AMERICA FAILS PANDEMIC STRESS TEST

05.06.2020 

South Front

America Fails Pandemic Stress Test

Written by J.Hawk exclusively for SouthFront

It is well established in scholarly literature on international conflict that whenever a country behaves in an erratic, aggressive manner, it is nearly always a reflection of deep-seated internal social, political, and economic problems which the country’s leadership is unable or unwilling to address. United States is an example of what happens when that country is a superpower facing not only international decline, but also internal decay. Zbigniew Brzezinski infamously described the Soviet Union as “Upper Volta with rockets”. That was never a fair comparison, since USSR lacked the massive pockets of poverty, social exclusion, and downright police repression that the United States boasts. Likewise the Soviet health care system could have coped with a pandemic better than the US one or even the current Russian Federation one. Today’s America, however, is that country Brzezinski spoke about. Expanding its global influence through direct, proxy, and hybrid wars became the most attractive policy tool intended to restore the health of the US economy which, since the end of the Cold War, was kept alive mainly by extremely permissive monetary policies of the US Federal Reserve which in the end inflated several stock market bubbles. Even today the Federal Reserve’s main concern is keeping the Dow Jones rally going, because a collapse on the markets would permanently cripple the US economy.

This is Philly around 5:30 today. There is just no defense for this behavior. At all.


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However, at risk of mixing metaphors, an economy built on equity bubbles is a house of card that will collapse at the slightest shock. COVID-19 proved to be that shock, a “Black Swan” event that has been predicted for many years  that would precipitate a radical transformation of domestic political systems and of the balance of power in the international system. The pandemic became a test of not just public health systems, but of the strength of each country’s economy, the cohesion of its society, and the ability of its government to govern. Even though we are still in the early stages of the crisis, we can already see that some states are passing the test (so far) with flying colors, while others are being wracked by internal turmoil. To quote Warren Buffett, when the tide recedes you see who has been swimming naked. The United States has been revealed to be quite wardrobe-challenged in this instance.

America Fails Pandemic Stress Test

The callous slow-motion torture and murder of George Floyd in the Democratic Party stronghold of Minneapolis by four police officers with long histories of brutality against ethnic minorities was the spark that ignited the powder keg of US race relations. It certainly did not help that the United States created forty million new unemployed and failed to provide them with adequate financial support, due to the infamously miserly US social safety net. And just as COVID-19 is disproportionately lethal to US ethnic minorities who suffer from a higher level of underlying medical conditions due to poverty, malnutrition, and stress, so did the job losses disproportionately affect African Americans. The average black worker does not “work from home” on his laptop computer. Rather, the average black worker is employed in food service, hospitality, and retail, all of which have been crushed by the pandemic and, especially, the lockdown measures. It is no wonder that the conservatives wanted to “re-open” the economy as quickly as possible. Chasing millions of African Americans back to their menial jobs, even when it involved them facing greater risk of infection and death, would at least deprive them of the free time they have available to protest.


Just about an hour ago, police officers shove man in Niagara Square to the ground (WARNING: Graphic). Video from: @MikeDesmondWBFO


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The Fuel

The speed with which the protests spread across the country, affecting every state and most large cities, is a reflection of the universality of the problem that the events in Minneapolis revealed. In the face of slow-motion economic collapse and the destruction of the American middle class, the US political system at both state and federal levels has subtly but effectively sought to shift the economic pain to the minorities, in order to preserve the standard of living of the white middle class on whose support the legitimacy of the US political and economic system still rests. The armed white militias that protested at several state legislatures only a month earlier are an expression of that fear. The “don’t tread on me” Gadsden Flags quite clearly express who is to be tread upon, and who is not. They are a warning that should US elites attempt to economically marginalize the white middle class, they may expect a forceful response. The weak police response to law-breaking perpetrated by armed white militias was not lost on most commentators, either. But these politics of “economic triage” where the pain is shifted to the communities of color also implies the need for heavy-handed police repression which US police forces are all too happy to deliver. US law enforcement should not be seen as a collection of politically-neutral guardians of law and order. Rather, it skews heavily toward the right, even the far-right, and it is no surprise that Donald Trump enjoys the overwhelming support of American police unions and organizations. While these trends were evident for the last decade at least, since the 2008 crisis to which the US government never found an adequate response, the pandemic accelerated it to the point of the tensions and grievances finally boiling over.

The Firehose

Whenever a fire breaks out, it is ultimately either put out or burns itself out due to lack of fuel. It is doubtful this is going to burn itself out on its own, given that the US law enforcement is now providing more provocation with its heavy-handed tactics on daily basis, and moreover neither the pandemic nor the economic crisis are going anywhere any time soon. Since the United States is now in the throes of domestic unrest not seen since the days of Vietnam War, it raises the question of what is to be done about it? Which leaders, which policies, might definitively address the grievances of the masses?

We can safely say Donald Trump will not be the one, because to the extent he is wielding a fire hose, it seems to be mostly spraying gasoline on the fire. Literally every action, every statement, every tweet, has served to polarize and exacerbate the problems. It may be Trump is doing this deliberately, hoping to replicate Richard Nixon’s “silent majority” strategy, an idea that is supported by Trump himself tweeting these words. Yes, the riots polarize, but the hope is that, when the smoke clears, Trump’s half is the bigger of the two and, like Nixon, he secures his re-election. Richard Nixon won his re-election by a landslide, even though after the fact almost nobody admitted ever voting for him. However, few things motivate voting for conservatives in the US more than the sight of black rioters and looters.

Of course, the problem Trump faces here is that Joe Biden has impeccable “law and order” credentials, complete with the ability to “dog whistle” to white conservatives. Biden, after all, is the politician who said in the 1970s he did not want his children to “grow up in a racial jungle”, and his support of anti-crime legislation which led to the mass incarceration of African-Americans in the last few decades suggests he is willing to put his money where his mouth is. Thanks to his role as Obama’s vice president, he also has certain sway among the African American community that has served him well in the primaries and obscured his previous racist record. But in the end Biden is no Obama, whose combination of personality and politics was just enough to keep America from blowing up. Biden does not have the same combination, and moreover he is presiding over an economic catastrophe that will not be as easy to rectify by throwing money at banks the way the 2008 crisis was.

The one politician who correctly identifies both problems and solutions and who also commands considerable popular support, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, has been effectively sidelined by the Democratic Party which is utterly uninterested in adopting policies of economic and social justice. It means that, in the longer term, America will move toward greater police repression which will be far more easily accepted by the white public when it is done during a Biden presidency. Given that neither Biden’s nor Obama’s public appearances were effective at demobilizing the protests, it means the United States is facing the prospect of its own Yellow Vest-style uprising, namely a continuous low-level anti-government uprising that will ebb and flow but never entirely disappear.

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Rebellions across the US: Why worry? Just ask Dr. Fauci to tell us what to do

Rebellions across the US: Why worry? Just ask Dr. Fauci to tell us what to do

June 02, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

The headline says it all – why even write the article? Journalism has – of course, and with universal unanimity – become merely the relaying of the statements of Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Fauci is not just an immunologist – he’s an economist, historian, judge, legislator (national, state, county, city and village), manufacturer, landlord, employer, son, daughter, mother, lawyer for both the prosecutor and the defense, employee, renter and, though he blushes when forced to admit it, also the Holy Father worshipped as God by several billion people currently and for a few thousand years.

How should we run the economy? Ask Fauci.

How should prayers be held? Ask Fauci.

How should teachers teach? Ask Fauci.

So what on earth needs to be done about the rebellions taking place across the US other than – ask Fauci?

Why should I desist in writing this way? It has been over four months of Fauci-worship in the US and you can’t just turn that off – it’s not like an economy.

Fauci is the pinnacle of the Western belief that socialism’s “Serve the People” should be replaced with “Serve the wealthy technocrat”. Fauci’s ideas have had more effect on today’s American than Henry Ford multiplied by Abraham Lincoln raised to the power of jazz.

My God, I wish I could I see just one Chinese Cultural Revolution-style public interrogation of a mainstream media journalist about what on earth were they thinking when they unskeptically ran from Fauci’s press conferences to frog march everyone off to the phony, unwinnable coronavirus war, which has now resulted in the current US wave of rebellions.

Frankly, I blame myself for this mess. Somehow – though the how is not determined – my placement in the media class makes me feel culpable for their errors. Somehow, I could have out-shouted them all, or should at least have taken the batteries out of their microphones.

This is not a nonsense article you are reading – it is merely there reflection of there being too many newsworthy things to discuss, and it comes after some 2.5 months of too many newsworthy things to discuss, read and write about. Thus, this column is simply an accurate reflection of everyone’s current state in the US: burnt out, fed up and quite, quite content if the Apocalypse/Day of Resurrection should arrive this afternoon.

Let’s compare the rebellion, police response and media coverage with the Yellow Vests in France – considering that I seem to have been the “mainstream” media member most often at those protests (incredibly, this is true not just for English-language journalists but French-language journalists as well), I have seen all this before and am practically obligated to at least put my stupid two cents out there.

Naaah… to hell with it.

And thus I have just perfectly captured the US zeitgeist: a lousy world is burning, and… what else did they expect? Why should I do anything about it? Hell, not only are the protesters right, but they are long overdue! I am not getting unemployment but I don’t see any reason to go back to work right now, too.

How about that siege of the CNN headquarters in Atlanta? You know that everyone in CNN and all their colleagues were like, “Wait… the average person actually doesn’t like us and slavishly follow our great opinions?” Hahahahahahahahahahahahhahaahaha – what clueless jerks! Did you see how that CNN reporter who got arrested put up ZERO verbal resistance to the cops? Wow, uh, that was a LOT of compliance towards lawbreaking authorities – but that’s how you get that CNN gig; that reporter couldn’t make it in France, that’s for sure. What am I saying – they’d make somebody as compliant as him editor in chief! I feel obligated to write a column on all that, but:

Naaah… to hell with it.

It’s a crazy thought and one I don’t mean but: how many people are currently wishing that millions of people had actually died of coronavirus – then at least then all this economic depression, emotional depression, political depression/repression (and none of those things are even close to being finished) sparked by the Great Lockdown would have at least been “worth it”.

I want to hear it from the mouth of the oracle himself: did Fauci expect unprecedented rebellion to occur as a result of his insanely stupid corona lockdown? Because it did.

Does Fauci still think the biggest public discussion we need to have is about ending the cultural practice of shaking hands, which he famously said he wants to ban?

Will Fauci apologise for any of this?

Get the dunce caps and call the farmers: a hundred thousand low-wage manure spreaders should soon be coming to help out with the crops, and Fauci’s gotta be among them because he needs to get over his germ-phobia. It’s Cultural Revolution time!

“Black man killed by cop in America” is not at all front page news. Fifty people got shot in Chicago over this month’s 3-day Memorial Day weekend – I’m sure 95% of them were Black – and that was not front page news either, and not even in Chicago’s own media! So in response to the rebellions: good! How are those things NOT headlines? Fifty people in one city?! Again?!

The US Mainstream Media is trying to explain the rebellions solely with a lens of race and police violence, but police violence towards Blacks is so routine it’s not at all front page news, sadly. The larger analysis reveals: it’s the Great Lockdown, stupid, and the Everything Bubble 2 economy it popped.

America is a totally, totally screwed up society and for political-moral reasons. That is not a religious condemnation – it is a simple analysis which well over 100 million Americans (at least) certainly agree with. They are the ones protesting tonight, and they will be protesting when the unemployment runs out on August 1, and hopefully they will protesting before and after that as well.

“No justice, no peace” is a really dumb political slogan: Black people and the lower classes never get justice, and they have advocated peace for not just decades but centuries and… it hasn’t worked – it will never work in a capitalist-imperialist system and in a liberal democracy which only protects aristocratic privileges. Due to the forced political dis-education of the average American their political ideas and slogans are woefully, woefully unmodern, outdated and clearly ineffective. This all seems like an idea for a column.

Naaah… to hell with it.

There’s just too much to talk about. Gonna be a long, hot post-Great Lockdown summer.

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Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20,

2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26,

2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 2020

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona – May 13, 2020

France’s nurses march – are they now deplorable Michiganders to fake-leftists? – May 15, 2020

Why haven’t we called it ‘QE 5’ yet? And why we must call it ‘QE 2.1’ instead – May 16, 2020

‘Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty public servant!’ That’s Orwell? – May 17, 2021

The Great Lockdown: The political apex of US single Moms & Western matriarchy? May 21, 2021

I was wrong on corona – by not pushing for a US Cultural Revolution immediately – May 25, 2021

August 1: when the unemployment runs out and a new era of US labor battles begin – May 28, 2021

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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. He is the author of the books Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

I was wrong on corona – by not pushing for a US Cultural Revolution immediately

I was wrong on corona – by not pushing for a US Cultural Revolution immediately

May 26, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

Since the West’s Great Lockdown started I’ve been warning the West that they can’t do it – a capitalist-imperialist system cannot do an immediate 180 and copy China, Iran, Vietnam and others. I gave so many reasons why that was a catastrophically bad idea:

The “sports-journalisation” of their media, the unbloody flag of Y2K, counting on Germany as “reliable partners”, the perilous idea that social media users should constitute a vanguard party, a corona response shaped by middle-class mediocrity would have been acceptable if there was any middle class left in the West, only Black Nationalists picked up on my phrase “the Great Segregation”, a gratuitous use of the word “Michigander”, a polite suggestion that widespread American matriarchy may promote the hysterical acceptance of any idea that springs to mind, the fact that if the Western 1% would collude to start World War One isn’t it possible they would conspire to create a Great Lockdown, and a couple dozen others.

I certainly persuaded myself the Great lockdown should end, at least!

However, it turns out I’m a really bad revolutionary: Instead of gleefully putting my boot heel on the forehead of the corona-felled West and calling for immediate and violent revolution I kept giving them ideas which were aimed to help them avoid pushing their society into Great Depression II-levels of joblessness, starvation and stagflation.

In essence I was yelling, “Stagflation is not some word that I made up! You should really reconsider trying to be like China overnight because there is no Mandarin for ‘Great Recession’!”

Listen to me… giving fair warning to the capitalist-imperialist enemy. What a softie I am! What a phony!

If there’s one thing the last 20 years of Western history has taught me it’s this – blaming Islam is always an acceptable explanation for mistakes: I have taken to heart too much that a Muslim’s duty is only to warn others (this is why Islam has no missionaries).

Well, it’s time for forcible conversion! Unveil the American Cultural Revolution!

Corona will unveil the American Cultural Revolution

Look: I was wrong – it’s all over for the West now.

It was over before it even started because capitalism-imperialism is no way to run a cultural bloc, but I gave enough fair warning in May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops.

The US, the leader of the West, has 43 million unemployed, which is undercounting, around 42% of whom aren’t going to be rehired for years, who already had lousy jobs which were underemployment and not full employment, which provided lousy and stagnant wages, which is hardest on a youth class who can no longer be distracted by taking pictures of and dissecting the different flavours of their avocado toasts because the avocados are all being dumped into a ravine to keep prices down by a farmer who is only a few months from suicide.

Hertz, JC Penny, Pier 1 many other top retailers and countless restaurants already have something in common with the lilies in the field described in Matthew 6:28 – Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not. Who can toil for not just bread but the credit card interest charged for that bread when bankruptcies of Biblical proportions have only just begun?

Bankruptcies lead to job loss; job loss leads to hunger and foreclosure; hunger and foreclosure leads to asking for government handouts; Anglo-American liberal economics’ refusal to give government handouts leads to endemic poverty and suffering; endemic poverty and suffering is proof that your favourite sociopolitical system sucks.

Stop pretending that the capitalists of any school have solutions to this – “letting capitalism run its course” via non-interventions is not just immoral and heartless but unpatriotic treachery: you prefer to maintain the fiction that your favourite sociopolitical system doesn’t suck rather than feeding your neighbor?! I am no promoter of “culture with American characteristics”, but at least I tried to warn them to avoid starvation, murder and chaos.

The US is, without the slightest exaggeration, now encountered with a fatal paradox: The only way to save “capitalism with US characteristics” is to immediately take public action to save it, but the actions required to save “capitalism with US characteristics” would destroy the system of “capitalism with US characteristics” beyond recognition.

The leftist opportunity provided by corona lockdowns – you’ll HAVE TO talk politics now

What we have now is a situation where people have the time to complete the single-most necessary task which precedes revolutionary change: talking seriously to each other about politics, and demanding the other person either admit to hard choices or get out of the way.

Since 1980 the hyperfinancialisation of the US economy enabled credit-based materialism on an incredible scale, and this mad scramble of work-buy-sleep-repeat has come to a temporary end – this is a great boon. This forced break is the greatest gift coronavirus is giving the US – it’s like a Ramadan they never had.

Let’s assume there’s a second wave, and a Great Lockdown II, or at least many other hysterical shutterings of auto plants and schools after one new corona case is found, and a real stop-and-start quality to life for the next 12 months or so. This should require more “People’s QE”, but it definitely means that Americans will be forced to often stay at home and really talk – via Zoom or the telephone or in person while being masked – about how outdated and aristocratically-rigged the Western liberal system is and how it needs to be changed, to modernise, to progress for the better.

Basically, the short- and medium-term conditions are spectacularly ripe for Cultural Revolution across the West.

There is no V-shaped recovery – they actually did this stupid thing I warned them not to – and you can reliably count on there being favourable conditions for fomenting leftist dissent until at least 2023.

Beyond the certainty of slow-drip economic disaster – corona is the pin which has popped the West’s Everything Bubble II economy – what’s so unique about this era is that we all have so much more time at home to stew about bad politics. So very many will be doing this without any stew, or only on barebones government-provided stew, but that is precisely what a Cultural Revolution is: stewing and arguing over what form our obviously-broken society must take from now on.

This is what happened in a China where revolutionary spirit was dwindling and mutating into a city-based elitism, as well as in an Iran which had declared non-allegiance to both the East and West despite having no modern Muslim political-cultural example to model themselves on.

Corona is doing what the Yellow Vests did – forcing open a space for honest political dialogue, finally

The simplest way to explain it is to put it in Western cultural terms: what France’s Yellow Vests are demanding is a French Cultural Revolution in order to expand democracy’s reach into the lower classes, something aristocratic Western liberal democracy has never achieved, nor even aimed to. – the parallel with 1960s China and 1980s Iran could not be more clear… if the West wasn’t so hell-bent on distorting those two eras, as well as distorting the Yellow Vests, too.

The Yellow Vests aren’t going to get revolution – such is the power of the modern aristocratic forces arrayed against them. Similarly, despite all the guns in private hands, the US is even less ripe for a modern revolution due to the 40 years of enforced political ignorance and political apathy that I described.

However, just as the Yellow Vests forced open a new space for honest political talk in France, the consequences of the Great Lockdown will create the space for honest political talk in the US.

The fall of the dollar, ‘Liberty or Boogaloo’, true cultural revolution – these things appear far-fetched to honestly expect (at least in late May 2020), but we can realistically expect that corona’s popping of Everything Bubble II will dramatically change the US political dialogue, like the Yellow Vests certainly did in France.

I have obviously reassessed my editorial line – no more warning, because the fight is over: the corona overreaction has knocked Western capitalism-imperialism to the canvas and it will remain floored for at least 2-3 years.

So if there was ever a time where an American could say openly, “You know, I’m not sure if those socialists ever had a single good idea, but I do know our system has definitely lost its way,” and not worry about being all alone in saying that – it is today and during the now-certain era of economic hardship.

“Our system has lost its way” is the ubiquitous, mantric phrase which always indicates the coming of revolution.

However, I’m certain that if Lenin was around in May 2020 he would do what he did between the twin revolutions of February and October 1917 – he would have forbidden the Bolshevik Party to take power because cultural conditions were not yet ripe. The capitalist-imperialist Americans (and French) are so very impressed with their own cultures that true revolution is not yet possible.

It’s fun and interesting to read a journalist write that revolutionary changes are on our doorstep already – I don’t think such journalists are personally familiar with revolution. We can’t even know just how bad it’s going to be until the West actually opens up, but after all this Great Lockdown we do know this: it’s going to be quite, quite bad for them.

Would Americans fiscally blow up America rather than go somewhat socialist for the benefit of their own 99%? This is more than just the topic for an upcoming column – it’s the question of the corona-crisis/Great Depression II era.

In whatever sense this means to you: corona is not going away. Its presence will be viscerally felt for the coming months and few years – now is the time, finally, when Americans will be receptive to the case made by true leftism.

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Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26,

2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 2020

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona – May 13, 2020

France’s nurses march – are they now deplorable Michiganders to fake-leftists? – May 15, 2020

Why haven’t we called it ‘QE 5’ yet? And why we must call it ‘QE 2.1’ instead – May 16, 2020

‘Take your stinking paws off me, you damned, dirty public servant!’ That’s Orwell? – May 17, 2021

The Great Lockdown: The political apex of US single Moms & Western matriarchy? May 21, 2021

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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. He is the author of the books Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

France’s nurses march – are they now deplorable Michiganders to fake-leftists?

