Olivier Besancenot was a leading member of the Revolutionary Communist League (LCR) and is one of the founding members of, and until recently the main spokesperson for, the New Anticapitalist Party in France. He was the LCR candidate for the French presidential election in 2002 and 2007, gaining just over 4 percent of the popular vote each time. He is today the most well-known political personality on the anticapitalist left in France. This is a speech he delivered in New York City on November 19, 2011 at a forum sponsored by The People’s University at the New School.
THE FIRST thing is that I apologize for not being able to speak English tonight. If I had spoken in English I would have made the anticapitalist ideas so garbled because of my accent that you would have thought I was allying myself with the 1 percent of the world. So the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) has sent me here to New York to support the Occupy movement and discuss with the anticapitalist organizations, learn about the current movement, and see how I could bring a bit of the breath of fresh air of your movements back to France, because we need it.
We’re really focused on what is happening in the world right now in France, and we really feel strongly about the need to discuss and report together. We feel like we are living through a real historical change, which is evidenced by a redistribution of power by the imperialist powers. The powers that dominated the capitalist system since its birth, Europe and the United States, are in decline and are being rivaled by emerging powers. It’s accentuating military conflict in the world.
It is a change of power because we are at the end of a cycle in terms of modes of production. I think that the ecological crisis is reminding us of that. We have a mode of production and consumerism that is coming to its end because it uses up the natural resources at the same time it creates too much waste.
What has started this is the infamous economic crisis that began in 2008 and has continued to escalate. The dominant classes in Europe are telling us stories, as always. They are trying to make us believe that the debt crisis has nothing to do with the subprime crisis that emerged here in 2008. It is clear that consumer debt has crossed over into the financial markets. And this debt has now passed onto the state because of the plans put in place to spend hundreds of billions of dollars by governments to save the banks.
So the famous crisis in Europe is not a crisis of the eurozone, as you are being told. It’s a crisis of debt sovereignty, which is touching most of the countries like a domino effect and is a continuation and deepening of the subprime crisis, in the same way that the subprime crisis itself is the result of a crisis of overproduction, which we saw in the beginning of the 2000s with the burst of the speculative bubbles.
Some certainly thought in 2008 that the dominant classes would return to Keynesian politics. That’s not the choice of the ruling classes. The choice of the dominant classes in all our countries is to accelerate and accentuate neoliberal politics, to demolish all the social welfare programs. And this political decision is accentuating the overproduction crisis, because the austerity measures have decreased income, increased debt, and people can’t consume what society is producing. Therefore, it is accentuating the crisis of overproduction and putting stress on a society that is supersaturated, that is producing, but can’t get rid of what it is producing.
This is the character of the current crisis. It’s a system marked by a profound rupture between buying and selling, between what Marx called “use value” that is being formalized in the products, and “exchange values” that are turning into money. In short, one side production; the other side finance. This crisis is a return to order for the capitalist system; because we can’t eternally live in the virtual world with the idea that we can make money from money. This return to order will be more violent the further we go into speculation, the virtual. This is why the crisis is structural, profound, and global.
Now we are at the crossroads, at the hour of truth. In 2008, the owning class had hope that the public power would overcome or prevent the financial crisis, or push it back with the bailout plans that were put in place. The problem, as we now know, is that the state will not be the last dam to stop the financial crisis from exploding, because we can’t continuously find hundreds of billions of euros and hundreds of billions of dollars to plug the holes in the dam.
It’s the politics of shooting once or twice, but no more. For these last few months, three years after the subprime crisis, we are in this particular moment where the financial crisis is in the process of exploding and playing itself out in all our societies. The financial markets know it; they keep saying it, at every summit and every rating. It’s only the political class that doesn’t seem to see it.
We have a story in France that goes like this: it’s the story of a financial system that falls from a building at the hundredth floor. As it’s falling, it keeps repeating to reassure itself, “so far so good, so far so good,” forgetting that the hardest part isn’t falling, the hardest part is landing. The landing is symbolized by one political decision. It’s who is going to pay the bill for this crisis? That is in front of us—not behind us, but in front of us. Either it’s the people or the capitalists. There is no place in the middle. Even if people were tempted by it. This political situation gives us certain responsibilities, social and political responsibilities. First, Marxists have searched in history, and often made a mistake in finding the weakest link of the capitalist system. The weakest link of the 2008 crisis, without expecting it, came from the Arab countries: Tunisia, Egypt, etc. These revolutions are continuing, and it’s a process that is not just about democratic questions.
