France's Wage Crisis

The Growing Unrest Surrounding France's Wage Crisis Is Eerily Reminiscent Of What We Are Facing In The U.S.

An uprising that has left four dead.

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These past few weekends have seen a tumultuous period in France's socioeconomic history, as protests erupted on the streets of Paris in response to a rise in fuel taxes. While that tax has since been rescinded and major reformations in economic policy have eliminated the original notions of taxing low-income pensioners and overtime pay, the movement against President Emmanuel Macron's government has transcended across the working and middle classes as an outcry against the increased costs of living in France — a clear clarion call of dissent that stands against the ideals that were promised by the recently-minted government.

President Macron was elected in 2017 to lead France on a campaign that was dedicated to helping establish much-needed economic reform and stability to lower class citizens in addition to an essential restoration of villages and neighborhoods with diminishing public services. Instead, his policies would have cut minimum income by approximately 20% and would also have caused an even more poignant division in the wage gap between the rich and poor.

The streets of Paris have seen considerable upticks in violent protests as groups of "yellow vest protestors" have demonstrated against the oppressive policies suggested by President Macron — an uprising that has left four dead. Approximately 1,000 people have been detained and hundreds injured as these dissenters clashed with the 90,000 officers deployed nationwide in response.

Six top-tier French football league matches were postponed as a result of the unrest, and national sites such as the Louvre were closed down in an effort to contain the situation. Despite the havoc wreaked by the protests, there is still widespread support for the movement, as evidenced by a poll held by French newspaper "Le Figaro" showing that 78% of respondents believe that the protestors are fighting in the best interests of the French Republic.

The proliferation of the Yellow Vest Movement through social media such as Facebook has led to its rapid dissemination amongst the general population, fueling anger against the Macron Administration for a perceived tyrannical rise in the cost of living.

While the protests have died down in intensity since their initial violent inception, there is still an undercurrent of caution surrounding the citizenry and the government, as Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced a continuous police presence across various regions of France (complete with armored vehicles) and popular tourist destinations such as the Eiffel Tower have remained shut down.

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An Open Letter To Democrats From A Millennial Republican

Why being a Republican doesn't mean I'm inhuman.
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Dear Democrats,

I have a few things to say to you — all of you.

You probably don't know me. But you think you do. Because I am a Republican.

Gasp. Shock. Horror. The usual. I know it all. I hear it every time I come out of the conservative closet here at my liberal arts university.

SEE ALSO: What I Mean When I Say I'm A Young Republican

“You're a Republican?" people ask, saying the word in the same tone that Draco Malfoy says “Mudblood."

I know that not all Democrats feel about Republicans this way. Honestly, I can't even say for certain that most of them do. But in my experience, saying you're a Republican on a liberal college campus has the same effect as telling someone you're a child molester.

You see, in this day and age, with leaders of the Republican Party standing up and spouting unfortunately ridiculous phrases like “build a wall," and standing next to Kim Davis in Kentucky after her release, we Republicans are given an extreme stereotype. If you're a Republican, you're a bigot. You don't believe in marriage equality. You don't believe in racial equality. You don't believe in a woman's right to choose. You're extremely religious and want to impose it on everyone else.

Unfortunately, stereotypes are rooted in truth. There are some people out there who really do think these things and feel this way. And it makes me mad. The far right is so far right that they make the rest of us look bad. They make sure we aren't heard. Plenty of us are fed up with their theatrics and extremism.

For those of us brave enough to wear the title “Republican" in this day and age, as millennials, it's different. Many of us don't agree with these brash ideas. I'd even go as far as to say that most of us don't feel this way.

For me personally, being a Republican doesn't even mean that I automatically vote red.

When people ask me to describe my political views, I usually put it pretty simply. “Conservative, but with liberal social views."

“Oh," they say, “so you're a libertarian."

“Sure," I say. But that's the thing. I'm not really a libertarian.

Here's what I believe:

I believe in marriage equality. I believe in feminism. I believe in racial equality. I don't want to defund Planned Parenthood. I believe in birth control. I believe in a woman's right to choose. I believe in welfare. I believe more funds should be allocated to the public school system.

Then what's the problem? Obviously, I'm a Democrat then, right?

Wrong. Because I have other beliefs too.

Yes, I believe in the right to choose — but I'd always hope that unless a pregnancy would result in the bodily harm of the woman, that she would choose life. I believe in welfare, but I also believe that our current system is broken — there are people who don't need it receiving it, and others who need it that cannot access it.

I believe in capitalism. I believe in the right to keep and bear arms, because I believe we have a people crisis on our hands, not a gun crisis. Contrary to popular opinion, I do believe in science. I don't believe in charter schools. I believe in privatizing as many things as possible. I don't believe in Obamacare.

Obviously, there are other topics on the table. But, generally speaking, these are the types of things we millennial Republicans get flack for. And while it is OK to disagree on political beliefs, and even healthy, it is NOT OK to make snap judgments about me as a person. Identifying as a Republican does not mean I am the same as Donald Trump.

Just because I am a Republican, does not mean you know everything about me. That does not give you the right to make assumptions about who I am as a person. It is not OK for you to group me with my stereotype or condemn me for what I feel and believe. And for a party that prides itself on being so open-minded, it shocks me that many of you would be so judgmental.

So I ask you to please, please, please reexamine how you view Republicans. Chances are, you're missing some extremely important details. If you only hang out with people who belong to your own party, chances are you're missing out on great people. Because, despite what everyone believes, we are not our stereotype.

Sincerely,

A millennial Republican

Cover Image Credit: NEWSWORK.ORG

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The EU's 'Article 13' Might Mark The End Of Fandoms

Content might end up being censored and taken down from the Internet.

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Today is such a dark day for the Internet — Article 13, a set of broad copyright regulations, has been passed in the EU. For those who are not informed, Article 13 is a copyright law that critics say will lead to European Internet users' content being pre-screened for copyright-protected material. This could affect one of the most dedicated groups of internet users: fandoms. Fandoms are groups of fans who share a strong and passionate interest for an anime, a movie, a TV show, a band, or celebrity, etc.

How does Article 13 truly affect fandoms? It destroys the fandoms' ways of expressing their creativity and love. This includes fan art, fan fiction, fan music covers, and even fan blogs on the Internet. All of this content will end up being censored and taken down from the Internet.

Why should we care? Believe it or not, but fandoms aren't just small groups of fans. They involve numerous people! Also, fandoms not only hold an influence on the success of a particular TV show and certain franchises, but also fandoms have helped improve many people's mental health. By mental health, many people have built many friendships and connections due to a common interest, giving people a sense of belonging and a feeling of home. Considering this, it's such a shame that European users who belong to numerous fandoms will no longer be able to have access to fandoms anymore.

As a fan artist, this truly impacts me. Not only do I lose a European audience, but this also destroys my freedom of creativity and my way of self-expression. Fan art has helped me improve my drawing style and in fact, allows me to show my love and support for a fandom. By contributing fan art, not only do I promote myself but I also show my honesty as an artist in the things I love. And I believe every other fan-artist feels the same way!

For those who want to help save fandoms and even help those living in Europe, one thing you can do to help and save fandoms is to spread the word! Let people know the bad things about Article 13 and tell people how Article 13 affects you. Let people know that a future without fandoms is unacceptable.

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