The French are the best. The men don’t get fat. The women don’t sleep alone. The kids are well-behaved. They have the best architecture, the best way of living, best bread, best wine, best olive oil, best cooking, some of the best writing, films, painting, poetry, perfume – and women. They also excel in revolutions. Each revolution of theirs is a peach, perfect, round and juicy. They open a new epoch for mankind.
Just thinking of a French revolution makes me feel young, for I remember the previous one, in May 1968, and it was a beauty, the revolution of Forbidden to Forbid. It ushered us into the short-living paradise of permissible. Believe it or not, we could freely flirt with the opposite sex, we could smoke in the pubs and cafés, we could have a drink and drive. We could rent a room for small price, and roam Europe for $5 a day. Workers weren’t fired, jobs were aplenty, there were no one-year contracts, parking was free and gasoline cheap. Oh yes, and the cotton was high.
Previously, the world had been hard, cold and rigid – more or less the way it is now, with prohibitions overtaking permissions. Half a century had passed since then, and the world is ripe for a new French revolution – and it came, the GJ rising. And in time for Christmas, making it an excellent gift for us all.
The French people said Non to prosperity for the rich and austerity for the rest, to dismantling of the social state, to privatisations, to wars abroad, to mass migration – to all these plagues unloaded upon civilised and advanced West for last thirty years.
The revolt is not over. Don’t get discouraged by a few setbacks. Like a bonfire, popular uprisings burn unevenly. Now they burst out, in a few days they appear extinguished, and suddenly flare up again. This is the case with the GJ uprising. It is impossible to predict what will happen next. Even if repressions, mass arrests, propaganda and armoured cars will help the Macron regime to hold on for a while, the bell rang: the end of the bankers’ plan to tighten our belts, and to grow their triple chin is nigh. After all, the final elimination of the old feudal order took place many years after the shining example of 1789 Revolution.
Paris sets fashion; their infrequent rebellions define humanity’s future. In 1789 rebellious Parisians buried the Ancien Régime, proclaimed democracy, liberty, equality and fraternity. In 1848 the rebellious Parisians started the Spring of Nations, the great pan-European revolution. In 1871 the Paris Commune became a forerunner of all socialist revolutions. Two world wars, the massive bloodletting of Verdun and Nazi occupation had kept the people of Paris in survival mode, and the next revolution came only in 1968. And now, in 2018, the Parisians put an end to the radical neoliberal project of enslaving humanity.
The usual suspects have already accused Putin’s Russia of fomenting the Paris uprising. The BBC has been caught in flagrante – they asked their stringer in Paris to find a Russian connection, a Russian businessman, or anything Russian to blame the events on the Russians and delegitimise them. This correspondence has been leaked, and the Russian MFA complained about it.
I’d be glad and proud if such an accusation had at least some basis. Alas, it is not the case. Russians did not support any French revolution ever, from 1789 to 1968. Now, too, the official Moscow does not intervene in internal affairs of other states as a matter of principle. Russia has not yet condemned the brutal suppression of the uprising and the arrests of schoolchildren, though Beijing and Teheran did.
The Russian social networks and public organizations are suspicious of the French rising. After the trauma of Kiev Maidan-2014, the Russians had been hit by conspiracy paranoia and they are seeing manipulations of the State Department in everything. In the Russian media, the events in Paris are often described as “pogroms”; their main Channel One even made a point to show sympathetically a French Jewish real estate dealer whose office had been rampaged. Their wonderful RT does provide great coverage of the French events, but the RT does not broadcast in Russian and in Russia.
Alexander Dugin, the maverick Russian thinker, astutely suggested that the enemy does not believe in Russian involvement, whether in the US elections, or in the GJ rising, but it uses Russia as a marker of hostile force. He identifies the enemy as the shadow World Government, the force that aims to rule the world behind and above national governments. The very existence of this force has been vehemently denied, but now it manifested itself in running a smear campaign against Jeremy Corbyn, the British Labour leader. The campaign was managed by a secretive Integrity Initiative; its existence has been disclosed by Anonymous hackers. This body, ostensibly run by British secret service, included some writers of the Guardian (Luke Harding etc) who were suspected of working for MI6. They attacked Julian Assange, they attacked me personally, but according to the hackers’ disclosure, they were supposed to go after Russia.
While going after Russia sounds legit – that is what the intelligence services are for, – fighting against and smearing the Her Majesty’s Opposition Leader Rt Hon Jeremy Corbyn, PC MP is not. Dugin says they created the myth of “Putin’s Russia as an absolute and unconditional enemy, embodying pure world evil” though they are aware that Russia’s involvement beyond its borders is almost non-existent.