France’s nurses march – are they now deplorable Michiganders to fake-leftists?

May 15, 2020

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

(Hey hey, my new book is out today! Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism. Buy a copy for yourself and 50 of your closest friends and Iranophobic/Islamophobic/socialism-phobic enemies.)

On May 14 France’s nurses held a protest march in Paris despite ongoing fears about coronavirus — so are they no longer rightly-guided heroes but far-right neo-fascists now?

For several months we’ve been banging pots in gratitude and watching corporations praise them in TV ads but – there they are: gathering in public, not really keeping 2 meters between each other, demanding economic policy changes, defying the advice of their well-paid bosses and generally being very, very bad children who should go straight to bed after dinner.

France’s medical staff won’t be infantilised and have no time for jokes – they are tired of enduring economic hardship and poor working conditions.

Those with overprotective parents claimed the Great Lockdown was to save just one life, but the most common justification among mature adults was to avoid overwhelming medical systems – in France they failed to heed years of public protests saying exactly that.

Excepting the Yellow Vests, nobody in France has protested more in the past couple years than medical staff – austerity has gutted a medical system which in 2000 was ranked number one in the world. I got tired of covering them. My Sputnik Français colleagues hid the tedium of our job as far as the second paragraph: “… protested in order to denounce a lack of resources. It’s a demand which is far from new.” But, you know, people gotta listen to the protesters, so work has us back on the streets again….

Had people listened earlier, France would have far fewer dead grandparents today.

In the US people were explicitly told by Western journalists to not listen to the first anti-Great Lockdown protests, in Michigan. I immediately supported the protesters (in We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state?) because, you know – we’re trying to have a democracy here. However, the fake-leftist media looked on them with loathing and terror – calling them irresponsible, science-stupid, selfish, death-crazed, martyrdom-seeking, dangerous curmudgeons and neighbors who would not loan you a cup of sugar.

So the same applies to these French nurses, right?

You would accuse them of being nonchalant about corona? (Or is their crime that they aren’t single-mindedly obsessed with corona enough?)

We can’t really say, because there is no mention of the protesting nurses in Western media, or even in French state foreign-language media. From a mixed economy model to these nurses – more of “the French bad example”.

The widespread insulting of Michiganders refused to take into account their economic situation and the fact that their type of state put them in such a vulnerable position. A stunning 25% of their workers had just become jobless, so why wouldn’t they be demonstrating to get the government’s attention? On top of that their governor imposed an extremely harsh stay-at-home order, as though this was something routine for Michiganders instead of being a (hysterical, economically-suicidal overreaction) shocking, unprecedented first which is undoubtedly more restrictive on movement than being sentenced to house arrest for having committed a serious crime.

Do I think France’s nurses are heroes? Not really – I never asked them to do my job and stand at the front lines during the Yellow Vest protests and do live interviews, giving a big target for the rubber bullets. But, then again, my local garbagemen never asked me to heroically hoist refuse cans for decades even though it’s hardly fun and statistically likely to lead to an early death. And no housewife ever asked me to take care of the kids for even one month, and that seems harder than being a garbageman. Am I a curmudgeon or conceited? No, when one accepts socialism one can’t help but view all workers are equal (capitalists never enjoy this feeling). We all deserve our 15 minutes of fame, I suppose, but caring about fame is decidedly not heroism.

But the kiddies do need heroes, so should the West start cheering: “Nurses are our heroes – except French nurses!”

There is a very worrying outcome of the recent hero worship of medical practitioners: more doctors are now entering politics. The problem with this is simple: you can’t tell a doctor anything – they are the world’s worst-know-it-alls/sufferers from God complexes. They march into a room, quite late, hand down a diagnosis with absolute certainty, which then turns out to be wrong and kills you later (CNBC: The third-leading cause of death in US most doctors don’t want you to know about), but not before you are debt-yoked to a hugely inflated bill, and then doctors imperiously march into the next room and do the same thing all over again. This is NOT a mentality conducive to the consensus-building demanded by democracy.

Well, that’s in socialist-inspired democracy. In liberal democracy technocrats rule with executive decrees, so look for more doctors in office – they can afford to campaign, after all. Thus, “the recent hero worship of medical practitioners” isn’t going to lead to sensible, humble, hard-working nurses to get into office in the West – liberal democracy systematically puts the rich into office.

‘Liberty or boogaloo’? God bless America!

The coronavirus has really laid bare how dictatorial and anti-democratic their executive-dominated system really is, no? What checks and balances, much less public opinion reflected in public policy?

Across the country governors (the presidents of states) have imposed lockdowns without a single legislative vote of approval (at least that I can find). Michigan’s governor, a front-runner to be Biden’s vice-president, seems disturbingly rankled by the existence of other elected officials: Gov. Whitmer blasts Michigan Legislature for meeting during stay-at-home order, says she will veto power-limiting bills. Historically, this trend towards executive decree “began” with Dubya Bush and the Patriot Act, but that’s an inaccurate and sentimental reading of Western liberal democratic history. However, it clearly has become de rigeur across the West, and especially in Hollande/Macron France.

Wisconsin has become the first state, finally, whose judicial branch finally got involved and struck down their governor’s unilateral decree. (What’s amazing is how the Mainstream Media coverage of this was nothing but political sniping – Republicans undermining Democrats – from the very lede sentence.)

If there really are checks and balances in Western liberal democracy they are non-existent or move too slow. The reality is that judges in general are overwhelmingly hyper-conservative and in a non-revolutionary nation do nothing but defend the status quo – why has no judge interceded to prevent the weekly mauling of the Yellow Vests, for example?

(The Vesters will be out there this Saturday, of course, but we already knew what naughty children they are. I wonder if the media will cover it? If they do I doubt they will cover them two weeks in a row.)

It was historically predictable that Michigan and Wisconsin are the first to demand their rights – the Midwest has historically been the hotbed of American “progressivism” (but they still can’t say socialist over there). The state of Missouri was the first to sue China which, LOL, is misguided but at least they are sticking up for residents of the “Show-Me State”. Texas is semi-Midwestern, and non-Americans would expect them to be the first to resist for their sovereign rights, but Texans mostly just talk a lot – like Dubya Bush: all (cowboy) hat and no cattle.

By far the most delightful, “only in America” news item actually comes from the incredibly unfunky state of New Hampshire – “armed demonstrators passed out ‘Liberty or Boogaloo’ fliers at a statehouse protest”. You must be a fake-leftist if you can’t support that, LOL!

I know that when my liberty feels too infringed I immediately break out my best boogaloo dance – it works surprisingly well. I have a “Where’s My Bailout?” t-shirt from 2008 – I need a “Liberty or Boogaloo” t-shirt to sartorially commemorate the Great Lockdown. I really have to question the alleged superiority of the American entrepreneur when I cannot yet find such a t-shirt for sale?

Western journalists have thrown away skepticism during corona, except towards protesters

French nurses go against the script and thus they get ignored, but most often anti-corona hysteria protesters just get discredited.

The reality back in April was that the Michigan gun-wavers were just a small fringe group – the overwhelming majority of protesters stayed in their car as it was primarily an “auto protest”. The Mainstream Media focused on a tiny portion of overall demonstrators in order to totally discredit the anti-establishment message.

In today’s New York Times lead economics columnist, Paul Krugman (who surely cannot boogaloo his way out of a wet paper bag) also discredits the protesters, opposes ending the Great Lockdown (“never mind what the experts say”, he condescendingly pouts) and even fails to bring up a single word about the obvious economic justification for American discontent in his article Covid-19 Reality has a liberal bias:

Indeed, the antilockdown demonstrations of recent weeks appear to have been organized in part by the same people and groups that have spent decades denying climate change.

Virus trutherism is also reminiscent of the various kinds of trutherism that ran rampant during the Obama years. Inflation truthers insisted that the government was hiding the truth about rampant inflation; unemployment truthers, including a guy named Donald Trump, insisted that the steadily improving job numbers were fake.

In my last article (which elicited no happy dancing) Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona, I noted how Western inflation gauges exclude food, energy, housing, medical care and education costs – call me a “conspiracy theorist” for saying some hiding is going on, Paul. US unemployment data counts working just one hour per week as being employed, which allows part-time work and underemployment to pad their (pre-Great Lockdown ) alleged “full employment” rate – Paul must know this, but reporting that doesn’t keep in you in New York Times clover.

The Guardian’s anti-Michigander piece (yes, I enjoy writing the word “Michigander”) I linked to from April 17 used this same “discredit-via-the-organiser” tactic – as if participants were sheep and not humans with free will – in the 5th paragraph of their story.

This is the same tactic we saw against the Yellow Vests. In the 21st century West being lower class and making economic demands automatically makes one a far-right, anti-Semitic, anti-Black, deplorable neo-fascist. Unfortunately, political understanding will progress not one millimeter with such an unfactual position, yet there is huge popular Western support for such a political interpretation.

People also think I eccentrically enjoy writing the term “fake-leftist”, but it’s really quite necessary: in the US the term “leftist” is refused by Democrats as too radical, so they prefer what Krugman used in his headline – “liberals”. US liberals have only the scantest leftist economic component to their ideology – when you press them to be honest they are resolutely anti-socialist and inevitably support not just neo-imperialism but even many aspects of far-right neoliberalism. Yes, they do not openly claim to be “leftist”, but they certainly falsely and opportunistically present themselves that way. This is why “fake-leftist” can and should be used synonymously with “liberal”.

Liberals, fake-leftists and corona hysterics have two things in common: they are now hissing and booing at the French nurses, and they cannot boogaloo.

**********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis.

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26,

2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory? – May 8, 2020

Picturing the media campaign needed to get the US back to work – May 11, 2020

Scarce jobs + revenue desperation = sure Western stagflation post-corona – May 13, 2020


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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. He is the author of the books Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the NEW Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory?

May 09, 2020

Reading Piketty: Does corona delay the Greens’ fake-leftist, sure-to-fail victory?

By Ramin Mazaheri – for the Saker Blog

A party built around climate change is a luxury only the West can afford, and like most luxuries it is a corrupting influence.

While covering a protest in France several years ago a union member told me how she hoped Iran would stop selling its oil in order to protect the environment.

“Sure,” I told her, “how many billions of euros can we expect France to send us so we can buy food?” I assume she is still ignoring this inconvenient truth and enormous flaw in climate change demands on non-Western countries.

Nobody knows how things will shake out in May 2020 – just how bad the West’s Double Bubble + Great Lockdown economy will soon be – but prior to coronavirus green parties were poised to become a top two party across the West for the first time. In 2019 European Parliament elections they shockingly won 10% of seats and 13% of France’s.

That’s not a majority, but the up-to-the-minute reality is that everybody else has been discredited across the Eurozone: the conservatives, the fake-leftists/pseudo-socialists, the nouveau centrists like Emmanuel Macron, the real-but-disliked leftists. Voters who don’t go far-right have only one choice, and that’s a Green party.

The corona overreaction is throwing a spanner into the works, but are we really predicting a revolution in the Western political trajectory?

It’s certain that the neoliberal response cannot possibly satisfy the lower classes, thus incumbents aren’t going to survive their next election: the next five years should be the same as pre-corona – green parties will play the role of ineffectual opposition/status quo-enforcers to far-right corporate fascists who are more jingoistic than patriotic. That’s what politics will be in much of the West, though not in the two-party Anglophone world.

And yet greens will do what fake-leftists always do: screw up, sell out and falsely claim total ownership of the moral high ground.

Given that greens are the political force most poised to profit in the post-corona profit we should ask: Why are the greens such fake-leftists and so unable to provide adequate solutions for the Western lower classes?

Thomas Piketty and why we have to remind hippies that humans have feelings too, just like crystals do

On a moral level greens are human-hating Malthusians at heart – who could deny that? They put rocks and squirrels ahead of people.

On a political level the problem with handing the greens power amid an economic crisis is how very neoliberal their economics are: capitalism-imperialism fringed with a green garland is still rapacious capitalism-imperialism, after all. Perhaps because they are such animal and nature worshippers greens have totally swallowed the idea that “animal spirits” are the only thing which can possibly guide the economy. Which totem animal corresponds to the spirt of compound debt, I wonder?

We can now understand how very easy it will be for the Western 1% to pivot and embrace green parties as a “solution” to pacify the masses post-corona, much like Barry Obama rebranded the US in 2008.

To prove my point: take this extended interview from April 27 with economist-of-the-decade Thomas Piketty by The Intelligencer, which is part of the fake-leftist New York Media digital empire: here we can witness fake-leftist Westerners have it dawn on them that… oh yeah, it seems politics actually can shape economic outcomes?

Piketty is known as the “scholar of inequality”, and while such issues are the focus of leftists it does not mean he automatically is a socialist and not a capitalist. In the interview he discusses his new book and its solution to the Great Recession-cum-Great Depression 2: “participatory socialism”.

Much like Bernie Sanders (the Democratic Party chiefs he repeatedly bows to surely think: “Thank God we have a donkey like him!”) and his “democratic socialism”, Piketty also misunderstands socialism so very much that he thinks he needs a modifying adjective. At best, we can say that these fake-leftists only grasp the primary aspect of socialism (economic redistribution), but not its second, twin pillar (political power redistribution).

The idea that socialism is not “participatory” is easily and overwhelmingly disproven:

Last year Cuba approved a new constitution: “Some 133,680 meetings were held in neighborhoods and places of work and study. There were 8,945,521 participants, with an estimated two million attending more than one, so that the participation rate was approximately three-quarters of the population. There were 1,706,872 commentaries by the people, with 783,174 proposed modifications, additions, or eliminations.  On the basis of the opinions and proposals of the people, the Constitutional Commission revised the draft.  More than 50% of the proposals of the people were included in the modifications; nearly 60% of the articles were modified in some form.

Is that not “participatory” enough?

Piketty seems to have swallowed the lie that socialism has no second pillar which upholds political empowerment of the humble citizen? We see how millions of Cuban hands wrote their constitution in a bottom-up manner, as opposed to the top-down technocracy/aristocracy of Western liberalism.

Fake-leftists fear socialism because they made no personal effort to understand it, thus their conception of socialism is based on ignorance, propaganda and self-interest, and not logic or history. We see all of these things on display from the otherwise estimable Piketty in this interview.

The West gives Piketty a chance: if he doesn’t seize the moment now then he is an idol in an ivory tower

What can we expect New York Media to say when confronted with the rapacity of neoliberalism anything but, “We had no idea?!”

We should expect more from Piketty – we can judge here if he is more than just a detached theoretician who poses no threat to status quo capitalism-imperialism.

The Intelligencer: One of the main responses to the last book, at least among the American audience, was to treat r > g (Piketty’s shorthand for the fact that the returns to capital have been greater than the growth of the economy as a whole) as though it were a law of nature that could be modified only very occasionally through exceptional political change. But actually, the fact that a rich person’s bank account grows faster than the national GDP, that’s just a phenomenon created by a particular political structure too. It’s a creation of politics.

This illustrates my point: Western fake-leftists – from those approved by investor banker scions to write for New York Media group to the greens – have no idea about how politics shapes economics even though this is the very stuff which socialism’s first pillar is made of. Yes, of course economics are created by a political structure! We see that the neoliberally-indoctrinated never question their core beliefs and “animal spirits” until it is too late.

Piketty’s mildest-of-responses – apologetic and inexplicably guilty – shows why he is so appealing to fake-leftist Westerners: the West’s favourite “leftist economist” shows how his values are not based around socialist critiques but the values of diversity drawn from cosmopolitanism, and culminating in a relativistic moral nihilism which is absolutely unacceptable in the black and white field of economics, with its measurable outcomes.

Piketty: It is.

Probably I was not sufficiently clear about that.

I must say in general I have learned a lot from all the discussion from my previous book. I have learned a lot by traveling to many countries to which I had not traveled sufficiently before. I think by broadening the scope of countries and historical trajectories I look at, it also made me realize this incredible diversity of human ideologies and human imagination to restructure all the time the societies. And that’s probably the main lesson of history, that the idea that there is only one way and there is no alternative is just wrong. 

The Intelligencer: You heard that a lot starting in the 1990s and all through 2008: There’s only one way. (The standard formation of this is ‘TINA: There Is No Alternative (to neoliberalism and neo-imperialism)’.)

PikettyIt’s wrong.

We “heard that a lot” from Westerners – everywhere else people who were not aspiring to being Western clients/puppets were disagreeing… and getting bombed/blockaded for it.

Being “wrong” on this issue merits a lot of public admission of shame and guilt, but Piketty is content to allow decades of deadly mismanagement to be summarised with two words! I wish my teachers had been so leniently brief when I was wrong.

He doesn’t have to be a political firebrand or a raging poet, but we need more than just two words here: Piketty’s reticence is both culturally self-serving (Piketty is French) and also dangerous because the West’s refusal to let anyone go their own way has had such deadly and impoverishing results. Their conversation continues:

The Intelligencer: Since the crash, there has been a sort of acknowledgment from places like the IMF, World Bank, Financial Times, The Economist, all these voices of elite globalized neoliberalism saying, “Okay, there are some real problems here.” But they still aren’t thinking much about alternative models.

PikettyIf you look at how things happen, you’ll see a potential for political mobilization and historical change through social and economic and political processes, which always happen much faster than what the dominant discourse tends to imagine.

The journalist is essentially saying to Piketty: give us an alternative model, please! But Piketty backs away and exonerates those entities by saying, “Well, life moves fast.”

That’s his whole answer – it isn’t much. It’s as if Piketty wants to stay on the good side of these institutions and media – to keep getting book reviews, praise and invites to speak.

Today is the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day – do you know the socialist version of what happened?

It only takes a few paragraphs…

What Piketty does not say is that we need to learn from the history of socialism, which is an alternative model that has been in practice for over a century but which neoliberalism violently opposes.

Western fake-leftists know what waits for them if they say that history openly: blacklisting, de facto censorship, no more invites to speak, no more fawning reviews – it’s the same glass ceiling/first-to-be-fired which vocal union members face in their jobs. This is partially why Piketty wants to invent a “new” socialist model and thus erase a century of global history – he doesn’t want to risk his position.

Another component is that for Westerners socialism in any form is not an “alternative model” but a dead model, even though – gasp! – it clearly is a victorious model. This historical revisionism/ignorance goes back to the millions-murdering formative years of industrial capitalism (the last third of the 19th century), as I wrote about last week in The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy?

Crucially, Piketty’s generation – and the one before it and the one after it – was taught that US-led “freedom” defeated fascism. Please note neither has an economic component – it is good versus evil, liberty versus repression – whereas socialism always has a loaded economic component; the pity is that its political component (democracy both direct and indirect, like in Western democracies) was caricatured into a totalitarian dictatorship by a capitalist-imperialist 1% waging perpetual war.

Thus, 75 years later the West still does not realise that WWII saw corporate fascism defeat other corporate fascists – the US, full of Jim Crow and a military-industry complex, was indeed a corporate fascist state which defeated the German and Japanese corporate fascists.

However, even that view is false propaganda! It is the Soviet and Chinese socialists who bore the brunt of the effort to topple corporate fascism in Europe and East Asia. Western ideology rejects the obviously exponentially-larger WWII sacrifices of socialist- inspired nations, and thus for them socialism is a tragic experiment instead of a victorious concept. US corporate fascism continued unabated – it began regrowing corporate fascism (now rebranded as “neoliberalism”) in Japan, Germany and the Eurozone.

This socialist analyst crucially shows how “Corporate fascism with American characteristics” was thus never discredited, until 2008.

This illogical historical analysis is why the West is so at a loss to deal with their problems caused by modern corporate fascism (neoliberalism), and why they scratch their head say “Gee, maybe politics can influence economic outcomes?” “Of course!” is what I would have said if I only was given two words, but Piketty says, almost lamenting, “It’s true.”

We can pick up directly with the interview, continuing with the journalist’s intellectual ignorance/faux-shock with Piketty’s academic detachment/indifference. They were discussing the failure of neoliberalism’s leading lights and the possibility of “thinking” about – not discussing nor implementing – alternative models.

Piketty is not about to stand up for human, suffering Yellow Vests, but he will for Mother Nature

The Intelligencer: But of course it’s also true that those people can help design the system and how it evolves, especially in the case of something like the Great Recession. How much did that recovery worsen inequality, in your view? A layman might look at the history and say, “It’s those who have access to capital who can buy distressed assets, and, as a result, unless there is really dramatic intervention, it will always be the forces of capital that benefit from the crisis.” Is that a fair read of how we emerged from the recession?

The journalist suggested the truth – capitalism is always collusion – but Piketty does not rise to the occasion.

