Tag Archive | poverty

Visa Now Paying Businesses to Stop Taking Cash*

Visa Now Paying Businesses to Stop Taking Cash*

Visa has officially announced that they intend to snub out cash and create a world in which all transactions are monitored and tracked.

According to the most recent data, Visa — which is mostly owned by banks–accounts for over 50% of all credit card transactions and 70% of all debit card transactions in the world. Hundreds of billions in transactions process through Visa’s databases every year and this number continues to grow.

Despite their overwhelming increase in market share, cards issued, and overall total volume, Visa has made a recent move that shows they intend to completely snub out their most unaccountable, untraceable, and most liberty-associated competitor and means of payment–cash.

In a news release, ostensibly written as an attempt to “help small businesses,” Visa announced that they are launching “a major effort to encourage businesses to go cashless. Aiming to create a culture where cash is no longer king, the program will give merchants increased ability to accept all forms of global digital payments.”

“At Visa, we believe you can be everywhere you want to be, and that it should be easy to pay and be paid in more ways than ever — whether it’s a phone, card, wearable or other device,” Jack Forestell, Visa’s head of global merchant solutions, said in a statement.

“We have an incredible opportunity to educate merchants and consumers alike on the effectiveness of going cashless.”

Laughably, Visa claims that companies who stop accepting cash — a major form of payment for people around the globe — that they could increase profits.

Apparently, they want business owners to forget that they take upwards of five percent of every single transaction.

“The important thing to realize is that going with ‘fast and easy’ is not always the best and most cost effective,” Marco Carabjo, a credit expert, wrote in a 2013 U.S. Small Business Administration blog post.

“Typical merchant account companies can charge up to 5% of everything a company earns with prices consisting of merchant processing costs, gateway fees, interchange costs, Visa, MasterCard, American Express charges, statement fees and so on.”

Outside of the obvious reason of convincing businesses to go cashless so they can tax their sales into oblivion by creating a monopoly on accepting payments, the implications for control and surveillance are far more insidious.

Visa — just like government — wants to monitor your spending habits and use that data to exploit humanity. This is why governments and banks across the world have almost simultaneously launched a war on cash.

Earlier this year, the European Commission proposed enforcing “restrictions on payments in cash” under an all-too-familiar premise — terrorism.

“Payments in cash are widely used in the financing of terrorist activities,” the Commission’s proposal states. “In this context, the relevance of potential upper limits to cash payments could also be explored. Several Member States have in place prohibitions for cash payments above a specific threshold.”

According to the Commission’s Inception Impact Assessment, “Cash has the important feature of offering anonymity to transactions. Such anonymity may be desired for legitimate reason (e.g. protection of privacy). But, such anonymity can also be misused for money laundering and terrorist financing purposes. The possibility to conduct large cash payments facilitates money laundering and terrorist financing activities because of the difficulty to control cash payment transactions.”

Just before the E.U.’s announcement of their war on cash, Citibank announced similar moves and stated it will no longer accept cash deposits or deal in cash.

Citibank Australia’s head of retail bank Janine Copelin offered an explanation saying,

“We have seen a steady decline in the demand for cash services in our branches — in fact, less than 4% of Citi customers have used this service in the last 12 months.”

The company stated it will no longer handle currency as a result.

“This move to cashless branches reflects Citi’s commitment to digital banking and we are investing in the channels our customers prefer to use…While the number of customers visiting our branches to access cash handling services has fallen, the branch network remains an important component of how we serve our high-net-worth customers,” said Copelin.

As Mises Institute professor, Joseph Salerno predicted in 2015, the war on cash is an inevitable move by big banks and the State. “I think this could come in the next couple of years. If they have to bail out the financial system again…they’ll block the cash in the banks to prevent it from escaping and destabilizing these fractional reserve banks,” Salerno said in an interview with Ron Paul.

It appears that the Trump administration has already been preparing for this move by filling the swamp with Goldman Sachs execs and essentially remaining silent on his campaign promise to audit the Federal Reserve.

Make no mistake, when governments and banks control and monitor 100 percent of what you spend, tyranny has set in. If ever there was a time to start investing in crypto currency and precious metals, it is now.

