Writing in the London business newspaper, City A.M., Allister Heath provides an impassioned account of the tragedy that is Franceʼs rapid trajectory, under President Francois Hollande, towards the extended application of socialistic ideas.
Public acceptability of econocide within France has long been fomented, in no small part, by the fuelling of rhetorical animosity toward entrepreneurs and producers. A lack of basic dignity ascribed to these wealth creators, who strive to cooperate with customers in delivering better economic value embodied in goods and services, has manifested itself lately in some dangerous, and indeed horrifying, practices:
boss-napping is making a comeback: two executives were yesterday taken hostage by members of a communist trade union at a Goodyear tyre plant in the north of the country. The quotes from the union extremists involved are utterly shocking. In a country bound by the rule of law and which respected property rights and classical liberal values, such a kidnapping would immediately trigger a major police response, with those detained freed and everybody responsible for their imprisonment arrested, tried and jailed. Not in France.
Sadly, this is not the first time that unionists have subverted the rule of law, through seeking to have their demands, often for uncompetitive wages and other employment conditions, implemented through threatening and, often violent, means.
In his book The Tyranny of Socialism, published in 1894, the French economist Yves Guyot describes the sheer horror and mayhem accompanying strikes and protests by French unions during the nineteenth century. One of the more shocking episodes of union violence was the Decazeville coal mine strike of 1886:
When the strike broke out, on January 26, 1886, [unionist M. Bedel], at the head of a band of strikers, forced his way into [company engineer] M. Watrin’s office, and summoned him to go to the town‑hall. He went, escorted by a crowd of four hundred people, who threw mud at him, and shouted: “Death to Watrin! to the pond!” After sundry parleyings, in which the miner’s delegate assured M. Watrin that he had nothing to fear, he, accompanied by the engineers of the mine and the engineer of the Departmental mines, M. Laur, started to go to the Bourran mine. There they found a crowd awaiting them, which grew more and more menacing; two of the engineers were struck by stones. M. Watrin and those accompanying him took refuge in the railed‑in centre of the Plateau de bois; the barrier gave way under the pressure of the crowd. M. Watrin and the engineers reached an old building at one time forming part of the company’s offices. They ascended to the first floor. A crowd of eight hundred people beseiged the house. Some men succeeded in reaching the first floor by climbing up a street lamp; others, supplied with bars and great egg‑shaped pieces of oak, mounted by means of a ladder, whilst they answered by shouts of death, to the death shouts of the crowd. [Unionist] Caussanel shouted: “He must die!” At the same moment the street door was forced in. M. Watrin opened the door of the room wherein he had taken refuge. With one blow from a bar, a blacksmith laid open his forehead. … Some brave men at last rescued him from these savages, and removed him to the hospital, where he expired at midnight, in the midst of such terror that no witnesses could be found to denounce the authors of the crime.
From organising public pickets disrupting production processes and, often, the ability of the general public to go about their business, through to the terror of extortions, kidnappings and homicides, labour union activities, more often than not, deliberately strike at the heart of respecting private property, private production, free markets and maintaining the peace to the benefit of all.
Unconscionable union actions have also been extended, historically, in the form of efforts, particularly in the Anglosphere, to set up puppet political parties, infiltrating and distorting the major political institutions of representative parliamentary democracy in the process. Australia is now paying a terrible economic price for the success with which unions have subverted democracy.
Until the leadership and membership of labour unions, here and abroad, genuinely dedicate themselves to avoiding criminal behaviours, in their unceasing efforts to ultimately price themselves, and non‑unionists, out of work, then such conduct should be condemned, and stamped out by courageous law enforcers, wherever it may be found. Even in a France seemingly hell‑bent on its own economic destruction.