You can’t understand what is happening there without taking into account the economic crisis in the system. You can’t understand the Arab revolutions, including Tunisia, if you forget that after the 2008 crisis, the capitalists were speculating elsewhere on raw goods, which led to a huge increase in the prices of staple goods. So we can’t understand the Arab revolutions if we forget that in these North African countries there were food riots in 2010.
It’s the breadth of these revolutions that we are finding in the movement of the “indignant.” The goal of this game is not to copy one another. Each region has its specific conditions; each country has its own conditions. But there are two common points that we know about the Arab revolutions. The first is that we can’t understand this resistance without understanding the crisis of capitalism; and the second is that in all these movements there are as many social questions as political questions. There is a revolt against social injustices and there is a desire to have new political representation, self-representation that is confused, that is full of contradictions, but that is there in the atmosphere. And besides that, the act of occupying spaces, I believe, in a diffused manner, reflects this wish.
Our first responsibility is social. It begins with the obvious, that when one is anticapitalist and revolutionary, it means that you must be available to this kind of movement to go search, to go develop, and to build it loyally. An important goal, which is lacking right now is to win social victories. Because we know that against the institutional parties our political message to everyone only works when part of our population believes in its own power, when workers, young people, and the exploited decide to break into the social and political scene to challenge the politics of the professional politicians. But to do this you must be confident in your own power.
So you have to be convinced that when you fight, when you mobilize, that it will do something, that you can win even partial victories. In the absence of social victories, even partial ones, unfortunately our political message gets lost. And so in that case either the institutional parties regain the upper hand in elections, or worse, as we see in Europe, the populists, racists, and the extreme right take the upper hand.
It’s for that reason that the involvement we must have in our movement can have a concrete effect on the internationalization of these movements. More than ever, we have to coordinate these movements. It’s neither natural nor spontaneous, as we all know, but it’s the key to victory. Yesterday the students were talking about coordinating the student calls. In Europe we are talking about the first European general strike in history. It’s no longer a revolutionary fantasy. It’s something around which we can mobilize sections of the political and social left: labor unions, sections of the antiglobalization movement, and political organizations. So there is a social responsibility, but also a political responsibility because the movement is not self-sustaining; the movement as such must make its own political response.
I believe that we have to think differently about things than we have been, to understand there is a dialectical relationship between the social and the political. There are two illusions we must not fall into. The first is that the movement itself, or the movement for its own sake, is enough–that politics is dirty and as such one must not think about questions of power. When you do this, in spite of yourself, you leave the current political power in place.
The second illusion is to think that real politics, or the real political arena, is only through the parties, and that when real things start, it will only be the parties that handle them, or that could also mean only in the institutional arena.
I think we have to start with the idea that the current movement is a repoliticizing movement. When we say “repoliticizing” there are two things. On the one hand, you’ve got enthusiasm to remake politics, but there is also the other aspect, that when you relearn politics you can start from a lower level than certain political organizations. The issue is to abandon the hierarchical relationship and simply imagine that there are millions of people right now grappling with a project of emancipation.
It’s a matter of pollinating the movement on the inside with an anticapitalist perspective, which is carried through with two aspects; immediate solutions for an end to the crisis, and major strategic questions. I have one example of an important strategic question. Right now the key question is, do we allow finance to have power over everything, or do we impose public control over the financial systems? Do we expropriate the private banking system? Do we socialize the banking system under a new type of public service, controlled by the workers and the members (users) of the bank? Because socialization doesn’t mean nationalization. It’s socialization from the bottom up; it’s not the replacement of a private boss by a public boss.
This is the immediate plan to solve the crisis, but it raises strategic questions, which we should not be afraid of debating in the movement. Our relationship to property, to power, how we take power without being taken by the power. It’s not a small question, and it’s not new either, but we must share it with those who are in the process of politicizing.
We see that the winds of history change quickly. We must not embellish this situation. Capitalism, unfortunately is the stronger one right now, and has many more victories than us right now. But the Arab revolutions are a grounding moment for my political generation. They are the concrete proof that we are right now in a world with revolutions.
