AuthorTopic: French Fried Frog Frexit  (Read 7037 times)

Offline azozeo

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Can Medieval Artisans From Guédelon Help Rebuild Notre-Dame?
« Reply #270 on: May 17, 2019, 02:54:49 PM »

6 MAY, 2019 –



The world was shocked by the sight of Notre Dame Cathedral burning .  It prompted many people to think about their heritage and reminded them of how we take the great works of the past for granted. The French government is committed to fully restoring the Cathedral and this is going to be a massive undertaking.

Although the skilled artisans for such a project are in short supply, the workers for the restoration could well be found in Guédelon, Burgundy. Here there is a unique scheme, where craft persons are building a 13 th century castle, using medieval tools, designs, and techniques.
The burning of Notre Dame

A massive conflagration engulfed the Cathedral, in central Paris, which is one of the best known and most popular attractions in all France. The fire led to the collapse of the spire and the roof, but the structure of the Cathedral and its bell-towers were saved. Brave firefighters saved the building from total destruction and many volunteers saved precious artworks .
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline azozeo

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Re: French Fried Frog Frexit
« Reply #271 on: May 18, 2019, 07:16:44 PM »

Saved by the firefighters during the tragic night of Tuesday, the sacred Relics of Notre-Dame are some of the most treasurable. Extract from the movie "At the Heart of Notre-Dame" : One of the most famous icons of one of the most famous cities in the world, the Cathedral of Notre Dame now welcomes more than 13 million visitors a year. This film, with unprecedented access to the inner workings of this most sacred of monuments, tells the story of the building and of those who work in it who are part of a tradition dating back to more than 8 centuries!

One such relic is "thee" crown of thorns .....

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I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind

Offline RE

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🔥 The Yellow Vests of France: Six Months of Struggle
« Reply #272 on: May 23, 2019, 01:11:36 AM »

The Yellow Vests of France: Six Months of Struggle
May 20, 2019
Another important dispatch from The Greanville Post. Be sure to share it widely.

I am writing you from Montpellier, France, where I am a participant-observer in the Yellow Vest (Gilets jaunes) movement, which is still going strong after six months, despite a dearth of information in the international media.

But why should you take the time to learn more about the Yellow Vests? The answer is that France has for more than two centuries been the classic model for social innovation, and this unique, original social movement has enormous international significance. The Yellow Vests have already succeeded in shattering the capitalist myth of ‘representative democracy’ in the age of neoliberalism. Their uprising has unmasked the lies and violence of republican government, as well as the duplicity of representative institutions like political parties, bureaucratic unions, and the mainstream media.

Moreover, the Yellow Vests represent the first time in history that a spontaneous, self-organized social movement has ever held out for half a year in spite of repression, while retaining its autonomy, resisting cooptation, bureaucratization and sectarian splits. All the while, standing up to full-scale government repression and targeted propaganda, it poses a real, human alternative to the dehumanization of society under the rule of the capitalist ‘market’.
A Different Kind of Uprising

Six months ago, on November 17, 2018, Yellow Vests burst ‘out of nowhere’, with autonomous local units springing up all over France like mushrooms, demonstrating on traffic circles (roundabouts) and toll-gates, marching every Saturday in cities, including Paris. But unlike all previous revolts, it was not Paris-centered. The humid November soil from which these mushrooms sprouted was the near-universal frustration of French people at the abject failure of the Confédération générale du travail (CGT) and other unions to effectively oppose Macron’s steam-roller imposition last Spring of his historic Thatcherite ‘reforms’: an inflexible neoliberal program of cutting benefits, workplace rights, and privatizing or cutting public services, while eliminating the so-called Wealth Tax designed to benefit the poor.

The immediate cause of this spontaneous mass uprising was to protest an unfair tax on fuel (fiscal justice), but the Yellow Vests’ demands quickly expanded to include restoration of public services (transport, hospitals, schools, higher wages, retirement benefits, healthcare for the poor, peasant agriculture, media free of billionaire and government control, and, most remarkably, participatory democracy. Despite their disruptive tactics, the Yellow Vests were, from the first, wildly popular with average French people (73 per cent approval), and they are still more popular than the Macron government after six months of exhausting, dangerous occupations of public space, violent weekly protests, and slanderous propaganda against them.

Tired of being lied to, cheated, manipulated, and despised, the Yellow Vests instinctively from the beginning rejected being instrumentalized by the corrupt ‘representative’ institutions of capitalist democracy – including political parties, union bureaucracies, and the media (monopolized by billionaires and subsidized by the government). Jealous of their autonomy, a concept which radical intellectuals have been exploring for years, the Yellow Vest movement eschewed ‘leaders’ and spokespeople even among their own ranks, and are even now very gradually learning to federate themselves and negotiate convergence with other social movements.
Macron’s Repressive Response

Right from the start, the Yellow Vests’ basically non-violent unauthorized gatherings were met by massive police repression – teargas, flashballs, beatings, 10,000 arrests, immediate drum-head trials, and stiff sentences for minor infractions. The Macron government just passed a new “anti-vandalism” law making it virtually impossible to demonstrate legally. Macron’s orthodox neoliberal French Republic has arguably become as repressive of domestic opposition as the right-wing ‘populist’ regimes in Poland, Hungary, and Turkey.

