Dear US Corporations, What’s Happening In Paris Can Happen Here, In The USA

 

Demonstrators wearing their yellow vests demonstrate during in Marseille, southern France
Demonstrators wearing their yellow vests demonstrate during in Marseille, southern France

To be frank, the protests in progress during December 2018 by average Joe workers in Paris, can also occur here in the USA.

Since the mid-1970s, the average US worker has been squeezed financially to such an extent that there is a lot of anger festering among them, and rightfully, so.

As per the EPI Economic Policy Institute, “From WWII Until about 1973, when US corporations’ productivity numbers increased to about 95.65%, the average workers’ pay wages increased to about 91%.  But after 1973, corporate productivity increased by 77% but workers’ pay increased by only 12.4%.

Other causes for decades-long stagnant workers’ wages have to do with more US goods being manufactured in other countries where the worker hourly pay is much less; corporations developing a greater reliance in technology; and there being changes in the culture, like a greater usage by utility companies for renewable sources of energy versus fossil fuel. But in all of these cases, it is still the corporate big brass making these decisions and NOT the other (immigrants) taking away jobs or keeping wages low.

What happened in 1973, is that the corporate titans banned together to form ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and other associations with the intent of increasing their revenues by stream-lining operating costs like keeping workers’ wages low; decreasing pension expenses; and by the systemic dismantling of corporation unions etc. Over the past 3 plus decades, the influence of corporate monies over US politicians has increased beyond any reason.

As per the the 7/19/18 CNBC report, “US income inequality continues to grow” by Carmen Reinicke,  “Between the years 2009 to 2015, the incomes of those in the top 1 percent grew faster than the incomes of the bottom 99 percent in 43 states and the District of Columbia. In nine states, the income growth of the top 1 percent was half or more of all income growth in that time period.”

Image result for images of income inequality in US“This trend is a reversal of what happened in the US in the years during and after the Great Depression. From 1928 until 1973, the share of income held by the top 1 percent declined in nearly every state.”

“Today, while unemployment remains low and the economy is doing exceptionally well, wage growth has remained stagnant.”

“In those expansions since 1973, there has been less income growth for the bottom 99 percent, said Price.”

Yet the costs, expenses of these average workers have increased exponentially while other safety-net benefits have been eliminated, like pension plans.

It is no wonder that American hard working folks have become so furious to where they deemed to take a chance by voting for the likes of the republican President Donald Trump. But while he has improved the lot of corporations, and wealthy backers, he’s done nothing of substance to improve the average workers’ financial circumstances.

But he’s made extra efforts to appear strong and tough when it comes to issues like immigration so that he can keep his base of racists anti-immigration zealots, antisemitics and anti-LGBTQ folks, in line.

One of these days, average workers will figure out the real culprit behind their being so financially squeezed which is “CORPORATE GREED.’ That means politicians will no longer be able to divert their attentions elsewhere, (fill in the blank.) That time is upon us.

The streets of Paris have been set ablaze during 'yellow vests' protests in Paris this evening leaving the Eiffel Tower shrouded in thick black smoke, after riot police fired tear gas at crowds earlier today
The streets of Paris have been set ablaze during ‘yellow vests’ protests in Paris 12/29/18 leaving the Eiffel Tower shrouded in thick black smoke, after riot police fired tear gas at crowds earlier today

Here’s what’s been going on in Paris…

On December 31, 2018, the UK DailyMail.com published the work of Chris Dyer’s 12/29/18 MAILONLINE/ AP/ AFP report, “Eiffel Tower is shrouded by smoke as Paris burns into the night: Iconic landmark shines through choking black pall after Yellow Vest protesters set cars ablaze for the seventh weekend as they call on Macron to go”

Bullet points:

