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France – to arms citizens, let’s march

    

 

The protest movement in France by the gilet jaunes (yellow vests) is escalating. There has been significant violence in Paris, and more peaceful anti-government demonstrations at barricades on roads and at fuel depots across France, with students now joining in to blockade their schools. An opinion poll found 72% of French people still support the protest movement that began in response to a rise in fuel taxes but is rapidly becoming a full-on challenge to President Emmanuel Macron, seen as favouring the rich.

Comparisons are being made with the student revolt of 1968 when civil unrest not only at the universities but also in the factories effectively brought the economy of France to a halt. The protests reached a point where political leaders feared civil war or revolution; and President Charles de Gaulle secretly fled France for a few hours. It started as a protest against capitalism, consumerism, American imperialism and traditional institutions, values and order and then spread to involve almost 22 million workers. As today there were no leaders, just a widespread series of wildcat strikes.

France was born out of a bloody revolution by the proletariat and the spirit of Robespierre and the later Les Miserables runs deep in their veins. The problem for Macron is that every previous president succumbed to public pressure and retreated from much-needed reforms. Which is why the economy remains sclerotic and the state-sector with its eye-poppingly generous benefits schemes stays as is.

The France chart has a fearsome T square in Fixed signs of a rebellious Uranus opposition Pluto square Mars and Midheaven in vengeful Scorpio (opposition Algol). An odd mix of revolutionary and utterly immoveable. That T Square has moved by Solar Arc to catch tr Saturn in hard aspect through December/January 2019; and tr Saturn will also square the 8th house Venus over the New Year – so a discouraging cloud will hang around for a while.

Paris is seeing a sharp downturn in business with shops and restaurants suffering badly and as the protests spread that will be repeated elsewhere damaging an economy struggling to grow even in miniscule amounts.

The central Bank of France chart, 18 January 1800, is being severely jangled through December to mid February 2019, and pretty much sinking till late 2019 with tr Neptune square its Mars.

Macron’s personal chart, 21 December 1977 10.40 am Amiens, France, has Solar Arc Neptune conjunct his Ascendant now with tr Uranus square both for the next two and a half month as his image takes a pounding. On midpoint transits he’s also in crisis through December to mid February, worsening from mid December till mid January. There’s a minor uptick then, but he looks fairly crushed moving ahead from the spring 2019 onwards.

His relationship chart with France has an explosive Mars Uranus square Saturn to start with and that’s catching the early January Solar Eclipse to mark this confrontation. With nothing that looks like a détente thereafter. Like Hollande, he may limp towards the end of his term.

This protest is not as serious as the 1968 one which occurred when Uranus Pluto in Virgo were conjunct the France North Node and moving to conjunct the France Sun; and tr Neptune was conjunct the Midheaven for a paralysing few weeks. But Macron’s image is unlikely to recover.

His Presidency chart, 14 May 2017 11.25am Paris, was launched on a reform platform with Uranus in the 10th trine Saturn; but has a questionable Neptune in the financial 8th in an over-hopeful quincunx to Jupiter and a publicity-seeking but can-be-paralysed square to Mars.

It’s another outburst from the ‘forgotten many’ which is becoming an epidemic in Europe (and beyond). But one to which the EU has no answer. And France especially appears incapable of overcoming truculent public sentiment to enforce the kind of root-and-branch reform which long term would improve the economic situation for all.

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16 thoughts on “France – to arms citizens, let’s march

  1. I saw such a gorgeous, brilliant crescent Moon and Venus (and Spica still not too far) early this morning over the English Channel. You’d never have guessed there’s been so much trouble below it.

  2. French services and benefits would make the Brits fall over backwards in astonishment. I read about monthly rubbish collections in the UK – monthly! – here in the south of France there are communal bins every few hundred yards which are emptied almost daily. Ambulance services turn out at the speed of light for emergencies. As do the fire service. The health service is a wonder, with consultant appointments made the same day by GPs and straight into hospital if need be. A friend of a friend took heart attack a few weeks back – paramedics turned up within 15 minutes and he was helicoptered off immediately to a major hospital for stents to be put in. Seamless. All of which is enormously expensive and comes free – well paid for by the very high taxes.
    Part of the gripe is that Macron did away with the wealth tax, presumably to entice very rich French back. These kinds of reforms aren’t popular but long term they might have an impact in raising tax revenues. He’s also messing around with local mairies, who handled finances for much of local services, in an effort to centralise everything, which hasn’t been popular. There is a good deal of pride in local identities, with admittedly some corruption, but it means people can go shout at someone when they don’t approve of what’s happening in their locale.