Source*

Related Topics:

U.K. Enforce Cash over Digital Currency*

How Greece Became a Guinea Pig for a Cashless and Controlled Society*

Congress Want to make it Illegal to Hold cash, Bitcoin, or Other Assets outside of a Bank*

In the Move towards a Cashless Society India’s GDP Growth Slumps*

IMF Issue Working Paper on Eliminating Cash*

E.U. Desperate to Raises Taxes Starts Cashless Society Project November 2017*

Ban Cash to Help Central Banks stinks of Total Control – NWO’s Cashless Society*

You Pay more while Banks Profiteer in a Cashless Society…that’s the Convenience*

A Pop Star Who Sings About Social Justice Is Uganda’s Newest Legislator*

A Pop Star Who Sings About Social Justice Is Uganda’s Newest Legislator*

By James Propa

 

Bobi Wine at one of his rallies. Photo courtesy of Bobi Wine’s official Facebook page. Used with permission.

 

Following a high-profile election campaign that culminated in his arrest at his final rally, Ugandan pop star Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, famously known as Bobi Wine, is now officially a politician.

Wine is not new to activism. His music has for a while been focused on social justice issues. But singing about policy issues is not enough. On 29 June, he finally crossed the line to become a policy maker after securing a parliamentary seat in Kyadondo, winning 75% of the votes in a by-election.

He began singing about social justice in 2005. During the 2016 general election he refused to take part in a song that praised and campaigned for incumbent President Museveni — who has been in office for three decades — to stay in power. Many top musicians took part in the song that Wine refused to take part in.

One of his more popular songs, “Ghetto”, talks about police brutality against people residing in the slums of Kampala and the inadequate services that delivered to them.

Wine refers to himself as “The Ghetto President” and “Omubanda Wakabaka,” loosely translated as “The King’s Gang Star”. He is the fifth person from the country’s art fraternity to go into politics, following in the footsteps of Ali Ndawula Wowoto, Sulaiman Madada, Judith Babirye and Kato Lubwama, who now serve as members of parliament.

His campaign was characterized by music, with large numbers of musicians, radio personalities and TV presenters turning up and using their social media accounts to push his message to the electorate, employing the hashtag #BikwaseKyagulanyi, which means “hand over everything to Kyagulanyi”.

At his final rally, he was arrested by the police, who alleged that Wine was holding the gathering in a wrong venue close to where President Museveni was campaigning for his candidate. The video below by NTV Uganda, a local broadcaster, shows him being detained. He pleads with the police, saying he is fighting for people’s rights.

 

Nevertheless, he won the by-election handily. He secured 25,659 votes, defeating Sitenda Sebalu, the ruling NRM party candidate, who only received 4,556 votes. Wine’s platform focusing on unemployment and other issues that affect youth, who he believes are misrepresented, captured huge amounts of support.

After he was announced as the winner of the election, he tweeted to his 28,000 followers that something profound has happened in Uganda’s electoral politics.

THE PEOPLE HAVE SPOKEN
This 29th day of June marks a turning point in the politics of our country! History has… https://t.co/4cIbj3mHXu

— BOBI WINE (@HEBobiwine) June 29, 2017

Ugandans took to social media to congratulate the 35 year-old celebrated artist on his election into Parliament. The list of supporters included politicians, musicians and ordinary people on the media platforms.

A few hours before the electoral commission announced the results, NRM Secretary General Justine Lumumba tweeted his message of congratulations:

Congratulations to the people of Kyadondo East, congratulations to @BobiWineOmuband Kyagulanyi Robert Sentamu.

— JustineKasuleLumumba (@JustineLumumba) June 29, 2017

And Kizza Besigye, the first runner up in the 2016 presidential campaign, also came out to applauded Bobi Wine’s victory; Besigye never campaigned for him as his party had fronted another candidate in the election:

Landslide victory for the HE Bobi Wine. Congratulations-PEOPLE POWER!! That’s why Wakiso people weren’t allowed to vote 2016. @FDCOfficial1 pic.twitter.com/8wV7HwuQbY

— Kifefe Kizza-Besigye (@kizzabesigye1) June 29, 2017

 

Fellow artist Jose Chameleone congratulated Bobi Wine on his win:

When we believe, We Achieve.
Congrats to Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi,Family,Friends and Kyadondo East for the remarkable victory .
Leaders are chosen by God. So, May he guide you as you deliver Kyadondo East to the promised Land.

