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11/13/2005

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Studyholic

On what statistic and reasoning do you base your claim that most Algerians are "white" rather than "black"? Why resort to those woeful generalizations when you did such a clear job identifying them as Algerians and North Africans? Are you speaking of some preception of their own identifications and based on what specific evidence?

Dave Schuler


Riots either of the American race-riot variety or the recent French ethnic-riot variety (most Algerians are white rather than black) are mysterious phenomena.

If you've got evidence that the rioters are of Algerian descent, I'd certainly like to see it. The news reports (both in English and in French) have not included such breakdowns. Judging by the pictures there are a lot of people of sub-Saharan African or Caribbeans descent among the rioters. Can you determine their religion by looking at pictures?

In the absence of better information I think the reasonable inference is that the parents or grandparents of the rioters might have been Muslims but that these French-born young men are Muslim in the same sense that their peers of French stock are Catholics which is to say not at all.

irishhistory

I agree that these riots do not follow the "American" model (race), nor typical protests by poor oppressed ethnic groups.

It does follow well Prof Martin van Creveld's "Decline of the State" model.

See "Rioting in France and the Decline of the State" for a different (& apolitical) perspective.
http://www.d-n-i.net/fcs/fabius_rioting_in_france.htm

The DNI site features article by and for military and intelligence professionals.

irishhistory

Sorry -- the above should read

"by the poor or oppressed ethnic groups."

Daily Texican

"Another factor in the recent French riots may be the French refusal to engage in affirmative action."

Quite an interesting comment seeing how our own government is slowly, but surely leaving affirmative actions programs behind. You mention more cops. Good point, however, I think even more importantly is the fact that more people of color get educated. Education gives a sense of value and self-worth, even if you're not the one receiving the education, but rather sitting back watching someone who looks like you, having received the education.

robert

The riots in France may end up being seen as something other than rioting 'per se' but, instead, the first shots in a Eurabic civil war in which the re-establishment of the Caliphate is the ulitmate goal.
The fact is that the present French (and, by extension, European) social welfare system is simply unsustainable from a demographic standpoint. More young immigrants from Islamic countries are needed to pay the taxes for ever increasing numbers of retiring baby-boomers and the luxurious benfits to which they believe themselves entitled. That they would be unwilling to do so suggests that the system has to give--reality is the ultimnate arbiter of all events--and probably sooner rather than later.
The irony of all this was that France purposely created this situation in the early 1970's when it aligned itself with the Arab world in an attempt to create a Eurabic hegemon (with France at its head) as a counterweight to the United States. However, the chickens are now coming home to roost.

Bill

"No man differs more from another than he does from himself at a different time."

I'm confused. After reading the May 2005 Blog I was led to conclude that there is no relationship between economic development and social unrest.

Now, in this editorial, there seems to be a relationship.

Which do the authors wish to retract?

Tom Rekdal

With all due respect, I believe that Judge Posner is over-analysing this problem. There are two questions here: What are the causes of the discontent, and what are the dynamics of the rebellion?

Judge Posner has himself already answered the first question in a very thoughtful earlier posting that locates the relative success of American ethnic integration in the balance it strikes between economic opportunity and the consequences for economic failure.

The second question--why does the outburst occur, and why does it proceed in the manner it does?--has received its best answer in Edward Banfield's essay, "Rioting Mainly for Fun and Profit," in his book, "The Unheavenly City (1970)." Banfield's essay, reflecting on the American race riots of 1965-70, points out that the riot almost always starts with a police confrontation, and is fueled primarily by young males who are excited by the conflict.

Banfield's analysis is not meant to diminish the seriousness of the social problem, but merely to point out that an insurrection of juvenile delinquents cannot be quelled by treating it as either a form of social protest, or as the beginning of a revolution.

Unfortunately, the French are inclined to embrace both theories, just as we were in the 1960s. De Villepin is the French equivalent of the Kerner Commission, calling for more governmental assistance to assuage the riots, while the political Right in France warns of a jihadist "intifada," just as the American Right blamed the riots on left-wing ideologies.

