Ghosts Of ’68 Threaten Macron’s Technocratic Dream.

The idealistic hope that mass protests and civil disobedience could trigger real social change met with some success in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries but looked to have died after the USA’s 1960s civil rights movement and anti – war protests. The recent mass demonstrations of Frane’s gilets jaunes (yellow vests) movement in 2018, a movement which has spread to Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Britain, Italy, Sweden and Canada looks to have resurrected this style of political activism.

The yellow vest movement is not idologically fuelled as protests from the 1920s to 1960s were; it’s fueled by desperation and what Francis Fukuyama in a recent essay (Against Identity Politics (Foreign Affairs, Sept/Oct. 2018),termed the working classes’ “perception of invisibility” a view echoed by French geographer / author Christophe Guilluy who said that “the French people are using the gilets jaunes to say we exist.Unstoppable”: Christophe Guilluy on the cultural divide driving the yellow vests (via Arshad A.)

“Not only does peripheral France fare badly in the modern economy, it is also culturally misunderstood by the elite. The yellow-vest movement is a truly 21st-century movement in that it is cultural as well as political. Cultural validation is extremely important in our era.

One illustration of this cultural divide is that most modern, progressive social movements and protests are quickly endorsed by celebrities, actors, the media and the intellectuals. But none of them approve of the gilets jaunes. Their emergence has caused a kind of psychological shock to the cultural establishment. It is exactly the same shock that the British elites experienced with the Brexit vote and that they are still experiencing now, three years later.”

The author expands on how the working-classes have come to be excluded?

 “All the growth and dynamism is in the major cities, but people cannot just move there. The cities are inaccessible, particularly thanks to mounting housing costs. The big cities today are like medieval citadels. It is like we are going back to the city-states of the Middle Ages. Funnily enough, Paris is going to start charging people for entry, just like the excise duties you used to have to pay to enter a town in the Middle Ages.

The cities themselves have become very unequal, too. The Parisian economy needs executives and qualified professionals. It also needs workers, predominantly immigrants, for the construction industry and catering et cetera. Business relies on this very specific demographic mix. The problem is that ‘the people’ outside of this still exist. In fact, ‘Peripheral France’ actually encompasses the majority of French people.”

And the role the liberal metropolitan elite played in this?

 We have a new bourgeoisie, but because they are very cool and progressive, it creates the impression that there is no class conflict anymore. It is really difficult to oppose the hipsters when they say they care about the poor and about minorities.

But actually, they are very much complicit in relegating the working classes to the sidelines. Not only do they benefit enormously from the globalised economy, but they have also produced a dominant cultural discourse which ostracises working-class people.

The middle-class reaction to the yellow vests has been telling. Immediately, the protesters were denounced as xenophobes, anti-Semites and homophobes. The elites present themselves as anti-fascist and anti-racist but this is merely a way of defending their class interests. It is the only argument they can muster to defend their status, but it is not working anymore.

Now the elites are afraid. For the first time, there is a movement which cannot be controlled through the normal political mechanisms. The gilets jaunes didn’t emerge from the trade unions or the political parties. It cannot be stopped. There is no ‘off’ button. Either the intelligentsia will be forced to properly acknowledge the existence of these people, or they will have to opt for a kind of soft totalitarianism.”

By mobilizing 80,000 heavily armed “security forces” in an unsuccessful attempt to suppress dissent, as President Macron has, looks more like hard authoritarianism than soft totalitarianism. The boy Macron has of course tried to justify his heavy handed response by a fatuously claiming  he has a duty to defend “the social order,” i.e. to maintain the  domination of the ruling elite.

But the French elites are discovering the unsettling reality that it’s impossible to defend every traffic-speed camera, every bank, etc. from sabotage and that their working class challengers are smart enough to know this. I’ve often finished article calling for civil action against authoritarianism with the line, “THEY CAN’T PUT US ALL IN PRISON.” It is intended as a warning to those who would control society, rather than an exhortation to those who challenge authority.

