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What Happens if the Yellow Vests Win?

A View from Vietnam

Andre Vltchek

What if protesters in Paris win, and the French government gives in to all their demands?

What if taxes are reduced, wages increased, President Macron steps down?

I am not talking only about the fuel tax; attempts to impose it have been already abandoned. I am not talking about increase of the minimum wage – the government already agreed to rise it by 100 euro per month.

What I am talking about are real, fundamental changes which many protesters seem to be desiring: substantial tax reduction for the majority of French citizens, generous increase in wages and enhancement of social benefits for all.

So, if the Yellow Vests manage to win all this, then what will happen? Who would benefit? But also, who would lose?

*

One of my readers recently wrote to me that France should reduce its military budget and from those billions of euro saved, could easily finance demands of the protesters.

Another reader wrote that the richest citizens of France (or call them ‘elites’) should be taxed heavily, and the money saved in this way could be then distributed among the poor and the lower middle class.

Sounds ‘reasonable’? Yes, definitely; reasonable and logical. The only tiny defect is: we all know that it will never happen this way.

President Macron was elevated to the throne by precisely those so-called elites. In return, those rich folks expect their privileges to be guaranteed, even swollen.

And to imagine that a NATO member country (in this case France) would suddenly slash its military budget and from what is saved, start to finance various new social programs for the poor and the middle class, is unrealistic, even childish.

So where will the funds come from, if the French government decides to do something truly ‘radical’; radical at least by the standards of our era of turbo-capitalism: to listen to its own people?

Let me stop beating about the bush and ask my question brutally and concretely:

“What if all demands of the Yellow Vests get satisfied; who will pay the bill?”

*

To put all this into a context: I write this essay in Hanoi, capital of socialist Vietnam.

Some time ago, I used to live in this city. I spent almost three years here, when it was still poor, and people remembered war, some even the French colonialism.

Right after I arrived, what shocked me the most was that while the Vietnamese people seemed to ‘forgive’ the USA, they had never forgiven the French colonialists.

“Why?” I asked my friends. “How is it possible? Wasn’t the US bombing and killing campaign during the ‘American War’ (which is known in the West as ‘Vietnam War’) terribly brutal, with millions of Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians losing their lives?”

“Of course, it was”, I was readily explained. “But we fought and, despite the terrible losses and hardship, we defeated Americans in relatively short time. And anyway, it was not only them; members of the coalition also consisted of countries like South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Thailand, and of course, France.”

And the story continued:

“The French were occupying and tormenting us for much longer. They also had been humiliating our people, continuously. They enslaved up, tortured us, took our women, they raped them, and they had stolen all that we had.”

Near where I used to live, was a notorious “Central Jail”, equipped with guillotines, torture chambers, solitary confinement cells. Now, on exhibit there, are monstrous instruments used by the French colonizers, to torture and rape captured Vietnamese patriot women: beer bottles, electric wires, walking canes.

Whatever the colonized Indochina had, was stolen: taken to France, in order to finance construction of grandiose theatres, railroads, metro, parks, and universities. And yes, to subsidize formation of that famous French social system which, as the Yellow Vests are now correctly saying, is being dismantled by the French ‘elites’ and by the political system which they are fully controlling.

Vietnamese people fought bravely against the French, finally defeating them during an iconic battle at Dien Bien Phu. But the victorious Vietnamese Communist forces inherited ransacked, divided land, stripped of its resources and even of its art work (several French intellectuals, including famous writer and later Minister of Culture in de Gaulle’s government, Andre Malraux, confessed to stealing art objects from ‘Indochina’, when he lived there as a young man).

Needless to say, that until now, French companies are brutally pillaging many parts of Southeast Asia, through mining and other neo-colonialist projects, as they do in various areas of Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.

Now ask in Hanoi, ask in Phnom Penh or Vientiane, whether people of ‘Indochina’ (what an insulting and bizarre name was given to this part of the world by the French, during the colonial era!) are supporting Yellow Vests in Paris? Ask whether they think that if they win concessions in Paris, it would improve life in Asia.

Are you guessing what the answer would be?

*

I don’t say that demands of the people who are fighting in the streets of Paris are wrong. They are not. They are absolutely legitimate.