Fellow musicians Radio and Weasel also thanked Bobi Wine for his efforts towards giving the poor a voice through his music and now in politics as well:

You Have Brought The Ghetto UpTown. Congrats Broda Bobi Wine

In the past, Bobi Wine was known for the use of marijuana and beefing with fellow musician Bebe Cool. Yet the people of Kyadondo East were willing to overlook those things and elected him to parliament. The challenge for him going forward is to ensure that he works hard to catch up to his fellow parliamentarians that have been in the legislature for more than a year and deliver on the expectations of the people he represents and the country at large.

Source*

Related Topics:

Uganda Bans Dutch film for ‘glorifying homosexuality’*

Chinese Phosphate Mine Cheated Ugandans of their Land Titles*

Uganda: A Brilliant Genocide*

Jews Kicked Out Of Uganda*

Newborns Being Stolen from top Uganda Hospital*

Charging By Solar Energy in Uganda Gets Popular in U.S.

Hundreds of British Artists Announce Cultural Boycott of Israel*

To Inspire Artists to Become Activists*

‘Our future is slavery, West gets everything’ in Mineral-rich, Money-poor Congo*

‘Our future is slavery, West gets everything’ in Mineral-rich, Money-poor Congo*

 

RT Documentary travels to the vast, near-landlocked Democratic Republic of Congo, prized for its mineral resources, but plagued by centuries of colonial rule, dictatorship, civil wars and lawlessness, and meets people trying to make a living in one of the most desperate places on Earth.

 

The documentary crew’s key to understanding the country, seven times the size of Germany, was Bernard Kalume Buleri, born in 1960, the same year DRC was granted its independence from Belgium. Buleri served as an interpreter, guide, and finally the hero and symbol of the country, having been a direct participant in some of its bloodiest chapters.

 

Bernard Kalume Buleri/RT Documentary ‘Congo, My Precious’ / RT

 

“I can’t say that the Congolese, we are in control of our destiny. No, because the ones who benefit from our minerals are not the local population, but Western countries are the ones who are taking everything. They make themselves rich, while we are getting poorer and poorer, says Buleri.

 

The country of almost 80 million is one of the world’s largest exporters of diamonds, coltan – essential for electronics – and has massive deposits of copper, tin and cobalt.

“I’m afraid even for my children. Because they will continue in this system to be slaves forever. We’ll never be powerful enough to challenge the Western countries. So, the future will be the future of slaves,” Buleri continues.

 

There is plenty of blame to go around for the predicament of what is also a fertile and scenic land.

With almost no educated elite, DRC was poorly-prepared for its separation from Belgian rule, now best remembered for the atrocity-filled reign of King Leopold II, which may have killed up to half of the country’s population.

 

The vacuum was filled by the archetype-setting African kleptocrat Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled the country for more than three decades, until he was deposed in 1997, plunging Africa into a series of continent-wide conflicts that may have resulted in as many 5 million deaths through violence, starvation and disease.

The country’s below-ground wealth means that it was never left alone for long enough to reform and wean itself off its reliance on metals and gems – the widely-mentioned “mineral curse.” The mines the RT crew passes are now owned by local warlords, chiefs and officials, with exports mostly going to China.

Salinga Prosper is a coltan and cassiterite prospector at the Mokengu Family Mine, located a two-hour walk away from the village of Tchonka. Every day, he wakes up at 4am, walks by foot to the mine, and works till sunset, digging for metals that he will sell at 1/20th of the price they will eventually fetch on the market.

“We are always hungry. We do this so our children don’t starve,” he tells the RT crew.

“What else can we do in this region? This is our destiny. Anyone not strong enough joins the army or the gangsters. But the strong, we work here.”

 

Millions of locals – perhaps one-fifth of the adult population, at some point – are employed in what is known as artisanal mining, inefficient small-scale prospecting with simple handheld tools, with no safety measures or guaranteed wages. But for a country that ranks 227th out of 230 for GDP per capita, according to World Bank data, any job at all is a matter of survival.

 

“At least we can earn something, not like when we were just unpaid slaves,” Wassa Mokengu, the mine owner, who likes to remind his employees that they used to be paid with rice and salt in colonial times, tells the documentary makers.

The acceptance of their circumstances by the Congolese is in equal parts dispiriting and admirable. Bulemi himself says that he paid a Hutu militia the equivalent of $5 to shoot – not cut apart – his Tutsi wife in Rwanda, when they came to slaughter her with a machete during the genocide.

