Ramin Mazaheri explains why the Yellow Vests torch banks in rich Paris neighborhoods

March 17, 2019

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Yellow Vest week in review: March 16 to be the biggest march in months

March 14, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

The fundamental problem with media coverage regarding regarding the Yellow Vests is that it fails to see it as an already-permanent movement, or even a possibly-permanent one: each week must be either the biggest one yet, or the very last one.

The Yellow Vests see it similarly, but differently: for them each week is the very last one, too… because they will FINALLY storm Élysée Palace (Act 16: “Insurrection”, Act 17: “Decisive Act”, and now Act 18 on March 16: “Ultimatum”.)

The Yellow Vests are like the Vietcong: it’s not that they are so innately tough, it’s that they have nowhere else to go. Ask a protesting Yellow Vester and they’ll tell you: they have no money to pay their bills, much less do anything fun on the weekends… so why not go protest and enjoy what you can’t buy – camaraderie?

As a journalist who has covered every medium- to major-sized protest movement in France in the last decade (and the small ones, i.e. pro-Palestine, anti-imperialism, anti-capitalism, etc.), I have come to deeply resent and fear the Yellow Vests.

What a damned long workout they impose on us! They are marching 10-15km every Saturday, with zero consideration for TV journalists who have to carry equipment. Furthermore, why on earth do they march so damned fast?! If Guinness keeps this record, the Yellow Vests must take the crown for “protester km/h”.

This is surely the legacy of the constant police attacks during the first six weeks – you can’t hit what you can’t catch.

It’s also more confirmation that so many of them have not been politically active (which is also why so many get arrested – they don’t know what they are doing): French demonstrations are supposed to be festive, leisurely, tipsy strolls. French union demonstrations are basically half-parties: you lose a day’s pay… but there will be loud music, lots of alcohol, cheap barbecue, and scatological signs instead of proper propaganda. “We didn’t get our political demands? Oh well, at least we had a good time.” But at Yellow Vest demos public intoxication is far, far rarer and political seriousness is far greater.

The most significant media polls about the Vesters (and there are crazily few polls about them) revolves around a majority of France now not wanting them to protest every Saturday. The effect of this can be summed up easily: So the hell what?

Since when did political protesters need the approval of the majority to practice the modern right to free assembly? Protesters are usually against the often-clueless majority. They wouldn’t be protesting if the majority was getting it right! It’s not as if the Yellow Vests are a clearly manipulated, virtue signalling, identity-based, hipster/bobomovement, like the recent anti-Semitism marches (excuse, me I meant the marches to pave the way for criminalising anti-Zionism).

But they must keep broadcasting these very particular polls for a reason, and it was summed up by failed 2017 Macron-party candidate and sociologist Jean Viard, who said, “When there is a poll which says that 70% of France is fed up with the Yellow Vest demonstrations, we can stop the movement.”

Well that is certainly debatable, no?

Why should we choose 70%? How will they “stop the movement”? (Answer: reimpose a State of Emergency.) Isn’t 30% still a huge minority in a West European / liberal / bourgeois democracy, which gives some support for minority rights (the wealthy minorities more than others, of course)?

I give the reader that quote just to illustrate how France’s mainstream media and mainstream politicians are currently thinking, which is “When can we really pounce?”

Other polls show that while a majority wants the marches to stop, a majority still supports the Yellow Vests – these are two different things, and the latter is more significant in the long (and short!) term.

The main reason French people are increasingly against the marches themselves is the French tendency to get easily bored.

The French desire for sensation – “Something, anything… just not more ennui!” – is constant (and the basis of Western decadence). Combine that with the fact that these protests are not that fun unless you believe in the Yellow Vest movement. As I related, it’s long, hard work, and it’s in the cold. (The fact that France has a winter protest movement is truly unprecedented, and should have immediately put our gauges into the red.)

And it’s violent. Last Saturday, after a brief coffee my colleague and I had to insist that a cafe off the Champs-Elysées unlock their door to let us out. They wanted to block out the violence and enjoy their drinks, but we had to cover the impending, inevitable sundown attacking of the Yellow Vesters by cops. As the manager opened the door he wished us a loud and hearty “Bon gazage!” Or, “Enjoy getting tear gassed!” Tear gas is – and I have tasted many of France’s finest vintages – not a fun sensation. Most French today can’t even handle a few weeks of Lenten fastidiousness (rather minor, compared with Ramadan), much less four consecutive months of political piety.

However, the Yellow Vests absolutely do not care what anyone thinks, except their fellow Yellow Vests, and so they are not going to quit the field just because polls show a majority wants them to stay home. “These polls are all politically manipulated,” a Vester told me. She must be a right-wing, deplorable conspiracy theorist, of course.

No, she’s absolutely right. There is a revolving door between the government and the top polling institutes: Macron’s token Muslim minister (and a most half-hearted Muslim, at that) went from spokesperson for the president to a top spot at IPSOS, the nation’s top polling institute (and run by private interests, as it is not a public institute).

Relaying these in-bed-with-the-government polls is the job of the sycophantic mainstream media… and that’s why more than half of France says that the media has done a bad job covering the Yellow Vests. It is amusing to read this article (in French), because from the very lede paragraph the journalist writing it is defensive, accusatory and self-justifying. Anyway, 70%+ say coverage is too focused on violence, and too unbalanced, and too corporate-driven.

Basically they are saying – just as France doesn’t want massive opinion polling which is not manipulated by the private sector (like in China) – France doesn’t want a Western liberal / capitalist system of journalism but a state-controlled and state-supported one (like in China). Yellow Vesters will figure this out, Inshallah.

Vesters only trusting Vesters… that explains why they will, I believe, eventually form a political party, as no other political party can be trusted to try and implement their political demands.

Biggest march yet… until the next huge one

Haven’t the French finally realized that mere marches don’t get them anywhere? They only got any concessions after major violence. They need a general strike and a permanent encampment!

The tried the latter last week at the Eiffel Tower – shut down immediately, with extreme prejudice. At least Paris is consistent: they were against Tahrir Square in Egypt… until the protesters won, of course. And in all the revisionist history books / journalism accounts. Let’s not forget that Sarkozy’s foreign minister offered to send Tunisia security forces to put down their revolution in 2011.

