Saturday, October 16, 2010

Vive la Résistance!

Pension reform, and raising the retirement age are still boiling issues among the French. We all know the story by now...

We are facing the same thing here in the private sector. The economic collapse has decimated IRA's, 401K's, pensions, housing values... and anything else that used to be cornerstone for the working guy's (or his wife's) retirement plans.

Our retirement ages are all rising, while those who work for the government remain protected at the expense of the rest.
Another element that rubs me raw: those responsible, the congressmen, senators, regulators aren't going to lose a thing, while the Wall Street chieftains, who've profited mightily, stay in their cocoon of government protected privilege, not missing any meals or mortgage payments.

And what is the American response? Lots of grumbling among ourselves, a Tea Party thing or another... but nothing is going to change for us. We, the people, have been duped. Used. Beat down.
Emotional resignation seems to be the national response. There needs to be more anger, but he political class has done a fairly good job at pointing fingers at 'the other guy', and enough people are buying it.

Yeah, it looks like the GOP, and those who tend toward it, are cleaning up a bit, tossing out some of their chaff. Besides the shortening of some political careers, I don't see any else becoming of it. Those tossed will just be back as lobbyists, anyway. And those who replace them will follow the same old game after a cycle or two.
So, really, nothing's gonna change, and I think only a fool would dare to believe otherwise...

We can take a lesson from the French. Sure, these present day French might be a little mild compared to their kin of two centuries ago, but at least they are showing some public anger.
Unlike us, who just take it. Hoping the economy will rebound, making my pension worth the $55/year that I'd negotiated (in a free market manner), instead of the $36/yr I've now been informed that I can expect.
That's a big hit. And somebody is responsible for what amounts to theft on a mass scale.
But it's an insider's game. The rest of us were never meant to score big through our honest labors and patient planning. Nope. We are just the slaves on the plantation, receiving what the 'others' haven't already taken for themselves.

In a proper, free market system, the failed boys of AIG, et al, would be living in trailers and holding cardboard signs at on-ramps. But they aren't.
Nobody whose charged with administering the government should be above the law. Nor above the laws of economics and fair play.

The people responsible for this will not be paying. They will continue to live very well, being sheltered from the negative results of their actions.

Maybe it's time we revive an older French practice. Storm the government buildings. Drag those motherfuckers, screaming, into the streets. Shove their crooked asses into the guillotines and be done with them.

A silly minded Tea Party won't solve anything.


RW said...

When should we do this, after Christmas?

Gino said...

not sure. i cant afford to miss any work right now, and dont want to burn a vacation week.

RW said...

Yeah me too. Kinda my point....

Bike Bubba said...

Expletive, what a bunch of wimps we are! :^)

kr said...

More or less supporting Chairman Mao and the eternal Revolution, aren't yeh there?

(I am of course ready for the toss-down--I'm kinda waiting for the economy here in Oregon to tank so badly they have to shut the schools, so people can be reminded that humanity can exist without shutting their children up in gvt-/bigmoney-supported brainwashing institutions for the majority of their waking hours. I try to hide the manic glint in my eye when I'm thinking about it, though ;). )

Up here in Portland we get really into marches and mass demonstrations ... but usually they are for things I don't support (politicians), and the kids are too young and too numerous to do them even when I do (anti-police-violence). They work on a local scale--shit gets shut down after a good series of marches, and investigations happen, and cultural assumptions change. Bigger issues (bailouts, abortion, health"care") would require national coordination, and I think you'll have to get either the unions or the college kids or both in on that to make it happen.

On the other hand, I also vote with my dollars and my (not-"gainfully"-employed) time: I'm stretching every penny to keep buying organic and seeing my naturopath; I'm fighting to build the best alternative schools we can ... I birthed at home with midwives (cheaper and safer, not to mention hella nicer!), I live car-free, I buy "renewable" electricity. I donate to and buy from thrift stores, and while the technology wasn't economically self-supporting I paid a little cash to recycle my styrofoam.

(Although ... I admit I'm not entirely convinced they didn't just dump it in a landfill when noone was watching.)

The revolution is happening. What we "little people" can do is pick away at the foundations that support the "big people." I think the game is changing, and those who are flexible will survive and those who are defensive and reactionary, won't.

Here's to rich people dying in obscurity. (So much more just than even a guillotine.)

That all said, I'm game if there's a good set of march themes. My kids are maybe old enough finally :).

Gino said...

bubba: its a sad day whe the french show a bigger pair than the americans, dont ya think?

kr: i'm not against the rich. i need them to pay me and buy the shit i make.
i'm against the politicians and the bankers who own them.

and i'm a personal portland protest of my own: against voo doo donuts. i will not give them any more $, and advise others the same.
(although the guillotine might be an idea.)

Brian said...

The French are really good at shutting shit down, when they decide to strike. Americans are by and large too complacent (even now) and/or too scared to organize on a national level that would be comparably effective.

That may not always be the case. A few more years of 10+% unemployment, and we may find out. But I frankly doubt it.

As an aside...when M and I were honeymooning in Paris, our first attempt to go to the Musee d'Orsay was foiled by a strike. I distinctly overheard a man--a Frenchman--in the crowd with us reading the little paper sign on the door mutter "putain Francias" ("fucking French").

Gino said...

brian: makes me wonder at times why the french can fill the streets and shut shit down, while their neighbors to the north keep that stiff upper lip thing and never seem to rile (unless its a soccer match).

i think we are complacent because we have bought into the lie. that one about of, by and for the poeple.

we thinks its our fault. we just need to vote better.

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