France shows how it's done. Again.

Just a few days after the month-long transportation/energy workers strike was joined by teachers, district nurses and lawyers (and the police were going to protest), President Emmanuel Macron’s government began to fold.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe offered a major concession to unions after trade groups took to the streets for a fifth straight day of protests against President Emmanuel Macron's overhaul of the pension system.

The prime minister said in a letter to unions and employers that he was ready to make an offer to unions, on the basis of a compromise, after talks on Friday.

It was just over a year ago that the Yellow Vests forced Macron to back down.
Like the Yellow Vests before, the union strikers are overwhelmingly popular.

France was just early in a growing global movement against neoliberalism.
Chile and Ecuador have also won victories against neoliberals.
Colombia, Honduras, and Lebanon protesters (among others) are currently battling austerity.

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CB's picture

The protests wouldn't have got so far out of hand in the US. /s

France: Police on Trial
(Video)
We investigate whether aggressive French policing of demonstrations is stifling dissent and threatening civil liberties.

For well over a year, France's yellow vest activists have been making full use of their constitutionally enshrined right to protest against the economic policies of President Emmanuel Macron - most recently in support of a trade union standoff with the government over pension reform proposals.

But the often uncompromising response of the authorities during some of those demonstrations - in which thousands of protesters and police officers have been injured - has raised disturbing questions about the appropriate degree of force to use in maintaining public order.
...

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@CB I hope that was intended to be ironic/sarcastic.

A disturbing number of protestors (and bystanders) have been blinded or otherwise maimed there by police use of
(just) less-than-lethal weaponry.

And demonstrations/riots do get out of control frequently in the US - as long it's a deep blue enclave like pretty much any city on the West Coast and the "demonstrators" are Antifa, BLM or the like.

Not that US cops don't kill people, but shooting or tasing or bludgeoning a mentally ill homeless person armed with a spork is really more their style.

As spending any amount of time on the Free Thought Project will certainly confirm.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

@Blue Republic The "/s" at the end of the statement means "snark" or sarcastic. Just thought I'd put this in here as a reminder that some of us read too fast and don't get the snark or don't know how to signal the readers what is intended.

Hope that helps.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

@Dawn's Meta

Thank you - that does help.

Can't contribute $$ at the moment, but I did plant a lemon tree last week...

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CB's picture

@Blue Republic

The Yellow Vest's have been protesting since November 17, 2018 and at times they have been very violent mostly due to an escalating police response (there were some small embedded groups that tried to escalate the violence at times). So far, the French police have restrained from using deadly force. But they have resorted to tear gas and non-lethal weapon ammunition (many times used inappropriately/illegally).

If these protests would have occurred in the US with the same size, scope and longevity of the Yellow Vest protests, the National Guard would have been called out. In addition, I doubt the American police would have refrained from using deadly force in many of the hand-to-hand melees between the protestors and the police that occurred. France has a long history of tolerating protest - some extremely violent by American standards - without resorting to American policing methods.

If the French police started behaving like American police under these circumstances, the French citizens would overthrow the government. There has been historical precedent on a number of occasions. The right to protest against their government is an honored national birthright of the French citizen.

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Dawn's Meta's picture

@CB the Jilets Jaunes were worn down quite a bit by heavy use of tear gas, rubber projectiles, arrest and fencing.

This movement is larger and stronger. The two have joined which to me is good.

The black-clothed police we saw in one city were mostly young and looked scared to us. The people talked to them when they could, but their face shields and guns seemed to be difficult hurdles.

There are investigations into police actions during marches and protests to determine if they are restricting the French right to free speech and assembly.

This evening it is clear the unions don't think the one concession of taking longer years of work out of the bill is enough. They are very concerned about women workers, who often take time off for raising French kids and those working in body-breaking professions. The new proposed point system would leave these workers at a disadvantage to those who can work longer.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

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Sanders-Gabbard 2020 !

Cassiodorus's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness that they created a choice between HRC and DJT in the last Presidential election, and did not bother to consider alternatives.

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"The financialized economy – including stocks, corporate bonds and real estate – is now booming. Meanwhile, the bulk of the population struggles to meet daily expenses." -- Ellen Brown

@Cassiodorus
It was a populist year and it's not surprising that a TV clown running as a populist won a nomination against the same old tired ideologues that they had rejected before.
The only candidates that I personally heard voters who were not political junkies excited about were Trump and Sanders. I posted diaries at BoomanTribune about conversations I had with the dispossessed of America, strangers who touted Trump. I talked with them about Bernie Sanders and almost universally got back "Oh, he's good too!" Most significant to me was a older lady, I would guess late 50's, a former Middle Manager at a Fortune 500 Company, whose job was transferred to China (with the whole operation). This was an apparently conservative woman in a historically Republican suburb. Still well-dressed she was enraged at being denied a counter job at Burger King (probably too old). I'm sure she voted for Trump, but could have voted for Bernie ("Oh, he's good too!"). Not in a million years would that lady have voted for Hillary just because they had similar plumbing.

