Yellow Vest Movement Struggles To Reinvent Democracy

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Act 21 While Assembly of Assemblies Meets, Macron Cranks Up Propaganda and Repression

After five months of constant presence at traffic circles, toll-booths and hazardous Saturday marches,  the massive, self-organized social movement known as the Yellow Vests has just held its second nationwide “Assembly of Assemblies.” Hundreds of autonomous Yellow Vest activist groups from all over France each chose two delegates (one woman, one man) to gather in the port city of St. Nazaire for a weekend of deliberation (April 5-7).

After weeks of skirmishing with the municipal authorities, the local Yellow Vests were able to host 700 delegates at the St. Nazaire “House of the People,” and the three-day series of general meetings and working groups went off without a hitch in an atmosphere of good-fellowship. A sign on the wall proclaimed: “No one has the solution, but everybody has a piece of it.”

Their project: mobilize their “collective intelligence” to reorganize, strategize, and prolong their struggle. Their aim: achieve the immediate goals of livable wages and retirements, restoration of social benefits and public services like schools, transportation, post offices, hospitals, taxing the rich and ending fiscal fraud to pay for preserving the environment, and, most ambitious of all, reinventing democracy in the process. Their Declaration ends with the phrase “government of the people, by the people, and for the people.” I often wonder if they know who coined it.

Yellow Vest movement Assembly of Assemblies held in St. Nazaire for a weekend of
deliberation April 5-7, 2019. From StalkerZone.org.

Yellow and Green Unite and Fight

Particular attention was paid to the issue of the environment, reaffirming the popular slogan: “End of the week. End of the world. Same logic, same struggle.” (It rhymes in French.) The Assembly went further and called on “All persons who wish to put an end to the expropriation of the living to take up a conflictual stance against the present system in order to create, together, a new ecological, popular social movement.”

This shows growth from the original Yellow Vest uprising which began as a protest against a hike in taxes on Diesel fuel imposed in the name of the “saving environment.” (Less well known is that only 17% of that tax was actually earmarked for the environment. In any case, Macron rescinded it in an early attempt to pacify the movement). Since then, the Yellow Vests have tentatively converged with the environmental groups, whom many poor and working-class Yellow Vests can’t help seeing as bourgeois on bicycles wanting to be nice but unwilling to struggle directly against the establishment.

So their call for unity is also in part a challenge to the environmental movement: “join us in the struggle for social equality and be ready to fight the whole system.” Brilliant! Who said an unstructured autonomous movement of ordinary, not well-educated people, could not come up with strategies and tactics? Psychologists explain that this “wisdom of crowds” emerges whenever people are on an equal footing and free of constraint.[1] It grows through experience. And discussion. A dialectical process leading to its emergence. “No one has the solution, but everybody has a piece of it.” This was the basis of direct democracy in Athens, from which the Yellow Vests have also borrowed the idea of choosing representatives by lot.

Autonomy

The Assembly of Assemblies reaffirmed the Yellow Vest founding principle of keeping clear of political parties. Also of leaders. To my mind, this is a genius stroke. Every popular mass movement I have participated in over the past 60 years has been co-opted by the establishment (or crushed). Leaders set up an office, they try to raise money and gain access to power, end up compromising; they treat the rank and file activists like a mailing list and the power and dynamic of the mass movement melts away,– like the Nuclear Freeze which once mobilized millions. Eventually, Democratic Party lures them. Here, the Socialist Party swallowed SOS Racism, the embryo of a much-needed Civil Rights movement here in France.

Instinctively, from the beginning, the Yellow Vests seem to have assimilated and put into practice the profound criticism of representative democracy that goes back to the 18th century and was applied during the Paris Commune in 1871. There, delegates were given limited mandates, subject to instant recall, regularly rotated, and paid at workmen’s wages. The Communards also called on other cities to rise and link up as a federation. This is precisely the Yellow Vests modus operandi.

Assembly of Assemblies, Yellow Vests, April 2019. From StalkerZone.org.

Europe

This critique of representation explains the Assembly’s attitude toward the upcoming elections for the European Parliament, which will play out as a rehearsal for the next legislative elections when parties will be competing seriously for votes. The fear of being manipulated for political purposes as strong. Last month Yellow Vests at a Paris demonstration recognized a Yellow Vest who had just declared her candidacy to great media fanfare, apparently in the name of the Yellow Vests. They were furious and yelled at her until she withdrew, shaken. Ugly, but a necessary example to anyone else who would rather be a politician than a Yellow Vest (without resigning first).

