France is revolting. In fact, Belgium got a little ticked as well. Greece, too. It seems the deplorables are rising up in Europe these days. And, that is not even counting England and Brexit. Or Fox News watchers. In several ways, they are all right-on (sadly, mostly alt-right). But it’s all a bit too late…..
The Yellow-vests demonstrated initially to protest France’s carbon tax levied on gasoline (petrol). On the face of it: non progressive. Billed as a way to ‘the GREEN’ future, the government did what all governments do….tax the poor to ‘ostensibly’ improve their lives. The rabble didn’t buy it. They took to the streets in that time honoured way to loot shops, flip cars and throw crap at police.
Brilliant strategy. Primal, I guess. Funny how breaking windows and setting fire to things is our preferred mode of expressing anger publicly…..?
But, as it turns out, the rebellion has some REAL demands as well as just screaming in pain. NOT having a united front nor having a recognized leadership, they still managed to shout out real, visceral-level, basically smart demands. “No carbon tax! BUT DO take up GREEN initiatives! We want to live! We want a healthy planet! We want equality!”
C’mon….give ’em credit! Those demands (3) are way more intelligent than ‘Lock ‘er up‘ or, ‘Build the wall!’ Or my personal favourite, ‘Kill the lawyers!’
Seems they are NOT against the cost of fuel so much as a list of things that are making life too damn hard. And they are long overdue in that. We all are.
To give the elite their due (which should take the form of a guillotine) they just ’employed’ a tax and a tax usually works. Right?
Well, yes and no. A tax on a ‘discretionary’ item like tobacco works. Raise the price, fewer people smoke. Same for booze. Cheap wine and beer increases alcoholism and abuse. It is that simple. The correlation with price is irrefutable. But air, water, food and, in this day and age, fuel, are essential ingredients for living. For the modern worker, fuel is as necessary an expense as bread. The government really should never tax the essentials.
“We want a clean planet but we also want cheap gas!”
Irreconcilable? Not in the least. Easy-peasy. Cheap fuel really means cheap transportation. That could be public transit but public transit only works in mega-hives. It doesn’t really work in real w-o-r-k or real travel.
Switching over from fossil fuels to electricity…would that do it? Yep. That would take the sting out of it…except…it comes with a shock! Who is going to give me an electric boat? An electric truck? A long plug-in? I am pretty fully invested in the old system. It took all of my energy and money to buy into this one – the one that now doesn’t work! I will buy into the new-system tools if I can work and gain the money (and live forever) but how can I work if I can’t drive my truck right now?
We’ve waited too long to get on this ‘electrification’ merry-go-round.
“So, if we hurry up and we all buy a Nissan Leaf or Tesla, will it be OK then?”
Sadly not. Why? Because the deplorables are demanding more than just ‘cheap fuel’. They want equality, too. Plus they want air to breathe, water to drink and the planet to get healthy. They are fed up being peons, serfs, slaves and pissants. They are fed up saluting corrupt authority while working for peanuts. They are fed up being part of the problem but only because they followed their leaders.
The poor are revolting.
“Dave? Is this the start of it? The Revolution?”
I doubt it. We’ve rebelled before. GreenPeace. Occupy. Me, too. Trump and Brexit were the start of our most recent ‘anger, annoyance and dumb-rebellion’. And maybe the yellow-vests are a smidge more sophisticated and specific with their message than simply ‘lock ‘er up’ (hard not to be smarter than Trumpians) but anger and frustration doesn’t seem to get the job done for anyone and we are rapidly running out of time. I really do not think the system is the mechanism by which the system gets changed.
That is why I left.
Honestly? I am a bona fide deplorable. Born and bred. And I have worked for change. I have felt the feelings of rebellion. I have walked a few miles in anger. But, but, but………..over time, I channeled my innate deplorableness into more personal, smaller, local battles. I won’t bore you with my history of that but suffice to say, it was small and ineffective on any kind of scale. NOT Bill Gates. NOT Elon Musk. Not even a shadow of Ralph Nader.
IMAGE: little Dutch boy with his fingers in the dike.
So, the point? I do not see change coming through even a better supported Obama-clone or facsimile. Certainly not by way of Putin or Xi. I do not see change coming by way of any of the movements on the horizon or even any looming (possible exception: Ebola). Not even by way of the Yellow-vest or the Umbrella movement (Hong Kong courage writ large). I see the ‘way of things’ too firmly ‘in place’ for real change and, worse, I see that the system has learned to bend and absorb the energies it comes into opposition with. There is no answer in us.
But the planet may get involved……
…..I think we shall soon see…..maybe a lot sooner than I thought.