The New Marianne?
I didn't know there were any libertarians/classical liberals in France, but it turns out there are a few and they have a lot to say. Here is a translation of a speech made at a counter-demonstration against the chaos caused by the strikes.
No to the undeserving trade unions!!!
Speech given Sunday May 25, at the rally at la place de l'Hôtel de ville.
My dear friends,
My name is Sabine Herold. I speak for the association "Freedom, I write your name," co-organizer of this rally. First of all, I want to thank you for coming in such large numbers today, particularly on such a day as this. I know the difficulties you must have faced in joining us, and I thank you for it! I thank you all for your courage and determination! We do not have chartered busses from all over France to get you here, the media wants to shut us up, we have only our e-mails, our faxes and our will to spread the word.
But today, we have decided to join together to say no, no to the attitude of undeserving trade unions. There they are! Not far from us! They probably expected to have their demonstration in peace. Nothing doing! We will not give up the streets to them! Today something is different: for once, we will say NO to them!
We are nothing in their eyes, nothing but anonymous citizens, only allowed to curse under our breath. But we will prove to them, together, that from now on, they will have to take us into account! The silent majority has become noisy and it does not intend to be silenced!
I am a student. I have classes and examinations, but there are no busses. I buy my orange pass, but there is no subway. Later, I will pay my taxes, but my children will not go to school. Much later, I will sign up for a retirement pension, but I will get one?
Like you, like all of us gathered here today, I am angry. I am very angry!
How can one accept that our democracy is left at the mercy of the with good will of trade unions who got no more than 20% in labor elections, elections ignored by the employees? Which is legitimate, those policies made by those freely elected to office by all voters, or those of the trade union bosses? Where are the two sides of industry where one sees only adversaries of the company? Who are these trade unionists who represent only themselves? What right do they have to deprive us of our freedom of movement, of action, even of speech!
Fortunately, thanks to you, the voice of freedom is finally raised in protest against the cacophony of the vested interests. It already rings in the ears of the tycoons of FO, the CGT and SUD.
It is time to say to these terrorists of social action, to these hostage-takers of public opinion, that we have had enough! It is time to remind the politicians, those whom we elected and who govern in our names, that are waiting for them to show some determination!
We will not put up with the calamity of chronic strikes and trade-union barons! This is the true motto of our gathering.
Because yes, there is a right to strike. But certainly not a duty, as these perpetual demonstrators seem to believe!
We wait for the day when trade unions behave responsibly, and not as bastions of reactionary egotism!
We are joined together this evening to express our anger. But that is not enough. As the poet Goethe wrote, "Nothing is true which is not fertile". Also, we must prepare today the next change. We must transform our anger into new action.
These are questions which must be answered:
- who will pay for our retirements? Do you think it will be the civil servants of the SNCF?
- after that, who will pay the for retirement of our children and grandchildren? Do you think it will be the South-Rail or CGT trade unions ?
Citizens, let us require answers to these questions! The reform started by the Government is a good first step, but still insufficient. But how can we go further, when the conservative interests are already cast in concrete? The government should not yield to the pressure of the streets.
It must preserve our fundamental personal freedoms, like the right to take the train, the subway, the bus, which our taxes pay for!
All of us, joined together today on this place, we are the resistors! We are the precursors of change! The law of silence has fallen! We will not keep silent any longer!
It is our duty to roll back the trade unions and to save true social justice, which is equality among all citizens against the privileges of a minority!
Let us swear together, here and now, to resist so that tomorrow will be a different day, a day of Freedom!
May 26, 2003
The original is here