As far as Europe is concerned,  the Assembly, far from calling for a Frexit, reached out to social movements in the other countries of the European Union in a call to come together and struggle against its neo-liberal policies. The Assembly saw no point in voting in this sham election. As everyone knows, the European Parliament has no power or even visibility. It’s not even in Brussels, where the important decisions are made by representatives of the German banks and multi-national corporations. Moreover, it limits the deficit spending of its member countries, thus making it illegal for France to finance the social services and environmental reconstruction the people are demanding.

On the weekend of April 5-7, more than 800 Yellow Vest delegates from all over France gathered in the town of Saint-Nazaire for the second Assembly of the Assemblies of the Gilets Jaunes movement. From Enough is Enough.

Restructuring and Reflection

Last weekend’s Assembly of Assemblies coincided with Act 21 of the Yellow Vests’ long struggle to occupy public spaces and freely proclaim their hopes and anger, and it brought out only 23,400 people (government count) across France, the lowest number so far. Small wonder after five straight months of bloody repression. The police were as usual out in force, and they stopped and frisked 14, 919 people according to the Paris Prefecture. After twenty-one weekly battles, many of us are too tired, too scared and/or too old to continue “running with the bulls” through the streets dodging gas canisters.

“We thought we were off for a sprint. In fact, we were involved in a marathon and we need to prepare ourselves,” admitted one speaker.”  We realize we need to vary our tactics, refine our goals, organize our democratic structures better for the movement to last, and last weekend’s Assembly attempted to face this challenge, starting with three weeks of discussion and a number new approaches.

Among the new tactics was a call for a huge nationwide protest against the increasing repression being imposed by the Macron government, the liberation of all those in jail, whether Yellow Vests or in other “criminalized” struggles and refers directly to the oppressed North African and immigrant communities in France, whose 2005 youth rising was brutally put down. “[The violent repression] we are experiencing today now has been for decades the daily experience in the popular quarters [ghetto-like “suburbs” –Ed.]” and concludes: “Now authoritarianism is being generalized to the whole society.”

Yellow Vests End of Capitalism, Second Assembly of Assemblies, from Enough is Enough

Macron’s Response: Propaganda and Violent Repression

In contrast to these deliberations, last weekend the Macron government delivered the results of its official “Great Debate,” a publicity stunt organized by his government at a cost of 12 million Euros to showcase the President articulately answering questions from selected audiences of mayors and local notables in towns and villages across the country. In all, Macron logged 92 hours of speaking.

France’s elected monarch concocted this “Debate,” whose limits were set in advance (taxing the rich and the corporations was off the table), as his “answer” to the Yellow Vests’ demand for participatory democracy. The results were unsurprising: the French want “lower taxes, no cuts to services” (NYT April 9). Asked if the “Great Debate” was a “success for Macron and his government,” only 6% of those polled by BFM-TV answered “yes.” Another poll revealed that 35% of French people still approve the Yellow Vests (down from 70% last December) while only 29% approve of Macron.

PR aside, the Macron government’s real answer to public opposition posed by the Yellow Vests has been brutally stark: slander, violent repression and strict new laws limiting the right to demonstrate – a right enshrined in the Declaration of Human Rights and the French Constitution. Macron and his ministers have publicly denounced the Yellow Vests as “anti-Semites,” “fascists,”  “a hateful mob,” and a violent conspiracy of “40-50,000” terrorists “of the extreme left and extreme right,” out to destroy French institutions.

This vicious caricature, echoed endlessly by the media and reinforced by scary images of violence and vandalism against the symbols of wealth and power in Paris, is designed to dehumanize the protesters, otherwise easily recognizable as poor provincials who are tired of being ignored. Thus demonized, the Yellow Vests’ actual demands for dignity and justice can be ignored.  As a threat to France, they must be repressed by any means necessary.

Since November 2018, when the Yellow Vest movement suddenly sprung up 300,00 strong, the government has unleashed unprecedented police brutality, using military grade weapons against unarmed demonstrators, provoking hundreds of serious injuries (including blindings, loss of limbs, and broken faces). Although invisible on French mainstream media (government subsidized and corporate owned), this French government violence has been repeatedly condemned by human rights panels in France and the European Union, as well as by Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The sign says: “Let’s Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible” From the Second Assembly of Assemblies: “We call for a collective fight at every level across the territory to guarantee our social, economic, ecological, and democratic demands. Knowing we must fight a global system, we must exit capitalism.” From Enough is Enough.

