Saturday, December 8, 2018

And he's so well-informed

Not sure where that "We want Trump" business came from.   I saw it once a couple of days ago, but can't remember where.*  Obviously, they are not chanting that in the streets of France.

More importantly, they are not rioting "all over France" (though there are protests in several places) nor are they rioting about protecting the environment and the Paris Agreement.  They're rioting about their poor economic condition and the announcement of gas price hikes, which Macron backed down from because of the rioting.

Does Trump really not know this, or is he just assuming his base won't know, so he can pretend the Paris riots are for whatever reason he wants them to be?

Lots of people are on the national minimum wage (about 14,900 euros a year) and many more cluster around the median wage of about 22,000 gross, with charges to pay. So the French have their health, education and pensions mostly taken care of but have little disposable income.

Coupled with this is huge personal dislike of Macron - more of the man than of his policies. (He was able to do the labour-market reforms that no president had dared for 20 years with fairly little opposition.)

And this relatively poor country has a capital city that has been dripping with wealth for centuries - so the shops in Paris are a provocative sight to most French people. So is the de facto royal court of elite Parisians that assembles around every French president.

BUT let's not exaggerate the level of turmoil in France. Two weeks ago, there were more people at the (barely reported) women's march in Paris than the 8,000 gilets jaunes who demonstrated the same day.

The international attention took off after the violence on the Champs-Elysees last week. Spectacular images of fires, fights, tear gas. But that was done by a minority of 'casseurs' (literally: 'breakers'), violent anarchists who are part of the French tradition.

There's some overlap between the casseurs and gilets jaunes but latter group is much larger. Yet the violence suggested a country in revolution - which France is not.

*  I did a little checking...Here's an NBC video report from a few days ago (which attributes the "We want Trump" claim to Charlie Kirk**, a prominent Trump cheerleader):

Apparently, the "We want Trump" meme is making its way around right wing circles.  A copy of this MSNBC video is posted under an account called "Come and See" under the title Paris Riots, they are chanting in the streets ‘We want Trump’.


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