France’s Determination To End Free Speech Knows No Limits

france’s-determination-to-end-free-speech-knows-no-limits

27-05-20 01:40:00,

Authored by Judith Bergman via The Gatestone Institute,

On May 13, the French parliament adopted a law that requires online platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Snapchat to remove reported “hateful content” within 24 hours and “terrorist content” within one hour. Failure to do so could result in exorbitant fines of up to €1.25 million or 4% of the platform’s global revenue in cases of repeated failure to remove the content.

The scope of online content deemed “hateful” under what is known as the “Avia law” (after the lawmaker who proposed it) is, as is common in European hate speech laws, very broadly demarcated and includes “incitement to hatred, or discriminatory insult, on the grounds of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation or disability”.

The French law was directly inspired by Germany’s controversial NetzDG law, adopted in in October 2017, and it is explicitly mentioned in the introduction to the Avia law.

“This law proposal aims to combat the spread of hate speech on the internet,” it is stated in the introduction to the Avia law.

“No one can dispute the exacerbation of hate speech in our society… the attack[s] on others for what they are, because of their origins, their religion, their sex or their sexual orientation… hints… [at] the darkest hours in our history… the fight against hatred, racism and anti-Semitism on the Internet is an objective of public interest that justifies…strong and effective provisions… this tool of openness [the internet] to the world, of access to information, to culture, to communication, can become a real hell for those who become the target of ‘haters’ or harassers hidden behind screens and pseudonyms. According to a survey carried out in May 2016, 58% of our fellow citizens consider the internet to be the main locus of hate speech. More than 70% say they have already been confronted with hate speech on social networks. For younger people in particular, cyber-harassment can be devastating…However… Few complaints are filed, few investigations are successful, few convictions are handed down – this creates a vicious circle…”

Having acknowledged that online “hatred”

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France’s Police Protest Movement: The Unspoken Truth is that their Demands are Similar to those of the Yellow Vests – Global Research

france’s-police-protest-movement:-the-unspoken-truth-is-that-their-demands-are-similar-to-those-of-the-yellow-vests-–-global-research

04-10-19 07:11:00,

Pour la version française de cet article

In early October, The French Police conducted La March de la colère, (The “March of Anger”) directed against President Macron’s deadly economic austerity measures. “The center of Paris was paralyzed by the largest rally of police officers in years; they say they are in total despair after being abandoned by the government.” We have no money, salaries are falling, our pension funds are threatened.

Police “activists” pointed to abysmal working conditions, poverty as well as suicide within their ranks. 

More than 20,000 police officers marched from Place la Bastille to Place de la République.

In a bitter irony, the “dirty economic medicine” which is hitting France’s population at large is also affecting the police officers whose mandate is to repress those who question the legitimacy of the government’s austerity measures. 

Screenshots from TV Report

Since last November, police repression against the Gilets Jaunes has been undertaken with utmost brutality leading to thousands of arbitrary arrests and detentions.

The leader of the Yellow Vests Eric Drouet was present on the sidelines of the police protest movement, while underscoring and condemning the acts of police violence directed against the Yellow Vest movement. (RT)

While actively repressing the Yellow Vests, the (legitimate) demands of the police protest movement are directed against the French government’s economic austerity measures. Ironically the demands of the police officers are in many regards similar to those of the Yellow Vests (see list) 

A contradictory process is unfolding. The French police are both the protagonists as well as the victims of the French government’s “dirty economic medicine”.

The police officers say that that they have been abandoned by the government. But so has everybody else. And the French government which is committed to neoliberal economic policies desperately needs the police to repress the legitimate demands of French citizens. Without the police state apparatus, the enforcement of these deadly economic reforms fall flat.

There are no doubt many police officers who are in favor of the demands of the Gilets Jaunes but who fear reprisals from their commanding officers.

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France’s Richest People Have Seen Their Net Worth Rocket 35% This Year

france’s-richest-people-have-seen-their-net-worth-rocket-35%-this-year

03-07-19 07:02:00,

Despite the civil unrest in France to start the year, the country’s richest citizens still had a fantastic start to 2019, according to Bloomberg.

Amidst protesters taking to the streets to demand higher wages and better pensions, the 14 people from France on the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index added a combined $78 billion to their collective net worth since the beginning of 2019. That is an astounding 35% increase. The figures will likely serve as additional fuel for protests over income inequality in the country.

France’s pace was more than double China’s richest, who saw growth of 17% for the first six months of the year. The richest in the U.S. saw their wealth grow 15% during the first half the year.

Outside of France, the other highest returns came from Thailand at 33% and Singapore, who came in at 31%. The richest in Japan saw their wealth grow 24%. The only Nigerian on the list, Aliko Dangote, saw his wealth up 60% so far in 2019.

Specifically in France, luxury businessmen Bernard Arnault and Francois Pinault, combined with cosmetics heir Francoise Bettencourt Meyersedit combined to make up $53 billion of the growth. The demand for luxury goods from China has continued even though there has been uncertainty from the ongoing trade war. Arnault’s LVMH shares are up 45% this year, making the company the second best performer in France’s CAC 40 index. He joined Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates as the only people that have fortunes of over $100 billion.