March 16 will definitely see the biggest march in Paris in months – tens of thousands of people, guaranteed. Lately it has been 6-9,000, but I could be low because I can’t put eyes on every single Yellow Vest gathering in Paris on Saturdays. Of course, this is about 3 times what the government says, which is my general rule of thumb for crowd counting of anti-government protesters.

March 16 is indeed an “Ultimatum” because it has been expressly designed to give the Yellow Vests’ verdict on Macron’s two-month “National Debate”, which was the biggest and most attention-getting concession he made to the movement.

The National Debate, LOL.… Fidel Castro-sized speeches from Macron, minus a Fidel Castro-sized heart for his nation and for international solidarity.

What’s the most useless job in France in 2019? The guy or gal whose job it will be to condense all the data compiledfrom the many town hall meetings. That final report will be, in the best traditions of France’s (liberal bourgeois) bureaucracy, forever stuck in the limbo of en cours de traitement (being processed).

It’s going to be so big that Macron had to try and steal its thunder by extending the National Debate into April, hastily announcing a “Phase 2”. So, the fiction – that the government cares / is listening / will implement public opinion once they properly gather it – will continue for a few more weeks. What will be most interesting is when that stops.

(Interesting like – what happens with Eurozone Quantitive Easing stops? But that’s going to continue forever, per the recent and very surprising European Central Bank announcement. This was the only way they could prove me wrong in September 2017, when QE was first scheduled to stop: that European Sovereign Debt Crisis II will hit as soon as free money to high finance stops).

Truly, we can’t underestimate the significance for France of the end of the National Debate: because the protest are still going on, the government simply must do something… but now what?

However, the “debate” truly is over – Macron has gone back to business-as-usual – being Mack the Knife: He announced that he will rewrite the unemployment system by himself, ending 30+ years of collaborative efforts between unions and bosses.

While we’re talking about ancient history, let’s remind ourselves: It’s not like the pre-Yellow Vest era wasn’t full of regular anti-government protests…. The Vesters are adamant, mostly, that they remain aloof from politics. Fine, but politics will continue.

Yes, the Vesters have caused a four-month stop in the onslaught of “reforms”, but Macron’s return to his usual modus operandi means that we will soon be talking about unions during the week, Yellow Vests on the weekend. After all, unions marching during the week have been guaranteed sights during all of Macron’s era, and most of Hollande’s: we are merely now “regressing to normal” in West European (Strongman) Liberal Democracy in the EU / Eurozone age.

The National Debate never had a chance, all of France knew, because one cannot debate with a know-it-all; for some reason “public service” has become infested with individualism in the 21st century, which is why politicians and journalists all adopt this posture of arrogance, instead of one of subservience to the greater good. This is just the latest example of Macron personally rewriting (labor code, rail reform, policing reform, justice reform, etc.) a huge part of French socioeconomic culture in order to make it more like the inferior, more unequal US, UK and German models. Even though he has an absolute majority in Parliament, he’ll probably even make the unemployment system changes law by executive decree to give his party members plausible deniability during re-election.This of, course, will certainly provoke more protests by the traditional protesting groups, like unions, NGOs and a Roman Catholic clergy concerned for their members.

So Macron is going back to doing what he does – remaking France in the image of the neoliberal US – and unions will go back to making a big show of opposing him in the hopes of winning concessions for their dues-paying members, and also to water-down Macron’s decrees a tad for non-members. Just a tad, though.

‘Who’s in charge? We are!’ – chant of the Yellow Vests

And this is really the key of this article: the Yellow Vests have lodged an unprecedented foothold in politics; they have one-upped the unions, and thus they are now truly the ones who “represent the People / workers”. They are the ones setting the agenda, and the ones the government / bosses most fear. The Yellow Vests are a minor revolution, which is why the first question from every mainstream journalist to an analyst is, “When will they stop?”

(Of course, the question from every mainstream French journalist regarding the Algeria protests is: “How can we help them continue?”)

The only way the Yellow Vests could be compelled to take off their vests is for France to have true democracy… but such a thing is simply unprecedented and impossible in the West European liberal democratic system. The only way for that is to have a post-1917, socialist-inspired system. Look at all the millions of fingerprints on Cuba’s new constitution – contrarily, there will only be one set of prints on France’s new unemployment system: Macron’s.

(Interesting sidebar: the most poplar issue discussed at the massive debates over the content of Cuba’s new constitution was making marriage “between a man and a woman” into a “union between two persons”. What is depressing is that – even in Cuba, where the people have the best combination of political intelligence, political inspiration and political involvement – even they are obsessed by this totally useless, sectarian issue!

However, what’s amazing is how their vanguard leaders recognised that, “Overwhelmingly, the (average Cuban citizen’s) proposals were against the proposed change.” And… they actually took out this change from the constitution! In Cuba, the leaders actually listen to and then implement the democratic will, unlike in France – voila, socialist democracy versus liberal democracy.

In Cuba, the majority is not forced to be beholden to the demands of any 1%, whether that 1% is monetary or sexual.

With the UK now teaching transgenderism to schoolchildren (to Muslim kids first, of course) the less-than-1% (sexually and sartorially) is now often the main beneficiary of Western public policy.…)

Of course, mass state violence, arrests, trials and jailings are other methods to force their Vests off; physical and judicial repression is obviously being used by Macron to intimidate people from protesting. Every day newspapers urban and rural are filled with the latest sentences for Yellow Vesters, but it won’t be enough to stop them.

Not even the “Anti-Yellow Vest Law”, which the Orwellian Mainstream Media prefers to call the “Anti-Rioters Law” – which is being deftly manipulated by Macron past a possibly-meddling legislative branch – will stop the Vesters, either.

LOL at Macron! High unemployment and unprecedented discontent… and you want to roll back the jobless system this spring? (Pension rollbacks coming in autumn, so we have more to look forward to.) The guy is either oblivious, anti-democratic, or the puppet of someone else.

But look at all the coverage of Brexit, and the demand for a 2nd referendum – Leavers will only respect democracy when they get THEIR way. (Me, I’m telling my English friends to vote “Leave” in Brexit Vote #3 and “Remain” in Brexit Vote #4, with Brexit votes 5-7 possibly write-ins for Mickey Mouse, who would have surely respected the first democratic vote.) West Europeans simply ARE anti-democratic because they have never been trained in modern democracy, which is necessarily socialist-inspired.

