We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Joan of Arc with future

Sabine Herold is a courageous young woman who has put herself at the head of a popular uprising against the tyranny of union militancy to which President Chirac constantly kowtows, as reported by the Telegraph. She has been compared to Joan of Arc, and her impatience with her Gaullist government is certainly reminiscent of the saint’s frustration with the French monarchy.

She is another example that despite the Left’s intellectual hegemony established since the 1960s that turned France into a second-rate country with delusions of grandeur, some French individuals can transcend that context. The kind of liberal, cosmopolitan conservatism Mlle Herold embraced is almost extinct in France.

She has a memorable phrase for those, Left or Right, who are leading France to perdition: “reactionary egotists”. Her movement may mark the beginning of the end of the organised egotism that has held France (and countless visitors) to ransom for so long. For France’s sake, let us hope that it is not a revolt, but a revolution.

The good news is that she is by no means the first and only one. One only needs to visit Dissident Frogman’s dacha or Merde in France to see how the blogosphere helped to flush out the illuminated few. The bad news is that if their numbers start growing, that popular Anglo-Saxon past time, ‘frog bashing’, may no longer be completely justified.

Vive les Français liberes!

22 comments to Joan of Arc with future

  • Liberty Belle

    I figured that out of 22 working days available in May, the French actually worked 13. This was arrived at by three public holidays, one of which fell on a Thursday, so they could take a “bridge day” to see their poor overworked arses into the weekend, plus the strikes by the air traffic controllers, the train drivers, the teachers (the streets were flooded with bored children to add to our comfort and convenience), the farmers plus a couple of general, nationwide strikes.

    In other words, the public sector rules and to hell with business and to hell with education. Their strikes are choreographed with Balanchine precision. They’re not spontaneous acts of righteous indignation. They’re inked in months ahead, and the sectors are carefully calibrated so as not to infringe on each other. France has a mandated 35 hour work week (well, you can work fewer hours if you feel like it, and many do, but not more, by law) and retirement in the public sector, on a generous, taxpayer-funded pension begins at age 50. This they are ravenous to protect at all costs.

    Meanwhile, as the brilliant Mlle Herold points out, France’s economy is disappearing from the horizon at a rate of knots. The ECB cut interest rates to 2% today, meaning no one will see the point of saving at such a derisory rate of return and cheap debt will mean lots of debt. Mlle Herold is a hero and they are right to compare her with Jean d’Arc. She could be the saving of France. Because right now, France is a landslide headed south.

  • Jay C.

    Just amazing:
    Not only that a 22-year-old Frenchwoman could come up with such cogent and far-reaching critiques of her country’s socio-political failings –
    (all right-on IMHO); but that such opinions could (and are) distributed world-wide, and instantly, via the Net – to create an instant meme.
    One can easily imagine Joan of Arc as a dedicated blogger – hopefully Sabine Herold will escape Joan’s incindiary fate.

  • T. Hartin

    If the French unions are as violent and criminalized as the U.S. unions, she should be very careful. This kind of attack on a U.S. union could easily get you a beating or worse.

  • Liberty Belle

    No, T Hartin, she should not be “very careful”. Are you saying that capitalists should not speak out against union gangsterism? She’s a brilliant woman and very brave and she will have an effect. People are rallying behind her. For someone of the age of 22, that is quite a start in life – and all driven by her own intelligence and bravery. Bon courage et j’elle embrasse!

  • its jake

    Soon the Commitee on Public Safety will take notice her anti-revolutionary ideas, and then the poor girl is screwed.

  • G Cooper

    Excellent timing from Gabriel Syme and a splendid commentary from Liberty Belle.

    Not very hard to work out why the Labourites want Britain permanently shackled to this slovenly bunch, is it?

  • I would have thought the main problem with trying to ferment a “revolt” in France at the moment is that the Right’s already in power; so if they fight the strikers they’re just doing the government and police’s work. If this sort of action had been taken before the last election (when clearly there were a lot of dissatisfied folk about) if might have made some difference – at the moment its just wailing in the wind.

  • Someone wrote to me from France to say that in fact the protesters are seeking out their critics and beating them. And the police are doing nothing.

  • She’s trying to get a revolt started?

    Hmmm, that shouldn’t be too hard. Many of the French are revolting already.

  • infamouse

    Oooooh, Omnibus Bill, you so crazy.

    Good luck, Sabine!

  • David Mercer

    Well, if things get really snarky, Les Zones Cities could erupt, Chirac’s govt. could fall, and Le Pen could get elected early to ‘do something’ about the unions and the zones.

    Worst/best case: the govt. fail completely, and we get the Nexth Republic

  • Liberty Belle

    David Mercer – “the Nexth Republic”! Very good!

  • Liberty Belle

    It’s another French public holiday on Monday.

  • Reginleif the Valkyrie

    Liberty Belle, I don’t think T. Hartin was suggesting that Mlle. Herold stop what she’s doing; I think he was suggesting that she take care to protect herself. For example, that she acquire a gun (illegally in the EU, I’m sure) and learn how to use it, perhaps sleep with it under her pillow, as the cliché goes.

    Brave doesn’t necessarily mean stupid or careless.

  • Olivier RiCHARD

    (excuse me for this electronic machine translation). This young woman (Sabine Herold) is completely unknown in France. She supports Alain Madelin, former preserving candidate “liberal”, and also former militant of extreme-right group “Occident”, of the end of the Sixties. She represents which is most contemptible in the French population: the class “Auteuil-Neuilly-Passy” style. I have a 22 year old daughter (one year older than Sabine Herold). She is a chemist engineer. I would have shame to see it behaving in a way as unworthy as Miss Herold.

  • Too bad most Americans and French alike have no concept of what being “liberal” really means. Luckily, Mme. Herold does.

  • Amira

    This is terrible news for those Americans who would like to see France fail. How can she be stopped?

  • Stopped? Why not offer a well reasoned, countervailing opinion for one?

    By the way, are you saying that France will ‘fail’ if they do not cease to silence their opponents and instead engage them in a healthy debate?

    I think the opposite is true.

  • Let’s hope that Sabine Herold is the one to organize a Committee of Public Safety. Chirac and Villepin can ride in the tumbril together, hands bound behind their backs, white shirts open at the neck — a throaty roar from the crowd as the guillotine blade thunks down. Then a hastily organized army of middle class French moms can round up the leaders of the public sector unions, and ship them all to the Congo, to assist with the peacekeeping or merely to die of some loathesome tropical disease.

  • S. Murthy

    Sabine Herold is a babe!

  • colargol

    How many peoples here know WHY the French people are on strike in France ?
    Even the “Joan of Arc with future” doesn’t mention it !
    Speaking about the result (no buses, no teatcher…), well, ok, but don’t forget to mention the facts, and that’s not an easy thing. Sorry for my English, but I just want you to know that our gouvernment decided to change a lot of stuff (education, retreat, astist status), without any dialogue. No debate at all…that’s it.
    Many other politics said the same could have been done smoothly instead of abruptly. There is much to discuss on this forum, and the debat won’t be over before a very long time.

  • E

    at best, i think this movement will stir up reform…but revolt or even revolution? not really. even with the title the future joan of arc, to call for revolt or revolution requires massive support from the public and if she doesnt win the majority of france to her side, a revolution will not have the slightest chance of even starting up, not to mention succeeding. besides, will she win widespread international support?