The great leftist protest movements of the past have often involved a certain questionable division of labour. The workers march and the academics think. Well, I guess France has always been a bit different.
First, Les Inrockuptibles circulates an Appel contre la guerre ? l’intelligence (Petition against the war on intelligence), accusing the Raffarin government of dumbing down French society and offering, among other things, the headscarf debate as an example. Now, it seems that the French primeminister has bugged enough of France’s academics that they are now planning on doing some marching of their own.
From today’s Le Monde:
The overwhelming majority of French laboratory administrators decided at mid-day on Tuesday the ninth, during a general assembly at Paris City Hall, to resign their administrative duties […] Only a dozen or so, among the roughly 800 or 900 lab directors and research group administrators present at the meeting, were against this decision.
“Resignation is neither an end in itself nor an end to this movement – it’s a necessary step”, claimed Alain Trautmann at the opening of the general assembly. During the meeting of lab administrators, some 1,500 researchers were assembled in front of City Hall to show their support for their resigning bosses. […]
In an interview in Tuesday’s Lib?ration, the primeminister, Jean-Pierre Raffarin, declared that for his part, “we are not bargain-hunting for the future of the country.” Pre-empting the decision taken by the lab administrators, Mr Raffarin insisted that “quitting is never a success (…) I would have to be saddened because I don’t want France’s international scientific renown to be threatened like this (…) When we put 3 billion euros on the table for research [over the next three years], we’re offering a lot more than we are to a great many other professional categories.”
But those 3 billion euros, announced on Saturday by the primeminister’s office, did not sway the researchers. “If those 3 billion are for real, we’ll be very happy”, according to the spokesman of the Saving Research committee. “But for the moment, it is nothing more than a restatement of Jacques Chirac’s promise to devote 3% of GDP to research. What he should have given us (…) was concrete answers and not more promises.”
According to a poll conducted by CSA for La Croix, this movement has the approval of four out of five Frenchment (82%). 47% claim to “support” the movement and 35% have “sympathy”, with only 12% expressing “indifference” and 5% “opposed” or “hostile”.
The idea of academics marching against the government and getting any public support at all would be considered a joke in the US. My faith in France is hardly restored, but at least it’s nice to see somebody manning the barracades against idiots at Matignon and Elysée and getting a bit of airplay and popular backing.
I ought to resist ending this post this way, but what the hell:
Chercheurs de tous les pays, unissez-vous! Vous n’avez rien ? perdre que vos cha?nes