“Until they become conscious, they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”
~ George Orwell, 1984
Turmoil everywhere as an Orwellian nightmare unfolds around the globe
In just the last couple of months, we’ve seen what is effectively a ‘legal coup’ against the democratically-elected president of Brazil, continued and relentless pressure to remove al-Assad from power in Syria, economic warfare in Venezuela threatening to bring ‘Chavismo’ to an ignominious end, and the so-called ‘Panama Papers’ forcing the resignation of Iceland’s prime minister, once the world’s youngest, and who oversaw the country’s unique resolution to banksters’ private debt.
If they have their way, the ‘Secret Elite’ ruling the West will replace these formerly democratic governments with the same power-hungry system in place everywhere else in the West – entrenched oligarchy that consumes everything it can get its hands on, including human resources.
Ordinary folks in Europe have been feeling this relentless drive for total power in the form of ‘austerity’ imposed from above. Some populations pretty much rolled over, displaying relatively muted protest in the face of egregious pillage and plunder. But the French, like the Greeks, have not been taking it lying down. The French are resisting, en masse, to challenge the pathological boot aimed squarely at their necks.
Over the last several months, mass protests – increasing in scale with each passing week – against government ‘reforms’ have seen tens and even hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets in cities across France. And not just now and then; almost daily. At times, crowds of over 300,000 have been protesting. For current Western civilization, as demoralized and apathetic as it has become, that is a rather large number.
Of course you may not have even heard about this because, like most mass protests taking place across the Western world these days, the French backlash against austerity diktats are barely being covered in Western media.
When Nicholas Sarkozy ‘won’ the French presidency in 2007, the French government shifted from being against the Iraq War and generally critical of Anglo-American foreign policy to committing French troops in Afghanistan, joining NATO and generally toeing the line in the ‘War on Terror’. For the first time, France basically had a US stooge for president. And, as Sarkozy would later say regarding the popular protest against his betrayal of France’s sovereignty, “[I]t seems to me that when there are strikes, no one notices.”
The economic crash of 2008 immediately cost France an estimated 600,000 jobs. The subsequent austerity measures pulled Sarkozy’s popularity down into the toilet, leaving the door open for a ‘Socialist’ and ‘Radical Left’ presidency. François Hollande became the man of the hour in 2012.
Hollande, the first ‘Socialist’ president since Mitterand in the 1980s, was elected on the basis of his anti-austerity and anti-imperial platform. Yet like most Western politicians, he has proven utterly powerless to stem the tide of economic misery. Under Hollande, unemployment has reached 40 percent in some areas of France, and 25.7% for the youth. Despite the economic dire straits in which many French people find themselves, Hollande – on the orders of his ‘advisors’ – continues to ram austerity bills down the throats of the French people. While he campaigned to remove French troops from Afghanistan, when elected he sent them instead to Mali and now Libya. And he continues the EU’s push for widespread austerity for all.
Under the newly proposed labor law – championed by the corporate and political elite as being France’s ‘liberation’ from worker’s rights – people would ‘gain’ the ‘right’ to not have to answer work emails while at home, in exchange for corporations being entitled to fire employees on a whim and work people harder than ever before. In essence, this French ‘labor law’ will metaphorically pit French workers against each other, in a fight to the economic death over who can abase themselves the most before the corporations.
The French people have made it clear that they are not buying Hollande’s reassurances that this would be good for them, yet the French oligarchs have little time for grass roots democracy, and even less for Parliamentary democracy, and last week, using a special article in the constitution dating back to the Algerian War, forced the law through, totalitarian-style. Now the bill is set to be considered in the Senate, despite continued massive waves of public protest.
Regarding the alleged basis on which this ‘labor reform’ has been instituted by decree in France, Finian Cunningham writes:
This is a fallacious – not to say immoral – way of looking at contemporary economic conditions. Since the global economic crash in 2008, what needs to be understood is that the problem of low growth in France, Europe, and even the seemingly better UK and US, is not really an issue of worker productivity. It is a much bigger question about a fundamental, historic breakdown in the capitalist system. This is reflected in the record level of inequality between a tiny elite and the vast majority of society. Chronic poverty and austerity wages are why consumption and growth have become stagnant. The systematic injustice needs to abolished, not appeased.
At one point last week, up to 80% of gas stations in the Paris region either ran out of, or nearly ran out of, fuel as workers at coastal refineries went on strike. This particular blockade has eased up for now, but only because the French government was forced to break into its strategic oil reserves.
Meanwhile the French transport unions are calling for ‘indefinite strikes’ that have begun in time for the country’s hosting of the Euro 2016 UEFA football championship, a large international event that is expected to bring 2.5 million visitors to France this month. “ISIS” of course, said they would target the football tournament, and the US State Dept. has warned US citizens against traveling to Europe for that reason. State Dept. spokesidiot John Kirby explained that the reason the warning had been issued was because he was “not aware of any specific credible terrorist threat”. Makes sense.
