Anyone who has been following the Gilets Jaunes’ struggle since November 2018 will appreciate to what extent France is slipping into 21st century neoliberal-style fascism.
From the sheer physical violence of the state’s attacks on protesters, through its draconian use of bans on protests and “pre-emptive” arrests, to the cover-up and denial of what is happening by politicians and their tame media, the situation is truly alarming.
We can expect more evidence of this in coming days when the full force of Macron’s Reich will be deployed to prevent any signs of dissent against the G7 summit in Biarritz, in French-occupied Euskadi.
But to understand the extent to which this authoritarian cancer has riddled French society from top to bottom, it is instructive to look at what has been happening in recent weeks in the little southern village of St Jean du Gard.
The place is hardly a hotbed of radicalism. However, this year a local group has been active opposing the imposition of Linky smart electricity meters and generally challenging the right-wing mayor, Michel Ruas.
The astonishing thing is that all they have been doing is handing out leaflets – mainly at the weekly market, which has been held on Tuesday mornings for a thousand years.
Incredibly, the mayor passed a law banning all leafleting for a year. Even more incredibly, the authorities from the Gard department have backed up this totalitarian gesture by sending in cohorts of cops to enforce it and to threaten those who stand up for their basic freedom of speech.
An update from local campaigners on Tuesday August 20 reported that the morning’s market had again been targeted by Macron’s uniformed thugs.
A week previously, there had been a call-out for supporters to come from around the area to challenge the year-long ban on all leafleting (unless “authorised” by the mayor/dictator Ruas) issued on July 31.
But on August 20 there was just a little Stop Linky stand as there has been every week for months.
When a woman campaigner held up a photocopy of the mayor’s new Nazi-style law to show a passer-by, the zealous gendarmes decided a ‘leafleting’ offence had been committed and tried to fine the woman.
This aggressive move shocked everyone present, but the cops weren’t finished there and not only kept pursuing the woman but used force against those trying to defend her from them, pinning people violently against a wall.
They also turned on passers-by who remonstrated with them, accusing one disabled person using a crutch of possessing an offensive weapon!
Say campaigners: “These measures are unacceptable and revolting. We are therefore calling for a protest on Tuesday August 27 from 9am at the market of Saint Jean du Gard”.
International solidarity with the freedom fighters of St Jean du Gard!
1. Basque rebels prepare hot reception for G7 leaders
The welcome awaiting Macron, Trump and the other G7 world leaders in Biarritz later this month promises to be not so much warm as hot.
The Basques already have a proud tradition of anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggle.
But from August 24 to 26 the opposition to the summit will be bolstered by the mass participation of the Gilets Jaunes, or Yellow Vests, who have been protesting every week non-stop since November 2018.
Not only is the G7 being hosted by their primary hate-figure in President Macron, but it will also receive – in the words of the Bayonne group of Gilets Jaunes – ‘world leaders who defend an ultra-liberal economy which offers us nothing’.
Gilets Jaunes were already active in Biarritz in December, when protests against a preliminary G7 meeting were met with tear gas and rubber bullets.
In April L’Express newspaper reported that the French authorities were preparing for “an explosive G7”.
And in July, more than a month before the actual summit, there were already a thousand people taking to the streets to voice their opposition.
The summit comes at a time when repression is reaching dizzy levels in France.
The first six months of the Gilets Jaunes uprising alone saw 2,448 protesters injured. Of these, 24 lost an eye and five had a hand blown off by police grenades, according to Le Journal Du Dimanche.
Protests are being banned all over the country each weekend and Gilets Jaunes regularly arrested on “suspicion” of being about to commit an offence, before they have had the chance to do anything.
This has filtered down to a local level, empowering one right-wing mayor in the Gard department, stung by criticism from local campaigners, to ban all leafleting in the town centre for an entire year!
Campaign group G7 EZ (“No to the G7, for another world”) warn that the summit will inevitably involve significant restrictions on people’s freedom of movement and the right to protest.
They say: “It imposes a real state of siege and a choking police occupation (a number of 15,000 soldiers and policemen has been announced)”.
But the protesters are determined not to let this stop them.
