By Christian Marx
Any keen observer of geopolitics will by now be well acquainted with the Yellow Vests in France. This remarkable movement is primarily anti-capitalist in tone. The French people have had enough of the crippling austerity of neoliberal capitalism. Unlike America or Australia, the people of France have a robust class consciousness.
Unfortunately, Australia is not so blessed. Years of adulterated consumer culture and an almost universal monopoly on our media landscape has produced a culture of extreme narcism and a lack of the most rudimentary insight into our political landscape and the machine driving it.
The French have a deep history of tackling extreme inequality. The most famous period in their history is the period of 1789-1794, known as the French Revolution. The rich were disposed of in a prolonged and very bloody coup. How did it become so frenzied and bloodthirsty? Millions wanted to eat and were starving, while the decadent bourgeoisie filled their bloated bellies with the blood of the working class. One could argue that they were metaphorical vampires. Feasting on the carcasses of the poor, this elderly, the sick, and even children’s misery.
Australia is not quite at the levels of poverty the French had to contend with circa 1789, but alarm bells should be ringing among the populace. Take a walk through the streets of any major city during the day. You will see hundreds of rough sleepers in the main streets. Contrast this with 25 years ago and there was not a single homeless person in sight. I can remember Melbourne of the late 80s/early 90s and it is unrecognisable compared to today.
How did it get this way? The cancer of neoliberal capitalism. Basically, an economic and social theory that puts the profits of the few ahead of the needs of a society. Social safety nets are smashed, jobs are outsourced, and public utilities are sold off to crony offsiders. See here for an in-depth description.
While the Yellow Vests in France are to be lauded for their courage, an insidious synthesis has created a new breed and very different beast of Yellow Vest movement in Australia. Instead of tackling the prime cause of our current dilemma (neoliberal capitalism), these nefarious agents are scapegoating immigrants and pushing a very dangerous notion of ultra-nationalism. This author has visited many Yellow Vest pages and movements operating in and around Australia. Many are ignoring rampant inequality and misrepresenting the true meaning of the Yellow Vests in France.
The far-right and Libertarian capitalists have used the very left-wing France Yellow Vests as a cover for their own agenda of either scapegoating minorities or as in the case with the Libertarians blaming the Macron government for being too socialist. This is absurd as Socialists do not work as investment bankers and they do not enforce austerity on the working class while providing massive tax subsidies for the very rich. Macron has done both. Also, for those who may be intellectually challenged, just because a political party has the word “Socialist” in their title does not make them in any way socialist! A classic example is the Nazi Party who were the “National Socialist Workers Party.” Funnily enough the Nazis hated unions and threw Marxists, Socialists and Unions into the concentration camps along with the Slavs, Gypsies, Jews, intellectuals and anyone else who challenged their Fascist agenda.
Using mere semantics, we could argue that the Democrats in the U.S are democratic. Their railroading of Bernie Sanders in favour of Hilary Clinton would suggest otherwise.
The same could be said of The Democratic Republic of North Korea. Is it truly democratic?
The only Yellow Vests page I have found to be close to the ethos of the French Yellow Vests is this page. This movement is actually exposing neoliberal capitalism and fighting against racism, Fascism and other right wing movement who are piggy backing onto a legitimately progressive movement in France. I urge you all to be very careful when visiting the array of Yellow Vest pages springing up in Australia. Many are not what they seem.
Christian Marx is a political and social activist interested in making the world a fairer place. He has a Bachelor of Social Science and has a keen interest in sociology, politics and history. He was one of the organizers of the March in March rallies in Melbourne and is the founder of the progressive news and information page, “Don`t Look At This Page”, and is also a co-founder of “The Global Revolution” website.
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