20 April 2019   Leave a comment

The yellow vest protests in France took place again, as they have since last November. The protests today, however, seemed to be revived as the protesters identified the $1 billion contributions from rich French citizens to rebuild the Notre Dame cathedral. The protesters assert that the contributions prove their point about income inequality in France, and that similar charity is not offered to ordinary French citizens. The question is legitimate and powerful: the rich can choose how to allocate their wealth, while the poor have no such options. Some of the protest sign revealed great anger: “‘Millions for Notre-Dame, what about for us, the poor?’ read a sign worn by a demonstrator. ‘Everything for Notre-Dame, nothing for the miserables,’ read another sign that evoked Victor Hugo’s well-known novel.”

Climate change protests continue in many cities across the planet, as the group, Extinction Rebellion, has organized non-violent events designed to obstruct daily life for many people. Over 750 people were arrested in England alone. The escalation of the tactics by some environmental groups represents an important shift in perspective. Disruption is a politically expensive tactic: those disaffected by the disruption will likely condemn it. But it is difficult to imagine a more compelling way to underscore the urgency for action. There were fewer such protests in the US and it will be interesting to see if the tactic takes hold in the US.

Posted April 20, 2019 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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