They add: “Why should we accept all this without reacting? As for the usefulness of the G7, no one believes in it any more, no one wants it any more. It is a waste of public money and the best solution is a pure and simple disbanding of the G7.
“We will join forces against the G7 in August 2019 in the Basque Country because the world it embodies must change deeply and urgently.
“Building another world is possible and urgent. And from the Basque country, we must also take part in it.
“Here too joining forces and sharing projects so as to change our model have multiplied: to stop climatic changes, in favour of freedom of movement, for the protection of the interests of workers against gender domination, for the cultural and linguistic diversity, against war and in favour of peace.
“That’s why while we refuse this G7 summit, we intend to reinforce our struggle for a social change”.
A Jamaican-British man has encountered shocking first-hand proof of the way that the global capitalist elite is profiteering from climate concerns.
John Lennon contacted The Acorn to explain how he had proposed a scheme to allow state schools in Jamaica to generate their own electricity.
There is plenty of free sunshine in the Caribbean and a payback period of under four years means solar-powered schools would be economically viable and installation would not end up costing taxpayers a dollar.
Said John: “Simply apply prudence: instead of using taxpayers’ money to indefinitely pay electricity bills, schools should service fixed-term loan agreements – with repayments lower than bills – to pay for their own electricity-generating facilities”.
Although nobody could point to any flaws in John’s plan, he has met with a complete rebuff from the Jamaican government and the UN Development Programme (UNDP).
Mainstream journalists have also given him a polite brush-off and he has come to appreciate the extent of the UN’s involvement in the “climate capitalism” scam which has hoodwinked too many environmentalists into cheerleading for an industrial capitalist agenda.
John told us: “One has to question the purpose of the UN and its Sustainable Development Goals. The whole thing is a joke”.
The UN’s sheer hypocrisy is breathtaking. On one hand it pumps out a load of pious spin using hashstags like #MoreEqualWorld, pointing out that “26 people own the same amount of wealth as the poorest 3.8 billion people combined”.
On the other hand, as this recent post on the Wrong Kind of Green website explores, it plays a central role in maintaining the global capitalist dictatorship.
Earlier this summer a statement from the UNDP confirmed the 100% capitalist agenda behind its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It referred to the Business Commission on Sustainable Development at Davos, which reckoned achieving the SDGs could “open up an estimated US$12 trillion in market opportunities”.
“The SDGs are the business plan for people and the planet,” boasted Anna Ryott, a Steering Group member and Board Chair of Stockholm-based Summa Equity. “Investments can be both profitable and sustainable”.
Cohen is a leading venture capitalist who is notorious in the UK for bankrolling Tony Blair’s neoliberal “New Labour” government.
Alongside him sit the likes of John Denton, who “serves on the Board of leading global infrastructure group IFM Investors” and Anna Ryott of Summa Equity, with her proud record of “investing in impact tech entrepreneurs”.
There is also leading Chinese banker Ma Weihua and “veteran economist and business leader” Rajiv Lall, whose expertise spans international and macro-economics, banking, capital markets, infrastructure finance and private equity/venture capital.
A strange line-up for an organisation supposedly acting in the interests of the world’s poor!
The macrocosm of the UN’s profit-based corporate agenda is reflected in the microcosm of the UNDP Jamaica website.
Articles are packed with corporate clichés of “entrepreneurship” and “stakeholders”, alongside the usual babble about “youth engagement” and building a “better world”.
Dr Elsie Laurence-Chounoune, UNDP representative in Jamaica, writes that the “UNDP remains committed to advancing sustainable human development and working collaboratively to mainstream Climate Change mitigation and adaptation into development processes”.
Not a hint here that it is this capitalist “development” which has caused the environmental crisis, just a desire to ensure that attempts to combat that crisis do not threaten the ongoing profiteering of the ruling elite and can be safely absorbed into “development processes”.
In the light of all this, it is clear that the UN, and other representatives of the corporate system, have no interest at all in renewable energy schemes like the one proposed by John, which would benefit local schools and communities without offering massive profit opportunities for big business.
They will never enable renewable energy for its own sake, but only as yet another lucrative means for the extremely rich to get extremely richer.