PikettyYou’re right that the people at the top have done better once again than average. How do you explain this? I think it’s because if you take the whole compact of fiscal, social, legal, competition policy, there has been insufficient change. In the end, probably the only lesson from the 1929 crisis both from the right and the left, if you look at economist Milton Friedman, monetary economists, everybody agreed that the Federal Reserve and the central banks in Europe made a huge mistake in the 1930s by letting banks fall one after the other. The only lesson from history in a way was “We are going to do whatever it takes, we are going to print whatever money needs to be printed, in order to save the financial sector.” Indeed, it allowed us to avoid the worst, which is a complete fall in economic activity of the kind we had in the 1930s. It’s good news in a way. We have learned something from history.

The problem, of course, is that we are not going to solve everything with central banks. There was nothing else, really, in store. What I’m a bit concerned with today is that even though there’s a lot of motivation to address structural problems, in particular the climate crisis or today’s pandemic crisis, I think there’s insufficient thinking about how to change the economic rules, the organization of property relations in particular, how much private property we want. We need to take seriously the fact that the distribution of the burden has to be discussed from a democratic viewpoint, has to be distributed across income groups. Sometimes, the climate activists, environmental activists, are so convinced that the No. 1 problem is the climate that they don’t want to hear about anything that sounds like income or wages.

Piketty does, however, agree with the thesis of my 10-part series last winter: that Western bankers are the West’s vanguard, enlightened party which is tasked to “solve everything”. But Infinity QE proves that the Western “bankocracy” model cannot promote anything new – there is “nothing else, really, in store”. We should not expect any vanguard party to admit otherwise either, including the Chinese Communist Party or the Iranian Basij, because all three groups view themselves as their system’s champions and saviors. The latter two, of course, have the advantages of being grassroots in composition, thus embodying political power redistribution, who are then tasked with enforcing economic redistribution, which goes a very long way in explaining their enduring popular support. Bankocrats… not so much.

Right after “central banks” was when Piketty could have proposed a “Western, secular Basij” or a “Party for Socialism with European Characteristics”, but not only does he totally ignore these examples – he thinks he has to reinvent the wheel, which is far worse: Piketty dismissed as insufficient the century of theory and practice socialists have already given “about how to change the economic rules, the organization of property relations in particular, how much private property we want.”

If this is what this academic is teaching his 18-year old students he is letting them believe that something called “socialism” never even existed. But, for Piketty, socialism is both a dead idea and one that may make his own career dead. The interview continues:

The Intelligencer: Some climate activists think the solution is to shrink our economies. They call it “degrowth.”

And now we see clearly the reason for this article – the danger of letting greens run the corona recovery. Piketty just hinted at this when he discussed the “climate crisis or today’s pandemic crisis” (clearly, in terms of urgency the latter is the bigger crisis, yet it is secondary for Piketty) – the open Malthusianism of the Greens, which can never satisfy the 99%.

What is posited by The Intelligencer is that humans are the problems – not the tools they use nor choice of systems. It’s a fake-leftist tack which says the problem is not unfair distribution of economic and political power, but the mere act of production. Rather then perfecting socialism – let’s choose de-progress? Piketty knows he is treading on revolutionary ground with such a (dumb) idea:

PikettyWhich has to be discussed very precisely because then you need to be very careful about what exactly you are proposing to the bottom 50 percent in societies. I think it’s possible to design a plan, but we have to be very careful. In France, we had the yellow-vest movement. The government said that it was going to raise the energy tax and carbon tax for the good of the climate….

Piketty then reaches back to a Sarkozy-era initiative of carbon pricing – he has only brought up the Yellow Vests as a cautionary tale, not to relate their socioeconomic views. That is even though – despite the constant propaganda campaigns which glorified the weekly repression of them – (the rarely commissioned) polls showed the Yellow Vests have always been supported by at least 50% of the country. Piketty believes the Yellow Vests exist not as equals, peers and co-leaders but as a wild force who exist to menace the status quo as a sort of way to keep the Western elite honest.

Piketty knows, though would never say it, that if he regularly marched among the Yellow Vests he’d no longer be invited for interviews by New York Media, The Economist, the World Bank, etc. Piketty gets these calls because even as he calls for change he supports the status quo – he is as much an “EU patriot” as Emmanuel Macron and so many of their elite peers. Piketty admits later that EU patriotism is a fundamentally-elitist waste of time:

PikettyWhat this shows is that we should all be concerned about how we rewrite the system. Many people find this very boring, and I can tell you when you try to talk about the transformation and the democratization of European institutions, most people stop listening after five minutes. 

We can now elucidate the main problem of the Western left: they cannot galvanise anybody. They have no ideas and no language to excite people to support this status quo that arrived via unbloody “velvet revolutions” and which have continued via an apathy and anti-democratic disconnect built into the US-written pan-European project.

In Iran, for example, they created a new language: people like Ali Shariati combined the revolutionary language of socialism with the revolutionary language, symbols and heroes of Islam (with an emphasis on Shia heroes) to inspire the masses. Forty years later the staunchest Zionist must concede that the ability of “Revolutionary Shi’ism” to galvanise is succeeding in a broad enough manner so as to thwart any neoliberal “velvet (counter) revolution” in Iran. Contrarily, if they’d actually honor democratic votes the EU might be dissolved this very day.

Semi-pantheistic, human-hating Western greens are not about to die for change, nor are they about to inspire anyone in the lower classes (or the Yellow Vests, who expertly dissect French and EU politics).

Therefore what is interesting is not the upcoming multiyear battle between green parties and far-right parties as the new “two mainstream parties” in the West, but what comes after this: What does Europe do when their fake-leftists prove to be the same old neoliberals who sell out the masses, but this time give you more flowers?

Do they finally turn to socialism, or return to corporate fascism & neo-imperialism? Even with corona, we may need another five years to find that out.

The times make the man – who is left and who is not will be crystal clear post-corona

Piketty is not a fake-leftist on the level of the New York Media group, but he is certainly not a socialist: he supports MMT (modern monetary theory) and its notion that QE can actually be given without banker middlemen directly to the people, but not nationalising banks; he supports a basic universal income which hardly sounds like the massive redistributions enacted in the USSR, China, Iran, etc.; he laments that to pay for that “you have to have progressive taxation” instead calling for taxing only capital and the rich (in Iran, because of this fundamental socialist principle, half the country pays no taxes and no farmer does).

Piketty should be lauded for documenting inequality and some of his ideas go left of the mainstream, but he doesn’t go much further than that. The upcoming months of chaos will tell if he is an “objective” intellectual, just as journalists are supposed to be in the West – stuck in an ivory tower, where they have no social responsibility; despite their greater awareness of a problem, they are told not to feel any personal responsibility as well. The same goes for Western pop culture stars – any political involvement contrary to the 1%’s stances means no fawning airtime.

Yes, Piketty cares about inequality and changing economic structures – “Over the past ten years, we’ve been saving banks, but have we solved our problem with rising inequality, with global warming?” – but he also cares about saving the planet a tremendous, tremendous amount. He cares about it so much that he has apparently not had time to actually examine socialism and become persuaded that class warfare is continuously waged by the capitalist-imperialist 1% against the 99%.

Bottom line: In the 21st century there is no major issue which is so class-neutered as ecology.

Thus, I refuse to play along: a global ecological solution obviously requires global cooperation, which is something only socialism can offer and which is impossible under a capitalist system, as it is based instead on competition.

Talk about the environment is thus just empty talk until capitalism-imperialism is eradicated – this is why a Green party takeover will be welcomed by the Western 1% as a brand change as effective as Barack Obama was in 2008.

It’s not hard for a neo-pantheist to grasp: The West could profit from Iranian oil for decades, but once we get it – oh, the time for oil is over? Either fork over many, MANY scores of billions or: Pump away, Iran!

The reality is that if Piketty ever consistently marched with the Yellow Vests he’d realise they also care deeply about the environment. But Earth will not be destroyed before “la fin du mois” (“the end of the month” – the primary slogan of the Vesters, which illustrates how they struggle to pay their most basic bills at the end of each month) whereas the lives of millions of Frenchmen will be destroyed amid this corona hysteria. Mother Nature is not the problem – Western politics are.

It should be clear: green parties are a useless distraction – they should not be accepted as a substitute for true leftism. Maybe the Double Bubble + Great Lockdown will set off a revolution, but for now neoliberal, Malthusian, pantheistic, fake-leftist green parties remain the West’s political trajectory.

***********************************

Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer – April 22, 2020

Iran’s ‘resistance economy’: the post-corona wish of the West’s silent majority (1/2) – April 23, 2020

The same 12-year itch: Will banks loan down QE money this time? – April 26, 2020

The end of globalisation won’t be televised, despite the hopes of the Western 99% (2/2) – April 27, 2020

What would it take for proponents to say: ‘The Great Lockdown was wrong’? – April 28, 2020

ZeroHedge, a response to Mr. Littlejohn & the future of dollar dominance – April 30, 2020

Given Western history, is it the ‘Great Segregation’ and not the ‘Great Lockdown’? – May 2, 2020

The Western 1% colluded to start WWI – is the Great Lockdown also a conspiracy? – May 4, 2020

May 17: The date the Great Lockdown must end or Everything Bubble 2 pops – May 6, 2020


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer

Source

April 22, 2020

Coronavirus – Macron’s savior. A ‘united Europe’ – France’s murderer

By Ramin Mazaheri for the Saker Blog

Paris has been a terrible place to live for over five years now – even tourists can tell.

The Charlie Hebdo attacks in January 2015 (because they just had to draw pornographic pictures of Prophet Mohammad) kicked off a fear-based culture which has culminated in the world’s most over-policed coronavirus lockdown, with over 800,000 citations issued.

But it’s been an endless climb of “culminations” for Parisians:

Installing bulletproof glass around the Eiffel Tower (I used to walk under it going to work each day – impossible now). Did the Bataclan massacre have to result in a state of emergency two years long? Certainly President Emmanuel Macron did not have to legalise it into common police practice. From November 2018 through May 2019 huge swathes of Paris were already on lockdown as every Saturday was an undeclared National Poseur Day: pretending as if lower class protesters weren’t being provoked, gassed, beaten, water cannoned, fined, jailed, crippled and even killed. The marches continued through the failed, record-long General Strike, which collapsed in January.

Trust me when I say that the non-stop police sirens during the two-day manhunt of the Kouachi brothers after the Charlie Hebdo shootings never really ended. In the poor northern area of Paris where I live the sirens became constant – for years everyone complains of “cowboy” police who have been over-empowered, but we have no idea how they could be or if they will ever be rolled back.

And during the Great Lockdown, by everyone’s account, this has gotten even worse… but at least now the rich areas are finally getting a taste of la justice à le cow-boy – that’s the only they’ll ever be rolled back, after all.

It’s not poor-Los Angeles helicopters, but the sirens can be exhausting. As for the “it’s not there” indifference towards all those other culminations – I simply don’t have the acting/posing abilities the aesthetic-minded French have, I guess? But I also don’t have the personal stake in France which – try as they might – the French cannot possibly disguise from themselves? They simply must find it very tiring to live in a country where the government – indeed, the national trajectory – has essentially zero open backers outside the bubble occupied by Parisian elites.

It’s not just the Macron era: Francois Hollande was so unpopular he couldn’t even stand for re-election; when Nicolas Sarkozy left he bitterly said “nobody will hear of me again” because the French so deservedly enjoyed kicking him.

The reality is that – Islamophobia aside – nearly everything I’ve described has been caused by France’s historical insistence on a united Europe.

How long will it take Brussels – and its string of puppets/clients – to kill the ‘French model’?

Anti-Muslim attitude is a problem, sure, but only a class analysis provides a satisfying explanation to the undeniable 21st-century decay of French life: Muslims did not force France to stop being French – collusion among the French 1% did.

(Of course, to avoid regular class analysis discussion the French elite keep insisting: “No, it’s Muslims who are ruining France.” Typical Western fake politics.…)

Ever since Mitterrand made his infamous austerity-embracing U-turn in 1981- on what would have been Western Europe’s most-leftist policy platform ever – France has allowed itself to be fiscally leeched blood-dry over the pan-European principle to try and win over Germany to “more Europe”.

It’s an amazing martyrdom – we shouldn’t denigrate such things completely. And a large part of France’s motivation is also to end the constant German aggression that dates back to 1870.

Recent history is really quite simple: in order to woo Germany away from a neo-imperialist partnership with their Anglo-Saxon American first cousins (which has run from 1945 until today), France keeps fiscally flagellating itself and others in Europe to woo Germany into joining a pan-European project; crucially, this project initially was based on a Gaullist “mixed economy”, but that was jettisoned in favor of Anglosphere neoliberalism, globalisation and hyper-financialisation.

Maybe other Europeans want in on such a project, but Germany does not and should leave: Germany’s role has been entirely negative, their economics entirely Austrian (pro-1%, rabidly anti-socialist), and the groundwork which they have ordered is totally incapable of providing post-corona stability. Few seem to grasp this Washington-Berlin neo-fascist alliance, even though it satisfyingly explains Germany’s essentially 5th-columnist role in the EU.

However, only a blinkered nationalist analysis would stop here. France’s elite is just as 5th-columnist – they have joined Washington and Berlin because that is what neoliberal, globalist capitalism is: an international waging of class warfare.

Macron openly calls to end the French model – he is the new ‘EU patriot’

Because its basis is resolutely neoliberal and thus anti-patriotic (even within its new creation of a misguided “EU patriotism” – the accurate term is “patriotism for the EU’s 1%”), this version of the pan-European project is simply not worth it – all it has done is disregard democratic votes, empower bankers, produce Lost Decades and gut social safety nets. I personally don’t think a united, non-socialist Europe is good for the world, but I know this version of a united Europe is a catastrophe. And I know it is ruining France – I’ve not just lived it but documented it via daily hard news reporting for PressTV.

But Macron is of a new generation whose elite passionately believes that this pan-European project works – it has… but only for Europe’s elite. This unprecedented “neoliberal empire” is thus successfully perpetuating itself.

But it took a lot to get here: Hollande, Sarkozy, privatisation-puppet Chirac, Mitterrand – all of France’s elite kept sacrificing France’s 99% for an ideology of “more Europe”, which was first Gaullist-capitalist then neoliberal. Truly, the same can be said for the elite of all of Europe, but especially Latin Europe – just look at how Germany could afford a corona bailout 10 times the size of France’s bailout.

But since 2015 have no doubt: France’s Lockdown-pre-Great-Lockdown was entirely the result of widespread dissension for Brussels’ fiscal policies – this had to be repressed.

The modern French conviction that discussion-and-even-dissension is more than just tolerable but should be encouraged – this also had to be repressed.

The idea of French workers – foreign to the Anglosphere— that they should have economic stability and political-cultural influence also had to be repressed, thus the endless far-right economic reforms.

As I keep insisting, the global 1% insists that the bad example of the “French model” has to be destroyed and replaced with the US/UK/German model, with all its greater inequality, poverty and dull individual conformities and fears.

The “French model” cannot survive if the 1% is to preserve unaltered this version pan-European project which is resolutely neoliberal. This is proven by the recent diplomatic uproar caused by China’s ambassador to France, who criticised the inequality laid bare by France’s corona response:

You have a new brand of Chinese diplomats who seem to compete with each other to be more radical and eventually insulting to the country where they happen to be posted,” opined a French analyst, but I get it: a person (in this case a diplomat) comes to France and they hear so very much proud talk about liberty, equality and fraternity… but they see that the first has been so distorted by the privileged class so as to totally eradicate the second and third. The Chinese ambassador is both disappointed and fed-up with France. He has become something Westerners cannot be – politically honest and critical of Western policy – without being condemned as a “radical”.

The French 99% tries to incarnate their post-French Revolution values (within the factual context that their revolution did not stand very long), but their elite do not. Foreigners simply cannot see true French values in action because what they are seeing are 1%er, neoliberal, “EU empire” values in action. The French elites’ values are not French but “European empire”; one cannot ever become elite anymore without displaying total allegiance to this empire.

It’s dismaying, and that is exhausting as well.

But while the future now only looks worse for the 99% across France, I imagine Macron couldn’t be happier.

Corona preserves Macron’s re(de)formist gains & wipes his promise-slate clean

Maybe the coronavirus break was just what everybody needed, not only Macron?

Think about it: a historic two-month General Strike had just failed in late January. Now that the pension reform was passed unemployment reform was planned for this fall, because there is simply no constitutional way to stop Macron. The Yellow Vests certainly weren’t going to stop. How can Macron afford to keep generating such public ill will? Was there going to be another General Strike? How can workers afford to do that?

You simply can’t compute all those facts.

Thus, pre-corona France was truly at a breaking point and exhausted. France was like two wrestlers who had each other in a stranglehold, but instead of letting go both decided to suicidally and murderously maintain their grip.

The Great Lockdown preserves in amber Macron’s pension reforms – it’s over. When France goes back to work they will be rushed through Parliament, and likely amid a ban on groups (protests) of more than a few score. The Great Lockdown gives the public a chance to forget about that fight and the elite a “just move on” filibuster to questioning journalists.

But it also ends the possibility of Macron’s autumn plans for similar deforms to the unemployment system. There’s no way that can go on with the state socialistically-shouldering 60% of the Great Lockdown’s lost revenue. However, France’s 1% has been waiting decades for the pension reform – think they aren’t pleased? Think they can’t wait until autumn 2021, when Macron can make unemployment reform his farewell political legacy amid General Strike 2? You must think the 1% doesn’t play tactical class warfare, which is chess, and instead thinks in nationalisms, which is checkers.

The Great Lockdown is also the single-best thing to happen to Macron’s re-election chances.

How can he now be faulted for failing on his signature promise – to reduce unemployment to 7%? How can he be faulted by the right for any economic failure – France simply has to spend their way out of the corona overreaction? How can he be faulted on the left for any economic failure – France spent a lot on the corona overreaction (again, a pittance compared to Germany and also a bailout weighted to the 1%)? Any fiscal policy promise and failure is thus absolved with this corona overreaction-distraction.

Any social policy failure is also old hat – we must focus on a post-corona world. French PM says coronavirus outbreak ‘under control’ but warns ‘life won’t go back to normal after May 11th’ – of course Macron doesn’t want to go back to normal – his popularity was in the toilet for years; his policy, his style, his bizarre and salacious scandals (highlighted by the Benalla affair, which only French people understand) and his constant elitist gaffes ensured it could only worsen.

But election sniping is such a narrow view, even if it is the dominant Western mindset:

Macron’s entire presidency has been an open assault on the French idea of what is “normal”. Destroying the French model – to satisfy and propel the neoliberal & neo-imperial pan-European project he sincerely believes in – has always been his political raison d’être. Macron undoubtedly will view himself as leaving as a hero for all his “deforms”, whenever he departs in ignominy.

I’ve had offers to work in the US: “Why would I want to be a political journalist covering such an atrocious, atrocious political culture?” But France has become nearly identical – instead of righteous, easily-triggered emotionality the French political talk shows rely on an endless reserve of indifference and sang froid (cold blood) to reach the same neoliberal aims; instead of Trump-Putin hysteria they use Muslim-hysteria.

So what is France’s future? It is Macron versus Marine Le Pen in 2022 – they are just as intellectually and culturally exhausted, bitter and hostile as the US. They would rather repeat corporate fascism than be creative.

Must I work on behalf of Le Pen, claiming that she is a “victory via defeat”? I did that, marginally, for Trump, but I didn’t have to cover the guy everyday! More Macron would be an even bigger defeat than Biden – the Ferguson, Missouri, protests weren’t anything like the Yellow Vest repression.

The West may have all the money but they have no good answers anymore. How could corona have uncovered anything but the truth of their underlying morbidity?

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Corona contrarianism? How about some corona common sense? Here is my list of articles published regarding the corona crisis, and I hope you will find them useful in your leftist struggle!

Capitalist-imperialist West stays home over corona – they grew a conscience? – March 22, 2020

Corona meds in every pot & a People’s QE: the Trumpian populism they hoped for? – March 23, 2020

A day’s diary from a US CEO during the Corona crisis (satire) March 23, 2020

MSNBC: Chicago price gouging up 9,000% & the sports-journalization of US media – March 25, 2020

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s? – March 26, 2020

If Germany rejects Corona bonds they must quit the Eurozone – March 30, 2020

Landlord class: Waive or donate rent-profits now or fear the Cultural Revolution – March 31, 2020

Corona repeating 9/11 & Y2K hysterias? Both saw huge economic overreactions – April 1, 2020

(A Soviet?) Superman: Red Son – the new socialist film to watch on lockdown – April 2, 2020

Corona rewrites capitalist bust-chronology & proves: It’s the nation-state, stupid – April 3, 2020

Condensing the data leaves no doubt: Fear corona-economy more than the virus – April 5, 2020

‘We’re Going Wrong’: The West’s middling, middle-class corona response – April 10, 2020

Why does the UK have an ‘army’ of volunteers but the US has a shortage? – April 12, 2020

No buybacks allowed or dared? Then wave goodbye to Western stock market gains – April 13, 2020

Pity post-corona Millennials… if they don’t openly push socialism – April 14, 2020

No, the dollar will only strengthen post-corona, as usual: it’s a crisis, after all – April 16, 2020

Same 2008 QE playbook, but the Eurozone will kick off Western chaos not the US – April 18, 2020

We’re giving up our civil liberties. Fine, but to which type of state? – April 20, 2020


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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. He is the author of the books Ill Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming Socialisms Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s?

