Upon becoming president, Emmanuel Macron promised to make France into a “start-up nation.” But imitating workplace hierarchies has made his government deeply authoritarian — subjecting democratic institutions to the tyranny of the boss.
Maxime Quijoux is a CNRS researcher, sociologist, and political scientist.
Across France, workers are insisting that they be allowed to make masks and ventilators rather than continue with business as usual. Their initiatives show that when workers, not stock prices, decide what’s being made, production can serve the needs of society as a whole.
On the eve of the financial crisis, Nicolas Sarkozy boasted that “when there is a strike, nobody even notices anymore.” But as France mounts its longest strike in decades, organized labor is once again showing its power — and its limits.
The gilets jaunes’ street demonstrations arose outside of trade-union structures. Yet their mobilization offers a historic opportunity to renew the labor movement.