This is another view (more lasissez-faire than anything else) of the social situation in France and while it might be 'Ho-hum' to think of this Strike Season as the same as years past, I am beginning to think that this years' might be quite different.
The key to the issue is the No vote to the EU constitution last year, and how the cracks in French society are beginning to show. The protests of November were a symptom, not the cause of what we are seeing now. The French government didn't respond to the concerns that led to the No vote and has done nothing of consequence since.
The protests of November, ended not because the government responded with a solution but because of a State of Emergency and cold weather. The repression has been ongoing.
Now the winter of discontent is being made glorious by the CPE but that is just the current focal point of people's frustrations. By itself it is not enough to bring down the government, but the government hasn't been listening to the electorate and one more false move will bring forth a cascade of all the other issues that are bubbling under the surface.
That false move could easily come in the next few weeks, especially if, as I predict, the French government joins with Team America for an assault on Iran. Dominique de Villepin will look like a complete twat to France and the rest World if the French (Military Industrial Complex) do join in. His eloquence in front of the UN in 2003 will become a political disaster for him overnight, as he will be unmasked as a Janus-faced lackey of political expediency rather than a statesman.
With such a high level of mass mobilisation currently, any false move would be fatal for the sitting government, but is there a replacement government? I think the mainstream "left" in France at the moment is much like fabric softner; warm, fuzzy and gentler neo-liberalism.
France is on track towards another revolution - just when that will happen is anyone's guess.