Tough times need vanguard parties – are ‘social media users’ the West’s?

by Ramin Mazaheri exclusive for The Saker log

So when did you become an epidemiologist? You seem quite willing to shame anyone not sterilising every square inch of every square inch.

And when did you become an economist? “The economy is not important now” must have been a pretty unusual PhD thesis.

We have likely all heard of “internet tough guys” – people who make bold claims or threats online, yet would flee at the sight of conflict – but who knew social media had so many people qualified to tell entire nations what to do regarding Corona?

How much of the Corona crisis has been caused by social media virtue-signallers, hypochondriacs, communications degree-holding intellectuals, helicopter Dads, bossy cows, and sheep who generally follow whatever the herd, management or pop stars tell them to do? That’s an interesting question: would we all be in lockdown prior to the internet and Facebook?

A practical follow-up question is: which nations have leadership which are perhaps even steered by social media, and which nations have leaders who can steer the national boat through choppy waters?

As socialists know and accept, a vanguard party is essential precisely because there are so many choppy waters in life. Choppy waters are doubled for socialist-inspired countries due to imposed wars, sanctions, blockades and endless cold war.

Capitalists and libertarians once again use Orwell against us – the same old, facile “some pigs are more equal than others” of Animal Farm – conflating totalitarianism with socialism, even though the two have entirely different ends and means.

Despite their absurd claims, the vanguard party concept is not anti-democratic. Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel had truly universal support from every Cuban (in Cuba) I asked because he rose level by level by repeatedly showing his competence as a civil servant. The same goes for Xi of China (as I will soon remind). Nobody expected a low-ranking cleric like Khamenei to take over for Khomeini, but he has repeatedly showed his competence and abilities; go tell the tens of millions shouting “Khamenei rahbar” (Khamenei the leader) that socialist-inspired democracy, with both direct and indirect, hasn’t worked out well. In post-1917 countries one rises to the 1% via actual competence, and not just by buying elections, as in the West.

Conversely, Hillary Clinton married the governor of Arkansas, who became president, and then America was stuck with her. Emmanuel Macron did… I don’t even know how he got so far so fast, and I really don’t want to know what went on behind closed doors with him.

Regardless, are some pigs more equal than others, to pose their question?

Certainly, what you won’t hear from such socialist detractors is that China’s President Xi spent years doing hard rural work during the days of the Cultural Revolution, and then teaching illiterate farmers how to read during his Cultural Revolution nights. Now, I suppose it is technically a possibility: none of that was earnestly heartfelt on Xi’s part, and he is secretly amassing a personal fortune because the recesses of his heart are nothing but pure bitterness and hate for the socialist ideal of equality which he was forced to display and teach; he has also spent decades duping everyone in China that he is a competent public servant; Xi has zero warm sentiment for those rural citizens he worked with, and wants only revenge; any moment now Xi will launch a surprise attack of totalitarianism designed solely for his personal benefit and revenge.

These are the very real – yet ALWAYS unsaid – logical extensions of Western arguments made against vanguard parties in general, as well as against Xi. Westerners insist that socialist vanguard parties are corrupt not just at the core but all the way to the periphery.

Another unsaid logical extension is that no vanguard parties informally exist in the West. If, however, there are, it is because such people have risen to the 1% solely on merit. Xi’s supposed “merit”, is not merit at all… unlike theirs. Don’t push Westerners to explain these points – they have no answers.

Much of this applies to Iran as well – their system is based on the idea of the “guardianship of the Islamic jurist”. “Down with those opposed to the guardianship of the Islamic jurist” is always included in the “down withs”, and even before “down with the MKO, England, the US and Israel”. The vanguard party in Iran is obviously the clergy; I have written extensively and objectively about how I believe this is being bureaucratically formalised into the “Basij”, and I have discussed how the structure of the Basij has been clearly modelled on the Chinese Communist Party.

How can that be, Ramin, when Communists are atheists? Firstly, they are not. Maybe Marx was, but to hell with him on this point. Cuba is full of Catholics, but even more prevalent are those who practice Santeria; Vietnam has always constitutionally protected religion; Confucianism and Taoism, it is rarely recognised, are two sides of the same East Asian cosmological coin, and China’s intolerance on this point is being remedied. The USSR never reconciled religion and socialism, and this is a huge reason explaining why they are no more; a reason as big as Krushchevian corruption and capitalist-roading.

However, the structural and political similarities between the Basij and the CCP arise not from cosmological agreement but from the natural similarities of two countries who have had post-1917, socialist-inspired revolutions. The similarities are not “coincidental” at all, though those who misunderstand and reject socialism would surely explain away my comparisons with such sweeping, facile, pseudo-explanations. I’m not sure that you can have a vanguard party without the structures, policies and protections – as well as many of the aims and demands – which are greatly dissimilar from the CCP and the Basij? Few examples exist, sadly, for me to study and compare. Never say never, I suppose.

The idea of a formalised vanguard party – as in Iranian Islamic Socialism and other forms of socialism – does not mean totalitarianism. I suppose it could, but why can it not also mean elite governance performance? Why must we look only at the negative aspects, and not the positive? What are we – capitalist-imperialists?

The Corona crisis is not going to validate the support of formal, socialist-inspired vanguard parties in China, Iran, Cuba and elsewhere – they need no validation among their people; their bones are made.

What it will certainly do is discredit the Western model of “non-vanguardism”, “hidden-vanguardism”, “technocratic vanguardism”, “1%er-vanguardism” or whatever else you want to term their bankocratic, aristocratic, bourgeois oligarchies which govern.

The incredible spanner Western politicians have suicidally thrown into their economies will prove this: they have none of the unity, foresight, determination and especially the political modernity of countries like China and Iran, yet they are adopting similar Corona responses. It simply can’t be done without causing Great Depressions in the Lost Decade II-embarking Eurozone for certain, and also for the US economy, which disastrously combines a finance & service & consumer-based economy with non-Trumpian evangelism for self-harming globalisation.

It will take great pain, but this is what humans often require to make serious change, sadly. It will split apart families, but that is what civil war does.

I don’t know which nation will be the first to see their lower class starting to attack their neoliberal/neoliberal-client systems – and attacking as well the reactionary selfishness of the “first responders” whom they are repeatedly told to adulate – but they will all reach the same place as China and Iran: who is in charge? Who is the vanguard party to lead and staff the bureaucracy, which organises and decides on the logistics, and who needs to spread the night soil so we all can eat?

All workers are valid and equal, of course, but a vanguard party is needed to run a government. The alleged path goes capitalism, socialism, communism, anarchism – the idea that no vanguard parties are needed is anarchism, and Cubans will also correct you when you call them communist: they know they are not that far. The amount of self-empowerment espoused in anarchism may not even be possible on a billions-level? These are questions for a later date….

Allow me to disqualify myself from the vanguard party: I have been passed up for management over and over (of course everyone claims this), so maybe they are right? I am used to being a powerless cog in a machine, and I quite like it now!

The people who deserve to be in vanguard parties are those who evince both the capability for selflessness as well as the capability for superior political thought. After all, some have capabilities for great artistic thought, or great engineering thought, or have great social skills – political policy certainly requires input from all sectors and classes but their bureaucrats do need to have a masterful grasp of modern political ideology, as well as a grasp of what not to do: i.e., the ideologies held by the enemies of modern political ideologies. These qualifications are evinced by people like Xi, Khamenei, Diaz-Canel and France’s Yellow Vests.

The roar that the Yellow Vests will make when France’s lockdown in over… that’s another article.

I don’t think you can find a journalist writing in any Western language who has stood shoulder to shoulder with them more often, and I can promise France: put the Yellow Vests in charge and you’ll have exceptional national governance immediately. Unlike the Iranian clergy, Chinese commies and Cuban socialist-Santeriaists, the Yellow Vests’ actual support is hard to gauge: polls constantly showed over 50% support, yet the Animal Rights Party won 2.2% in the 2019 European Parliament elections, double the Yellow Vests parties combined.

Who is the vanguard party in the US? That I cannot say – I do not think one is apparent. I think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Bernie Sanders and their few public comrades are interesting given the limitations of the US political context, but they are still far from what’s necessary now, and especially far from what will be necessary given the trajectory of Great Depression 2.

The times make the man, as they say.

The West’s vanguard parties seem intent on making times as difficult for the lower classes as they possibly can. Time well spent would be turning of Western MSM, as well as social media, and reflecting on who you think should really be in charge.

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

The Gangster!

ST

 Sunday, 01 March 2020 07:58

President Erdogan of Turkey has indeed lost what remained of his brain! In a mafia and gang-like show, Erdogan called on Russia, which has been pioneering the fight against terrorism, to get out of his way and allow his occupying forces to invade the more of Syria!

Erdogan, the liar and butcher, claimed in his yesterday hallucinations that the Syrian people demanded him to send his occupying forces , if not thousands of multinational terrorists into Syria!

The Syrians have every legitimate right to defend their country; has Erdogan any right to invade Syria!? Erdogan’s occupation troops were mingled with terrorists, who were too dressed in Turkish military uniforms. Should the Syrian Army and its allies welcome by roses the invading terrorists!

Erdogan’s so-called observation posts, used merely to support and take part in the war of terrorists against Syrians, might be after his crazy threats, legitimate targets. Why should Erdogan take pride in killing many Syrians and  many of their anti-terrorism allies!!? Simply because he himself is a terrorist.

This Ottoman terrorist is but a threat to the entire world. Erdogan the criminal is trying to play the role of a victim! The majority of the Syrians abroad, left in fear of terrorism, want to return back to their country. This terrorist prevents them!

As the Sputnik accurately transmitted, Turkish soldiers invaded Northern Syria. Turkish soldiers were killed while being in Syria. Idlib is not under dispute. It is part of Syria. Turkey is the aggressor nation, not the victim. If we had a fair and balanced media we would all be informed of that salient fact, not set up to support further actions against Syria for the ‘crime’ of trying to repel invaders from its territory.

The classic George Orwell novel ‘1984’ was meant as a warning to society about the destructive and freedom sapping nature of oligarchs and tyrannical nation state, not a user manual for the powerful in the 21st century but recent events in Syria highlight yet again the incredible ability of the rulers of the world in the West to use their compliant and sycophant media to create narratives that belong in fairy tales, not news bulletins.

War is Peace. Freedom is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength. These are the three mottos inscribed on the Ministry of Truth building of the nation of Oceania in Orwell’s dystopian 1948 masterpiece which imagined a society of totalitarianism and perpetual war in 1984, thirty five years in the future as Orwell sat in a small farmhouse on the Scottish island of Jura to construct his warning to the world in the post WWII era. Totalitarianism may not be universal or at least recognized as such by all but perpetual war is certainly an underlying feature of the 21st century world. It used to be the case that arms companies were created to feed wars but nowadays wars are created to feed arms companies.

When a sovereign nation is attacked and/or invaded they have an inalienable right to defend themselves and repel invaders. Isn’t it pathetic to witness the brutal suppression of thousands of firefighters and other public service workers by heavily armed police in France for the ‘crime’ of protesting against damaging pension changes reported as legitimate ‘public order’ and ‘crowd control measures’ but actions by the Syrians against terrorists and foreign army invaders as being aggressive and tyrannical?

Our world is indeed more Orwellian by the day. In such an era of lies and distortions those who speak truth to power will be more brutally repressed.

Dr. Mohamad Abdo Al-Ibrahim

alibrahim56@hotmail.com   

‘It Would be the End of Free Speech’: Protest Against Assange’s Extradition at Belmarsh Prison

Source

Today is the day a London court begins hearing on what looks to become (or at least precede) one of the defining cases of the decade – the extradition trial of Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder has found support from human rights advoctes from across the globe, including France’s Yellow Vest movement.

It’s chilly and windy in London, and Belmarsh Prison is definitely not the first place that comes to mind when you think of where to hang out.

But a small crowd of several dozen people, many clad in signature high-vis jackets, have come together at the nearby Woolwich Crown Court to demand freedom for Julian Assange. Some of them have spent a nippy night camped out outside the court; most arrived today.

Protesters are holding up banners reading, “Bent judges are killing Assange”, “Jail the war criminals, free Chelsea Manning”, and “No US extradition”.

The rally is organised by human rights campaigners, notably those from Reporters Without Borders and France’s Yellow Vest movement.

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Are France’s unions even trying to win the General Strike?

Friday, 17 January 2020 11:47 AM  [ Last Update: Friday, 17 January 2020 12:07 PM ]

A banner reads in French, ‘General strike a fighting union’, as thousands of people take part in a demonstration in Nantes, western France, on January 16, 2020, as part of a nationwide multi-sector strike against the French government’s pensions overhaul. (Photo by AFP)

By Ramin Mazaheri

Due to a Western media blackout on the subject, many may be surprised to learn that France’s general strike has just begun its seventh consecutive week. It’s the longest labor movement in French history – and by half – but the Western Mainstream Media is ignoring France until this historic moment passes.

It seems about to pass soon.

French unions have done a woeful job leading the strike despite having everything going for them at the beginning.

The alleged superiority of the so-called “independent” union model – favored by the West but opposed by any country with a revolution after 1917 – is once again failing the nation, if maybe not their dues-paying members. 

The general strike is wobbling, and by January 24th the pension bill will be formally presented to the government. It is amazing rapacity, because presenting a bill amid such strikes is obviously rushing it into the safe arms of a system dominated by President Emmanuel Macron; it is also amazing duplicity, because Macron only released the pension scheme’s details just last week!

France: Clashes erupt in Lyon as unions march to oppose planned pension reform Nearly 16,000 people took to the streets of Lyon, as part of a new day of action against the government

Wasting time has been Macron’s main tactic during the general strike, despite the fact that workers and households are increasingly desperate after having gone without work for six full weeks. To be accurate, then: “wasting time” is not his tactic, but “increasing desperation”.

A simple recipe for the Macron era is: increase desperation + trace amounts of democratic discussion + rubber bullets + total control over Parliament = Macron’s deification outside of France and his vilification inside France.

But the so-called “centrist” Macron and his deviousness are well known by now – what happened to unions and their great leadership? Many French unionists have had the gall to tell me that countries with modern revolutions “have no unions” – so show us how it’s done then, Mr. Know-it-all?!

If unions can’t win this one for the nation, can they ever win one in the Western model?

This was supposed to be an easy one.

Domestic polls have never shown public support below 60% for the strike – from the start until today – nor disapproval of less than 70% for Macron’s unprecedented pension scheme.

But this was a “general strike” that lacked both “general” and “strike”

France’s transport strike drags on despite government compromise on pensionsA crippling French transport strike drags into its 39th day despite the government

.A general strike is something which union leaders never really wanted, I think. It was forced by three things, all of which were undermining the incredibly unjustified cultural faith France has in their Western union model: hospital strikes which had been going on for months (due to years of austerity cuts), wildcat train strikes that had sprouted (work-related accidents were increasing due to reduced working conditions, the result of years of austerity cuts) and the bravery and selflessness of the Yellow Vests.

Macron forced the issue with this radical pension scheme – this was to be his “Thatcher/Reagan moment”, and he wanted it that way. But unions didn’t even answer the first-round bell.

The “strike” turned out to be entirely placed on the backs of train conductors. The notable feature of this historic era is the 2-3 times longer work commutes for urban areas, as trains were shut down for weeks and over the Christmas holiday.

But where were the other labor sectors? The unions failed miserably by failing to call on them to join the “general” strike.

Unions only called six days of nationwide strikes and protests – if they really wanted to win they would have called that many in the first week alone. What this means is that most French have actually taken less than a week off to strike against the pension replacement.

General Confederation of Labor (CGT) union dockers and workers hold a banner reading ” Together for our jobs – Wages – Pension” during a rally in Marseille, southern France on January 14, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Instead of blocking the economy or, more importantly, blocking the functioning of society (no schools, no hospitals, no day care, no elder care, no anything as much as possible), unions decided only to block urban public commutes; small-town life in France has been barely touched by the general strike.

Their lack of mobilization feeds into the worst stereotypes of French laziness, but it is laziness of the bosses: it’s as if union chiefs said, “Let the public transport workers handle it all – we’re going on Christmas vacation.”

And they did!

Macron was only too happy to postpone negotiations for more than two weeks over the holiday period; union leaders incredibly outdid him by not calling for a nationwide strike or protest for nearly three weeks. I couldn’t understand it – so then why call a transport strike over the Christmas holiday at all? Why fragment your own forces?

France cheers on general strike for XmasA majority of France supports the general strike despite its extending into the holiday season.

Transport workers continued to shoulder the load alone, but why did union leaders not encourage anyone to join to them? Probably terrible leadership, strategy and organization.

France’s labor chiefs are not new, but they acted new on the job

As could have been predicted from their history, the Macron administration’s corruption gave them a golden chance to kill the pension system: Two weeks into the strike (December 17) the architect of the entire pension reform had to resign his ministry post due to allegations of corruption.

What else can you ask for?! What a gift! What a mistake from such an untested government!

A sustained, immediate, massive mobilization over such incredibly important corruption would have been hugely effective right then: How can the fruits of a corrupt minister be wholesome?

But unions did nothing to take advantage: they all went on Christmas vacation – everyone but train conductors.

All this prolongation gave the Macron administration more time to cut sweetheart deals with key labor sectors: just after the Western New Year airline pilots and cabin crews announced they had made a self-interested arrangement with the government and called off their planned strike.

Inaction from the unions gave Macron time to “divide and conquer” the strike, like always in France’s Age of Austerity, when they should have known from the beginning that this would be exactly their tactic.

The government then engaged in duplicity to sow confusion and stall. In addition to the radical “universal” and “points-based” system, the government wanted to increase the retirement age by two years. But this was always a fake poison pill – it was something the government could easily withdraw in order to appear like they were negotiating in good faith: the radical pension system is a far, far more lucrative prize for France’s 1%. On January 11 they announced they would suspend the age hike.

Then they said the suspension was only temporary.

Then they didn’t clarify when the temporary suspension would start or finish.

As clear as mud, and we all keep inching toward the January 24th formal presentation of the bill, when negotiations will be finished.

This week the participation of train conductors in the strike fell to their lowest levels – metro services in Paris are now functioning at about 20% of normal levels, but anyone using the rail service is obviously going against the strike.

But after six full weeks people tell me they have foot problems from so many long walks to and from work. Striking is hard, and unions should know that and thus pushed with all their might from the beginning. Instead, they are trying to do so now.

Out of increasing desperation, unions called for three days of national strikes this week, but attendance has been lackluster there as well.

No general sturdy enough to push past teenage anarchists

Back to the strike lacking a “general” – this became evident on the very first day of nationwide protest (December 5).

A few hundred Black Bloc protesters – who are either undercover police or anarchist idiots with daddy issues – held up 250,000 union-led protesters for four hours in Paris.

It was not an incredible show of strength by Black Bloc but an appalling display of poor leadership from unions. Yes the cops – who have way more guns, defensive armaments and training – did nothing to stop Black Bloc, but they never do: those are their orders from above, and this is old news.

What I want to know is: why did none of the union leaders have the skill to say, “We can’t let these skinny punks stop our first demonstration and provide the MSM with riot footage – that will scare the average person away from protesting and weaken our strike. Onwards! We march and Black Bloc can’t stop us!”

And Black Bloc would have stepped aside in two seconds. They don’t have weapons, they were vastly outnumbered and they are mostly trembling 21-year-olds. The violence that day was piddling – truly 1% of what a rough Yellow Vest demonstration was like.

But no union leader could grasp this reality, apparently.

Certainly, no union leader was willing to be at the front line to push ahead and tell Black Bloc that their democratic right to protest peacefully would not be denied. Cops would have never stepped in to prevent protesters from confronting Black Bloc – that would mean protecting Black Bloc openly.

Union leaders may feel their precious brains need to be protected at all costs, but their tactical capabilities are even worse than their leadership capabilities.

I don’t know what will turn around the general strike now?

Unions have fumbled away golden opportunities and failed to apply pressure when they could

have. They have, like Macron, ignored the importance of democratic public opinion.

Furthermore, there are right-wing unions and left-wing unions, after all – they do not all think alike. France’s largest union is right-wing. France is not a “socialist” country like the US claims – their political revolution was way before 1917, and it failed, too. And quickly.