Bourgeois, West European, liberal democracy is not democracy, and we all see that in the 21st century: True change in France can only come when they realize that French arrogance regarding their terrible institutions has been unmerited for all these decades.

However, that realisation only comes after adopting the internationalism of the socialist view – other ideas (Gasp! Even non-French ones!) are needed to survive in 2019.

Barring this epiphany, Paris will bunker down on March 16… and far beyond.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

Gone with the Wind: The Disastrous Passion of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron

Gone with the Wind: The Disastrous Passion of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron

MARTIN SIEFF | 06.03.2019 | WORLD / EUROPE

Gone with the Wind: The Disastrous Passion of Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron

Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Emmanuel Macron of France have run their once great nations into the ground as rage, frustration, poverty and fear erupt across the streets of Western Europe. But Merkel and Macron are not concerned: They have eyes only for each other. Their mutual regard and unlimited support for each other’s catastrophic policies continue unabated.

Merkel has been in power for more than 13 years and is old enough to be Macron’s mother. Macron is a neophyte of less than two years in power, though with an inflated sense of self-regard as ridiculous as the comic character of Mr. Toad in the British children’s book, “The Wind in the Willows.”

Merkel and Macron share the same assumptions, were raised up by the same forces and are endless feted and fraudulently praised by the same worthless pundits.

Both are arrogant elitist intellectuals. Both believe in stripping and shrinking the social functions and responsibilities of the state towards the weak and the poor. Both agree that the state should help and protect large national corporations and that ordinarily people rate a poor second to this: In fact they do not rate at all.

Both believe that they and their regimes represent the absolute perfections of human achievement and therefore must be replicated around the world, instantly if possible. Merkel looks to advance regime change to the east, across all of Eurasia. Macron in his faux-Mussolini style dreams of being the neo-Napoleonic wise leader of the Mediterranean, orchestrating the remaking of the Maghreb across North Africa and of the Arab Middle East.

Both leaders see themselves selfless, visionary internationalists and regard Presidents Donald Trump in the United States and Vladimir Putin in Russia with fastidious distaste because they presume to put the interests of their own peoples first.

Both Merkel and Macron have condescending contempt for their own peoples and believe the native populations of their countries need injections of millions of immigrants from around the world as quickly as possible. Neither of them cares a fig for the values of the Christian civilizations that built and embodied their nations for more than a millennium. Instead, they openly despise those who take their national heritage seriously.

Yet there is also a strange, even creepy mutual attraction between the aging German chancellor and the (supposedly) young and dynamic French president.

Neither of them ever had any children. Merkel likes to play the wise and experienced stateswoman to younger, callow world leaders who share her superficial fashionable assumptions. Barack Obama of the United States filled that role for her and Obama, whose ignorance of affairs outside the borders of the US was proverbial, eagerly appreciated her condescension.

As Obama left office, he memorably praised Merkel as his closest friend among world leaders. This comment, farcically, stunned British Prime Minister David Cameron whose spin machine had for six years pumped out the reassuring fairy tale that Cameron was the closest confidant to Obama and his trusted sidekick on the world scene.

Macron has always gravitated to older women. His wife is 24 years older than he is and they met when she was his teacher in high school.

In the United States and Britain, this kind of misalliance would have been fodder for the tabloid newspapers. The National Enquirer and the Daily Mail could have run with prurient speculations on the nature of their relationship for years. In France, where no human proclivity surprises people they take this kind of thing in their stride.

Still, for Macron the progression from his wife to Merkel is as consistent as Merkel replacing Obama with Macron as her admiring young disciple and/or favorite nephew.

However, the most enduring image that the strange Merkel-Macron pairing conjures up is an older one. Before World War II, the most enduring popular romantic movie of all time was made in Hollywood – “Gone with The Wind,” a tear-jerking melodrama of passionate love between privileged white racists in the Antebellum South before the US Civil War.

It is not at all too much of a stretch of the imagination to see Macron farcically replacing the chiseled features of Clark Gable as unscrupulous, rather fraudulent but always dashing gambler Rhett Butler and the imperious Kaiserin (Lady Empress) Merkel instead of British fiery, imperious beauty Vivien Leigh as the movie’s riveting pain-in-the-neck heroine Scarlett O’Hara. Like Kaiserin Angela, Scarlett, always, always had to have her own way.

In “Gone with the Wind” the tempestuous, virtually insane passion between Rhett and Scarlett survives as the entire society of the racist Southern Confederate Slave State crashes to ruins around them. In the end, the city of Atlanta burns, but the fiery passion of Rhett and Scarlett survives, even when they are apart.

The cities of France and Germany may well be burning soon as testament to the disastrous policies of “Rhett” Macron and “Scarlett” O’Merkel. But it is a safe bet that they will be even more oblivious to the consequences of their own actions. In the words of Rhett Butler that end the movie, neither Merkel nor Macron really gives a damn.

Photo: Flickr

France’s Yellow Vests: Proving cops are indeed part of the 1%

Source

France’s Yellow Vests: Proving cops are indeed part of the 1%

March 04, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

The demonstration for “Acte 16”, on March 2nd, was designed as a sight-seeing tour which passed by bastions of rich, traitorous criminals (the OECD, a school of luxury marketing, etc.) and so it concluded at a small roundabout in a ritzy area, Denfert-Rochereau.

As protesters amassed and cops loaded up, and with time in between my on-air interviews for PressTV, I headed for a florist shop. I needed some poles to train my sagging office plant, George W. Bouchra, named after a former boss who departed ignominiously (she was never employed by PressTV nor my boss – it’s a shared office).

As I began talking to the female shopkeeper, who seemed to be deciding whether or not to lock up and flee, a member of France’s riot police barged in and interrupted our conversation. He was thirsty. I can see why – French riot cops wear more armour than an American football player, and carry more attacking equipment than Batman. With his huge size thus rendered even huger, he quite intimidated the petite young florist.

The florist, of course, expected to pass her day among delicate flowers. She probably had no idea the Yellow Vest demonstration was designed to combust literally at her doorstep.

