GILBERT MERCIER—France is at a crossroad. A fairly benign bread-and-butter protest has turned into a major popular dissent putting in question France’s political system. It is new, unheard of, and because we live in the digital age, with immediate communication, the world is not only watching, but there is a contagious factor to it, which in the Anglo-Saxon world is called “Yellow Vests Movement”.
- ACTIVISTS & HEROESAMERICAN BRAINWASHAMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISMCAPITALISM & SOCIALISMCAPITALIST SICKNESSFRANCE
- CAPITALIST SICKNESSFRANCEGILETS/ YELLOW VESTS
RAMIN MAZAHERI—It is normal that this imperialist psychosis occurs in the European Union in 2019, as it is indeed a neo-imperialist project. The question the French cannot quite answer is: are they the still the coloniser, or are they now colonised?
- ACTIVISTS & HEROESFRANCEGILETS/ YELLOW VESTS
RAMIN MAZAHERI—A big difference between the two movements is that Occupy was led by many college-educated “do-gooders” – and God bless them – whereas the Yellow Vests are undoubtedly a movement of the most marginalised classes. Seemingly the most comprehensive survey thus far showed that few Vesters are unemployed, two-thirds of Vesters make less than the average national wage, and an even greater percentage regret a lack of cultural resources and social links. In other words: hard-working, (yet still) poor, isolated citizens who yearn for more cultural enrichment.
- CORPORATE WHORESFRANCEGILETS/ YELLOW VESTS
RAMIN MAZAHERI—The reality is that austerity continues, and I’ll explain why: Essentially, Macron didn’t want to waste his tiny amount of political capital by fighting for the small prize of austerity cuts. A much more lucrative prize – for the bosses and stockholders – is if he can successfully push through his backdoor raising of the retirement age to 64 as well as the shift to a universal, one-size-fits-all retirement system which even the mainstream media calls “radical”. And then after that, another radical reform to the unemployment system.
ALEXANDRA—To get around Moscow, we mostly took the metro and bus. A three-day pass which gives access to the metro, bus, tramways and elektrichka (commuter train) costs 438 rubles (about $9). The stations are clean (even the tracks) although the more central ones are a bit on the tired side, many steps quite used by the innumerable passengers; in some connecting tunnels between lines the pavement is uneven. All stations are announced in Russian and English. Wi-fi is available throughout the system, which is easy to access with your mobile phone.