Tuesday, April 4, 2023

French Revolution 2.0/American Revolution Nil

French Revolution 2.0/American Revolution Nil
by C.A. Matthews 


If a massive series of nationwide strikes and protests occur across France, but American mainstream media completely ignores them, or relegates brief mentions of them to the “back pages,” does this ongoing popular French uprising really exist at all? 
This point struck home this week after I had a conversation with a person who said “Huh? What?” when I mentioned the huge number of protests, strike actions, and other activist events happening since the start of the year in France. He didn’t know that France is literally on fire. 

It seems odd that an intelligent person who’s reasonably in touch with reality wouldn’t be following the story of how French workers are standing up to President Macron’s unilateral raising of the retirement age. But if you watch mainstream news channels and read rags such as Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post, you might have missed anything to do with the French building barricades and burning automobiles in the streets next to sky-high piles of uncollected garbage bags and brigades of baton-wielding police officers dragging protesters off to jail.
Some days I wonder if it’s all worth it. Should I keep following independent journalists and keeping up with what’s happening in the world? Maybe it’s time to throw in the towel and give in to the propaganda machine. What could it hurt? I could live in darkness and believe that things that average Americans believe, like how we haven’t had a series of war criminals for president and American intelligence agencies had nothing to do with either the 2014 Maidan Coup or the Nord Stream 2 pipelines bombing. 
 (If you have to look up any of these topics to understand what I mean, might I suggest you check out https://radindiemedia.com and use their search function? You’re welcome.)

Back to the French protesting and burning cars in the streets thing: I’ve wondered if this ongoing protest in France is somehow a chance for Americans to witness and learn what a real, honest-to-goodness revolution is like. Before you object and say, “Hey, Americans had a revolution in 1776!” I’d like to remind you that the French also had a revolution in the 18th century, around 1789. 

The thing is, the French working class actually toppled their monarch off his throne and marched him to the guillotine. American working classes (excluding enslaved Africans and despised/displaced Native Americans) simply followed a bunch of wealthy, white, slave-owning/land-owning males who threw a temper tantrum (or “Boston Tea Party”) over having to pay their fair share of taxes to the king back home in England—a king who never lost one hair on his head due to rude behavior in the colonies. 

If a despot is still sitting on his or her throne at the end of the day, you can’t say you’ve experienced a revolution, now can you?

The French have experienced a revolution on several occasions besides 1789, and it appears Macron is going to be out on his ear before too long if the people have anything to say about it. Sure, the militarized police and the armed forces are being used and will be used against the people, but the French seem bound and determined not to allow Macron to cross their line in the sand. They’re in it to win it, no matter how physically, financially, or emotionally damaging it could be.

What’s the difference between the French and Americans when it comes to standing up to injustices, such as forcing a raise in the retirement age? Independent journalist Patrick Lawrence in his piece, French Streets and American Sofas, puts it well:

...It is remarkable the world over to watch the French explode into the streets of dozens of cities and towns to protest the imperial president residing in Élysée Palace. It is altogether singular to follow the demonstrations against Emmanuel Macron as an American. The French are still citoyens and take to their streets and public squares. Americans long ago cashed in their citizenship to live as consumers—and take to their sofas no matter how abusively political elites treat them, no matter how many wars they start, no matter how corrupt the financial system, no matter how many people live in poverty, no matter how grotesque the “defense” budget, no matter how poisoned the environment, no matter… let me not go on.

Please pass the Fritos and turn on the big game.

Lawrence has wisely discerned the major difference between the French and the Americans that demonstrates why the French make revolutions and Americans makesimply a change in the TV channel and a choice of chips. The French still see themselves as one people, one body, one class of workers, standing up against the injustices of the king or the emperor or the president. The French don’t sit back and eat junk food and ignore the plight of their fellow workers. Instead, they stand up and take their righteous indignation to the streets and fight for justice for all workers, for all citizens, for all their people. 

Americans have, from time to time, attempted to do likewise—such as in the Civil Rights protests of the 1960s—but basically we’ve never been able to keep that level of righteous indignation going for very long. We profess that we don’t care all that much about our neighbors, particularly if our neighbor wears a red hat or votes “blue no matter who” or attends a different church or happens to use a public restroom we’d rather they didn’t use. Americans have been divided and conquered for so long that it’s as natural to us as breathing. We’d rather give in to the ruling oligarchy and turn on the game and tune out of life than stand up and fight for what really matters. 

Lawrence further elaborates on how the French see the raising retirement age problem as an indication of whose side their government is on: “Macron’s choice lay between raising taxes on the wealthy and the corporations or pushing the problem on the shoulders of the working class. He made the wrong choice.” 