My hand to God, he asked her for bottled water not once, but 6 to 9 times. Was he convinced that florists also sell bottled water? More likely is: because he was a cop he knew that all he had to do was apply pressure to this lady/citizen, and she would hand over her own bottled water. Of course, because he was a French cop, he also knew that there would be zero repercussions if what he was doing was not forthright.

The intimidated young lady kept insisting she had no bottled water to give, and the cop finally gave up. When she turned to back to me I asked, “And do you have anything for me to eat?”

With the same look of fear still in her eyes, she answered quite earnestly, “No, I don’t. I’m sorry.” She honestly believed me, poor lady! It was only after I smiled and pressed her again, in the manner of the cop, that she finally relaxed back to her former self. She gave me the plant poles for free.

What this story relates is just how elitist Western cops are in 2019. Truly, only 1% of society feels they can act so above-the-law and so humiliatingly disrespectful to others.

“The 1%” can be only economic, but not necessarily. The slogan of the US Occupy Movement was, “We are the 99%.” Whether we say that, “Cops are part of the 1%”, or, “Cops aren’t part of the 99%”, the effect is the same – and it’s time to start saying it openly.

Everybody, in every Western country, hates the police

Here’s something never reported in any Mainstream Media: at any French demonstration where riot cops are deployed one will hear the chant, “Everybody hates the cops” (Tout… le monde… déteste la police!).

Now because the Yellow Vests are totally composed of White Power, anti-Semitic fascists such a chant would never be heard, right? The Yellow Vests – because they are a class-ignorant, intolerant, Islamophobia-focused movement calling for Joan of Arc’s exhumed skeleton to replace Emmanuel Macron as president – obviously love the cops. That’s also why leftist-rightish French intellectuals like Alain Soral are convinced that the cops are secretly wearing Yellow Vests under their blue uniforms, and are breathlessly waiting for the moment when France’s cops do what is never, ever done in any political revolution – join the protesters. Cops never switch sides – they have too much to lose.

Oh wait – the Yellow Vests were chanting it as well! The reason for that is, well, everybody hates the cops in France. They hate them with same force as they hate the 1% because cops are part of the 1%.

Let’s look at history: the rude demands for provisions and quarter (if not bottled water) was always made by soldiers and cops in ancient times. The banning of quartering soldiers – i.e., theft and parasitism – is the 3rd amendment in the US Bill of Rights for good reason. From the point of view of citizens: the idea that the Praetorian Guard, or anyone with a sword and a license to stab, was not part of the 1% could only be made by an absurd dogmatist.

Let’s look at 2019: go to any blue-collar community in the US and talk to women – they view cops and firemen as the biggest catches. Why? Because they have everything a conservative woman could want: social status, guaranteed jobs, early retirement and great pensions.

Social status: For those who have not lived in a small town – and I have lived in multiple and reported from them, as well – cops absolutely are social stars. Everybody knows who they are and the power they have; everybody kisses up to them, because they fear them and their power.

Guaranteed jobs: Ah, but our boys in blue are such heroes for working such dangerous jobs, right? Wrong. It’s not even in the top 10 of most dangerous professions – being a baseball umpire is almost as deadly. And check that list of the top 25 – cops are among the highest-paid on the list (median salary: $59,680).

It is almost unheard of for French policemen to go to jail, and certainly not if they commit a crime against a Muslim or Black person. In French law the testimony of a cop is always valid and cannot be questioned, only disproved via evidence. This is why so many innocent protesters are going to prison – because the cops say so.

Early retirement and great pensions: Indeed, the only time I have seen a French protest lead to immediate capitulation by the government is when cops marched – reforms were promised that very day. Politicians know how vital Praetorian Guards are. The usual method for cop pensions in the US is retirement after just 20 years with half your pay… that’s not just spectacular for those in small towns – who wouldn’t want that?

Add all these things up: Cops are not part of the 99%.

Yellow Vests throwing excrement on cops via ‘poo bombs’ – it’s the ultimate form of rejection

As someone who sides with non-dog cultures, I find it tremendously degrading for a person to fill a plastic bag (or a “projectile”) with excrement, but getting hit by it – wow. That’s disrespect on an almost unthinkable level. (I assume it was dog excrement, LOL!)

The policemen were deeply humiliated,” reads the report. Well, turnabout is fair play, no? That’s what cops do to regular citizens day in and day out; that’s what the cop did to the florist.

Yellow Vests are doing what their American cousins in New Orleans did during the US Civil War – they are dumping their chamber pots on the heads of an army they have no connection with and whom they despise.

Westerners should, but do not, make a clear distinction between police and the army. Soldiers deserve infinitely more respect than cops, who in capitalist-imperialist societies are drawn from the most reactionary parts of the population. Cops in the West are not at all like the Revolutionary Guards in Cuba or Iran – Western cops violently guard against any progressive revolution, and their citizens all know that but can do nothing about it.

Nor can they stop the appalling deification of police in Western societies since 9/11. Despite all the bullets in the backs of minorities, all the secret torture sites and all the smartphone videos of shootings, cops are culturally, legally and fiscally untouchable because they ARE part of the 1%. The Western Mainstream Media defies cops, and Western mainstream politicians protect their salaries and pensions while cutting those of other public servants, because they are all in it together against the 99%.

Westerners know that I could go on and on with examples of glorification of cops which have become so extreme as to become disgustingly servile. The treatment of cops in capitalist-imperialist societies is, just like most Western problems, so ingrained that it can only be labelled as “total socio-political dysfunction”, and could only be remedied by something like a Chinese or Iranian Cultural Revolution. And that is what the Yellow Vests are essentially calling for.

Until that occurs, I will continue to report honestly: mass arrests, mass trials and mass jailings are an everyday part of French life now.

More blunt language, which is rarely heard in the Mainstream Media: Every Saturday the numbers of people hurtand arrested simply for protesting governmental policies rises by the scores or the hundreds.

Numbers: 8,000+ arrested, 500 major injuries, 2,000+ imprisoned (as of Feb. 14), 1,500+ awaiting trials (Feb. 14), 12 deaths, 20+ blindings, 6 hands lost, 10,000+ rubber bullets fired. If Venezuela reaches 1% of these figures the UN will authorise military intervention.

Rather than make concessions, change policy, or reflect the popular will, the government is using legal repression on top of physical repression to scare people from joining the Yellow Vests – every day newspapers big and small have stories of sentenced Yellow Vesters.

