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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Editorial Par Patrick Apel-Muller Un chiffre parmi d’autres…

by Patrick Apel-Muller

One figure among many...

Translated Saturday 27 July 2013, by L.O.S

One figure eclipses another. Yesterday announced a rise of 25% in the large family fortunes in 2012. Today, in the same investigation, entitled "The Family Budget", the French National Institution of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) showed that while the resources of more modest families increased by 10%, it is to savings and food that this increase is dedicated. Those who answered the same question in 2005 instead replied leisure. Since then, financial insecurity has become the rule, thus making precautionary savings a necessity, whereas corners have had to be cut on food to the point that nutritional standards are not being met. In fact, the INSEE indicates that 20% of the most modest families consume 38% less than the average. It is not the rich, but those that struggle the most that are barely managing to get by. The institute also notes that half the overall population is having to limit its consumption of food.

Our court commentators however are quick to eclipse this figure. The same old song must be sung, that labour costs are threatening the existence of businesses, that minimum wage is too high, that austerity is justified, that the burden is equally born by all. Every day the Potemkine villages of the crisis are being repainted so that those who are already overwhelmed with difficulty are made to feel guilty as well. How could a French nation not feel a state of gloom with the increasing hardness that faces the lives of its majority? How could a gap between the reality of the country and the oligarchy that governs it not widen? How could a media that sings this same refrain and that knowingly preaches sacrifice to the most modest families escape discredit? Every day, the imprecators that hold the reigns are being churned out from the same factory mold of readymade ideas and term "populist" anyone who lifts the veil on the hypocrisy of the elite. Without knowing it, they fuel an anger similar to the one that filled the pen of Maupassant, when on the 10th September 1877 he wrote to his friend Flaubert, with the sentiment that "1793 was a gentle affair" [...] "Since the old ruling classes are as unintelligent today as they were before; as incapable of ruling today as then; as vile and deceitful then as now, the ruling classes must be done away with today just as they should have been then; and all the stupid handsome gentlemen drowned with their lovely whorish women."

Execution by drowning is no longer common practice. And thankfully so. But the opulence that lavishes the 500 wealthiest, their secret complicities and unmentionable dealings, the arrogance of the big stockholders and the blindness of those that serve them, their ephemeral fashions and fixed-rate infatuations has something of Versailles before the storm. Around this gestating fire one senses a battle for the fuse. The far right takes heart from despair. The time is coming for the left to mobilize itself against the ravages of austerity and for it to write a new page in the history of progress. United, together, for there will not be another way.

NB: among the figures to be eclipsed, is one that comes from an Italy under all sorts of pressure: according to official statistics, the country numbers 9.56 million poor, of which 4.81 million live in "absolute poverty", 537 euros being the maximum for an adult in small southern towns. This is the fate assigned to us by those who govern in Paris and Brussels.

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