You then say that when the workers form a union they harm themselves, and you use this basis to say that the law should prevent the stoppage of work.

Frédéric Bastiat
Part 1

The Speech on the Repression of Industrial Unions needs to be place in the hands of all those who are still convinced that liberals are the agents of Big Business against the Workers. This speech pronounced in November 1849 by Bastiat in the French Parliament is clearly in defence of the right to form unions and to go on strike. It was sparked off the vote of a statute that was trying to criminalise strikes rather than the exactions that may be perpetrated during a strike or a demonstration.

The first part explores the reasons why such a law would be illegitimate (here, the English translation from “coalition” to “union” weakens the argument because the French word implied that there is no difference between a coalition of workers and a coalition of industrialists). I chose today’s quote in order to underline how some arguments heard in such occasion can be absurd. The government having no better idea here argues that forbidding people to act as they see fit is for their own good. Any similarity with the argument “du jour” whereby restrictions against people who are not vaccinated against covid 19 is to protect them is absolutely fortuitous.

Other quotes from the Speech on the Repression of Industrial Unions:
Part 1 – Part 2 – Part 3

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