What’s sad is that the majority of those arrested are first-time protesters – they simply didn’t know how to deal with cops, how to avoid cops, and how to demand their rights from bullying cops. It’s not the longtime activists who are in prison, but truly the most innocent and the most desperate. Normally in France a sentence of less than 2 years leads to no prison time – a “suspended sentence” – but not for Yellow Vesters.

France is not a modern democratic nation but a “rubber bullet republic” led by a “liberal strongman”; it’s not new – Yellow Vests are experiencing what Muslims did during the 2-year State of Emergency.

I have only barely discussed the appalling violence, arrests, mass trails and and mass imprisonment of France’s Yellow Vests – these are inflicted by the very cops who Western media repeatedly insist are the greatest heroes of the nation. But only a reactionary believes that – everyone hates the police; only a reactionary hates the Yellow Vests.

The media is to blame: rubber bullets are euphemistically called “flash balls”. They are fired from “defense ball launchers”, which automatically makes protesters the aggressors. Injuries to cops are treated as being equivalent to the injuries of protesters, even though I have never read of a blinded cop, a cop in a coma, a cop killed, 200+ cops with serious head injuries – surely the media would have relayed such stories on a loop. Of course, the protesters are rampaging berserkers, who commit violence with no rhyme or reason, with demands “so varied” that it’s not even worth examining them, and who are not the victims of 8 years of austerity but the “losers” of neoliberal globalisation who lost in a 100% fair fight. Every poll is dissected in a way to show that the Yellow Vests are actually dwindling in popularity, and not that they actually (still) have unprecedented popularity for a protest movement in France. Every defense of the Yellow Vests must begin with a condemnation of “their” violence. Etc.

Act 16 was the tamest one yet… in Paris, that is. Rubber bullets, water cannons, tear gas, mass arrests were still used in the smaller cities more accessible to rural inhabitants. The florist had no cause for alarm that day – except from the riot police.

An article like this will be gleefully put in front of me by border cops the next time I fly into the United States, perhaps. Such an article is not just career suicide for a Mainstream journalist, but it would never get past any editor. However, it’s not like Western cops ever needed justification for their acts of intimidation, humiliation and violence. And maybe the 1% will get me before then – either via a rich person’s decree or their heavily-armed proxies.

This was an article about the horrific police and judicial violence against the Yellow Vests, but it barely touched on it – France’s problems run much deeper than just the past 3+ months.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

French anti-semitism: Macron’s tool to silence Palestinian solidarity

Malia Bouattia is an activist, the former President of the National Union of Students, co-founder of the Students not Suspects/Educators not Informants Network and presenter/panelist on British Muslim TV’s Women Like Us.
By conflating anti-Zionism with anti-semitism, Macron is attempting to shield the government from criticism over its active participation in other forms of racism
People hold up Palestinian flags at a rally in Paris on 16 May 2018 (AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron has committed himself to making anti-Zionism illegal, by making it – legally – equivalent to anti-semitism, and therefore a hate crime.

This announcement follows a verbal attack against French pro-Israeli writer Alain Finkielkraut during a Gilets Jaunes protest, where one demonstrator hurled the words “dirty Zionist”. The confrontation was described as anti-semitic by the president and numerous commentators.

A Jewish cemetery was also vandalised this month with Nazi swastikas, with around 80 graves targeted in the eastern French village of Quatzenheim, while a portrait of French Holocaust survivor Simone Veil was defaced with Nazi imagery.

Targeting political movements

The alarming rise of anti-semitism has plagued not just France, but the whole continent, with far-right groups gaining ground electorally and on the streets. In France alone, anti-Jewish attacks have risen by 74 percent over the last year.

But the problem with the French state’s response – which is not dissimilar to that of other governments, including the UK and US – is that it targets legitimate political movements, rather than dealing with a form of oppression woven into the fabric of French institutions.

It is striking that it is not the far-right and its numerous splinter groups that are being targeted by the president, nor is it the growing normalisation of racist rhetoric, including by the French leader himself.

Racism and fascism are structural forms of oppression that only manifest themselves on the streets because they have been normalised through state institutions

Instead, it is solidarity with the Palestinian people and opposition to Zionism – the ideology that justifies their dispossession – that is made to bear the responsibility.

Macron is showing us exactly what not to do in the face of rising fascism. He is effectively co-opting the rise in anti-semitism to target political dissent in the vein of pro-Palestine, anti-Zionist efforts.

Racism and fascism are structural forms of oppression that only manifest themselves on the streets because they have been legitimised, defused and normalised through state institutions.

Macron is surely aware that in World War Two, anti-semitism, and the consequent dehumanisation of entire peoples, became so widespread only because the Nazi party’s rhetoric gained influence within political institutions.

White-washing history

It is especially rich that Macron is attempting to equate anti-Zionism and anti-semitism when, just a few months ago, he came under fire for defending plans to pay tribute to Nazi collaborator Philippe Petain. Indeed, he claimed it to be legitimate because Petain was a marshal who led the French army to victory a century ago.

While heading the Vichy government, however, Petain and his administration facilitated the deportation to death camps of thousands of Jews. Much of this was later white-washed, with those involved integrated into the postwar administration of the republic.

French President Emmanuel Macron is overseeing the "normalisation of racist rhetoric" (Reuters)
French President Emmanuel Macron is overseeing the “normalisation of racist rhetoric” (Reuters)

The state’s targeting of the entire Gilets Jaunes movement over an isolated incident also discredits efforts to fight racism. The movement, which is non-hierarchical and has been described as leaderless, also includes far-right protesters – a point of much internal political debate in recent months. Anti-racist groups have expressed the need to fight for an inclusive and intersectional space, which is only likely to happen if they are part of the political events, protests and rallies.

There is a recognition at the grassroots level that in a society plagued by racism, it is only normal that even in anti-austerity efforts and among left-wing organisations, reactionary and conservative ideas exist. The difference is that there is a willingness to partake in a process of consciousness-raising, to set the direction of the movement and roll back the growing dominance of racism across French society.

The juxtaposition couldn’t be starker. Anti-racists in France are participating in a mass movement against austerity and taking on reactionary ideas, while the president, who himself has a poor track record on racism, is attempting to capitalise on it to launch a broader assault on solidarity with the Palestinian people.