The former, of course, merely invites more of the same, while the latter threatens to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Joe Merchant


Community policing is a hugely effective measure - as I witnessed firsthand in Miami. It does not stop the occasional race-based protest march, but lack of connection between the police and the community they are supposed to be serving led to much of the rioting seen in Miami.

Affirmative action may be required the same way that school busing was at the start of desegregation. It should be a single-generation corrective measure, able to fade away after 30 to 50 years, if it is implemented as effectively as it was in the United States.

Then again, a man named Adolf had another solution in mind....

Kirk H. Sowell

Just a point about comments 1 & 2 above regarding Posner's assertion that Algerians were predominant among the rioters:

No statistics are available, as the second commenter notes, but we can confidently say that North Africans - meaning mainly Algerians, but some Tunisians and Moroccans - are the bulk of the protestors. Smaller numbers are immigrants of African descent or native whites. I've been watching the coverage on French and Swiss television, and those in the neighborhoods from which the rioters came are clearly Arab. And it is known that the Arab immigrant communities are mainly from Algeria, some from Tunisia and Morocco, and very few otherwise.

Also, it is my understanding that in Europe, as under the U.S. Census, Arabs are defined as being racially Caucasion. They may or may not look white, but that is just a regulatory definition.

And I don't think that Posner, in that paragraph, was talking about their religion.

N.E.Hatfield

"LIBERTE, FRATERNITE, EQUALITE" Ahh, how nice they sound! But the reality is that they were created in the street riots of the 1790 Revolution, the 1830 Revolution, the 1848 Revolution, the Commune of 1871, the May revolution of 1968, and now the Suburb Revolution of 2005. The Republic has a long and ongoing history of street riots as a part of National Policy. Where is the surprise?

The majority of these rioters are simply the poor and down trodden that exist in any economic order. If the French didn't want this to occur, they should have gotten rid of this surplus work force (deported) when they finished cleaning up and rebuilding France after the end of WWII. Instead, they allowed it to stay on and fester in the suburban slums until it broke out into the street riots of 2005. They really have no one to blame but themselves.

Is there a moral in this sordid tale for America and the rest of the industrialized world. Perhaps!

Pi˘ Messenger

Gracias a Dios alguien que informa sobre algo!

Per XBOX

No creo que las noticias buenas vuelen tan rapido!

Tutto Playstation

Justo lo que nos faltaba!

Telecharger Emule

Justo lo que nos faltaba!

Telecharger Emule

Nada m·s y nada menos

Arun Khanna

The underlying calculus of French riots seems to be simple: Muslims instead of integrating are differentiating themselves from French mainstream culture.

dw

"Our own government is slowly, but surely leaving affirmative action programs behind."

And replacing it with 'unofficial affirmative action' that stereotypes 'ethnics' according to presumed poverty, discrimination and handicap as well as credits them for simply being of ethnic origin.

day4night

A French friend insists that the riot police (the CRS, etc.) were more than capable of putting down the riots, but that the administration -- esp. Nicholas Sarkozy and Dominique de Villepin -- benefitted politically from allowing the banlieus to burn. In this (cynical) view, the riots were tolerated precisely in order to demonstrate the need for economic reforms, and potentially social reforms, and to demonstrate the results of so many years of welfare socialism: a hell paved with good intentions.
Apparently the intended results is an epiphany by voters that concludes, "less economic rigidities, more growth" -- and that Becker and Posner's comments on the riots would be exactly what was wanted.

It seems noteworthy that the Socialist candidate for the 2007 elections, Francois Hollande, seems to have publically taken up this view, accusing the right (Sarkozy, de Villepin, Chirac) of "creating social disorder so as to incarnate public order themselves" and turning the crisis into "an opportunity to choose the field for the next confrontation", i.e. the elections.

The right is already using the opportunity (the riots, that's to say) to call for "positive discrimination" (affirmative action) and a lessening of economic rigidities.

Quotes from: http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-707639,36-712227@51-710810,0.html

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