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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: C’est un nouvel impôt !

by Patrick Le Hyaric

It’s a new tax!

Translated Wednesday 12 August 2009, by Karen Grimwade and reviewed by Henry Crapo

Even with a new lick of green paint and baptised with the presentable name “Climate-Energy Contribution”, a tax is still a tax. The fact that this one has been announced, confirmed and commercialised for Mr Sarkozy by a highly respectable sales rep, a former socialist Prime Minister, has a profound political meaning, namely the search for a national consensus for the benefit of the money makers.

The Sarkozy-Rocard-Cohn-Bendit alliance, which also includes certain socialist leaders, aims, just like the government loan (emprunt d’Etat), to obtain national unity during the recession in order to bail out the public coffers without denting the profits of large companies. Quite the contrary, the fundamental objective is to find a way to transfer ever increasing amounts of money from the income and savings of ordinary households to the government. Only this time it is being doing under the cover of the need to protect the environment and the planet.

Obviously we do not dispute the urgent need to safeguard the environmental future of the world. But this is not what is at stake here. The main idea is to do away with business tax and offset the deficits thus created, like for example the gifts to bankers, with a new tax that plays on one of the major preoccupations of French citizens.

In fact, when you think about it, what better way to turn people off environmental conservation than by going about things in this way? And don’t even think about calling us anti-environmentalists just because we refuse this new income and pension tax!

Really effective measures for climate, the environment and the protection of species and the biosphere would require an environmental revolution that is necessarily anti-capitalist. This, in turn, would bring about long-term measures and urgent action to transform our production and consummation systems by giving real power to employees working in companies and services, as well as to the people, in order to obtain new environmental and social norms.

Developing piggy-backing instead of these hordes of lorries on the motorways; ceasing privatising companies and pitting them against each other so that citizens can really have the power to get involved in order to encourage management that promotes the environment, product quality and production methods, from energy to credit, water to transport, waste management to the food industry; facilitating public research in order to invent new, cleaner materials for the car, energy, building, agricultural and food industries.

Rethinking the planet also means curbing this free circulation of capital and goods that leads to unequal global development and the plundering of developing countries by forcing them to produce for exportation, which itself leads to the use of polluting transportation. This Sarko-Rocardian invention of the “Climate-Energy Contribution” is an illusion, a lie, yet another injustice. All families will have to pay it, regardless of their income. And it appears that the large industrial groups, who are the main polluters, will pay nothing because they are already subject to free European carbon emissions quotas. It seems that the ultraliberal right is once again exploiting a real issue faced by humankind, and above all the results of the European elections, in order to perpetuate a financial capitalism that, although painted green, is one of the causes of damage to the environment. We refuse to be tricked by this idea of a national consensus and encourage real debate on the ways in which production methods and ratios can be changed in order to combine social, democratic and environmental progress.

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