The French, like any nation, are better at some things than others. When it comes to strikes, they are the best.
I come from the home of apathy, Douglas Couplands Generation-X was actually writen about the mood of Vancouver during my formative years and Superbad was actually based on the neighbourhood I grew up in written by a couple guys around my grade at the time but at a rival high-school.
Living in Paris, what I love is that people eagerly, regularily and loudly take to the streets. Each morning Le Parisien publishes a map of Paris where that day's "Manifestations" will be taking place. Yes, a newspaper, it's old school but it seems digital networks are somewhat but not primary in organization. Both for personal security and France is still pretty slow on the digital bandwagon. Plus, the French have an amazing cloud of knowledge perpeturally shared, a topic for another day, that for centuries has quickly and efficiently spread information around the city.
This year was a bumper crop of protests, as world news outlets did a great job over-reporting. While huge in scale, they represented the great parts of every protest, even just the annual march of the chemists union, including kids and grandmothers all wearing smart casual clothing.
What is best is the organization and livelry.
Lots of little Zeplins. La CGT is usually one of the best turned out. However, the socialists give them a run for their money:
Overall, superb art direction and must be a boon to the design industry.
One Sunday 3 million took to the streets A complete cross section from the well dressed beurocrats the he hardy miners. All, well fueled by the little support vehicles provided by various syndicates offering wine and sandwiches.
At a time, thanks to democritized information, we know about all the world's issues and problems like never before if often seems we worry a lot about the news about the news, but it is hard to tell if anything is happening. The is something so wonderful about the purity of people taking to the street for their own interest. Especially when it is an issue, like the retirement age change from 60 to 62 that is inevitable.
Now, of course it is not all peaceful and party. There is a strong relationship between the police and the protestors. One can tell instantly the nature of a protest based on the level of poplice (municiple to national to military) and the level of protection plus whether they smoking around the doorways of the route, or in full formation.
Fortunately we can alalyze from our window before deciding whether to go out or have another coffee.
At a time we spend so much time worrying and analyzing all the new ways we do stuff, it is very cool as an outsider seeing something that just works. Doesn't actually need an tinkering and an app wouldn't make it better. Even if that thing that works, is not working.