Government Violence At Last Exposed

On Saturday, March 23, as President Macron was visiting the Riviera, 73-year-old Geniève Legay, local spokesperson ATTAC (the 20-year-old international NGO that proposes taxing financial transactions for social purposes) joined the Yellow Vest demonstration at Nice to speak out against this repression. Interviewed on local TV carrying a rainbow peace flag, she declared “We are here to say we have the right to demonstrate …We will leave this square when we choose. And if they use force… Then we’ll see. I’m not afraid. I’m 73 years old, what could happen to me? I’m fighting for my grand-children. Against tax havens, and all the money the banks are laundering, against fossil energy.”

Moments later, Police Commander Souchi ordered his heavily armed riot police to charge the peaceful group in which Geneviève Legay was standing, and she found herself on the ground, surrounded by riot cops, bleeding profusely, with a cracked skull and broken ribs. She is still in the hospital with serious injuries.

On Monday, the Public Prosecutor and President Macron categorically denied that she had had any contact with the police, and the President, interviewed by the local paper, made a hypocritical apology, “wishing her a speedy recovery and hoping that she might learn some ‘sagesse” (literally “wisdom” but typically applied to children in the sense of learning to “behave.”)

According to the President of France, as a fragile elderly person, Mme Legay should have known better than to go out to the square in the first place, and so had got herself trampled in the crowd. (The haughty Macron, like the arrogant Trump, seems to enjoy adding insult to injury.) But, as her TV interview makes clear, Geneviève Legay knew very well she was risking her life to defend the democratic freedom to demonstrate and foresaw such an attack moments before it was ordered by police Commander Souchi.

Indeed, videos taken on the spot and the testimony of street-medics and other eyewitnesses (including policemen) told a different story. Apparently, a policeman wielding a had shield hit her in the head and knocked her down, whereupon he and other cops straddled her and dragged her away bleeding, refusing to allow street-medics to attend her. They may also have kicked her when she was down, which would explain her cracked ribs.

Later, police entered her hospital room, where Mme Legay was alone (her daughters having been barred without explanation). They repeatedly tried to get Mme Legay to admit that a “cameraman” had pushed her down, but when she repeated that it was a policeman, they stopped taking notes.

Meanwhile, videos of the attack were all over the Internet, and the independent, subscriber-supported news site Médiapart gathered eyewitness evidence and presented it to the Public Prosecutor, who on March 29 was obliged to reverse himself and affirm police involvement.

Then, on April 8, Médiapart exposed the deliberate official cover-up of this attack. It turns out that the person placed in charge of the investigation, Hélène P, one of the policewomen who had pressured Mme Legay in her hospital room to declare that she had been pushed down by a “cameraman,” was none other than the common-law wife of Commander Sochi, who had shouted the order to “Charge! Charge!” at the peaceful group in which Mme Legay was standing.

This scandal has finally broken official silence on French police brutality after five months of violent, indiscriminate attacks on Yellow Vests – visible on YouTube but not on TV. Even the death, during a housing demonstration in Marseille, of  Zaineb Redouane, an 80-year-old woman who was killed on Dec. 4 at her upstairs window when shot directly in the face with tear-gas grenade, went unacknowledged. (She was only an Algerian.)

L’Assemblée des Assemblées des Gilets Jaunes, Facebook page.

Macron’s Lies and Cover-ups

Thus, the President of the Republic was caught outright lying to cover up police brutality. Not as strange as one might think, given the scandal that has clung to him like a tick since last summer, also uncovered by Médiapart, is the Benalla Affair – named for Macron’s Security Chief, who last year was captured on a video, wearing a borrowed riot police uniform, viciously clubbing a demonstrator lying on the ground – apparently for the fun of it. It then emerged that Macron’s protégé and left-hand man Benalla was also involved in a variety of international intrigues and scams, which continue tarnish Macron’s Mister Clean image in France as new evidence emerges.

Nonetheless, Macron,  a former Socialist, is still seen internationally as a progressive, democratic leader, efficiently modernizing France’s archaic “exception” to neo-liberal dogma, basically a friend to human rights. The extraordinary violence of his regime has remained hidden behind a smokescreen of demonization of the Yellow Vests and de facto censorship by the mainstream media. Even the liberal New York Review of Books, which in the 60s printed a diagram of a Molotov cocktail on its front page, has clung to this line, placing the blame for “violence” on the protestors. So before leaving this subject, let’s look at some unpleasant statistics and then examine the role of the Black Block of so-called casseurs (“trashers”) in sustaining this image.