French elites are brutal, selfish, even perverse. Present French government is simply serving them, as the US presidents are all serving huge corporations, including those deadly military conglomerates. ‘They should go’, they should disappear, give way to what is logical human evolutionary pattern: a socialist, egalitarian society.

But they are not ready to go. On the contrary. They are robbing, for centuries, entire planet, and now they went so far as to plundering their own people (who were used to sharing the booty).

French citizens are not used to being plundered. For centuries they lived well, and for several last decades, they were living ‘extremely well’. They were enjoying some of the most generous benefits anywhere in the world.

Who paid for it? Did it matter? Was it ever important to those in Paris, in other big cities, or in the countryside? Were the French farmers wondering how come they were getting generous subsidies when they were producing excessive amounts of food and wine, but also when they were asked by the government not to produce much of anything? Did they often travel to Senegal, or elsewhere in West Africa, to investigate how these subsidies thoroughly destroyed agriculture sector in several former French colonies? Did they care that lives of millions there were totally ruined? Or that as far as Indonesia or Brazil, French corporations have been, aggressively, taking over food and beverage production, as well as food distribution, and that as a result, food prices in many poor countries skyrocketed to double or triple of what they are in Paris, while the local incomes remain, in some cases, only 10% of those in France?

And the food is only one example. But this essay was supposed to be about something slightly different: about the Yellow Vests, and what will happen if all of their demands would be met.

*

If we agree that the regime that is governing in France, entire West, and in many of its colonies and neo-colonies, is truly monstrous, perverse and brutal, we have to come to a logical conclusion that it is not going to pay the bill for better medical care, education, as well as lower taxes and higher wages of the ordinary French citizens.

If demands of the protesters are met, there will be someone else who will be forced to cover the bill. Most likely tens of millions, or hundreds of millions will be ‘taxed’. And they will not be living in France, or in the European Union, or even anywhere near.

Are protesters of Mouvement des gilets jaunes, thinking about this? Does it matter to them at least a little bit?

It did not in the past, either. Perhaps when few people like Jean Paul Sartre were still alive, these questions were periodically asked. But not lately; not now. Not during this rebellion on Champs-Élysées.

Do people in France question how many millions would have to die in order to improve the quality of life in the French cities and in provinces?

Or perhaps, to ‘compensate’, to cover the social spending, some country would ‘have to be’ invaded? Would it be Iran? Or maybe Venezuela?

The New York Times, in one of its articles about the French provinces, mentioned that people were complaining they cannot afford to even take their wives to a restaurant for dinner, anymore. That is truly serious, but would it justify a battle for Iran or Venezuela, and their consequent plunder, or would it excuse massacre of further few hundreds of thousands of West Papuans?

*

I would suggest something that would help to convince the true internationalists, as well as people all over the pillaged world, that the Mouvement des gilets jaunes is not just selfishly fighting for the benefits that would improve lives of the French citizens, at the expense of many others all over the world:

They should indicate that they understand; that they are not indifferent to others. Say clearly that they are against capitalism and imperialism, against colonialism and plundering of the people and their resources in absolutely all parts of our Planet!

Say that they are for freedom, equality, and fraternity of all human beings, not just French!

Say that this is true revolution, true battle for improving the world, not just for more money, lower taxes, and better benefits exclusively for people who are living in France!

Say that they would never accept any benefits or extra money, if they come from robbing poor and colonized nations of all that have left.

If they do say all this, and if they demonstrate that they truly mean it, I will have to shout Vive la Révolution! and join them – the protesters – wholeheartedly.

But until they do, until I am convinced that their victory would not harm others, millions of others, I’ll continue to be much more concerned about people of Vietnam and Papua, about Iran, Africa, Syria or the entire Middle East, than about whether someone individual in rural France can afford to take his wife for dinner to a restaurant.

Originally published by New Eastern Outlook

Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He has covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. Three of his latest books are Revolutionary Optimism, Western Nihilism, a revolutionary novel “Aurora” and a bestselling work of political non-fiction: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire”. View his other books here. Watch Rwanda Gambit, his groundbreaking documentary about Rwanda and DRCongo and his film/dialogue with Noam Chomsky “On Western Terrorism”. Vltchek presently resides in East Asia and the Middle East, and continues to work around the world. He can be reached through his website and his Twitter.