Cosying up to the far-right

Communities are fearful for their safety. To provide the false illusion that Macron and his counterparts in the UK and US are legislating a fight back is despicable. They are targeting groups with a long-standing history of anti-racism, because they’re also likely to support the anti-imperialist struggle against Israel’s occupation of Palestine.

At the same time, these very same politicians are cosying up to the anti-semitic Hungarian government, the far-right, and individuals such as former White House strategist Steve Bannon. They are putting Jewish communities at risk, while instrumentalising them to justify their attacks on the left and communities of colour, and their foreign policies in the Middle East.

The ‘gilet jaunes’ are uniting France in a rage against Macron’s regime

Read More »

In Britain, we have witnessed the targeting of pro-Palestine efforts through counter-terrorism strategies, including Prevent. This has led to the cancellation of events, the questioning and demonisation of young activists, and threats to make the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement illegal.

In the US, there’s a continued targeting of activists and public figures by groups such as the Canary Mission. The recent swearing-in of Congress representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib was followed by a media onslaught over their support for Palestinian liberation – not to mention the Middle East security bill voted through the US Senate in order to criminalise BDS.

The need to resist

The international pattern is clear. Around the world, the rich and powerful are stoking racism to divert anger about growing inequality and injustice, including the normalisation of far-right groups, individuals and governments. In this process, anti-semitism is re-emerging, including among the very people who are close to power.

Today, the struggle against anti-Zionism is justified by a false conflation with anti-semitism

Yet, it is the left – the pro-Palestine movement and communities of colour – who are being accused by those very same governments around the world.

Today, the struggle against anti-Zionism, justified by a false conflation with anti-semitism, has a triple purpose: to weaken the left at home, shield the government from criticism over its active participation in the rise of anti-semitism and other forms of racism, and hide its geopolitical support for Israel behind a supposed protection for Jewish communities, endangering them in the process. All three aspects should be resisted ferociously.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

Is Macron a puppet and, if yes, whose puppet is he?

Check out this video of Macron at the biggest Zionist event of the year in France, the infamous “CRIF dinner”.  If you don’t now what the CRIF is, do not bother with the Wikipedia article – it’s all sanitized – but think of the French CRIF like (AIPAC+JINSA+ADL+B’nai B’rith)2: all the power of the Israel Lobby in the USA, but squared (yeah, I know, hard to imagine, but true).

Now check out this video: (FYI – the guy holding Macron’s wrist is the CRIF’s President)

Macron: No one can Blacklist A Lebanese Party Represented in the Government

By Staff

French President Emmanuel Macron said that his country has relations with “the political wing of Hezbollah represented in the Lebanese government.”

Macron further added that “no country can put a Lebanese party representing the government on the list of terrorism.”

In a joint press conference with Iraqi President Barham Salih, Macron expressed his happiness that “the US decided to keep US troops in Syria.”

“France continues its efforts to find solutions to the Syrian crisis,” he concluded.

France’s ‘Holy Secular Empire’ slurs Yellow Vests as anti-Semitic, bans anti-Zionism

Source

February 20, 2019

France’s ‘Holy Secular Empire’ slurs Yellow Vests as anti-Semitic, bans anti-Zionism

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

Back in November 2008, Rahm Emmanuel, then president-elect Barack Obama’s chief of staff and later the detested mayor of Chicago, famously told The Wall Street Journal, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. … This crisis provides the opportunity for us to do things that you could not before.” A wave of “socialise the losses” right-wing capitalism followed; millions lost their homes, pensions, jobs, sanity, neighbourhood cohesion, etc.

France is using the anti-establishment crisis of the Yellow Vests in a way that Zionist-supporter Emmanuel certainly approves of: they are using it to criminalise anti-Zionism.

Backtracking from just a day earlier, President Emmanuel Macron threw French liberty under the bus and said that France will now define “anti-Zionism as a modern-day form of anti-Semitism”.

Well I guess I better totally rewrite this article! LOL, not a chance.

France had an atrocious 74% leap in anti-Jewish acts in 2018, which caused nationwide demonstrations against anti-Semitism on February 19.

More against anti-Jew acts… I could not be.

But the demonstrations were a clear manipulation of righteous anti-racism sentiment, because they were orchestrated right alongside an effort to slander the anti-government Yellow Vest movement as a basket of racist, anti-Jewish, hillbilly, intolerant, uncultured deplorables. Now we see they had a second goal, just as I had openly suggested.

Domestic things first: France’s Holy Secular Empire rallies to attack tolerance & democracy

Given that they are calling for the resignation of the president and his cadres, from the very beginning of the Yellow Vest movement the government has obviously done everything they could to portray the Yellow Vests as such… and also as radicals, rioters and rejects of society – anything but legitimate.

But the marches show that (what I refer to as) France’s “Holy Secular Empire” has sprung back into action. The Holy Secular Empire is characterised by pro-French jingoism, intolerance for those who are deemed not tolerant enough of the “correct” things (no matter how morally repugnant and intellectually incorrect said things may be), and a hypocritical subversion of France’s constitutionally mandated and culturally revered laïcité (political secularism) towards all things regarding race and religion only when certain cultural groups are targeted.

The apex of the Holy Secular Empire was the Je Suis Charlie marches in 2015, when fake-leftists worldwide wept for the right to draw a picture of Prophet Mohammad with his butt cheeks spread open and star covering his anus and also Mohammad directing a pornography movie. (Yes, those are among the cartoons they published.)

The arrival of the anti-austerity, anti-neoliberal, anti-EU, anti-Eurozone, anti-1% Yellow Vest movement has forced the HSE’s fake-leftist ideals back to the fore. The last week has seen a massive media and political blitz which aims to instrumentalise the fight against racism as a way to turn public opinion against the Yellow Vests, and eventually put a stop to their marches.

The slur campaign went into overdrive when the atrociously right-wing and pro-Zionist writer Alain Finkielkraut was filmed at the Yellow Vest demonstration on February 16th being insulted (being correctly labelled) with the phrase “dirty Zionist”. Finkielkraut is a former leftist who renounced his leftist ideals for reactionary ones, and such sellouts – those who can perhaps best critique the left because they understood it at one time – are always adored by the 1% and the Mainstream Media.

