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Denouncing Macron's Neoliberal Pension Reforms, Hundreds of Thousands of Striking Workers Bring France to a Halt

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/12/05/denouncing-macrons-neoliberal-pension-reforms-hundreds-thousands-striking-workers

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We need to get some anthropology, political ecology, social psychologists and other experts to study the vast differences between Americans and people in other countries as regards en masse general strikes, street protests, and actual revolutions. Here’s the experimental question:
America’s government-corporate elite have screwed us just as badly if not worse than Macron and governments where mass protests are taking place.
The people of Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Iraq, Afghanistan, France, Iran, Chile, UK, China, Bolivia, etc. all have had the courage to risk their lives to do general strikes and mass protests.
But Americans do virtually nothing, not even when we have a criminal gang running the executive branch and the Senate.
What is it about Americans that makes us so cowardly, weak, sheep-like, ignorant?!?

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You might consider joining Extinction Rebellion.

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My understanding is that the French pension system is complicated and highly varied in terms of adequacy depending on one’s profession - for some professions it’s great, for others its inadequate. Probably would benefit from reform, but Macron has not indicated what his plan is and given his neo-liberal views it’s likelynot going to be the kind of reform that benefits all the people, but more likely general cuts.

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“What is it about Americans that makes us so cowardly, weak, sheep-like, ignorant?!?”

  1. We are a very large, diverse country.
  2. We’re fat and lazy - too comfortable to rock the boat.
  3. Fear of violent, deadly reprisal.

I would have put #3 first, except too many of us can’t get past the first two.

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Recent reports in business journals suggest Bernard Arnault , a French National , might well be wealthier than either Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos.

Macron does all he can to ensure that their guy is first to a trillion dollars.

This does illustrate how the Parties deemed on the left and which the press refers to as Socialists, are outright frauds . As these parties falter and fail to deliver the media then claims it due to “socialist policies” and not enough legislation enacted to help out the Corporations.

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Apparently Louis XVI is making a comeback in France.

It is time to Metaphorically dust off the Guillotine and dispose of these, Let Them Eat Cake, Greedy Aristocrats who want to keep the working class laboring at Slave Wages and on the Brink of Starvation.

We have the same problem here in America with People like Jeff Bezos who want to prosper with the help of his employees but makes them go without Health Care Coverage and forces many of his workers to apply for Food Stamps.

BERNIE SANDERS - 2020

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The test will be if this can start a strike wave and it can be sustained across sectors, public and private.

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That’s the result of decades of non stop around the clock concerted repetitious bombardment of the mass minds by the elite owned and operated mass media. At least in Europe people are by in large not herded like sheep, they gather around and talk freely whatever interests them. In America people self sensor and avoid talking politics or economics. They say leave it to the politicians and masses are dumbed down daily by the MSM.

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In the run-up to the Iraq war, 15 million people marched against it. Fifteen million. The upshot? The media mostly ignored it, so it was as if it hadn’t happened. The government ignored it completely and went to war with Iraq anyway, which has cost us trillions. The lesson? Demonstrating is completely ineffective. That is why we are not out in the streets. It is pointless.

One of the problems of being such a big country is that we have no leverage on our – now almost completely corrupt – government. When we find the lever, you can bet we will pull hard.

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Perhaps they have a stauts quo worth preserving. Ours seems untenable. Protesting against change is something a group can understand. Protesting for change requires a new plan that everyone understands and agrees on. That last part’s tricky.

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You make a lot of sense in a short comment. We can’t get perfume from an onion, and have to learn to give before you get. A concept lost to some of our people.
Some socialist type countries do well, but the world is floating on credit. We can’t be greedy, even if we want to be.imho.

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Maybe it’s because most of you live in a media bubble and have a distorted view of the world? I met and was talking to an American from Florida who told me the following things:

  1. That Donald trump is he best president America has ever had. (He doesn’t drink or smoke or take drugs and has an impeccable moral character.)
  2. That there is no such thing as global warming, it’s all a big hoax.
  3. That America has the best healthcare system in the world.
  4. That America is the most democratic country in the world where virtually every official is elected unlike elsewhere.
  5. That there is hardly any racism in America compared to most other countries.