The only winner here will be the Yellow Vests – their view that unions are indeed part the inept and/or corrupt mainstream political system will be vindicated if unions don’t right the ship.

Did the unions ever really want to win? Their tactics don’t give that impression – it looks more and more like this “general strike” was all to give the show of resistance, not to actually resist.

However, in the short term it’s not like Yellow Vests can provide a political solution to aid the average Frenchman – it took Italy’s Five-Star Movement eight years to win actual power.

Taking a longer, historical view, in 2017 France’s two mainstream parties were swept out of power for the first time in postwar history. If they continue on their losing track, 2020 may prove to have been the year the same broom was applied to unions. What comes after, that, is the question.

(Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’)

Pilots break strike unity as Macron’s ‘Thatcher moment’ is right now

December 31, 2019

By Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

But nobody is making a sound about it, and not even Macron.

Maybe they will now: The first union has selfishly broken ranks – French pilots and cabin crews. It’s a “universal” pension system, sure… except for the groups who Macron has to buy off to break the strike.

French President Emmanuel Macron has barely said two words about the general strike, even though it has lasted four weeks and will soon become the longest general strike ever in French history.

And many French don’t even mind. It’s a quirk of the French system I cannot yet explain: they view it as normal that Macron has not commented on the general strike because that is the domain of the prime minister.

French contradictions abound, and they think the mystery makes them appear deep: France’s president is well-known to be closest thing to a constitutional dictator the West has, and yet the PM is supposed to be given much latitude on domestic policy?

I have heard this often, but never seen it action: the idea that Macron’s PM is not beholden to the ideas and orders of his boss on the pension plan is absurd. To me it has always seen like a way for the president to have someone to blame his unpopular policies on.

But Macron has given one press conference in 2.5 years, and he didn’t say the words “Yellow Vest” in public until after 23 Saturdays, and no one seems up in arms about it (besides the Yellow Vests), so… c’est la France.

Macron will probably make a rote plea for unity at his annual New Year’s Eve wishes – the guy is speaking at 8pm, so if all you have going is watching Macron’s press conference then take heart: 2020 can only get better than 2019 for you.

The coverage of the general strike from non-French media reminds me of France’s recent coverage of the resolution (one step below a law) which equates anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism: there was a decent amount of coverage AFTER the resolution became a fact.

This was obvious to predict, but there is an omertà regarding France’s general strike from Anglophone media – it’s almost as if they don’t want to ruin a good thing. If there was any room for leftism in the West’s “free speech means corporate media own all speech” now would be the time to be up in arms with keyboards in hands. But people repeatedly tell me they can’t find anything about it in non-French sources.

Honestly: This can’t go on in France any longer

Without any exaggeration, the French (and certainly the “French model”, aka “Capitalism with French characteristics) simply cannot sustain more austerity attacks which “re(de)form” it into an Anglo-Saxon model and here’s why: If you take home €2,500 a month in France you have a really good job (especially in 2019). If you take home $2,500 per month in the US (making about $20 per hour) your job is desirable but not really good.

Yes, 42% of Americans don’t even make $15 hour but the point is: the French model is based on low wages. The Swiss, Germans, UK, etc. – they all make much more than rich France.

The reason France accepts lousy wages was their Nordic-level social safety net: so they had guaranteed work contracts (“CDIs”), 2-3 years of decent unemployment, 5 weeks paid vacation legal minimum, cheap schools from 3 months old to PhD, cheap medical care and a good pension. Make no mistake because I know you right wingers will: This is a system which is paid for by the French worker giving up 40% of their pay check every month, and then 10% annually in an income tax. I.e., low wages.

That concept is crucial to understand. A whopping 80% of the pension system is funded by taxes on individuals and bosses, and not the state. The French pension isn’t “unsustainable” at all: if it is “underfunded” it is only on the state side, and only because the state has purposely starved it of funds via funding cuts. With the stroke of a budget pen its minor deficit could be resolved. Baby Boomers will be dropping like flies by the 2030s reducing fiscal stress- the system works, and it can last.

This explains why all neoliberals can really come with to justify junking the ENTIRE system is that it is too “complex”. Why is complexity automatically a negative thing? I’m glad these guys didn’t take up physics. The other reason they deploy is that some people – like manual laborers, those who work in hard and/or dangerous conditions – retire early to avoid death/maiming on the job due to “you’re too old for this” syndrome. They have seized upon the “injustice” of these “special regimes”. All of a sudden neoliberals care about injustice….. Of course the one-size-fits-all, universal system is as regressive (not progressive) as a flat tax, and that’s why no nation does it.

But back to how this onslaught of “reforms” is just unsustainable: reduced services which used to be covered by the state, increased prices on everything, Housing Bubble II, new jobs are all one-month renewable contracts (CDDs), you have to work until 64 instead of 60 in 2009, your pension is going to leave you barely at poverty level – you cannot have this AND low wages in France.

It is just impossible, logically. Something has to give on one of the ends.

If they are going to make it so that all the state is provides is health care and education and then citizens are on their own – the glorious Apache-killing Arizona libertarian model (with a touch of European class) – then they have to vastly inflate wages.

But nobody is talking in France about raising wages to compensate for the worse pensions, nor for any of the austerity measures.

So this can’t go on.

And yet it will – Macron is tackling the unemployment system next, i.e. later this year. Is there going to be a General Strike Act 2?

If the US and UK are any example – no there won’t be. So this may be the end of “France”. Remember the US and UK prior to Reagan and Thatcher – sure was better back then, or at least far less unequal and unstable.

Can Macron get his wish? To be the youngest (despised) leader in Western capitalist history?

One can picture Macron just white-knuckling it right now – if he can just get break this strike… the dude will go down in right-wing history. Or is it “centrist” history for Macron?

When Thatcher died there was UK police brutality at the street parties celebrating her death. That sounded about right to me. The New York Times scolded us with superstition and expressed their fake shock in their pathetic Taboo on Speaking Ill of the Dead Widely Ignored Online After Thatcher’s Death.” This is a taboo in the West – since when? The West cares about taboos – since when? I know they don’t care about taboos because they need a loan word for this rather crucial social concept – the word itself is Tongan, and the English didn’t get to Polynesia until 1773.

As I led with, French pilots and cabin crews have called off a strike they had planned for January 3 – they got a sweetheart deal from Macron, and you can all go kick rocks for calling them “stewardesses”. The Macron administration has only negotiated en masse with unions for three days out of 26 consecutive strike days – they never wanted to make a broad deal but only a few small deals in order to “divide and conquer” and break the strike.

This has worked every time during the age of austerity. I have written this many times but I will say it again, cuz some of y’all think the Western system is the apex of everything political: This is what “independent” labor unions get you – sold out. The socialist model of “we’re all in one big union” means the workers are truly in the government, not against the government… and against the good of the People, and against their fellow workers, and against their fellow unions and against, against, against it’s called “capitalism” people.

But the West is “freer” than China, Iran, Cuba, etc. Sure, free to be unequal.

Back to France: it’s getting hard, having a commute 2-3 times longer for four weeks. I’m not breaking rocks all day, but it’s grating on people.

That’s really what the “general strike” has amounted to – public transport shutdowns. The burden of the national good is basically all on the backs of rail workers. The unions have only called 3 days of nationwide protest and strikes – this means that even politically-active people have probably only taken 3 strike days of lost wages, whereas “good” rail workers have lost a month. What a stupid system they have here? Plenty of protest marches and big talk but when it’s general strike time (finally!) it’s: “I can’t afford it – let the rail workers do it.”

Truly, before we had the Yellow Vests we only had the rail workers: in the age of austerity they were always the ones (along with some of us journalists) at the front lines getting gassed and beating back cops. They have led every major anti-austerity movement. Nobody really joined them when they tried to prevent the EU-forced privatisation of French rails (Same thing back then in the media: “The rail system is bankrupt!” No it’s not, it was purposely starved of state funding.) They led the huge 1995 strike as well.

Not the stewardesses and their Top Gun flyboys. They have left France in the lurch.

I guarantee that tonight many will have a few glasses of wine and say, “Zees solidarité ees all phony!”, just to appear smart and courageous (the French are always wishing each other “good courage”), and the strike will fall apart.

That’s the France I know – Windbag France, aka Faithless France.

But we have the Yellow Vests now. Maybe General Strike 2 is République Française VI? Tides turn, the moon waxes and wane, the meek inherit a decent pension.

General striking is hard, but just don’t be a stewardess. Excuse me, Airplane Cabin Executive. Gotta love that Western model….


Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’

Massive chaos as largest strike in years hits France for 2nd Day

Source

Friday, 06 December 2019

Hundreds of thousands of strikers paralyzed the transport system on the first day of industrial action which prompted closure of schools across the nation.

According to union leaders, more than 1.5 million people turned out across the country, with police using tear gas to disperse them.

Just in Paris alone, tens of thousands of people took to the streets, while more than 6,000 police officers were deployed with a decree to forbid the protesters from gathering on the Champs-Élysées or at police stations.

Police in riot gear used tear gas and truncheons to disperse protesters near the Place de la Republique. The judiciary 57 people were detained on Thursday.

Strikers on Friday were set to continue a similar pattern across the country, with widespread rail cancellations and disruption to flights expected across the nation.

French riot police clash with protesters during a demonstration in Paris, on December 5, 2019 as part of a national general strike. (Photo by AFP)

In Paris, most of the metro system shut down and hundreds of flights were expected to be cancelled.

Union leaders warned that the strike could last at least until Monday if the government did not take the right action.

“The strike is not going to stop tonight,” said Philippe Martinez, secretary general of the CGT union, on Thursday.

Paris’s bus and metro operator have said their walkout will last until Monday at the very least.

President Macron is already faced with a major challenge to his rule from “Yellow Vest” protesters, who have been holding weekly demonstrations for more than a year.

Trade union leaders are now calling on Macron to abandon his campaign promise to overhaul the retirement system.

The president has said he wants to simplify the country’s complex retirement system, which comprises more than 40 different plans, many with different retirement ages and benefits.

The new system will introduce a “points system” for retirement, which will have a significant impact on the public sector.

Until now, the sector had enjoyed special retirement systems to compensate for difficult working conditions.

Related Videos

French general strike starts: 3 weeks for victory like 1995, or more Austerity Era failure?

Members of the Yellow Vest movement are being evacuated by the gendarmerie after trying to occupy the Pont de L'Etoile A52 highway tollbooth in Aubagne, southern France, on November 17, 2019, to celebrate the first anniversary of the movement. (Photo by AFP)

Members of the Yellow Vest movement are being evacuated by the gendarmerie after trying to occupy the Pont de L’Etoile A52 highway tollbooth in Aubagne, southern France, on November 17, 2019, to celebrate the first anniversary of the movement. (Photo by AFP)

Wed Dec 4, 2019 10:16AM

By Ramin Mazaheri

Image result for ramin mazaheri

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.

 

Over the decade I have lived in France I have never seen a social protest movement win their economic objective.

Wait… that’s not true: in 2015 Francois Hollande gave in to the demands of protesting police even before their protest ended. That was pretty pathetic.

And then we also have the exception of exceptions, the ever-constant Yellow Vests. They have won a small portion of their economic demands – a tiny amount of direct financial relief, no austerity budget in 2020 and preventing the government from privatizing the airports of Paris (at least temporarily).

They won by doing something which was unprecedented in France: protesting, instead of vacationing, over Christmas. They surprised everyone, including me, with their self-sacrifice, which ultimately grew to incredibly admirable proportions due to their steadfastness amid constant repression.

However, Yellow Vests are now being forced into the back seat.

Unions are leading an unlimited, general strike starting on December 5 to try and stop President Emmanuel Macron’s radically right-wing pension “reforms”.

Will their general strike work?

France’s ‘independent’ unions: if it’s good for members, who cares if its bad for the nation?

It’s so amazing how very quickly a general strike can win that it’s amazing that anyone thinks another tactic in the labor playbook is even required?

But as France’s #1 union leader, the CGT’s Philippe Martinez, told me years ago: “I don’t have a button marked ‘general strike’ which I can press.” LOL, unfortunate but true.

Again, I have never seen a social protest movement in France win their economic objective… unless we are talking about a few union members whom the government bought off with targeted concessions.

The French illustrate why “independent” labor unions might be good for a member but bad for the nation, and also why the world’s most truly progressive models don’t have labor unions which are independent from their government structure.

Since 2010 France has seen enormous, broad protest movements against wave after wave of austerity measures, but they have never succeeded in stopping them. The reason is the same old imperial logic – divide and conquer. Time after time I have watched French strikes fail because the government can quite easily give targeted concessions to just a few sectors of the workforce, and even to just a few unions within one sector of the workforce. This always has had the intended result: to reduce strike participation and provoke anger, resentment and selfishness among those who are still striking so that the movement is inevitably abandoned. France, already the land of the evil eye, has only grown more embittered and suspicious over their many failed labor movements during the Great Recession.

The Yellow Vests have totally rejected union involvement until now, and for the reason I have explained: France’s unions are self-interested, whereas the Vesters obviously promote self-sacrifice for the national good. Just like France’s political groups and NGOs, the unions are fundamentally allied with a corrupt establishment which is geared towards the pro-neo-imperialist 1% and their money-grubbing immorality.

In 1995 right-wing reforms (pushing – you guessed it – right-wing pension rollbacks) lasted three weeks and the government backed down. There were minor goods shortages, and people lost some wages, but national unity against a government’s totally unjustified, 1%-enriching policies was easily victorious.

Almost two-thirds of the nation does not trust President Emmanuel Macron to lead any sort of pension reform, so there is unity again. The reality is that Macron has a support base of just 25% which approves of whatever he does. Clearly, his remaining supporters on the pension issue are daredevils who merely want to see what the world’s very first universal, one-size-fits-all pension program will actually look like.

Such a program is totally unjust because bending rail tracks in the cold, hoisting garbage cans and – I’d say – teaching 30 kids for 8 hours a day is not something which a 64-year old person can do without serious consequences for their health and future. In a West, which makes an idol of youth and dismisses the elderly, this idea – that old people deserve a future, too – is rarer than an igloo in Ecuador.

If recent history is any guide: If Macron gives just a few crumbs to a few unions they will push past the strikers and be “scabs” to the rest of the nation with zero scruples.

This strike is perhaps a final test of union power in France: Unions have become more fragmented since 1995 – and thus less powerful – and if they fail to win here the Yellow Vests will be proven right to have excluded and denounced them.

Macron: Won’t rest until every Frenchman is an American in Paris

No nation has a universal pension system and the French government themselves truly don’t know what they are doing. No worker knows how much their new “points” will be worth upon retirement, including Macron himself. It is clear that Macron only wants to smash the current system and replace it with something more Americanized. I write that because this has been his modus operandi ever since taking office.

Macron’s policies don’t need public approval because he is not trying to get re-elected – he is trying to merely win by default in 2022, when Marine Le Pen will again serve as the scare tactic. Even if he loses he is guaranteeing himself a lifetime of lucrative speech-making in Western nations by destroying the bad example which has always been the French “mixed-economy” model.

Macron is not like Hollande in that he did not backtrack – he warned France of what he was going to do. This gives him a mere fig leaf of democratic justification (in the classic Western-model style): he claims to have won a democratic mandate for his far-right economic plans, but every adult in France knows what I just wrote – his base of support in the 2017 vote was just one-quarter of voters, because everyone else voted to block the far-right (culturally, not economically) Marine Le Pen and also to sweep out the two hated mainstream parties.

In 1995, the largest French social movement since 1968, what tipped the scale was public transport workers: they bought movement to a halt for three weeks, and they are threatening to do the same this month.

What did not tip the scales in favor of worker-class justice is France’s media.

France’s “private” media, whose editorial lines are decided by a handful of billionaires, keeps pushing this willfully stupid point about Macron’s false “mandate” which insults the intelligence of their readers and viewers. Similarly, every report about the pension reforms begins with raising the issue of the “special regimes” – which are mainly for public service manual laborers who work in conditions which no sexagenarian should endure – in an obvious ploy to create support for the far-right reform via provoking jealousy, anger and exasperation, which cannot possibly be the foundation for the proper “reform” of anything.

Not much should be expected from France’s public media, either: even though their salaries are derived from taxpayer dollars only Iranian and Russian media have been covering the Yellow Vests from the street for the past five months.

Another group which also did not tip the scales is what, “Remember ’68, man?!”, French Boomers falsely believe will do so this time around – students.

It is only via cutting off profits to the 1% that France’s leaders – in their aristocratic/bourgeois Western democracy – will ever be forced to back down. It is workers and determined adults who can and must play the deciding factor in politics. I have no idea why the youth-worshipping West thinks baby-faced students are a safer bet than tough rail workers?

Another battle which will be decided is the “blowhard” French model of influencing government – simple, often alcohol-fueled protests.

For the past decade the French have gone to a protest, taken a selfie (without smiling), gone home early and – as I’ve stated – lose. They are simply shocked to find, no matter how often it has occurred, that a government which keeps resorting to executive orders does not at all listen to public opinion when formulating public policy. The French love for self-expression may be self-satisfying, but it is a regular political failure.

Returning to the tactic of a general strike will hopefully show France that the only solution is economically hurting the 1% whom the Western liberal model seeks to protect from any possible economic losses.

Of course these failed bets – on “independent” unions, on the “independent” private media, on emotional and unsteady youth, on protests which lack the basic knowledge of the class struggle and the majority’s embrace of neo-imperialism in  the French culture – all help explain why nearly no socio-economic movements have won since 1995.

What is different this time around?

Nobody can really tell, because it all depends on the willingness of workers to sacrifice their pay checks to win something they won’t touch for decades in the future. Every society has immediate needs to satisfy, but does France have a culture which encourages thinking about the far, unknowable future?

Everybody is making the comparison with 1995, but there is no doubt that the economic and democratic condition of the average citizen is far, far worse since then.

Anti-austerity feeling has routinely been sky-high during the Eurozone’s Lost Decade, and the French keep losing their purchasing power, government services, working conditions and the social rights it has taken a century to wrest from most decidedly un-Islamic high finance. Maybe this will tip the scales?

Is France willing to walk to work for just 3 weeks, like in 1995? If not, they should be prepared to work two extra years in their old age, and for a monthly stipend which is far less than what the elderly get now.

Footnote: Two weeks after the 1995 “victory” the far-right nature of the aristocratic/bourgeois Western model asserted itself – parliament voted to allow the social security reform via executive order. In such a model the 1% is guaranteed to win and is always the primary beneficiary of government policies and tax dollars. If the French weren’t confronted by this reality before, the Yellow Vests have changed that.

Or maybe they haven’t changed that? If the strike fails, the way the Western aristocratic model inevitably betrays the lower and middle classes – and the apathy, alienation and selfishness it necessary provokes among the mass of the citizenry- will be the primary reason for failure, although this reason is never cited in the West.

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

 

Western counter-revolution tragically on display at gas price hike protests

A picture taken on November 17, 2019 shows a scorched gas station that was set ablaze by protesters during a demonstration against a rise in gasoline prices in Eslamshahr, near the Iranian capital of Tehran. (By AFP)

A picture taken on November 17, 2019 shows a scorched gas station that was set ablaze by protesters during a demonstration against a rise in gasoline prices in Eslamshahr, near the Iranian capital of Tehran. (By AFP)

Western counter-revolution tragically on display at gas price hike protestsBy Ramin Mazaheri

Thu Nov 28, 2019 08:18AM [Updated: Thu Nov 28, 2019 08:24AM ]

Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’

 

A simple question for you: are there, for lack of a better word, “counter-revolutionaries” in Ukraine, Hong Kong, or Syria? By that I mean: do those nations have people on the far extremes of the political spectrum who will provoke, take advantage of, and even relish in violence against their governments?

Obviously, only a liar or somebody foolishly playing devil’s advocate would not respond that, yes, in these nations there are many such persons — the proof is overwhelming.

So why would it be so hard to believe that there are such persons — counter-revolutionaries — in Iran, and that they hijacked recent protests over gas price hikes to provoke, take advantage of, and devilishly relish in death and violence against the government? Iran, unlike the nations I listed — and unlike almost every nation, period — actually had a popular revolution for extremists to counter in the first place.

Iranians are reminded of their exceptionalism when, for example and for certain, such far-right groups drove on a motorcycle to a gas hike protest, fired on the crowd, and fled.

Such vicious, armed people — the allies of the governments of many of those reading this article — are obviously the worst, most anti-democratic type of criminal. Their goal is just as obvious: to foment a counter-revolution in Iran.

What is unfortunate regarding the West’s coverage of the national tragedy which was the violence at the Iranian gas hike protests is that there isn’t the barest mention of this very real, very life-and-death, very accurate reality.

The term “counter-revolutionary” staggers the Western mind in its tracks — they seem to think it has been consigned to history? Or because there are no revolutionary countries in the West, and many ones filled with neo-imperial propaganda, perhaps they cannot even conceive of the existence of counter-revolutionaries?