The class analysis of the current crisis shows a reversal of polarity from the 1968 general strike of elite students and labor unions. Fifty years ago, the students of the elite universities, in an orgy of virtue signalling (the left never changes though they scream for change,)  lent their support to the trade unions and this combination nearly toppled the government with a general strike.

Now, students of the elite Paris universities, brainwashed with politically correct ideology on gay and trans rights, the desirability of mass immigration and the duty of nanny state to micromanage our private lives, are supporters of the technocrat elite, as the most fervent hope of most of these students is to nail down a position in a government department or QANGO, jobs which are threatened by the yellow vest dissenters.

The labor unions are also missing in action, as they are now adjuncts of the ruling elites, feeding at the same trough of tax revenues and corporate globalization-financialization profits and promoting the same policies that are damaging to working class living standards and social mobility: mass immigration, globasisation (which the working class recognise as exporting jobs,) Islamification of society, erosion of national sovereignty and cultural values and so on.

The gilets jaunes / yellow vests are a working class revolt against the elites, who like medieval aristocrats, regard the “lower orders” as stupid, infantile and in need of paternalistic guidance, and those among the working and lower middle class who identify with the elites: the pseudo-progressive hipsters, the aspiring technocrats and the comfortably secure state employees, all of whom are now on the elite side of the barricades.

The Paris elites and their enablers may find that the next general strike won’t immobilize Paris, it will strangle Paris from the periphery. The unions which were on the democratic side of the barricades 50 years ago may find their identification with the ruling elite challenged, and they’ll be forced to either remember their roots and side with the authentic working class (yellow vests) in a general strike or throw their support behind the undemocratic technocrats like Marcon and those in his administration, who planned to run France for the benefit of their own caste, the university educated, progressive liberal, globalist, soft left.

The quasi-progressives claim to be anti-fascist but are themselves the anti-working class fascists (Beniot Mussolini defined fascism as the collaboration of state and corporate business to exercise absolute power,) and are not appreciating the fact that the ‘stupid working class oiks’ of the Yellow Vest movement are exposing their self-serving hypocrisy. Like the US liberals of the early twentieth century, they are all for civil rights “so long as the niggers don’t leave the plantation.”

Here”s a news snippet that encapsulates exactly what is wrong with the way Marcon and his elitist cronies are trying to handle the crisis. “On Tuesday, the person picked to lead the country’s planned “great debate” on the issues resigned over her €14,666 monthly salary (£13,200; $16,800)” which is $200,000 annually, roughly seven or eight times the average worker’s salary.

Now what kind of plonker would put an academic who already has a well paid position in charge of establishing dialogue with truck drivers, factory workers and labourers who, thanks to elitist policies, are stuggling to make ends meet. That’s the kind of insensitivity responsible for triggering the anger that drives the protests, an illustration of class division in a nutshell. The fake-progressive technocrats are skimming $200,000 a year to defend an indefensible undemocratic neofeudal system of exploitation that handsomely benefits the few at the expense of the many. And the hypocrites call Marcon’s opponent Marine Le Pen “far right.” Bollocks.

 

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French police drag Yellow Vest “protesters” away from Bastille Day parade as they jeer Macron
As Mr Macron was riding by at the start of the parade, he was greeted by people in the crowds who turned their backs, booed and whistled. Before the parade, he delivered a message to the French people and said he wanted to highlight France’s “irrevocable commitment to consolidate French and European security”.

Democracy mid life crisis (comment)

German car industry faces ‘existential threat’ from political attack and electric vehicles

Germany’s car manufacturers face an existential crisis and risk going the way of Britain’s once-mighty car industry within ten years, Volkswagen has warned in the grimmest assessment to date.

Herbert Diess, the company’s chief executive, said Germany is not ready for the revolutionary effects of the electric vehicle and is under political assault from those challenging the whole concept of car ownership and mobility.

He told VW suppliers gathered in Wolfsburg – the sanctum sanctorum of German auto preeminence – that the sector is under a competitive threat of the first order and must embrace root-and-branch reform to survive. “Nothing is guaranteed for eternity,” he said.

