The echo chamber of mainstream media pundits and “journalists” is breathtaking; with a perfect mix of limited imagination and unlimited hypocrisy, establishment voices regularly take to the airwaves to distort news and disfigure truth. Nowhere is this more evident than the way our ever obsequious “free press” are covering the popular uprising that is taking place in France.
The most popular take on the Yellow Vests protesters who have brought the government of Emmanuel Macron to its knees is that the French are taking to the streets due to a 25 cent gas tax that was slated to go into effect in January to supposedly combat climate change. This simplistic narrative is being pushed in order to lump in the frustrations felt by millions of people through a limited lens. They want us to believe that Macron was trying to save the earth and the French are “rioting” out of narrow minded self-interest.
Recently, a more bird brained, if not insidious, lie is being parroted by the courtiers who pretend to be reporters. They have dusted off the propaganda of Russian interference to tar all Parisians who are standing up for their right of self-governance. According to corporate media hacks, the throngs of people who are demanding equity are nothing more than dim witted stooges who are being duped by Putin and his henchmen in Moscow. I can’t overstate how malicious this lie is, the same way neoliberals tried to explain away Hillary Clinton’s loss by reverting to McCarthyism, media personalities are deploying evidence without proof to malign the defiance of a people who have had enough of being used to grease the engine of runamok corporatism.
The truth is that the Yellow Vests movement in France is too complex to fit into one narrative. However, there is a common thread to be found among the people who are standing up to the forces of globalism that have rendered them serfs in their own nation. Some are speaking up against a tax burden that is falling on the poor, working and middle class while the wealthiest 1% are given all the breaks. Others are lashing out because they’ve had enough of their pensions and benefits being slashed while corporations are being showered with special treatment. Others are up in arms because they see a future that is bleak for their children, one where opportunity is diminishing even though the gentry are living like sultans.
What is missing in the story lines being pushed by mainstream media is that France today, and by extension most of the world, is resembling the era that gave birth to the French Revolution. Just like then, the gap between the haves and the have nots is mind bending. According to Oxfam, the richest 1% own more than the rest of the world combined and the wealthiest 62 people own as much as the bottom half of the world. Think about this for a minute, 62 people are hoarding more than 3.8 billion people combined. The French are not immune to this pandemic of greed that is mugging the planet; while most are being displaced by runaway rent and gentrified to no ends, the neo-aristocracy are living the life of Marie Antoinette from Paris, Nice, Strasbourg, Lyon and beyond.
The seething anger being displayed by French workers, students and the retired is grounded not on just one tax but on the continued catering of the gentry at the cost of the populace. If anything, the gas tax was but the last straw that broke the camel’s back. After letting multinational corporations lay our planet to waste, the ruling class is demanding that the commoners contort themselves into sacrificial lambs to feed the greed of vulture capitalists. The onerous burden that is being placed on the shoulders of the average French man and woman is to save the planet by paying through their teeth while moneyed interests continue to make fortunes. For the 1% bailouts and handouts, for the rest take the lumps and eat cake!
On my way to work, I heard a woman in France being interviewed on the radio and what she said was truly profound and powerful. She noted that the Yellow Vests movement is not about ideology or politics but about basic fairness. She went on to state that parties on the left or the right will try to co-opt the movement but that the people who are protesting want no part of politicians, they are standing up for justice. Establishment voices are trying to put the protesters in boxes and misrepresent their intentions for a reason, the efforts of the Yellow Vests is one that can galvanize others who are tired of opulence for the few while austerity is given to the rest.
You'll never understand the plight of the poor & working class being obliterated by austerity
You'll never understand the plight of the middle class bein shredded by bottom up wealth transfer schemes
— Teodrose Fikre ✒ (@TeodroseFikre) December 11, 2018
Last evening, Neera Tanden—Hillary Clinton’s hackneyed cheerleader—observed that the people in France are protesting against a carbon tax and was aghast that any progressive would cheer them on. This is the type of tone deaf punditry that is stoking emotions in France, driving the resentment behind Brexit and fueling the discontent that is being felt in America and beyond. The political class and their wealthy benefactors live a life utterly disconnected from the struggles that most people are feeling.
Ten years ago, the world economy was cracked open like an egg and bled dry by degenerate gamblers. For the crime of committing the biggest theft in recorded history, the CEO class was rewarded with trillions in bailouts and golden parachutes. Their victims were treated to a most obscene form of austerity. We were told to take it, that if we don’t reward the criminals who took off with our life savings, that the world would sink into the abyss of a global depression. This bitter pill of socializing pain while capitalizing fortunes for the wealthiest few is the spark that lit the fuse in France; once again the commoner is asked to foot the bill to finance the Ponzi schemes of the très riche. Click To Tweet
What is taking place in France could easily take place in America. We are but one economic downturn or another crystallizing moment that shows in stark relief the disparity between the “upper crust” and the crumb chasers before yellow vests start popping up like Bird scooters throughout the 50 states. Although too many Americans are being medicated by the absurdity of our politics and the inanities of pop culture, another round of massive layoffs and mass privation could jolt the public awake from Trump mania and Democrat duplicity.
Roughly 230 years ago, the nobility and the well-to-do were indifferent to the plight of the proletariat in France. They learned the hard way how a people stifled by poverty and strife can rise up against their oppressors. This is a lesson that mainstream media does not want to remind us; they would rather pretend that a movement is about foreign interference and politics—their paychecks and necks depend on us believing them.
Never depend on people who get paid by liars to tell you the truth::
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Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.