44 Comments

  1. paul lyne says

    HI iv been watching a lot of these french demos and have discovered le RIC theres inteligence to have seen occupy fail and this time the call for no leaders has left the establishment floundering.,initiating violence with flash bombs ,chemical weapons(tear gas)and rubber bullets with snipers on the roofs in waiting.,Le RIC,a referendem initiated by the citizens,binding and written into the constitution,Rules of the RIC yellow vests, no leaders ,unions ,religions,non violent intelligent disruption,for a deeper analysis Roman Light on youtube.in English not many French speak it so RIC is not getting the traction it deserves.The people undivided cannot be ruled or controlled by the oligarchs,

  2. Mr. A. says

    From time to time there are rumors about prominent figures of what we can call the alt-left being insiders/CIA agents etc. Like Chris Hedges (I don’t think so). Vltchek with his third world babble is a good candidate .Though I don’t think he represents other than himself. But his sort of left wing globalism isn’t that far from much of the establishment. I don’t understand why he is published so often. So he thinks we should not support working class revolts in Western Europe because the elite might use it against third world countries? What sort of evidence does he have for this? I don’t think Vltchek knows a lot about economic suffering and alienation.

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  3. frank says

    IF the author of this article thinks that life in the west can only improve at the cost of life everywhere else he is of course wrong. The “money” is there, it’s just that it goes to the 1%, not everybody else. There are enough resources in the world for everybody to live well.

    (It’s true that this raping and raiding of other countries is going on, but that’s not the fault of the people, it’s the fault of the system and the 1%.)

    But ok, I don’t think the author is thinking this.

    “They should indicate that they understand; that they are not indifferent to others. Say clearly that they are against capitalism and imperialism, against colonialism and plundering of the people and their resources in absolutely all parts of our Planet!”

    A few of them are saying that. But the reality is that the vast majority can not look further than their own paycheck. They have no clue of the bigger picture.

    And I’m pretty sure that for the people in Vietnam or anywhere else it’s just the same. So blaming the yellow vests for being egotistical is a bit disingenuous I would say.

    The problem is not morals, the problem is lack of understanding.

    • The author very obviously does NOT live in France & misses the point gravely. I live in France & you have it half right that the 1% can share and there is more than enough to go around and that while charity begins at home the Gilets Jaunes are not selfish & indifferent however the are f**kd against the wall.

      The other part Mr. Vltchek misses is MASSIVE – MACRON WAS NOT ELECTED PRESIDENT BY “THE PEOPLE” !

      He was shoe-horned in by a corrupt MSM, a corrupt Francois Hollande & a very corrupted electoral rigging game.

      In France we all know it & we all saw Marine Le Pen fill stadiums of supporters while Macron could not fill a school hall & even cancelled gigs in fear nobody would turn up !

      We all saw that we couldn’t hardly find anyone who actually voted for him in talks & discussions in bars & cafés & markets……….& then we all saw this ‘Prick’ state that France had no Culture among many many Jupiter style insults…..before he clobbered the Pensioners 1st, dropped taxes for the rich, introduced a ridiculous 80Km spped limit & then hiked fuel prices + about 20 other taxes that affect every common person leaving 50% of the French people with a nett loss at the end of every month of (c) €30 to €50 if they were lucky enough to have a job & if not “let them eat cake”.

      The point being that in the eyes is the vast majority of the people (c) 80% Macron is not legitimate !

  4. frank says

    “What if taxes are reduced, wages increased, President Macron steps down?”

    All of those are just cosmetics. (Macron btw was democratically elected.)

    What really needs to change is the system as a whole, including for example the banking system, and that’s not going to happen.

    They’ll get some crumbs thrown their way -at best- and that will be that.

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  5. James Connolly says

    What happens if they don’t win?

  6. bc says

    Generous social spending must be compensated for by invading other countries? Really? When has that ever been the case? Social spending in the UK only began in earnest with decolonization. Today the western country with the least generous social spending is the world’s most rapacious invader, while those with the most generous social spending – the Nordic countries -have not invaded anybody to pursue that course.

