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Capitalist Exploitation

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French Youth Rioting A Sign Of New Generation Being Heard


By James Donahue

March 19, 2006


The demonstrations and eventual rioting and clashes with police by tens of thousands of students in Paris, Lyon and Rennes, France in protest of a new labor law is a significant sign of our changing times.


The youth are mad, they are rising up in protest, and they are about to topple the old capitalist system that is attempting to sweep from America through the European Union and the rest of the world through organizations like the World Trade Organization.


That system has worked hard to exploit the masses to become slave labor for corporations and stockholders seeking to amass fortunes at the expense of their sweat.


On the surface, the labor law that sparked the violence in France appeared like an innocent attempt by Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin to encourage more employment of youth. It pushed aside strict French labor laws that make it difficult for employers to fire workers by saying any new worker under 26 years of age could be discharged within the first two years without cause.


They said the law was designed to encourage more employment of youth, who are currently finding the job market closed to them throughout France.


But the students are not fools. They understand the mentality of the greedy corporate monster that is quick to utilize a law like that to generate a cheap labor force.


The way it works is this: A company hires a new young worker on a probationary basis, paying minimum wage, until they prove themselves. Since the probationary period is extended in France to 24 months, this is about as long as that worker can expect to have a job.


Somewhere within the 23rd month, the worker will be terminated without cause and another desperate unemployed youth hired to take that slot.


And the unemployment rate among youth in France is high . . . somewhere over 20 percent. So there are a lot of desperate and unemployed young students for the corporations to exploit.


Under the new law there is no job security for anyone under the age of 26. And after passing that age, if a student isn’t securely fixed on a path for a lifelong vocation, they may never achieve a successful career. Thus the dilemma in France is clearly defined.


In America where the usual probation period is six months, it is not uncommon to find corporations hiring and firing people within that six-month period. But there has been a new wrinkle added in recent years that is even more troublesome. Many workers are being hired at low wages on a contract or part-time basis. The job description calls for just under the number of hours of work each week that make them eligible for full-time benefits so there is no insurance, no retirement and no paid vacations. But somehow these part-time people are called upon to work much more than those few hours. In fact, we have seen cases where they work right along the other employees five days a week, without ever being allowed the benefits of full-time employment.


When people are desperate for work, they will accept this kind of working arrangement and keep their mouths shut, just to get a weekly paycheck.


In spite of government reports that unemployment is dropping and more jobs are being created, we believe a lot of Americans are either unemployed or underemployed. They are clinging to part-time work or public service jobs clerking stores, restaurants or car washes, for minimum wages, and going deep in debt a they struggle to maintain costly homes and feed their families.


The good jobs have been mostly outsourced overseas to countries where people will work for less than the minimum legal wage in the United States.


Even worse, the United States operates on a capitalist system, where the bottom line is always profit for the shareholders, who are the technical owners of the business. Very few workers get health benefits on the job now, and the numbers who do are dropping significantly each year.


This is why the French youth are rioting. It is why American students should be joining them in the streets of America. The corporate rape of the youth has been so subtle that students haven’t had as harsh a line to draw in the sand as the French students did this week, but the issues are identical. In fact, they are worse for American students.


Since we have already made free trade agreements with our neighboring countries and opened the door for corporate outsourcing, the next step should be to turn to a one-world government. That government should be a socialist system that offers health benefits and job assurances to all.


No individuals should gain great wealth at the expense of others. We are all the same.


There is a crying need to put all people in this world on an even keel. That is, we all work for the same wage on the same job. If all are guaranteed homes, food, clothing and medical care in exchange for their labor it would be a big improvement over the system we now struggle under.




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