Mass Protests Are Alive and Well in France, But What About in America?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A high school student waves a flag during a demonstration on October 20, 2010, in front of the French Senate in Paris, to protest governemental pensions reform. (Fred Dufour/Getty)

Violent strikes continue in France this morning as protesters blocked access to the airport in Marseilles, and stopped traffic in several other cities. Students have poured out of high schools onto the streets, with 312 high schools closing after classes were disrupted. Fourteen fuel depots remain blockaded.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy is warning that the clashes will have a significant economic repercussions. Sarkozy's indicating he will not back down on his plan to raise France's retirement age from 60 to 62. 

While Americans may not be taking to the streets, we're arguably just as angry as evidenced by the rise of the Tea Party. There is a long history of protest in this country from the March on Washington during the Civil Rights era to Vietnam. But in the 21st century, is the era of the great American mass protest over? Richard Wolff, professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, gives us the answer.


Richard Wolff

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