For me, it’s been twenty years that I’ve been grinding away at mobilizing and defending the ideas of revolution in a world without revolutions. That’s no longer true, and the practical work is often more productive than all the resolutions of congresses that all the different anticapitalist organizations have voted on in their histories. And they prove to us, overall an idea that is important. Daniel Bensaïd, a comrade who is unfortunately no longer with us, often witnessed the great dilemma in activism and politics—what he called the discrepancy of the times. In between the short term of immediate profit and the long term of humanity’s social needs there is an insurmountable contradiction; between the short term of the stock exchange and the long term of ecological development, there is an insurmountable contradiction. Therefore there is a global anticapitalist space right now. The problem is how we are going to occupy it from a radical and unified position.
The utopia is not us, nor is it to think that another system besides capitalism is possible—it is to think that capitalism with a human face is possible. Because in 2008 they all got together to say that they were going to humanize the capitalist system, with Sarkozy at the head, saying that he was going to make capitalism more human. It’s like asking a system of sharks to stop eating other fish. That is a utopia that doesn’t exist. So we have to be capable of combining political realism, that is to say, to have our heads on our shoulders, and at the same time to allow the dreams that exist in all the heads that are in the process of rising up.
Answers to questions
On left and trade union responses to the crisis in Europe
REGARDING FRANCE and Europe, there are significant social mobilizations because the impact of the crisis is strong. There are networks for coordination that exist, born of the union movement, born of the antiglobalization struggle, and we had a Europe-wide meeting in London about a month ago. But these are only networks, and not yet strong enough to pose as a counter force to the union bureaucracies. On the other hand, it’s possible to imagine that in the collective consciousness for the first time, there is the understanding that we can have a general strike, or more-or-less general strikes, in many countries at restrained intervals, France, Spain, Greece, Portugal, etc. Now the idea of this first strike was that on the same day, for the first time, all the different people would come out together and that would be a point of support for our own national struggles. That is to say, we are looking for a common point, beyond our borders. The idea would be that it would be stronger because we would have done it with more people, and therefore on the next day it would give us the strength to keep the strike going in our own countries.
I think the question of strikes and of occupations arises in a complimentary fashion. In France for example we had a movement of “indignants” a bit too early. It was a social movement about pensions. There were millions in the streets with a government that said: there could be even more of you but we would pass the reform anyway.
So the class warfare government told us openly: if you want us to repeal the reform, you’ll have to take us by the throat, you’ll have to block the economy. So, can you block the economy? We had all the union officials come on the television to tell us, no no, we can’t block the economy. A current of class struggle was missing at this moment, at the base, which was pushing for a general strike, that it was possible to counterattack.
And the question about the relationship between occupations and strikes, I can’t remember who asked it. For us, it really comes down to this: we had an absence of occupations during our strikes. At that moment we weren’t mature enough to do this. But if we had had the three or four million that were out there, and then a few hundred more in tents, this would have put forward the question of continuity. We were a bit too early. It’s the famous discord of time that Daniel talked about, which is particularly unpleasant in moments like this.
In contrast, the movement of indignants in Spain and in Greece is in the process of discussing the issues of the trade union movement. It was reticent at first, even hostile, toward the trade union movement, but in the process of politicization the link had begun to be made. And now in these countries, in a diffuse manner, the government has to deal with the movement of indignants and the general strike movement, both at once. And they are conflicting. Look at what is happening in Greece, for example. But in spite of everything, the convergence is being made, little by little. I say that because our responsibility in Europe is to open the trade union movement to the movement of the indignants, and to open the movement of the indignants to the trade union movement.
There, the role of militants is essential because if it is not the militants who will do it, there is nobody who will do it in their place; certainly not the bureaucrats, and certainly not in the indignant movement—those who are hostile to a certain type of politics, who think that we have to decide everything together all the time, that it’s the best way, but in general there are only a few who decide. Therefore, we have to create this complementary relationship. I don’t know what that means exactly for you, but for us in Europe it’s clear.
On the indignants and the NPA
REGARDING THE question of the political impact of this type of movement on the parties. When we created the NPA in France, we tried to do two things. First, say to the different anticapitalist families that we had to learn to write a new page of our history. We needed to be able to go beyond the disagreements we had with each other to regroup around the essential things. The second thing we tried to do was to integrate new activist methods, and think about how the political logic we had before was no longer adaptable to the renewal of social movements that we’d seen in France since 1995. I’m not going to do demagoguery because we don’t make new things with new things. We have to try to make new things with a mix of new things and old things. For example, in our activist functions we have tried to change. We have tried to make sure that we don’t fall into the old fissures.
