We received an interesting analysis of the Yellow Jackets movement in France:
The situation here in France is not very different from the situation in other european union countries. The major difference is our reactions. For the moment at leas,t we do not vote for extreme right wing parties as in Italy, Hungary, Poland, UK, and to a lesser extent Germany too.
About cars burnt etc… Keep in mind that most of it has been happening in the Champs Elysées, that is, in the richest part of Paris. (An “hôtel particulier” rue Kléber was set on fire as well).
People who are fighting in Paris and other places are of several kinds (sorted hereafter by increasing numbers)
– Far Right activists trying to take advantage of the on-going movement — not too many of them but yet some.
– Far Left wing activists called the Black Block most of them but certainly not all of them being radical anarchists. The black block too part in all the demonstration of the past 2 or 3 years against the destruction of the labor code laws. A part of them took part in the fights against the new airport in Nantes in the past years too.
– Yellow Jackets, that is ordinary people who came from the country side and smaller towns in order to get the Yellow Jackets movement requirements fulfilled.
There were also most probably some people from the suburbs who took advantage from the (mostly luxury) broken shop windows to plunder a bit.
Now… Why is this happening ?
Mainly because even people with a low education level have noticed that you may vote for the standard right (CDU equivalent), or for the standard left (Socialist Party) and you get exactly the same politics. You get RIGHT WING policy whatever your vote may be.
Most people now simply refuse to vote at all.
As a result MACRON was only elected by 25% of the people registered on the vote lists if I remember well. But anyway, the most important party in France was the non-voting party.To call this democracy is simply ridiculous.
Other angry people have long been voting for Marine Le Pen. Not that they are fascists but as Jean-Luc Mélanchon said, they are not fascists they are “fâchés”, that is, they are **angry**.
Lots of people have been voting for Mélanchon too.
And some of course for the CDU-CSU equivalent.
When Macron appeared, he appeared as a way to escape from the traditional Right-Left story, which was cealrly understood by most people as leading nowhere. He was young (even considered as beautiful ?, he looked serious and active. He also looked as neither right wing nor left wing, but a bit of both – at least that’s what he said. Hence lots of people voted for him because they expected something NEW.
But… Lots of people (like myself) also voted for Macron for the second vote because only Macron and Le Pen were left in the list for the second vote and it was the ONLY way to avoid Le Pen…
Hence saying that Macron is a result of fair democracy is ridiculous.
While Mitterand, Sarkozy, Hollande have been ruling, we essentially had right wing politics. Everyone knows that socialists are traitors and educated people are quite aware that they have been traitors since World War I ?But even uneducated french people have now noticed that too.
Hence after so many years of right wing cheaters ruling, people are now getting really poor and they don’t like that. They do not like it at all.
And since no political party seems to really care. They now do their politics by themselves and do not trust any party nor anyone but themselves.
Another important aspect is that people who live in small towns and in the country side have been feeling abandoned, left out, for about 15 to 20 years now. They were stolen their public services, hospitals, schools, state offices, well all, almost all they used to have. They are facing high unemployment, debts, low salaries or no salaries at all, small shop keepers had to close or lost most of their customers…
And these people are a major part if not THE core part of this Yellow Jackets movement.
So, the important thing to understand is that this movement is a spontaneous one. As all political parties are no longer trusted by the working and unemployed people in France, the first occasion that could be taken was seized(this call for a Yellow Jackets movement on the Internet) and here we are.
As a result, this movement is not a left wing movement nor a far right movement and people have been joining from anywhere. Hence some nasty things were done against migrants for instance in some areas of France. In other parts racist insults were shouted, etc.
Also at the beginning of the demonstrations in Paris Yellow Jackets called the Police to come with them and join. They changed their minds soon after when they got beaten by the Police and overwhelmed by tear gas… For lots of them it was their first demonstration in their lives. They did not know… But now they have learned, and quite quickly.
It is quite easy to see the difference of behaviors (of style) between the Black Block and the angry Yellow Jackets. You could almost tell who did what based on style considerations. ?
The Black Block people are violnet people, but not extremely violent people they break certain things, they burn certain things and not others, they write May-68-like slogans along their path — rather humourous and poetical slogans most often.
The Yellow Jackets do not care for such style driven considerations. They are angry, they were beaten by the Police they got lost in tear gas clouds all around and they want to show the Police who they are, that is men from the real French people and angry French men. A lot of Yellow Jackets people — and by far not only among the fighting ones — are also fully aware that only violence may lead to some sort of victory. They saw that previous peaceful demonstrations led nowhere. And they drew the logical conclusions.
Of course lots a Yellow Jackets are afraid of violences too, mainly because they were shown video images on the mass media without being given honest information about the reasons why such things happen.
A point to consider is the high numbers of French flags in the demonstrations. This initially looked like the hand of Marine Le Pen in the movement — and maybe it was to some extent.
But this is no longer the case if it ever was. Quite simply, uneducated working class French people do remember of their history courses at school and the correct flag for making a revolution to them — which is what they mean — is the French flag. They know that they are the French People himself and that they have nown taken back their own flag.
It is important to understand too, that the traditional left wing government party, that is the socialist party but also the “extreme” left parties (that is reasonably left wing parties) have not been doing their traditional education job in the working classes and among the unemployed for a very long time. This leads to a situation were muslim activists have been by very far much more successful in French suburbs than the far left, and in the countryside and in small towns, this led to Le Pen to gain votes.
This is quite visible with the kind of success that François Ruffin currently has. He belongs to “La France Insoumise” (roughly an equivalent to Die Linke in Germany) but he essentially follows his own nose and was nicely elected as a “Député” in his own home area near Amiens in the North of France, because HE CARES for people (his friends actually) and supports them and discuss with them “man to man” and he speaks with them in their own language. He LISTENS to them you see…
He is successful because François Ruffin does the job that any far left wing person should do, while most others do not really care for the people they speak to, do not speak their own language, do not listen to them and worse than anything else, they attempt to TEACH people who, for most of them had to drop school quite early, and have the best reasons hate schools.