    The gilets jaunes and occupy movements are not cheerleading for western imperialism or TNCs.
    They are ordinary working people protesting increasingly blatant and grotesque inequality in their own societies .. the fruits of domestic neoliberal policies intended to make the richest richer at everybody else’s expense. These protests will continue to grow, regardless of whether you join our political and media elites in scorning them.

  7. Ken Kenn says

    ” Who will pay the bill?”

    The one’s who sent the Colonial invoices and got paid on the invoices and benefited from those receipts and still benefit to this day.

    That is the Rich – the Elites – call them what you may but Andre seems to not want to give the bill to that class for fear that they won’t pay it.

    The whole West has materially benefited from the ‘trickle down ‘ effect of Colonialism for centuries.

    This is how you build up a class force to defend the robbery of the Upper Classes. It’s not new at all.

    It’s called democracy.

    Globalisation is its latest expression and it will take a similar international movement to defeat it.

    It’s not going to be easy and the world won’t be changed by words alone so the anti-capitalists are going to have to learn how battle physically as the Vietnamese did.

    We won’t escape that as the State is not the defender of its people – it is the defender of the Neo liberal order currently and ironically the material beneficiaries of Colonialism ( some people ) will be paying for the State to fight the other people ( the less benefited people ) to defend the existing order. Irony number two is that the other people’s declining living standards will also pay for the fight against them.

    After all no one will pay if you decline to make your demand and they know you are scared.

    Macron has been pressured and it has worked so far.

    No pressure – no solution.

    A steep learning curve is ahead for the world away from the internet.

  8. I see Andre’s core message as being quite clear and I couldn’t agree with him more. Until we care about those who catastrophically suffer….. in our name, our comparatively minuscule suffering will continue. Are we really complicit in ‘that’ suffering? If so, how so?

    Let’s say the occupy movement had started with one single, focused, intentional demand….’no profits of war’. It might have drawn attention to the actual motivation behind needless atrocities. How could it not? Throw in full amnesty for past genocides to make it easier on them. Use part of saved billions to pay the laid off contractors. Would this approach have scaled back the machinery of death to only defensive, freeing up money enough to satisfy the selfish needs of the movement while at the same time saving millions of lives from aggression? A win win? Might have been worth a try. Seems to me, the occupy movement was and is only thinking about themselves. Sound familiar? Lives be damned.

    How would you answer if asked “why” by any Libyan, Iraqi or Syrian with overwhelming memories of the recent butchering of their families during Obama’s ISIS festivities? These people are still raw. Would you claim ignorance?
    Who was it that asked Madeline Albright to apologize for her “worth the price” comment? Anybody? Disregarding the suffering of others just never seems to be an issue for the more civilized nations or their subjects. I wonder how nurse Nayirah sleeps at night with her royal family diplomatic immunity. Did she celebrate the highway of death like us.? Great photos. Does she chuckle at the deformed babies in Fallujah? Mass murder committed on known false pretenses is no big deal here. In fact, we celebrate it. We just lowered the flag to half-mast for it.
    When a Pentagon General was asked why we boiled 800 young Taliban alive in steel containers after surrendering, did he say “We ran out of room at the hotel?” Maybe we just enjoy knowing we are part of peoples suffering. Meanwhile, we want more benefits damn it.
    Now with the advent of cell phones, we can easily manipulate masses of people to celebrate killing themselves for a good cause so we can save them with Democracy later. More fun than drone splat. This is really great when you think about it. We can even get them to easily accept any assigned color so we can watch and keep track of their progress for our amusement…..or, I should say, for our admiration of their freedom loving patriotic stand. Yellow is a new color. Nice choice. Fire engines use it. Very official looking. And just think about all the other wonderful colors ahead for us to enjoy…..pink, lavender, chartreuse.

    I went to My Lai in December for the 50th anniversary of our massacre there, just to remind myself who we are. I felt more at home in Vietnam than I do in my own country. These people have a humanity we will never know in this lifetime. My blood boils at our indifference to human life. And at our selfishness. How can we not have figured out that our glorious leaders and their handlers don’t care about us. It is all just a game to them. We have allowed them to grow monstrous by violently plundering the wealth of innocents.We helped them with our own blood.

