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The Madison-Raleigh Non Stop

Labor Rights Article in the N&O

Article sur la demande du droit de grève
Raleigh, Caroline du Nord

On February 22, I was invited in the Forum du Mouv," a Radio France Broadcast from Paris, to talk about the evolution of the migration of the Arab revolution on the U.S. front. That day the news had arrived that there had been some protests in Raleigh asking for the rebirth of the right to engage in collective bargaining in North Carolina. the podcast is linked below, and the translation follows. The podcast of my prior intervention on the original development in Wisconsin, is in the post below, or here.

Le 22 Février 2011, j'ai été invité dans le Forum du Mouv' pour parler de l'évolution de la transmission de l'esprit révolutionnaire arabe sur le front Américain. Ce jour là, la Caroline du Nord avait fait l'objet de manifestations demandant la réinstallation du droit de grève, perdu depuis 1959. Le Podcast est ci-dessous, celui de mon intervention précédente lors du déclenchement du mouvement dans le Wisconsin, est dans le billet précèdent ou ici.

La traduction du podcast est bien entendu pour le bénéfice des anglophoones.


: 01 45 24 20 20 to join us, we are going to talk about the sitcom "Skins" in a moment, but before that we are going to take a short trip to the U.S.A., isn't it, it is Jean-Christian who is here with us? ... How are you doing Jean-Christian ?

J-C : Yes, I am doing fine thank you, good evening.

ERIC LANGE : We come for some news, because a few days ago you were announcing to us that a revolution had started in Wisconsin.., nobody believed me here... it's funny, it is not talked about much here in the media ...

J-C : Well, you know, it is as always, even more so in France which is a country relatively conservative from an ideological point of view, ... not politically ... the French mind structure is conservative, which is why they always elect Presidents who are beyond 50 years old or even beyond 60, and consequently, I think that people have a hard time admitting to themselves that a movement.., how should I say, .. political, revolutionary, which begins in the Middle East, in the Arab world, may contaminate a Country as developed, as superior, as.. whatever as the U.S.A, but that is nevertheless what is going on...

ERIC LANGE : What is indeed going on.. I precise in two words who you are, Jean-Christian has a long history with us in the show, he has been living in the U.S. for ... a very long time, he is a photographer, and the other day you told us about this story in Wisconsin, where the Republican Governor wanted to pass a bill lowering State Employees compensation, and taking away some of their benefits, and consequently, in a surprising fashion for the U.S., there are thousands of Americans who marched in the streets in Madison.. where are we about that...?

J-C : The situation is rather in stand by if you will. In English we would say "stalemate," things are stagnating. We have on one side the Governor who is hunkered down on his position, and on the other side we have the protesters who do not back down either, because in fact, the most contemptuous aspect is that the Governor wants the abolition of right to strike for public employees, although in fact it is not as much the right to strike that he is after. In English there is something called "collective bargaining," and in France we do not dissociate the two, as evidently one goes on strike when demanding something, is the U.S. it is not as much the right t strike that would be withdrawn, as the right to get together to negotiate collectively: "collective bargaining." Is there a name in French for that?..

ERIC LANGE : The right to negotiate.. no..

J-C : Collective negotiations, if you will, what the C.G.T. the C.F.D.T. and Cny do.. and so, he wants to abolish that, because he is explaining us that otherwise things get too expensive, because State employees can then exercise pressures that are unbearable,,. .. and if we were to buy what he says, we would think that the State always has to backdown facing the pressure from its employees, and is always forced to pay them more. So we the wonder then how it is that all those employees are not millionaires, because if that is so, might as well ask for the same pay as in Wall St.... But.. that's how he sees it..

ERIC LANGE : But you, in your own look at things, from your own prism, it is evident that those movements in the U.S. are influenced by what has happened in the Magreb?

J-C : Well yes, in fact is not even I who demonstrated that, it is you....

Laughs ...

J-C : When we spoke Friday, it is you who fetched--I would love to have that picture--you told me that yu found that photograph in the Canadian press in which some guy was holding a sign in arabic that meant "Get Out" (as in Tunisia)...

ERIC LANGE : yes, that's right, a guy who had copied in arabic the sign "Get Out" which he had presumably saw on TV or on the net, that's right..

J-C : So, you saw the photograph ?

ERIC LANGE : yes, I saw the photograph, i need to fetch on which blog, site that was ...

J-C : Please retrieve it, send it to me, I would like to put that photograph on my own blog..

ERIC LANGE : I think it was on Cyberpress.ca, you know, that site which regroups press from Canada

J-C : Cyberpress.ca, I'll look for it....

ERIC LANGE : ..But has it grown now..

J-C : ..Well, I don't know if you recall, Friday at the end of our conversation I was saying that "Yes with a little luck, the movement will spread all the way to North Carolina .. one may always dream." these are my words from Friday. And this morning, the dream turns reality, I see, front page in my paper, the Raleigh paper, the North Carolina State's Capital. It was a little on the side, but it was nevertheless front page, that there had been a protest yesterday in Raleigh, asking for the reinstallation of collective bargaining rights in North Carolina (see article here), and clearly the article was linking that to what is going on in Wisconsin. There is therefore a snowball effect if you will, what is going on in Tunisia influences Egypt, what is going on in Egypt influences Wisconsin, what goes on in Wisconsin now influences people in North Carolina, on the whole those folks are black, because blacks in North Carolina, in the South as a general matter, are the ones who have the most.. have the most interest.., the largest tendency, to be pro-unionist, .. sorry, that's English, pro-union, they are the most likely to have "ethnic" opinions .. no, that's no correct either, well.. you know what I mean, they have a strong sensibility for a vision of society which would be more "Socialist" than wild Capitalism, if you will...

ERIC LANGE : "Socialism" is a bad word in United States...

J-C : "Socialism" ? Oh yes, it is a very very bad word ...

ERIC LANGE : Jean-Christian, I am surprised, I have been wondering since the beginning of this story, if really ... Because you know, we talk of Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, China, Bahrein, .. and now we talk of the United States.., I don't know what is going on... Is there really something...

J-C : We need TV crews to re-focus on the United States, because here is the main field of operation now..giggle...

ERIC LANGE : You are going to see that we are going to be guilty of .... giggle...

J-C : Yes, well, I don't know if we are going to be responsible for it, but I think that... Everything is there.., there are pressures, political ones, social ones, which are strong,.. in the United States at the end of the day, as there was in the Arab world when all this started,.. maybe a little less strong in the U.S. .. but no matter what, if one wanted to look into it, .. much stronger than one imagines I think, in France anyhow, .. and then .. that creates.. that allows, .. that motivates people in doing something, I mean after a while .. enough is enough.. and...

ERIC LANGE : Well, .. Americans are starting to change. Jean-Christian ? Thank you, thank you for the news, we keep in touch, and we follow this, I am going to follow this up close...

J-C : Well, very well, and send the TV crews will you?

ERIC LANGE : Ok, I am going to send teh TV crews, ok. Hey Jean-Christian, that's it, Anneka put a link to your blog, on our blog, if the listeners want to discover your work and all your photographs.

J-C : Thank you very much.

ERIC LANGE : you are welcome, thank you very much Jean-Christian...

J-C : Talk to you soon Eric.

ERIC LANGE : Talk to you soon. 01 45 24 20 20 of course if you want to talk of the United States with us, and Jean-Christian's blog, you go on the forum's blog, ericlange.org, you will find the link to go see everything he does.

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