[Marxism] The Yellow Vests, capitalism and communism | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect 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.


More information about the Marxism mailing list