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18 users have voted.

Sanders-Gabbard 2020 !

Cassiodorus's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness either DJT or HRC. They could have chosen any of the minority-party candidates on offer, except perhaps in Oklahoma where ballot status requirements are unconstitutionally high. Or they could have chosen not to vote, and a lot of them did just that.

Pretty much everyone has tacitly accepted the two-tribe approach to politics: the (D) happy business-suit tribe, or the (R) stern moralistic phony-television-preacher tribe. We get crappy policies cycle after cycle, and nobody blinks. Instead, everything is the fault of the other tribe.

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"The financialized economy – including stocks, corporate bonds and real estate – is now booming. Meanwhile, the bulk of the population struggles to meet daily expenses." -- Ellen Brown

@Cassiodorus make the binary choice. No ranked-choice voting, and constant repetitions of "a vote for Stein is a vote for Trump", "throwing away your vote", and even name-calling people as "traitors" to the Democratic Party. Then add in the rampant cheating against Sanders in the primaries, which ensured that Americans did NOT have a free choice, and the hackable-by-design voting machines and tabulators.

The absence of ranked-choice voting, especially, (which the Democratic Party elites oppose just as much as Republicans, if not more) made for a very difficult choice for a lot of people.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@tle Both candidates sucked. All the Pressure People had is: "Vote for Sucky Candidate A or else Sucky Candidate B is going to win."

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"The financialized economy – including stocks, corporate bonds and real estate – is now booming. Meanwhile, the bulk of the population struggles to meet daily expenses." -- Ellen Brown

@Cassiodorus
What was the outcome? I'm accused of electing Trump.

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4 users have voted.

Sanders-Gabbard 2020 !

Cassiodorus's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness American politics is controlled by an arrogant, stupid elite with little respect for democracy. Kind of like Germany in 1933, except our Constitution is better than that of the Weimar Republic.

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"The financialized economy – including stocks, corporate bonds and real estate – is now booming. Meanwhile, the bulk of the population struggles to meet daily expenses." -- Ellen Brown

@The Voice In the Wilderness
It shouldn't distract you from this movement

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9 users have voted.

that the government in Ecuador has made any real attempt to find alternatives but there is little indication that is so. Instead I expect the government to be better prepared when the bell rings for round two. The government will not be surprise.

That said tonight marks two years since we arrived in Cuenca. We receive our permanent residency visas on Tuesday. My son is still somewhat in limbo due to requirements that sprang up out of nowhere in August. It’s a documentation issue that will probably make him renew his temporary visa for two years while he builds a history that meets the new requirements. Our attorney has a good handle on the solution so we’ll just go with the flow. Tranquilo. It’s not just a good way to live, it’s the law.

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@vtcc73 and there when it was neoliberal.
I thought of you.
Hope you are well.

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10 users have voted.

Gilets Jaunes?

Positive role models, non?

Inspirational signs seen in video of the latest protests:

big banner at the head of one march:

"Global Uprising"

small sign with a hand-drawn Earth as background:

"Make Earth Great Again"

That one has a certain ring to it, but can't quite place it...

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Dawn's Meta's picture

Notice that Macron said something like 'sure, it's the voice of reason to take the retirement age of 64 off the bill'.

But several other very damaging points are still there. Not sure we will see much reduction in strikes (grèves) once the unions and other professional associations read what's left in the bill.

It is interesting to me to see that the members of the Paris Opera are marching along with transit workers and other unions. Some of the police were also getting ready to strike.

It is my belief from what I have seen, especially concessions on retirement ages and benefits, that Macron is trying to split the ranks by protecting some of the police, fire, and first responder units. We have seen these black suited very young and very scared forces they deploy against people who mostly don't want any harm done to them.

Privatization is also making this a worse mess. Whether corporate employers have to allow unions or not, I'm not sure. Formerly public services are being privatized rapidly.

There are many non union sole proprietors (auto entrepreneurs) who need the protection of unions. They are especially hurt when the transportation systems are disrupted. Not sure about how they might unionize, but wish it would happen. There wouldn't be a split in the public about the strikes if most were members of some union.

Edit to add: Macron probably put the bill out before the holidays hoping the unions and other professionals wouldn't take away visiting the family at Noël. But they held the line anyway. After the holidays a majority of people were with the strikers. Macron is not well liked.

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A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit. Allegedly Greek, but more possibly fairly modern quote.

Consider helping by donating using the button in the upper left hand corner. Thank you.

@Dawn's Meta "trying to split the ranks by protecting some of the police, fire, and first responder units." Gee, where have we seen that before? Standard "divide and conquer" tactics.

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