Thailand’s success was a result of Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, founder and chairman of TCC Group. Sirivadhanabhakdi’s net worth rose by $4 billion to $16.5 billion as shares of his company, listed in Singapore, were up 38%. 

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France’s Yellow Vest Movement Comes Of Age

france8217s-yellow-vest-movement-comes-of-age

06-02-19 10:50:00,

Authored by Harrison Stetler via TheNation.com,

At its first “Assembly of Assemblies” in late January, this grassroots democratic revolt brought together many people who had never participated in politics.

Yellow Vest protesters take part in a demonstration holding a banner that reads: “Angry but not fascist” in Paris, France on January 26, 2019.

“The danger,” Yanis warned, “is that the constant stream of information becomes its own type of ignorance. It’s very easy to forget the human need to educate oneself, and to forge one’s own opinion. What we need is for speech and debate to free themselves everywhere, that they fill every part of daily life, that everyone express themselves, respectfully of course.”

What Yanis was recalling was his own initial reaction to the eruption of France’s Yellow Vest revolt in late November 2018.

“At the beginning, there was this fear,” he continued.

“The movement had been covered in media as a ploy of the far right and the fascist movement. I hesitated to go at first just because of that. But I finally decided that it was all the more important to go if that was actually the case, in order to not abandon the battle to them.”

When people in his hometown of Montceau-les-Mines, in central France, began to organize town meetings at the beginning of December, Yanis decided to go and scope things out. Yanis was amazed to see that more than 1,000 attended the earliest assemblies in late November and early December. People were thinking and talking about politics in ways they had never done before. For too long, democratic life was little more than the habitual cycle of elections, with citizenship reduced to the occasional vote.

The assemblies continued on a weekly basis. “I realized that something was growing,” Yanis remembers. People were organizing themselves and staying in contact, occupying critical road junctions and protesting. Now, almost two months later, on January 26, Yanis found himself making the roughly 200-mile trip to a village just outside of Commercy, a town in a rural, working-class region in eastern France. Currently unemployed after several stints working in cafeterias in local public schools,

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France’s Protests: Why It’s Different This Time

france8217s-protests-why-it8217s-different-this-time

25-01-19 08:44:00,

Authored by Claudio Grass via The Mises Institute,

When the first demonstrations on the streets of Paris were reported nine weeks ago, nobody could have foreseen the endurance, the tenacity and the viral effect of the Yellow Vests movement. After all, the French are known to protest and to strike, it’s part and parcel of their culture. However, by the time this article is being written, protests, marches and demonstrations have broken out in a multitude of European cities.

Why Was it Different this Time?

To begin with, it is worth taking a closer look at the situation in France, the point of origin of this “contagion.” There are a few very important elements that set the Yellow Vests apart from past protests. For one thing, unlike previous demonstrations, this one wasn’t led by the unions, nor was it organized by any identifiable political body. The protesters had no unified or homogenous political beliefs, party affiliations or ideological motivations. In fact, through interviews and public statements of individuals taking part in the demonstrations, it would appear that any organized elements, or members of the far-left or the far-right were a slim minority among the protesters. And while those few were the ones largely involved in the violent clashes with the police and the destruction of private and public property, the crushing majority of the Yellow Vests were peaceful, non-violent and largely unaffiliated with any particular political direction.

As the movement grew and spread, many political figures have tried to co-opt it, without success. Front National’s Le Pen, hardline leftist Melenchon, far-left factions and various union leaders, all tried to place their flag on the Yellow Vests, claiming that they align with and can represent their grievances. They all failed. The Yellow Vests might contain individuals with all kinds of political inclinations, but as a whole, the movement remains apolitical, and if anything, suspicious and hostile to the political class in its entirety.

The Common Denominator

The evolution of the grievances themselves is also of particular interest. What started as a protest against a new fuel tax, gathered momentum and ended up being about the economy, the cost of living and the public resentment toward the establishment. These underlying problems that the Vests are protesting against are far from unique to France.

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France’s Yellow Vests: Fuel Tax Hike Triggers Poverty, Finances War and the Public Debt – Global Research

france8217s-yellow-vests-fuel-tax-hike-triggers-poverty-finances-war-and-the-public-debt-8211-global-research

09-12-18 08:36:00,

The US media upholds France’s President Macron against the Yellow Vests Movement, which it describes as “Climate Deniers”.

The New York Times upholds fuel tax hikes as a carefully designed economic policy to fight global climate change.

It’s a lie. 

Hikes in the fuel tax applied Worldwide in more than 120 countries are part of a package of deadly macro-economic reforms which serve to impoverish large sectors of the World population.

The hike in gasoline prices translate into increases in the price of food, transportation and essential goods and services. It undermines the productive structure. It leads to collapse in the standard of living.  

