[Marxism] The Yellow Vests, capitalism and communism | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist
lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Dec 10 16:10:54 MST 2018
Three years ago Michael Moore made a documentary titled “Where to Invade
Next” that posed the question of why can’t Americans enjoy the good life
most Western Europeans do. Traveling from country to country, he showed
how the welfare state created by successive social democratic
governments made for better health care, education, child care, etc. He
visited a public school in France where he had lunch with sixth graders
who had no interest in trading their healthy and appetizing free lunch
for a Big Mac, French fries and a giant Coke.
As I pointed out at the time, this social democratic dream was turning
into a nightmare, especially for immigrants. It was only a matter of
time that France would become ground zero for a revolt against a system
that provided few benefits for those who live in the countryside and
suburbia. Indeed, my first reaction to the riots is that the white
people in France were finally expressing the anger that made the
banlieues erupt in 2005.
If steep taxes are supposedly necessary to support the universal health
care that Moore supported in “Sicko”, another paean to enlightened
social democratic governance, it was lost on the average citizen not
fortunate enough to work as an IT specialist or lawyer in Paris. With
the closing of rural hospitals, the country’s universal health insurance
is next to useless. Under Macron, subsidies to the suburbs and
countryside have been cut sharply. $42 billion at the time of his
election, they are now $30 billion. The pain this has caused was
sufficient to spur a wholesale resignation of mayors around the country
who feel too strapped to do their job.
This was not the first time a protest occurred over gasoline/diesel fuel
tax hikes. Almost four years ago to the date, “Red Caps” in Brittany
forced Francois Hollande to cancel a tax targeting commercial trucks.
Protesters, who saw the tax as harmful to farmers who were already
having trouble competing with other EU countries, wore red caps. They
were first worn in a seventeenth century revolt centered in Brittany as
well. As is the case today, the movement took direct action to remind
the “socialist” government that it could not neglect those in the
boondocks. So grievous was their situation that a virtual epidemic of
suicides had plagued the countryside. A recent survey revealed that a
French farmer kills himself every two days.
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