The past few weeks have seen France wracked by severe protests. The worst protests since May of 1968 in fact. Back then they were so serious that the government feared a revolution and the entire economy of France shut down. The Gilet Jaunes (Yellow Vests) protests aren’t quite there yet – but neither are they far off it.
You’ll probably have heard from the media that the protests are about fuel taxes. That’s only partially true. The fuel taxes that the Macron government plans on instituting in order to be in line with the Paris Climate Accords were merely what pushed people over the edge after a year and a half of Macron’s neoliberal globalist agenda.
Emmanuel Macron, the former banker fashioned out of thin air by the French establishment to make sure populist candidates Right or Left could not win the election, has never been particularly popular. His agenda was never clear, and he owes his victory to the smear campaign against Front National and Marine Le Pen.
With time his agenda was revealed; pure neoliberalism, tax cuts for the rich, benefits cuts for the poor, an utter refusal to do the will of the people and general disdain for the average French citizen.
The French have been seething for the past year and now it has finally come to a head. Macron’s approval rating hovers barely above 20% while the Gilet Jaunes have the support of at least 80% of the population. It’s a movement with near universal support across French society. The working and middle class people can’t make ends meet, so naturally they’re angry.
It hardly helps that the Macron government completely ignored their concerns and rebuffed them until last Saturday, when the protests hit a crescendo. Unlike France’s usual ethnic/communist riots, these protesters are working people, and almost entirely French.
What many people do not know, is that while the Gilet Jaunes come from all sections of French society, there is a distinctly nationalist and patriotic element to them – and an organised one at that.
In Paris they recently burned down a museum. I was briefly horrified – until I found out that it was a modern art museum; the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume describes itself as ‘an arts centre for modern and postmodern photography and media.’
Furthermore, while the Anarchist/Antifa element within the movement desecrated the Arc de Triomphe, many Gilet Jaunes formed protective lines around the tomb of the unknown soldier, and paid it tribute with flowers. The images were shared heavily in military circles.
While not protesting in Paris, they’re building a support base in the regions and letting their influence be felt across the country. In Haute-Loir they laid siege to the office of the federal government, and demanded the government representative come out and address their concerns. When he did not, they torched the building while chanting on “on est chez nous” – a nationalist phrase meaning “this is our home.”
Further demonstrating the impotence of Macron’s government, the local police force didn’t even try to stop it, with many donning the yellow vest themselves. In fact, the French police and the French military are largely nationalists, with a majority voting for Le Pen in the 2017 election. Just like the protesters, the police have been suffering under Macron’s elitist reforms, and are sick to death of protecting a hated regime from the French people.
The only police force that still favours the government is the CRS, the riot squads – and even they are getting tired of it. After three weeks of non-stop action they hardly have the energy or the manpower to resist the hundreds of thousands of demonstrators expected to turn out for ‘Act 4’ of the protests on Saturday the 8th. There’s a good chance they won’t have reinforcements either, as many police unions are threatening to strike and join the Gilet Jaunes.
In theory the government could call in the military, though such a radical step might well embolden the protesters further. There’s also the question of whether the military can be relied upon to stop the protesters should they do something radical like occupying the Élysée Palace, which they have threatened to do.
This is the final stage of the globalist order in a liberal democracy. After years of mass migration, neoliberal economics, and elitist disdain – society finally rips apart at the seams. A nation and its people can only put up with so much before taking radical action, and the Gilet Jaunes are that radical action.
The movement is even threatening to spread abroad, with protesters in Germany and Belgium already seen wearing the yellow vests. It is a movement that represents above all else the inability of ordinary people to continue living in the world of neoliberal globalism.
Law and order is on the verge of breaking down in France, with police and the army questionably reliable in the face of the populist wave. If the police strike and don the yellow vest, what then? Will the military fire on French citizens? No one truly knows – but I suspect we’re about to find out.