“Il faut savoir terminer une grève”
Another day of significant mobilization with no end in sight, as people wonder if their Christmas travel plans will have to be changed and merchants are smarting over the hit to holiday sales. So how does this end? Because, ultimately, all strikes do end, and as the man said, “Il faut savoir terminer une grève.” (Perhaps the most famous remark of a French Communist leader, to place alongside Marchais’s “bilan globalement positif” of the Soviet Union.)
For what it’s worth, here’s my guess of how this one ends. Sometime after Christmas, the government will withdraw its âge pivot provision, which after all did not figure in Macron’s campaign promise to reform the retirement system. This will bring Laurent Berger and most of the CFDT back on board, since Berger does not object in principle to the universalization of the pension regimes on the basis of a point system. The government will throw in a few other concessions for the “long-career” workers, and everyone will save face. If that isn’t enough, Edouard Philippe will be sacrificed to the cause, following J.-P. Delevoye into Valhalla. And then Macron will hunker down for the shellacking he is sure to take in the coming municipal elections. After which the 2022 presidential campaign can begin in earnest.