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Now I know all of us from time to time are guilty of getting too optimistic (or indeed too pessimistic), when major events occur and we express our thoughts on social media, but there is a genuine cause for focus with regards to France as things currently stand. Never in recent history has the Gallic nation seemed so close to an all out rebellion against the left wing establishment; the current protests and riots are believed to be the worst since the 1960s. There has of course been unrest in immigrant no-go-zones over the last few decades, the most notable example being in 2005, but they only caused localised damage and political embarrassment.
President Emmanuel Macron tried to appease the ‘yellow vest’ protesters with a 6 month suspension of a controversial rise in fuel tax, but they rejected such a move, calling it ‘bread crumbs’. It would of course be very naïve to assume that this current situation is all about taxes, because the real causes cut much deeper. France has a very strong workers’ movement, and so undoubtedly they are the power behind the fuel tax protests to a large degree, but this is only one part of the protests.
Ambulance workers, firefighters and High school students have all played their role in the growing unrest as well. Mass immigration, high taxation, political correctness and strangling regulation are just some of the many reasons that France is currently in turmoil. The political establishment will never abandon these things because they are central to their philosophy and careers, which is why they only offered a suspension of the fuel tax, and did not scrap it outright. The fuel tax is being driven by global warming ideology rather than economic necessity, which is why it has provoked such anger, because the duty rise is seen as pointless.
It is unclear how events will proceed, but for now it is obvious that the situation will not die down anytime soon. Large protests are planned for Saturday, and the French Police are drafting in reinforcements to Paris in order to deal with any eventualities. It was reported that authorities in the capital were running out of tear gas, and that they were urgently trying to bring in more supplies. Petrol stations, especially those located in rural areas, are gradually running out of supplies and closing; something which will inevitably prove deadly for the French economy if the situation is not rectified.
Macron had touted himself as a ‘pro-business’ candidate during his electoral campaign, which of course would make sense considering his background as a financial regulator and investment banker. Early on in his Presidency he scrapped a so-called ‘wealth tax’; however according to reports he is considering re-instating it after demands by the protesters. This again is a rather small effort of appeasement by the President, and does nothing to change the overall outlook in France.
On Wednesday alone, Farmers threatened to join the protests, students continued to issue demands over application procedure, truckers threatened a rolling strike, and the Trade Unions called for mass protests next week. This kind of action, from multiple groups with quite different demands, is unprecedented in modern French history, most notably because of the persistence and energy of its activists. President Macron’s approval ratings are at a record low, with his government seemingly unable to either fully grasp the situation or recognise its importance. There are also signs of criminals taking advantage of the urban anarchy, with reports of looting in some areas, and at least one video showing a masked gang with a pistol walking down a street.
Whatever the outcome of France’s current unrest, it is definitely yet another blow to left wing globalism, and is therefore an event to keep an eye on over the coming weeks.