Robert Marchenoir is a French reader who comments frequently at Gates of Vienna. In the comments thread on my post about French immigration policies, another reader asked him a question. Robert wrote out a response, but felt it was too long to post as a comment, and emailed it to me instead.
He was responding to Phaeton, who asked this question :
Are unions really such large cultural traitors that they’d actually sell out their own working class in order to keep Khalid and his ilk burning cars in alleyways?
This is Robert’s answer:
Yes, Phaeton, French unions are indeed traitors to the interests they are supposed to defend.
In order to understand why, you have to realize how bizarre a species they really are.
First of all, French unions represent barely anyone except themselves. The proportion of unionized workers is lower in France than in… the United States. Only 8% of workers are card-carrying members.
If unions do represent any workers at all, it is civil servants, who are disproportionately represented within their ranks. Even thus, only 13% of public sector workers (quoting from memory) are unionized.
Most industrial action occurs within the civil service. The reason is very simple: the unions can throttle the whole economy with only a tiny number of workers going on strike in strategic places: train conductors or air traffic controllers, for instance. Moreover, these civil servants have a lifetime job guarantee, and cannot be threatened with firing in case of a strike. For a long time, they were even routinely paid for the days they stopped working.
But it gets curiouser and curiouser when you realize who is actually funding these mostly revolutionary, neo-Marxist unions: it’s the state itself.
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The unions have so few paying members that a significant part of their money (the bigger part for some of them) comes from state subsidies. The actual amount is a state secret (that is, if anyone within the government really knows): unions, by law, do not have to maintain formalized and auditable accounts.
Therefore, millions of euros can flow freely and secretly on back-of-envelope records, with ample provision for shady deals which have been embedded in the system, in some cases for nearly a century.
Unions also get to benefit from free, permanent staff, under the guise of civil servants being “lent” by the state — on the public payroll, of course.
Finally, they draw huge funds by embezzling taxes levied on businesses and earmarked for the compulsory training of workers. That’s because the law puts the unions partly in charge of the organisations which manage these funds. It’s the socialist way to do things, you see.
(It’s only fair to add that the business owners’ syndicates also illegally benefit from these funds; when bosses and union stewards share the loot of public money, you get a system corrupted to the root, which is very difficult to clean up.)
Now you understand why French unions can do virtually what they want, regardless of the interests of the people they are supposed to defend: their only aim is to perpetuate their own bureaucracy, power and paying non-jobs.
Of course, you might ask: why do they chose to do so by programming the death of their own people?
I think the answer is simple: they are genetically Leftists. They do what the political Left has decided to do, and that is importing from Africa the voters they can no longer find within their own country.
One also has to remark that civil servants, which constitute the unions’ main clientele, are not threatened (at least in the short term) by competition from lesser-paid, more docile foreign workers: their boss cannot fire them to hire immigrants instead.
Some parts of the public sector have even been protected, for quite a while, by racist or patriotic laws (choose your preferred word), which quietly forbade the hiring of foreigners in such mundane jobs as bus drivers.
French union bosses, who are, in effect, permanent employees of the state with no responsibility to anyone, had therefore no problem inflicting unfair competition by foreign labour upon the private sector workers.