There was a way of being active in the LCR that was so politically demanding and so demanding on its organizational structure, even if the LCR was really great but nonetheless excluded certain sectors. I will take a dumb example, my own: When you are a postman who wakes up at 6 in the morning, having a cell meeting that lasts until midnight is impossible. So we tried to find more flexible methods. We allowed a certain self-experimentation on the rhythm of the meetings, on the size of meetings, because it is true that it is easier for some to express themselves in smaller groups.
We opened the possibility for the creation of affinity groups. All of that looks great on paper and should have worked incredibly well, but it’s a bit more complicated than that. In any case, it was great for the NPA in the beginning; we had something we had never seen before. Some people started speaking in meetings who had never spoken before; in other words, all those the capitalist society pushes to not speak: women, workers, young people, and immigrants.
In the NPA we have had troubles. I believe you know about them; they’ve gone on for the last year and a half. Complicated debates—but these correspond to reality and so we organized them in a democratic fashion. What is interesting to note in our meetings right now is that once again it’s the same folks speaking; those from before–women, workers, young people, immigrants–we hear them less and less. Because we have not been insistent enough on this new way of functioning, all of a sudden it’s the old ways that are once again at the forefront.
Integrating a new activist culture is not easy, and we can only learn by doing. There is no miracle solution. It’s the same when you are trying to integrate different political tendencies. In the NPA there are activists who joined who weren’t Trotskyists in the least, who came from the Communist Party, who came from the left libertarian party, who came from radical environmentalists, radical unionists, who did not have the same political heritage at all. But we tried the formula to take the best from the various movements. I believe that on a few points that helped us move forward. For example, on the question of the environment, the political identity of the NPA is “ecosocialism.” We call ourselves ecosocialists.
We are linking radical politics with important aspects of the environmental movement right now because there is a failure of the negotiations on global warming. France is an extremely developed nuclear power, and the Greens as an institutional party are basically cooking in the political kitchen with the Socialist Party. And they have renounced that part of their political program.
On other questions we were able to integrate other political cultures—on the question of individuality, with the left libertarian currents. I could give a number of examples, but I think that the general philosophy is to say that we are a political organization that thinks there is no clear project for society which is not an alternative to capitalist society; that the summary of the past hundred years of politics requires us to reinvent new political solutions—not starting from a zero state, since we do have our own history; but nonetheless we must reinvent.
This means we have to re-envision a democratic form of planning. For example, in the French political debate, the question of planning is a political question brought forward from the environmentalist side, and not even from the most radical currents.
We have a personality in France, named Nicolas Rouleau who is not at all of the extreme left, not at all anticapitalist, who is extremely ambiguous on many questions, but has the merit of proclaiming loudly what he believes. He does not have a fixed political thought, but he suddenly explained from his own experience he had the idea that we absolutely had to plan the economy. He didn’t say it in this way, but basically that we must start from the basic needs of society and establish the form of production after, contrary to the market economy, which does the exact opposite.
He doesn’t exactly say it like this, nonetheless it opens the space to talk about what democratic planning would look like. And that brings us to the question of how to keep planning from becoming a bureaucratic process. To answer this kind of question we also have to look at the debate between current needs and current projects and longer-term visions. Struggling against bureaucracy is a struggle for right here right now, in our own organizations, whatever they are, be they political or trade union, and in the political solutions that we work for.
For instance we have a debate: for or against nationalization. And the nationalization of the banks and other public services is a way of “statification,” or owning by the state and not socializing. This is why I insisted on that distinction earlier. We have to insist on socialization rather than nationalization or statification. Because that illustrates what would be another form of working from below in public services, with direct democratic control over turnover, revocation of mandates, and the pay for those we assign to do this work. All of these are political questions for today and for tomorrow.
FROM WHAT we are able to understand about the movement of the indignants, about how they work, unfortunately, for the moment it seems to generally be working by consensus. It’s a huge block to the development of the movement, and it’s difficult to untie this knot. Because there is a contradiction between the desire to unify the whole movement and at the same time to make concrete decisions to develop the movement.
