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The Tragedy of the Cheminots
The Deep Meaning of the French Railroad Strikes
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The current series of railroad strikes in France are portrayed in the media as “labor unrest”, a conflict between the government and trade union leaders, or as a temporary nuisance to travelers caused by the self-interest of a privileged category of workers. In Anglo-American media, there is the usual self-satisfied tongue-clicking over “those cheese-eaters, always on strike”.

In reality, the strike by train conductors and other employees of the SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer) is a deeply significant chapter in a social tragedy that is destroying France as we have known it.

What has made France a most comfortable country to live in for over half a century is not only the food and the scenery. Above all, it has been the public services – the best in the world. The postal service, public education, health coverage, public utilities, railroad service – all were excellent, exemplary. True, the French telephone system for a long time lagged far behind other developed countries before catching up, and there have always been complaints of over-the-counter rudeness in governmental offices, but that can happen anywhere. The important point is that thanks to its public services, France ran smoothly, providing favorable conditions for business and daily life. When people take good things for granted too long, they begin not to notice as they are gradually taken away.

President Emmanuel Macron’s program for destroying the SNCF is a wakeup call. But there is reason to fear that much of the public has already been plunged into a slumber too deep to be awakened.

It takes a long history to produce something as good as French public services. It goes back to the centralization of the French state in the seventeenth century, associated with the finance minister of Louis XIV, Jean-Baptiste Colbert. The SNCF was formed in 1938 by merging France’s various railroad companies as a state monopoly as part of the progressive social reforms of the Popular Front. At the end of World War II, public services received a decisive boost from the paradoxical alliance between the opposite wings of the French Resistance, the Communists and the Gaullists. General Charles de Gaulle, although anti-communist, was the sort of conservative (look back at Bismarck) who understands that a nation’s strength and unity depend on a modicum of social justice. Despite open opposition on many issues, the Gaullists and the communists joined in a unified National Council of the Resistance, which in March, 1944, adopted a program calling for a mixed economy combining free enterprise with strategic nationalizations, along with social security programs and trade union rights. This program of social justice laid the groundwork for an extraordinary increase in economic development, called Les Trente Glorieuses – the glorious thirty years of peace and prosperity. The French mixed economy functioned better than either the bureaucratic communism or profit-centered capitalism in terms of freedom, equality and human well-being.

It is harder to build things up than to tear them down.

The Thatcher neoliberal putsch signaled the death sentence of the glorious thirty and the start of the forty inglorious: the persistent campaign, ideological and institutional, to destroy the social state, lower wages and benefits, and eventually transfer all decision-making power to the movements of finance capital. This is variously called neoliberalism or globalization.

The counter-revolution struck France in the early years of the presidency of Socialist President François Mitterrand, causing his government to change its policies and break its “common program” alliance with the Communists. To hide its anti-social shift, the Socialist Party changed its line to “anti-racism” and “the construction of Europe” (meaning the European Union), presented as the new horizon of “progress”. The concern of workers to maintain the standard of living they had achieved in recent decades was derided as “reactionary”, in opposition to the new concept of borderless, global competition, the new “progress”.

In reality, “European construction” has meant the systematic deconstruction of member states’ sovereignty, bringing about the destruction of social welfare systems bolstered by sentiments of national solidarity for which there is no substitute in the vague abstraction called “Europe”. Step by step, Europe is being deprived of its social protections and opened up to the whims of the likes of Goldman Sachs, industrial takeovers and shutdowns, and Qatar.

The cheminots – France’s railroad workers – are not just fighting for themselves. They constitute the front lines of the final battle to save France from the ravages of neoliberal globalization.

Emmanuel Macron – protégé of the Rothschild bank, which helped him join the ranks of millionaires – presents his “reform” of the railways as a measure of “equality”, by depriving railroad workers of their “privileged status”.

Privileges? Train conductors lead a hard life, long hours and few weekends to spend with their families. The lives of millions of passengers depend on their concentration and devotion. In consideration of all this, their “privileged” status included job security and relatively early retirement (privileges that the rich can give themselves, and which are standard in military careers).

The striking rail workers protest that they do not want to be “privileged” but rather wish to see such “privileges” extended to others. In any case, much more is at stake here than wages and hours.

Public services in France were more than conveniences. For millions, they were an ethic, a way of life. In many countries, public services are totally undermined by corruption and neglect. This does not happen when people believe in what they are doing. Such belief is not automatic: it is historically acquired. The French cheminots have been like an extended family, held together by belief that they are carrying out an essential social duty. In fact, many are literally “family”, as the job of train conductor often passed from father to son, as a matter of pride.

This devotion to social duty is more than a personal attitude: it is a spiritual value that a nation should treasure and preserve. Instead, it is being sacrificed to the demands of finance capital.


How is that? There is now an excess of capital sloshing around the world on the lookout for profitable places to invest. That is what “neoliberalism” is all about. Ordinary businesses may go broke, or at least fail to turn a profit to stockholders. That is why the public sector must be privatized. The great thing about investing in public services, is that if they don’t make money, the government will step in and subsidize them – at taxpayers’ expense!

That is the attraction of the arms industry. It can also apply to education, health care, transportation, communications. But the official pretext is that these services must be privatized because that will make them “more efficient”.

That is the big lie.

It has already been exposed in the United Kingdom, where the privatization of the railroads has produced not only worse service but fatal accidents, especially since there is no immediate profit in rail maintenance.

Pride in the job well done was a much-neglected aspect of the rise of socialism. Artisans who were obliged by the rise of capitalism to abandon their independent activities in order to become slaves of industry were often the vanguard of the socialist movement in the nineteenth century. Such pride is a far more stable element of social cohesion than increasingly childish anarchist calls to “destroy the system” – with no alternative in sight.

Macron is only a pawn. It is not Macron who decided to destroy France’s rail system. It was decided and decreed by the European Union, and Macron is merely carrying out orders. The orders are to open the rail system up to free international competition. Soon, German, Italian, Spanish trains may be sharing with French trains the same rails – rails whose upkeep is turned over to another company, also in it for the profit. The stress of the rail workers will be increased by their insecurity. To fill the profit margin, passengers will inevitably have to pay more. As for residents of small rural communities, they will simply lose their railroad service altogether, because it is not profitable.

Run as a public service, the national railroad used its benefits from lines with heavy traffic to finance those in more sparsely inhabited rural areas, this providing equal benefits to people wherever they live. That is on the way out. The destruction of public services hastens the desertification of the countryside and the growth of mega-cities. Hospitals in rural areas are being shut down, post offices closed. France’s charming villages will die out with the last elderly inhabitants still clinging to them.

That is the “modernization” program underway.

