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France: "A Stunning and Historical Shift"
WASHINGTON - October 20 -
Recently back from Europe, Wolff is author of the book Capitalism Hits the Fan: The Global Economic Meltdown and What to Do About It. He said today: "For many weeks now, a stunning and historical shift has accelerated across France. An alliance of trade unions, left political parties and sections of parties, students and young people from organizations and as individuals, and many others has recomposed a powerful left force in French society. Having mobilized millions, it is challenging the French establishment in ways and with an intensity not seen for decades. The French fight against government 'austerity' -- the globally common term for making the mass of people pay for fixing the economic collapse wrought by contemporary capitalism -- is influencing parallel struggles everywhere."
Wolff is professor emeritus of economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In June and July he gave a series of talks in Europe, including at the University of Athens and University of Paris, meeting with many of the people organizing the protests.
He is currently a visiting professor in the Graduate Program for International Affairs at the New School University in New York City. Video of his talk "Capitalism Hits the Fan" is available at: CapitalismHitsTheFan.com.
Cirera, a researcher with the Gabriel Peri Foundation, in France, said today: "[French President Nicolas] Sarkozy's refusal to listen deepens public anger. The mass movement continues because beyond the issue of the age of retirement are questions that concern everyone: women and men, young people, wage-earners as well as retired people. The crisis has raised the question of work (how and what to produce and for whose benefit). The crisis also poses real social choices: the demand for social justice (versus politicians in the service of money and the rich) and for a different distribution of wealth."