Unrest in France: No End in Sight

Unrest in France: No End in Sight, by Guy Millière.

“Yellow vests” protests were being organized in the main cities of France. Mobilization was not weakening. Support from the population had decreased slightly but was still huge (60%-70%, according to polls). The main slogan has remained the same since November 17, 2018: “Macron must resign”. In December, another slogan was added: “Citizens’ initiative referendum”.

The government and French President Emmanuel Macron have been doing everything they can to crush the movement. They have tried insults, defamation and have said the demonstrators were both “seditious people” wishing to overthrow the institutions and fascist “brown shirts”. On December 31, Macron described them, as “hateful crowds”. The presence of some anti-Semites led a government spokesman (incorrectly) to describe the entire movement as “anti-Semitic”. …

Too much socialism and regulation perhaps?

The French economy is, in fact, sclerotic. The Index of Economic Freedom created by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal ranks it 71st in the world (35th among the 44 countries in the Europe region) and notes that “the government spending accounts for more than half of total domestic output”. The Index also reveals that “the budget has been chronically in deficit”; that “corruption remains a problem and that “the labor market is burdened with rigid regulations” leading to a high level of unemployment.

France has lost almost all its factories (industrial jobs account for only 9.6% of total employment). Its agriculture is in ruins, despite huge European subsidies: 30% percent of French farmers earn less than 350 euros ($400) a month and dozens commit suicide each year. In the high-tech sector, France is essentially absent.

A brain drain has started that show no signs it will stop.

In parallel, each year, 200,000 immigrants from Africa or the Arab world, often without skills, arrive. Most are Muslim and have been contributing to the Islamization of France. …

Pre-revolutionary France, 2019 version:

[The] French population today is divided into three groups. The first group is a ruling upper class, totally integrated into globalization, made up of technocrats, politicians, senior civil servants, executives working for multinational companies, and journalists working for the mainstream media. The members of this class live in Paris and the main cities of France.

The second group lives in the suburbs of the main cities and in no-go zones (“Zones Urbaines Sensibles”). It consists mainly of immigrants. The French upper class, who rule, recruit people to serve it directly or indirectly. They are poorly paid, but highly subsidized by the government, and increasingly live according to their own cultures and standards.

The third group is extremely large: it is the rest of the population. It is this group that is called “peripheral France.” Its members are made up of low-ranking civil servants, blue collar workers and former blue-collar workers, employees in general, craftsmen, small entrepreneurs, shopkeepers, farmers, and the unemployed. For the ruling upper class, they are useless. The ruling upper class treat them as regrettable dead weight and expect nothing from them except silence and submission. …

These “peripherals”, for the most part, live 30 kilometers or more from the big cities. They can see that the upper class dismisses them. They often have a hard time making ends meet. They pay taxes but can see that a growing portion is being used to subsidize the very people who drove them out of their suburban homes. …

For the moment, Macron does not seem to want to recognize that these people even exist.

The “peripherals” are the France’s forgotten middle class and deplorables. They do not have a voice in national politics or at court/parliament, so their needs are neglected by government — which is deadly in such a socialist country, where political power and government largess are the overwhelming factors in one’s economic well being. So their conditions worsened until the revolts began.

They are a glaring example of why it is better to be under the rule of the markets than under the rule of socialists.

Oddly enough, this gets very little media coverage in Australia or, I’m told by a reader, in the US. Guess it doesn’t further the narrative that promotes the PC fantasy world: “ugly realism, let’s not talk about that — how does it help us?”

hat-tip Scott of the Pacific