The impact of such naivety is profoundly deadly.

Iranian counter-revolutionaries are aware of this yawning Western blind spot, and so they know that every single Iranian death — when reported by Amnesty International or Western journalists — will be blamed on the government and national security forces even though every Iranian knows that this is false and impossible.

The sweet, good-hearted innocents at Amnesty and the desk-only journalists in London, Paris, and New York City simply do not have the experience, or maybe even the editorial approval, to write this truthful question asked by every Iranian: how many innocent deaths were caused by counter-revolutionaries, and how many counter-revolutionaries pushed their far-right views all the way to their own demise?

We don’t know, as an official government report of the deaths has not yet been released. But everyone in Iran has an idea of the answer — a lot of them.

And there were many innocent deaths of protesters, too. This is why the gas hike protests are a tragedy.

And we know, because no one denies the right to self-defense, that the government simply had to fire back: when somebody drives by on a motorcycle and opens fire… what is the alternative for any civil servant working in security?

What needs to be impressed on non-Iranians is that there are regular protests in Iran and that they are not violent. Iran is not Cuba, which has no protests besides the “Ladies in White.” Iran is also not China, which has almost too many protests to keep track of. Iran is also not the US, which seemingly forgot how to protest in between the end of their Vietnam invasion and the election of Donald Trump. So if Iran has many protests which do not get violent, why did these?

The gas price hikes were launched without warning, and I assume it is because the government knew that they would be very unpopular… but they didn’t want them to be explosive.

And by “explosive” I mean that they didn’t want the old-money monarchists, the insane MKO who are even less popular than the criminal monarchists, ISIL (an attack of theirs caused 70 innocent casualties in Tehran in 2017), the cynical mercenaries bought by Western nations and their Arab monarch puppets, the secret service agencies of such nations which of course target Iran (is this is not a great number of people, already?) to have time to plan their drive-by shootings, building bombings and arsons at a  moment of heightened social unrest. I would say it’s not that the government wanted to catch the Iranian people by surprise, but to catch these illegitimate, undemocratic, far-right, definitely “counter-revolutionary” forces by surprise.

Were there legitimate protests against the gas hikes? As I mentioned, of course, and nor were they unusual or unexpected.

But attacking a police station, probably to get weapons — it is a normal journalistic question to ask if these are the works of counter-revolutionaries or “normal protesters,” regardless of the passport such attackers hold? Take a moment to imagine what the Western mainstream response would be be if French Yellow Vests did that — the idea that any of them would receive the barest sliver of public support is preposterous.

Just like with the Yellow Vests, the West lies about the true authors of protest violence

This should be stating the obvious to anyone with a rudimentary political awareness, but in the Iranian context, a “far-rightist” is synonymous with a “counter-revolutionary.” This is the case of every society which had a revolution since 1917, and Iran is no different. There is no “far-right” party in China, Cuba, Iran, or in any revolutionary nation because revolutionary nations all banish/declare war on far-right forces, after all.

It is difficult for Westerners to understand the recent Iran protests because they are denied this historical-political honesty and context about Iran. Their difficulty is further compounded by the fact that the top NGOs and the Western mainstream media cannot or will not admit that in Western nations the far-right is firmly a part of their establishments, unlike in Iran.

Look at the Yellow Vests in France: across the West, they have been portrayed as violent, far-right thugs masquerading as protesters. The reality is — and I have been there nearly every Saturday and can testify — the scenes of extreme violence always come from Black Bloc members who infiltrate the protests. Black Bloc is totally detrimental to the legitimate pro-democracy and socioeconomic demands of the Yellow Vest protesters; their ultra-left anarchism is totally unwanted; they are easily infiltrated by rogue cops, who merely have to wear black; French riot cops don’t lift a finger to stop Black Bloc’s vandalism — they are either colluding or, certainly, told to allow violence to occur in order to discredit the Yellow Vests.

The Yellow Vests are innocent protesters, just like the Iranian gas hike protesters — they are unarmed and cannot possibly stop people from committing unreasonable violence. Therefore, how can the West blame the Yellow Vests for violence they disavow and have no part in? I don’t know… but that is certainly what they have done for a calendar year.

The real violence comes not from Iranian gas price hike protesters nor Yellow Vests (who started following a gas price hike) in either of their situations, but from outside, unwanted, self-interested forces with incredibly dubious democratic intentions.

It is crystal clear: just as the West doesn’t report that it is Black Bloc committing violence and not the Yellow Vests protesters, the West also doesn’t report that it is far-right/counter-revolutionaries who are the authors of violence in Iran.

The Iranian government must absolutely punish police wrongdoings whenever proven. They must not be like France, which last week finally opened their first trial for police brutality despite the full calendar year of incredibly calculating repression. Iran has had a short-lived paroxysm of violence — the French government cold-bloodedly wages police brutality with sadistic regularity and precision.

However, comparing France and Iran is to compare apples and bowling balls. France’s government doesn’t have to spend one second thinking about catching “anti-France” forces “by surprise.” France is not beset by many rich, far-right groups / nations / monarchs / ex-monarchs / terrorists who get out of bed in the morning with the sole goal of destabilizing their national system.

Iranians, unlike the French, know this article is full of truths.

They know that because they know what propaganda is: France just had its bloodiest day since being kicked out of Beirut some 40 years ago, as 13 French soldiers died while fighting in Mali. President Emmanuel Macron immediately tweeted, “These 13 heroes had just one goal: To protect us.” Now that is laughable propaganda about France’s “one goal!”

Nobody can believe that, but many in France and the West do — all part of the “war on terrorism,” right? But Malians know better: a January 2018 poll in the capital of Bamako revealed that 80% of respondents believe that France’s army is in Mali only to defend its own interests. Which is, of course, obviously the case. Macron immediately and robotically made his phony “war on terror” claim because he knows such scaremongering propaganda is desperately needed to stop honest discussion.

Just as many Westerners will believe Macron’s false propaganda, many Westerners will believe 100% that the Iranian government is responsible for every recent death. The emphatic, self-righteous certainty with which Western propaganda insists this falsehood and inaccuracy is appalling.

Iranians believe otherwise — some told me the majority of the dead were ardent counter-revolutionaries. This is a common perception, but it cannot be verified yet — what’s certain is that innocents did die, and that is a tragedy.

US clarifies its ‘diplomacy:’ allow a counter-revolution or starve to death

The real economic problem in Iran is the Western sanctions blockade. Such sanctions are made to create instability to the point of civil war. The West also funds groups which are designed expressly to create the most sparks precisely at times of heightened dissatisfaction and difficulty.

Those are all facts, and why would they not have been on full display at the gas price hike protests?

They were, but honest analysis of Iranian politics has few forums available. This article has discussed and analyzed these rarely-discussed realities which Iranians know well and will not deny.

In Iran, the violence comes from an ultra-violent right but the West naively acts as if such a political sector in Iran does not exist. The West also naively acts as if within their own nations there is not establishment support of far-right, conservative, certainly “counter-revolutionary” ideas and groups. It should thus be clear why the West is so unwilling to support revolutionary Iran in maintaining its revolution.

The West allies with the far-right across the world. Iranians know this, and they also pay the price. They pay the price at the gas pump, as the West’s blockade has undoubtedly forced the recent price increase, and they pay the price in so very many liters of blood, just as they have done ever since the beginning of the Western-forced invasion by Iraq in 1980.

Why can such realities not be even be broached in Western media or by Western NGOs? To this, I have no satisfactory answer.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo just said, essentially, that Iran has to have a counter-revolution if “they want their people to eat.” As Yemen proves (in case North Korea did not do this already), the US is fine with starvation as a “legitimate” political tactic.

What is certain, sadly, is that no Western journalist called Pompeo a “far-rightist,” a “fascist” or a “counter-revolutionary” — they all simply nodded and reported what he said without question, contestation, or a hint of shame.

The counter-revolutionaries lost in Iran recently, again; Iran mourns that they still keep trying. The nation mourns most of all because of the West’s never-ending blockade against Iranian self-determination.

The terroristic inhumanity of their starvation-strangulation-sanction policy is something which cannot be broached in Western media, NGOs, governments or among many Western citizens, as well.

 

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

 

Yellow Vests reach 1 year: The redemption of France’s revolutionary spirit

 

Yellow Vests reach 1 year: The redemption of France’s revolutionary spirit

November 20, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog (cross-posted with PressTV)

(Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV 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. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’.)

For many years to come France will be divided into two periods – before the Yellow Vests, and after the Yellow Vests. It’s widely believed in France that things can never go back to the way they were.

I’m not sure there can be a better yardstick of domestic success – a better gauge of sociocultural impact – than that?

Outside of France the Yellow Vests have given the world a precious gift, and at a huge sacrifice: nobody will ever view “French-style democracy” with the respect their government arrogantly demands as the alleged “birthplace of human rights”. For a generation or longer, “What about the Yellow Vests?”, will be a conversation-ending question to anyone who claims the moral superiority of the “Western-style” political system.

Systematic repression of the poorest classes are indeed “universal values”, but only within neoliberal and neo-imperial systems. Make no mistake: It has been one year of open Yellow Vest revolt against the economic dictates of that “neoliberal empire”, the European Union, and it’s neo-colonial puppet temporarily occupying Élysée Palace in Paris.

What the last year has testified to is the redemption of France’s revolutionary spirit. Not every country has that, after all.

England, for example, will foolishly “keep calm and carry on” – a perfect summation of change-hating conservatism – until the bitter end, always. This is why reading English-language media coverage of the Yellow Vests was so very similar – “English conservative opposes egalitarian movement in France”. They have been running the same story for 200+ years, going back to Edmund Burke, who founded modern Western conservatism with his (reactionary) Reflections on the Revolution in France in 1790.

France is not England, but 53 weeks ago I don’t think anyone imagined that the French could possibly muster the stamina, dedication and self-sacrifice to protest amid massive state-sponsored repression every weekend for one year.

It’s an amazing achievement, and only those full of spite and hate could deny them a modest present of honest recognition on their birthday.

But Western mainstream media coverage in English and French was just that – they claimed the Yellow Vests achieved nothing.

One thing the French don’t like to be reminded of is: the French Revolution failed, and quickly. It’s as if they forget Emperor Napoleon?

The French Revolution is not like the Iranian, Chinese or Cuban Revolutions, all of which have endured. The American Revolution has also endured – too bad that it was even more aristocratic (bourgeois) and sectarian than the French Revolution.

But the French Revolution occurred in an era of constant regional imperialism, war, slavery, repression of women, religious and ethnic sectarianism, etc. – we would be wrong to say it did not still have positive worldwide ramifications in the most important realms of politics, economics, culture, etc. The USSR – the only empire based on affirmative action – also failed, but we would be wrong to say it didn’t also produce positive changes for their people and also worldwide.

Quickly, here are a few tangible victories of the Yellow Vests: they prevented Emmanuel Macron from presenting a 10th consecutive annual austerity budget, they prevented Macron from de-nationalising the three airports of Paris, and the 10 billion euros in so-called “concessions” was credited with keeping French economic growth in the positive in the last quarter.

However, even if the Yellow Vests have obviously not yet toppled the 5th Republic and set up a new order, their cultural is inestimable. Just as the Occupy Movement of the US in 2011 gave us the slogan and mentality of “We are the 99%”, so will the Yellow Vests stand for something equally conscience-raising.

The Yellow Vests want a French Cultural Revolution, and should lead it

However, 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.

This is why I have repeatedly drawn a different parallel: the Yellow Vests are essentially demanding a Cultural Revolution. Only China and Iran have ever had one, and both were state-sponsored.

Cultural Revolutions put the values of the formerly-oppressed classes into power – everything is brought to a halt for perhaps years in order to engage in mass discussions, with the aim of drastically updating a nation’s democratic institutions and general culture in order to accord with modern political ideals. This is precisely what the Yellow Vests want: a long, comprehensive, democratic rethink and public debate over France’s inclusion in the European Union, the eurozone, NATO, and the Americanisation/neoliberalisation of their domestic policies.

Chinese peasants, Iran’s “revolution of the barefooted” and the rural-based Yellow Vests – it’s impossible not to admit the parallels. The West, of course, only insists that both Cultural Revolutions were huge mistakes.

Not true: China’s Cultural Revolution created the rural economic and human capital which laid the groundwork for their 1980s-onwards boom, although the West would have you believe its rebirth sprung only from Deng’s reforms; Iran’s Cultural Revolution swept away the elite’s oppressive aping of the West and created the first modern Muslim democracy.

The Yellow Vests insist that they are the “real” France, and after a year of talking with them I agree – they know as much or more about politics than I do. Politics is not rocket science, after all, but mainly applying common morality to public policy and daily events.

Iran and China already had a government inspired by socialist democracy (and not by aristocratic liberal democracy) when they embarked on their Cultural Revolutions, whereas France does not – thus the repression.

What did the Occupy Movement “achieve”, after all? They prevented no bailouts, they folded after infinitely less state repression and there is no direct movement linked with them today. However, only a Burkean conservative would insist that the Occupy Movement didn’t wake many people up to the struggles of class warfare, and of egalitarian right and greedy wrong. It’s never mentioned in the Western media – which only adores far-right, nativist, anti-socialist movements like in Hong Kong – but Algerians have protested for 39 consecutive weekends as well.

The Yellow Vests have not failed – they have much to celebrate on their birthday, and this article serves as a rare reminder of that reality.

Iranian and Russian media – doing France’s job for them

What’s important to note is that since late June – when France started going on summer vacation – Russian and Iranian media in Paris (including my Farsi- and Spanish-language colleagues) have been the only television journalists openly covering the Yellow Vest demonstrations.

My French colleagues have done the most cowardly thing possible – they quit the field. For many months people in Paris couldn’t believe I had to work covering the Yellow Vests on Saturday: I repeatedly heard, “I thought they were finished?”

With exceptions I can count on one hand, for many months French media has been either totally absent or hidden. There are certainly no reporters doing live interviews (even without a logo displaying whom they work for), even though the presence of live reporters inherently reduces the willingness of police to be violent. Considering the toll of violence – 11,000 arrested, 2,000 convicted, 1,000 imprisoned, 5,000 hurt,1,000 critically injured and the innumerable tear-gassings – it’s no wonder French people hate the media.

In France the vast majority of media are private, with editorial lines decided by a handful of billionaires – that’s just how Western journalism works, sadly. “Free speech”, they call it. However, where are the public media – they are paid by taxpayer dollars to objectively cover their own nation?! Quite pathetic….

This is probably why the Macron administration openly disparages Russia’s RT and Sputnik (we won’t get into their problems with PressTV here): we have spent the past year properly doing our jobs, unlike France’s media.

That’s too bad for France, but the unexpected and undeniable accomplishments of the Yellow Vests speak for themselves. Who knows what they might achieve in year 2?

Why France’s 20- and 30-somethings hate the Yellow Vests

Why France’s 20- and 30-somethings hate the Yellow Vests

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

It’s a question which needs be asked, but we can’t wait for the French media to answer it because they have almost totally stopped reporting on the anti-government movement for several months.

The first poll on the Yellow Vests since late March (“!”, and then “?”) finally came out two weeks ago. It was so eagerly gobbled up by a French media hungry for objective knowledge on the Yellow Vests that as many as two media talked about it. I missed it because I have already wasted a minimum of 3 hours of my life doing fruitless Google news searches for “Yellow Vest poll”.

The headline of Ouest-France newspaper, by far the most read Francophone paper in the world, was typically “negative-no-matter-what”: “A majority of France have had enough of the Yellow Vests”.

That’s a pretty bold statement considering that this majority is just 52%, which must be within the poll’s margin of error.

The headline could have fairly been: “A majority of France still supports the Yellow Vests despite all the state repression and media negativity”. Considering what a historic anti-government movement this is – the French have just avoided a 9th consecutive austerity budget expressly because of the Yellow Vests – objective journalism would have prioritised the “support” angle and not the “oppose” angle.

More poll tidbits to munch on for those who care about public opinion (which means you are obviously not a Western politician):

Vesters are now openly opposed by retirees (63%), executives/management (61%) and technicians/professionals (58%). However, they are openly supported by workers (52%), rural citizens (47%), the National Front party (64%) and the (true, not far-) leftist Unsubmissive France party (80%). Per the pollers: “The Yellow Vests remain popular with those segments of the population which were at the origin of the movement.

One final poll petit-four: 93% of those who support Macron’s party are against the Yellow Vests, while another recent poll showed that 98% of Macronistas think he is doing a good job. What this reminds us is that there is a hard-core Macronista base for whom he can absolutely do no wrong. I assumed such adoration was limited to 60+ year old single women dreaming of a winter-spring romance (an incredibly winter-spring romance), but it is a solid quarter of the population. This rate of genuine support is actually unchanged since the election in 2017: a quarter of France just adores this guy, no matter what, and apparently no amount of violence can change that.

Let’s get to the point of this column

One segment of society which does not support the Yellow Vests is the 20- and 30-something crowd.

This is based on my regular attendance at Yellow Vest demonstrations, and also many months of informally talking with this age group (of which I am quite nearly a part of). I’d like to pass on what I think are the reasons for their opposition:

  • We must remember that the Yellow Vests are primarily a middle-aged phenomenon – the average of those marching is probably 50 years old. This age group is the one which is most motivated because they are nearing retirement and they see just how bad austerity will make things for them. This generation will not do anywhere as well as their parents, and they are rightfully upset – they really had no chance to “succeed”: they found jobs (or can’t find any job) which will provide the personal nest egg which is required in the Anglo-Saxon system, which is the system that neoliberal austerity seeks to disruptively impose on France. The main problem is that French wages have always been far lower, and taxes quite higher, than their Western counterparts because the deal was that they’d have low wages but a much better social safety net. This deal has been terminated during the Age of Austerity, and Macron’s absurd, inhuman “one-size-fits-all” pension reform is the coup de grâce. Therefore, this segment of society – not professional, working class, low savings, not university educated, not thrilled with their job but still as vital to the functioning of society as you or me – is leading the revolt because they know that if they don’t… they will be working their low-paying job until they are 64 or their knees give out (whichever comes first), and then have a pittance of a pension to boot.
  • What about the young adult Parisians? Firstly, this is an old persons’ town – you have to have money to live within its highway walls. But are you talking about those who were raised in Paris? I guess you mainly referring to those who grew up in the rich Western areas – that place I go and look at like a tourist (seems nice over there), with all their fancy little kids and quiet and trees. People who grow up in these areas are rich – these are the very Macronista urbanites who are young, terrifying and want to eat their elders. They view Macron as their leader, God and role model. So young adult Parisians manning the barricades? Fuggetaboutit. This holds true for all of France’s cities.
  • What about the working class adult urbanites? Like in my area? Do you mean the Chinese, the Hasidic or the Arabs? All of these worker bees crammed into small, noisy apartments were likely turned off by the immediate and totally false smear that the Yellow Vests were racist. Also, the working class is often quite busy working.
  • What about the poor city suburbs, surely they are sympathetic? Indeed, the poor Muslim, Arab and Black areas are all totally sympathetic to the Vesters. However, they are not stupid – they know that if they go to the Vester demonstrations in any city the cops will absolutely, undoubtedly wage police brutality on them first. This truth is so very, very, very self-evident to Muslims and people of Color that we cannot even imagine that many of you cannot accept this, and we just turn and walk away when we start getting blamed for not leading the Yellow Vest charge. People from these areas have been totally marginalised… but when you need cannon fodder, then we get an engraved invitation? LOL, thanks, but no thanks. Nobody cares about the opinion of these areas/groups anyway, but I can report that the Vesters do indeed have their sincere moral support. Finally, Muslims and Blacks probably compose around 5-8% of France – if they did join en masse only 1 out of every 20 Vesters or so would be a non-White, anyway.

And here is the main reason why French Whites – who are the majority among the 20- and 30-somethings in France – do not support the Vesters.

  • I was surprised at the immediate antipathy for the Yellow Vests among the young White French adults I talked with in Paris, but who are the young White French adults in Paris? These are the primarily the people from small towns who are creative types and who move to the urban areas in order to flee the small-town culture, people, mores and activities they found so very stifling. The Yellow Vests are a primarily rural movement, and – as I have described their primary social-class makeup – France’s young urbanites seem to view the Vesters as the older classmates/bullies who made fun of them for being arty and weird and urbanite-aping back in their small town – many 30-somethings in Paris moved expressly to get away from these types! Therefore, it is unthinkable for them to side with the Yellow Vests, and after only the very first couple of demonstrations Parisian young adults seemingly all turned against the Yellow Vests, in my experience. These Parisian young adults see a faded, generic, poorly drawn forearm tattoo on many a Vester, and then they look at their own fancy tattoo (a Chinese character, a magic symbol, or some emblem of personal motivation or social defiance) and they think: “To hell with those White Trash – I never got invited to their parties and I want to lead a different lifestyle.”