And that, as Cory Morningstar and others never tire of pointing out, is what this whole climate capitalist scam – with its “sustainable” growth, “green” industrial revolution and “smart” living – is really all about.
As John says: “Greed is the driving force and this needs to be exposed”.
Trees are getting in the way of the sinister new techno-future lined up for us all.
Corporate engineers are complaining that the roll-out of 5G is being held up by these inconvenient remnants of the natural world.
They are trying to work out how to ensure nobody is beyond the reach of the smart-fascist system.
And it increasingly looks as if this is what has provoked the massacre of thousands of healthy trees in cities like Newcastle, Edinburgh and Sheffield, all 5G trial areas.
5G uses “millimeter waves”, broadcast at frequencies between 30 and 300 GHz, previously only used for communication between satellites and radar systems.
But millimeter waves can’t easily travel through buildings or other solid objects, so 5G will take advantage of “small cells” — smaller miniature based stations that can be placed about every 250 meters throughout dense urban areas. These provide much better coverage in such locations. Unless they are blocked by trees.
Damning evidence on this issue comes in a report from the 5G Innovation Centre at the Institute for Communication Systems at the University of Surrey.
This states: “In the past the priority for planning authorities has been to reduce mobile mast heights so that masts are visually screened by buildings and/or trees – with trees being the highest and more likely obstruction.
“However this also screens the RF signals and has defeated the objective of reliable coverage… it is necessary for the tree height to be at least 3m less than the base station height.
“Having adjacent trees and or building at comparable heights to the mast can reduce coverage by as much as 70% in that direction, which is not in the interests of the operator, the local planning authorities and more importantly the mobile phone user.
“This is the source of many of today’s mobile coverage issues for consumers in many rural locations”.
A Sunday Times report in 2018 revealed that more than 110,000 trees had been chopped down in three years by councils across the UK — equivalent to a sixth of the size of Sherwood Forest.
The vigiliae.org campaign site warns that it looks as if “millions of trees” face being felled in the UK alone to ensure continuous signalling for self-driving buses, cars and trains and all the rest of the smart nightmare.
The unending war against trees being waged by this industrial civilization shows once again that is nothing but a malevolent death cult, which must be destroyed in order that living things can survive and flourish.
On July 1 2019 activists across the UK took part in a national day of action against Israeli-owned weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems.
In Kent, protesters gained access to the new site of Elbit subsidary Instro Precision. The action shut the factory down for the day.
This is the 5th time since 2014 the Kent-based factory has been forced to shut. Elbit is the largest Israeli owned arms manufacturer, and produces many of the weapons used by Israel in its oppression of Palestinians.
They produce 85% of the armoured drones used by Israel, along with a range of other military equipment, such as artillery cannons and tank parts.
These weapons are then used directly on Palestinians. For example, drones have been used to drop tear gas on protesters on the Great Return March.
Along with this, Elbit’s Hermes 450 drone, which can carry up to two medium range missiles, was used in the 2014 Gaza Massacre, in which Israel killed over 2100 Palestinians.
A crowdfunder has been set up to help pay for transport, banners, leaflets, accommodation, communications and other equipment used on the day.
All money donated will go towards the collectively agreed costs of the protest. Any extra will go towards future actions.
“Indian cosmology has never separated the human from the non-human – we are a continuum”
Vandana Shiva (1952-) is a Gandhian eco-activist and agro-ecologist, who has dedicated her life to resisting global capitalist destruction of nature and communities in India and beyond.
She is particularly known for her involvement in the international sustainable food movement and her battle with the former agrochemical company Monsanto.
Shiva declared in a 2003 interview with Sarah Ruth van Gelder: “Our system of food security is being destroyed in the name of economic growth and economic liberalization, and people don’t have enough food to eat.
“Our farmers are being ravished by seed companies, being pushed into debt, and committing suicide”. (1)
In combatting the capitalist dogma of economic growth in her book Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace, Shiva proposed the alternative of an economy in which people worked to directly provide the conditions necessary to maintain their lives.
This “sustenance economy” includes all spheres in which humans produce in balance with nature and reproduce society through partnerships, mutuality, and reciprocity.