Overlooked in the multitude of foreign misunderstanding of France is the hallucinatory power of terms such as “modern” and “progress”. The champions of privatization attempt to mesmerize the public with these magical words, while meanwhile slyly cutting back service in order to prepare the public to accept the planned changes as possible improvements.

Two things should be mentioned to complete this sad story. One is that in the wake of its privatization, France Télecom underwent a wave of employee suicides – 39 in two years – certainly in part due to stress and demoralization, as methods were introduced to reduce the quality of service and increase profits. When pride in work is destroyed, the path is short to indifference, negligence and even corruption.

Another point to recall is the propaganda campaign mounted about twenty years ago to smear the SNCF for its role in “deporting Jewish children” to Nazi concentration camps. This was unjustifiable, considering that the Nazi occupiers confiscated the French railroads, which had no choice in the matter.Moreover, railroad employees (many of them communists) played an important role in the Resistance by sabotaging military trains – until the United States Air Force pounded the hell out of most major French railroad stations (and the surrounding neighborhoods) to prepare for the Normandy invasion. This slander of the SNCF was naturally used by U.S. rivals to exclude French fast-speed trains from the U.S. market.

As Macron raises taxes to build up his military industrial complex, the only public employees who will soon be left to enjoy social benefits and early retirement will be the military – whose task will not be to serve France but to act as auxiliary in United States foreign wars.

Until soldiers are replaced by robots.

Diana Johnstone can be reached at [email protected].

(Republished from Global Research by permission of author or representative)
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  1. peterAUS says:


    People as Ms. Johnston should be thinking about the paradigm.

    In the current, this is what has been happening, is happening, and will be happening.
    That’s the nature of it.

    Thinking about meaning of life, nature of work, (re)distribution of goods and services and such is the only way to make any difference.

    Otherwise, most of us will be serfs for the top 20 %, “managed” and, if necessary, “retired”.

    That’s the most likely future, actually.
    The mixture of new Ancient Egypt and Huxley’s “New World Order”. No slaves and order maintained, mostly, with a gloved hand.

    Working class has been fucked over and nobody was paying attention. On the contrary, the rest liked it.
    Now they are coming for the middle class, with gusto.

    Pleasant dreams.

    • Disagree: Che Guava
  2. Zach says:

    Good to have Ms. Johnston on this site. She has always been a great Counterpunch contributor.

    • Replies: @Seamus Padraig
  3. utu says:

    I hope that French society has a sense of solidarity and won’t be taken apart by Schadenfreude like American society where worsening of somebody’s social position like that of unionized workers is always cheered by the rest of society. However in American rich are excluded form this treatment. They are always admired and everybody wishes them to become richer and richer.

    Somebody did a job on Americans and the suckers do not have a clue.

    • Agree: Biff
  4. @peterAUS

    There’s blame to go around.
    The post-war history of American labor is of a movement with one strategy and double-down, double-down, double-down, ’till it went broke.
    There are two strategies labor needed to take and bears responsibility for failing at: 1) at about the time when it should have accepted that American laborers were getting a pretty good deal that could only be improved in the short-term by consuming the host, it should have shifted resources to bargain for the long-haul by moving for a German-style public corporate, corporate/labor model, namely where labor had a seat on the board, 2) rather than tunnel-vision resistance to free trade up to and until it simply lost in a total wash-out, it should have looked for alternative models to global trade, one of which has been on display : the British Commonwealth of Nations.
    If in 1975 American labor threw its strength behind those two long-term goals we would have a much different world today – one with much more prosperity, better distributed, and with less identity politics.
    On the right, well: the right seemed absolutely convinced that it could kill its opposition and nothing would replace it.
    You can of course kill your loyal opposition for the incremental pennies on the dollar back that its worth to you – but usually when you kill the loyal opposition its replaced by the disloyal opposition.

    When I go to places where American working class are still found – they still love America. Can’t say that for the left we have, which is the left that we have the Republican right to thank for.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @Alden
  5. peterAUS says:

    Well…I’ve given this some thought since I left the military, some time ago.

    Things can get so complicated that only PhDs with 30 years experience and IQ over 200 can comprehend………….or……things are actually so simple that 8 years old can get in a minute.
    I go with the later.

    The system, any system, where the PROFIT is the prime mover is wrong.
    One sentence.
    Oh, yes, I know I can get hit by 100 books to prove me wrong. No prob.
    Still, in all those books there is no proper solution to the problem.

    I, personally, don’t think there is a solution. I know how it sounds.
    We are what we are. Power and greed are prime human motivators.
    Changing the core human nature, well……let’s not go there.

    The current paradigm shall go on and the result will be either M.A.D. or that dystopian (for 80 %, future). Even if somebody does come with a feasible solution (and I haven’t seen it), implementing that…..good luck.
    Power corrupts. Who controls the controllers. Etc.

    We’ll vote people into power who will promise us more, while knowing we’ll get that by somebody else being fucked up. Oh, yes, we’ll rationalize that, but that’t the crux.
    Those in power will simply keep doing what we see around us, and each of us will just be hoping that he/she will be able to cling to that. “I’ll be one of those 20 %”.

    All the rest is just blabbing.
    Feels good though.

  6. Wally says:

    The French deserve nothing better, this is what they have become.

    Below is where free speech on the impossible ‘holocaust’ storyline is illegal, violators go to prison for Thought Crimes.
    An obvious admission that the storyline doesn’t stand up to scientific, logical, & rational scrutiny.

    “the SNCF for its role in “deporting Jewish children” to Nazi concentration camps”

    In which there is no proof they were murdered, none.

  7. @peterAUS

    That’s a lot of pessimism.
    I think it says a lot about how we make PhDs that the right side ones know the concepts of free trade and open borders but only as separate concepts, that no economist has done the obvious follow up to Riccardo in whats now about 200 years and none of them, not one, either knows or will talk about the commonwealth model, while on the left the occasional scholar of letters knows what Marx said about free trade in the Communist Manifesto but none seem to think its a worthwhile point to linger on, this is when Marx reserved his harshest words for it.

    Federalism may be restored, the 2nd Amendment may remain intact, universities may be disrupted, leftist identity politics may overplay its hand like unions did, young American men may unite in mass first to reject the fascist alt-right for a Lockean alternative, and hold it together to snuff out the Maoist left.
    Not saying it will happen, but it could.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  8. El Dato says:

    Above all, it has been the public services – the best in the world. The postal service, public education, health coverage, public utilities, railroad service – all were excellent, exemplary

    Ridiculous. Entirely delusional.

    Have you ever even lived in France?

