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French Retirement Age Protests

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French President Emmanuel Macron, gestures as he poses for a photograph after the recording of his New Year’s speech at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, Monday, Dec. 31, 2018. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, Pool)

I don’t have enough knowledge on France to comment meaningfully on the protests against Macron’s dictatorial attempt to raise the retirement age in the country. My major thought about French politics is this–if only the U.S. had multiple political parties that engaged in the coalitional politics a subsect of Americans really want, we too could have a final like the French, between an empty neoliberal suit and a a fascist. Wow, that’s different from here!

In any case, I don’t see what Macron is doing here other than just handing Le Pen the next election. How easy is it going to be for her to tie French social standards with racism and fears about culture? But this is neoliberal governance in a nutshell–thinking the people are too stupid to participate and so just alienating said people through contempt for them. This is a completely separate question than the merits of the French retirement age question, about which I do not take a position other than my usual support for worker rights and dignity.

In any case, there should be a conversation about this around here and I don’t think we’ve had one.

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