She has highlighted separation as being at the heart of our contemporary malaise, referring in a 2012 interview to “an eco-apartheid based on the illusion of separateness of humans from nature in our minds and lives”.
She added: “The war against the Earth began with this idea of separateness. Its contemporary seeds were sown when the living Earth was transformed into dead matter to facilitate the industrial revolution.
“Monocultures replaced diversity. ‘Raw materials’ and ‘dead matter’ replaced a vibrant Earth. Terra Nullius (the empty land, ready for occupation regardless of the presence of indigenous peoples) replaced Terra Madre (Mother Earth)”. (3)
Holistic Vedic metaphysics fuels Shiva’s philosophy and activism. In an interview with Ranchor Prime she described how she met many people during her years fighting the construction of dams “and I found that they were all inspired by the idea that the river is divine, a sacred mother, and that trying to appropriate her water is like annihilating the very source of your sustenance.
“In fact I’ve learned that there is not one environmental movement in India that is not informed by the ecological roots of Vedic culture”. (4)
Talking about the concept of Earth Democracy, she said: “The notion comes from a very ancient category in Indian thought… In India we talk about vasudhaiva kutumbakam, which means the earth family. Indian cosmology has never separated the human from the non-human – we are a continuum”. (5)
This radical organic understanding was helping to fuel resistance to global industrial capitalism, she said, in the form of “a spontaneous resurgence of thinking that centers on protection of life, celebrating life, enjoying life as both our highest duty and our most powerful form of resistance against a violent and brutal system that globalizes not just trade, but fascism, and denies civil liberties and freedoms”. (6)
Hindu wisdom also helped her keep up her strength in the struggle, she explained. “I do not allow myself to be overcome by hopelessness, no matter how tough the situation. I’ve learned from the Bhagavad Gita and other teachings of our culture to detach myself from the results of what I do, because those are not in my hands.
“I do not allow myself to be overcome by hopelessness, no matter how tough the situation… I think what we owe each other is a celebration of life and to replace fear and hopelessness with fearlessness and joy”. (7)
Under the worsening mood of neoliberal McCarthyism, the UK state is defining those who are left-wing and oppose war as potential sympathisers with “violent extremism”, warns an article by David Miller in Tribune magazine. The government’s so-called Commission for Countering Extremism decrees that opposing the US/UK global empire amounts to “occupying a position of solidarity with terrorist organisations and violently repressive regimes”.
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Limiting CO2 emissions is a false solution to the environmental crisis, argues Paul Kingsnorth in a thought-provoking video. He argues that the contemporary “green” movement has lost interest in wild nature in exchange for an obsession with wind or solar panel “farms” – power stations, in fact, which only prolong the industrial nightmare.
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“Along with military invasions and missionaries, NGOs help crack countries open like ripe nuts, paving the way for intensifying waves of exploitation and extraction such as agribusiness for export, sweatshops, resource mines, and tourist playgrounds”. So wrote Stephanie Macmillan in an excellent 2015 article Why NGOs and Leftish Nonprofits Suck which we have, admittedly, only just discovered.
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A new deep sea mining process could devastate fragile ecosystems that are slow to recover in the highly pressurized darkness of the deep sea, experts have warned. It could also have knock-on effects on the wider ocean environment. And the aim? To “diversify the sources currently supplying metals needed for electronics and evolving green technologies, such as electric vehicles and solar panels”. The firm behind all this even calls itself “DeepGreen Metals”. So that’s all OK then. It’s environmentally-friendly environmental destruction!
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What a vision of the future from Boris Johnson, the new lunatic-right Prime Minister of the UK. He declared on August 11: “Today we’re announcing another 10,000 places in our prisons; a big building program for prisons.” The phrase “big building program” is notable, not least because of the American spelling of what would normally be “programme”. Will US contractors and private prison businesses be the big winners from Boris’s war on the UK population?
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Acorn quote: “For Bakunin, Sorel, Proudhon and Landauer the revolutionary utopia always goes hand in hand with a profound nostalgia for forms of the pre-capitalist past, for traditional rural communities or craftsmanship; with Landauer, that even extends to an explicit defence of the Middle Ages… In truth, at the core of the approach of most of the great anarchist thinkers lies a Romantic attitude towards the past”.