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article imageOp-Ed: French trade unionists and Socialists are child-abusers

By Michael Cosgrove     Oct 9, 2010 in Politics
That French trade unionists and socialists should encourage children to refuse to take lessons and take part in violent street demonstrations against a retirement bill is not in the interests of children. It is a sordid and cynical manipulation.
Two children in the French town of Bonneville were taken to hospital yesterday and one of them was subsequently taken by helicopter to the Severe Burns Unit of a hospital here in Lyon. They had been on strike outside their school and had filled a barrel with inflammable liquid and material to create a smoke screen to hide themselves and their fellow-strikers from the police when it exploded into flames. They were imitating trade union demonstration tactics.
Elsewhere, three policemen were beaten up by older children who were on strike in Saint-Quentin and were rioting in the town center, where similar events had occurred the day before. The police had to break up the rioters using tear gas. A commercial center in Soyeax was attacked by rioting children. There were arrests under the public order act in Angoulême where children had trashed areas of their school. All in all, the last two days have seen violence, fires, damaged cars and businesses, blocked roads and other incidents in a couple of dozen other towns.
All this happened because the children had been on strike, encouraged by the trade unions, the teaching profession and the Socialist Party, who are all trying to get the government to backtrack on a retirement reform bill which was ratified by the Senate yesterday. Their tactics? Striking and demonstrating.
The French retirement system is almost bankrupt, due to the fact that the population is ageing, as is the case in many other countries. The retirement age – 60 – is the lowest in the Western world. That’s why the government has raised it to 62, which is still well below that of other countries.
The president of France’s largest parent’s association, the FCPE, supports the strikes, President Christiane Allain saying that “We support the children who want to demonstrate against retirement reform.” Although she said she did not want to see violence, the fact that the FCPE did not offer the services of its members as stewards during the demonstrations meant that the children were left to their own devices, with the inevitable results.
Militant Socialists have been active though, although instead of trying to stop things getting out of hand, they have been encouraging it. Their members have been seen handing out fliers in several towns which encourage children to strike and demonstrate. Both the Socialist Party and the trade unions have invited the children to demonstrate, although they didn’t contribute to security dispositions either. They are also hoping that children will turn out in force for their next two national strikes, which are set to take place over the next two weeks.
Let’s be clear here. The children of France are being asked to strike to protect the pension rights of the most mollycoddled generation in any country in the world. The children are being used, and abused. The trade unions couldn’t care less that the system is bankrupt and that unless this generation makes an effort to save it their children – those striking – won’t have any resources when they retire.
Encouraging children to demonstrate in such a cynically self-serving and manipulative manner without any regard whatsoever for the inevitable – and violent - repercussions of their failure to offer security and stewards to control the columns of demonstrators they mobilized is totally irresponsible.
Deliberately putting children in harm’s way is a serious crime.
That crime is called Child Abuse, and the abusers are the Trades Unions, the teachers, and the Socialists of France.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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