly known as La République en Marche — with the backing of the center-right Republicans, should prevail, but support seems to be wavering and the outcome is unclear. Renaissance holds 260 seats and the Republicans 61, with 289 votes needed for a majority.

“It’s not a given that the reform passes,” said Alain Duhamel, an author and political commentator. “A month ago, I would have said 80 percent it goes through; now I would say 60 percent. Macron has taken a risky gamble. The logic of it is evident, but not the urgency.”

The Reader can work her way through this political monstrosity. That ends here, on the note of ‘healing’ , an exercise in Bourgeois Centrist Babble, the sine qua non of The New York Times.

If he can push the reform through, Mr. Macron will certainly follow up with offsetting social measures, including attempts to improve working conditions and broaden on-the-job training. Mr. Beaune, the minister delegate for transport, described the core idea as “work more but work better.” 

Whether this will be enough, should the legislation pass, to heal the rift that has opened up in France over pension reform is unclear. Much will hinge on such healing, because a France at war with itself is likely to benefit the political extremes of the left and right. 

From Le Monde:

Headline: French pension reform: Trade unions fill up war chests to support strikers

Sub-headline: Trade unions can boast of large funds to help mitigate the loss of income for employees who take days off work to protest the French government’s divisive reform. One such fund has no less than €150 million.

By Thibaud Métais and Bertrand Bissuel


What might The Reader make of this @LeMonde_EN coverage of the ‘Trade Union’ response to Macron’s ‘reforms’? Can The Reader grasp the fact that ‘Class’ plays an active role in this ?

From buckets filled with spare change during protest demonstrations to online solidarity pools fed by multi-digit amounts, strike funds have reappeared in the wake of opposition to the French pension reform as national days of action – the eighth is Wednesday, March 15 – have gathered momentum. They provide support to those who take days off work and do without part of their salary, in a context aggravated by high inflation.

How many of these solidarity systems are there across France? The myriad initiatives have not been comprehensively counted to date, but an interactive map allows us to locate some of the bigger ones, as indicated by sociologist Gabriel Rosenman, a former railway worker and SUD-Rail activist, who is working on a thesis on the subject. In late 2019 and early 2020, during the mobilization against the proposed universal pension system, “up to 380 online strike funds” had been counted, he recalled.

Two main practices have emerged. One has a sectoral or local dimension. It includes, in particular, online solidarity pools opened at the initiative of union sections or federations, such as the CGT-Cheminots (Railway Workers’ Federation) or the CGT energy branch, and fed by donations, in order to support the women and men participating in “long strikes,” explained Rosenman.

“The other approach is to set up funds financed by a percentage of union dues. These funds are reserved for members and are released to allow those involved – for example, precarious workers – to participate in demonstrations of strength that take place on an ad hoc basis,” Rosenman said.

The whole of this essay, and the sub-set Legal support and The ‘balance of power’ is what Journalism is, and should be . Not Roger Cohen’s Bourgeois Centrist Babble! Macron and Macronism is the product of a retrograde nostalgia, for the utterly failed Neo-Liberalism of Hayek/Mises/Friedman, that collapsed in 2008. And demonstrates that The Coal and Steel Cartel, imagined and realized by Jean Monnet, that metastasized into the ungovernable E.U.-the failed Utopia’s of these toxic Actors, keep maladroitly re-inventing themselves, in the political present, via Public Relations experts, the misbegotten issue of Edward Bernays!

Old Socialist


About stephenkmacksd

Rootless cosmopolitan,down at heels intellectual;would be writer. 'Polemic is a discourse of conflict, whose effect depends on a delicate balance between the requirements of truth and the enticements of anger, the duty to argue and the zest to inflame. Its rhetoric allows, even enforces, a certain figurative licence. Like epitaphs in Johnson’s adage, it is not under oath.' https://www.lrb.co.uk/v15/n20/perry-anderson/diary
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