“The World Government is clearly aware that with all its power, a serious opponent is about to appear – not so much even from the outside (from Russia or China), but from within. Russia is here only a marker and the easiest way to discredit and demonize these alternative trends. This applies to European populism (both left and right), the anti-globalist government of Italy, the GJ of France, the fighters against capitalism and mass immigration”.
This technique of using a marker to create “guilt by association” has been practiced for years. And as the old markers of “Nazis” and “antisemites” get worn and torn, a new marker of evil Russia has been employed against the GJ.
No worry, the old markers still work! BHL (as the French call Bernard-Henri Lévy, their chief TV pundit and the never-failing voice of the Masters of Discourse) who approved of the rebels in Libya, Syria and Kiev, has already condemned the Parisian uprising and called the rebels – Nazis. He noticed supporters of Le Pen and of Mélenchon among the Vests, and this is no good!
However, the people of France were not afraid of this label. 75-80% of the people believe the GJ are right. (Probably we shall see soon a group of Jews for GJ, quipped Gilad Atzmon, for these excellent people like to have a finger in every pie, while keeping themselves separate.)
The revolution–1968 had been derailed because of their leaders’ sell-out. Danny the Red, or Daniel Cohn-Bendit had been one of the traitors, as I wrote after meeting him some years ago. The GJ movement has no HQ, no party, no leadership, and that’s why the regime did not manage to bribe and intimidate their leaders or to make a deal with their party, as the neoliberals have worked this technique to perfection over the past 50 years.
The GJ is a native French movement, mainly middle class, of people who live in small towns and villages. It is real France, not recent immigrants, and this real France had been pushed to precarious instability of being unable to have their ends meet. The very rich have it too good; they pay no, or little taxes, and the government is doing everything for them, at the expense of the once strong middle class. Such a middle class movement is a real thing; its participants are not likely to be tricked and they can insist on their agenda.
After the first successes of the movement, the political parties began to show interest. Le Pen could be a natural to support the movement of native French people, but Marine had recently lost the national elections to Macron, and her movement feels hurt and vulnerable. More importantly, Le Pen concentrated on immigration, a side issue for GJ. The GJ do not want to fight Arab and African immigrants; their problem is with the neoliberal government, while migration is just one of the neoliberal tools. That’s why, despite BHL’s claims, Le Pen’s party has no strong position among the protesters.
The Americans may learn from this experience. Immigration is a good topic for publicity, but it’s not likely to lead to big social changes. Yes, the GJ oppose mass migration and want to terminate it, but they balance this demand with another one: stop robbing Africa. Indeed, Africa is going from bad to worse because it has been exploited by the developed countries. The balance of payments between Africa and France favours France, and this is the main reason for African migration to France. The Africans just follow their money.
If the American populists were to adopt a similar demand, they should balance their desire for the wall and no immigration by calling the US companies to stop pumping profits from Latin America. Noam Chomsky correctly stated that Central Americans won’t run to the US if the US wouldn’t destabilise their countries for profit. Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador—three countries that have been under harsh U.S. domination, supply the most of refugees knocking at the US door.
This is true for Europe and the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) states, as well. If Europeans would not bomb Libya and undermine Syria, if the US would not invade Iraq, there would be no refugees, no immigrants, legal or illegal. The GJ gave us a lesson how to treat the immigration problem. The profit of invasions goes to the rich, while the middle classes suffer the consequences of mass migration.
Another correction of the Trump agenda has been suggested by Ron Unz. Trump is putting a lot of effort into stopping illegal migration and refugees from Latin America. He should read Ron Unz who proved with numbers that the real problem is not illegal but legal immigration running too high.
American legal immigration levels have been far too high for many years with net legal immigration been running at a million or more a year, and it should be sharply reduced. Trump’s focus on illegal immigration makes no sense at all.
There is little difference between legal and illegal immigrants, they are quite the same, there are just too many of them. And legal immigration can be stopped right away, without a wall.
The immigrants’ participation in the GJ rising has been quite small. Their underclass used the revolt to break shops’ windows and loot, yes, but they didn’t fight police. And the police, on their side, didn’t fight the looters. The government apparently instigated the looters and instructed the police to allow them to do their worst, while MSM used it to condemn the GJ as vandals. The mainstream media is strongly against the GJ, and it took me an effort to find a video neutral or sympathetic to the protesters. You may watch it with English subtitles here and see for yourself that the protesters are similar to you.
I am not horrified by some broken windows. On ne saurait faire d’omelette sans casser des œufs, you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, as a French royalist famously said in 1796. The general de Charette broke heads, not eggs nor windows, and he was executed when caught, but he was still correct. Without some impressive violence, things can’t change. If you just stand in the square and sing a nice song, or if you march down the street shouting this or that, you will achieve nothing. The government loves people singing and marching for climate change or for gay equality. You should know that people are doing a right thing if police attacks them and they defend themselves valiantly.