    We shrug this off because we disregard that value of human life spoken of by Andre Vitchek in this article. Without this value we are rudderless, in danger and dangerous. Without this one simple awareness called caring, we may not survive as a species. History shows us that the meat grinder devours any color. It doesn’t discriminate. It celebrates diversity. Right now, we deserve it.
    I like to play monopoly and I like to win. I played recently, and one player saw themselves loosing, so stood up abruptly on a false pretext, turning over the table. This is what may occur if America sees itself loosing. The upset will be hot and final. It will be too late to care.

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  9. Antonym says

    No mention of the Marine Le Pen, whose election was prevented by French deep state through Macron – even here: predictable. Mass immigration has to stay untouchable.

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        • Oh yeah, the elites never worry about the popular left. They’re terrified of the right wing fake populists.

          Christ on a bike. It’s not all about race you know.

  10. Gary Weglarz says

    Vltchek of course is right on the money with this analysis. Which makes it hard for me to understand much of the negative commentary here in response. The same can be said of the goals of the Yellow Vest movement as can be said of the goals of both Occupy Wall Street in the U.S. or the massive support for Bernie Sanders here for president in 2016. All are concerned – NOT about the illegal immoral imperial foreign policy of France and the U.S. which enriches the West while slaughtering the poor – but instead that DOMESTIC economic conditions improve in Western nations like France and the U.S. respectively.

    Why is this such a hard concept for others commenting here to grasp? I support the Yellow Vests wholeheartedly, but I’m certainly not under any delusion that they are on the streets to protest the immorality and illegality of French military operations in Syria or in destroying Libya. Vltchek is simply pointing out the obvious, which I admit is often the most dangerous thing to do since it challenges both our blinders AND our blindness to the simple uncomfortable truths right in front of us.

    We in the West have studiously ignored the plight of the rest of the world as long as our economic needs have been met in our home nations. Now that we are faced more and more ourselves with the impacts of the Neoliberal mayhem unleashed on the planet we begin to see that we are no different in the eyes of the oligarchs than the poor in the nations we continue to exploit and pillage daily economically and militarily. While we in the West miss meals or even sleep on the streets homeless, those in the nations we are continually exploiting literally starve or are killed by our bombs or our mercenaries. This is hardly a “controversial” observation by Vltchek, but I admire him for making it. Facing reality is always a good place to start.

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    • Bernardo1871 says

      of course that many/most yellow vests don’t care about imperialist wars, now by proxies. but even if they don’t know that the people who wage wars in the world are the same people who control the banking oligarchy, the yellow vest movement is a good thing because the people take the streets, they want to decide, to have the power.

      perhaps the yellow vest will bring NUTTIN’ yet it’s still better that if nothing happened.

    • Starac says

      Another high class painting by Vitchek. Thank you.
      Not everybody is able or want to see it as is; then try to argue that some small parts should be different colour…
      Happy new year.

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    • Francis Lee says

      Yes, empire and domestic democracy cannot co-exist in the longer run. And the methods of rule in the empire are brought home in the final stages of imperial overstretch. That is where we are now, and that is what Thucydides taught us.

  11. John G says

    Until the Euro goes the way of the dodo, neoliberalism and austerity will rule.
    Imperialism isn’t about stealing money. It is about stealing resources and labour.
    Money is virtual and infinite.

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  12. John G says

    Money isn’t a finite resource, Andrew.

  13. Jen says

    I’m afraid this post by Vltchek displays his naivety about the French people as exemplified by the Gilets Jaunes movement.

    He gives himself away by saying in one paragraph that the French people lived well “for centuries”. If that had been the case, the French Revolution would never have occurred in 1789 and a monarchy (and all the elitist and hierarchical associations existing in France at the time) might have survived well into the 19th century. There would have been perhaps no Napoleon Bonaparte and the history of western Europe in the 19th century would have been so different that even the history of the 20th century would have become speculative science fiction.

    Equally there would have been no Paris uprising in 1871 when for over two months Paris was ruled by a radical socialist government supported by the working class and the immigrant community.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Commune

    It’s arguable that only a few sections of French society have been living well since at least 1945 and that working class and immigrant communities have never benefited. This may be one reason why parts of the Gilets Jaunes’ agenda appear reactionary: because if the current situation of the working class and the immigrant community is dire, there is no point in bringing in more immigrants if they all end up falling into the same impoverished mire.