  • Protesters set cars alight and left them to burn in the streets of the Capital city as demonstrations resumed 
  • Earlier today yellow vest demonstrators clashed with riot police who fired tear gas at the crowds in Paris
  • Tear gas also fired in Nantes, western France, and protests were expected in Lyon, Bordeaux and Toulouse  
  • Small groups took to streets in Paris and elsewhere in France calling for resignation of President Macron 
  • Despite it being the seventh weekend of protests, momentum for the movement appears to be waning 
Protesters have set cars alight and left them to burn in the streets of the capital city, as protests against the French government's tax policies resumed for the seventh consecutive week
Protesters have set cars alight and left them to burn in the streets of the capital city, as protests against the French government’s tax policies resumed for the seventh consecutive week

Excerpts:

“The streets of Paris have been set ablaze during ‘yellow vests’ protests in Paris this evening leaving the Eiffel Tower shrouded in thick black smoke, after riot police fired tear gas at crowds earlier today (12/29/18).”

“Protesters have set cars alight and left them to burn in the streets of the capital city, as a demonstration against the French government’s tax policies resumed for the seventh consecutive week.”

“Shocking images show the iconic tower masked by a covering of smoke and cars engulfed by burning flames sit abandoned on the roadside as demonstrators continued their stand off with authorities.”

Yellow vest demonstrators clashed with riot police who fired tear gas at crowds who set fire to barricades in Toulouse, southern France, today
Yellow vest demonstrators clashed with riot police who fired tear gas at crowds who set fire to barricades in Toulouse, southern France, 12/29/18.

“Earlier today yellow vest demonstrators clashed with riot police who fired tear gas at crowds in Paris today after  demonstrators from the grassroots movement turned out this weekend to resume their stand off with authorities.”

“In the southern city of Marseille, police said 900 protesters turned out, amid cries of ‘Macron out’.

“The official turnout numbers have plunged with the passing weeks. The government recorded 38,600 demonstrators on December 22 compared to 282,000 for the first major demonstrations on November 17. “

French riot police officers detain protesters and scuffle with them on the ground in downtown Nantes, western France
French riot police officers detain protesters and scuffle with them  in downtown Nantes, western France

“But leading figures within the movement that has flourished outside of trade union and political groups, say the low numbers are due to the holiday season and January will bring a resurgence of the street protests.”

“The focus of the protests has morphed from anger over fuel taxes to a broad rebuke of Macron, accused by critics of neglecting the rising costs of living for many in rural and small-town France.”

Priscillia Ludosky, who launched the yellow vest petition against fuel price hikes, said: ‘We want to get our purchasing power back and have a say in the decisions.’

Government tax concessions to boost disposable income among the low paid ‘are not enough’, Ludosky said in Marseille.

Hundreds of demonstrators, some chanting ‘Journalists – Collaborationists!’ traced a path around Paris visiting the central offices of television networks BFM and state-run France Televisions and announced plans to march to other broadcasters.

“Some members of the broad-based yellow vest movement accuse leading media of favoring President Emmanuel Macron’s government and big business and minimizing the protests – even though they’ve been the leading news story in France since they kicked off November 17 out of anger at fuel tax hikes.”

Protesters sit in the street on the Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris today
Protesters sit around Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris 12/29/18

“The movement has increasingly targeted Macron and 40 ‘yellow vests’ on Thursday tried to storm the medieval fort of Bregancon that serves as his official summer retreat on the Mediterranean before being turned back by police.”

“Die-hard yellow vest supporters believe the movement will live on in 2019 and plans are underway for New Year’s Eve protests.”

“Nearly 8,000 people are listed on Facebook as intending to attend, insisting it will be ‘festive and non-violent’.

“A few dozen gathered today on the elegant Champs-Elysees, the scene of rioting and violence between demonstrators and riot police earlier this month. “

“Tear gas, a water cannon and baton charges were used by riot police around the capital during earlier marches.”

Mounted police patrol on the Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris

“At its peak at the start of December 89,000 riot police with 750 arrests in one weekend in the capital alone. “

“Around 126,000 ‘yellow vests’ – named after the fluorescent jackets they wear – were counted by the Interior Ministry during the biggest demonstrations.”

“This weekend police have been watching carefully, but both police and protesters appeared to be out in much smaller numbers than previous weekends.”

