First off, while the Gilets still do not seem to have an official “leadership” (which is so far one of their strengths) it is clear they are quite capable of practicing direct democracy, as this list of sensible (but peremptory) demands certifies. The Gilets know they are the sovereign, not the usurping plutocratic elites and their flunkies, and they show it in the way they address the government, which they obviously despise. Second, do note that, in every regard, the Gilets Jaunes are fair and highly egalitarian, as well as refreshingly generous. You don’t see here invidious petty sentiments separating the masses between whites, blacks, browns, young, old, native or foreign born, whatever color they may have, nor gender, for that matter. Their egalitarianism is simply universal, as it should be, and a requisite for unity before a well entrenched enemy. And their priorities just.
These demands, if granted, would roll back and repudiate much of the neoliberal program inflicted on the people of France and other nations. The pushback will be resisted by the ruling elites via all sorts of stratagems and dirty tricks, some aimed at dividing the movement and exploiting immanent tensions; besides the constant disinformation designed to confuse and slander them, some more sinister tools will likely be utilised. People perceived to be leaders may be bribed, threatened or simply imprisoned under some made up pretext. Or disappeared. Or the target of some strange accidents. (This tactic, so common in the third world, could prove extremely risky for the elites in the “west”, as once the truth is out they will be naked before public opinion, and not even the media whores will be able to contain the backlash.) On a less direct level, false flags will likely be introduced to create the context for harsher increased confusion and general repression. But none of that will work in the end, as it is the non-negotiable dynamic of neoliberalism that causes anger and resistance. And such bad faith may only infuriate the people further. Through an unrelenting diet of myopic, exploitative, deceitful, and immoral policies the global neoliberal class has awakened a giant, and their depredations and political deafness have reached the point of no return. Only the most dramatic and genuine policy correctives can soften the wrath of the approaching storm, or afford them a measure of legitimacy or participation in the populist order struggling to be born. We doubt they possess such wisdom. Opportunists and short-term thinkers to a man; socially sociopathic by character, they are not likely to change in the brief period ahead before the system really starts falling apart. Incidentally, forgive the translation’s crudity, my French is pretty rusty now. —PG
Yellow vests and government disinformation
NOV. 2018 BY GABAS BLOG: THE BLOG OF GABAS / MEDIAPART. FR
Zero homeless, pensions, salary caps (for the executive class)… Discover the list of demands of “yellow vests”. The movement sent a press release to the media and MPs, including some 40 demands, on Thursday.
The demands of “yellow vests” now officially go beyond the issue of fuel prices. In a long statement sent to the media and deputies, Thursday, November 29, the delegation of the movement lists a series of petitions they want to see applied.
“Deputies of France, we inform you of the directives of the people for you to convert them into law (…). Obey the will of the people. Enforce these directives,” write the “yellow vests”. Spokesmen for the delegation are to be received by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and French Minister for the Ecological Transition François de Rugy at 2 pm on Friday.
Increase of the minimum wage to 1,300 euros net, return to the retirement age of 60 years or abandonment of the withholding at the source … The list includes many social measures, but also measures concerning transport, like the end of the rise of taxes on fuel and the introduction of a tax on marine fuel oil and kerosene. Here is this non-exhaustive list of demands:
• Zero homeless: URGENT.
• More progressivity in income tax, ie more tranches.
• Smic at 1,300 euros net. (SMIC is the minimum wage)
• Promote small businesses in villages and town centers. Stop the construction of large commercial areas around major cities that kill small businesses and more free parking in city centers.
• Large plan of Insulation of dwellings to make ecology by saving households.
• Taxes: MEGACORPS (MacDo, Google, Amazon, Carrefour …) pay LARGE and small (artisans, small businesses) pay small.
• Same Social Security system for everyone (including artisans and autoentrepreneurs, or the self-employed). End of the RSI.(1)
• The pension system must remain in solidarity and therefore socialized. No point retirement.
• End of the increase in fuel taxes.
• No retirement below 1,200 euros.
• Any elected representative will be entitled to the median salary. His transport costs will be monitored and reimbursed if they are justified. Right to the restaurant ticket and the holiday voucher.