“If you look at the former bastions of the auto industry such as Detroit, Oxford-Cowley, or Turin, you can see what happens to cities once their dominant companies and industries falter,” he said.

“As things stand today, the chances are perhaps 50:50 that the German car industry will remain at the pinnacle of the world in ten years,” he said.

READ MORE >>>

Former McDonalds CEO Warns Minimum Wage “Will Wipe Out 1000s Of Jobs”

by Arthur Foxake

This blog is not a big fan of McDonald’s, their food does not appeal to us and their business practices are appalling. but they have been a very successful business over the past 50 years and so when a former CEO speaks out against one of the left’s great sacred cows, the minimum wage.

For some reason that can only be related to their economic illiteracy, the left; USA’s Democratic Party, UK’s Labour Party and Europes Social Democratic parties seem to think the imposition of a minimum wage must improve the lot of ‘the poor’.

Nothing could be further from the truth, we have written on the negative effect of minimum wage laws on the income of low wage workers. The first minimum wage scheme, The Speenhamland Poor Relief System, introduced in the late eighteenth century in England was disastrous for the people it was supposed to help. Faced with having to pay a legal minimum hourly rate, employers simply cut workers hours. Things are no different now, as former McDonalds chief Ed Rensi explained in a Forbes op – ed recently:

(While his words might shock the big government worshipping, Nanny State tit suckling ‘progessives’ should be no surprise to any rational businessman or accountant.)

“A $15 minimum wage won’t spell the end of [fast-food brands]. However it will mean wiping out thousands of entry-level opportunities for people without many other options.” The $15 minimum wage demand, which translates to $30,000 a year for a full-time employee, is built upon a fundamental misunderstanding of a restaurant business (and we add simple supply and demand fundamentals) – just “do the math” Rensi rants…

“They’re making millions while millions can’t pay their bills,” argue the union groups, suggesting there’s plenty of profit left over in corporate coffers to fund a massive pay increase at the bottom.

In truth, nearly 90% of McDonald’s locations are independently-owned by franchisees who aren’t making “millions” in profit. Rather, they keep roughly six cents of each sales dollar after paying for food, staff costs, rent and other expenses.

Let’s do the math: A typical franchisee sells about $2.6 million worth of burgers, fries, shakes and Happy Meals each year, leaving them with $156,000 in profit. If that franchisee has 15 part-time employees on staff earning minimum wage, a $15 hourly pay requirement eats up three-quarters of their profitability. (In reality, the costs will be much higher, as the company will have to fund raises further up the pay scale.) For some locations, a $15 minimum wage wipes out their entire profit.

Recouping those costs isn’t as simple as raising prices. If it were easy to add big price increases to a meal, it would have already been done without a wage hike to trigger it. In the real world, our industry customers are notoriously sensitive to price increases. (If you’re a McDonald’s regular, there’s a reason you gravitate towards an extra-value meal or the dollar menu.)

Instead, franchisees can absorb the cost with a change that customers don’t mind: The substitution of a self-service computer kiosk for a a full-service employee.

Rensi concludes on a sombre note…

I suspect that the labor organizers behind this campaign for a $15 minimum wage are less interested in helping employees, and more interested in helping themselves to dues money from their paycheck.

They’re unlikely to succeed in their goal of organizing the employees of McDonald’s franchisees, but they may well succeed in passing $15 into law in other sympathetic locales.

You’ll see their legacy every time you visit the Golden Arches, where “would you like fries with that” is a button on a computer screen rather than a phrase spoken by an employee in their first job.

While Mr. Reni is referring specifically to a familiar situation at McDonalds, similar things will happen in other businesses and industries. A business can only survive if it pays what the job is worth. And what the job is worth must be dictated by market rules and not by Barack Hussein Obama, Killary Clinton and their elitist cronies.

Unsurprisingly, while governments are prepared to condem the children and grandchildren of their own nationals to the gringing poverty of part time work and zero hours contracts, there are some groups who have contributed nothing to society and in many cases have no legal right to be in the country, for whom special arrangements are made

Denmark Gives Large Bonuses To Get Migrants To Work – How Is That Fair To Danes

In a move that tells us much about what is wrong with the politically correct Culturalk Marxism that dominated European politics, the government of Denmark has announced a plan to persuade migrants to work for a living instead of claiming state handouts by offering companies 40,000 kroner to hire them.

