By Jeff J. Brown
Pictured above: yours truly showing the shocking data on the French people’s increasing poverty.
Sixteen years on the streets, living and working with the people of China, Jeff
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Marziyeh Hashemi (Host): Oh, clashes erupted between demonstrators and riot police in France as tens of thousands of people take to the streets of the European nation to protest the unpopular pension reforms. Riot police fired tear gas to disperse rallies who threw projectiles at them. The rallies were held in Paris, Marseille, Nantes, and elsewhere, turning violent in some cities. This is the 14th such protest against the government’s plans since January.
The nationwide rallies are held just two days before an opposition-sponsored bill aimed at canceling the minimum pension age increases reviewed by parliament. President Emmanuel Macron forced the reform through with special constitutional powers, which angry protesters this spring while the government ignored the protests insisting on the long-term goals of the reform.
The plan which is already in statute books has raised the retirement age for most workers from 62 to 64. We are going to cross over to Normandy joined by Jeff J. Brown geopolitical analyst. Thanks so much for being with us, Jeff. What do you make of these continued protests? Because as I read in the news piece, there have been already 14 protests this year trying to stop this from becoming a law, and now it’s already entered the books. So, your assessment of the effects of these protests and where it’s going to go from here?
Jeff J Brown (Guest): Well, you’re exactly right. I mean, it’s sort of like Iranians protesting against the Shah right now. It’s over. It’s finished. The law will never be changed. And I just got this (shows a poster in French). This is what they need to be protesting about. 82% of the French cannot save any money at the end of the month. 79% of the French are having to tighten their belts. 45% are doing staycations like the United States has been doing since the 1980s.
Poverty is exploding here. This is what they need to be protesting. And so, Macron and the power elites love this because it’s a waste of time and they should be protesting neoliberal capitalism, jungle capitalism, the impoverishment of the people, taking away medical care, and medical benefits, closing tens of thousands of hospital beds, getting rid of nurses. This is what they ought to be protesting. But they don’t. And I’m sorry to say, my heart goes out to them. It is a complete and total waste of time and Macron and the 1% are laughing at them.
Marziyeh: Well, Jeff, interesting what you’ve just said. So, let’s talk about this. I mean, if these people, obviously, they’re experiencing a lot of pressure inside of France and many are experiencing even threats to their livelihoods or homelessness and as you said, cannot save anything but at the end of the month. So why do you think they are not protesting against that? What has put them in a direction to protest against a law that’s already on the books now instead of what is in the process of happening to them?
Jeff: Well, that’s because all of these people are being organized by the unions, the syndicates, who are all co-opted by the power elites. They’re all gentrified bourgeois. This is not Charles de Gaulle going against the Communists back in the 1950s. These are the unions today . They and the NGOs have all been bought and sold. And do you know who the last people were that protested against all of this and the fact that the European Union is controlling France and no country in Europe really even a national government anymore because of the Euro group and the European Commission?
It was the Yellow Vests. And of course, what happened to the Yellow Vests? Your journalist in Paris, Ramin Mazaheri, reported on it. They were brutally, brutally crushed, violently crushed. And so, if they go out and really start protesting, what really matters, then the Gestapo is going to come out and they’re going to crush them. And so right now, we’re just watching Kabuki theater.
The rule is they can’t go in front of the European Central Bank. That is forbidden. They can’t go in front of the French Central Bank. Oh, that’s forbidden. They can’t go in front of Parliament. Oh, that’s forbidden. Oh, they can’t go in front of the Elysée where Macron lives. Oh, that’s forbidden. So, they’re just making the lives miserable for all the shopkeepers and stores in the streets where they’re protesting because they can’t protest against the centers of power because they have been told that it’s illegal.
Marziyeh: Well, thanks so much for joining us, Jeff Brown, a geopolitical analyst out of Normandy.
Do yourself, your friends, family and colleagues a favor, to make sure all of you are Sino-smart:
Google ebooks (Epub) and audiobooks:
44 Days Backpacking in China: The Middle Kingdom in the 21st Century, with the United States, Europe and the Fate of the World in Its Looking Glass https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=YBKHEAAAQBAJ
China Rising: Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=YNmLEAAAQBAJ
BIG Red Book on China: Chinese History, Culture and Revolution
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44 Days Backpacking in China: The Middle Kingdom in the 21st Century, with the United States, Europe and the Fate of the World in Its Looking Glass
China Rising: Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations
BIG Red Book on China: Chinese History, Culture and Revolution
Praise for The China Trilogy:
Why and How China works: With a Mirror to Our Own History
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