• The wages of all French people as well as pensions and allowances must be indexed to inflation.
• Protect French industry: prohibit relocation. Protecting our industry is protecting our know-how and our jobs.
• End of detached work. It is abnormal that a person who works on French territory does not benefit from the same salary and the same rights. Anyone who is authorized to work on French territory must be on a par with a French citizen and his employer must contribute at the same level as a French employer.
• For job security: further limit the number of fixed-term contracts for large companies. We want more CDI. (5)
• End of the CICE. (2) Use this money for the launch of a French hydrogen car industry (which is truly environmentally friendly, unlike the electric car.)
• End of the austerity policy. We are ceasing to repay the interest on the debt that is declared illegitimate and we are starting to repay the debt without taking the money from the poor and the poor, but by going after the $ 80 billion in tax evasion.
• That the causes of forced migration be addressed.
• That asylum seekers are treated well. We owe them housing, security, food and education for the minors. Work with the UN to have host camps open in many countries around the world, pending the outcome of the asylum application.
• That rejected asylum seekers be returned to their country of origin.
• That a real integration policy is implemented. Living in France means becoming French (French language course, French history course and civic education course with certification at the end of the course).
• Maximum salary set at 15,000 euros. (“Wage ceiling”—an egalitarian measure that would cause an uproar among US plutocrats accustomed to grotesquely high incomes and “compensation packages”.)
• Jobs created for the unemployed.
• Increase of disabled allowances.
• Limitation of rents. More moderate rent housing (especially for students and precarious workers).
• Prohibition to sell the property belonging to France (dams, airports, infrastructure …)
• Substantial means granted to the justice system, the police, the gendarmerie and the army. That law enforcement overtime be paid or recovered.
• All the money earned by highway tolls will be used for the maintenance of motorways and roads in France as well as road safety.
• Since the price of gas and electricity has increased since privatization, we want them to become public again and prices fall significantly.
• Immediate closure of small lines, post offices, schools and maternity homes.
• Bring wellness to our seniors. Prohibition of making money on the elderly. The gray gold is finished. The era of gray well-being begins.
• Maximum 25 students per class from kindergarten to 12th grade.
• Substantial resources brought to psychiatry.
• The popular referendum must enter the Constitution. Creating a readable and effective site, supervised by an independent control body where people can make a proposal for a law. If this bill obtains 700,000 signatures then this bill will have to be discussed, completed and amended by the National Assembly, which will have the obligation (one year to the day after the 700,000 signatures have been obtained) to submit it. to the vote of all the French.
• Return to a 7-year term for the President of the Republic. The election of deputies two years after the election of the President of the Republic allowed sending a positive or negative signal to the President of the Republic concerning his policy. It helped to make the voice of the people heard.)
• Retirement at age 60 and for all those who have worked in a trade using the body (mason or boning for example) right to retire at 55 years.
• A 6-year-old child does not keep himself alone, continuation of the PAJEMPLOI help system until the child is 10 years old.
• Promote the transport of goods by rail.
• No collection at source.
• End of presidential allowances for life.
• Prohibit merchants from paying a tax when their customers use the credit card. Tax on marine fuel oil and kerosene.
NOTES & REFS
(1) The Régime Sociale des Travailleurs Indépendants (RSI) was formed in 2006 and brings together three insurance funds previously responsible for the providing insurance cover for health, invalidity, maternity and pensions to the self employed.
(2) CICE is a tax credit for employment and competitiveness (a business endorsed idea).
The tax credit for employment and competitiveness (CICE) was created in 2013. It aims to foster private companies’ investments and to give them further possibility to explore new markets, innovate, promote research and innovation, recruit employees through a reduction in labor costs. Accessible to all businesses with employees, the CICE permits benefitting from substantial tax savings. Since 2014, it amounts to 6% of payroll, excluding salaries above 2.5 times the minimum wage.
(3) SDF is “sans domicile fixe”: homeless, without a permanent address or home
(4) SMIC is the term for the minimum wage
(5) Permanent employee contract
Original document at: https://blogs.mediapart.fr/gabas/blog/291118/gilets-jaunes-et-desinformation-gouvernementale
Translated and commented by Patrice Greanville, editor in chief.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License