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Paul Street writing at Counterpunch:

“Yellow vest-wearers demand real democracy – popular self-rule. They have called for a popular referendum whereby 700,000 citizen signatories would force the French Parliament to debate and vote on a law within one year.  There have been calls (evoking memories of the great French Revolution of 1789) for a Constituent Assembly to draft a new Constitution meant to create a new French government – a Sixth Republic based on popular sovereignty and majority rule, not the plutocratic commands of a de factocorporate-financial dictatorship.  Imagine!

Calls for Macron’s resignation have been prominent in Gilets Jaunes rhetoric and graffiti. Many, probably most French people want a new and genuinely democratic governmentnow, not on the ridiculously time-staggered scheduled imposed by an outdated Constitution.

Despite predictable attempts by the right to hijack the movement and notwithstanding an absence of coordination by Left parties or unions, France is experiencing a left-leaning popular and working-class uprising consistent with the French revolutionary tradition of “Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.”  It is not a neo-fascist or anti-immigrant or anti-environmental petit-bourgeois rebellion. As Mercier writes:

…. What the yellow vests of the Gilets Jaunes symbolizes is blue-collar workers, struggling retirees and students who revolt against the suits of the political class and CEOs. …The Gilets Jaunes movement is strictly horizontal, without a hierarchy or recognized leaders. It has, so far, refused to be hijacked by political parties: either the Rassemblement Nationale of Marine Le Pen on the far-Right, or La France Insoumise of Jean-Luc Melenchon on the Left. It has also rejected association with French labor unions. Without spelling it out, the Gilets Jaunes movement is anti-capitalist:a guttural revolt of the have-nots against the elite.It is a popular, not a populist, movement.Europeans and even American populist-nationalists are already distorting the Gilets Jaunes’ significance to serve their political agenda. As opposed to the rise of nationalism-populism elsewhere, such as in Italy, Austria, Hungary, the UK as expressed by BREXIT, the US, and Brazil with the election of Bolsonaro, the Gilets Jaunes do not have an anti-immigration or even an anti-EU agenda that reeks of racism and neofascism.…The Gilets Jaunes are in revolt against capitalism or neoliberalism, which is a worldwide system of concentration of wealth and power into a few hands. With our pending ecological collapse and vanishing biodiversity, capitalism has failed and is reaching its end game. Unlike the neofascist science deniers, the Gilets Jaunes perceive climate change as a crisis, but they say that it is hard to focus on a global ecological collapse when you live from paycheck to paycheck. They feel that they deal with the anxiety of putting food on the table at the end of the month while the rich talk about the end of the world. Thinking about humanity’s survival is hard to do on an empty stomach.”

The Gilets Jaunes have resisted the nativism of the nationalist right.  They have called  not for closed borders but rather for improved integration policies to help foreigners settle in France (language and civic education), for all foreign citizens working in France to have the same labor rights as French citizens, and for policies that address the causes of forced migrations.

The yellow vest uprising was/is no small development in a nation that is a leading nuclear power and one of just five permanent member of the United Nations Security Council!

You wouldn’t have known it from U.S. cable news last week or weekend, however. The chatterboxes on CNN, MSNBC, and FOX News could barely break from their week-long commemoration of the imperialist war criminal George H.W. Bush and their breathless reporting of the  latest developments in Bob Mueller RussiaGate investigation to give any serious attention to the momentous events in France.”

There may be hope for us yet.

Sometimes the Pope makes a error when speaking.  We all do.  But this was not one of those times and Mr.Deity unabashedly and quite colourfully rips into the perfidious pontiff over his comments about the recent murders in France.

*Strong Language Warning*

I’m not sure what the pope was thinking on this one, but I think rightly he deserves the chastisement Mr.D brings to the table.

samesexmarriage_02The last week or so my view of humanity world over has been severely soured. I’ve often expressed an attitude that Alberta is the ‘Texas of Canada’ when it comes to issues of equality and progressive society. Hidden in that stance is the inference that other places aren’t as backward, that in other civilized areas these issues are all but resolved. This inference, it turns out, is ill-founded. Hillbilly homophobia is running rampant even in “high culture” nations.

The French government in pushing through a bill that will legalize same sex marriage and allow same sex couples to adopt. It was one of the issues that got them voted in and, in a refreshing change of pace, they are taking steps to quickly make good on their campaign promise. Sounds great! Let’s celebr…what’s that going on outside?

On March 24th, hundreds of thousands of hateful French bigots (that’s pronounced bee-jo, the ‘t’ is silent) marched in protest of this bill. Police had to resort to using tear gas to keep the mob in control. Since then, things have not gotten better. Violence is rising. Notably a gay bar was attacked, windows smashed and patrons injured. Absolutely disgusting behaviour, a French red-neck horde branding monumental levels of idiocy and malevolence.

But surely, this is only the uneducated rabble, right? No such luck. In parliament, members of the opposition say this bill threatens children, one going so far as to say “You are assassinating children”. I would hope, even in our own ‘Texas of Canada’, such a disgustingly hateful statement would result in the immediate resignation/termination/ruination of any deplorable MLA that dared utter it.

Words failed me in the face of this level of soul crushing mindless hate. I was aghast. I started writing this article a week ago but could not finish.

The other day, however, I found a brilliant ray of hope from across the globe. On April 17th New Zealand passed a Marriage Amendment Bill which that defines marriage as a union between two people. This made New Zealand the thirteenth nation in the world to legalize same sex marriage. And how was this legislation toward equality met by onlookers? Unfounded hate, violent riots and tear gas? Nope. Instead the Parliament House erupted in applause. Then, in a fantastic display of humanity affirming beauty, the spectators in the house broke into song. A Maori song of love.

If you’ve ever witnessed the cut-throat farce that is question period in our own parliament, you may well appreciate my amazement that such a thing could happen. My heart swelled and my eyes got misty.

Props, respect, accolades, honour, acclaim and kudos to New Zealand for its monumental step forward and to New Zealanders for their wondrously appropriate reaction. May your shining example wake up a few French hate mongers to just how full of vile depravity their despicable conduct truly is.

     I’m sure this new legislation in France will impress the hell out of libertarians world wide.  The French have identified that statistically, alcohol is involved in some 30% of traffic collisions.  The solution? Mandatory breathalysers in every car.  Al Jazeera breaks this story wide open:

“A new motoring law has come into effect in France, whereby it will be compulsory for drivers to carry breathalyser kits in their vehicles.From Sunday, motorists and motorcyclists risk facing an on-the-spot fine unless they travel with two single-use devices.   The law is part of a government initiative to reduce the figures of drink-driving related fatalities.  The new regulations, which exclude mopeds, will be fully enforced and include foreign drivers from November 1, following a four-month grace period. Anyone failing to produce a breathalyser after that date will receive an 11 euro fine.”

This is step in the right direction as people continue to drink and drive killing themselves and others by the thousand.  Good show France. :)

Oh, here is how to beat the Breathalyser, it will only cost you your dignity.

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