The Bolsheviks used the battleship Aurora to make their statement. Her salvo in view of the royal palace proved their ability and readiness for violence; they had armed soldiers and sailors to take over the centres of power including banks, post and telegraph offices, and railway stations. At the occasion, windows were broken and people were robbed; this is unfortunate but otherwise, you can’t make an omelette.
During the French Spring, the French marched in their hundreds of thousands in biggest and most peaceful demos Paris ever knew. The government disregarded it completely. The protest has to be violent and sustainable to get somewhere. Only after four rather violent weekends, Macron deigned to respond, and he has met some demands of the GJ – an extra hundred euro for low-paid workers, no tax on the annual bonus or on overtime, no gas price rise. It was a step in the right direction. 16 million middle-class French will enjoy the fruits of Macron’s forced benevolence; it will cost 12 billion euro – a good Christmas present for hard-working people, and proof that violence works.
The American nationalist right is too law-abiding to achieve anything. They used some non-institutionalised violence against blacks, and even that was long time ago. They collect a lot of weapons but never use them against hard targets. They have lost their will to fight. Probably they won’t even defend their President Trump if he were to be removed from power. They have to join forces with some dynamic blacks who aren’t afraid to disobey authority, but for that, they must understand that their enemy is the liberal establishment, not the blacks or immigrants. The French far right had concentrated on the immigrants for too long a time, and failed to take a place and lead the protests.
So much about the far right. What about the left? Mélenchon has many supporters among the GJ, but he is perceived as connected with the party that discredited itself while Hollande was in power. All major mainstream parties – whether nominally left or right, in Paris, Berlin, or London – acted the same and carried out the same neoliberal agenda. That’s why people voted for Macron who promised to be different – but it turned out he was not different at all. There is just one agenda, just one direction – the direction to the neoliberal state ruining middle classes. A new force is badly needed.
Alain Soral would be an excellent man to lead the new force. He is already known to English readers; in France he is very popular, though he is less known than the main contenders. Soral supported the GJ from beginning. His site has published an interesting political mandala explaining his – and others’ – position.
He locates his movement between Socialism and Nationalism, between Labour and Traditionalism, opposing Macron who stands for Capitalism and Globalism, between Profit and LGBT; while Le Pen prefers Nationalism (like Soral) and Capitalism (like Macron), and Melenchon takes a more familiar course of Socialism and Globalism. On the mandala, Soral is True North, a highly symbolical position.
On the frame of the mandala, you can discern names; bankers George Soros and Jacques Attali stand behind Macron; the above-mentioned Cohn-Bendit stands behind Melenchon; Finkelcraut and Zemmour are depicted behind Marine Le Pen; and (I am proud to note) the names of three writers of Unz Review are written at Alain Soral’s side, Norman Finkelstein, Gilad Atzmon, et moi, Israel Shamir. Soral also published my books, and I am very positive about him. A man who is not afraid to use the National Socialist moniker definitely has guts, especially as there are many young North African and Black men in his predominantly white nativist and masculine movement.
The demands of the GJ are already better than anything proposed by political parties of the left and the right. They want the rich to pay too, not only the middle class. They want to roll back privatizations, especially of the railways, re-install the dismissed workers and employees, recruit doctors to hospitals and teachers for schools, to put an end to the dismantling of the welfare state. Leave the EU, leave NATO, stop wars abroad. Stop the massive migration to the country and at the same time stop the looting of the former French Africa, because it is this looting that is pushing the Africans to a mass flight to France. Drop out of competition who will make more concessions to corporations and their owners, i.e. tax the international companies.
In short, the insurgents demand to reverse the reforms of recent years, for the previous administrations, whether of Sarkozy the rightist, Hollande the leftist or Macron the outsider competed who will do more for the companies and less for the people (they call it ‘increasing competitiveness”). They want to return to pre-1991 France. In those days, the rich people had some vestigial fear of communism and they paid some consideration to workers, and allowed them to live and flourish. The rebels also demand to decouple media off the elites, give a voice to the people, listen to their wishes, and this is a very important demand.
Judging by these demands, France is again leading the world. On the barricades of Paris, the neoliberal dystopia of creating a state for the super-rich had collapsed. Even if the uprising will be finally crushed, its basic demands will serve as a beacon for new uprisings and revolutions until they win. And the people will surely win.
P.S. If you feel the writer is biased and other nations are no less wonderful, you may find me saying good things about the English, the Germans, the Greeks, the Poles, the Japanese and Palestinians, Ukrainians and Russians, Norwegians and Swedes, Indians and Vietnamese…
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!