“The demonstrations have targeted French President Emmanuel Macron, who ceded to several of their demands for tax relief and other economic help.”

“However many people remain frustrated with his pro-business leadership and are continuing to stage roadblocks at roundabouts around the country.”

Link to entire report/ photos: Eiffel Tower is shrouded by smoke as Paris burns into the night: 

9 comments

  1. While I would not welcome the violence, I would love to see nation-wide peaceful protests in this country against the corporate barons, income disparity, and other issues. The problem, of course, being that when you get that many angry people together, violence is almost bound to break out. Something else I would like to see happen in the U.S. is a nation-wide worker’s strike, that would hit the corporate giants where it would most hurt … the profit margin. As for France … my concern is that if they succeed in forcing Macron out, it will open the door for Marine LePen, which, I think, would be a disaster, not only for the French people, but for the EU and ultimately the world, just as Trump is.

    Hugs!!! And Happy New Year!

    Liked by 3 people

      • Dear SoundEagle,

        Exactly! To my way of thinking the “yellow vest” protesters in France represent a ‘canary in the coal mine’ warning to other developed countries like the USA.

        Have you noticed that there has been little coverage of these protests in France in the US cable news stations.

        Hugs, Gronda

        Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Jill,

      I don’t want to see violence. But the message needs to be out there. Personally, while I’m pro business, I’m also of the belief that companies need to somehow get away from the Koch brother’s selfish corporate greedy thinking where their callousness towards their front-line workers results in the above described consequences.

      These same executives have no clue about the devastation they visited upon average Americans with the great recession in 2008 where not one executive went to jail.

      There are companies that pay their workers a living wage, create a healthy work environment where employees who divulge wrongdoings within a company are listened to, instead of being discounted. I’m thinking of companies like “Wells Fargo” where its employees reported wrongdoings but in too many instances, these same employees were fired.

      I wish there was a corporate report card that made sense to average workers and the public, which provided data regarding companies’ good citizenship.

      There was one that I found but it highly rated Johnson and Johnson which is under legal attack by class action lawyers for withholding data about minute traces of Asbestos in its baby powder products..

      The companies which do what is right have to compete with those who don’t. This is NOT “fair competition.”

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 2 people

  2. But while he has improved the lot of corporations, and wealthy backers, he’s done nothing of substance to improve the average workers’ financial circumstances.

    And yet so many of his supporters still cling to his empty promises, either unable or refusing to see the true picture. However, once the truth finally hits home, he may very well feel the sting of this country’s Yellow Jackets!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Dear Nan,

      In the past I had some empathy for those who supported President Trump because of their anger about being financially squeezed. Their voting for President Trump was their form of protest. By now, they have to know that they backed a con man who in reality, doesn’t give a damn about them.

      I no longer give his remaining backers a pass, because by now, they must have realized that President Trump is catering to the racists, the anti-immigration zealots; anti LGBTQ folks, etc. faction of his base. This is his base along with corporate executives who are greedy where they don’t care about being good citizens.

      Hugs, Gronda

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Gronda, like Jill, I welcome peaceful protest. The Women’s March help make progress and hopefully will further it this year. The Tea Party made change, unfortunately it took hard turn right and is now a divisive group as the Freedom
    Caucus. And, I am encouraged by the high school kids marching for gun governance. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Dear Keith,

    Like you and Jill, I’m definitely a proponent of peaceful protests.

    I never again want to see anything like the LA riots in 1992. But what corporate greedy Barons have foisted on average Americans could lead to this rage being acted on, ff their greed isn’t checked. Someone has to sound the warning when these corporate leaders have gone too far.

    The Women’s March is an example where 100s of thousands of women gathered together to sound a warning. The GOP in the US Congress took a long time to hear us. We had to get their attention with the blue wave November 2018 elections.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 2 people

    • Gronda, we need to continue the pressure of the Women’s March. All leaders, but especially the GOP ones, need to heed these messages. Working together to solve real problems is a must.

      I wrote a post that complements yours using a new word I learned – monopsony. I would love your thoughts. Keith

      Liked by 3 people

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