Firstly, what is Alain Finkielkraut doing at a Yellow Vest march? Of course they hate him – he was similarly booed and shooed away at the leftist, Occupy-inspired Nuit Debout protests in 2016. The French say “once does not make a custom”, but it seems as if every leftist movement can now count on Finkielkraut getting back in the spotlight by annoying them with his presence. Of course, just like in 2016, Finkielkraut wants people to believe in 2019 it’s just anti-Jew hatred, but he clearly refuses to accept that people legitimately resent and detest him for being one of the French’s 1%’s leading intellectual toadies.

I saw Finkielkraut being interviewed on right-wing BFM TV just after the incident: he was doing his usual rear end-kissing of the average Frenchman’s bygone culture. He was going on and on about how the Roman Catholic French Church is a natural ally with the Jews, begging for their support and fraternity… and never mentioning Islam as their third Abrahamic brother. That’s odd, considering that much of the Koran’s very first chapter calls for unity with Jews and Christians, declares that Islam does not discriminate against their apostles and embraces them, how the children of Israel are exalted above other nations, and on and on and on. I asked a Middle Eastern Christian colleague why Finkielkraut didn’t include Islam, considering these obvious facts?

“Ramin,” he said, “why do you think Alain Finkielkraut would commit career suicide?”

LOL, good point. But this is why people on the left hate Finkielkraut – he makes bad things worse by insisting that la belle France réactionnaire doesn’t have to change.

The Finkielkraut episode, combined with a couple recent typical pro-Nazi graffiti taggings, allowed the Mainstream Media to point the finger at the Yellow Vests. Ever obliging, and you cannot make this up: French Parliamentarians rushed to try and ban anti-Zionist speech!

Surprised – why? In 2014, during Israel’s latest war on Gaza, France became the first country to ban pro-Palestinian demonstrations.

Foreign things second: Since when do French politicians care about the French?

Banning anti-Zionism is – without a doubt – truly dangerous for the safety of the French, ruinous for France’s international image, ruinous to France’s cultural values…but since when do French politicians care about France?

The Parliamentarians said the ban debate was on the grounds that “anti-Zionism” is the same as “anti-Semitism”.” For several days this falsity was relayed by every major news organisation with zero comment or a question. Cleary, the Holy Secular Empire is a mighty force, but not an enlightened one.

I am an anti-Zionist Jew

Such a conflation staggers the mind! “Zionism” is an imperialist project based on earthly political ideas – (the inherently racist idea that Jews need to be segregated into their own country); “Judaism” is a religion, based on faith. It has been truly sad to see what a poor job the average journalist, commentator, politician, editor and publisher did by conflating the two over the past week. This is why Yellow Vests hate us journalists, guys and gals.

One can be 100% anti-Zionist and 100% pro-Jew. Indeed, we all must be.

However, the reality is that – for fake-leftists and the Holy Secular Empire – one cannot be both pro-Jew and anti-Zionist… not even if you are a Jew.

Paris-based journalist George Kazolias emailed me this photo from the huge “Hipsters Against Anti-Jews” march at Place de la République in Paris on February 19. His sign reads, “I am Jewish and anti-Zionist”. Kazolias, who has decades of experience and whose integrity is unquestionable, told me that this intelligent young man was roughed up and forced to take his sign down.

That is the Holy Secular Empire at its finest: they claim to be anti-racist, but only when certain races are involved. “The Palestinians – not today, pal: you need to take a backseat to the Zionists right now. Frankly, let’s just ban anti-Zionism altogether.” They claim to be politically modern, and yet they support an imperialist project for which there is no doubt about who is in the wrong and who is in the right. They claim to be tolerant and demand that you be tolerant for their preferred groups, but they are willing to rough up a brave dissenter who dares to express a contrarian opinion (even when that dissenter is a member of the group being affected).

Surprised that France’s Holy Secular Empire is neither Holy (it is anti-Holy), nor Secular (it is incredibly partisan), but, like all Empires, based on illegitimate, anti-democratic force?

The surprise comes from the false, mainstream idea that France is what they say they are: a beacon of free speech, the world’s greatest adherents of the right to open debate on political issues, a fighter for truth, tolerance and other human rights… but it’s mostly for human rights which do very little to advance socioeconomic & political equality but which certainly allow the rich to express themselves unfettered in West European / Liberal Democratic / bourgeois systems.

Why the backtracking by Macron? I thought he was pro-Nazi? Let’s not forget that last November Macron was forced to call off his planned tribute to Vichy France leader and Nazi collaborator Marshall Petain – that makes him more responsible for the recent spike in anti-Jewish acts than anyone, no? People follow the lead of the leader, and he praised Nazi-era France.

From the beginning I openly said on social media that the timing of the marches made their legitimacy even more suspect: they were the night before the French President’s annual genuflecting before CRIF, the umbrella of Jewish groups which serves as France’s influential Jewish lobby. I felt bad for France’s Jews – the timing of these marches already seemed more like political manipulations which aimed to culminate in the criminalisation of anti-Zionism, but the timing helped perpetuate the idea that Jews are overly powerful among the French elite.

The annual genuflecting also shows that, while individual and anecdotal violence against Jews needs far steeper penalties in France, on the institutional level France’s Jews are not just well-represented but punching above their weight: there is no similar annual genuflecting by the French president at an French Muslim organisation, even though Muslims are 10 times the number of Jews in France. Each new French president even has the gall to create their own, preferred “new, improved, Franco-Muslim group”, which no Muslim takes remotely seriously but which the Mainstream Media takes as, LOL, legitimate.

Macron made his backtracking at the CRIF dinner. Ugh…bad for Jews, bad for France, bad for Palestinians, bad for those who oppose terrorism in France (i.e everyone) and on and on.

Global things third: we still have the Yellow Vests, at least. Also: I hate Zionism

Call the cops on me….

The reality is that mainstream journalists simply won’t stand up for the difference between Zionism and anti-Semitism – even if brave Jews like that one in the photo do – and even if such inaccuracies hurt the image of the everyday Jew.