    While “not bad”, the postal service is not “excellent”, public education is very far from “excellent”, basically it’s pandemonium issuing barely-functional yoof that can’t even write proper french, health coverage is so, so at best. Do NOT try to get treatment in a public institution, m’okay? Trying a doctor’s appointment? Waiting lists of several months are not uncommon. Railroad services are entirely disorganized, disfunctional. If you arrive at time, or even at all, a miracle must have happened. You may also get mugged and insulted by conductor for the effort.

    Interacting with ANY public institution is an exercise in frustration, a slog through utter incompetence and an occasion to meet many people with sky-high entitlement levels demanding higher wages.

    President Emmanuel Macron’s program for destroying the SNCF is a wakeup call

    What plan is that? We MIGHT want to hear about this. The SNCF is a debt crater in any case and had to be repeatedly bailed out over the last 30 years, so that plan may just be continuing business as usual.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
    , @Anon
  9. To a large extent correct, I’m writing this from France, where we often are, escaping the overcrowded Netherlands.
    Macron on the one hand denies the existence of a French culture, on the other wants to ‘modernise’ France, that is, destroying French culture.
    French do not want the competition of anyone with anyone, the paradise of people like Macron.
    They want job security.
    The French election system makes it possible that with fifteen % of the possible votes the Macron party has got some 340 seats of the 600 in parliament.
    The real ideas of the French could be seen in the first round of the presidential elections, the anti EU candidates, Mélenchon and Le Pen, together got 40% of the votes.
    They just differed on immigration.
    Macron in my opinion is a complete idiot, in order to combat rising nationalism in all EU member states he wants more EU.
    Former EU bureaucrat Schulz went to Germany to become chancellor, if he now does have any function at all, I do not know.
    Merkel clearly is on her way out, migration the chief cause, about which she says ‘they’re already here’.
    The great thing about France is that in the countryside all these things do not seem to exist.
    The attitude of French about migration maybe can be characterised by what a hairdresser said to me about the French national soccer team ‘they’re all foreigners’.

  10. @peterAUS

    Peter Drucker wrote, contra the neoliberal idea, that the purpose of a business isn’t to generate a profit. Rather, society allows businesses to operate to serve some purpose, and profit is the proof that a business is serving its purpose.

    • Replies: @byrresheim
    , @peterAUS
  11. m___ says:

    On local French strikes, of parts of the workforce

    Privatizing or not, the matter is the goal intended. The goal globally?, reinforcing global elites, dumping the masses, playing them out in between each other territoriality, by identity, as suitable. “France”, worse “Macron” must fit the plan. They do, the French local, elites are in.

    The plan goes real well, no global strikes, no chance. The deplorables must realize that they fight a global enemy. This is not comprehended, a sense of identity is needed that matches cocooned individual consumerism.

    The logic is simple, severe: there is no solution for eight billion people’s quality of life, there is one for five hundred million of them, the timely issue, is who get’s to be part. France will get away with it, the crowds are out, by design, by concept, by potential, by anything but numbers and numbers are no longer an asset but a liability.

  12. Above all, it has been the public services – the best in the world. The postal service, public education, health coverage, public utilities, railroad service – all were excellent, exemplary.

    The French public services are not outstanding by central European standards. And if you ever get the chance to have a deep look into Switzerland or Bavaria or Tyrolia or Badenia – well: Take it.

    The railroad strike in France is an example of the defense of group priviliges – to name just one: Early retirement – lots of railroad staff retires 10+ years earlier than the average french worker. Macron tries to bing such relations a bit closer to normal and fight back the group egoism of the well organized railroad staff. That’s about it.

    • Replies: @Wally
    , @utu
  13. 76239 says:

    Privatize everything. Private property and freedom to contract are essential to a free society. No one is free when a third or half of the fruits of your labor are stolen through threat of violence.

    Government is monopoly. Monopoly impoverishes. Its costs rise over time, and its service gets worse. It’s impervious to innovation.

    You cannot have political liberty without economic liberty.

    • Replies: @Anon
  14. @Zach

    She looks like another refugee from CounterPunch. No more posts from her on that site for the past five months. Well, we’re glad to have her here!

  15. The orders are to open the rail system up to free international competition. Soon, German, Italian, Spanish trains may be sharing with French trains the same rails – rails whose upkeep is turned over to another company, also in it for the profit.

    In Germany, what’s really messed up is that, when they privatized rail service, they actually kept the railway lines themselves in government hands. So people here are now paying higher fees for rail service, while the private railroad companies enjoy free (!) railway line maintenance and repair, thanks to the taxpayer.

    How ’bout that business model, eh!

    • Replies: @byrresheim
  16. Gordo says:

    You can’t have nice things and a multiracial society.

  17. Anonymous [AKA "Old American"] says:

    bunch of work shy euro sissies. long hours my ass. men did not evolve to socialize with women and children.

    • Replies: @Antiwar7
    , @Alden
  18. Alden says:

    In 1964 American labor should have thrown itself into a fight against immigration.

    So the Jews blame SNCF for the holofraud because the Germans commandered the railroad system

    They conveniently forget that the majority of the shares of SNCF were owned by various Rothschilds at the time.

    First time I went to France I got stuck in some small town because of a railroad strike. Thought of renting a car. But I had left my dr license at my sister’s house in Frankfurt. So we hitchhiked and saved a lot of money.

    First and only time I was ever robbed was by some ayyrabs in one of the big train stations in Paris.

    The small town train stations are fine. But it’s best to avoid all the big city train and commuter stations in Europe. Turks in Germany, ayyrabs and Africans everywhere else. They seem to live in the stations.

    And the trains are infested with gypsy thieves. Gypsies like the night trains so they can rob people sleeping.

    Europe would be wonderful if only Europeans lived there.

  19. It’s not the top 20% any more: Nearly all of the economic benefit flows solely to the top 10%, and even the next 9% is being strip-mined as we write. I’m still high enough in the food-chain to live a comfortable life, but I cannot afford armed guards like those in the top 0.1% and above, so I inevitably wonder when the pitchfork crowds will come for me (though my wife is convinced we live low-key enough that we will be given a pass).

    A modicum of social justice would be useful indeed, but when you live in gated compounds with armed guards and a militarized police at your beck and call, I guess you don’t see any marginal utility in throwing crumbs to the poor when it is seemingly better spent on more lavish estates, boats, and yea, more armed guards.

  20. tjm says:

    First of all, neo-liberal/neocon, is just a polite word for Zionist Jews.

    Long ago these Zionists insured their position as rulers by securing control of the money supply of the major western powers. Once they controlled the money, they have since worked to turn our world into one that only prays to one god, money. Destroy societies, communities, and religion.

    Macron, Trump, May, and many others are Zionists first, they get their marching orders from Zionist organizations such as AIPAC, as well as ADL, Goldman Sachs, and many others, many I am sure we have never herd of.

