Back in 1789 when the French lopped off the heads of their King and Queen to change their Government from a monarchy to a Republic, leading the charge were the “Sans Culottes”. “Culottes” were the tight silk knee-breeches worn by the nobility and the emerging bourgeoise while the lowers classes who couldn’t afford those, wore “pantaloons” or trousers. They were “sans” culottes” – “without” culottes.
Today, the Government of Emmanuel Macron – upper crust, wealthy and widely perceived as kowtowing to the top one per cent – is facing a violent rebellion from another set of French people – the “Gilets Jaunes”, or “yellow vests”. (From the fluorescent vests mandatory in all vehicles). These Gilets Jaunes aren’t the rabble like the sans culottes but lower middle-class folks who’re usually quite staid and proper. What happened??
In 1789, the issue for the poor was the astronomic price of bread. One tale signalling the disjoint between the rulers and the rules was the riposte of Queen Marie Antoinette when told that the poor couldn’t get bread. She asked why they didn’t eat cake, instead!! For the Gilets Jaunes in modern France their semiotic is fuel prices.
But like all signifiers the reality goes far deeper – folks don’t take on armed Police and suffer five deaths for just fuel prices. These are just a daily reminders to the lower middle-class from the semi-urban areas, who get jolted when they have to fill up ever so often, and which they can’t afford because unemployment hasn’t been brought down as Macron promised, nor has the cost of living. This dissatisfied class is very much like the one that’s been mobilised over in the US by Trump, but unlike the Americans, haven’t accepted Marcon’s slavish dedication to neo-liberal economic policies like cutting tax rates for the top tiers.
They haven’t also taken the nativist angst against immigrants – but these also haven’t joined their ranks, which have remained white. Macron burst on the scene and convinced many that he was representative of the “new Europe” that was moving away from the previous half-century of centre-left programmes. Initially he was successful in taking on the unions but is obviously surprised by the leaderless masses that have destroyed his aura of competence.
In Guyana, the PNC-led coalition also promised much and delivered little, while catering to their elite. It should be clear to all by now that they are incapable of running a modern economy – especially one that will soon receive a big injection of funds.
The question is whether Guyanese will look past their divisions – as the Gilets Jaunes have done – and send a message to the Government.
They don’t have to come out violently into the streets. 2020 is less than two years away!!
…in Venezuelan threat
Guyana was just apprised that Russian long-range bombers stationed in Venezuela – just when their border controversy is getting a hearing at the World Court. But which judgement they plan to reject when it’s issued since they’ve refused to accept the jurisdiction of the Court on the matter. Now our Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge has been rather sanguine about this development, claiming that “these military exercises are a regular feature of State relations”.
Maybe so…but we can’t be too careful, can we?? There are no coincidences in IR! Your Eyewitness expected we would’ve announced we stand ready with our Armed Forces – which has been augmented with FOUR new aircraft earlier this year – the same number as the Russian crafts. We spent $697,239,000 for two Britten-Norman Islanders and two Skyvans.
Even though they’re from the 1970s, we were assured they’re like “Rolls Royces”!!
They arrived in August, and surely they must’ve been equipped by now to repel any aerial threats!!
…in no confidence motion?
British MP Theresa May survived a no-confidence motion in the House of Commons – brought by members of her own party. There’s one just filed in St Kitts.
No-confidence motions are standard in parliamentary Governments. Why’s the PNC dodging one here?