So there you have it in a nutshell. Many French people actually made the move to the big city from the small town because they fundamentally resent the people who primarily compose the Yellow Vests.

There are other reasons:

  • Paris attracts young adults from all over the world – where are they? The Western expatriates living in France feel similarly or even more hostile than their French counterparts, in my experience. Many absurdly view Yellow Vests as outright reactionaries, mainly because they have absolutely no idea what the hell they are talking about when it comes to “French culture + class struggle”. These Western White expats simplistically view Vesters as extensions of their own “Brexiteers”, “basket of deplorable American rednecks”, etc., and do not feel the need to dig any deeper than such a superficial comparison – many of these immigrants would have a hard time understanding even if they tried, such is their unfamiliarity with a class lens. Bottom line: they are not about to stop the “Western expat party” and get tear gassed for any Yellow Vest, that is certain.
  • France, contrary to Anglophone media claims, is not a socialist country: aristocratic snobbery permeates and runs amok in the culture here as only it can on the Old Continent. It’s worse in Paris, but “I reject you first” is the initial war a French person declares upon meeting someone. The young adult urbanites in France have not at all been inculcated with class warfare and class solidarity, but identity politics: they identify with their fellow “bobos” (bourgeois bohemians), hipsters, artists and pretty young people. Have a shoulder tattoo I can’t see and not a wrist tattoo? Not cool enough. Next please. Swipe left. Je m’en fous.
  • France was an individualist country even before the rise of neoliberalism, I imagine, but rapacious neoliberalism surely leads to a fundamental lack of sympathy: Young urbanites here simply cannot imagine – nor do they try to – the grim future which 50-year old Yellow Vesters know to be a rapidly encroaching fact.
  • Furthermore, young people are dumb, (If you were paying me for this I’d look it up and provide the link but you’ll have to just take my word for it): I read a recent poll which said that something like 10% of young French people think Macron’s radical reforms will not actually reduce their own pensions, LOL! Sure… you’ll be the one who is special. Vesters are old enough to know better to get involved with this movement.

Given all these facts, we must realise that these urbanites want revenge on the class which primarily composes the Vesters – they don’t want to see them win, and they have repeatedly told me they don’t want them marching anymore in their hipster paradise areas of Paris.

I use the strong word “revenge” because I have found this to be a hugely important motivator in Western capitalist society. These young (smug, stupid, classist, fake-leftist/rabid neoliberal) anti-Yellow Vesters want not only a huge chunk of the pie, but they also to show all the people they left behind what a big shot they lost.

This is not hyperbole – this is what “competition” truly is. Western society (being anti-socialist and rabidly individualist) is fundamentally predicted on competition, and thus these types of feelings can be found plastered on billboards as a form of encouragement.

Finally, it is not “cool” to be a Vester in the French mainstream, and 20- and 30-somethings in the West prize “cool” above all. If you think famous actors, musicians, artists, thinkers, ballplayers, etc. are showing up/have ever showed up to Yellow Vest demonstrations… you must think these people don’t fear losing their social status more than anything – then they would have to get a real job.

“But Ramin,” you object, “how can cool people not be at the Yellow Vest demonstrations when YOU are there?”

Thank you. It seems paradoxical, indeed, but there’s an easy explanation: I turn 42 next week.

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. He is the author of “I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China”.

Back to French tear gas in the morning: smells like austérité

Back to French tear gas in the morning: smells like austérité

September 22, 2019

by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker Blog

September 21 (hello autumn) was the worst day of violence in Paris since May 1st. That day is best remembered for when “centrist” politicians and citizens were enraged that Yellow Vest/union/old lady demonstrators would dare to seek refuge in a hospital rather than stand there and get tear gassed prior to getting charged and beaten by cops.

President Emmanuel Macron knew a black mark day was coming – not just Yellow Vests but unions and climate change protesters would also be marching – so he made a major concession: he gave a public interview. Noblesse oblige!

Macron waited two years before giving his first press conference, so we shouldn’t have expected a miracle, but France’s #1 public servant could have considered to talking to French media, at least. Instead he spoke with US magazine Time.

In the land of Ayn Rand, where the petit bourgeois boss is the undisputed chief in a million hillbilly fiefs, Macron may have been playing to his audience when he said: “In our country, we want leadership, but we also want to kill the leaders.” Who can forget Louis XVI?

However, I thought of all the French leaders who weren’t hacked to death by a vengeful populace. Louis I, for example. Louis II – there’s another one. Louis III, him too. In fact, Louis IV through Louis XV all were not assassinated, so why is Macron so worried about public retribution?

Look deeper into French history – despite #MeToo claims of universality it’s not even a gender thing: (2018’s 43,434th-most popular name) Ermentrude of Orléans, (don’t call me “Big”) Bertha of Burgundy and that lousy job-stealing immigrant Clementia of Hungary all escaped assassination despite being the nation’s #1 lady. Joan the Lame was a regent, and thus held the real power, and yet she wasn’t beheaded even though she must have been pretty easy to catch. They did destroy Joan’s tomb during the French revolution – she couldn’t run forever.

I also note that way back in the Merovingian era Engelbert the Humperdinck was not assassinated either, despite his many crimes which fell harshly on the ears of his suffering subjects.

To clarify for Macron: France wants leadership but they also want to kill their leaders sometimes. Other times they build huge statues to their leaders, like Charles de Gaulle and Joan of Arc. It seems to rather depend on the leader, and I thus think this allegedly French sentiment may actually be universal.

Jokes aside, Macron is obviously not trying to get re-elected, and thus he shows the biggest loophole in Western bourgeois democracy: the one in which opportunists temporarily accept public service in order to exploit it for personal gains.

(Contrarily, I’m not sure Iran’s Supreme Leader is even allowed to resign? He is there expressly to be a permanent patriotic force within a democratic system – presidents came and go but the Leader does not – and to mediate among different societal groups for the good of the national well-being.)

I look at Macron’s cover of Time and I see Brazil’s Michel Temer.

There is a clear contradiction between the image and caption on the cover of Time: Macron is frankly and aggressively rolling up his sleeves, yet the words about his “troubled presidency” indicate contrition, guilt and a desire for reconciliation. Anybody need to roll up their sleeves before a fraternal embrace? Anyway, Time got it fundamentally wrong: In June Macron declared he was on “Act 2” of his presidency, which is not at all a reset but an advance, a progression. Macron is rolling up his sleeves because his current pension and unemployment system rollbacks are the most divisive and most sweeping of his presidency. Like Temer, he couldn’t care less about the consequences – he has work to do, and the work is the social dismantling ordered by neoliberal austerity ideology and Brussels. Both Macron and Temer act on the orders of their 1% friends – the only reset for them is personal and after their terms, when they get the cushy lives and private, ego-stroking conferences where their hurt, under-appreciated egos can be revived.

But why should Time journalists have any real idea about what the “French Street” thinks? They aren’t there, haven’t been there and ain’t gonna be there – they hold the Yellow Vests in the same contempt as US Zionists do the “Arab Street”.

What Time would have seen on the worst day of violence since May 1

The tear gas and police brutality started at 10 am. I’m not sure what time it was in Hong Kong?

The first tear gas always provokes the most dramatic symptoms – I imagine it is because your body is telling you, “What the hell is this you’re inhaling now? Get it out of here.” Your skin burns more, you are expectorating excessively via the mouth and nose, your heart rate is elevated well after the “conflict adrenaline” has worn off. The next gassings are much easier, provided you are not at ground zero of course.

I have taken so much tear gas in “the birthplace of human rights” I wonder just how much poison I have built up in my bloodstream? I wonder if I can sue the French government for creating a hazardous work environment after organ failure from cyanide poisoning? Probably not.

Tear gas was falling from the skies regularly, and especially loud Yellow Vests were being individually targeted for violent arrest, but for whatever reasons – programming, shift change, etc. – after my 12pm live interview PressTV didn’t want another interview until 2pm. Being the die-hard activist journalist me and my cameramen are, we went on lunch break.

Hey, we gotta eat sometime. We’re workers, and Macron hasn’t revoked our right to a lunch break yet. And we can’t be there for every gassing/beating/rubber bullet – it’s not possible; furthermore, if we, did eventually our time would come and then there’d be no more reports at all. Gotta play the long game.

By the time we returned the Champs the crowds had really thinned out, after looking like there would be enough to hold it all day. Cops were being totally brutal: gas, confuse and punish, push people off the Champs, and then don’t allowing them back in, thus locking down the world’s greatest mall/boulevard. But we had an interview scheduled, so we stuck around with the perhaps 500 die-harders still hoping unionists, climate changers and Black Bloc would show up to retake this iconic mall-evard from the hated regime.

So we go live and do our interview, and we probably contributed to the violence. This is what often happens: The Yellow Vests know they’re on TV all of a sudden, cuz some monkey with a microphone is yammering in front of a camera, and they want to represent. They get loud and rowdy. In this way the presence of journalists hypes up the crowd in a way similar to, but actually very different, the presence of hyper-armed cops agitates a crowd. For political protesters journalist coverage is a sign that they matter and that they are doing something right and worthy of comment: that’s what makes it so sad that my French media colleagues are never covering the Yellow Vests – if they were, thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people would join the protests again. Of course, the vast police repression since late March is the main reason the average Frenchmen isn’t showing up.

We finish live French protest interview #481 (I truly and humbly contend that no journalist in France has covered as many demonstrations as I have in the past decade – that number I gave is my honest estimate) and the little crowd is back to being the Yellow Vest engine that could.

Heartwarming… let’s get out of here. And we left because we had to go find another demonstration to cover – newsroom bosses want you to be where the action is, and there was a huge climate change protest there. Frankly, and sadly, I think much of the crowd had dissipated because they wanted to go join the eco-nuts, who are have as much backbone for a political fight as tofu.

Why was I going to the climate change protest and not the union demonstration? Because only one of the nine major unions ultimately decided to demonstrate that day – total betrayal of a day which was supposed to be so huge, but that’s the “virtue” of “independent” trade unions, right?

As we are leaving and I take one last look and – the tear gas is flying again. Of course it was: cops fear rowdy protesters whom they haven’t totally beaten into silence and submission, thus – launch some more gas.

Nothing we can do for ya, Vesters. We gotta think of where the action will be 45 minutes from now, and y’all had been kettled (boxed in by cops) and y’all knew they were going to gas you, drive you out and put the Champs on lockdown and if ya didn’t know then now ya know.

What teases we journalists are! Get ‘em all excited, and then leave ‘em in their moment of need. Don’t blame me, lady – blame the system.

The alternative hypothesis is that the cops saw that the only camera-wielding journalists around were leaving, and that the coast was clear for more gassing. Then it is still our presence which provoked it, and more shame on my well-heeled French media colleagues for not being there.

The final hypothesis is that the cops were about to gas them anyway and the timing of our leaving was purely coincidental. That is certainly mathematically logical, given the rates of tear gassing by French cops on Saturdays.

Regardless, that was an interesting anecdote which proves the journalistic corollary to quantum mechanics – the mere observation of a phenomenon inevitably changes that phenomenon. Again, what would the effects be if the French media were actually there? Or even journalists from Time?

The eco-kooks: fake-leftist politics at its most pathetic

I can’t stand covering ecological protests – what a waste of time.

Firstly, climate change requires a cooperative solution on an international level, and obviously capitalism is predicated on competition at an international level. Therefore, there is no reason at all to do a damned thing about environmental issues – the only solution is to get socialism first. No socialism? Then no possible climate solution.

Secondly, is climate change a news beat which is not being covered enough already? Hardly – there are 900 billion Western journalists who simply adore covering this story. I note that the roughly 900 billion climate change articles in Western media on any given Tuesday hasn’t done much good. Don’t tell that to the eco-freaks, though – they think they’re God’s favourite servants.

Definitely don’t point out to them that the 1% just adores you wasting your political energy on climate change instead of class issues. Climate change is inherently neutered of any class aspect: billionaires and homeless alike all litter or leave a “climate impact” (or whatever) or don’t compost properly.

Climate change protests are thus so very, very useless that I cannot give a damn, and the protesters directly acknowledged this: they had one big ballon, which read “Give a f***”. Classy. And they’re the only ones who give a f***, right?

Smug punks. And climate change protesters are punks with a capital P – too many examples to list, but here’s a quick few:

The presence of alcohol at French political demonstrations is lamentable – this is not a party – but only at eco-protests do you see Champagne.

The presence of loud music at protests – instead of loudly-chanted slogans or even silence – is… acceptable, I guess. But for many people Saturday wasn’t a protest but a rave, celebrating Mother Earth – techno music boomed it’s 4-on-the-floor “pound my tiny soul into submission” with the idiot hipster/bobo DJ calmly, slowly saying (for the people there on ecstasy or MDMA) “Feeeeeeeeeeel the earth…. don’t let it die.” Nothing says “I protest” like dancing during a protest march.

The presence of mimes at protests… can only happen in France, of course. I have no idea what political purpose they served, but I must admit they were amusing. I must also admit I was hoping they would also be tackled by cops for their very minor vandalisms, because they they would have to say something. Mimes are a good symbol for ecological protesters in general: they are there to be seen. And, I’d add, to feel good about and receive praise for their nonsensical works.

The presence of tear gas at ecological protests is not expected because WHAT a buzzkill, amirite? When the first tear gas flew the eco-warriors were so panicked thousands of them all ran in the wrong direction… and just kept marching that way. LOL, later comrades!

That was a new one. But I was hopeful, because instead of heading in the exact opposite direction of the Champs (as the eco-route had planned), they were now heading toward it – let’s retake the Champs, yes!

No, eco-warriors planned to march in the exact opposite direction of the Champs (east, not west) and they were determined to make sure they stayed away from any possible conflict with cops that could create bad karma/force them to shower (the tear gas off) later. Eventually, the thousands all just turned around and marched in the proper direction. Inwardly, they were likely too egotistical to ask themselves if they looked like idiots.

Black Bloc must have got the address wrong

The violence which spooked the eco-kooks was provided by Black Bloc. We had arrived just in time to see it happen:

The usual. Targeted vandalism against banks, real estate agencies (10,000 euros per square meter now in Paris, so believe me when I say that my landlord – whom I have made rich – can take a long walk off a short pier), and sexist ads (lotta Black Bloc are women).

There was a twist, and you gotta admit Black Bloc is up on things: they attacked the Egyptian Central Centre… obviously in solidarity with the anti-Sisi protests in Egypt going on that day. These Blocers were up on the news, found out the Egyptian Cultural Centre was on the eco-route, and took action. I got that wrong in this live interview from the scene among the debris – maybe Black Blocers could do my job better? Cut me some slack – live interviews are hard: I got it right in time for the days official report.

(I talked with the lone Egyptian worker at the Centre, and whom you can see in that video – he said the Centre was clearly targeted. He showed me an empty vodka bottle they had thrown inside, but Black Bloc isn’t a bunch of drunks. I felt bad for the poor guy – who knows if he supports Sisi or not? He’s just manning a cultural centre in some far away place – Egyptians need cultural centres, after all.)

Ok, there was some damage which was not purely political – two motorcycles were set on fire. However, when I claw my way to the top and become dictator of France the first thing I will do is ban those damned loud lawnmowers they call transportation. You have to live in Paris to understand just how much extra reverberations motorcycles make in this walled city – noise pollution is a much bigger problem than regular pollution (which is also a problem) – so I personally view anti-motorcycle actions as 100% justified; it is social, if not necessarily political. On top of their annoying and perpetual noise, motorcycle riders do nothing but drive between car lanes and break every law imaginable. I truly believe Paris has become more dangerous to drive in than Tehran, and that is pretty amazing. (Of course, in the past few decades Iran has actually invested in driver infrastructure whereas Paris just makes more bike lanes; Iran now has many more traffic cops, which is a type of public worker you’ll never seen in Paris – maybe they were there pre-austerity?)

Seeing as how our job is to be at the front line, we had to be at the front line fire. I made a rookie mistake – never be in a situation where you have to flee down a side street, always stay on the main thoroughfares and close to the wall. So, they gassed us (women, elderly, children) to clear way for the fire trucks to put out the fire. Here’s the thing: the crowd was already moving back to clear a way – the gassing was not at all necessary but punitive. The tear gas cans exploded mid-air so close to me I could see them ignite clearly, and that’s when you lose an eye. Alhamdulillah, me and my colleague were ok. Pretty badly gassed, but we’ve had worse. The worst part? I was only so close because I was scheduled to do a live interview from the craziness, but our damned connection wasn’t good enough! So I was gassed, crying, running and yelling at Tehran to put me on the damned air all at the same time. It happens.

But I admit it humbly: with my awesome-sounding French in my PressTV Français recap at the end of the day (not posted yet), I was not critical enough of Black Bloc – they can do more harm than good. Mainly when they go where they are not wanted – like that ecological protest instead of the Champs.

Immediately after the violence and mid-demonstration Greenpeace and Youth for Climate tweeted that they were revoking their leadership of the march and that everyone should leave the protest. Tough kids, eh?

I talked with a Black Blocer just prior to the gassing: a woman who was very voluptuously built. She was probably one of those defacing sexist ads, as she is likely subject to constant objectification when walking down the street (a hejab undoubtedly gives women a break from that, but let’s leave that issue there): heaven forbid she violently object to female nudity in public advertising, because that’s proof France is so “sexually progressive” and “respectful of women”, right? She took off her mask when she saw I was one of the good journalists – her pretty young face was flushed from leftist exertion. Dressed head to toe in black, she said she wasn’t Black Bloc but merely rocking the “Goth” look. A lovely figure, pretty face, guts and a sense of humour? Of course I was so smitten I could not identify her to authorities if ever forced to do so, such was the mass of stars, hearts and bright lights swirling around her.

I would have talked to a Youth for Climateer but they were retreating too fast… yet somehow they were able to tweet at the same time? Millennials – so talented!

Another Saturday in France, more long-term lung damage

The reality, which is still difficult to grasp as we left Yellow Vest #45 and filmed an old man whose face was red and bloodied from cops, as well as a bleeding, handcuffed old woman, is that things are only going to get worse: As I wrote, the pension and unemployment systems will have the broadest immediate impact of any of Macron’s “deforms”, thus they will provoke the broadest protests.

Such protests go beyond the Yellow Vests’ capability. September 21 was significant because it was the “Yellow Vest Day Without the Yellow Vests” – most did not wear them. The idea was to finally converge the Vesters with the various social struggles (unions, NGOs, mainstream leftist political parties, even eco-kooks, etc.). After 10 months, they have to join forces with the right groups.

They are talking about an unlimited transport strike in December, and I never recall hearing that before. No Christmas vacation for me, I guess.

The only TV media openly covering the Yellow Vests remains Iran (in English, French, Spanish and Farsi) and RT. I have seen France’s LCI (the government channel) openly there for about 6 weeks, and once or twice last month I saw TF1, but that’s it. I’m sure the fake-leftist MSM was all over the climate change march – because they always are – and I hope they got more tear gas than I did.

However, the process of lasting revolution is long – it takes years of struggle, and victory is not assured until households and families are forced to choose sides against each other. I am not promoting familial disharmony, just reporting what I have read of previous revolutions – the simplest, most moral and most effective choice, of course, is to side with the lower classes.

The thing about a “reset” in a video game is that you just go right back to the same beginning, and you have totally erased from memory all the bad you did. Why would Macron deserve a reset from the French public?

Too bad for Macron that civil service and politics are not a video game, or a hippie rave. Too bad for everyone in the global economy that austerity continues.

The reality is that Macron doesn’t even know his own country’s history: since the 9th century less than five of France’s just over 100 leaders have been killed. France doesn’t kill their leaders – they exile them, even those of the First Republic (1792-1804). This is another false cliche Macron has accepted as fact which is mainly promoted by fearful, reactionary English monarchists. Beheadings aren’t necessary – just ask any Frenchman: what could be a worse fate than to not live in France?

Macron will likely wind up exiled as well – who doesn’t imagine the young Macron being feted like an emperor in the Anglophone business world after he isn’t re-elected in 2022?

So Macron needn’t worry – he’ll probably just have his tomb desecrated like Joan the Lame. Probably a lot of other similarities between Macron and Joan the Lame, I imagine….

The question Macron should ask himself is: what is it that he is doing which is causing him to have regicide on his mind?

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. He is the author of “I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China”.

Macron screams ‘fire!’ on a crowded planet as burning Amazon serves as ultimate G7 smokescreen

Image result for Macron screams ‘fire!’ on a crowded planet as burning Amazon serves as ultimate G7 smokescreen

Robert Bridge
August 24, 2019

Any chance of the seven most industrialized eco-trashers preventing the Amazon from going up in smoke is a bit like hoping Hollywood executives will find a way to stop sex and violence from appearing on the big screen. It’s probably not going to happen. The G7 wants to keep filling the seats for a show called ‘Capitalism’ and come next week few will remember the French president’s fiery, self-serving outburst.