He found his second wife, then a prostitute, in a local bar back in his homeland, and has started a new family, though he admits that he is haunted by the past, and anxious about the future.

“I’m struggling: I try to stay stable, I try to have a normal life. But inside me… sometimes I feel I’m dead,” he says. “We don’t understand what kind of system they have put in to rule this world. I don’t talk about other countries; I’m talking about my country, my family. And the worst, I don’t see a solution – I don’t think there is a solution.”

 

“Congo, My Precious” will be broadcast on RT on July 5, 6 and 9, and on RTD every day between July 5-12. It will also be available online here.

Source*

Related Topics:

The Congolese in their Struggle for Freedom*

The Secret Race to get Congo’s Uranium to Destroy Hiroshima*

How the World Runs on Looting the Congo*

The U.S. and the Wars in the Sahel*

Fire Risk Consultant Told Authorities ‘Bury’ Grenfell Tower Safety Assessment Report*

Fire Risk Consultant Told Authorities ‘Bury’ Grenfell Tower Safety Assessment Report*

Man passes a wall of graffiti near the Grenfell Tower which was destroyed in a fire in London. | Photo: Reuters

 

Reports from fire safety inspections detail numerous maintenance violations dating back to 2012.

The fire risk consultant who inspected Grenfell Tower reportedly told the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization (KCTMO) to “bury” the fire safety assessment.

Carl Stokes, who was contracted by the property management company as their fire risk assessor, advised KCTMO of their right to withhold the report from London Fire Brigade, a damning statement which detailed the building’s many safety hazards.

According to Mail on Sunday, the company’s consultant stated that delivering the report of fire risks could potentially require KCTMO to undergo further, expensive “additional fire safety measures”.

Failure to maintain or inspect escape staircases, fire extinguishers, emergency escape lighting were a few violations documented in the report delivered to KCTMO in November 2012.

“The fire extinguisher in the basement boiler room, the lift motor room, the ground-floor electrical room plus other areas were out of date, according to the contractor’s label on the extinguishers,” the report reads.

When Stokes was recommended to the company by housing official Janice Wray, she described him as a good alternative due to his “competitive pricing” and particularly for being “willing to challenge the fire brigade on our behalf if he considered their [safety] requirements to be excessive.”

“Some located in the roof level areas [of Grenfell Tower] had ‘condemned’ written on them in large black writing, with a last test date of 2009 or 2010…This seems to indicate that monthly occupier inspects are not being carried out,” the report continued.

Inside Housing states a fire report from 2012 indicated missing “switch panels” and the building’s construction as a potential fire hazard. The panels installed four years later ultimately failed to pass fire safety tests and have been linked to the tragic fire which occurred in June.

The property management company stated that all building renovations were overseen and managed by local authorities from the Building Control Department according to the Building Regulation process.

Stokes was registered as the organization’s fire inspector from 2010-2016 and has received regular payments amounting to US$316,465 with the last assessment taking place in 2015.

KCTMO stated, “CS Stokes and Associates Ltd is confident that its fire risk assessment work was carried out to the highest professional standards.”

“Director Carl Stokes has 19 years’ fire safety experience with local Fire Authorities, in enforcement and auditing roles and eight years as an independent fire risk assessor and fully stands by the recommendations made in his risk assessments.”

Stokes worked for the company for seven years which, according to his website, is the full extent of his career as a fire inspector Inside Housing reports. Additionally board papers salvaged from 2016 indicate the inspector maintaining a close relationship with the LFB (London Fire Brigade).

KCTMO have managed over 10,000 homes, including Grenfell Tower, and received the sum of US$14,250,005 from the council.

The fire which tore through the Grenfell Tower June 14 and left at least 80 dead and it’s speculated many more, due to the number of undocumented population in the building. Authorities believe that the full list causality may not be known until next year.