Politically we are not at all partisans to this particular form of organizing a movement. For two reasons: first, as I said earlier, we think it prevents the development of these movements, and because over time it’s no longer democratic. What we say about ourselves is true for all. When we say that we are condemned to imagine an authentically democratic society, we say that what we propose for tomorrow we must actually try to implement today. But we aren’t fighting for a society where everyone thinks the same thing. In socialism, insofar as we imagine it, there would be major questions that would continue to divide the people.
Questions on the basis of which people would organize themselves, to debate and propose the solutions in terms of energy policy, for example, there will be very important disagreements. There is nothing that replaces debate or discussion. For us there is no contradiction between direct democracy and universal suffrage. The challenge is to invent a political system that outlines or contextualizes or restrains the delegation of power as much as possible.
That is to say, all that can be decided locally should be decided locally. Right now, in this society, we won’t be able to decide everything locally, because there needs to be some coordination of activities. So you would need assemblies that are not local, where each one would send recallable delegates to decide on those things we can’t do locally.
We can’t be afraid of having this discussion. Right now the problem is there is a kind of defiance with respect to political parties. And it’s clear that in fact this is justified. To be totally frank, this is even true within a number of far-left parties. This means that we have to build these other movements loyally. Without trying to instrumentalize them, without trying to “do your shopping” there, or without the sole purpose of poaching there. On the other hand, this actually authorizes us, when we have this attitude, to have really frank discussions with those who are animating these movements and not to stay too cautious. But it’s true there is no easy way to do this.
In the same fashion, the internationalization of the movement is also a frank discussion we must have amongst ourselves. Because it’s not a question of rejecting the priorities of the movement. There is an internationalist feeling in the movement and the challenge is to give ourselves the means to make this happen and make it grow. And we know that it is militant means that make this possible, either through concrete solidarity campaigns with the revolutions that are currently unfolding or against current wars.
As for more complicated issues like the ones you raise, how we struggle against our own imperialism becomes more complicated in general because we can feel a certain kind of solidarity with the Arab revolutions, but when it comes to denouncing French interests in those countries, in certain sections of the trade union movement this becomes less popular. And yet, we must do it.
On the official left parties and the French political situation
SO, TRANSLATED to the French situation, for us, it means we’ve been fighting against the right since the start, and really because we’re sick of Sarkozy. But we know that the Socialist Party in power has the same politics of austerity that are being borne in Greece and Spain. The question ahead of us, be it in the social, political, or electoral field, is to have a politics for those who are repoliticizing themselves; notably the new generations, and at the same time to have a politics for the left party militants who are demoralized; there are some in the Socialist Party and there are some in the Communist Party.
The problem is that to have a politics for both at the same time can be complicated sometimes. Here’s a concrete example that we had in the NPA: We have young people who came from the struggles against the precariousness of their social safety net who had never been in a political party, young people who came from poor neighborhoods and had never been in a political party, and then we had activists who had been in the Communist Party for thirty years, in the same meeting. That could lead to some sparks. So this is complicated to manage, but we try to do it in both the easy and difficult moments. In France we are in the midst of a time of political reflex, like in all of Europe. That’s to say, and I want to finish with this, the great paradox for us is that we live in the crisis of capitalism par excellence, and yet the majority of anticapitalist organizations are in crisis. Either they are blocked, or they are actually in crisis precisely because we haven’t been able to achieve social victories. We in the NPA have really seen this. Our curve of success and popularity is directly linked to social victories. The moments we were the most popular in France were when we won the referendum on Europe, and when we had the successful mobilization against the First Hire Contract.*
At that moment, we were the party everyone was looking toward. They said, “Wow, look at those guys, they are right, we can win.” So being a militant is being able to manage these moments, both the good and the bad. This is also one of the key things when it comes to talking to people in the Occupy Wall Street movement and the other indignant movements. There are still some people who actually lead those movements. Talking politics with them is also about knowing how to deal with these moments when there aren’t so many people coming out. How do we conserve the experiences we’ve had in the past?
To have a memory and a consciousness about what’s happened before, for this you need to have parties, organizations, groups, conglomerations—we don’t care, we aren’t fetishists, but the principle is to have collectives on political bases and that we have to make our demands on the basis of these collective politicized structures.
