Tag Archives: Yellow vests

Tipping Point: The Gilets Jaunes are winning, what’s next? by David Studdert

The French will probably get rid of Emmanuel Macron before he gets rid of the yellow vests. From David Studdert at off-guardian.org:

The weekend just gone, Manifestation 23, marked a seismic shift in the five month battle between the Gilets Jaunes and the French state. The Notre Dame fire has brought into the open the strategic shift in public opinion that has occurred over the winter; shifts all to the advantage of the Gilets Jaunes. While the cold winter months with their looming darkness only allowed us to glimpse two equal parties grinding away at each other in the gloom, the advent of spring and its clear light, reveals how the Gilets are gathering reserves of strength all over France, and how, now, they are slowly winning in Paris as well. The sight of French police surrounding Notre Dame and denying access to its ‘own’ population, starkly illustrates what the state seeks to deny. After all, these sort of monuments are the materiality through which states demonstrates their connection to the population, their right to rule and their own power.

The Neo-liberal state is crumbling and Macron is going be the sacrificial lamb. At this stage he will be lucky to last two months. His clumsy handling of the Notre Dame blaze has outraged and enraged more sections of the French population. Indeed throughout the five months of protest, and despite the wall to wall media propaganda, opinion polls consistently show continued and unwavering sympathy and support of the Gilets Jaunes.

In the sharp light of spring it is clear that Macron’s winter strategy: the Great National Debate, has achieved nothing for the government and more tellingly perhaps, has further revealed Macron’s own incapacity to either change himself or shift course. As one anonymous French state official reportedly said: ‘Mitterrand gave them an extra week’s holiday, but Macron can’t manage anything’. He simply seems unable in any form to communicate with either the Gilets or the people of France. His constant speeches, with their casual insults and lack of empathy, remain one of the best recruitment tools the Gilets possess.

Continue reading

Advertisements

‘The yellow vests are saying “enough is enough”’, an interview with Édouard Husson

The Yellow Vests keep protesting because their prospects are bleak and they’ve seen the rules of the game rigged against them by people pretending to be their betters. An interview with Édouard Husson from spiked-online.com:

After 22 weekends of protest, the gilets jaunes show no signs of slowing down. The movement has rocked the French government. The government has made major concessions but has also launched a brutal crackdown. After weeks of repression, police violence and mainstream-media smears, how have these protests lasted so long? spiked spoke to Édouard Husson, dean of the Institut Franco-Allemand at the Université de Cergy-Pontoise, to find out more.

spiked: What is driving the gilets jaunes in your view?

Édouard Husson: The immediate cause was the government’s hike in fuel taxes, but there are much deeper roots. It is really the result of decades of a totally counterproductive economic policy. In 1992, France had a referendum on the Maastricht treaty, which led to the creation of the Euro. I voted against it. I would like to have been proven wrong but I was extremely sceptical of the benefits for France. Every country has its own economic model and you need to have a flexible currency in a changing world. You are left with other mechanisms of flexibility but no government since the 1990s has had the courage to introduce either more flexibility into the labour market or more trade protections, for instance towards China. They haven’t even asked for that within the EU.

The ‘easy’ solution for France was to increase public expenditure and create public-sector jobs. This went smoothly from 1999 to 2008, but then came the economic crisis and the state had to tighten its budget. The result was that living standards have decreased, life has become more expensive, and taxes can’t go down because France has to meet the Maastricht criteria. The upper half of French society is thriving – they have the right skills and right education for a globalised market. But there are real problems for the other half.

It is very striking to see how many older people are committed to the yellow-vest movement. These are people who are recently retired and have had the time to reflect on their own lives, the lives of their children and the futures of their grandchildren. They are now saying, ‘enough is enough’. They cannot accept that their children will have more difficult lives than their own.

Continue reading

Decentralize the French State, by José Niño

The real solution to the Yellow Vests’ woes can only come when the French government is dramatically downsized and decentralized. From José Niño at mises.org:

With the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protests raging for more than three months, the European Union’s viability as a political entity has come into question.

Indeed, the EU has gone through a whirlwind of economic and political upheavals since the eurozone crisis of 2009. In 2016, the EU experienced a political earthquake when the Brexit referendum occurred, and British voters decided that it was time for the UK to leave the EU.

To a certain extent, the Brexit vote was a manifestation of British populism. Now, the French populists have made themselves known in the form of the yellow vest movement.

But what are the implications of this?

France’s Out-of-Control Leviathan

France is not exactly in the best economic shape. The unemployment rate has hovered around nine to ten percent during the past decade. The cost of living has risen considerably thanks to government regulations. So, Macron’s failed gas tax proposal, which would have hurt the working class pretty hard, only exacerbates France’s sub-optimal economic situation.

And this is only the tip iceberg as far as France’s over-burdened economy goes.

Research from the Institut Économique Molinari found that the tax burden “typical workers” in France face is higher than any of its European counterparts. Fiscal restraint has not been France’s strong suit with government spending accounting for 56 percent of GDP. On the regulatory front, France is a mess. Its Code du Travail, a 1,600 page, 10,000-article legislative monstrosity, has greatly hamstrung its labor market. According to the Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom, France’s Labor Freedom score places it very close to the “repressed” category.