Source*

Related Topics:

Jeremy Corbyn Praises Muslim Heroes of Grenfell Tower fire in Eid Message*

London Residents Speak the Truth about the Grenfell Tower Fire

For British MP Grenfell Tower Fire Was an Inside Job*

Grenfell Tower Block Fire Survivors Storm London Town Hall*

Grenfell Tower Resident Praise Muslim Youth for their Bravery in Helping Survivors*

Tens of Thousands Swarm London in Massive Elite Uprising, Media Silence*

Demonetisation 2.0: Indian Businesses Brace for Biggest-ever Tax Reform*

Demonetisation 2.0: Indian Businesses Brace for Biggest-ever Tax Reform*

Businessman Pankaj Jain is so worried about the impending launch of a new sales tax in India that he is thinking of shutting down his tiny textile factory for a month to give himself time to adjust.

Jain is one of millions of small business owners who face wrenching change from India’s biggest tax reform since independence that will unify the country’s $2 trillion economy and 1.3 billion people into a common market.

But he is simply not ready for a regime that from July 1 will for the first time tax the bed linen his 10 workers make, and require him to file his taxes every month online.

On the desk in his tiny office in Meerut, two hours drive northeast of New Delhi, lay two calculators. Turning to open a metal cabinet, he pulled out a hand-written ledger to show how he keeps his books.

“We will have to hire an accountant – and get a computer,” the thickset 52-year-old told Reuters, as a dozen ancient power looms clattered away in the ramshackle workshop next door.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government says that by replacing several federal and state taxes, the new Goods and Services Tax (GST) will make life simpler for business.

To drive home the point, Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan has appeared in a promotional video in which he weaves a cat’s cradle between the fingers of his hands – symbolising India’s thicket of old taxes.

With a flourish, the tangle is gone and Bachchan proclaims: “One nation, one tax, one market!”

Not so simple

By tearing down barriers between India’s 29 states, the GST should deliver efficiency gains to larger businesses. HSBC estimates the reform could add 0.4% to economic growth.

Yet at the local chapter of the Indian Industries Association, which groups 6,500 smaller enterprises nationwide, the talk is about how to cope in the aftermath of the GST rollout.

“In the initial months, there may be utter confusion,” said chairman Ashok Malhotra, who runs one firm that manufactures voltage stabilisers and a second that makes timing equipment for boxing contests.

A big concern is the Indian GST’s sheer complexity – with rates of 5%, 12%, 18% and 28%, and myriad exceptions, it contrasts with simpler, flatter and broader sales taxes in other countries.

The official schedule of GST rates runs to 213 pages and has undergone repeated last-minute changes. “Rubber goods are taxed at 12%; sporting goods at 18%.

I make rubber sporting goods so what tax am I supposed to pay?” asks Anurag Agarwal, the local IIA secretary.

Grace period?

The top government official responsible for coordinating the GST rollout rebuts complaints from bosses that the tax is too complex, adding that the IT back-end that will drive it – crunching up to 5 billion invoices a month – is robust.

“It is a technological marvel, as well as a fiscal marvel,” Revenue Secretary Hasmukh Adhia told Reuters in an interview.

The government will, however, allow firms to file simplified returns for July and August.

From September they must file a total of 37 online returns annually – three each month and one at the year’s end – for each state they operate in.

One particular concern is how a new feature of the GST, the input tax credit, will work. This allows a company to claim refunds on its inputs and means it should only pay tax on the value it adds.

The structure will encourage companies to buy from suppliers that are GST-compliant, so that tax credits can flow down a supply chain.

That spells bad news for small firms hesitating to shift into the formal economy.

The government estimates smaller companies account for 45% of manufacturing and employ more than 117 million people.

Adhia played down the risk of job losses, however, saying this would be offset by new service sector jobs.

Demonetisation 2.0

The prospect of disruption is drawing comparisons with Modi’s decision last November to scrap high-value bank notes that made up 86% of the cash in circulation, in a bid to purge illicit “black money” from the system.

The note ban caused severe disruption to India’s cash-driven economy and slammed the brakes on growth, which slowed to a two-year low in the quarter to March.

“It could throw the business out of gear – it can affect your volumes by at least 30%,” said the head of one large cement company in the Delhi region.

Back in Meerut, Pankaj Jain worries that hiring an accountant and charging 5% GST on his bedsheets could eat up to two-thirds of his annual profits of 400,000-500,000 rupees ($6,210-$7,760).

“I know my costs will go up, but I don’t know about my income,” he said.

“I might even have to shut up shop completely and go into trading.”

