The revolt of the Gilets Jaunes has been interpreted and analyzed many times in many, sometimes completely opposing, ways. It has been largely viewed, by the right, especially, and most of the dominant media, as a quasi-fascist movement, a form of uncontrollable collective delinquency, in a word: a threat to democracy and existing institutions. But even among those who were generally sympathetic to social movements, including many activists on the left, reservations about completely new forms of political action and wariness about individuals who do not quite fit in politically have remained very strong, sometimes even leading them to refuse to support what they consider “impure,” “confused” or “unreliable” struggles.
ROAR is proud to present a powerful new independent documentary that tells the story of three lives affected by police violence in France during the popular uprising of the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) movement. Mutilations and deaths through so-called “sub-lethal” riot control weapons have become all too common in the modern day Republic. Two dozen people lost the use of an eye from LBD (flashball) rubber bullet launchers, and five people have had their hands blown off by military grade grenades thrown by the police at the protesters.
November 2019 has arrived, bringing in its wake the one year anniversary of the Gilets Jaunes. Those who talked about running out of steam in January, then this spring, then again this summer, still don’t get it: the essence of the movement, encoded in its DNA, is that it can’t end. Each social movement has its own temporality, its own specificity, its own way of ending. A few months after a huge strike, mass protests or popular uprisings, the media and political experts wrap up the sequence in newspaper and file it away in the archives of History.
France - After a quieter period during the summer, the Yellow Vest movement hit the streets in larger numbers for Acte 43 on Saturday. Protests were held throughout France from Rouen to Paris to Montpelier. Police responded, as they have been, with tear gas and other forms of violence. Permanent Revolution reports that hardcore yellow vest protesters continued to march every Saturday throughout the summer and also demonstrated at the G7 meetings in Biarritz. The increase in protests on Saturday was marked as a "return" in what the movement is calling a "Black September." President Macron's popularity is still low, and distrust in the government is high. They write: "The first visible lesson is that this Saturday marked a re-mobilization of the hardcore of Yellow Vests, from a few hundred to several thousand in large cities, or even making its return in a series of medium-sized cities."
The Yellow Vests (Gilets Jaunes) movement of workers in France just completed its eleventh act this past weekend. They are revolting against neoliberalism and austerity and rule by and for the wealthy. There are many similarities to the Yellow Vest movement and the Occupy movement. We speak with Lola Girerd, a post-doctoral student in Paris who is participating in and studying the Yellow Vests, about what the protests are like, what they are about and how the Macron government is responding to them. We also discuss recent news, including mass climate actions, strikes and the US-led coup in Venezuela.
In less than two months, the yellow vests (“gilets jaunes”) movement in France has reshaped the political landscape in Europe. For a seventh straight week, demonstrations continued across the country even after concessions from a cowing President Emmanuel Macron while inspiring a wave of similar gatherings in neighboring states like Belgium and the Netherlands. Just as el-Sisi’s dictatorship banned the sale of high-visibility vests to prevent copycat rallies in Egypt, corporate media has predictably worked overtime trying to demonize the spontaneous and mostly leaderless working class movement in the hopes it will not spread elsewhere.
Paris, France - Clashes erupted between yellow vest protesters and French police as demonstrators got closer to the National Assembly Saturday, on their 8th mobilization, dubbed Act VIII. Dwindling numbers during the holidays generated fears that the movement had waned, but after dinners and family gatherings, the people of France have retaken the streets. Only in Paris, 103 people have been arrested, according to police reports. Protesters gathered in several points in Paris to later march to the National Assembly. As people gathered in the Champs-Elysees and the historic stock exchange, demonstrators called for Macron’s resignation and warned him the mobilization is not a revolt, “it’s the revolution.”
As we step into a new year, the world is facing a decisive turning point. The crisis of capitalism is reaching a new level – one that threatens to overthrow the entire existing world order that was painfully put together after the Second World War. Ten years after the financial collapse of 2008, the bourgeoisie is nowhere near solving the economic crisis. All the sacrifices and pain of the last ten years have not solved the crisis, but only increased the suffering, impoverishment and desperation of the masses, while a tiny minority of parasites have acquired obscene levels of wealth.
Over the last month, France has witnessed the sudden emergence of a militant populist movement which enjoys strong support from the wider population. The “gilets jaunes” are named after those yellow hi-vis vests which French law requires drivers to carry in their car, along with a warning triangle and other paraphernalia, for use in the event of a breakdown. Hundreds of thousands of very ordinary French citizens have donned their vests and taken to the streets in protest. The movement began in October, with an online petition against rising fuel prices.