The Yellow Vests movement, that was launched by French workers to oppose the fuel tax that Macron chose to introduce doesn’t seem to be inclined to go away even after months of continuous protests. Moreover, even though the tax was scrapped almost immediately, the protesters want the French political elites out of the Elysee Palace now. As it’s been pointed out by The New York Times:
Welling up rapidly from rural and forgotten France, this broad-based, citizen-driven movement is among the most serious challenges yet to Macron.
This phenomenon can be attributed to the fact that the fuel tax was considered a major insult by the French workers because it’s was obvious that it was part of a larger anti-middle class push, and the latter wasn’t feeling particularly privileged in the first place.
Among the questions that the Yellow Vests take issue with is the decision of the Macron government to provide to provide extra benefits for migrants at the expense of the French population that local media sources tried to avoid discussing altogether.
Last September, Western governments formally finalized the joint comprehensive agreement on the challenges that refugees poses that was in discussions for over a year by then. The resulted in the adoption of was is now officially called the Global Migration Treaty (GDM).
However, it’s been pointed out that behind all this blissful undertaking there is, in fact, a visible attempt to completely destabilize the existing system of nation states. The authors of the GDM proceed from the automatic provision of migrants with a social package that is equal to, or even exceeds, the volume provided for their own citizens. The only difference is that in order to receive any benefits at all citizens are bound to work and pay taxes, while migrants should receive preferential treatment simply on the fact of their existence.
The people that took their outrage to the French streets are making no secret about the things that frustrate them, including the broken health care system, that forces local residents to pay for insurance, while Africans and Arabs would be treated for free.
To add insult to injury, the French retirement benefits system is so ridiculous that it leave the people who have been straining their whole lives with laughable pensions, while migrant who are literally have just arrived to France being entitled to same benefits.
It’s been pointed out that the French social security system forces people not to work and have many children, but it leaves an average middle-class worker with no other option than to be childless.
Therefore, it’s hardly a surprise that Frenchmen are reluctant to stop their protests even after spending month in the streets, since they just like the majority of other citizens across Western countries were demanded to sit and observe income inequality skyrocket over the last couple of years. This phenomenon has been thoroughly discussed by both the World Inequality Lab (WIL) and the New Eastern Outlook (NEO.)
That is why Western oligarchies can only blame themselves for the processes that are taking place in France and about to erupt across the West in general, as they’ve been warned that a revolution was just around the corner. However, local elites were only concerned with maximizing their profits, which means that they couldn’t be bothered less with the hardship of a regular Hans.
The Yellow Vests are motivated by protesting the authorities’ primary concern for the interests of the richest, as five thousand wealthiest families across France received tax deductions in the amount of five billion euros. Moreover, Paris has taken no measures to curb tax evasion, due to which the treasury loses 80 billion euros a year.
This leaves us with the question: Should we really be surprised with Macron’s approval rating that has crumbled to 26 per cent? That’s more than 20 points lower than the approval rating enjoy his predecessor in the Élysée Palace, François Hollande. And to begin with, Hollande wasn’t that popular, the fact that made him a one-termer. Yet, as it’s been pointed out by the New York Times, Macron is not the only target; the other target is the capital city of Paris, boasting a hegemonic attitude toward the rest of the country.
What this means that means is that European elites can look away as long as they want, the revolutionary urge of the EU population is not going to go away. Ordinary people have been pushed to the point that they are willing to fight tough and nail for the social benefits for their families, the benefits they earned with decades of their own hard work. As for the development of the situation in France, it no longer depends solely on the scope of the Yellow Vests movement, as the common sense of local oligarchies must tell them that they cannot hide no more behind the windows of their expensive cars, yachts and villas, since if they do, protesters are going to bring their frustration to the posh front porches of the local elites anyway.
One has to be blind to fail to notice the frustration of regular people slowly reaching the boiling point across the majority of Western states. This means that changes are to be made to the present income distribution as they are long overdue. The parasitic nature of modern capitalism, if left unchecked, will be the reason behind its imminent demise.
Grete Mautner is an independent researcher and journalist from Germany, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.”