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By Theodore Dalrymple

The New Vichy Syndrome: Why European Intellectuals Surrender to Barbarism.

Eye on the News

Theodore Dalrymple
Vive l’Inégalité
Privileged French students demonstrate to preserve their entitlement.
March 17, 2006

The current demonstrations by students of French universities against a proposed liberalization of the labor laws, so that it will be easier for French employers to hire and fire young people, remind me very much of the strike by miners on the Witwatersrand in South Africa in 1922.

The demonstrators in France and the strikers in South Africa are and were supported by their respective national communist parties. The miners went on strike because the mine-owners proposed to replace expensive white labor with cheap black labor, hoping to increase profits. This move provoked one of the most bizarre political slogans of all time, promoted by the communist party: Workers of the World Unite for a White South Africa!

What are the French university students demonstrating for? By opposing the proposed law of Dominique de Villepin, the prime minister, they are in effect demanding that the children of Maghrebin and African immigrants stay exactly where they are, in the dismal and dispiriting housing projects that surround all French towns and cities, and accept their state of dependency on handouts derived from the taxes of their elders and betters.

About a quarter of French people under the age of 26 are unemployed, but in the areas where the immigrants congregate the unemployment rate is double. It takes no great effort of the imagination to understand what happens to “communities” in which a half of young people are permanently unemployed.

If there are sectors of the population in which the unemployment rate is half, it follows that there are sectors of the population in which the unemployment rate is less than a quarter. And what might those sectors be? Reader, you’ve guessed it: graduates from the universities, particularly the Sorbonne, where the privileged demonstrators—who are demonstrating in generous solidarity with themselves—have done $1 million worth of vandalism, the most in the country.

The students are demonstrating for the continuation of their own protections and privileges once employed, as most of them soon will be. They do not wish employers to have the freedom to sack them, except at the cost of huge redundancy payments that the law currently grants them. Obliviously, of course, they are in effect also demonstrating for the continued segregation of the Arabs and the Africans.

Though I say it myself who perhaps should not, it is exactly as I predicted: the French government, thanks to its past policies, is faced with the choice of more riots in the suburbs, or riots on the Boulevard St. Germain. It remains to see which it prefers. If the students win, it may yet prove necessary to dump the bodies of a few hundred Algerians in the Seine; it’s been done before, and it can be done again.

Workers of the World Unite for a White South Africa!

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