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The vast social and political earthquake that started in France — first mass uprising against eco-elitism

Posted By Jo Nova On December 6, 2018 @ 7:49 pm In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

The leaderless Yellow Vest#GiletJaunes protest against living costs is escalating in France and spreading around the world to Belgium, The Netherlands, Serbia, even Basra and Bagdad in Iraq.  A Yellow Vest protest is planned for Saturday in Vancouver. The workers are fed-up with being ignored and milked for causes they don’t support, fed up with being shamed for driving cars or for voicing their concerns. On twitter both the left and right sides of politics are trying to claim ownership (though most of the left are silent, recognizing that this is driven from the provincial and rural population and aims right at their sacred cows). Oil refineries are being blockaded. Ambulance workers and firefighters have joined in. Students have aslo started to protest about education changes — blocking over 100 high schools. So far four people have been killed and 133 people injured. Shops and hotels have lost 20% or more of their revenue. They’re flipping over Porsches. Macron’s popularity is down to 23%. The protesters are now starting to cite other issues like the UN migration pact which they don’t want Macron to sign.

Even after the violence and damage over 70% of people surveyed in France support the protests.

Is it any wonder the riots started in France — one of the highest taxing nations in the world, where 48% of the national GDP churns through government coffers?

After offering a weak 6 month delay in fuel taxes, Macron has now conceded that the tax will not go ahead at all. The headline  on Breitbart :”Victory: Macron Permanently Cancels Planned Fuel Tax Hike After Yellow Vest Protests”.  But instead of placating the mob, the masses are asking for more and calling for more protests this weekend. Another round to come.

Brendan O’Neill in the Spectator: It’s a profound crisis in democracy, this is about a broad anger against the political class, against the eco-orthodoxy

h/t Paul Matthews

At last, a people’s revolt against the tyranny of environmentalism. Paris is burning. Not since 1968 has there been such heat and fury in the streets. Thousands of ‘gilets jaunes’ stormed the capital at the weekend to rage against Emmanuel Macron and his treatment of them with aloof, technocratic disdain. And yet leftists in Britain and the US have been largely silent, or at least antsy, about this people’s revolt. The same people who got so excited about the staid, static Occupy movement a few years ago — which couldn’t even been arsed to march, never mind riot — seem struck dumb by the sight of tens of thousands of French people taking to the barricades against Macronism.

It isn’t hard to see why. It’s because this revolt is as much against their political orthodoxies as it is against Macron’s out-of-touch and monarchical style. Most strikingly this is a people’s rebellion against the onerous consequences of climate-change policy, against the politics of environmentalism and its tendency to punish the little people for daring to live relatively modern, fossil-fuelled lives. This is new. This is unprecedented. We are witnessing perhaps the first mass uprising against eco-elitism and we should welcome it with open arms to the broader populist revolt that has been sweeping Europe for a few years now.

This leaderless, diverse revolt, packed with all sorts of people, including both leftists and right-wingers, is important for many reasons. First because it beautifully, fatally shatters the delusional faith that certain Europhiles and piners for the maintenance of the status quo have placed in Macron since his election in May 2017.

…, far from defeating the populist thirst for change, Macron has inflamed it.

 the second reason this revolt is important is because it suggests that no modern orthodoxy is safe from the populist fightback.

…now, in this populist moment, people are daring to say precisely these unsayable things. They’re standing up to the EU.

 

The irony of the Paris agreement imploding from Paris, and while COP24 runs…

Geoff Chambers, a long time skeptic, lives in France and explains how this is consuming the nation.

… I get the impression that the British press, Europhile, Francophile, and Remainophile, will do all they can to suppress news of the vast social and political earthquake occurring here. If you think I’m exaggerating, consider this:

I get my information largely from three “independent” rolling news channels, all owned by millionaire oligarchs, and financed by ads which are almost exclusively for fast cars and perfumes – the kind of luxury products which France produces par excellence. In France, less than 8% of the population reads a national newspaper. News is for the élite….

BUT, these French channels are devoting 95% of their time (I’m not exaggerating) to a movement supported by 85% of the population, which is now demanding the resignation of a president recently elected by 65% of voters, plus the dissolution of parliament, to be replaced by some kind of popular assembly. This situation, incomprehensible to the English, is easily explained by the sociological analysis of Emmanuel Todd, to which I have frequently referred, e.g. here.

 Geoff has some interesting perspectives:

A demographer gave a most interesting explanation for the strength of the movement, laying the blame on INSEE, the government office of statistics, which apparently decrees that 95% of the population lives in urban, and only 5% in rural areas. A child, or a climate sceptic, could spot immediately the flaw in this statement, but not a President, his government, or the highly educated élite which advises them: It all depends what you mean by urban and rural. So, successive governments have ignored the sparsely populated three quarters of the country, where half the population lives, closing railways, hospitals and post offices, and leaving the mayors of small towns with no industry or commerce worth speaking of to finance their infrastructure from local taxes, with ever diminishing help from central government.

It’s all about Europe of course, and its golden rule of reducing the budget deficit. The pressure on wages exercised by twenty years of austerity dictated by Brussels has forced low paid workers further and further out of the cities into what has suddenly been identified as the périphérie – not the despised banlieu (suburbs) where the lumpenproletariat (often Arabs) vegetate in permanent unemployment – but the small towns and villages inhabited by the working class (or classe moyenne in French) – those whom Macron has described as “the people who are nothing.” And where a decent life is possible only as long as one can afford to drive to work, to school, to the hospital, or to the out-of-town shopping centre.

France stands out as one of the highest taxing nations in the EU

Graph, France Tax, EU.

Source : wikimedia

 

In week three — the economic toll is affecting the whole nation: [Reuters] Le Maire said sector revenues had been hit by between 15 and 50 percent.

While not providing a precise breakdown, [Finance Minister Bruno] Le Maire said small retailers had seen a fall in revenue of between 20 and 40 percent, and the hotel industry was seeing reservations down 15 to 25 percent.

Restaurants, depending on their location, had seen takings collapse by between 20 and 50 percent.

“The impact is severe and ongoing,” Le Maire said, emphasizing it was nationwide, although Paris, after riots and looting in some of its most upmarket districts on Saturday afternoon and evening, was particularly affected.

French oil major Total has said 75 of its 2,200 petrol stations have run dry as “yellow vests” blockade fuel depots.

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