About Me

My photo
Boston area, MA, United States

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Why can't we be like France? Should I be an expatriate?

I am sure I'm not the first to say how disgusted I am by the way certain functions in America work, in particular capitalism. I was actually upset after watching Michael Moore's "Capitalism: A Love Story" that I was teary eyed going to bed. This morning I woke up with such an anger at how some of us have resigned ourselves to self imposed slavery. Some of us wake up every morning with the same routines of getting dressed, commuting, drinking coffee and working at a desk or hospital until one of our extremities give up and force us to take stock of our lives.

We've become robots to this machine. Again, I'm not stating anything new but it's disheartening to realize that in some places, like Paris (pronounced pah-ree) people are fed up and are doing something about it. "Non! Monsieur Sarkozy, you will not raise the retirement age to 62 and this is what will happen if you do!" Six days of protests, union workers, students and people of all ages have taken to the streets to denounce his decision. And this is about retirement! http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/20/world/europe/20france.html

Imagine what that would look like in the America, you know, the greatest nation in the world where:

  • minimum wage can be as low as $5.15 an hour
  • 75% of students graduate from high school
  • The wealthiest 1% control America's economy
  • Schools don't get named after great teachers, but bankers, lawyers, businesses
  • Entertainers make more money than public school teachers, nurses, public service workers
  • 44 million people live below the poverty line-which is about $22,000 for a family of four!
(don't believe my stats? look it up!)

I could go on an on...but the fact is we won't do anything about it! We watched as banks take back homes and leave people on the streets, we also watched the government bail out those same banks while layoffs continue. A tanked economy and yet, Merrill Lynch, AIG, BofA CEOs took home about $160 million last year.

We won't do anything about it because we're too busy watching shows that tell us we should have everything we want. That's not greed, that's our American right to have a flat screen in every room of the house (mom's words) that we can't take time to clean so we have to call "Clean House" to help us with our addiction to clutter (of stuff we bought but never needed). Or what about the fact that if there is the slightest interruption of our routine or creature comforts, we panic. Just ask any New Englander about what happens when they hear a Nor'easter is coming.

We're spoiled...but not hopeless.

Today my mother and I boarded the train to work and she needed some tissue for her nose. The man sitting next to her pulled a Ziploc bag out of his briefcase and gave her one. There was a classic lesson in compassion. If we could remember this as we turn up our noses at others who have less than what we think we should have, or when a group of people are confronted with an issue, that we ALL stand up and fight back, maybe, just maybe this life can be a little more bearable even if our retirement age is 67.

Vive La France!


  1. Every revolution starts with pedestrian demands, jobs, pensions, etc. and when met with fierce containment by the state, is transformed into demanding more radical and far reaching goals, such as freedom, economic parity and the establishment of a worker's state. We are now approaching a revolutionary era—as opposed to the past 40 years of reactionary, quisling rule by a leadership firmly manipulated by the bourgeoisie. This means that events can telescope quickly into revolutionary activities that would be unheard of of previously. We should realize this change in climate is upon us and be more daring and optimistic in our demands and hopes for building an anti-bourgeois coalition. I realize the American people are uneducated and behind the 8-ball politically right now. We'll have to work through the latest attempts at destroying working class organizations and suppressing dissent, and the takeover of the so-called democratic process by rich lunatic fringe. Unlike the French, we have lost our connection with working class politics and our workers have little or no understanding of their power. Unlike the French resistance, we are dived by race, ethnicity and citizenship status, as well as class. The double standard of our policies towards immigrants almost guarantees that we will LOSE the struggle against capital. However, instead of moving to France, we can lead a guerrilla type action against the bourgeois by setting up anti-capitalist groups such as communes, credit unions, coops and squatter communities.

  2. We? Meaning you and I? ok, but how does the general population buy into this "survival" that...living in coops and squatter communities seem so unattractive to those living in cookie cutter "McMansions".

  3. And...it might be easier to move to France so I can retire at 62 rather than 67. :)