By Jack Jodell, May 7, 2012
VIVE LA FRANCE! The French have just spoken loudly in their presidential election. By electing Francois Hollande their first Socialist President in a generation, and only the second in the history of their Fifth Republic, they have chosen to deliberately repudiate the insane notion of austerity measures for the poor. Such drastic measures have been adopted, and have led to widespread rioting, all across the continent and even in the United Kingdom as well. This, of course, is not without justification: cash-strapped peoples from Ireland to Spain to Greece and elsewhere have been made to tighten their belts even firther, all in the name of getting supposedly runaway budgets back under control.
Francois Hollande, who rolled to a 51.67 – 48.33 % victory over conservative incumbent French President Nicolas Sarkozy, sent ripples all throughout the European Union. “Our victory has given people hope across Europe who want an end to austerity.” Hollande has pledged to cancel Sarkozy-instituted George W. Bush-style tax cuts and incentives for the very rich, whom everyone knows just stick them in their own pockets rather than creating good-paying middle class jobs or aiding the poor (whom they exploit anyway). So it won’t be any real skin off the backs of the filthy-rich 1%, but it could result in a great benefit for French workers, whom Hollandde has pledged to let retire with full benefits at the age of 60, provided they have worked for the past 42 years. Alomg with this, he has promised to increase income taxes on those making more than 1 million euros per year to an amazing 75%. Doing so, he maintains, will end the French debt crisis by 2017, and is a far more preferable method than starving the poor and middle class by allowing the rich to simply skip along merrily completely untouched and unconcerned by the very real suffering of those far beneath them economically. Attaboy, Francois! Hollande has also campaigned in favor of allowing French homosexuals to marry and adopt children. Good for him and them!
This economic, progressive activism flies directly in the face of such exploitative entities as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, Wall Street, the European Union, the Carlyle Group, and even our own Republican Party and Tea Party (as well as Republican presidential wannabe Mitt Romney). Though they will never admit it, each of those groups actively pursues reactionary economic policies which blatantly favor the wealthy while seeking to marginalize and even destroy those in the majority 99% who lie far beneath them on the income scale.
As a progressive fully dedicated to ending our national and worldwide ever-growing wealth disparity, I am delighted at the election of Francois Hollande! His election has become a slap in the face of such austerity advocates as Germany’s center-right Angela Merkel and the UK’s very conservative David Cameron, and both would do well to take notice. For the signs of economic discontent are everywhere, from the recent fall of the Dutch government to widespread riots in Greece as well as Britain, that the balancing of budgets on the backs of the poor and workers is not only unfair, but will definitely not be tolerated much longer. In an arrogantly condescending move reminiscent of something our own DICK Chebey would do, last week the rigidly ideological Cameron even refused to meet with the visiting then-candidate Hollande! All I can say to that is that both Merkel and Cameron had best watch their political backs and modify their pushes for further austerity measures if they expect to survive politically themselves.
Here in the United States, I fully expect all the far-right stooges like Eric Cantor, Michele Bschmann, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and even that king of the 1%-ers, Mitt Romney, to come out in unison against Hollande, French Socialists, and anti-austerity measures in general. Fox “News” pundits will be rabidly salivating in anger, but to no avail. For each of them in their own way are puppets of those who favor cutting taxes needlessly for the wealthy and dumping all the burden of budget balancing on the backs of America’s workers and the poor. But they, too, had best watch their own backs, for last fall’s and this year’s widespread May Day demonstrations by the majority 99% prove decisively that oppression as an economic weapon will simply no longer be tolerated!
To his credit, President Obama has extended an invitation for Hollande to visit the White House next week. Let us hope he will learn and implement something beneficial from the experience of this bold new French leader!