Source*

Related Topics:

The New Imperial Roman Empire*

In the Move towards a Cashless Society India’s GDP Growth Slumps*

IMF Issue Working Paper on Eliminating Cash*

Congress Want to make it Illegal to Hold cash, Bitcoin, or Other Assets outside of a Bank*

E.U. Picks Up Speed in the War on Cash*

E.U. Desperate to Raises Taxes Starts Cashless Society Project November 2017*

How Greece Became a Guinea Pig for a Cashless and Controlled Society*

 

Macron Faces Opposition Despite Absolute Majority in French National Assembly*

Macron Faces Opposition Despite Absolute Majority in French National Assembly*

By Abayomi Azikiwe

French President Emmanuel Macron appeared to have been in an advantageous position to govern Europe’s second most significant state in the aftermath of a resounding victory in the parliamentary elections on June 18 where La Republique en March (LaRem) won an overwhelming majority.

Nonetheless, in a matter of days Macron’s cabinet was marred by several resignations of ministers from the centrist Democratic Movement (MoDem) which has supported the ruling party. The announcement that these officials were the focus of a corruption investigation assured their departure since one key aspect of the president’s campaign pledges was the promise to maintain a transparent government.

Amid the scandal Macron reshuffled his cabinet replacing the departing ministers with individuals who are far less known in French national politics. Justice Minister Francois Bayrou along with European Affairs Minister Marielle de Sarnez, both of whom are MoDem party leading members, submitted their resignations from the cabinet on June 21. The news of their departures came just one day after Defense Minister Sylvie Goulard‘s unexpected resignation on June 20. Goulard is also with the MoDem party.

Allegations have surfaced that the MoDem misused European parliamentary funds to hire aids that were stationed in France. Even with these resignations of MoDem officials, LaRem still maintains an absolute majority.

Former Socialist government functionary Florence Parly, who has been employed at major French transport companies, was appointed as defense minister. Nicole Belloubet, considered an expert in the legal field, was designated to take over the justice ministry. Switching from the Ministry of Agriculture, Jacques Mezard, is being assigned to territorial planning. Stephane Travert, a Macron loyalist, will serve as agricultural minister.

On June 25, Macron’s former Socialist Party decided to cast its vote against a motion of confidence in the new government. Therefore, the Socialists will become key players in the opposition although they have been decimated by the ascendancy of the centrist LaRem which was founded only a year ago.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe and President Emmanuel Macron

 

Socialists hold less than 40 seats in the National Assembly posing no threat to the ability of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to win approval of the cabinet and the policy initiatives which will be delivered in a speech on July 4. In addition to opposition from the Socialist Party, Macron will face ideologues in the conservative Les Républicains (LR) party, the putative far-left MPs from Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Unbowed party and Marine Le Pen’s neo-fascist National Front. One faction within the LR party, known as “the Constructives,” appears to be harboring a more moderate line on the new government.

Philippe, who is 47, is a member of the LRs, the center-right party. He was appointed by Macron as prime minister on May 15.

Macron, who has a background as an investment banker, and Philippe, a lawyer and member of the moderate right-wing, have made claims of bridging the traditional left-right political polarization in France. This notion of a third way, must be examined closely in regard to the actual policies that will be implemented inside the country and abroad.

Challenges to the French Labor Movement

Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the LaRem majority government will be its efforts to institute reforms in labor law. These proposals will ostensibly make it much easier for employers to hire and terminate workers.

However, with high unemployment, miniscule growth rates and the decline in career jobs with unionized protection, the question remains whether the neo-liberal reforms will actually provide incentives for the creation of broader opportunities among working class people. In many ways developments in France are a reflection of the character of the labor markets in most western capitalist states since the mid-to-late 1970s.

French demonstrations against Macron a day after the May 7 elections (Source: Abayomi Azikiwe)

 

Foreign Policy magazine noted in a recent article written by George Ross who speculated on the potential for labour unrest in response to the Macron reforms, saying:

“well-protected jobs have declined and less secure service jobs have expanded, the labour market has become segmented between a diminishing number of workers with stable contracts and an expanding group in more precarious situations, a trend accentuated by lower growth and higher unemployment. Union membership has declined from nearly 30% of the workforce in the 1970s to 11% today — and much of that is concentrated in the public sector. Strikes, for which France was once notorious, have declined in parallel.” (June 20)”

In the United States which has the largest capitalist economy in the world where a series of recessions have occurred over the last 45 years, a similar situation for workers prevails. Unionization has gone down to 6.4% in the private sector and 34.4% in the public sector, totally 14.6 million workers.