    Their stranglehold of media, entertainment, and the financial industry insures them control of the masses for the foreseeable future. The internet is one way to break through the lies, but we see there the hand of the Zionist machine, using hasbara paid Zionist trolls to push lies and Zionist narratives such as “Trump is anti-establishment” even though the same Zionists that own him, are the “establishment/Deep State”.

  21. @El Dato

    Excellent rebuttal of the old crone’s delusions. And you didn’t even mention that other ” debt crater ” Air France and the billions poured into it before its merger with KLM.

  22. TheOldOne says:

    Good post; some pushback from the libertarianoids who comment here. Keep it up.

  23. Wally says:
    @Dieter Kief

    I absolutely agree, Dieter.

    I’ve traveled France repeatedly over the last decades and never saw these so called “best in the world” services of any kind, least of all the trains. I would rate French communist services as horrendously slow, dirty, grossly wasteful & inefficient …. as communist services always are & will be.

    • Replies: @for-the-record
    , @utu
  24. Fiddling while Rome burns! It doesn’t matter that, while Americans are frittering away their time and energy trying to destroy the dastardly EU, the Chinese are taking over the world and pushing the US out of its place as the world’s dominant power! What Americans need to concentrate on is destroying that evil EU! Ms Johnstone doesn’t care a hoot about French railway staff. She is just using them as cannon fodder in he own political battle with the EU. Since she is herself is a retired EU official, she obviously knows that all this nonsense. She just thinks her American readers don’t know it! She fails to mention, by the way, that the proposed reform does not change the quasi-civil service status of any existing railway personnel. It merely phases it out by recruiting new staff under normal contracts of employment. The terms of such contracts, which already cover part of the SNCF’s staff, would be a matter for negotiation with the unions. The problem is elsewhere: the French national sport of political strikes. The various “special status” groups don’t lose a full day’s pay if they go on a one-day strike. They can afford the luxury of marching up and down going “duh-duh, duh-duh-duh” for a day! The fewer “special status” people there are, the harder it will be in the future for the unions to organise political strikes. Political strikes have greatly declined in recent years, probably due to the different mentality of a new generation. Thus, all of this has very little to do with workers’ rights and a lot to do with trade union leaders’ power.
    Interesting detail: somebody with very deep pockets is backing the strike. A huge strike fund has been collected, so huge and so unusual that the press has commented on it. One can guess that it’s probably the same people who financed Marine Le Pen’s presidential campaign.

    • Replies: @Anon
    , @utu
  25. Anonymous [AKA "Phillip Johnston"] says:

    ‘This program of social justice laid the groundwork for an extraordinary increase in economic development, called Les Trente Glorieuses – the glorious thirty years of peace and prosperity’

    I think you will find that this happened all over post-war Europe roughly from 1949 (the food shortages were actually worse after the war than during it) to the OPEC oil crisis in 1979. It is referred to as the post-war settlement.

    • Agree: byrresheim
  26. theMann says:

    A ride on a Train à Grande Vitesse is something else. In all seriousness, if Macron is jeopardizing that, he should hang.

    With age comes wisdom. One of my jobs, I work for a multi-millionaire who clearly harbors dreams of being a billionaire, or as near to it as he can get. When that guy routinely finds ways to screw his employees out a nickel, he does it, because eventually enough nickels will make him oh so nearer to billionaire status. His concern for his employees is zero, far less than his product.That isn’t an intrinsic function of Capitalism, just human nature. His nature, anyway.

    My (first) degree was in Economics, and I drank the Free Trade \anti-union\privatize everything Kool-Aid with the best of them. Well, Free Trade might as well be nuclear obliteration to a country’s accumulated Capital, Unions are desperately necessary to deal with predatory bosses, and if a Public service works, you don’t need to fix it. French Rail, Oui. Amtrak, Baisez un canard!

    • Agree: Seamus Padraig
    • Replies: @peterAUS
  27. Antiwar7 says:

    Yes, everyone could work harder and sacrifice more. Why?

    • Replies: @Alden
  28. @Wally

    I’ve traveled France repeatedly over the last decades … least of all the trains.

    This I find hard to believe. I lived in France for 15 years (1995-2010), and the TGV (inter-city express) service is great, far better than comparable services in Germany and Italy, for example.

    The medical system is also of a very high standard as well, despite much external propaganda to the contrary.

    Personally, I agree that the cheminot are simply trying to hold on to outdated privileges, but one shouldn’t maintain the fiction that services in France are not of a generally good level, and in some cases top rate.

    • Replies: @Wally
  29. Thanks for this informative journalism Ms. Johnstone (& Ron Unz).

    the French are not doing nothing about influx of migrants::

    France to boost security on Alps border with Italy after far-Right ‘block’ migrant route

    “. . .a far-Right “commando” blocked access to migrants seeking to cross a key snowy pass, and pro-migrant groups stormed another entry point.

    The pledge came hours after France’s National Assembly passed a controversial immigration law that laid bare unprecedented splits in President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling centrist party.

    Late Saturday and early Sunday, a group of around 100 activists from the small far-Right group Génération Identitaire – reportedly including Britons – launched a high-profile attempt to shut off the col de l’Echelle, a 1,762m-high pass some six kilometres (almost four miles) from the Italian border. . . .

    One hopes someone in the White House will be counting the silverware before and after Macron’s visit.

    • Replies: @Anon
  30. @TomSchmidt

    Very true, and oft forgotten.

    A business is there to serve its clients – customers, owners, furnishers and employees. Profit is an indicator, albeit not proof, that this purpose is met.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  31. @Seamus Padraig

    That’s a model that makes me proud to be German.

    • Replies: @Anon
  32. Anon[248] • Disclaimer says:

    As always, in the interest of politesse, the elephant in the room is not mentioned. The cowardly author stays completely clear of the biggest reason of all for the breaking down of France: the breakdown of social trust as a direct result of mass 3rd world immigration.

    The writing was on the wall by the 90s. France was no longer for the French. It was for “all”, which basically meant changing everything to suit the millions of (generally ungrateful and hostile) ex-colonials arriving from Moslem shltholes around the world for the gibsmedats.

    As in France so across the West. Toronto yesterday just discovered the true joy and strength of Diversity, let’s all give em a hand folks!

  33. Anon[248] • Disclaimer says:
    @El Dato

    The author said those things WERE excellent. Go back and read it again. You’ll be spanked if you come commenting without comprehending again, punk.

    • Replies: @Alden
  34. Anon[248] • Disclaimer says:

    Generation Identitaire are glorious. When the cowardly, treasonous globalist politicians stand by as a people and nation are destroyed, the people MUST take to the streets (and mountain passes).