Macron’s violent repression of political opposition is responsible for at least two deaths, 23 demonstrators blinded in one eye, and thousands seriously wounded. It has been condemned by the UN and the European Union. But Macron has never acknowledged these injuries, which are rarely shown in the media. The TV news concentrates on sensational images of the violence (to property) of the Black Block vandals at the fringes of Yellow Vest demonstrations, never on the human victims of systematic government violence. A popular slogan proclaimed in Magic Marker on a demonstrator’s Yellow Vest reads: “Wake up! Turn off your TV! Join us!”

Since the Yellow Vests have no recognized spokespersons, government propaganda, abetted by the media, has had a free hand to dehumanize them in order to justify treating them inhumanly. Macron, from the height of his monarchical presidency, at first pretended to ignore their uprising, then attempted to buy them off with crumbs (a very few crumbs, which were rejected) and then denounced them as “a hate-filled mob.” (N.B. In real life the Yellow Vests are largely low-income middle-aged folks with families from the provinces whose trademark is friendliness and improvised barbecues.) Yet for Macron and the media they constitute a hard-core conspiracy of “40,000 militants of the extreme right and the extreme left” often characterized as “anti-Semites” who threaten the Republic.

Small wonder that, subjected to increasing violence and continuous slander, the numbers of Yellow Vests willing to go out into the streets to protest every week has diminished over 27 weeks. But they are still out there, and their favorite chant goes: “Here we are! Here we are! What if Macron doesn’t like it? Here we are!” (On est là! Même si Macron ne veut pas, On est là!).
Finally, Support from Other Groups

Fortunately, in the past few weeks the League for the Rights of Man and other such humanitarian groups have at last turned out to protest police brutality, while committees of artists and academics have signed petitions in support of the Yellow Vests’ struggle for democratic rights, condemning the government and media. At the same time, Yellow Vests are more and more converging with Ecologists (“End of the Month/End of the World/Same Enemy/Same Struggle”), feminists (who play a major role in the movement).

Workers have also played an important role, many of them active as opponents of the bureaucracy in their unions. Red CGT stickers on Yellow Vests are now frequent sights at demos. Philippe Martinez, the General Secretary of the CGT, who has heretofore been sarcastic and negative about the Yellow Vests, has now been forced to admit that the cause of their rise was the failure of the unions, “a reflection of all the union deserts.” He was referring to “small and medium size businesses, retired people, poverty people, jobless people, and lots of women” (the demographic of the Yellow Vests) that the unions have ignored.

The Yellow Vests are still here, in the fray, holding the breach open. The crisis in France is far from over. If and when the other oppressed and angry groups in France – the organized workers, ecologists, North African immigrants, students struggling against Macron’s educational ‘reforms’ – also turn off their TVs and go down into the streets, things could change radically. The Yellow Vests’ avowed goal is to bring France to a grinding halt and impose change from below.

What if they succeed? We know what the ‘success’ of structured parties like Syriza in Greece and Podemos in Spain led to. Maybe a horizontal federation of autonomous base-groups attempting to re-invent democracy could do better.

P.S. Latest news: the CGT just held its convention and voted unanimously for “convergence” with the Yellow Vests, something our group in Montpellier has been working toward for months. On May 18th, for the first time, we are meeting with the other Yellow Vest groups in our region. “On ne lâche rien!” (Nothing escapes us, we don’t give in). •

The French government continues to try to strangle the Yellow Vests movement, even if this represents a clear assault on free speech—
France bans rural protests for Yellow Vest Act #26

Ramin Mazaheri
Press TV, Paris

The Yellow Vest movement in France is still going strong despite new measures of repression. Protests have been banned in rural areas in many parts of the country, while major violence was witnessed outside the capital.  Ramin Mazaheri has more from Paris.
Richard Greeman has been active since 1957 in civil rights, anti-war, anti-nuke, environmental and labour struggles in the U.S., Latin America, France (where he has been a longtime resident) and Russia (where he helped found the Praxis Research and Education Center in 1997). He maintains a blog at
« Last Edit: May 23, 2019, 01:13:31 AM by RE »
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Offline azozeo

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French incomes rated lower than U.S. poorest States
« Reply #273 on: May 28, 2019, 09:04:32 AM »

By Ryan McMaken

With the rise of the Yellow Vest Movement in France — which began last October and continues today — French activists and writers have begun to re-evaluate the state of French income and poverty. Since the movement began, articles with titles such as ” Revealed: The shocking scale of poverty in France in 2018 ” or ” Soul-searching in France as poverty leaves one million children hungry ” have become more overtly political given the context of the protests.

Typically, the government’s response to accusations of widespread poverty — which, as in America, are not necessarily accurate accusations — has been to spend more money on social programs.

But here’s the thing: France is already spending more than the rest of Europe when it comes to welfare programs. According to the OECD, when it comes to “public social spending” as a percentage of GDP, France tops the list at over 31 percent.

In contrast, Swedish social spending is 26 percent of GDP, while Germany and Norway come in at 25 percent. Switzerland is near the bottom of the list at 16 percent, while the US is at 18 percent.

These numbers tend to move around some from year to year, but we can see that France was still spending more than anyone else in 2016:
I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind


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