If you’re a student of French political protest, you’ll realise that every single French class, interest group and pressure group has been in protests or on strike but one: French students hurl rocks when fees increase, French farmers burn crops when tariffs decrease, and French truck drivers block roads for every other perceived wrong.
But there is one kind of men and women in France who rarely protest. Every other kind and class have stopped, when they so wished, and have presented demands, claiming to be indispensable.
This week however it was the turn, long overdue, of the businessmen who carry France on their shoulders to take to the streets on Monday at the start of a week of coordinated protests against the Socialist government's regulations and high taxes – “angry at what they see as bureaucratic red tape and punitive taxes on business.”
Cities including Paris, Marseille and Toulouse saw around 4,000 owners of small and medium-sized enterprises pound the streets in protest.
Demonstrators brandished signs saying "Free Our Businesses" and wore construction type neon clothing to draw attention to their plight…
The General Confederation of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises [which] called on its members to take to the streets … says on its website that "the 2,908,500 Small and Medium Enerprises registered in France represent approximately 80 percent of employment in the private sector, 45 percent of exports and 63 percent of investments."
These are the French businessmen and women trying to carry France on their shoulders, but struggling under the burden of rising taxes, rising debt, rising spending and a tide of regulation pouring out of the Socialist government led by Francois Hollande.
Their protest isn’t yet Ayn Rand’s fully-fledged La Revolte d'Atlas , but couple that with falling prospects, rising unemployment, and a French brain drain as “the French flee a nation in despair” and the likes of Gerard Depardieu flee the high taxes, and you realise unless things change it’s not far away.
[Hat tip Suzuki Samurai]