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French Police Out of Control: Fresh Brutality Against Gilets Jaunes Protestors

Michael East, Red Revolution

The French police have been caught on camera in a fresh wave of brutality against the Gilets Jaunes movement, beating one man to near unconsciousness, assaulting a blind man and assaulting another without any evident justification.

Taken during the May 1st protests, the first video shows police striking a man in the face and with batons before dragging him in across the ground.

Other videos show police charging and beating protestors with batons, seemingly in a state that can only be described as near out of control and shockingly attacking a man who is clearly blind.

Plain clothed police, seemingly without any identification, beat a man in the street for no readily apparent reason.

A video from last week shows police beating a grounded protestor with batons.

Perhaps the most shocking video of all, however, shows a French police officer throwing a large rock at protestors.

The Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) is a cross-political grassroots protest movement for economic justice in France which began in October of last year, with the mass demonstrations beginning in November. The movement is motivated by the rising costs of fuel and living in the country, with tax reform hurting the middle and working class. The movement has called for the resignation of Emmanuel Macron and his government.

The levels of brutality on display by the French police is beyond disturbing and would be suffering worldwide condemnation if these were scenes from Venezuela or Iran. With brutal beatings of civilians, the forces of the neoliberal state are seemingly out of control in their efforts to suppress what is essentially a popular uprising against the policies of Macron.

Independent journalist David Dufresne has set up a website, in partnership with Mediapart, named “Hello Home Office, Justice Department” in an effort to itemize casualties since the beginning of the yellow vest movement. As of last month, the site had detailed 550 reports of injuries, with over 222 head injuries, 20 with cases of lost eyes and five reported losses of an arm. Of the victims, 419 were demonstrators, 57 were journalists, 37 were children, 19 were innocent bystanders and 18 were medical personnel.

The violence has reached such proportions that the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has also called for an “in-depth inquiry” into police brutality in France.

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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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