Rail workers in France are particularly reacting to the move to strip them of their legal protections, reducing their rest periods, a process which appears designed to pave the way for EU-wide legislation that will effectively privatize all railway services. The propaganda that accompanies these attacks maintains that France will benefit from the destruction of its hard-earned labor rights in order to ‘free’ workers into what former Chairman of the US ‘Federal Reserve’ Alan Greenspan explicitly termed a regime of ‘greater worker insecurity’. As Noam Chomsky explained:
If workers are more insecure, that’s very ‘healthy’ for the society, because if workers are insecure they won’t ask for wages, they won’t go on strike, they won’t call for benefits; they’ll serve the masters gladly and passively. And that’s optimal for corporations’ economic health.
But before they lighten the ‘burden’ on their debt-control system by ‘liquidating’ some human capital in France, they first have to break the workers’ backs. And it’s not been easy going for the French authorities, with their heavy-handed police tactics only serving to further inflame public reaction. The result of these ruthless attempts to strip workers of their rights and to brutalize entire communities has seen streets in several major cities regularly turn into war zones:
And draconian anti-labor laws are not the only things the French are upset about.
The Globalization of Palestine
Ever since the multiple coordinated attacks in Paris last November, French authorities have turned the country into ‘Middle East lite’, with numerous warrantless raids on Muslim homes and raids that have included major acts of police violence. And just as in occupied Palestine, Iraq and Syria, mothers have lost their children, the elderly have been brutalized, and entire families have been terrorized in the middle of the night – all in the name of the ‘War on Terror’.
Thousands of these raids have been conducted with what officials say are ‘few results’. What is conveniently obscured is the fact that real terrorists (at least, people who actually have some involvement with committing atrocities in Syria and elsewhere) are well known to authorities, and their movements are well known prior to their turning up at terror attacks.
But these aren’t the ‘results’ that really matter to them. What is important, for an apparently small but powerful group of people, is that the Western world understands that ‘Muslims = terrorists’ and they therefore need to be harassed and violated wherever they are. And if they don’t understand this, then terror attacks take place until the people ‘get with the program’.
While the War of Terror and the anti-Muslim hysteria may seem a world away from ‘reforming’ European labor laws for corporate and banking interests, heightened security measures and the fear they engender provide a highly amenable environment in which to stifle or crush dissent over such matters as making the world ‘safer’ for Western corporations.
French authorities thus extended the country’s State of Emergency – which officially outlawed all the protests that have taken place there of late! – until the end of July to include the “ISIS-targeted” football tournament. But many French citizens seem to be skeptical of such nefarious propaganda, and fed up with the bogus security crackdown and the subservient nature of their politicians who claim lofty ‘socialist’ values while routinely helping to replace their civil rights with corporate totalitarianism:
“The labour law was the final straw,” said Matthiew, 35, who was retraining to be a teacher after 10 years in the private sector, and had set up an impromptu revolutionary singing group at the square. “But it’s much bigger than that. This government, which is supposed to be socialist, has come up with a raft of things I don’t agree with, while failing to deal with the real problems like unemployment, climate change and a society heading for disaster.”
Jocelyn, 26, a former medical student acting as a press spokesman for the movement, said: “There are parallels with Occupy and Indignados. The idea is to let everyone speak out. People are really sick and tired and that feeling has been building for years. Everything Hollande once promised for the left but gave up on really gets me down. Personally, it’s the state of emergency, the new surveillance laws, the changes to the justice system and the security crackdown.”
An entire new movement has gained ground, garnering support from such well-spoken advocates of resistance as Yanis Varoufakis. Will its momentum be co-opted to deepen cracks within Europe? That is certainly a possibility. France has been targeted numerous times in order to ‘keep it in line’. These protests could easily be targeted by ‘terrorists’ and what a godsend that would be for the oligarchs. As if setting the scene or attempting to instill a sense of insecurity, the head of France’s internal security recently reminded the country that “ISIS” is ready to strike wherever ‘big crowds gather’:
“We risk being confronted with a new form of attack: a terrorist campaign characterized by leaving explosive devices in places where big crowds gather, multiplying this type of action to create a climate of panic.”
Maybe the French elite are taking a lesson from the Turkish book of population control. In Turkey, every time an anti-government rally occurs, “ISIS” or “Kurds” are blamed for bombings that kill the protestors. With French MPs recently voting to cancel Washington’s anti-Russian sanctions, exacerbating or instigating violence at protests would certainly be a way to send them a ‘reminder’ that their priorities lie with the 1%, not the people.
We live in a world run by and for psychopaths, and normal human beings can only take so much abuse. As I wrote regarding the on-going Israeli decimation of the Palestinian peoples, “[W]e are on a downhill slide to absolute totalitarianism on this planet, almost everywhere, and if you think you are exempt or exceptional, think again. And if you are a member of the elite, recall the French Revolution and how many elite heads rolled off the scaffold of Mme. Guillotine.”
The push for totalitarianism in the form of complete and brutal submission to corporate interests is global, and it is serious. As Orwell said, “Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.” And as Laura Knight-Jadczyk wrote: “knowledge and the collective search for true freedom, hand in hand, are the antidotes to this global pathocracy.”
Corey is a regular co-host on SOTT Radio Network’s Truth Perspective. A social worker by training, his passions include research, music, crisis management, and creating tasty dishes in the kitchen.
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