On the Arab revolutions
THE REVOLUTIONS are processes, and in fact, the Arab revolutions remind us that revolutions are processes; that contrary to what they tell us, the revolution isn’t done in one day. It’s not done in an evening, even if it’s an amazing evening. It’s a process with highs and lows, ups and downs.
What made a real impression on me is that it was a generally revolutionary process, but complicated. There are two faces of counterrevolution in these revolutions: the dictatorships, and on the other face the imperialist powers that are trying to kidnap these revolutions and that intervene militarily in order to do this. At the same time, the Arab revolutions have taken advantage of the redistribution of power among the imperialist powers. Without being in this moment of historic decline, of which I was speaking earlier, I think that the dénouement of the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt, of Ben Ali and Mubarak, would not have occurred in the same way. We didn’t have at that moment revolutions that had to deal with imperialism that controlled the entire world.
From the point of view of the revolutionary left, there is one thing we can take for ourselves. Our comrades were all surprised by these revolutions. The grizzled, veteran, revolutionaries who had been militant and underground for thirty years, all said, “We were the first ones to be surprised by what happened.” They even felt frustrated at being destabilized by what happened. When there is this kind of huge revolutionary flux, we almost feel marginalized, even when we are revolutionaries. And therefore we need to have real political reflection. Something we already know is that revolutions don’t need revolutionaries to spark them.
On the other hand, in an actually revolutionary process, more than ever there is the need to unite those who want to give a certain direction to the revolutionary process, and that is an every day battle for our comrades right now in Tunisia and in Egypt. And these kinds of new forms and groupings can destabilize our own revolutionary organizations.
Where the revolution is strongest in this process, which can go beyond our own parties—sometimes it goes well beyond them—we need especially to integrate new sectors of the revolution. What we want to take from that, both for you as well as for us, is that we have to be in contact with such people all the time, because we have to get as much as we can from their experiences, from what these people are in the middle of living, to help us with our own struggles. And I think revolutionaries and internationalists are not doing this enough.
So the kind of perspective that I have is one of humility. What I’ve learned is that it never happens the way we imagine it will happen. We need the experience of political organization, but these revolutionary organizations have to be open organizations, they have to be in the movement always because the only historical mistake we can make as revolutionaries is to be outside the movements and not in them. Sometimes you have to know how to swim upstream, but even to swim against the current you have to be in the river, not on the bank watching the river flow by. This is important as a general political orientation.
Once again democracy and consensus
THE LAST thing is about democracy, and from the point of view of movements and from parties I understand the reasons why people use consensus. At the beginning there are always good reasons. In Europe there are good reasons. But the problem is that it can’t be an end for itself because in the medium term it raises huge problems for the movement itself; problems of survival and paradoxically problems for political recuperation.
You could have a recuperation of the movement by the institutional parties because of how consensus works. A function that no longer moves forward other than by looking at itself, but that no longer produces political solutions, that means that the political solutions will come from outside, and therefore in elections, and so therefore in institutional parties. In Greece and in Spain there are already these kinds of crows flying over the movements saying to those who want to be politically involved, “Come with us, come with us so you can see that this movement can’t do politics.” So for me, self-organization and democratic functioning are intrinsically connected and not at all contradictory. There can be tensions, and when you are bringing in the functioning of your own party, this does create tensions. We haven’t found anything better than to create the possibility for those who disagree to be able to express themselves, and to be able to organize themselves on the basis of these disagreements.
For instance in the LCR, I was in the minority for ten years. Numerous times, I wanted to quit the organization. I belonged to a tendency that had its own experience. Having your own experience is also believing in human intelligence, and the intelligence of militants, and believing that at a certain moment their paths can cross once more.
Now that I say this, it looks beautiful on paper. Right now the debates in the NPA are so complex, as I was saying yesterday, that you need a metro map to find your way. There are so many tendencies and so many sensibilities, and it’s really tense. We can’t be a political instrument that lives outside of the period in which it lives. When there are ebbs in the movements, that happens to us too.
There are other organizations in France that have their own ways of dealing with this kind of situation. When there are ebbs for them, they close the window and say, “Right now we are no longer moving,” and everyone agrees.
That can work, but the problem for me is that it totally contradicts the image of the society that we want to build. So in the absence of being totally libertarian, I believe in political conviction and not discipline.
*A French employment contract pushed by the French government in 2006, but rescinded under mass pressure, which would have allowed employers to fire new hires at will during the first two years of employment.