    Too little too late but reminds us there are still white men with balls in the West.

  35. Anon[248] • Disclaimer says:

    There are many, many reasons to be proud to be German. Why would you not be?

    • Replies: @byrresheim
  36. Wally says:

    You’re just not credible.

    If French communist services were so good there wouldn’t be such huge problems.

    • Replies: @for-the-record
    , @Alden
  37. m___ says:

    “Human psychology”

    A contraction of the world population, and it can be done, and it can be done proportionately, preferentially is the only relief valve of the planetary system.

    …Why, the psychology of the why must be obvious to the dumb elites: self-interest, greed, supreme opportunism. Do they not subscribe to these universal values?

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  38. @byrresheim

    Long term, if a business doesn’t make a profit, it stops existing. Discuss.

    • Replies: @byrresheim
  39. peterAUS says:

    That’s a lot of pessimism.

    That’s one way to look at it.

    Another is to accept that reality and save a miracle organize own life and plan for the future based on that reality.

    Free will.

    If we haven’t been able to find a solution so far, well, requires a leap of faith, IMHO, to believe we will before we have a major confrontation between nuclear superpowers, or, have a system imposed on us.
    The system being a careful mix of surveillance state, though control, basic social security and liberal use of prescription drugs.

    I give “my” scenarios 90 % probability.
    Miracles do happen so I’ll keep an eye on anything pointing to those 10 %. Won’t hold my breath though.

    A smart and disciplined man can do well even if among those 80 % in that dystopian reality.
    Keywords “smart” and “disciplined”.

  40. @Verymuchalive

    In the long term we are all dead.

    • Replies: @Disordered
  41. Alden says:

    El Dato speaks from experience of living in France.

  42. peterAUS says:


    I am sure he’s not the only one.

    If 100 PhDs with 30 years experience and IQ over 200 write/say something that makes it right.

    Some of us, though, learnt, from experience, that often an illiterate peasant has more wisdom than a top academic.

    I don’t buy, for a second, any prevalent social/economic theory. Any.
    I just look around me.
    There is something rottten in a system where some people can’t have three meals per day and shelter over their head while some simply do not know what to do with their wealth.In a same city, mind you.

    Fear not. Top ten academics will instantly rationalize that and put forward rock solid theory why is that the only way and the right way.
    As long you aren’t one of those at the bottom.

  43. @Anon

    I was being sarcastic.

    Proud of our semiprivatized public services? Freed from the horrible constraints of the salary laws for public servants? Which means decent (i.e. enormous) money for those responsible, at last, and adequate (i.e. low) wages for those who should be grateful that we care to exploit them.

    By British standards one might even see them as a paragon, by German standards … there seem to be no German standards any more.

    Have you heard of the greatest of all great tunnels?
    Beneath Stuttgart?
    Now the head of the German railway company says they would not have started the project had they known what they know now.

    This is beyond embarrassing.

    PS: I am proud of many German achievements. Our semiprivatized public services do not belong into that category.

  44. peterAUS says:

    With age comes wisdom. One of my jobs, I work for a multi-millionaire who clearly harbors dreams of being a billionaire, or as near to it as he can get. When that guy routinely finds ways to screw his employees out a nickel, he does it, because eventually enough nickels will make him oh so nearer to billionaire status. His concern for his employees is zero, far less than his product.That isn’t an intrinsic function of Capitalism, just human nature.


  45. peterAUS says:

    A contraction of the world population, and it can be done, and it can be done proportionately, preferentially is the only relief valve of the planetary system.

    That’s one option.

    Another is to devise a system where the accumulated knowledge, expertise and technological advancement can serve each person’s needs (not wants……..).
    Requires a miracle.

    Another is having a global society organized as current Brasil. Hell, even that movie “Bright”. Replace that Elf part of the city with top 10 % and you have it. Plenty of books/movies/tv shows about that. I give this scenario the top probability.

    And, then, there is the M.A.D.

    So….we’ll see………

    • Replies: @m___
  46. @Wally

    If French communist services were so good there wouldn’t be such huge problems.

    You’re the one who’s not credible, I believe I have far more experience than you in France. The fact is that services generally work well in France (far better than UK,for example).

    Yes, there are considerable financial problems and that is why the retirement age should be raised. But it is not only the Communists who are opposed to this, the Front National and others do as well.

    • Replies: @Verymuchalive
  47. Alden says:

    Ah yes, the good old days when men worked 90 hours a week at such low pay they died at 45 from overwork inability to afford medical care, workplace injuries and life long malnutrition.

    And they and their wives produced another generation of malnourished proles to be devoured by the capitalists

    Any proletarian who is proud of a life time of exploitation by the cannibal capitalists is a deluded fool

    Know why welfare is so popular? Because it pays so much better than many jobs, especially when one deducts commuting and other work expenses from take home pay.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
    , @Disordered
  48. @for-the-record

    The fact is that services generally work well in France (far better than UK,for example).

    Please Detail

    • Replies: @Alden
    , @for-the-record
  49. Alden says:

    Everyone should work longer hours at lower wages for 2 reasons.

    1 to expand the affirmative action welfare state so all the black and brown women have welfare office jobs to take care of all the workers on food stamps and other welfare.

    2. To ensure that the capitalists can get richer and richer and richer every time they lower wages.

    Think of the IT companies that lay off 100 \$ 100,000 a year American programmers and hire 100 \$80,000
    H1 B programmers

    That’s 20 million a year in salaries that 15 top execs can split up

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  50. Alden says:

    They aren’t communist. She mentioned that the communist unions worked against the nazis during the WW2 occupation.

    Communist train workers managed to prevent a lot of the looting of French art to Germany by diverting the trains carrying the loot to Germany

    • Replies: @anon
    , @Wally
  51. Alden says:

    Why should someone who has lived in France and actually used those public services detail their experiences for someone whose never been to France?

  52. peterAUS says:

    Know why welfare is so popular? Because it pays so much better than many jobs, especially when one deducts commuting and other work expenses from take home pay.

    I feel there is another element there too.

    The amount of shit an employee has to take from a boss. And he/she has to take it with a smile. Or…..there are 10 guys waiting in a queue to jump in that position. Illegals, for example. Or simply all those desperate immigrants.

    Fear not.
    Nobody is going to talk about that.
    Not a good topic over late, and those being screwed over drink beer.

    I can’t, personally, fathom a simple fact.
    Why is normal to have both oveworked people and unemployed people in the same place? Simple, common sense, question. Oh, sure, I’ve heard all PhD explanations. Dumb.