    Vltchek seems to think that the French public and the people of the French empire have lived in two separate yet parallel worlds, and that one world is unaware of the other’s existence. I think if he were to visit and travel around France, as he has done in other countries, and speak to French people across all socioeconomic strata, he will find that many if not most of them are migrants or are descended from migrants from the very areas that used to constitute the French colonial empire. He may find also that these people are sending money back to relatives in their home countries and might have the most to lose if the Micron [misspelling intended] government continues to force austerity on the French people and to resurrect and impose a third-rate ancien regime society.

    Vltchek needs to shake off the false dichotomy he seems to have, that the interests of the French people and those of the people in former French colonies are essentially opposed, because in the past the French elites exploited these colonies. The reality, to put it very simply, is that the French people themselves were also exploited like a colony.

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  14. Talking of Vietnam, here’s Gorgeous George’s gorgeous comparison:

    George Galloway @georgegalloway – 11:46 utc – 31 Dec 2018
    The defeat of the Imperialist Armies and their head-chopping auxiliaries in the Alphabet Soup of Islamist Extremism by the Syrian Arab Army and its Allies was _the Most Significant Event of the Year or any year since the US defeat in Vietnam_.
    It will change the world.”

    https://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/12/syria-country-of-the-year-2018.html

    [Happy New Year, World!]

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  15. bevin says

    “French citizens are not used to being plundered.}
    This is nonsense.

    ” For centuries they lived well,..”
    So is this. far from ‘living well’ the French were horrible exploited. So badly indeed that their country became notorious for its, bloody, revolutions.

    “..and for several last decades, they were living ‘extremely well’. They were enjoying some of the most generous benefits anywhere in the world…”
    By which, I presume, the author means that during the post war period, for reasons with which he really ought to be familiar, the French working class made gains in living standards. These are the gains that Macron, like his two predecessors, is trying to cancel, reducing living standards and breaking the institutions, including Unions, which were employed to enhance them.

    The idea that when the French improve their conditions and establish decent living standards all others must suffer is precisely the argument that Macron and his cronies would make. It is curious to read it coming from Andre who calls himself a Communist. He isn’t he is a petty bourgeois intellectual. He knows better.

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    • zach says

      It’s a last-resort argument, regularly deployed by the Thomas Friedmans of this world.

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  16. Estaugh says

    Andre; A lot of people don’t have the wherewithal to put food on the table, let alone taking the missus to a resto. If nobody was to suffer harm, revolutions would have never taken place, ever.

  17. Loverat says

    Looking around my office today, I saw a few orange vests (fire reps)

    How about another Glorious revolution?

  18. DunGroanin says

    The highwater mark of western imperialists centuries of conquest and financiers in the far east was Vietnam.
    It has just reached its zenith in the ME with Syria, there will be no extension to Iran. China, India, Pakistan are not going to be anyones bitches anymore either.
    Russia is being pushed in their direction rather than Europe.
    Africa is still totally ecploitef and South America is on the turn.
    Without the plunder of the resources and environment USA/Canada/Australia would be great wild places instead of dustbowls they will end up.

    Andre is correct – as long as the unhomogenous yellow vests and their grass-roots equivalent neosocialdemocrats across Europe and the Anglo-Saxon empire accept their role in the still ongoing imperialism – the certainty is replacing an old aristocracy with a new one.

    Here’s hopping that the truth of history and money and power is spread wider and deeper this coming year – a genuine human revolutionary moment is upon us.

    We must grasp it for the sake of life on earth, as well as the future of humanity.

    Happy New Year

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  19. Absolutely shameful attempt from the “Left” to discredit and oppose a legitimate mass movement. Rather than encourage internationalism, his specious reasoning makes a mockery of it. The Yellow Vests movement is part of a process that brings sections of people not previously politically involved into the struggle against French monopoly capitalism and hence French imperialism.

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  20. BigB says

    I so want to agree wholeheartedly with Andre on this topic. Especially on the ‘Sartrean Imperative’ of radical responsibility and conscious choice …i.e. when we choose, we choose for everyone: which is the basis of an Existential Humanism. But Andre has picked the wrong target: as Narrative has already pointed out. The Gilets Jaunes do want to end ‘FrancAfrique’ exploitation and neo-colonial wars – and leave NATZO – they are not just thinking of themselves. As such, they should not be tarred with the sins of their colonial forefathers.