This new plan for migrants is part of the ‘integration basic education’ plan that hopes to get migrants working so they are not as huge a drain in the Danish welfare system as they are becoming more and more in places like Germany and Austria. It is difficult to see any logic behind that, surely it is no more expensive to pay out doles than to employ people who have no skills and cannot speak the national lanugage to do nothing. How many office cleaners and kebab stuffers does a sma;; country like Denmark need?

The programme announcement follows the leaking to Danish media of figures showing non-Western migrants made up a startling 84 per cent of all Danes on welfare. Migrants currently cost the government around 1.1 billion pounds every year.

TheLocal.dk reports the new programme aims to get migrants into short-term jobs at an apprentice salary of around 50 to 120 kroner an hour. This is the equivalent of around 12 pounds an hour which is almost double the current wage for British apprentices who are paid the legal minimum wage of £6.70 an hour, although that will increase to £7.20 in April.

The migrant jobs will last up to two years and they will also be offered 20 week courses to increase their skill development and further their education. The companies that participate in the scheme will also be eligible for a bonus of 40,000 kroner (£4,179), if the migrants remain employed for the two-year term of the contract.

The Danes will also pay for accommodation for the migrants who take part, making sure that they are able to live close to their employer or at least in the same city or town. Relocation and transportation costs will likely also be paid for by the state.

This is just another example of the wrong headedness of political elites, it will do nothing to help integrate new immigrants into Danish society, but by sending out the message that foreigners are given special treatment and their interests are prioritised over those of local people it will encourage more to come and thus make the crisis worse.

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UK Unemployment Rises Again as part time jobs increase.

Unemployment in the UK rose by 48,000 in the quarter to December 2011. The figure of people without jobs now stands at 2.67 million, a jobless rate of 8.4 per cent, the worst figure since the end of 1995. The number of people claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance rose by …
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The 99ers are a new social class created by the economic recession in the USA. This new demographic, not one the advertizing industry will be interested in are jobless people whose unemployment benefit (job sekers in UK parlance) benefit has run out and thus who have dropped off the unemployment statistics. But even for people who are not 99ers times are hard scross the pond …
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The Great Recovery Illusion

On the BBC television political discussion show last night, in which a panel drawn from the political, media and academic communities field questions from an audience drawn from the general public, a panellist who I assume was a conservative was squawking about how well the UK economy was doing, citing that unemployment had fallen again in recent months and was now down to levels last seen before the dotcom crash in 2000.

An audience member was quickly on his feet to point out, to applause from the whole audience that the figure was misleading as people in zero hours contracts and part time jobs are classed as ‘in work’ to get them off the statistics. The young man could also have reminded the programmes studio and television audience that people who are out of work for two years are reclassified as ‘not economically active’ and removed from the unemployment register. Even if these people would love to work and are eager to grab any reasonably well paid job available, they are not counted as unemployed.

Then there are the lost legions of the partially disabled, the thousands encouraged to sign up for toytown degree courses at tenth rate colleges and universities. and don’t get me started on the non jobs in the public sector, the equalities offices, gender awareness councillors and so on.

This manipulation of statistics to create a false impression of economic – if not health then only ‘feeling-a-bit-off-colourism’ is not only going on in Britain and among our EU colleagues. With every months employment statistics from Washington, Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge return to one of his favourite themes, the the recovery in the US waiter and bartender economy.
Every month, if we look back, we see Washington claiming the U S economy has created stupendous numbers of ‘new jobs’ (I’m not sure but I have the impression a lot of these are just a case of hiring a replacement for someone who retired, but changing the job title slightly.

Overall however, due to population growth via immigration, in Europe and North America the proportion of the whole population actually in work is regularly hitting new lows. We live in an era of universal deception.

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Jobless Benefit Claimants rise in October
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The Real Unemployment Figure

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