    Employers constantly talk about “shortage of skills”. And tons of people with the same skills in the same city. The catch, nobody wants to talk about is very…very simple: more with less. More work with less labor. What can be done, easily, with 10 employees do hard with 5. Five guys unemployed…5 guys working 12 hours 6 days a week.
    Actually, they don’t need to. Free society etc. They can quit. Or they can mouth their discontent. Just join those 5 out…desperately waiting to get back. Or, if not they, plenty others.

    And..that all doesn’t apply anymore to the working class. They are “pruning up” now. Lower middle class is feeling it well as we speak. Soon they’ll go for the core of white collar people.
    Funny, a?

    • Replies: @utu
    , @Alden
  53. @Verymuchalive

    Please Detail

    1. Health Service (which in contrast to UK is not free, but charges are moderate, which is a good idea I think) — far more efficient, no horror stories like in UK, waiting time for operations is minimal (which is why large numbers of Brits come to France for operations).

    2. State-controlled train service SNCF is far superior to rail service in UK (how many high-speed trains are there in UK — none, apart from Eurostar). I don’t know a single UK resident who doesn’t complain about rail service.

  54. utu says:

    I’ve traveled France repeatedly over the last decades

    Interesting. We have a new Wally. I have noticed that Wally comments became more personal in last several weeks. The old Wally was just pasting links to codoh and was not able to put two sentences together. I would not think the old Wally was ever to France. Genetic engineering or mutation in the bottleneck of gas chamber or just a regular troll factory?

    • Replies: @Wally
  55. utu says:
    @Dieter Kief

    The differences are cultural not necessarily systemic (like how much public or private). It might be Germanic-French divide. Just like French cantons in Switzerlands are a bit shabbier and dirtier than German cantons but services are similar and trains are the same but people attitude is different because of culture.

  56. Wow – it only took the last sentence in the first paragraph before I knew this article was going to be a hoot:

    ” In Anglo-American media, there is the usual self-satisfied tongue-clicking over “those cheese-eaters, always on strike”.”

    For example?

    Skipping quite a few other quotable strands of nonsense, we end with this crowd pleaser:

    “…whose task will not be to serve France but to act as auxiliary in United States foreign wars.”

    I have news for you, the US military doesn’t serve its own country either. Joo know what I meen, mang?

  57. anon[107] • Disclaimer says:

    >>> Communist train workers managed to prevent a lot of the looting of French art to Germany by diverting the trains carrying the loot to Germany <<<

    Was that before or after Hitler ordered Luftwaffe to bomb the Eiffel Tower, reduce Arc de Triomphe to rubble and strafe Avenue des Champs-Élysées?

    • Replies: @Alden
  58. peterAUS says:

    Think of the IT companies that lay off 100 \$ 100,000 a year American programmers and hire 100 \$80,000
    H1 B programmers

    That’s 20 million a year in salaries that 15 top execs can split up

    Oh yes………

    And, on top of it, those imported keep their mouth shut, never question their “uppers”, and are more then willing to go that “extra mile” (work overtime without pay).
    What’s not to like?

    • Replies: @Alden
  59. utu says:

    Uber model is the future. People as subcontractors w/o any rights and benefits waiting all day for a phone call. No different that a bunch of Mexicans waiting on the corner for pick up trucks coming to take few to some construction site to warehouse or whatever.

    • Replies: @Alden
    , @peterAUS
  60. Miro23 says:

    This is a good article but there are more cross-currents in this story than Diana Johnstone lets on.

    It’s true that the French have a pride in their state services – although apparently more so in Les Trente Glorieuses than they do now. It’s more selective. There’s real national pride in the healthcare system which is costly but at the same time very efficient.

    T.V.Reid in his excellent book, “The Healing of America”, compares healthcare systems around the developed world, and puts France around the top for value for money – for example each French citizen getting an electronic card carrying their whole medical history that any doctor can read and update (a big reduction of paperwork in a single payer system).

    However, having personally dealt with French people for years, their current Nº1 gripe has to be their high personal taxation – which isn’t really surprising, since their state sector absorbs about 57% of GDP with 5.4 million state workers – ahead of any other European country.

    And also, more young people each year aim to get fonctionnaire (state employee) status – for the guaranteed lifetime employment, generous retirement scheme (much better than most private sector workers), tightly regulated working time restrictions and greater freedom for taking time off work, plus other benefits.

    In other words it’s a soft option and the standard reply, “everyone should have the same rights”, isn’t in any way realistic.

    In fact much of Southern Europe seems to be working this way, and being a fonctionnaire is taking on legendary status. Italy’s highest grossing film ever was the recent 2016 comedy “QuoVado?” about the government trying to separate Checco from his treasured fonctionnaire status.

    • Replies: @Disordered
    , @Alden
    , @utu
  61. @Miro23

    Agreed. Perhaps the solution would be to benefit the unions more than the “functionnaires”. Whatever you might say about unions, at least they organize on their own voluntarily (ideally) and there can be more than one at the same time – unlike the state-ordered bureaucrats that have their hands on 57% percent of the money working for the most powerful institution on the land. If either unions or corporations became too singularly powerful, ideally antitrust legislation would apply either way – yet it doesn’t. At any rate, the problem is always controlling the power of the functionnaire, which in a divided structure of corporations-unions-state(+individual rights) could work. In Southern Europe, which has had a large organization handing out and controlling welfare for centuries, of course the image of the golden bureaucrat functionnaire is the bourgeois dream (and by the way, that mentality bled over Spanish America, specially those of the leftist persuasion).

    People also forget that the Trente Glorieuses came after the Marshall Plan, and were slowing down in the stagnant Seventies. The problem was that the neoliberals went too far at times (would have privatized comms but not the railroads, for example). But it cannot be argued that Thatcher et al came thru a putsch – there was elections. And while in hindsight choosing Gaullian/Bismarckian statist rightwing types might have been more sensitive to worker concerns (specially concerning foreign trade and immigration), the other option at the time was to keep the Leviathan growing.

  62. @Alden

    So don’t support excessive welfare that feeds bureaucrats more than the poor then. Support unions/individuals having a better hand negotiating contracts, and better wages. Wages which, as of late, only the right recently has been worrying about (not only due to cutting taxes, but by trying to stem immigration). Otherwise, people get used to welfare and not work (not to mention, most workers don’t live the coal miner lifestyle anymore), or get used to working for peanuts (since taxes go to welfare, businesses which pay high taxes try to make profits by minimizing wages) and pile on the hours for less money. The German model seems superior to me, it reaches a better balance, though wages could be a bit higher but employment is nearly guaranteed and unions and corporations don’t seem to fight as often as they do in France.

