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Post Six Clues to Understanding the Paris Protests
Created by John Eipper on 12/04/18 7:08 AM

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Six Clues to Understanding the Paris Protests (Carmen Negrin, France, 12/04/18 7:08 am)

I don't fully disagree with Nigel Jones, for once (December 3rd), except for the motives and for Nigel's looking forward to the already experienced disastrous consequences of movements such as the current protests in Paris.

First, I don't know anyone who calls Macron the "President Pédé," among other things, because nobody I know cares about what he does in bed. That was one of the themes (fake or not) injected during the Presidential campaign without much impact.

Second, French living standards are objectively far higher then before or after 1945. Everyone in France has access to schooling, including university (almost free), health insurance, minimum wages, a minimum income if unemployed, assistance under a number of circumstances, etc. There has always been a difference between the country people (where it supposedly all started) and the city people, with advantages and disadvantages on both sides. Remember La Fontaine's "Le rat de ville et le rat des champs"?

Third, immigration, we lack workers, and certainly they are not received or integrated in the best of ways, but if the leitmotif weren't immigration, it would be color or religion.

Fourth, taxes. The general increase in gas taxes is coherent with the requested climate change programme, which is also demanded: Hulot was the most popular Minister (in charge of the transition towards an ecological world). The tax was not brought about very intelligently, granted, but proposals to make adjustments for the most needy, were made and rejected. Reading the lists of the protesters' demands, it seems obvious that the taxes were just a pretext to bring protest--and I don't doubt that many people were sincere.

Fifth, concerning the arrogance of the President, at least one doesn't feel ashamed of him when he talks in public or writes.

Sixth, tax cuts for the rich. Yes, that was/is very unpopular and perhaps a mistake. I for one, don't believe wealth trickles down unless forced to. But note that the same measure had the opposite effect in the US (at least among the same political public).

I do think that there is a general trend for revenge, to call it some way, of the neo-Nazi and neo-Fascist losers; anarchists, as usual, have joined in, thinking naively that if you destroy everything you can rebuild an ideal world. Students are now complaining about the reforms of the Baccalaureate, nurses about their working hours, etc. The so-called General that I mentioned in my previous WAIS post, has been saying that Macron is unconstitutional and previously he and his right-wing followers came up with the slogan that Hollande was not "their" President. One could go on for ever.

As for Andalucia, I presume Ciudadanos will join Vox rather than Podemos. In a way it is a good thing, since this will publicly confirm what we all know and that is that Ciudadanos is a derivative of the PP which is a derivative of Alianza Popular, etc. The PSOE maintained the highest percentage in spite of almost 40 years of democratic government, but not enough to govern.

Corruption is certainly as responsible as erosion for its fall-back; on the other hand the President of Vox is not immune from corruption. But new is beautiful and grass is greener on the other side.

Just one more point, the highest scores of national-populism in Europe are in Austria, Switzerland and Denmark, not exactly the poor unsatisfied countries.

JE comments:  Carmen Negrín's six points go far to untangling the Paris mess.  Might we sum everything up with one richly ambiguous (and French!) word, "malaise"?

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