Can you imagine American workers getting upset over the federal government raising the retirement age? Can you imagine American workers getting angry over how the wealthy and the corporations don’t pay their fair share of taxes, so the poor and struggling workers are forced to make up the deficit? Of course you can’t imagine Americans having their noses put out of joint over this type of ill-treatment because these two things have already occurred in the US, and American workers have done nothing serious about them. Not. One. Thing.

You owe it to yourself to read the entirety of Lawrence’s article. Here’s one last quote that sums up where Americans have gone wrong in thinking that once we actually experienced a revolution:

The [French] Revolution was an attack on the vestiges of divine right, the notion that a monarch’s authority was God-given. It was about humanity, not the heavens, as the agent of its destiny. And it was class-conscious. There were no illusions in 1789 as to the nature of power. The fate of the French is in the hands of the French: This was the core thought then and it is the core thought now.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who sees this fault in Americans. We don't really believe in ourselves as a people. We don't universally believe in anything really, other than the oligarchs’ propaganda that we gladly consume from our mainstream media like a bag of chips. Americans are indoctrinated from a young age and propagandized throughout our adulthood to do as we're told by our bosses. We have a natural instinct telling us things aren't quite adding up, that they're wrong or unfair, but we can never quite put a finger on it. We are blind to our society's class conflicts and never lose faith in the powers-that-be, no matter how blatantly corrupt they are or how perverted the capitalist economic system has become. 

Oh, to be as class-conscious and community-minded as the French! Oh, to be able to rise up as one people and set the streets on fire to scare the corrupt politician-puppets out of power! 

Maybe one day we shall have the strength, wisdom, and courage to take our destiny into our own hands like the French have done. Maybe we’ll even experience that “First American Revolution” that our poorly written history textbooks tell us our ancestors once participated in. Until then, pass the Fritos and hand me the remote. It’s my turn to pick the channel.


Related Links:

UPDATE: The French People Battle Pension Reform in Paris (video)https://unicornriot.ninja/2023/the-french-people-battle-p ension-reform-in-paris/ 

Patrick Lawrence: French Streets and American Sofas

France Burns! What the F*ck is Going On?! (video) https://youtu.be/drIYG3J86tI

Protests Rage In France For A Tenth Day https://popularresistance.org/protests-rage-in-france-for-a-tenth-day/

'The Movement Has Spread': Strikes Across France Aim to Block Macron Attack on Pensions

Macron Loses Control - Train Tracks Blocked https://youtu.be/lnXOkJzP63U

Women’s rights at the heart of the fight over pensions in France

Macron Faces National Strike in France (video) https://youtu.be/ChpZ3p6MT9A

Despite Government Attacks: Workers, Students In France Stay Strong  https://popularresistance.org/despite-government-attacks-workers-students-in-france-stay-strong/

Workers in France are still refusing to back down to Macron’s pension reforms  https://www.thecanary.co/global/world-news/2023/03/23/workers-in-france-are-still-refusing-to-back-down-to-macrons-pension-reforms/

Covering Up Anti-War Protest in US Media https://scheerpost.com/2023/03/31/covering-up-antiwar-protest-in-us-media/

How The Rich Are Prepping For End Times & Why (video about the petrodollar crashing) https://youtu.be/bW1bibPhJfA

CNN Pushes Propaganda on French Protests (video)

Fresh Clashes Rock France As Protests Shift To Water Dispute

No to French unions’ “mediation” with the state! Mobilize workers to bring down Macron!  https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/03/30/yyvw-m30.html

Rubbish collectors lead last-ditch strikes against France’s pension reforms https://www.thecanary.co/global/world-news/2023/03/15/rubbish-collectors-lead-last-ditch-strikes-against-frances-pension-reforms/

Massive Anti-NATO Protests Erupt in France (video) https://youtu.be/_sZcC8QAojU

Protesting French Students Denounce Trade Union "Mediation" with Macron https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2023/04/01/summ-a01.html

UN Security Council Won’t Probe Nord Stream Bombing

Bad Faith UN Report On Nicaragua Whitewashes Violent US-Backed Coup

Congress Has Been Captured by the Arms Industry

The US Has Seen 50 Chemical Spills or Fires This Year, and It’s Only March https://truthout.org/articles/the-us-has-seen-50-chemical-spills-or-fires-this-year-and-its-only-march/

At Least 39 Asylum Seekers Dead After Fire at Migrant Jail in Mexico  https://truthout.org/articles/at-least-39-asylum-seekers-dead-after-fire-at-migrant-jail-in-mexico/

Google founder, former Disney exec to get subpoenas in JPMorgan Epstein lawsuit  https://www.cnbc.com/2023/03/31/google-founder-former-disney-exec-to-get-subpoenas-in-jpmorgan-epstein-lawsuit.html


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