Politicians full of hot air, elite class’s indifference to the common class and the unequal distribution of wealth have long been associated with third world countries. However, the troubles faced by the workforce in developed countries like France and more than 500,000 workers in, who have been swept into working poverty over the last five years according to the Joseph RownTree Foundation report; as well as 30 percent of children in UK are living in households below the poverty line. Moreover, the rising poverty of the working class in various countries has reinforced the reality that this mindset pervades on the global political spectrum. The elites are indifferent to the ordinary; the globalised economy has increased wealth and resources, but this economic prosperity is limited to urban areas and those who are already wealthy (as a result) the vast majority living in peripheral France find it hard to keep the fire burning. Cruel capitalism is causing the worst sort of deprivation. France is burning. Anger against fuel tax is only the tip of the iceberg. A hike in the prices of fuel in France has fuelled public demonstrations across the country. Within three weeks time, what was seen as an anger against fuel duties only, has morphed into an anti-government ‘yellow vest’ movement led by protesters wearing coloured roadside safety jackets calling upon Emmanuel Macron to step down following his failure to end economic inequalities, and his inability to improve the conditions of the majority. Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets to vent their anger against the government’s decision to increase fuel tax…setting ablaze public property, cars, restaurants etc. Last weekend, clashes between the agitators and police left 130 injured while around 400 were arrested in the capital. The fuel tax scheme is seen as a punishment for the majority. The question is: how did the anger against fuel tax transform into an anti-government movement gaining support from all sections of the society. The answer is: there was long standing anger against the established political order planning policies to benefit the already wealthy; the fuel tax ignited the already existing discontent providing a platform to the protesters against the Macron regime for following the policy of marginalization. The working class especially from rural and peri-urban areas have to drive to work given scant public transport. Fuel taxes have aggravated their economic conditions. Within three weeks time, what was seen as an anger against fuel duties only, has morphed into an anti-government ‘yellow vest’ movement led by protesters wearing coloured roadside safety jackets calling upon Emmanuel Macron to step down following his failure to end economic inequalities, and his inability to improve the conditions of the majority Macron is accused by the majority to be the ‘president of the rich’ planning policies for the business class and the rich leaving the common class to perish in poverty. Hard economic conditions, neglect and deprivation have convinced the public to be unite for a common cause to get heard in the corridors of power. The concentration of wealth and the resources in urban cities has made their lives miserable. Jason Herbert, a spokesman for the ‘gilets jaunes’ movement after having walked out of talks with the prime minister Edouard Philippe, said, “We want our dignity back and want to be able to live from our work, which is absolutely not the case today.” What is the use of having a job but living below the breadline ? Macron was not a politician, but a banker. The French were fed up with the elite class, so Macron was voted to power in 2017; it was an anti-establishment mandate demanding Macron to fulfil his electoral promises to work for the betterment of an alienated electorate by creating jobs, and reviving the economy. Unfortunately, Macron has miserably failed to fulfil his electoral promises of boosting the prospects of his voters. The Jean-Jaures Foundation, a left-leaning think-tank, published a report backing the sentiments driving the yellow-vest movement…French households are finding it tougher to make ends meet, the report said, with basic pastimes such as trips to the cinema and restaurants out of reach. “Having to sacrifice such simple pleasures sends a message to these people that they are slowly falling off the bottom of the vast middle class rung,” the authors wrote. This report should be a wake-up call for those at the helm of country’s affairs. Socialist leader Olivier Faure has urged the prime minister Edouard Philippe, to drop the tax increases. Whereas the far-right opposition’s political heavyweights have demanded Macron dissolve the assembly. Political pressure is building on Macron’s government, miscalculating public anger emanating from deprivation, discontentment and utter disillusionment will be suicidal. Deprivation breeds depression which gives birth to greater ills in the society. Christophe Guilluy, the author of ‘Twilight of the elites: Prosperity, Periphery and the future of France’ is of the opinion that taking aspirations of the poor into account is imperative in the democratic political framework. According to him, these aspirations are simple: the preservation of their social and cultural capital work. “The cultural revolution is a democratic and societal imperative…no system can remain if it does not integrate the majority of its poorest citizens.” One protester said, “The government is not listening. Revolution cannot happen without violence”, he warned. The French economy minister, Bruno Le Maire, acknowledged in the wake of the ongoing anti-government campaign that, “The current crises goes far beyond just a question of fuel” adding it was important that “work be better paid” to improve living standards. “It is time to listen to the French”, the minister said in his televised message. With a background in banking, Macron cannot calculate political temperatures, hence he must pay heed the wise advice given to him by his cabinet minister. Justice demands that France feed and facilitate its people irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds. The writer is an Educationist and a freelance contributor; he can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, December 7th 2018.