    On racism – the French are xenophobic (distrustful of all strangers) and racist by temperament. But the elephant in the room where racism in France is concerned is Algeria, which was a French colony and where they fought an exceedingly brutal war within living memory. The Muslim thing isn’t an easy fit for a country that defines itself rigorously as secular (apart from Christian Saint-day holidays – Ascension, Assumption etc – which are clung onto paradoxically in a way which Established Church UK doesn’t.)
    The French bristle defensively at any pressure to alter their way of life and change their prized identity – which is why the ban halal meat, burkinis/headscarves came in. Partly racist but also at a deeper level saying this is who we are. Some years back a North African woman was refused citizenship because the judge said she was so under the thumb of her husband/brother she didn’t understand the concept of equality of women, which was a revolutionary ideal. Which isn’t to say French men aren’t misogynists, because they are.
    Loosening the highly restrictive labour laws might help to give employment to some of the residents of the banlieus in which many of the North Africans live.
    It’s a country of paradoxes. And highly emotional.

  3. Re: The forgotten “many” of Europe, a comment. My moment of feeling forgotten was the famous picture of all the EU leaders having a selfie at one of their meetings. It included Obama, the Danish female Prime? Minister, Cameron and others, all laughing and joking like they were having a party. It apparently prompted Michelle Obama to have words with her husband on his return to the US. My feelings at that moment were rage that they were enjoying themselves as members of an elite club, who were completely out of touch with their own peoples. And now the pigeons seem to be coming home to rest…

  4. “It’s another outburst from the ‘forgotten many’ which is becoming an epidemic in Europe (and beyond). But one to which the EU has no answer. And France especially appears incapable of overcoming truculent public sentiment to enforce the kind of root-and-branch reform which long term would improve the economic situation for all.”

    No one wants the present status quo for all its problems and troubles – but no one on the streets will step forwad with an olive branch – unless the olive branch is incendiarie. It is in the French blood – even this American reads the tea leaves – where’s the sacrifice is no one will make sacrifices toward reforms? “Not my job”?

  5. I don’t hv inexpensive options other than CDG. Ticket prices from Seattle (or Vancouver YVR) thru CDG are attractive at the moment.

  6. If BFMTV (a formerly very pro Macron news outlet) is to be believed the French have seen something like 45 billion Euros in tax increases since the French Presidential election. That is a hefty impost in a country of Frances size where taxes take over 45% of GDP, a higher percentage even than Sweden. Many of these increases have been in the form of non means related indirect taxes which hit those on modest incomes most. Fuel duty is a particularly sensitive tax in France where 70% of all commuting journeys are undertaken by car. French workers particularly in the Provinces are almost as dependent on the automobile as their US counterparts where something like 76% of work travel is by this means ( by contrast the figure in the UK is only 38%). While the foreign media have concentrated on events in Paris it is worth noting that the Gilet Jaune find most if their support outside the capital. Burning cars in Paris may not be unprecedented in recent years but the torching of the municipal prefects buildings in a smallish provincial town such as Le Puy-en-Valey in the Auvergne is certainly a sign of something deeply wrong. The French are not idiots. Like many Europeans they are seeing the tax bills go up while the quality of services goes down and they are wondering where all the money is going while they struggle to make ends meet.

  7. I’m thinking everybody is overblowing significance of these riota, and I have a rather ugly explanation for it. These rioters are mainly white, and thus taken more seriously than black and brown French people, who now constitute up to 15 per cent of the population, but are still not taken seriously. Apparently, the size of demostration has already dimensioned in a week. Now, there angriest thugs left. Overall, I think these riots are more in scale with what happened in banlieues in 2005 than 1968. Nobody thought French Government would fall in 2005 over this. But obviously, rioters were not white that time.

    And this is really a shame, because changing ethnic and racial profile of France does produce real challenges, which definitely do not have an easy answers proposed by the right such as banning halal meat at school kitchens or hijabs. I’m more concerned about the fact there’s institutionalized racism that really hasn’t been issued in France than anything else. This will be the issue in 2040 or 2050, if anything won’t be done, people who are not “radicalized”, and want to integratw, but haven’t been given a chance.

  8. Will France ever shake off those revolutionary over-reactions? Certainly does not look like a good time to relocate or even visit esp with the rest of Europe in turmoil. Long term: will France simply implode in the long term?

    • I actually think that if you stay out of Paris (and many of my Francophile friends manage this, visit France multiple times a year without touching Charles De Gaulle, because that’s the worst airport ever) and a couple of other big towns, the country is really peaceful. Would definitely consider it, too, given prices for accomodation drop.

    • It’s as it may be because of the Intergovernmental Conference in Marrakech, Morocco on 10 and 11 December 2018. (to Adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration) and not only in France. The societies are reset in the coming two years and in 2025 also, 2040 is too far to envision to me because of technology feats coming up. This is all crisp and sensitive to live through indeed!

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