In a cruel twist of irony, France has reverted back to its monarchical political economy, dominated by an interventionist state that heavily regulates, subsidizes, and controls certain sectors of the economy.

Sadly, many of the yellow vest protestors have not comprehended the 800-pound elephant in the room that is French statism.

Continue reading

We’re Living In ‘The Groundhog Show’, by Chris Martenson

Because history is mostly a series of disasters punctuated by occasional progress, it’s a good bet that we’re in for a replay of prior disasters. From Christ Marenson at peakprosperity.com:

It’s said that truth mirrors fiction. I’m finding this to be the case more and more these days.

Take the 1993 comedy Groundhog Day. Bill Murray wakes up each day to relieve the exact same daily circumstances and interpersonal interactions. He relives the same day, February 2, over and over again.

No matter what he does, the repetitive cycle won’t break.  He goes to sleep, wakes up to his alarm, and it’s the morning of Feb 2 again.

Likewise, in The Truman Show, Jim Carrey lives in a simulated environment where everybody’s an actor in a popular TV show except him.  For him, it’s his real life.  But although he doesn’t realise it, everything around him is completely scripted and fake.

If merge these two movies together, they perfectly describe the world in which we live today.  Welcome to Groundhog Day meets The Truman Show.   Let’s call this mash-up The Groundhog Show.

In this composite story you, the plucky central character, wake up every day in a world where the same mistakes are made over and over again by our so-called “leaders”.

Take the central banks, for instance. In this show, they continually blow massive credit bubbles over and over again, which then result in widespread, painful losses when they inevitably burst. And the central planners keep doing this without any indication that they’re aware they’re repeating the same mistakes.

Continue reading→

Fake News? How About No News? by Eric Peters

You have to dig to find out about France’s Yellow Vest protests and the government’s response to it in this country. From Eric Peters at ericpetersautos.com:

Trump gets flak for characterizing the mainstream press as purveyors of Fake News. But what about no news at all?

Isn’t lack of coverage even worse than biased coverage?

Well, how much news have you heard or read about the gilets jaunes – or “yellow vest” – protests in France? CNN hasn’t got anything on its main page today (Jan. 9). Neither did NBC or CBS. Lots of the usual – endless – carpet-chewing coverage of Trump, though. And also of such important stories as “Want to Pay off Your Mortgage? Try Frugal Minimalism.”

You might think France, a major western European country, coming unglued – and on the verge of its government outright banning “unauthorized” criticism of its actions – might at least be  . . .  well,  news.

Continue reading

2018 Chaos, 2019 Mayhem, by Raúl Ilargi Meijer

Raúl Ilargi Meijer’s title sums up the past year and previews the coming year, with only two words, and its probably better than 98 percent of thousands of words that will be wasted the next two weeks in mostly unread review/preview articles. From Meijer at theautomaticearth.com:

It took me a while to decide which word(s) best define the past year and the next one, but I think this is pretty much it. 2018 was chaotic more than anything else, and that chaos will give rise to mayhem in 2019.

What I think is striking is that this is true across the board, in all walks of life so to speak. In finance, in politics, in energy markets, in ecological matters, and perhaps most of all in the ways all these topics are being covered by what once were trusted media.

I’m going to have to come back to all these topics separately, so it’s promising to be a very busy holiday season, but it’s also good to try and put them together in one place, if only to show how interconnected everything is. And how futile it is to look at the economy without seeing its connection to energy flows and ecosystems. And vice versa.

In finance and economics, we’ve seen an avalanche of falling numbers recently, in stock prices, bond prices, housing, across the globe, and obviously that evokes a lot of comments in the financial press. But that press, and bankers investors on their own, still talk about markets.

Continue reading

The Indiscreet Charm of the Gilets Jaunes, by C.J. Hopkins

The yellow vests are making a lot of people in the establishment media look like idiots. For that alone we should be thankful. From C.J. Hopkin at unz.com:

So it appears the privatization of France isn’t going quite as smoothly as planned. As I assume you are aware, for over a month now, the gilets jaunes (or “yellow vests”), a multiplicitous, leaderless, extremely pissed off, confederation of working class persons, have been conducting a series of lively protests in cities and towns throughout the country to express their displeasure with Emmanuel Macron and his efforts to transform their society into an American-style neo-feudal dystopia. Highways have been blocked, toll booths commandeered, luxury automobiles set on fire, and shopping on the Champs-Élysées disrupted. What began as a suburban tax revolt has morphed into a bona fide working class uprising.

It took a while for “the Golden Boy of Europe” to fully appreciate what was happening. In the tradition of his predecessor, Louis XVI, Macron initially responded to the gilets jaunes by inviting a delegation of Le Monde reporters to laud his renovation of the Elysée Palace, making the occasional condescending comment, and otherwise completely ignoring them. That was back in late November. Last Saturday, he locked down central Paris, mobilized a literal army of riot cops, “preventatively arrested” hundreds of citizens, including suspected “extremist students,” and sent in the armored military vehicles.

The English-language corporate media, after doing their best not to cover these protests (and, instead, to keep the American and British publics focused on imaginary Russians), have been forced to now begin the delicate process of delegitimizing the gilets jaunes without infuriating the the entire population of France and inciting the British and American proletariats to go out and start setting cars on fire. They got off to a bit of an awkward start.

Continue reading