For those dozen or so people who still have not been shunned, shadow-banned or otherwise disappeared from Twitter, you may have heard about Emmanuel Macron’s latest Napoleon impersonation on the global soap box.

“Our house is burning. Literally,” the former Rothschild investment banker warned in a tweet that carried the disturbing photo of a lush chunk of rainforest being engulfed in an inferno. “The Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire. It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let’s discuss this emergency first order in two days!”

Emmanuel Macron

@EmmanuelMacron

Our house is burning. Literally. The Amazon rain forest – the lungs which produces 20% of our planet’s oxygen – is on fire. It is an international crisis. Members of the G7 Summit, let’s discuss this emergency first order in two days!

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Once again, the French leader’s arrogance – he once told an unemployed man he could find work if he “crossed the street,” and referred to Paris protesters as “slackers” – is exceeded only by his stellar stupidity. By way of example, notice how his apocalyptic tweet didn’t begin with a diplomatic, ‘Dear Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, we really need to talk.’ Instead, Macron completely ignored the leader of the world’s fifth most-populated country, directing his ‘Brazil is burning’ meme to the G7 (Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, the UK and the US). And make no mistake about it, there is cause for concern.

Satellite data released by the National Institute for Space research (Inpe) shows an increase of 85 percent this year in fires across Brazil, the majority in the Amazon region, which is crucial for absorbing a hefty part of consumer society’s massive carbon footprint. Such information will not play well with a public already feeling the effects of climate change.

Unfortunately, however, Macron’s very undiplomatic approach to a very serious problem caused the horses to stumble right out of the gates. In keeping with the technological tendencies of the times, Bolsonaro immediately fired up his own Twitter account, responding to Macron in equally coarse fashion.

“I regret that President Macron seeks to instrumentalize an internal issue of Brazil and other Amazonian countries for personal political gain,” the Brazilian leader wrote. “The sensationalist tone with which he refers to the Amazon (appealing even to fake photos) does nothing to solve the problem.”

Bolsonaro even saw in Macron’s flatfooted remark a modern form of colonialism, which Brazil knows about firsthand.

“The French President’s suggestion that Amazonian issues be discussed at the G7 without the participation of the countries of the region evokes a misplaced colonialist mindset in the 21st century,” he wrote with some justification.

Macron, despite being infected with an elitist lack of self-awareness, probably knew what he was doing anyways.  By ignoring Brazil’s voice in a matter intimately connected to its own sovereignty, Macron managed to make a somewhat aggressive overture to BRICS, the economic powerhouse comprised of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Presently, there is fierce competition between the G7 and BRICS for a shrinking slab of global pie that is not often discussed in polite society. Suffice it to mention the deepening trade war unfolding between China and the United States, as well as the reckless, politically motivated Western sanctions slapped on Russian companies.

At the same time, Emmanuel Macron, picking up where so many other French leaders before him have left off, is revisiting the dream of turning France into some sort of regional political power that somehow always looks more like a bed and breakfast boutique. Just this week, Macron hosted Vladimir Putin at Fort de Bregancon, the official residence of the French president, followed up with a meeting with newly elected UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the question of Brexit. Now, with Macron set to play host to the G7 this week in Biarritz, he probably felt sufficiently empowered to jostle Brazil.

Jair M. Bolsonaro

@jairbolsonaro

– Lamento que o presidente Macron busque instrumentalizar uma questão interna do Brasil e de outros países amazônicos p/ ganhos políticos pessoais. O tom sensacionalista com que se refere à Amazônia (apelando até p/ fotos falsas) não contribui em nada para a solução do problema.

51.1K people are talking about this

Jair M. Bolsonaro

@jairbolsonaro

– Lamento que o presidente Macron busque instrumentalizar uma questão interna do Brasil e de outros países amazônicos p/ ganhos políticos pessoais. O tom sensacionalista com que se refere à Amazônia (apelando até p/ fotos falsas) não contribui em nada para a solução do problema.

Jair M. Bolsonaro

@jairbolsonaro

– O Governo brasileiro segue aberto ao diálogo, com base em dados objetivos e no respeito mútuo. A sugestão do presidente francês, de que assuntos amazônicos sejam discutidos no G7 sem a participação dos países da região, evoca mentalidade colonialista descabida no século XXI.

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As such, Macron missed a golden opportunity – if he really sought one in the first place – to mediate on a global issue of truly significant import. After all, it is hard to underestimate the necessity of protecting the world’s largest tropical rainforest. In addition to serving as the ‘lungs of the planet,’ the Amazon, through its immense biodiversity, is the fountainhead of medical remedies, many of which remain undiscovered. Only a fool would be unmoved by the wanton destruction of this life-supporting ecosystem.

Macron could have achieved something truly historic – hammering out a global initiative for protecting the Amazon – by inviting Jair Bolsonaro to the G7 as guest of honor. The Brazilian leader, overwhelmed by the outpouring of international attention and respect, would have been much more likely to agree to some immediate plan of action, like an international assembly of firefighters. After all, Bolsonaro has already admitted that Brazil lacks the necessary resources to protect the Amazon, which exceeds Europe in sheer size.

Instead, Macron behaved once again with supreme arrogance, humiliating Bolsonaro instead of placating him, thereby creating a schism between the international community and Brasilia that will further complicate any future effort at saving the Amazon, and even the planet.

It is almost as if Emmanuel Macron, who has been hounded by endless weeks of demonstrations by Yellow Vest protesters, who plan to convene on Bairritz during the G7, used the Amazon fires as a convenient smokescreen to conceal more burning issues closer to home. In that sense, Macron’s effort to politicize Brazil’s raging rainforest fires when the world’s attention will be focused on France is understandable, yet no less deplorable.

Police Suicide in France: the whistle was blown, but the Macron regime pretends to be deaf

July 25, 2019

by Ollie Richardson for The Saker Blog

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Dear reader, if you enjoy my Yellow Vests reporting and want it to continue, then please consider becoming my Patron and helping me give the movement the fair English-language coverage it deserves. More information can be found here.

(Photo taken by me on June 29th in Paris during a Yellow Vests demonstration)

I think by now most people who are interested in geopolitics are familiar with the “Yellow Vests” movement and the social unrest in France, but one topic that receives almost no mainstream media coverage (neither in the Anglophone nor French press), and which the French government deliberately ignores, is police suicide. At the time of writing – July 25th – there have been 66 police suicides in France so far in 2019. According to the President of the association “Uniformes en danger” Christelle Teixeira, 88 police officers killed themselves in 2018. At the current rate in 2019 it means that every four days a police officer kills themselves. This epidemic of suicides in the ranks of law enforcement is becoming an endemic problem that some people sometimes like to compare to the suicidal tendencies of French farmers, who have also been hit hard by socio-economic distress and drought.

Thus, according to a Senate report from June 2018, the rate of suicide in the French police is 36% higher than what is seen in the general population. Concerning farmers, the same rate was 20% to 30% higher than the average for the French population, according to a study published by the “Public Health of France” agency in 2016. It is a similar trend, but with a big difference concerning police officers and gendarmes: they all have the same employer – the state; and the same boss, the Interior Minister Christophe Castaner. The plans that were launched in the past to try to solve the problem, especially in May 2018 under the leadership of Gerard Collomb, are considered to be too weak by some police officers, who cite the daily grind and the “social context that is currently tense in many socio-professional categories”, as Jean-Pierre Colombies explains.

“Christophe Castaner refused a hearing at the association ‘Angry Law Enforcement Wives’ on this topic in November 2018, which is quite evocative, but in any case, one finds oneself in such a context of social tension that one can hardly imagine fundamental work in our rigid administration. Meanwhile, in the police stations, it must be made clear that officials do not know how much they can trust their minister. These are the kind of ideas that come to us from the ground.”

“Concerning police suicides, the situation is catastrophic. A death every four days is unheard of, practically. It is unbearable for us to see this phenomenon boiled down to ‘personal problems’. When the Director of Public Order and Traffic, Alain Gibelin, resigned after a big burnout, we were told that it was the workload that caused his illness, but when it is a cop from the very beginning, we are told that it is the personal context that leads to suicide … It is therefore clear that the assessment of occupational pressure is variable depending on the department.”

Jean-Pierre Colombies proposed an idea that even he considers to be “utopian”:

“We should rethink the relationship between police and society, as well as the relationship between the administration and its police officers. Sometimes it works and there are some great service managers, I’ve known some, but you have to admit that some are real problems, very destructive people that make dialogue between the police and their administration often broken. In these cases, when occupational pressure adds to personal problems, some crack. That’s what we showed in our film.

On March 12th several police associations held a night gathering at Trocadero for the purpose of raising awareness of this cause. Despite the presence of some media, including RT France, two minority unions (VIGI and France Police), and two political figures (Senator François Grosdidier and the deputy Nicolas Dupont-Aignan), the government has not reacted to this new invitation for dialogue.

And this is not the only initiation for dialogue that has been sent to the Macron regime by a police officer. Alexandre Langlois, who was the head of a police union until recently, when he was suspended from his duties for dissent, is subject to a six-month temporary exclusion from the National Police (Police Nationale) after revealing internally and to the press a number of serious things concerning the Ministry of the Interior. Suicides, sexual assaults, falsifications of numbers, toxic tear gas (a new secret formulae being used by the police) – he rips into the government…

… whilst at the same time inviting Castaner for a debate.

After a policeman from the Cergy branch of the Regional Directorate of the Judicial Police of Versailles committed suicide in the armory of the drop-in center of the Police Judiciaire in Cergy-Pontoise (Val d’Oise) on July 24th, the “Alternative Police” union was received at Place Beauveau on July 25th by Fabrice Gardon, the police adviser of Christophe Castaner, “to address this painful subject.”

Through a press release, the “Alternative Police” union says it wants to “put an end to this slump and to this deadly crisis so that 2019 is not a year of sad recording breaking in relation to the last twenty years”. The union recalls that it alerts “the successive Interior Ministers” over the last 5 years about this situation, declares that it is necessary “to immediately tackle the causes that lead to suicide, and no longer the consequences via prevention plans whose effects remain to be demonstrated”.

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During this meeting, the union planned to send to the Interior Ministry a document entitled: “2019 -2022, the police flourish in their daily work for a national police at the height of social issues”. This “white paper” presents the “proposals” and “recommendations” of “Alternative Police” aimed at improving the working conditions and concretely fighting against the police suicide rate.

The union does not intend to stop at this meeting. It plans to catch “Emmanuel Macron’s police advisor, Mr. Hottiaux”, and “the Prime Minister in order to obtain a government commitment”. It also asks that the public authorities organize “without delay real high-level talks in the National Police”.

“Alternative Police considers that the whole of the government must face up to this suffering and this ill-being in order to meet the strong expectation of the police.”

Back in April Castaner announced the opening of a “warning prevention” hotline based in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, designed to prevent police suicides, and said that suicides in the police were not a “fatality” and that it was necessary “break the silence”. It is headed by a police officer, a member of the Inspectorate General of the Administration, and a psychiatry professor. However, it doesn’t appear that this hotline is making much of a difference.

On June 21st the politician Eric Ciotti criticised Christophe Castaner for not having settled the issue of overtime owed to the police, which he estimates to be at €300m. The Interior Minister retorted sharply by saying “No, I do not owe anything to them”.

As if this wasn’t bad enough, Christophe Castaner, who, like his colleagues, is also embroiled in scandal after scandal, actually awarded police officers that are involved in open police violence inquiries launched by wounded Yellow Vests. On June 16th he awarded at least 5 officers who are suspected of violating the law: Rabah Souchi, who led the police charge that caused the injuries sustained by Geneviève Legay, and Bruno Félix, who commanded the police who killed the peaceful resident Zineb Redouane in Marseille during a Yellow Vests protest, are two examples.

In reality I have only skimmed the surface of the police problem in France, but the main takeaway from this article should be the fact that there is a police suicide epidemic happening in the country. And in order to emphasise this point, I have consulted as many law enforcement unions as possible concerning information about the 66 (at the time of writing) suicides so far in 2019 and created the table below. Imagining what the data will look like by December 31st sends a shiver down my spine…

No. Date (2019) Region Department Name/initials and/or age (if known) Media report (if available)
1 January 1st La Rochelle Police Nationale J.B. charentelibre
2 January 2nd Cherbourg Police Nationale lamanchelibre
3 January 4th Reims Police Nationale actu17
4 January 7th La Rochelle Police Nationale L.M. charentelibre
5 January 15th Paris Police Nationale Jordan R. actu17
voltage
6 January 16th Saint Omer Police Nationale Stan, 42 actu17
7 January 16th Paris Police Nationale Julien actu17
8 January 17th Paris Police Nationale
9 January 20th Bédenac Surveillant pénitentiaire lefigaro
10 January 24th Le Mans Police Nationale actu17
11 January 27th Not disclosed Police Nationale
12 January 27th Not disclosed Police Nationale
13 February 14th Martinique Police Nationale actupenit
14 February 18th Louvigné/Laval Police Nationale francesoir
ouest-france
15 February 19th Grand-Quevilly Police Nationale Sebastien profession-gendarme
16 February 26th Montpellier Police Ferroviaire
17 March 4th Elancourt Police Nationale Mickaël leparisien
18 March 5th Dunkerque Police Nationale
19 March 5th Limoges Police Nationale ladepeche
20 March 7th Saint Saëns Police Nationale francesoir
21 March 9th Selles sur Cher Gendarmerie Nationale Romain, 32 actu17
22 March 13th Roissy en France Vigipirate 24 lavoixdunord
23 March 15th Limay Police Nationale Sébastien leparisien
24 March 19th Paris Police Nationale europe1
25 March 28th Bailleval Police Nationale francetvinfo
26 April 1st Paris Police Nationale
27 April 2nd Toulouse Surveillant Pénitentiaire centpourcent
28 April 2nd Marlieux Police Nationale Jean-François B. francetvinfo
29 April 6th Avignon Police Municipale midilibre
30 April 7th Conflans Police Nationale leparisien
31 April 7th Alès Police Nationale Christophe ladepeche
32 April 9th Orsay Gendarmerie Nationale Willy actu17
33 April 14th Paris Police Nationale leparisien
34 April 16th Metz Police Nationale Damien LCI
35 April 16th Bèziers Police Municipale francetvinfo
36 April 18th Montpellier Police Nationale Elisabeth G. francetvinfo
37 April 18th Paris Police Nationale 25 leparisien
38 April 24th Paray le Monial Police Municipale Jean-Christophe actu17
39 April 28th Gap Vigipirate rtl
40 April 30th La réunion Gendarmerie Nationale Ludovic D. lepoint
41 May 5th Cholet Police Municipale Eric francetvinfo
42 May 6th Aunay sur Odon Gendarmerie Nationale actu
43 May 11th Orange Police Municipale ledauphine
44 May 13th Briançon Gendarmerie Nationale Quentin lessor
45 May 17th Lons le Saunier Gendarmerie Nationale francetvinfo
46 May 22nd Lille Police Nationale Mickaël actupenit
47 May 24th Nice Police Municipale
48 May 25th Chessy Police Nationale Baptiste leparisien
actu17
49 May 31st Not disclosed Police Nationale Pascal B. actu17
50 June 2nd Fougères Gendarmerie Nationale Jean F. francesoir
51 June 13th Paris Police Nationale Benoit actu17
52 June 14th Fos sur mer Police Municipale Mickaël, 29 Syndicat de Défense des Policiers Municipaux
53 June 20th Paris Police Nationale Jean-Louis B. actu17
54 June 21st Toulouse Police Nationale nouvelobs
20minutes
55 June 25th Nimes Gendarmerie Nationale RT France
56 June 28th Bruay la Buissière Police Nationale Eric P.
57 June 29th Marseille Police Nationale Gérard B., 50 FranceInfo
laprovence
58 July 5th Bordeaux Police Nationale Caroline, 44 francebleu
59 July 8th Annecy Police Nationale ledauphine
60 July 12th Castelnau de Médoc Gendarmerie Nationale francebleu
61 July 14th Not disclosed Vigipirate
62 July 16th Douai Police Nationale Jean-Marc, 49
63 July 22nd Béthune Police Nationale Eric T. lavoixdunord
64 July 22nd Nimes Police Nationale Jamal Z.
65 July 23rd Isère Police Nationale Frédéric L., 49 acti17
66 July 24th Cergy Police Nationale S. actu17

 

 

Appeal for help by Ollie Richardson and the Saker (IMPORTANT!)

Appeal for help by Ollie Richardson and the Saker (IMPORTANT!)

July 23, 2019

Dear friends,

As you may be aware, during the first half of this year I have been reporting on the “Yellow Vests” movement in France whilst being in the center of it. Since February 2019 (after I watched in horror on a live feed as a Yellow Vest’s hand was blown off by a grenade the week prior) I have travelled into central Paris every Saturday and observed for myself the now well-known protests against the current French government.

I’ve taken photos and recorded videos for the purpose of disseminating them on social media, hoping to counter the biased reports published by the mainstream media. In late March I decided to start writing articles on this subject (published on The Saker) and up the ante. We are now in the summer, and I have produced many articles about the “Yellow Vests” that were the result of taking some serious risks (I’ve already been hit by a detonating grenade and almost detained on May 1st because I, in my black Donetsk People’s Republic t-shirt and black trousers, apparently resembled a Black Bloc member) and walking/running kilometre after kilometre in order to keep up with the pace of events. In order to understand what is actually happening I have had to acquaint myself with the different aspects of the movement and acquire the trust of the “Yellow Vests”.

In the video below you can see me at Place de la Republique in April (in the same DPR t-shirt; you can see a bandage on my arm from the aforementioned grenade incident) about to leave the protest, when a bleeding Yellow Vest is plonked in front of me. I witnessed the sequence of events, and the police indeed violated human rights by bludgeoning a peaceful person who posed no threat and just wanted to leave the Square.

Sadly, this is nothing out of the ordinary when it comes to the “Yellow Vests” movement. The systematic use of police violence in order to intimidate and silence those who oppose Macron’s policies is unacceptable and factually criminal. But what is happening in France is much more than just Saturday demonstrations. Macron’s government barely has the time to sweep one scandal under the carpet before another one erupts. And the reporting on these scandals in the Anglophone mainstream media has been either non-existent or frankly pitiful. For example, how many readers know about Steve from Nantes? Or Alexandre Benalla? Francois de Rugy’s lobster dinners? Radioactive leaks in the water supply? The backdoor privatisation of the airports? Zineb Redouane? The list is very long, and in some respects it makes “European” and “democratic” post-Maidan Ukraine blush. And yes, what is happening in France is directly connected to events in all theaters of military and informational operations. Every actions has a reaction.

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Me at a Yellow Vests protest on July 13th in Paris

In order to continue my work with the Yellow Vests (#GiletsJaunes) movement I am seriously in need of financial help. I have done what I can so far with very limited resources to provide the best coverage I can of what is happening in France without the habitual mainstream media bias that we are all accustomed to and fed up of. This entails a certain level of danger, but as the saying goes – no risk, no reward.

During the autumn/winter of 2019 I want to, as a minimum:

• create and run a dedicated Yellow Vests website/hub;

• translate and publish a mass of information about the main demand of the Yellow Vests – Citizens’ Initiative Referendum – in the hope of raising awareness about alternatives to conventional party politics;

• provide a live stream that is more raw than state-funded media’s;

• continue my series of articles entitled “Inside the Yellow Vests”;

• travel to other French cities and document what is happening there in relation to the movement.

It is simply a case of the more means I have, the more I can achieve. I am present on the terrain and have created a network of contacts. I’ve lived the movement from the very beginning, and want to ensure that it receives the fair coverage in the English language that it deserves.

I have created a Patreon page that has a more in-depth description of my project, and I ask those who have enjoyed my “Yellow Vests” work so far to consider donating what they can in order to help me not only continue my existing work, but also to expand it.

I appreciate the support of each and every person!

Ollie Richardson

——-

Note by the Saker:

Dear friends,
For many weeks now we have been getting superb analyses by Ollie Richardson and equally superb translations of key Russian texts into English made by Ollie Richardson and Angelina Siard.
Some of the best reporting anywhere on the Internet about the Yellow Vests movement was recently made by Ollie.
Check out this page in which he summarizes his immense work: https://www.patreon.com/yellowvests
Well, guess what?  Ollie and Angelina are not only awesome members of our community, but also real people who have to pay their bills ontime.
Friends – we need to help them.  Not only does their superb work deserve our gratitude, but we also want them to keep writing for us.
I therefore ask all those who can afford it to go to this page: https://www.patreon.com/yellowvests and become patrons of Ollie’s crucially important work.
Many thanks in advance,
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