After 3 months of action of the Yellow Jackets (Gilets Jaunes or GJ's), it's time for me to write a few lines about what is happening in France. I waited a few weeks to better understand the situation and talk to enough people.
The first important point to note is a new phenomenon, not seen for decades, I will call it the PEOPLE NATIONAL AWAKENING. This awakening is the result of multiple local gatherings of people, often around the famous roundabouts, playing the role of neighborhood committees during the 1789 revolution, and where people have spent days and nights talking, eating, discussing, discussing again. People found themselves away from their TV, and in groups including all kinds of professions, educational levels and financial situations. While many social protests in recent years were limited to a certain social category (nurses, railways etc.), and were also very limited in time, the GJ's movement has created a platform of communication between social groups, extended by more exchanges on social networks, and all this over a long time, indeed still going on. People have realized they were not alone or isolated, and that together they could create enough momentum to change the country's destiny. The GJ's also come from all ethnic backgrounds, although at the beginning accused by the government to be a bunch of racists, such as the names of recent victims of shootings prove it.
The government and the establishment tend to describe the GJ's as a crowd of ignorant and assisted parasites, this is a terrible mistake. As it seems, Macron does not seem to understand that the people is the street are working people (sometime hard) people, rarely assisted, some of them from the middle class, now fighting to get a decent life. Every time Macron and his supporters call the GJ's "assisted and illiterate", he increases the support to the movement across the country!
What I call the PEOPLE NATIONAL AWAKENING was generated by several factors:
- GJ's could see that their problems were not limited to their social or professional category. Craftsmen were able to speak to nurses, private employees, unemployed, civil servants, doctors, retirees, farmers. They learned a lot about life and difficulties of their neighboring GJ's. The ones with a better political or economical awareness could enlighten those who lived far away from these issues for years. Differences did of course emerge, as the GJ's come from all political backgrounds, although the majority of them belongs to the millions of people who lost interest in politics a long time ago.
The political spectrum of GJ's has all colors, from royalists to communists. But all realized that the causes of their difficulties are the same: the liberal and globalist system that ruled part of the world in recent decades.
- GJ's and a large part of the population definitely started turning away from traditional media. While few people so far decided to rely on unofficial channels, the vast majority remained faithful to traditional media sources deemed serious and reliable.
This distrust has been greatly strengthened by the government and state media themselves, who since the beginning of the GJ's movement have consistently sought to minimize the phenomenon, often in silly ways. Recently, and after the demonstrations of January 5, the official message was "the movement of the GJ's is slowing and is fading away." But a few days later, one Minister announced a massive mobilization of police for January 12, shooting themselves in the foot.
This change in media consumption is one factor making the GJ's movement irreversible, I'll come back later on that.
Let's turn it off
- During these few weeks, the GJ's could identify who supported them and who despised them. The political elite as a whole remained very cautious, even Le Pen or Mélenchon, both knowing that they live well in the present system but would probably be ousted of the political landscape if the GJ's win. Apart from rare exceptions, we saw a very cold or hostile reaction from most media stars (artists, singers and of course journalists), illustrating the now huge and divide between Parisian "bobo's" and the rest of the population - bobo means Bourgeois Boheme, a type of mostly Paris based elite, ready to embrace all internationalist and ultra-liberal ideas.
These same GJ's, and the population as a whole were also able to understand that the use of force is justified to counter the GJ's but not legitimate against rogue suburban and "no go" areas.
Again, this PEOPLE NATIONAL AWAKENING is here to stay, and the initial demands of the movement (petrol prices) are virtually forgotten, replaced by demands for much deeper reforms, actually signifying the end of the liberal globalist system.
- like during any major change cycle, the GJ's are in constant discussion, leading to a greater dynamism of the movement, able to transform efficiently according to the reactions of the system. I say the system, not the government, which actually does not really matter in the eyes of the GJ's. This dynamism is a major force in front of the system, static by nature.
It is a riot! ... no Her Majesty, it is a Revolution
What are these changes asked by the GJ's, and where shall they lead? The list is very long, but I think the following points are the most important ones.
- The European Union
The European project was applauded by many since its inception, although De Gaulle had a more critical view. But the discomfort began to develop in the 90's, with then a clear indication in 2005, when several countries, including France, voted no to the referendum about the European constitution, causing horror among the leaders of the time. However, a treaty was signed without consultation two years later, taking up the main points submitted and rejected in the referendum.
The undemocratic nature of the EU has only strengthened since that date. EU decisions are always in the direction of global economy and markets, ultra-liberalism, and recently supported an almost uncontrolled migration to Europe. As one commentator recently wrote, one of the origins of the GJ's is the unhealed wound of 2005.
Implying a regular loss of power of national governments in favor of the EU and the different economic super powers (simplifying - large corporations and multi-national banks) this is a trend denounced by the actors of alternative media on the Internet since many years (including myself). But so far, this fact was largely ignored or questioned by a majority of people, even among those who are its first victims. The debate made possible with the movement of the GJ's has allowed many people to become aware of this phenomenon and realize it was not the fruit of the imagination of some bloggers.
