There is a French uprising going on. It's not a leftist bunch of discontents. Nor is it a reactionary cultural opposition to social change. It even bigger and broader than that.
President Emmanuel Macron has failed miserably and exposed his lack of insight about all of france. His newest agenda effort was pitched as a way to save the planet, but it would effective destroy rural France's ability to remain fiscally solvent. Macron abandoned the effort to massively increase motor fuel costs. The taxes on these fuels make up more than 50% of the retail price of a liter. Macron argues that mass transit is what he is trying to force on the people. But tell that to those living on farms and in small villages? Macron revealed that he was willing to abandon them. He now appears to be just another metrosexual urbanite media darling.
Part 1: Festering Social Policies
Why the Yellow Vests?
French society has long been lacking a strong voice for individual freedom. The 'nanny-state' decides what's good for you and they use the tax code & legal code to accomplish just that. It is illegal to drive a vehicle on French public roads unless you have yellow vests in the auto for each passenger. Hence, those who own or lease vehicles are all expected to have them. But urban people who use mass transit do not.
The yellow vests became the perfect identity apparel for this demonstration. Some rural folks decided to plan a single event to protest more fuel tax increases. But the concept spread like California's wildfires. Here's a recap for those just getting caught up on the events. BeinRepublic.com published it.
While for many years, the French favored diesel fuel for economic reasons, its price rising sharply, tends to catch up with that of gasoline .
Angry motorists point to the tax burden they claim to be victims of. They do not understand the government's assumed goal of eventually making diesel more expensive than gasoline for environmental reasons .
In January 2019 , new taxes should still drive up prices, with increases of 6 cents for diesel and 3 cents for gasoline.
But in the opinion of many yellow vests, the ras-le-bol fiscal is not only about fuel .
1. Born on the networks. From a petition on the exchange.org website, "For a Drop in Fuel Prices at the Pump! " Who spent this week the million signatures. The site had already hosted the petition against the Labor Law in 2016, without result, but also that in favor of the grace of Jacqueline Sauvage, beaten woman who killed her husband, who was pardoned.
2. Viral. Its expansion was very fast, according to a phenomenon of snowball specific to the Net. It may tomorrow disappear as suddenly, as shown in the previous #NightDebout : no occurrence on its Facebook page since but 2016 ... except in recent days, since the attempted resuscitation by François Ruffin.
3. Horizontal. He has no leader, except the "moderators" and "moderators" of his Facebook pages, and the initiator of the petition, Priscillia Ludosky. They are via Facebook in constant contact with their "base", which constantly asks them for accounts. The horizontality is also of the democracy that they imagine, between popular referendum and participative Senate.
4. Radical. The world of Facebook is a universe of "tribes" gathering people with the same tastes, the same opinions. This creates "filter bubbles," where members of a group do not interact with other groups of different opinions. Radicality is in the form and substance of the claims, which make it more difficult to find a compromise.
5. The street, too. The virtual world of the Net needs the real world. It is the articulation between Facebook pages and the occupation of Tahrir Square in Cairo that made the Egyptian revolution. The movement of the yellow vests will end with the end of roundabout occupations, as #NuitDebout went out in the rain that emptied the place of the Republic in Paris.
Part 2: Mobilization
Act 1: The November 17 dramas
Two people were killed on November 17 and 18, a 63-year-old woman in a yellow vest knocked down by a motorist at Pont-de-Beauvoisin (Savoie), and a biker hit by a truck on a barrage of yellow vests in the Drome. 217 have been injured since the beginning of the movement.
Act 2: the invaded Champs-Elysées
On Saturday, November 24, more than 8,000 yellow vests gather on the Champs-Elysees in Paris, against the advice of the authorities. The demonstration degenerates and barricades are erected.
As of November 27, there were 38 convictions pronounced, half of them in Paris, and 47 trials are pending in the capital. No fewer than 403 people were taken into custody.
Act 3: Black Saturday at the Arc de Triomphe and throughout the country
Tension peaked on December 1 with a black Saturday in Paris and also in several provincial towns. Clashes between rioters and particularly violent police forces occurred on the edge of the Arc de Triomphe and Place de la Concorde with scrap, barricades of burned cars. The Arc de Triomphe has been vandalized
More than 400 arrests, 123 wounded including two in Paris but also 200 people arrested everywhere in France, 600 wounded and two fatal accidents resulting from a dam in the
Images of rampage have gone around the world and damaged the image of the country.
After three weeks of crisis, what exit?
1. Three weeks of crisis. The government does not find any contacts in Yellow Vests. Twice, on November 30 and December 3, figures of the movement offered to dialogue. On social networks, these spokespeople did not get delegation from the base and were even threatened.
2. After dismissing the CFDT which proposed a dialogue and a mediation, the government wants to put back around the table all the intermediate bodies: local elected representatives, trade unions, environmental associations, citizen groups. Objective: to overhaul the energy transition program. Three months of dialogue
3. The yellow vests, the political opposition, the opinion that supports 72% the movement do not want to wait but require concrete measures to get out of the crisis; starting with the abandonment of the fuel surtax planned from 1 January 2019.
4. High school students joined the yellow vests in the demonstrations as in some cities farmers. Boosting tension or coagulation?