The Yellow Vest protests in France against the fuel tax increase are casually described by the media as “the biggest obstacle yet to attempts to encourage conservation in alternative energy use.”

Taxing fuel is upheld an instrument to “alleviate climate change to the benefit of humanity.” (NYT, December 6, 2018).

What nonsense!

Washington Post headline, December 4, 2018

The public is misled. The climate change consideration is a smokescreen, a pretext to repress the protest movement.

What is the Objective of the Fuel Tax:  Debt Servicing and the War Economy

President Emmanuel Macron is an instrument of the financial establishment, a former employee of the Rothschilds, acting on their behalf, enforcing a profit driven macro-economic agenda as well boosting the revenues of the military contractors.

The tax on fuel serves the interests of powerful creditor  institutions. The tax proceeds will be channelled into servicing France’s spiralling public debt which is  estimated at 2.2 trillion euros, equivalent to 96.8 percent of GDP. Annual debt servicing obligations of the French Republic are staggering. The entire fiscal structure is in crisis.

“War is Good for Business”

The tax on fuel will also serve to finance mounting military expenditures (in excess of 30 billion euros per annum in 2017) in support of France’s participation in NATO’s various  “peace-making” initiatives  in Eastern Europe and the Middle East.

Clamping down on the Yellow Vest protest movement is intimately related to the War Economy.

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France’s Meltdown, Macron’s Disdain

france8217s-meltdown-macron8217s-disdain

03-12-18 11:32:00,

Authored by Guy Milliere via The Gatestone Institute,

On November 11th, French President Emmanuel Macron commemorated the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I by inviting seventy heads of state to organize a costly, useless, grandiloquent “Forum of Peace” that did not lead to anything. He also invited US President Donald Trump, and then chose to insult him. In a pompous speech, Macron — knowing that a few days earlier, Donald Trump had defined himself as a nationalist committed to defending America — invoked “patriotism”; then defined it, strangely, as “the exact opposite of nationalism”; then called it “treason”.

In addition, shortly before the meeting, Macron had not only spoken of the “urgency” of building a European army; he also placed the United States among the “enemies” of Europe. This was not the first time Macron placed Europe above the interests of his own country. It was, however, the first time he had placed the United States on the list of enemies of Europe.

President Trump apparently understood immediately that Macron’s attitude was a way to maintain his delusions of grandeur,as well as to try to derive a domestic political advantage. Trump also apparently understood that he could not just sit there and accept insults. In a series of tweets, Trump reminded the world that France had needed the help of the USA to regain freedom during World Wars, that NATO was still protecting a virtually defenseless Europe and that many European countries were still not paying the amount promised for their own defense. Trump added that Macron had an extremely low approval rating (26%), was facing an extremely high level of unemployment, and was probably trying to divert attention from that.

Trump was right. For months, the popularity of Macron has been in free fall: he is now the most unpopular French President in modern history at this stage of his mandate. The French population has turned away from him in droves.

Unemployment in France is not only at an alarmingly high level (9.1%); it has been been alarmingly high for years.

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Explaining France’s Grassroots “Yellow Vest” Movement – And Why It’s Spreading Across Europe

explaining-france8217s-grassroots-8220yellow-vest8221-movement-8211-and-why-it8217s-spreading-across-europe

03-12-18 11:07:00,

For three weeks, tens-of-thousands of French protesters have donned yellow vests and marched throughout Paris. While the “yellow vest” movement began on November 17 as a grassroots protest against president Emmanuel Macron’s gas tax – levied in the name of climate change, it has morphed into a general rage against the French government in general at a time when Macron’s approval rating is at an all time low. 

What’s more, the movement is spreading – with yellow vest demonstrations seen in Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands by those expressing frustration over similar issues. The protests have turned violent, as disaffected rioters have been setting cars on fire, causing structural damage, and assaulting the police.

Riot cops in Brussels, for example, were pelted with billiard balls, cobblestones and other hard objects last week, while the yellow vest movement is now working to form a Belgian political party under the name Mouvement citoyen belge 

What’s behind the movement?

French authorities have predictably blamed the right-wing for the protests – with interior minister Christophe Castaner denouncing National Rally (*formerly National Front) leader Marine Le Pen of encouraging the violence. 

“Marine Le Pen urged people to come to the Champs Elysees, and there are members of the ultra-right putting up barriers,” said Castaner, adding “They have responded to Marine Le Pen’s call and want to take the institutions of state. We want people to be responsible.”

The real cause, however, may be quite a bit more nuanced and a long time coming. As political commentator Kark Sharro suggests in a seven-part tweetstorm, the Yellow Vest movement is “about marginalsation and the impotence felt by ordinary people.” 

An organic, leaderless protest movement with no clear ideology has emerged in France. I’ve been waiting for this since 2011. Let me explain the French Spring to you.

— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) December 1, 2018

Firstly, why the colour yellow? In traditional French culture, yellow represents the Mediterranean regions of France which always felt oppressed by Paris. These protests represent ancient regional grievances.

— Karl Sharro (@KarlreMarks) December 1,

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