This represents a dramatic downturn for representation of employees. In 1983, the first year that such statistics were compiled, 20.1 percent of workers were unionized constituting 17.7 million people. Consequently, the precipitous decline in union membership overall has weakened the capacity of the working class to challenge the imposition of draconian restructuring mandates that have resulted in the lowering of real wages in the U.S.

Since the public sector now has more than a 500 percent greater rate of unionization than private industry it is not surprising that large-scale attacks by the capitalist class have been leveled against civil servants and educational employees. Notions that privatization of municipal services and schools are inherently more efficient serves as a propagandistic cover for weakening and dismantling unions. This offensive against unionized employees coincides with the worsening of standards and social conditions within the large metropolitan areas related to educational quality and the maintenance of urban infrastructure.

In France, the trade unions could possibly wage the strongest resistance to the labor reforms proposed by the LaRem government. The General Confederation of Labor (CGT) has gone on record opposing the proposed efforts by Macron to further stifle the working class.

Although the CGT severed its links with the French Communist Party in 1995, the general strike of that year remains within the collective consciousness of the ruling elites. Protracted labor unrest in France would have a major impact on the European Union (EU) as a whole, potentially prompting public sector unions in other states to oppose further reforms and therefore dampening the efforts by both Paris and Berlin to forge closer ties in the absence of Britain’s departure (Brexit) from the continental economic project.

As Ross noted in the above-mentioned report in Foreign Policy,

“should the CGT decide to pull the trigger, it could push for public sector strikes, particularly in transportation, to try to bring France to a halt. It can anticipate at least some public support for this. France remains France: The country’s militant, left-leaning, and protest-prone subculture still exists, ready to be stimulated by labor action. La France Insoumise (France Unbowed), a coalition of radical left-wing groups led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who won just under 20 percent in the first round of the presidential election — about the same number that the now-eclipsed French Communist Party won in the 1970s — did reasonably well in the parliamentary vote and has talked of new resistance.”

“Centrist” Foreign Policy Merges with U.S. Imperatives on Russia

One significant indication of the international posture of the Macron-Philippe regime was the announcement that France will not recognize Crimea as being a part of the Russian Federation stemming from a 2014 referendum during the period of the aftermath of a right-wing coup in Ukraine which led to a civil war between Kiev and regions in the West of the country.

President of France Emmanuel Macron with President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko

 

 

The new French president held talks with his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, in Paris after the June 24 visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to Crimea. Poroshenko condemned Putin’s visit as a violation of Ukrainian sovereignty. EU member-states recently agreed to extend their sanctions against Moscow accusing the Putin government of not honoring the Minsk Accords ostensibly aimed at ending the fighting between anti-Kiev forces and the western-backed regime of Poroshenko.

With the election of U.S. President Donald Trump in November partly based upon his pseudo-protectionist “America First” rhetoric and the vote by the British people to withdraw from the EU in June of last year, France and Germany are attempting to close ranks in order to salvage the more conventional brand of 21st century globalization. Nevertheless, with the fracturing of the western capitalist leaders involving differences over how to proceed in the current period may pose serious obstacles to a much-desired economic recovery in France.

Source*

Related Topics:

Macron to Put France in a ‘Permanent State of Emergency’*

Macron an American Trojan horse in the Elysee Palace*

Macron Dumps Parliamentary Candidate after Israel Lobby Pressure*

 

Jeremy Corbyn Praises Muslim Heroes of Grenfell Tower fire in Eid Message*

Jeremy Corbyn Praises Muslim Heroes of Grenfell Tower fire in Eid Message*

 

 

In his Eid al-Fitr message to British Muslims, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn praises the Muslim heroes of the Grenfell Tower fire who bravely came to the rescue of residents after Tarawih prayers.

Source*

Related Topics:

London Residents Speak the Truth about the Grenfell Tower Fire

For British MP Grenfell Tower Fire Was an Inside Job*

Grenfell Tower Block Fire Survivors Storm London Town Hall*

Grenfell Tower Resident Praise Muslim Youth for their Bravery in Helping Survivors*

Muslims Ramadhan Waking may have saved Grenfell Tower Residents’ Lives*

27 Apartment Blocks in 15 areas fail Fire Tests – UK gov’t*