December 5, 2018 at 11:54 pm #168473
Since it and similar protest movement aren’t likely to go away, perhaps we should have a dedicated thread.
I found this quote very apt
“The government talks about the end of the world. We are worried about the end of the month.”
Eighty percent of the public support the yellow vest movement
“The climate movement, because of its roots in environmentalism, with its skepticism about “growthmania,” has had a hard time consistently embracing and implementing climate solutions as steps towards equity and prosperity. But the fires around the Arc de Triomphe should remind us that if we want entire societies to decarbonize, we have to bring entire societies into the economic future as well.”December 5, 2018 at 11:57 pm #168474
Another link for background reading
“The French don’t want crumbs, they want a baguette.”December 6, 2018 at 3:42 am #168508
Meanwhile the boulangerie continues to be owned by les capitalistes …December 6, 2018 at 3:42 pm #168569
It looks as if the far-right as well as the usual leftist suspects have been trying to jump on this bandwagon. Tuesday’s Times reported:
The far-right agenda was laid out in a brochure distributed to protesters by another group National Synthesis. The brochure blames immigrants for the violence and says: “The nationalists … have come to inform the yellow vests that they should engage in a veritable combat to save our nation and our civilisation.” It calls for an end to capitalism, globalisation and France’s membership of the EU. The group’s website is more explicit, calling for a “national, social, popular and identitarian revolution”.
That sounds like leftwing Nazism, as propounded by Strasser before Hitler, once in power, had him eliminated.
The anecdote I like is:
On Saturday Mr Benedetti and his ultra-right followers encountered a group of antifas during the protest in Paris. Both sides were wearing yellow vests, but that did not prevent them from having a punch-up.December 6, 2018 at 7:34 pm #168573
The leftwingers are already saying that the revolts taking place on the streets of France is a proletarian revolutionDecember 6, 2018 at 7:38 pm #168574
On Saturday Mr Benedetti and his ultra-right followers encountered a group of antifas during the protest in Paris. Both sides were wearing yellow vests, but that did not prevent them from having a punch-up.
Many of those Antifas are Maoists similar to the group of Bob AvakianDecember 6, 2018 at 7:58 pm #168575
Lot of chatter on Twitter about Saturday, looks certain to kick off. Authorities seem to be using excessive force already. It is also going off in Athens tonight…..December 7, 2018 at 12:30 pm #168984
The French riots have an old-fashioned (not to say “petty bourgeois” in the classic sense) ring: protests against a rise in taxes and attacks on tax offices. It’s something they’ve been doing there since before the French Revolution. Haven’t people that George Rudé and EP Thompson written abut riots as a tactic of the pre-industrial poor, a “plebeian” rather than a working class tactic?
One thing I hadn’t realised is that, as from 1 January, France is going over to a PAYE system:
The tax offices have become the latest flashpoint in the yellow vest revolt because on 1 January France switches to a pay-as-you-earn system that will reduce everyone’s monthly take-home pay. Until now, the French received gross pay and paid income tax the next year after filing an annual return (today’s Times).
Of course it’s swings and roundabouts as in the end either way it’s your after-tax pay that you have to live on, but, under the old system, there were more chances of tax-dodging (and why not).December 8, 2018 at 10:16 am #169465
Seems like this match was an early kick off…. Tear gas been deployed already, protesters being attacked by police and armoured vehilveh on the streets. Merry fucking Christmas proles…..December 8, 2018 at 11:51 am #169467
RT has live streaming of the Champ Elysee protests.
A lot of aimless meandering and very few flags or banners, but periodic singing of the Marseillaise.December 8, 2018 at 3:56 pm #169503
Substantial force between deployed out of all proportion to threat. Volleys of teargas, stun grenades and random violence.
How France can justify this as a member of the EU and signatory to the ECHR acts is beyond me.
Few years ago it was Je Suis Charlie for free speech. Now it’s va te faire foutre Charlie……December 8, 2018 at 5:08 pm #169519December 9, 2018 at 10:52 am #169697
Looks as if the State got its act together this weekend and managed to contain the protests.
Meanwhile here is a list of the demands:
Looking through it you can see it is an amalgam of “leftwing” and “rightwing” demands. What struck me in particular was the demands to protect small businesses and self-employed artisans:
– Promote small businesses, villages and city centers. (Stop the construction of large commercial areas around big cities that kill small business + free parking in city centers).
– Same system of social security for all (including artisans and self-entrepreneurs). End of the RSI ( the social regime of the self-employed).
– Protect French industry: prohibit relocation. Protecting our industry is protecting our know-how and our jobs.
– Prohibition of charging retailers a fee when their customers use the credit card.
I think this used to be called “poujadism”.
Also noted this:
– That the causes of forced migration are treated.
– That asylum seekers are well treated. We owe them housing, security, food and education for the minors. Work with the UN to have host camps open in many countries around the world, pending the outcome of the asylum application.
– That the unsuccessful asylum seekers be returned to their country of origin.
– That a real integration policy be implemented. Living in France means becoming French (French language course, History of France course and civic education course with certification at the end of the course).
The protestors were reported as singing the French national anthem, La Marseillaise. This was originally a (bourgeois) revolutionary song (“Aux Armes, Citoyens!”) but is intensely nationalistic. Imagine British protestors singing the national anthem — in fact they probably are on Tommy Robinson’s “Brexit betrayal” march in London at this very moment.December 9, 2018 at 3:44 pm #169805
Here’s a rough translation of an extract from a Socialist Standard subscriber/sympathiser from a French-speaking country currently in France:
“At the beginning I was suspicious about the gilets jaunes movement but now I strongly support it as there is a need to give it a perspective. This is more than ever the moment, especially if one wants a society rid of money. At the beginning it was a movement against the increase in the price of fuel and was supported by small employers (“petits patrons”) and so did have a flavour of poujadism, but in the end that quickly became minoritised as the movement passed from a vague spontaneous citizens’ movement into a struggle against the high cost of living and the anti-social policy of the government of Macron and Philippe, a movement which the workers’ movement has joined. That is why the extreme right should not be allowed to occupy the ground and more than ever why the need to get involved in the movement to give it a political and alternative perspective. This is also the sense of the struggle for socialism”.December 9, 2018 at 4:17 pm #169811
Here’s the view of David Graeber, the celebrity anarchist. While I think he might have a bit of a point about bread-and-butter struggles tending to be different today, due to “financialization”, compared with fifty years ago, he is clearly exaggerating when he sees these as revolutionary, even insurrectionary. They are no more revolutionary than traditional trade union action.
Anyway, here’s what he argues.
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