Macron’s hypocrisy reeks like so much piled trash
Tribune Content Agency March 29, 2023
PARIS — The latest French protests have been extra spicy, thanks to a special ingredient: trash. Massive piles of overflowing garbage strewn about the streets of Paris have conveniently served as tinder as between 1 and 3.5 million French citizens take to the streets to denounce the latest power play by French President Emmanuel Macron’s government.
Trash collectors were among the first to walk off the job when the strike movement began at the beginning of March. It wasn’t long until tourists and locals were struck right up the nose by the value that these oft-invisible workers represent.
To say that the French are protesting because they simply don’t want to work two more years, as the government raises the age of retirement from 62 to 64, is a drastic oversimplification. Imagine if you started your working life paying exorbitant social security taxes — about 45% of your gross salary paid by your employer, before another 20% to 23% of your remuneration paid by you — with the understanding that you’d accept to be left with less cash in your pocket to invest for your own retirement in exchange for the government allowing you to retire a bit earlier than most Westerners. Now the government is moving those goalposts and demanding that you work even longer, not just messing you over retroactively, but also continuing to peel the same amount off your paycheck every month.
To add insult to injury, the government rammed through the new law without a democratic vote in the French National Assembly, resorting instead to a constitutional provision reserved for budgetary and social security issues. The general argument put forth by Macron is that the country can’t afford to do otherwise — even as it routinely shovels cash and prizes out the door to Ukraine and Africa.
Then Macron had the audacity to go on TV and compare the protests in France to the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol in Washington, D.C., falsely claiming that the matter was decided by democratic vote. “The crowd, whatever form it takes, has no legitimacy in the face of the people who express themselves through their elected representatives in parliament,” he said, ignoring that the only vote that ever took place was a subsequent non-confidence vote and not one on the law itself.
The establishment right voted with Macron’s party to prevent the collapse of the government, citing the need to ensure stability and to prevent an opposition coalition of non-establishment right- and left-wingers from taking power. The result in the streets has been the opposite of stability.
People here are also fed up with Macron’s hypocrisy, routinely encouraging popular protests from Venezuela and Iran to Georgia and Lebanon, while denouncing as illegitimate those doing the same against his own blatant violation of the spirit of democracy. We’ve spent the past few years being bullied by the state with COVID mandates and restrictions, confined to our homes for 23 hours a day for two months under threat of fines and imprisonment, subjected to varying afternoon or evening curfews, then to skyrocketing costs of living as Europe has tagged along with the U.S. in Ukraine to the economic detriment of its own people.
But the garbage can only pile so high before something has to give. Just like Canada’s Freedom Convoy truckers ultimately forced the Canadian government out of its anti-democratic COVID-related mandate and restrictions stupor that stigmatized and marginalized entire segments of the population.
Meanwhile, farmers in the Netherlands — the world’s second largest food exporter — have been standing up to their own government’s insistence on following “green” European Union directives. Dutch lawmakers voted last year to give provincial governments one year to come up with a plan to reduce farm emissions like nitrogen oxide and ammonia, produced by animal waste or fertilizer, by 50% by the year 2030 (and up to 75% in “nature reserve” areas), and to cut the number of cattle by a third.
Frans Timmermans, the Orwellian-sounding “Executive Vice President of the European Commission for the European Green Deal,” recently declared that “the Netherlands can only achieve the targets by buying out farmers and greening agriculture.” Then what are people supposed to eat? Bugs? (Don’t laugh — that’s actually now a common proposition floated by the green activist crowd.)
After nonstop protests since last year, the Dutch farmers and their party (the BBB, formed in 2019) are now the largest group of representatives in all 12 Dutch provinces in the wake of provincial elections earlier this month. The globalist social engineers in power will have to go through them now.
The farmers — like the truckers and trash collectors — are no longer the quiet, unsung workers thanklessly keeping society afloat. They’re now the front-line heroes standing tall against a rapidly encroaching and oppressive globalist agenda.
Rachel Marsden is a columnist, political strategist and host of independently produced talk shows in French and English. Her website can be found at http://www.rachelmarsden.com.