    • Replies: @Alden
  63. Wally says:

    No worries, I certainly own you and those like you.
    And you still cannot refute the demolition of the fake ‘holocaust’ in those many & varied links
    And that obviously frustrates the hell out of you. That pleases me so.
    another one here:
    VIDEO classic: Auschwitz Aerial photos, tampered with to fit the fake story
    Drawn in ‘Jews being marched to gas chambers’, on a roof.
    The ‘holocaust’ storyline is one of the dumbest, most easily debunked narratives ever contrived. That is why those who question it are arrested and persecuted. That is why violent, racist, & privileged Jewish supremacists demand censorship. What sort of truth is it that denies free speech and the freedom to seek the truth? Only liars demand censorship.

    The ‘6M Jews, 5M others, & gas chambers’ are scientifically impossible frauds.
    see the ‘holocaust’ scam debunked here:
    No name calling, level playing field debate here:

    • Replies: @UrbaneFrancoOntarian
  64. This socialist clown obviously has no knowledge of three day week, electricity blackouts, piles of garbage and unburied dead prior to Thatcher.
    What a POS.

    • Replies: @Alden
  65. Alden says:

    Agree, perfect capitalism and free market

  66. Alden says:

    I Forgot about that, 80 hours of work for 40 hours pay.

    A nephew is a nuclear engineer. He finally was able to come home to a job in Silicon Valley. 7 interviews. Job title project manager

    Housing was no problem. His cousins brother in law let him rent a nice big in law apartment for only \$650 a month utilities included in San Jose close to work.

    Well, he was expected to work about 90 to 95 hours a week. He gained 25 pds from eating pizza and order in food at work. He got no sleep.

    He took it for 2 years. He quit and now works as a consultant about 30 hours a week and makes more money He lost the weight blood pressure back to normal.

    He says most of what he sells to his customers he gets right off the internet.

  67. Alden says:

    In America the real shit comes from the constant barrage of verbal abuse from black employees. Just listening to their inane screeching babble all day can drive you nuts.

    And of course in America it’s practically illegal to promote a White.

    A friend is a sales person. She gets jobs in start ups. So she has to get a new job every couple years. She can always tell when the interviewer decides to hire her. The interviewer says

    . “ the hours are 8/15 to 5/30 officially, but we usually stay till about 8/30. Will that be a problem?””

    The applicant is supposed to reply

    “ Oh no of course not. I have no life. I have no husband children or friends. I just love picking up a Mac Donald’s or Pizza Hut dinner at 9/pm. I do so appreciate this opportunity I’ll be happy to work till 8 or 9 every night”

    Maybe we should all go Cloward Pliven quit working drop out of college go on welfare and bring the whole thing down.

  68. Alden says:

    You know perfectly well Hitler didn’t bomb Paris. But the Germans did steal lots of art from France.

    And no I’m not going to post a link or cite a book or government report

    If you don’t believe me, go f**k yourself along with the rest of the assholes .

    I don’t care a bit about what you and the rest of the assholes think of my posts.

    • Replies: @Wally
  69. Alden says:

    More and more in America the only decent jobs are government ones. Those jobs are restricted by law to minorities and women.

  70. Alden says:

    Good post, but unless you and I are state assembly or US Congress critters I don’t see how our support of anything matters.

    Clinton supposedly got re elected because of his 5 year term limit on the child benefit welfare So the welfare classes just put them selves on disability with the help of compliant physicians. Mostly immigrant physicians BTW.

  71. Alden says:
    @Bill Jones

    The article is about France, not England

    And France doesn’t have a Red Ken Livingston in charge of the Paris Metro area and a soviet agent like Arthur Scargill master minding the strikes planned to close the country down

  72. Start throwing corrupt pols, executives and bankers in jail for their crimes, problem solved. Too many rich people and parasites these days, the slaves can’t support all of them. Throw them in jail, or put them on a rope, seize all the stolen money, and return it to the people it was stolen from.

  73. utu says:

    However, having personally dealt with French people for years, their current Nº1 gripe has to be their high personal taxation – which isn’t really surprising, since their state sector absorbs about 57% of GDP with 5.4 million state workers – ahead of any other European country.

    Among those that were griping 28% worked for public sector. France is not dissimilar as some other countries in terms of public sector employment:

    Singapore 40%
    Norway 35.8%
    Denmark 31.3%
    Sweden 29.9%
    France 28%
    UK 21.5%
    Canada 19.9%

    Souther Europe has lower public sector. Under 20%. Greece has 15% but also Switzerland and Germany have 15%.

    It all depends on how do you do it. You can have countries with high public sectors run well and countries with low public sectors run badly.

    I think France does a very good job like most European countries.

    • Replies: @Miro23
  74. Anon[436] • Disclaimer says:

    I think you pressed the wrong button. Try the one for 76235 next time and it might help simulate a human being.

  75. Anon[436] • Disclaimer says:
    @Michael Kenny

    Would you please elaborate on your last paragraph. Who? With what motives? What direct or indirect objectives?

  76. utu says:
    @Michael Kenny

    I knew it. It is Putin behind the strike.

  77. Miro23 says:

    It all depends on how do you do it. You can have countries with high public sectors run well and countries with low public sectors run badly.

    That’s true enough. It all depends on what the state does with the tax \$. You can’t automatically assume that the money will be wasted. For instance, the French national healthcare system gives way better results per \$ spent than the private insurance US system.

  78. Wally says:

    “But the Germans did steal lots of art from France.”

    Wrong, absolutely.
    German taskforce: only 5 of 1,500 artworks were ‘looted’

  79. Wally says:

    They are communists, necessarily. Government controlled services = communism. You may not like it, but that’s your problem.
    Educate yourself.

  80. Anonymous [AKA "Halffrench2"] says:

    Who cares the french deserve everything they’ll get when they voted for the neo liberal clone Macron.

    They had their chance with le pen now its all over, not like they didnt get any warning.

    A weirdo that marries his teacher for career gain, a man that says there’s no such thing as French culture!

    All under the backdrop of devestating terroist attacks

    The immigration floodgates have broke open and we’ll soon be witnessing the end of France as we knew it.

    • Replies: @jilles dykstra
  81. @Anonymous

    The French choice was between staying in the EU, and leaving.
    The horrors of leaving were told them from all sides.
    In the 2005 referendum on the so called European constitution two thirds of the votes were against this constitution.
    Alas, Marine Le Pen has been demonised ever since, I suppose thus Macron was elected.
    In the first round of the presidential elections, Mélenchon and Marine Le Pen together got four out of ten votes, both want to leave the EU.
    They just differ on immigration, Mélenchon is a socialist with world wide ideals, the ideals that destroyed socialist parties all over Europe in countries where the effects of immigration became clear.
    The present strikes and demonstrations are supported by some 60% of the French.
    Voters do not always behave rationally.
    And thus a Rothschild puppet rules France.

