Protests over retirement age raise "bring France to a standstill"

Originally published at: Protests over retirement age raise "bring France to a standstill" | Boing Boing


Good to see the French politicians are as alarmist as everywhere

Government spokesman Olivier Véran told France 2: “We don’t want French people to be, quote, unquote, ‘victims’ of a long-term blockade.”

Last week, he warned that the strikes could lead to an “ecological, agricultural and health catastrophe”

My only brush with French strikers was rushing to get a ferry before the fishermen blockaded the ports, had to ride off-road next to the autoroute (to avoid barriers of burning tyres courtesy of the sympathetic French truckers) to Ouistreham. The last ferry left with the fishermen just deploying their blockade.

To bring UK to a standstill you need a few mm of snow.


Because I have seen this in every discussion on this topic, just a reminder: Before you comment how ridiculous it is that they’re protesting about a raise in the retirement age that would still be much lower than in most other western countries, remember that this is how they get you: divide and conquer. You should be outraged that your own retirement age is so high, not that French people are “entitled” for wanting a better work/life balance and that they’re fighting the encroachment of neoliberalism at an earlier stage and with more vehemence than we ever did, giving them a fighting chance against it.

In fact any time someone tells you that someone else is “entitled” you should probably check what they’re trying to get you to gloss over about your own situation.


In addition to that at least if the situation is anything like in Germany, the retirement age should not be taken too literally. For various reasons not that many people actually retire exactly at the nominal public pension retirement age. However it is an important parameter in the calculation of the amount you are entitled to. So for many a raised retirement age is nothing but a pension cut and actually working longer may not even be a realistic option.


"You should be outraged that your own retirement age is so high, "

My outrage is that most retirees depend on the grandchildren to feed them. That is about as morally bankrupt as one can get.

I will, of course, take my retirement as soon as I am eligible. No point in being a chump.


Americans tweet. Britons sit in the street. The French, though, they know how to protest.

When the Republicans try to raise the age at which Americans can collect Social Security (and they will, the moment after enough Boomers are old enough to collect) we won’t see anything like these protests. Gen Xers always knew they’d be screwed over and will accept to with mildly outraged resignation on whatever the successor to Twitter is. Millennials, if they care at all, will be primed by conservatives for the enttlement programme to be eliminated completely.


Here’s hoping we change that and bring the House down on top of them every time they try to discuss it.

Say what one will - Uncle Joe just showed that there’s still a third rail there.


I assume you mean the physically fit and otherwise unhindered retirees, not those who are partially disabled by medical standards?

Vine Wtf GIF


I assure you, some millennials do care, though not nearly enough of us. Though I don’t find it surprising, decades of messaging has likely left many with the idea that Social Security wouldn’t be around for them anyway.


My husband is on a trip this week and last - first to the UK last week, and this week, to Paris Disneyland and then a dayish in Paris itself starting today. Of course, this was planned before this particular strike was a thing, and neither of us (nor his English friend he’s going with) realized anything was going to happen until my dad emailed me midweek last week and said “so, do you know there’s going to be a strike when he’s over there? my friend who loves france says they really screw stuff up.”

They certainly managed to get to their “right in the middle” boutique (and very tiny) hotel room by taxi from disney without a fuss. The trains were, of course, messed up, necessitating the taxi. Also there seems to be an audible protest near the hotel. It remains to be seen how difficult it will be for them to get from there back to Heathrow. I think the eurostar trains to the chunnel aren’t as affected, possibly to prevent stranding international people? I read somewhere that SNCF had some obligation/committment to prevent certain kind of blockages.

As for the French knowing how to protest, well, America kinda trotted it out in 2021 against the police. And… didn’t accomplish anything, afaik. :frowning:

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Parks And Recreation Donna GIF

We didn’t accomplish everything, to be sure, but we sure as hell accomplished something.
Communities have used alternative policing and funding strategies, which work. Scrutiny on police has increased.
Like I said, it’s not everything, but please don’t condescend and minimize the accomplishments of that movement like that.


Um… citation needed and all that.

Not about your outrage obviously. Just the bit about the grandchildren and particularly the word ‘most’.


yeah that was kind of a condescending take on my part - I think I was intending to highlight that “we had a bunch of protests and then they stopped”, at least from my extremely limited perspective. Aaand I’m totally wrong.

I think you are right about scrutiny on police, I was just reading about the Tyre Nichols situation where it seems everyone is shocked and horrified that such a thing happened and cops/other first responders are being fired/charged right away.

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Another factor that is often forgotten in these discussions:

Poorer people who do manual labor for a living not only have much more difficulty working longer, but they on average have fewer years of life expectancy relative to people who are financially better off. So raising the retirement age on an office worker or academic by a couple of years may not meaningfully affect their lives in a huge way, perhaps shaving down the number of retirement years that they can enjoy in good health by 10%, whereas someone who does low-pay agricultural work might die a decade earlier and start off their shorter retirement with more physical ailments to begin with.

So these changes definitely don’t affect everyone equally.


The left wing US millennials seem to be approaching the “you have nothing to lose but your chains” stage. They have nothing of value and they will get nothing of value. Women and LGBTQIA+ millennials will get worse than nothing.


…unless you’re a cop or a football player. Not to divide and conquer further, just pointing out that at least in the US we’ve got internal inconsistencies and power struggles that would be silly to ignore while attacking the “spoiled” French.


It’s hard to say, the situation is quite fluid. It pretty much depends on what the unions feel like doing that day or that week.

Last week I had to travel from Brussels back to my home near Avignon. The TGV was running, but hardly anyone aboard. But when I got to Avignon station, we had to get someone to come get us, since the Avignon METRO folks were participating in the strike and had the local trains pretty much shut down.

Today, my kids’ schools were both shut down so the teachers and staff could participate in the strike and demonstrations. They’re planning to be open again tomorrow, then possibly shut down again on Monday. The object of the strike is not to ruin the French economy, but to demonstrate to Macron and his toadies (who have handled the entire issue with their usual ineptness) that the workers are united and they need to get this done a better way than a unilateral proclamation.

So far our lab folks have not been participating, but I’m sure that sooner or later they will. It’ll probably be a one- or two-day shutdown; no one wants to ruin the company, or screw up important medical results. But they are determined to show their support for the other workers. Welcome to democratic socialism.


I’m not jealous of football players. The average career in the NFL is just 3.3 years, and, superstars aside, most players don’t make enough money during that time to be set for life. (Look at the astonishingly high bankruptcy rate for ex-players.) The average player isn’t even choosing to “retire” at all, but is having their career ended by team managers or by injury. The vast majority eventually need to find a way to make money after leaving the NFL, and often find that their football career hasn’t set them up with the skills and experience that are needed for other types of jobs.


That is what they want you to think. And to despair. But that’s bullshit. The program is definitely able to be around. If we fight for it. It’s coming up on a 100 years of serving people- what else has such a great track record?


boom thats how its done GIF by Chicks on the Right