Where do you begin? It was all enough to make me want to go and lie down in a dark room for a while.

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Football+beer=apathy

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I became politically aware when this rotten economic philosophy was really starting to spread and solidify globally. It was obvious that it would lead to here. What is called globalization was designed by the rich for the rich, there was no input from labor, environmental groups, consumer rights advocates, they were treated with contempt. What those in power ultimately knew was that what they were doing was undermining democracy itself, not just political democracy but economic democracy and workplace democracy, and that it wouldn’t be possible to complete the project within a formal democracy. Well, here we are. The NHS is on the copping block, France’s pension system, the US never had tons of social programs but they have been under assault regardless for decades now, and the populations in those countries opposed and oppose all of it. There is no other path that horrific people like Macron, Clinton, Obama, Biden offer. They have no solutions, they have no policies that would appeal to most people. Sadly though, the left was so completely battered during this process that it is only now starting to re-emerge and has a ton of ground to make up. As much as anything, the ground to make up is cognitive. Americans struggle very much with imagining another world and because many can’t, they don’t take part in movements to push for any particular vision that radically departs from the trajectory we are on. France is different though. However, Macron could simply do this, even if it is deeply unpopular, and the French political system and the EU itself could make a reversal particularly hard. If you want an example of what I am talking about, look at how they have almost entirely privatized their postal services, and how chaotic disasters that has been, or the insane rules they place in regards to public debt and deficits as a percentage of GDP, the lack of governments working together when imbalances arise (Germany largely at the expense of everyone else), the lack of a Treasury in the EU, the near full privatization of money creation itself in the EU. The EU will simply not last if democracy is to remain, and far right is growing in part because it is offering to just dismantle this whole thing. While I dread the far right taking power, given how utterly undemocratic neoliberal capitalism is, the EU’s version in particular, I understand people wanting to just burn the system down. If this is what it offers and it doesn’t allow for democracies to change things, it shouldn’t continue. I just hope that the more progressive or radical left can grow very quickly. Dark clouds ahead if that doesn’t happen.

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Solidarity!

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I think it is far more about what is between the ears, the media and this corrupt two party system. Bernie offers pretty standard left-social democratic policies, and look how those in power react to him. They are unmoved by the mass suffering this system causes. No one as relatively radical as Bernie has ever gotten as close as he did to the presidency in 2016 or polled as he is now, even with all thrown at him. People are rarely given an actual chance to vote for a platform like his, what people are offered by this corrupt two party system is almost always two corrupt and horrible options. And since unions have also been decimated, people don’t know how to operate with any power in their workplaces, even when they have something like a union that could empower them. I know from personal experience, as a former union rep myself.

Regarding this two party system, it does in fact share many of the problems one party systems have. In fact, I lived in China and there is far more ideological diversity in that party than there is in this broken system. In the Communist Party in China, you have actual Maoists (who still exist there) and various other variants of socialist and communist philosophies and they share a party with far right elements that would be at home in the Republican Party here in the US. So, the corrupt two party system itself, as well as the corporate ownership of the media (which Bernie fought against and which Orwell warned against) has ruined the minds of people on many levels. I, in fact, think that the corporate propaganda system in the US is far better than Pravda in the USSR, by far.

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And then have it spread internationally.

Ever since the dismantling of the USSR the global capitalists have seen this as license to pillage the world for the enrichment of a tiny segment of humanity. In Africa, China is look to as the new impediment.

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This is a die hard Fox Noise fan that believes this crap, I guarantee it.
No sane person can come to those beliefs on their own.

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A big problem seen from away is that US citizens are indoctrinated from grade school up. Then there is that patriotism thing which is what it is all about. Brainwashing, no?

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