En av Frankrikes mest kjente internasjonale politologer, Dominique Moisi, sier demonstrantene er preget av nostalgi for Paris 68, ikke utopi. Utopien er død. Franskmenn vet med den ene halvdelen av hjernen at kuttene må komme, men den andre halvdelen nekter å innse det og marsjerer i gatene skulder ved skulder. Det gir en følelse av uovervinnelighet. Men under lurer taperfølelsen.
Det er nesten så man skulle tro han beskrev Norge: man vil ikke innse at globaliseringen betyr hårda bud, at den oppvoksende slekt vil konkurrere med indere og kinesere. Her snakkes bare om hvor mange innvandrere vi trenger, ikke om at disse vil konkurrere med våre egne barn. Vekten ligger på det humanitære: vi skal være snille mot dem, og de vil være snille mot oss når vi er gamle. Det er ikke slik globaliseringen fungerer.
«This is not May 68 because there is no Utopia, it is just nostalgia for the past,» he said. «Here we have the clash between a very unpopular president and essentially weak trade unions, who thought they would have forced an agreement much earlier but found the majority of people have not followed them.
«It’s true the opinion polls show 70 per cent of French people in favour of people taking to the streets against the pensions but at the same time 70 per cent believe these reforms to be inevitable. That is the French paradox, the French exception.»
Mr Moisi, who was 21 and a Sorbonne student of political science and law during the unrest of 1968, said of the current upheavals: «This is a reactionary revolutionary movement against the inevitable consequences of globalisation and is unmistakably French.
«It’s a conflict of Cartesian rationality on one side and revolutionary spirit on the other. It’s a «we’re different and don’t have to apply the same rules as the rest of the world to ourselves.
«I am reminded of that British play No Sex Please, We’re British. This is No Rationality Please, We’re French.
«France is a great place to be, but not a great place to do. If we want to be a tourist heaven, we can say we live well here we have good food, good wine, beautiful villages and extremely lovely countryside so come and visit us. We can say we retire early, live longer and enjoy ourselves. That’s fine, but it doesn’t go with the image of a great nation that is a nuclear power with a seat on the United Nations. So we have a choice.
«In all honesty I don’t know what is going on right now. It’s interesting and I am fascinated myself.
«On the one hand it is totally irrational. Globalisation is here to stay and France cannot go it alone – we are not an island. We cannot work much less than the Germans, and pay for retirement and pensions, if we have no means.