Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Happy Bastille Day

Equality and Freedom
Monday 13 July 2009
by: Maurice Ulrich
L'Humanité, via Truthout.org

Two hundred and twenty years after the taking of the Bastille, new Bastilles offer a challenge to reason. Hundreds of millions of men, women, and children live on less than a Euro a day, but that's not all. Access to water, massive air pollution, access to health care, to education, the situation of women, children, and minorities are so many abysmal and often criminal inequalities in a world that people say has become a village. In developed countries, in France, how can anyone justify the fact that the CEO of a big corporate group earns three hundred times more than the employees of the same group? What is equality for the most humble employees, the unemployed, youth going from one temporary job to another without any security, immigrants deprived of the right to vote, the undocumented, the homeless?

The crisis has revealed the many scandals of golden parachutes, stock options, phenomenal bonuses that the big bosses and their elite circles help themselves to. Indignation seems even to have overcome the head of state, although he is very much their friend, as he frowns, shrugs his shoulders, raises his voice. Some heads have been lectured, it's true, but the whole thing has only taken off again with renewed vigor and, above all, nothing has changed with respect to the basis of the system. The seizure by a small number of people of the wealth produced by many more. That's called capitalism. The rents paid to those who owe everything to other people's labor: that's called dividends.