    They have had enough: we should join them …at least in solidarity. The full list of requests may be limited in scope by a fully industrialised nostalgia …but so what? There are plenty of progressive actions to be going on with: which should be lauded and become pan-European is scope.

    Other than that: on the general premise that politics and authentic resistance needs to be pan-globally socially (and environmentally) responsible – I could not agree more.

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  21. Stephen Morrell says

    Why is it assumed that neo-colonies will automatically be exploited even more brutally to pay for any gains that might be won by the masses in the imperial centre? It’s a fake internationalism to think that workers and the oppressed of the imperial centre should feel some guilt that any gains they achieve will be extracted directly from the hides of those exploited in the neo-colonies. People quite rightly don’t think of this possibility because the world doesn’t work that way. French, or any other imperialist, corporations don’t pay tributes to the home government as the latter may require. Colonialism has been replaced by neocolonialism.

    So what really would happen if the ‘gilets jaunes’ win? First: win what? Versions of the demands (one has 42 of them) vary because the movement is inchoate and contradictory, due mainly to the historic weakness of the labour movement playing no part in this movement, let alone leading it. And some ‘gilets jaunes’ demands are reactionary to the bone. For example, in one version of the demands some read: ‘Quadruple the budget for law and order’; ‘Prevent migratory flows that cannot be accommodated or integrated’; ‘A constitutional cap on taxes – at 25%’; ‘End editorial propaganda’.

    But let’s assume the ‘gilets jaunes’ win, just the ‘progressive’ demands for argument’s sake. At best, such a victory would be impermanent. Why? Because the gains can and will be taken away when the opportunity arises, when the ruling class regains control of the situation. ‘Winning’ won’t really happen until the rulers can’t regain any control at all, when the working class, leading all the oppressed, takes state power, rips the productive resources out of the hands of the bourgeoisie, and subjects them to a rational and democratically decided plan that benefits everyone. A revolutionary leadership of the working class (the only class with the social power to stop and start production), armed with a program for taking and retaining state power is needed for that, and this is absent.

    If sections of the ‘gilets jaunes’ split to the left, then this may provide an opening for revolutionary politics to take a hold, but that’s only the first step. If the existing leadership of already organised workers, ie of the trade unions, isn’t replaced by one committed to overthrowing capitalism and taking a leading role in the current uprising, then all bets are off. Specifically, if a left-moving layer of the ‘gilets jaunes’ isn’t recruited to a Bolshevik program and fails to take it into the existing workers movement to transform workers’ existing consciousness, from addressing everyday needs (viz, ‘we’re more worried about the end of the month than the end of the world’) to realising it’s historic role in making a revolution, then all bets are off.

    • bevin says

      “Why is it assumed that neo-colonies will automatically be exploited even more brutally to pay for any gains that might be won by the masses in the imperial centre? It’s a fake internationalism to think that workers and the oppressed of the imperial centre should feel some guilt that any gains they achieve will be extracted directly from the hides of those exploited in the neo-colonies. People quite rightly don’t think of this possibility because the world doesn’t work that way. ”

      The basis of this theory-always fallacious- was an attempt to enrol the working class among Imperialism’s supporters. This became important when they eventually ‘got the vote.’
      In fact the metropolitan working class, including the rural people, were among the primary victims of imperialism.
      There is, however a grain of truth in the theory: the rapidly growing middle classes owed almost everything to the empire and for many upwardly mobile working class people India and the other colonies, including the frontier lands in Canada and elsewhere, were crucial as they eased themselves out of the ranks of the losers into those of the myriad administrators and clerks needed to run the empire.
      The working class lost nothing when the empire faded away, nothing but the risk of being drafted into colonial military expeditions, but the middle class lost a great deal, which, since 1950 or thereabouts it has tried desperately to replace. Hence, inter alia, British Foreign Policy.

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  22. Narrative says

    If all Yellow Vests’ demands are met, it means the government in its current form will cease to exist. It means a neoliberal government has collapsed. A victory to the people in France and around the globe!

