we continue with our French lesson some economic statistics.
twenty six richest people on earth have the same net worth as the
poorest half of the world’s population, some 3.8 billion people. In
the UK the richest 10% hold 44% of all wealth.
This is taking place in a context where Oxfam
claims that in recent years 2,200 billionaires worldwide saw their
wealth grow by 12% as the poorest half saw its wealth fall by 11%.
need to have this information to understand why it is that the Tory
government are so eager to pull the UK out of the EU. The EU are
introducing the Anti-tax
a number of legally binding measures against offshore tax avoidance.
The Johnson government is full of tax
avoiders. Think Jacob Rees-Mogg and Theresa May’s husband Philip
just for starts
Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Party fought the recent election in an
attempt to deal with wealth discrepancies. As he noted,
"there has been a growth of billionaires in this country
alongside a growth of extreme poverty ."
election result has left the left-wing despondent and dejected. I
argue here that we should
pick ourselves up from the floor and with Joe
French that is ‘ne
pleure pas organise.’
discrepancies run parallel to those in this country.The
1% hold 20% of all wealth.
France is also home to Bernard Arnault, the richest person in Europe
and worth an estimated $107.6 billion.
would seem the French
people have had enough.
over a week France has been in the grip of strikes and protests. An
estimated million plus have been taking to the streets and strikes
are affecting rail and road transport, education, health services,
refineries. The main union, the CGT, said there would be no break
in strikes over the Christmas period unless the government backs
down from what? President Macron wants to raise the pension age which
is at present set at 57 and reform social security payments. "We
have one of the best pension systems in the world, if not the best,"
said the General Confederation of Labour, "Yet the president has
decided to wipe it out."
Brun, head of CGT's railway branch, added, "No Christmas break
unless the government comes to its senses. The strike continues until
we are assured that the current system is maintained and negotiations
are underway to improve it."
a council workers who was on a march in Marseilles on 11 December,
said, “I’m 59 and I want to be able to retire soon. My job is
hard work and I don’t want to be working until I am 65 or longer to
get a pension. If you’re forced out before the pension age due to
sickness the scheme is rubbish. I will be living in poverty—after
31 years in the job. Macron’s reforms will mean I work longer and
collect less. Screw it. People are questioning many things they
normally accept. The Yellow Vests made us think about who gains and
who loses in life. So now we see clearly, ordinary people are crushed
and the rich are richer than ever.”
is growing. Last week power company, EDF brought in managers to run the
Cordemais power plant in Loire Atlantique to limit the effect of the
strike and on Tuesday strikers occupied the control centre of the
rage, and the desire for action, is not just about pensions. A
headline in newspaper Liberationsaid,
“In Paris, we march against the pension reform project and ‘the
it’s time for our own French Revolution. We are not defeated
because we have hardly started. Pick yourselves off the floor and
repeat after me ‘La Lute Continue’.
from France 24, The Guardian, Liberation, Socialist Worker, World Inequality Database, Oxfam