But such is the effectiveness of Israeli hasbara, counter-information propaganda aimed at Western audiences, that even the word “Jew” cannot be broached. The Western concept that the word “Jew” is somehow a racial slur was hilariously lampooned by the US TV show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

And it affected this article, too: I thought the title should be, “France’s ‘Holy Secular Empire’ slurs Yellow Vests as anti-Jew, bans anti-Zionism” – and why not? It’s shorter, and I like to pretend that column inches still matter in digital media. It’s also more accurate: “Semitic” is a language – meaning the branch which includes Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic – yet it has been appropriated/given to the adherents of Judaism, regardless of national origin, for so long that the average person now associates “Semite” solely with Jews.

For example, I just had a fine English colleague proofread my upcoming book, Socialism’s Ignored Success Story: Iranian Islamic Socialism, and in one part I discussed out how the “non-Semitic Iranians” might have been predisposed to disagree with certain early Islamic leaders who pushed pro-Arab, and thus ethnically sectarian, policies. This intelligent journalist noted in red next to “the non-Semitic Iranians” the following: “?”. LOL, I changed it, because this is even more of a lost cause than my effort to use “Southwest Asian” instead of the Eurocentric “Middle East”. And I changed the headline because I thought that many half-hearted anti-racists would see “anti-Jew” and hysterically think, “I am too turned off to click on this link – the language is too harsh. The writer must be a nut.”

The mistake made by that young anti-Zionist Jew – who is my brother from another mother – is that he went to the wrong demonstration that night: he went to the fake-leftist / hipster / bobo (bourgeois bohémien) / politician photo-op / pro-Zionist / anti-Yellow Vest demonstration at Place de la République, when he should have been with me at Ménilmontant in the Arab part of town.

I covered that demonstration for PressTV. It was organised by the Union of French Jews for Peace, a wonderful group I have interviewed for years. Heck, some of the very best pro-Palestinian activists in France are Jewish! That is where this young man belonged. The protest was expressly against all racism and expressly against the attempt to slur the Yellow Vests as anti-Semitic.

We numbered about 700 people, with plenty of Yellow Vests, and we garnered far less media coverage (in FrenchAt Ménilmontant, a demonstration of real anti-racists’ against anti-Semitism), but plenty of Israeli hasbara. The Times of Israel headline read, “At Ménilmontant a man yelled ‘Netanyahu licks the (rear end) of Hitler”. If this is how they treat those who are protesting against anti-Semitism, imagine how they treat Palestinians, LOL….

As usual, the people I interviewed there put it better than I could, even though that’s my job:

The Yellow Vests are not ethnic nor religious – they are social, political and fiscal. These are workers who work yet still can’t pay their bills at the end of the month, even though France is such a rich country. If there are anti-Jews in the Yellow Vests, well, 58% of the country supports the Yellow Vests, which equates to 39 million people: out of 39 million people you will find some jerks, and also some racists, but the slurring of the Yellow Vests as anti-Jew is only because the establishment and their toadies will do anything to stop the Yellow Vest movement… which will absolutely not stop.

It won’t stop because, as I wrote at the very beginning of the movement: there is simply no political pathway for the Yellow Vests’ political ideas to be implemented. Therefore, they have no choice but to continue because political demands aren’t whims, but are almost implacably formed over time – in this case, eight years of far-right economic austerity. Yellow Vests can only turn to other Yellow Vests.

At the big demonstration at Place de la République there were 20,000 people – this is a very rare instance of a demonstration in France not being obviously undercounted by authorities; many put the official numbers of the Saturday Yellow Vests at 1/3rd the official total.

But I wasn’t going to to République to celebrate the fake-leftist idea of anti-racism, even though most everyone else did. You had Catholic bishops there, even though they are supposed to not get involved in political demonstrations; you had Francois Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy; you had plenty of attractive, young, hip people in the very heart of hipster Paris. What’s certain is that everyone was breaking their arms patting each other (and themselves) on the back for being so very progressive, tolerant, modern and leftist.

That made it really quite similar to the largest ever gatherings of the Holy Secular Empire: the 4-million person marches after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, which was at Place de la République too. I was there doing my usual dissident thing in very unwelcoming environment, LOL, and back then what all those fake-leftists hemmed and hawed about was the answer to this simple question: “How is drawing a cartoon of Prophet Mohammad bent over, with his butt cheeks spread, and a star over his anus, or a cartoon of Mohammad filming a porn movie not inflammatory / impolite/ dangerous / racist / Islamophobic / yelling “fire “in a crowded theater?” Fake-leftists still have no answer for that, of course, but they marched just the same and got teary over the sacred glories of French “liberty”.

Real leftists said, “Well, political science ain’t science, so like can attract like here: that stuff is dangerous and reactionary so I’m not surprised who they ran into….”

Another iteration of the media wing of the HSE was on the very day of the 2017 presidential election: French fake-leftist newspaper nonpareil Libération knowingly broke a law insisting on media neutrality just prior to elections by printing a cover which read, “Do what you want but vote Macron”.

This is way I imagined the paper’s budget meeting that day: the hysterical female journalists and the namby-pamby male journalist at Libé (or the namby-pamby female journalists and the hysterical male journalists – that’s fine by me) were sitting around their meeting room table and swearing before their atheistic god that they simply could not risk democracy taking place without fetters; their technocratic creed and noblesse oblige forced them – Gandhi-like – to flout the law in order to save the establishment from the far-right Marine Le Pen… even if that meant putting in the far-right (economically) Macron (who is also now a far-right imperialist, too). If history judged their efforts not the equal of Gandhi’s, Libération had but one choice: to formalise and protect a caste system, also like Gandhi.

The Yellow Vests do not believe that “Jews are secretly in charge” – what they oppose is the continuation of this caste culture, which allows high finance, careerist politicians and hipster Parisians to be the only ones writing public policy.

The Yellow Vests, I’m sure, are majority pro-Palestinian, but I’m even more sure that they view this banning of Zionism as a truly dangerous distraction which will not keep them from relying on food banks at the end of the month.

Those slurs won’t stick, but the Yellow Vests will – more marches are certain. Jews welcome… but only if they are Yellow Vest sympathisers – this is a class-based political movement, of course! Practitioners of identity politics will never be welcome.

As far as Macron… ugh. You have not failed to disappoint, and I openly expected you to be worse than Marine Le Pen, who is terrible. Macron proves, once again, that capitalism-imperialism is far worse than (and is the cause of) racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, sectarianism, etc.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television. He can be reached on Facebook.

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