    Re: foreign affairs
    Yellow Vests, and everyone helping them, deserve all respect and support. Look at these foreign policy demands included in their manifesto:
    – End France’s participation in foreign wars of aggression, and exit from NATO
    – Cease pillaging and interfering – politically and militarily – in ‘Francafrique’, which keeps Africa poor. Immediately repatriate all French soldiers. Establish relations with African states on an equal peer-to-peer basis

    Corporate Controlled Media is not covering Yellow Vests protests for fear of copycat and also for fear of extending active support by people in other countries to the protesters in France.

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  23. who are in the background stirring the people to act, extremists no doubt, raising the ire of many, where are the new ideas, amen

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  24. olavleivar says

    Andre Vltchek — You are about as A-HISTORICAL and STUPID .. as it gets … If I wanted .. i could write PAGES about HUMAN EXPLOITATION comitted by exactely the same people You portray as VICTIMS ..BUT …… .Its not worth the effort ..with culturally Marxist brainwashed MORONS like You ! … Enjoy Your White Man flagelating Tirades around the world , the Do GOODDER Glory around Your Head …Lick some more ASS … and the Extinction of YOUR OWN KIND .. ( Yes ! ) and FUCK OFF !

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    • John G says

      LOLz, you said “cultural Marxism”. Moron.

      • milosevic says

        The Frankfurt School, Postmodernism and the Politics of the Pseudo-Left: A Marxist Critique, by David North

        The polemical essays in this volume examine the complex interaction between history, philosophy and politics. The author defends historical materialism against contemporary anti-Marxist philosophical tendencies related to the Frankfurt School and postmodernism.

        Among the topics covered are the irrationalist assault on the traditions of the Enlightenment, the reactionary character of modern utopianism, and the importance of a historically-directed consciousness in the understanding of objective political reality. The book evaluates the work of such neo-utopian theoreticians as Hendrik de Man, Ernst Bloch, Wilhelm Reich, and Herbert Marcuse.

        Upholding the tradition of Marx, Engels, Plekhanov, Lenin and Trotsky, this work is vital reading for those who wish to deepen their knowledge of classical Marxism. It provides critical insight into the philosophical and political issues separating scientific socialism from the ideological tendencies that influence a wide array of pseudo-left and anti-socialist political movements.

        • Francis Lee says

          Has anyone, critics or friends alike, ever actually tried to read any of this stuff. When I was a student I tried to read ‘Dialectic of the Englightenment’ by Horkheimer and Adorno. I gave up after a few chapters, couldn’t make head nor tail of it. 20 years later I tried again, same story.

          Here’s a sample of ‘cultural marxism’. From Herbert Marcuse – Reason and Revolution.

          ”Being, for dialectical logic, is a process through which contradictions that determine the content and development of all reality. The logic had elaborated the timeless structure of this process, but the intrinsic connection, between the logic and other parts of the system, and, above all, the implications of the dialectical method destroy the very idea of timelessness. The logic had shown that the true being is the idea, but the idea unfolds itself ‘in space’ (as nature) and ‘in time’ (as mind) … The forms of mind manifest themselves in time, and the history of the world is an exposition of mind in time.”

          Get it?!

          Couldn’t be plainer really.

          What is actually termed ‘cultural marxism is an amalgam of the theories of (early) Marx, Max Weber, and Sigmund Freud. This prompted the French sociologist Raymond Aaron to quip. ”Inside every neo-Marxist there is a neo-Weberian trying to get out.”

    • Fair dinkum says

      Gotcha tunnel vision glasses on hey?

  25. Bernardo1871 says

    no offense Andre Vitchek but you are wrong right from the beginning: there will be none increase of the minimum wage, that is just an *activity bonus* that will be increased,
    but not all minimum wage workers get that ‘activity bonus’, it depends on the family’revenue,
    but that ‘activity bonus’ is not taken into account for the pension.

    it’s a scam, as always..

    as a french citizen, i am not responsible for the crimes by my countries last decades, last centuries.

    how could I be? the people do not have the political power. we just choose between one bankers’ bitch and another bankers’ bitch.

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    • Phantastron says

      “we just choose between one bankers’ bitch and another bankers’ bitch.

      No “just” about it. I think that is one thing you should not do!

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