Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The Power of Protest

I was amazed at the size of the French student protests. BBC Reports:

On Monday, the French government said it would withdraw the law, which would have allowed employers to sack anyone under the age of 26 within the first two years of their employment.

The measure had provoked weeks of protests, until finally, Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin conceded defeat and said he would find other ways of reducing the numbers of young jobless.

The Washington Post tries to bring the two sides of the argument, but does a very simplistic job of it, in my opinion, the rich entrepreneur and the poor arts student sound like characters from a bad movie.

Today, seven years out of business school, Kosciusko-Morizet, 28, is president of one of the fastest-growing online sales companies in France. At a time when youth unemployment here is more than 22 percent, the young French executive, who started his career at a bank in Richmond, has added 50 workers to his payroll in the past six months -- most of them English-speaking engineers and technicians.

In contrast, Dhelft, 29, has worked only eight months since graduating from a liberal arts college with the dream of becoming a research director. He has received government welfare or unemployment benefits for most of the past four years, something he feels "a little bit" guilty about but believes the government owes him.

My question is are we, the Indian middle class' ever going to take to the streets for protest even when it comes to the IITs/IIMs


Blogger flygirl said...

hi mridula, the power of protests only seems to work in france nowadays :-) even a major show of opposition here gets some media attention and no action. there is an apathy everywhere to both participation and effect. i still think that they are useful but in dealign with issues i guess we need to look at other ways to get the point across.

4/13/2006 7:04 AM  
Blogger Mridula said...

Flygirl, the thing is we protest all wrong things, we protest for Rajkumar but not Javed's death. I mean, OK, protest for Rajkumar by all means but why not for this 18 year old who died saving others? That is where I say we do not have a protest culture among the Indian middle class whereas the French middle class or in many other parts of the world,they do it.

4/14/2006 12:36 PM  
Blogger L>T said...

have you seen the Mexican protesters here in the U.S. recently protesting proposed illegal immigration laws?

Huge crowds of them. peaceful but very large crowds.

& in France; I saw them as very passionate & agitated.

That's what a sucessful protest takes, large numbers of desperate people, with nothing to lose.

I saw some statistics about protest in China. There's a lot of it & it's dangerous for the protesters. & it does not seem to do them much good. (The Chinese Goverment does not tolerate protest, it seems.) but they protest, anyway.

My point is; The passion of our protest is directly related to the degree of our desperation. Also, our goverments tolerance for it.

4/15/2006 9:34 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

Recently we had marches in the U.S., to give amnesty to illegal aliens, and thousands of people showed in cities all across America! It's really awesome to see that, people assume the youth of today are apathetic and this disproves that.

I read the Washington Post article (thanks for linking to it) and was blown away by the level of welfare in France. To receive unemployment benefits in the U.S. one has to jump through a lot of hoops, for example to prove that you were not at fault for being fired which means if you are fired for tardiness or some other cause then you aren't eligible, and the benefits expire after 26wks. Here's a link-up fact sheet that I found. Many employers in the U.S. contest it when ex-employees file unemployment claims, for example they will pull e-mail records etc. to prove that the employee was at fault. I once received about 2mos unemployment because there was a merger (I worked at a cellular company in Houston, TX) and our office was closed, but I had to prove each week tht I was looking for work and provide evidence that I was interviewing etc. in order to get my weekly unemployment checks.

4/17/2006 10:14 PM  
Blogger Mridula said...

L>T, somehow in India we (the middle class) are very good at writing blogs and SMS to show our protest but we do not take to the streets in lagre numbers, at least that is my opinion.

Crystal, thanks a lot for your detailed comment and comparison with France. http://kufr.blogspot.com/2006/04/education-guarantee-act-anyone.html

4/20/2006 11:21 PM  
Blogger Passion said...

Reservations are legislative response to historical social and economic injustices.
India(ns) do not need reservations if 85% of their marriages are inter-religious and inter-caste.

5/17/2006 9:47 PM  

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