Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Rioters

Some background on the people who are now rioting in France. The live in the Banlieu's of France's big cities. They live in high rise buildings that were built in the 1950s and 1960s. The projects were called HLM for "habitation à loyer modéré" (government controlled rent housing).
Mostly they housed the French poor and Frenchmen returning to the Motherland from the French colonies in Vietnam and Algeria. Because of the strong economy in the late 1950s and 1960s wages rose as they did in other European countries. There was little unemployment. Employers were clamoring for labour and the rising wages caused inflation to rise. The answer was found in allowing people from French colonies in the Magreb, North Africa, to come and work. This kept wages for unskilled blue collar work low, which was good for employers of unskilled workers and bad for blue collar workers who saw their lifestyle and financial advancement opportunities diminished.

After the oil crises in 1973 and 1979 economic expansion slowed down. The North Africans lost their jobs and there was very high unemployment. Because of generous welfare payments, people could still afford to live better than in the countries of origin and otherwise they did not want to admit to those left behind that they were losers so they stayed in France. What is more, they reunified their families by bringing their wifes and children to France. Or they started new families on the strength of a blue collar job or a welfare payment. France basically pays people to live, as do most Western societies, including the USA.

In the 1980 also most of the white ex-colonials and working class people left the banlieus and HLM. Due to the free education the French state give out to all people living on French soil these people entered the middle class. A smattering of the non-europeans also left, leaving behind what had in effect become a ghetto for the underclass.

The Black, Arab and Berber cultures basically treat their sons as little princes, while the women only have duties and are supposed to serve and keep quite. But these cultures have bad points too. Many of the women try to escape by taking advantage of the education and do well in school. They readily get employment. To escape a reality where a woman is either a veiled slave or a whore. A whore is a woman who is independent, does not wear a veil, wears make up, a skirt or drinks alcohol. She is fair game for a "tournante". A group rape. If she resists she will be beaten. If she keeps resisting she may be killed. This is described by Samira Bellil in "Dans L'Enfer Des Tournantes" (in the hell of group rapes) and Fadela Amara who wrote a book called "Ni soumises, ni putes" (no doormats and no whores either). This is now also the name of an organisation that tries to protect the women in the banlieus.

However the men often reject the discipline of the educational system and the foreign value system it imposes. Their drop out rates are very high and they enter the job market without skills.

The French economy has changed. As elsewhere in the Western world the blue collar sector shrunk and firms are primarely looking for knowledge workers, not unskilled workers. And because of the lack of training and bad attitude the immigrant, male youth is not suited to be plumbers, gasfitters, carpenters or other professions which are still in very high demand and which do not require high cognitive abilities.

Finally the entrance of Poland, Czech Republic and Hungary has caused large numbers of polite, white, hard working Poles to enter the European job market to compete with the native French and with the immigrant youth. This was an issue in the last French election when the French minister of Labour wanted to oppose Poles from entering France to compete with the French. He was corrected by European Commissar Frits Bolkenstein of EU Directorate 4, so the Poles and other Eastern Europeans keep entering the labour market.

Generally there is not a lot of trust between Magrebians and White Frenchmen. If a employer has a job opening and he can choose between a White European and a non-white foreigner most will choose the White European. In case of a selection between non-whites most prospective employers will prefer Christian Arabs and Asians over Muslims and Blacks. Racism is a reality. It is reinforced by bad experiences with often violent and threatening Maghrebians. It must be noted that the fathers of these youngsters had more discipline and had a less threatening attitude than this generation. The culture of the underclass is worsening. And race relations are not improving over time. On the contrary, they are worsening.

The rioters are like cats on a hot tin roof.


Esther said...


This re-enforces the distinction you draw between the immigrant men and women.

In this article, the men have a threatening loser attitude, while the women have an optimistic outlook.


Snouck said...

It is strange isn't it? The perspective for the women is worse, but they are more hopefull. I guess the situation theuy are in now is so bad, it can only get better.

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