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Gilets Jaunes and Anonymous Criticise Billionaires Donating to Notre Dame

Michael East, Red Revolution

The French Gilets Jaunes movement and hacking collective Anonymous have both condemned the culture surrounding donations that have poured into Notre Dame from the wealthy.

Taking to the streets of France for the 23rd week in a row, the Gilets Jaunes once again came under heavy bombardment from an increasingly out of control French police as hundreds were arrested and dozens injured.

The scale of donations pouring into Notre Dame cathedral from billionaires has given a renewed anger to protests, with spokesperson Ingrid Levavasseur saying that the sums defied “reality”, other protestors stating that people were “starving” under the yoke of neoliberalism.

“When I see people who give money for Notre-Dame, it’s true Notre-Dame is a historical monument, it’s a heritage, we have to protect it. But when I see that they have released so many millions, billions of euros in a few days, when we see people who are starving, I wonder… And besides, they are people who pollute! Who gives the money? Total, Shell, Auchan… because they will be zero-rated from the carbon tax. They will give money; we will congratulate them. They are the biggest polluters in France and even in the world!”

Gilets Jaunes protestor

With chants of “Millions for Notre Dame – what about the poor?”, the statements made by the Gilets Jaunes were echoes by the Anonymous hacking collective.

“This is a message to the billionaires who donated huge sums of money to the restoration of the Notre Dame Cathedral in France. This week, you have proven just how big your hearts can be and how deep your pockets go. Your contribution seemed monumental to most people on the world, who live paycheck to paycheck, and amounted to sums of money that we could never even imagine spending.

It is admirable that you were willing to reach into your pockets during a time of national crisis (if you want to call it that), but now the people of the world are wondering why you don’t show this type of compassion when people’s lives are actually at stake,” they said.

Luckily, no one was hurt during this week’s fire at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, France. Yet, the partial loss of a historical building has gathered more donations than any natural disaster or poverty crisis in the past several years. This selective charity has opened the eyes of the people of the world to the misplaced priorities of the ruling class. It is now obvious that you care more about symbols of your cultural power than you do about human lives or the very planet that we live on.

In this statement we are not here to make any threats, you have already exposed yourselves. Instead, we are here to appeal to your sense of humanity, the shred of soul that may be left inside of you.

The massive financial inequality on this planet makes the world a more difficult place to live for you just as much as it does for us. Take a moment to re-examine your priorities and take a look at the serious injustices taking place around the world and see how the burning of the Notre Dame cathedral pales in comparison to these tragedies. Perhaps then you will be ready to use the wealth that you have attained in this world to achieve positive things.”

Anonymous

Similar sentiments have flooded social media as the scale of donations to Notre Dame became apparent.

“Billions should also be given to the poor, to help the environment, to promote biodiversity. But Macron and this government only want to help the rich, so we can’t stop.”

Gilets Jaunes protestor

French President Emmanuel Macron will unveil new policies in response to the Gilets Jaunes movement this coming Thursday, with plans expected to include a reconsideration of his decision to cut the “fortune solidarity tax” and the reduction of taxes for the middle-class.


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Profit Over People: Neoliberalism and the Global Order

By Noam Chomsky

Why is the Atlantic slowly filling with crude petroleum, threatening a millions-of-years-old ecological balance? Why did traders at prominent banks take high-risk gambles with the money entrusted to them by hundreds of thousands of clients around the world, expanding and leveraging their investments to the point that failure led to a global financial crisis that left millions of people jobless and hundreds of cities economically devastated? Why would the world’s most powerful military spend 10 years fighting an enemy that presents no direct threat to secure resources for corporations? 

The culprit in all cases is neoliberal ideology – the belief in the supremacy of “free” markets to drive and govern human affairs. And in the years since the initial publication of Noam Chomsky’s Profit Over People: Neoliberalism & Global Order, the bitter vines of neoliberalism have only twisted themselves further into the world economy, obliterating the public’s voice in public affairs and substituting the bottom line in place of people’s basic obligation to care for one another as ends in themselves.


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