Friday, May 25, 2007

Vat jou goed en trek *

* "Take your things and go (Ferreira)"

I've got my ticket booked, I am outta here, this place is on a one-way ticket to hell. Finis en klaar.

I really don't feel welcome in France anymore. I could stay and fight; but it's not my battle. I could help the troops here, but my place is back home. The restistance, for me, will be far stronger amongst my own people, who already know how to fight. Europe is already lost, as far as I'm concerned.

Yes, I'm leaving France with a sour taste, but hey, I've got far more important work to do elslewhere and it is time for me to leave.

Aluta Continua!

Monday, May 07, 2007

A Riotous Welcome

Last night 270 people were arrested across France, protesting against incoming President Sarkozy. Additionally, 367 cars were burnt out.

You have to hand it to the French for relativism though, because according to the TV news reports, that is apparently how many cars get torched on an average New Year's Eve.

What?!? Some people just crack open the champagne, others set fire to cars to show their joy and festive mood in France? That, at least, is what the TV presenters would have you believe.

Where else in the world do you have violent demonstrations when a new Prez is elected?

Ok, well lots of countries I suppose, but it's been a long time since I've seen so many people unhappy with an election result - and this is probably only just a foretaste. The cops were on standby last night, and I heard sirens well into the night. They knew that this was going to happen and they were prepared for it.

I am wondering what the cops are preparing for the rest of the year; Sarkozy has promised a lengthy Parliamentary session this summer to push through a bunch of bills in support of his right-wing agenda. Canny timing it will be, because protest movements tend to die down in the summer months as France goes on holiday en masse.

If Darkozy can win a majority in the Parliamentary Elections in June, he will have a clear run through to mid-september to push through as much legislation as he can before the country wakes up to the fact that they have been sold out and shipped up shit creek without a paddle.

That's the big IF at the moment - and even though a parliamnetary majority would make things easier for Darth Vader, a Socialist Parliament may not even be up to the task of preventing the Dark Overlord's nefarious plans.

What we can be sure of though, the next 5 years will see alot more things getting burnt out than just cars.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Adieu à la France

Well its official now, Sarkozy has been elected el Presidente of the French Republic with an estimated 52.7% of the vote.

The subtitle of this blog, "How to win a revolution and lose the plot" holds true for France today. The French have elected their first truly right right-wing President since they got rid of the aristocracy over 200 years ago. Its a sad day for humanity as the light has just gone out in France.

Will we ever learn?

The French have shunned their own history in favour of savage neo-liberal capitalism, fascist authoritarianism and the racist xenophobia of a fortress police state. If I wanted to live in a country under those terms I would have gone to live in the UK.

France has thrown away an historic opportunity to forge a new vision for humanity and instead has chosen to follow in the path of Reagan, Thatcher, Aznar, Berlusconi and Bush.

The next 5 years will be hell in France.

I for one, have lived under fascist nutjobs before and I no longer feel welcome in France. I'm not going to be watching it go down the tubes.

I'm packing my bags and leaving.


Friday, May 04, 2007

Digging in the City of Gold

As I’ve always said, “sometimes you just have to get away to know where you've been”, which made being back in Joburg only more interesting. The city is just more hectic than it has ever been.

The economy is booming; for instance there are 1000 new cars on the roads a day, making traffic even worse than ever before. Sadly lacking in decent public transport, Joburg’s main arteries are choked with a bad case of “car-lesterol”. It remains to be seen if the new high speed rail link, Gautrain, will be much of an antidote.

Another notable feature of the landscape is all the construction work that is going on; not only for the Gautrain, but new office blocks, housing developments and car dealerships are springing up like weeds after the rain. There is so much new construction going on that there is a shortage of cement.

Urban renewal is taking place in the centre of Jozi, with trendy loft apartments going for over a million Rand and pavement cafes have opened up in the city centre for the first time in years. I don’t think it will reverse the trend where Joburg has become a constellation of other mini-cities like Melrose Arch, Rosebank and Sandton, which is a symptom of the extent of the urban sprawl.

It is good that the centre of Joeys is going through a rebirth and it will hopefully become a friendlier place in the process. Unlike Sandton which, in all its post-modern architectural glorification of kitsch, still lacks any soul. It will always be a plastic interpretation of what urbanism means.

Overall though, there is a palpable sense of dynamism and energy in Joburg. Everyone I spoke to had a positive attitude, and there was a real sense of people getting on and doing things – a real breath of fresh air after having been in France for so long.

Battle Royale: Part Deux

On Sunday May 6th 2007, France will go to the Polls to elect a new President in the second round of voting. In all probability it will be the day that goes down in history as the last day of France as we know it.

Facing off are Nicolas Sarkozy, a brutish right-winger, versus Ségolène Royal an insipid pseudo left-winger. Sarko has been leading the Polls from the outset and much of the electoral campaign has been about as exciting as watching paint dry.

It is really with a growing sense of dread though, that it appears as though Sarko will take the cake on Sunday. The first round of voting on April 22nd saw Sarko take over 30% of the vote and it is highly unlikely that Sego is going to inspire enough warm feelings to mount a serious enough challenge to Sarko.

This is all truly scary. Our man Sarko is a truly nasty piece of work. Deceptively populist during the campaign period, France in all likelihood will wake up on Monday to a new regime governed by Nicolas Bonaparte, Emperor of all things French.

One of the dichotomies of French politics is that while everyone recognizes that French society needs a drastic overhaul, no one is willing to make the necessary sacrifices. Sarko is promising a raft of measures to bring about such an overhaul, and is pretty close to duping at least half the population into believing that he is the man for the job. It’s not that France doesn’t need to change; it’s that Sarko will bring about confrontation rather than cooperation.

That’s his political style and it’s unalterable.

While he has been spouting forth on many issues, with a turn of phrase that appears to win popular sentiment, I think many people are being deceived by a man who believes that one's destiny is determined by genetics at the age of four months, when they should be tested for delinquent traits. There is not enough blog space on the web to go into how bizarre and twisted many of his “ideas” really are.

In spite of what he says though, the lower and middle classes will end up paying not only more tax, but will be forced to cough up more for social, health and educational services. Sarko has no concrete plan to create jobs outside the service sector, and it is likely that wages will fall further behind inflation and that purchasing power will decrease as people chase after fewer low-wage jobs.

The thing that concerns me the most though, is that Sarko will actively seek out external confrontation to mask problems on the home front and rally people behind the flag.

Yes I do mean a la George Bush style, or perhaps even more to the point; Thatcher and the Falklands War.

Yes I do mean that the only real job creation under Sarko will be in the armed forces and gun factories. The only economic growth will be for the merchants of death and destruction. Like George or Maggie, he will pick on weaker enemies and spread the chaos around a bit. As Commander in Chief, this nutjob will also have his own personal nuclear trigger and that is truly frightening.

When people wake up though, and especially those who are duped into voting for Darth Vader, the predictable response will bring people out onto the streets and it is entirely possible that the French economy will actually contract during the wave of strikes and social unrest that is sure to follow the first Sarkozist moves towards neo-liberalization of the economic and political structure.

At the end of the day though, Sarko is a career politician whose sole ambition is seeking the top-dog job. He doesn’t give a damn about the French people or the real issues facing people in their everyday lives. If there is anyone he does care about, it’s his pals in the upper echelons of French society and the big corporate companies. Only the rich will benefit from Sarko, while the rest of France goes to hell in a hand basket.

Yeesh, talk about turkey’s voting for Christmas.