  82. Anonymous [AKA "JohnMM"] says:

    Some of the commenters here seem to assume that Diana Johnstone doesn’t know France as well as they do. For the last 20+ years that I have been following her writing I think she has made her home in France.

    Wikipedia says: “Most of Johnstone’s adult life has been spent in France, Germany, and Italy.”

  83. peterAUS says:

    People as subcontractors w/o any rights and benefits waiting all day for a phone call.

    Agree. That’s for the lower 80 %.
    I see that primary as means of control. Both subtle carrot and stick at the same time.

    The tragicomedy of commons is, was, watching that while being introduced in some places here. Reading and listening discussions at the time was, to put it mildly, disheartening. Or, we’ll get what we deserve.

  84. @Wally

    Utu is correct, this is not the same person. There are several troll posters here, whose primary purpose serves only to degrade the quality of discussion and make the dissident media look like a bunch of loonies.

    • Replies: @Wally
  85. Wally says:

    IOW, desperate unhinged hasbarists like yourself cannot refute what I have posted here.

    Your call for censorship is noted. Only liars demand censorship.

    Must reads here:
    Holocaust Handbooks, Documentaries, & Videos
    New eye opening videos from CODOH, ex.:
    Probing the Holocaust, pt. 1
    Chemistry of Auschwitz / Birkenau

    The ‘6M Jews, 5M others, & gas chambers’ are scientifically impossible frauds.
    see the ‘holocaust’ scam debunked here:
    No name calling, level playing field debate here:

  86. m___ says:

    The options You propose are concerning the humanoids as a whole, is there a chemical, genetic engineering, social engineering(war, anything), to knock sense into the “whole”? Agreed that anything that makes sense, is out of line with the odds pressing disruptive reality on humanity. Biologically distinct elites, could do the trick? Just conferring, the issue is hard though.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  87. peterAUS says:

    I see. There are still people on this site interested in the topic. I thought all were gone to the “Asian girl hair” or that “missing girl from the plane”. Something about “exotic” women, apparently. Anyway.

    Biologically distinct elites, could do the trick?

    A modern, or futuristic, version of “noblesse oblige”.

    I guess it could, in a very reaching, theory. Providing we’d know what traits to enhance and what to eradicate, there are still problems.Envy is also something we have in abundance. Being ruled by somebody who is really better than us? Doubt it.
    In practical sense, I just don’t see that happening.

    Having a special selection of current, gifted kids and putting them through a special educational program. Sure. Who is doing the selecting? Who is making the curriculum? Etc.

    I believe in one thing: FEAR. And up to a point. A very fine point.

    We’ll continue along this path until faced with extinction. Most likely M.A.D. Then, and only then we will get an opportunity to, perhaps, sit and think hard.

    I give that chance around 10 % probability.
    90 % is simply M.A.D. Reset.

    Don’t you think that people ruling us haven’t realized that? It appears they simply enjoy their position as long as they can. A very rational choice if you ask me.

    Now, miracles do happen. Hope and such. Should we organize and lead our lives based on that is another matter.
    I guess that anyone with brains realized that. Those are the roots, IMHO, of the current paradigm.
    I blame Oppenheimer. “Dem Joos” and such. Easy.

    • Replies: @peterAUS
  88. peterAUS says:

    Just to clarify:
    THREE options, in order of probability, as I see them, now.

    1. New World Order (that 20/80 thing). 60 % probability. Save no errors and no miracle.
    2. M.A.D. And that because somebody, somewhere makes an error. Linked to above. 30 % probability.
    2. A miracle. Somebody, somehow, comes up with an idea, makes a vision, and that vision gets, somehow, implemented. 10 % probability.

    The premise of the “1.” is that Russian siloviki give up. I feel they will. Just a gut feeling. Not something to rely on when thermonuclear option is there.
    If they don’t, well…..”2″. That’s the crux of all this.
    For the “3”, again, something I can’t rationalize/visualize: a miracle.

    See, the problem is, at my age and life experience, I’ve come to realization that people who rule over us aren’t better than I am. And they have to be. I wouldn’t give myself to rule a town council. Not good enough, I know that.
    But, when I look at them, well, can’t see them better than I am. Not good.
    As for masses/voters/public, even worse.

    Now, for the “1”, not so fast.
    Our very nature will create fractions there. They’ll fight.And,most likely, that will be something M.A.D. wise too.
    That’s why I keep saying that save a miracle all goes to reset.

    So, that’s my two cents.

    And now I go for my flat white (medium, takeaway, no sugar) and stroll along the beach. Enjoy it while it lasts.

  89. Che Guava says:


    An interesting piece. Last year or the year before, JR was publishing a map of their routes at the peak (except for bullet trains), from abt. 50 years ago.

    I thought of buying it, but too depressing. Between natural disaster, privatisation or closure of some stretches because of new bullet-train lines, too depressing.

    Trade unions in the west have become nonsensical. Just govt. employees by and large, exerting an evil infuence on the polity, viz. the bizarrely named ‘Respect’ and ‘Unite’ as the only two in the UK.

    In Japan, there were parallel systems of real unions and staff associations (and the Yakuza-aligned associations, particularly in construction).

    The former have largely vanished. Long not allowed to enter workplaces, they had to do activities outside the gates. Still, at least in electrical-related trades, they had significant presence until quite recently (by which I am meaning 15 to 10 years ago).

    As for rail, Chiba of all places (next governate to the N-E of Tokyo) had a radical union, but they were insane Trotskyites. Even abetting casualty-free incidents.

    Eliminating their influence was one of the (minor) objectives in the breakup of Japan Rail as a monolith.

    It is cheering at times to see rallies of the National Union of General Workers, but their main targets are part-timers at convenience, fast-food, and similar places.

    One of the supposed objectives of Shognn Macarthur’s occupation govt. was supposed to be free union activity, but, excepting one or two general workers members, and one or two Yakuza affiliates, I do not know one person who is a member of a union as opposed to a staff association. Even the annual ‘spring offensive’ bargaining by the unions (or, more correctly, staff associations) for slightly better pay or conditions doesn’t really happen now.

    Anyway, Diana, nice to see an article of yours posted here again, and agreeing with the sentiments, althougq for rail, we win, except for the occasional speed record, switching of normal (not bullet) trains in greater Tokyo and Osaka (Kansai) has had almost miraculous improvements in recent years, the zones where travel on a normal train is very quick are very wide. Of course, neglect and ‘privatisation’ of many rural and regional lines continue.

    As for strikes, JR, the subways, the major private lines are run on almost military principles, although pro-union, I cannot see how major strike action is more excusable than an emergency services or hospital strike.

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