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Back home after “Nuit Debout”
Author: Raine    Date: 04/18/2016 13:17:41

For the past two weeks, Bob and I were enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime trip. We were all over the city of lights: Paris. It was good to be on vacation and just as good to be away from the madness of our election season.

Well... almost away from election season. They are watching very closely what is happening with our primary process and election. While I did not have the chance to talk to as many people as I could, the ones we did talk to are truly aghast that Trump is the GOP frontrunner.

They are acutely aware that should he or Cruz be elected they will personally be affected. Kasich is barely a blip on the radar for them.

Parisians - the French and the expats (we met a few from Canada) - are very knowledgeable about what is happening here in the states. I don't think the same could be said about our populace regarding not only France, but Europe as a whole. Yes, we know about the big stories, but the people we talked to were hyper-aware of what is going on here, and one glaring example was our elections. What happens here affects the globe in a way that I never fully appreciated. From foreign policy to climate change to economics, we all live on one planet. The world is watching who our next president will be.

The people we talked to, regardless of whether they liked Hollande or not (he seems deeply unpopular right now), like both of the Dem candidates, so that is a good thing.

While we were there (as shown in our Facebook feeds), there were some pretty big protests happening. While France and Paris are fairly well known for strikes and protestation, this one was different. It was all over the news, and in some instances involved tear gas. I mentioned François Hollande, the president of France, as he was the catalyst for these protests. People - in particular, younger people - are not happy with labour reforms passed in 2014.
As President, Hollande pursued labour reform to make France more competitive internationally. Legislation was introduced in late 2012 and after much debate passed the French lower and upper house in May 2013. The bill includes measures such as making it easier for workers to change jobs and for companies to fire employees. One of the main measures of the bill allows companies to temporarily cut workers' salaries or hours during times of economic difficulty. This measure takes its inspiration from Germany, where furloughs have been credited with allowing companies to weather difficult times without resorting to massive layoffs. Another measure that aims to simplify the firing process. Layoffs in France are often challenged in courts and the cases can take years to resolve. Many companies cite the threat of lengthy court action – even more than any financial cost – as the most difficult part of doing business in France. The law shortens the time that employees have to contest a layoff and also lays out a scheme for severance pay. The government hopes this will help employees and companies reach agreement faster in contentious layoffs.

Another key measure introduced are credits for training that follow employees throughout their career, regardless of where they work, and the right to take a leave of absence to work at another company. The law will also require all companies to offer and partially pay for supplemental health insurance. Lastly, the law also reforms unemployment insurance, so that someone out of work doesn't risk foregoing significant benefits when taking a job that might pay less than previous work or end up only being temporary. Under the new law, workers will be able to essentially put benefits on hold when they take temporary work, instead of seeing their benefits recalculated each time.
From what I was able to gather, it is not working out for younger workers. A few people I talked to said the unemployment rate has not changed and workers are still trying to find the jobs that this reform promised. About 10% of Paris is still unemployed.

As a result, this happened:

The Up All Night movement began on March 31 after a group of demonstrators camped out at the French capital’s iconic Place de la République to protest against the country’s controversial labour reforms and “everything that goes with it”. Since then it has drawn thousands of supporters and grown to encompass a wider range of grievances, from social inequality to the Panama Papers to France’s ongoing state of emergency, and has drawn comparisons to the 2011 Occupy movement in the United States or the Indignados in Spain.

Smaller gatherings have also sprung up in towns and cities across France, and also in Belgium, Germany as well as Spain
Here is another article.
The “Nuit Debout” or “Up all Night” movement began on March 31 when a group of activists decided not to go home after a march against the proposed reforms.

Protesters have since included a number of causes, from migrants' rights to anti-globalisation.

Earlier on Thursday, dozens were arrested after clashing with police at the margins of a rally protesting controversial labour reform plans, which the government argues will cut unemployment, but critics say are weighed heavily in favour of employers and will erode job security.

These protests were on the news all the time in Paris, the capital of France. Meanwhile, here in our nation's capital, Washing DC, barely a mention was made of this:
More than 900 'Democracy Spring' protesters arrested in D.C. - so far
Police have calmly arrested hundreds of people in Washington, D,.C. protesting the influence of money in politics during the last week, in what several participants described as a striking display of restrained law enforcement.

More arrests are expected Monday, the final day of protests when the focus of the non-violent protests turn to voting rights and timely consideration of the Merrick Garland's nomination to the Supreme Court. U.S. Capitol Police have arrested more than 900 protesters through Saturday.

Mass demonstrations by a group called "Democracy Spring" began last Monday. A related group, "Democracy Awakening," joined the efforts on Saturday and are holding often integrated sit ins and other demonstrations to protest laws it considers discriminatory, such as Voter ID laws.

I feel confident in saying that most of our populace didn't know this happened and that much of the people participating in “Nuit Debout” do.

What we do, how we act and who we elect is important and I now understand that we don't live in a bubble.

I pray we do the right thing in November. The world really is watching.

It's good to be back home.


21 comments (Latest Comment: 04/19/2016 14:01:24 by velveeta jones)
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