Dans cet article, je vais écrire sur la Révolution Française et ses conséquences. – In English – I am going to write about the French Revolution and its implications.
The people are angry at the ruling classes; their regime is totalitarian, taxes are high, the economy is in terrible shape. As a result there are mass protests and the streets of Paris are on fire. I am of course talking about the revolution beginning in November 2018, not the one of 1789 though I may as well be. The French are revolting…
Just as in 1789 it was something seemingly innocuous that has started this revolution, the trigger was a raise in cost of living by the taxes on grain, deep disillusion on a multiple facets of reasons just simply exploded. The protests “Yellow Vest movement” started when Mácron decided to raise fuel taxes on the facade of climate change. The French treasury is bankrupt and is in clashes with the European Union over its budget, so I suspect this is the real reason behind the tax raises. Whilst no one likes a raise in tax, in normal circumstances a small raise in tax people can live with, providing there is consent. It shouldn’t cause the blockades and rioting it has caused. This tax-rise, like in 1789, was the spark that has set-off the barrel of gunpowder.
In recent years the French people have endured much, the economic malaise as a result of euro membership and general high taxation. Youth unemployment remains stubbornly high at ±22%, with nearly 10% unemployment in general. In comparison UK, unemployment is at record lows at about 3%. In addition, there have a great number of Islamic terrorist attacks with hundreds of innocent people killed. Consequently, the French government imposed a State of Emergency in 2015, impinging on various civil liberties, yet the attacks have continued. Aided and abetted, by immigration policy and the EU Shenghan Agreement. The free movement of people across the European Union has allowed jihadists with weapons and ammunition to travel the continent unchecked, unchallenged and able to kill at will.
Then this is compounded by a typically arrogant and snobbish French political class who are completely detached from the rest of society. Is it any wonder the the French are in revolt (even if it is the only thing they are good at). Things are now in motion that cannot be undone and the consequence will be profound.
On 17th November 2018 the revolution started, named as Gilet Jaunes (Yellow Vest Movement), a symbol of the working man. I suspect this revolution is much more coordinated than the media give the Gilet Jaunes credit for. As I understand it there are two phases to this revolution; firstly, there is the blockading of ports, refineries, roads and factories – the “siege”. Secondly, there are the “protests” or “riots”, the physical confrontations on the streets of Paris, Toulouse, Marseille and many other towns and cities across France.
Arguably it is the first the phase, initially at least that is the most important and many respects helps fuel the second phase. The blockading of ports, refineries and trade routes, has three major effects. By stopping the fuel supplies, people (who aren’t protesting) can’t get to work therefore productivity drops. This has a knock on effect, whether it is yet to be felt is yet be ascertained, it means companies lose money and the ability to service debt becomes an issue. Especially as the French banks are in a state after their debt was offloaded on Greece via a series of bailouts starting in 2011. With no money coming in, people feel the pinch and blame the government. Blocking ports and trade routes is probably the most significant of the economic sides of the argument. With the former, more people can work from home if they have to, way and means. Fresh produce, for example, is what we call just in time (JIT) supply chains that is on a rolling quarterly pay scheme, if that produce does not get to the destination people can’t get food nor is debt serviced. By hampering the whole logistical sector of the French economy, the effects could be quite profound. France’s economy is a basket case, as mentioned previously, one that could ultimately threaten its place within the Eurozone, and what would that mean for the Eurozone as a whole. The Greek debt crisis etc… what economic contagious could be spread? These are quite unpredictable.
The social element of the protest is quite interesting, if the Yellow Vests do succeed in removing Macron, it won’t make a difference because the EU will replace him with another puppet. Stuff the Yellow Vests would like to see done, again, is difficult whilst being a member of the European Union, never mind the Eurozone. The heavy response from the French/EU government against the protesters, (including the use of snipers against civilians) just keeps reinforcing the cycle of doom between crackdown and protest. What this means for the EU and France’s place within it is anyone’s guess. Such is the anger in France, the Yellow Vests don’t just want to bring down Mácron they want to drain the swamp by force. These latest petulant remarks of suspending a raise in fuel tax just goes to show how little they understand their own perceptions in public.
I expect things to get one hell of a lot worse before they get better, and I would not be surprised if Madame la Guillotine made an appearance.