Monday, November 07, 2005

Vive la revolution!

There are some riots in the poor banlieus of France, and the American right-wingers are falling all over themselves blaming it on the European welfare state, or Islamofascism, or the failure of Europe to confront the menace of terrorism. Doug Ireland (or here) explains what is really going on. It seems to me that the rioters, rather than demonstrating their failure to integrate into French society, are really showing just how well they have integrated. They are having their own little French Revolution. The French have shown over and over again that they don't accept any bullshit from their political 'leaders'. Whenever they are ignored - and the French system of very centralized government is prone to ignoring people - they take things into their own hands and destroy a little personal property, something that will always get the attention of the authorities. The current rioters are just following good old-fashioned French tradition, and it is refreshing to see people who still have enough energy to make their discontent known (I also note that they are another group of political radicals who are using cell phones to organize protest, something we are seeing over and over again). Rather than show a collapse of society, the demonstrations express a belief that positive change is possible if the politicians will only turn their minds to the problem. These days, we are much more likely to see the self-fulfilling 'nothing can be done' attitude of the herds of sheep who blandly accept everything that is done to them. Now that the discontented have gained some attention, the French will no doubt start to apply their considerable powers of social planning to the problems. There is a reason why France is the best place in the world to live for most people, and a reason why some people in France are always having to draw the attention of the authorities to the fact that they are not yet in the fortunate group. Vive la revolution!