I do not like points of resistance!
- The Euro
The Euro, also considered as sacred by most French people (despite the loss of purchasing power it generated!) begins to lose its emotional and sentimental power. The fact that any government, even led by the GJ's cannot really control the economy because it no longer controls the currency, is an idea that makes its way quickly.
Dropping the Euro is part of the GJ's program and it no longer shocks!
- The wage claims are also important, but cannot be met before an exit from the Euro zone. In my opinion, the GJ's should also understand that being shocked by wages of 5,000 or even 15,000 Euros is not productive. The executives and other entrepreneurs getting that level of wages have salaries corresponding to their skills and are needed to run the economy. By the way, many small business owners earn a net revenue closer to the minimum wage then to the salary of a minister, not to mention small farmers who are often at edge of poverty).
Managers and small entrepreneurs should objectively join the GJ's movement, because they are under threat too, now the major target to increase tax revenues.
- the consumer society
It is clear that nobody advocates a return to the life of the 19th century, but one of the topics discussed among the GJ's is a critique of the so-called consumer society, pushing for consumption and turning man in a homo-consumerus, all in the context of a "growth" at all costs, a growth that is mandatory to avoid a collapse of the debt mountain.
Popular subjects are those related to a freer consumption, buying more local products (here connecting with the anti-globalist point), and reducing the purchases from large supermarkets, now considered like the large multi-nationals, as an evil to fight. The dream of the elites to reduce populations into groups of isolated consumers hungry for new pleasures and indifferent to politics and to the life of the city, is dying under our eyes!
The GJ's movement could indeed be summarized as the point in time when people woke up again to the political life, shut down their TV set, and joined other citizens to discuss, exchange and change society. Many topics discussed so far on marginal internet blogs, are now discussed on the roundabouts of French provincial cities and with growing skills and assurance. Note also that all the reactions of the government and elites reinforce the arguments supporting these ideas. Probably the greatest achievement of Macronisme shall be to bury the system that gave birth to it.
What can happen now?
I want to emphasize it again, Macron and his thugs are nothing. They are, like Holland or Sarkozy, the avatars of the ultra-liberal globalist system that led us to this situation. Macron resignation and dissolution of the assembly will solve nothing, because the institutions themselves and the system must be changed.
As I write this, all options are on the table. A former minister even just said that enough is enough and that the police should shoot.
Believing that the system and its supporters will leave without resistance is obviously very naive. The force has already been used to a limited extent but still in a quite bloody way. More than ten dead, although mostly by accident, but a large number of lost eyes, lost hands, crushed bones and so on. If this was happening in Russia or China, it would lead to a huge wave of indignation in Europe, TV anchors talking about "Putin the butcher". But in this case it is "Macron the butcher."
A civil war is not to be excluded, especially if Macron continues to play with fire. But other options are also possible, and as we learn from history, in cases of extreme situations, the side that has the most support from the army generally wins. Some options for the road:
- gradual stagnation of the movement, after increased violence by the security forces, like this happened in Greece a few years ago. It seems this is the card played by Macron, but France is not Greece (number of GJ's, geographical coverage, attitudes), and I doubt that it can work, especially with the level of incompetence and contempt of the elites, making the movement more and more popular, now approved by around 70% of the population.
- a deadly crackdown on the GJ's with real weapons, with hundreds of dead and wounded. If the army remains in its barracks and the majority of Police supports such actions, it means the establishment of a repressive dictatorship in Europe, as this type of action would result in large protests in many countries. The results on long term are also very unpredictable, and the world order would in any way be fundamentally changed. But I think that the army and much of the police forces would turn against Macron and following a short confrontation between pro- and anti-system forces, a victory of the anti-systems forces seems probable. The social cleansing that would follow would be at the height of the initial repression, and many heads may likely find themselves at the end of a pike.
- another scenario seems more likely to me, which is that of a military coup in anticipation of the bloody scenario above. The consequences would of course be the departure of the Macron team and early elections. The cleansing would be more limited and without blood flow, but the end result of this scenario would essentially depend on the plans of the military leaders who took the initiative.
- if the government leaves by itself and new elections take place, the ultimate outcome will crucially depend on the ability of the GJ's to organize and present a coherent program, and also find a way to bypass or change the most dominant media, to have a neutral media coverage to a minimum. The ability of the GJ's to drive the process in order to renew/change the institutions would also be tested the hard way.
- while a slowing of the movement seems unlikely to me, an expansion to other European countries (already started) is possible, and will be unavoidable if the GJ's win. The EU and the Euro will lose much of their meaning after FREXIT, and yellow vests movements in Europe are likely to develop.
In fact nobody really knows how to overcome this crisis, but one thing is certain: the French people returned to the center of the political arena and will not be leaving anytime soon.
The PEOPLE NATIONAL AWAKENING took place and nobody can ignore it now!