Whose Violence?

The official narrative is that the Yellow Vests have been attacking the forces of order, and indeed they are often seen on TV throwing teargas canisters back at the police. Interior Minister Castner has been categorical: “I know of no policeman who has attacked the Yellow Vests.” Here are the statistics.

No policemen have been reported as seriously injured during the five months of weekly clashes with the Yellow Vests.

On the other hand, the latest official Interior Ministry figures list 2, 200 wounded demonstrators, 10 eyes permanently put out, 8,700 arrests, 1,796 convictions, 1, 428 teargas canisters fired, 4, 942 dispersion grenades fired, 13, 460 Flashballs (LBDs) fired.

Flashballs, manufactured in Switzerland, are listed as “sub-lethal military weapons” but when they cross the French border, they magically become crowd-control devices. They are extremely powerful and accurate at 50 yards, and the number head-wounds indicate that they have been deliberately aimed at demonstrators’ heads, as have been tear-gas canisters and grenades.

Médiapart’s list counts 606 demonstrators wounded including one death, 5 hands ripped off, 23 blinded in one eye, 236 head wounds (including jaws ripped off) and 103 attacks on journalists. Among the wounded 464 were demonstrators, 39 minors, 22 bystanders, 61 journalists, and 20 medics.[2]

Yellow Vests speaking from L’Assemblée des Assemblées des Gilets Jaunes Facebook page.

What About the Violent Vandals?

Concerning the Black Block and other casseurs (“trashers”) they are certainly guilty of property damage on a fairly significant scale, but have as far as I know not wounded, blinded or crippled any human beings. That, to me (but apparently not to the French media), is a significant difference. I have never eaten at Fouquet’s restaurant, and I’m sure they have insurance.

My problem with the Black Block at Yellow Vest demonstrations is that they never get arrested or struck by fishballs. Go on YouTube and you can see dozens of videos of masked, black-clad guys with crowbars smashing banks and trashing stores in plain sight. No one ever stops them. Why?

A certain number of casseurs have been spotted (and videoed) as police provocateurs, infiltrating the demonstrations, smashing stuff, and then being exfiltrated through police lines. This is an old French police tactic designed to spoil the image of a demonstration and justify violent repression, but the whole truth is that Europe is full of angry young men, self-styled anarchists, deeply invested in fighting the establishment by smashing its symbols. They come in from all over Europe.

So the cops leave them alone and concentrate on their main mission: brutalizing the crowds of ordinary demonstrators to scare them off and stifle dissent. Moreover, the Black Block folks are more likely to kick the shit out of the cops who try to stop them than are high-school kids, parents with children, and old folks like me and Geneviève. I’d like the Black Block much more if they would fight the cops themselves, instead of using us as human shields while expressing their quite understandable rage while we get gassed and shot at.

Yellow Vests assemble and vote. Photo credit: Révolution Permanente.

Libertycidal” Legislation

The new “anti-casseurs” laws that Macron is pushing through the legislature will legalize and set in stone for the future the repressive practices used against the Yellow Vests, making them permanently available to his successors (for example Marine LePen). They have nothing to do with actual casseurs (who are obviously breaking existing laws and need only to be apprehended under them) and everything to do with making it nearly impossible for ecologists, trade-unionists or Yellow Vests to demonstrate.

For example, if you are a small-town Yellow Vest and take the train to Paris on a Saturday, you are likely to be stopped several times between the station and the Champs Elysées. If you have in your backpack Vaseline, eye drops, ski goggles, a bicycle helmet, a face-scarf or God forbid a gas mask, you can be arrested, brought to summary trial, and convicted the very same day for being part of a “group organized for the purpose of destroying public order and obstructing the forces of order.”

Of course, if you insist on a real trial with lawyers and everything, they will gladly hold you over in jail, but if you’re not at work on Monday you’ll lose your job and meanwhile who is minding the kids? And if you eventually do get to demonstrate and the demonstration leads to property damage, you may also be made legally and financially responsible. You may also be placed on a list of dangerous people and barred from demonstrating again at the whim of the local Prefect.

The chilling prospect of turning these absurd police-state practices into law is what brought pacifists like Geneviève Legay out into the streets with the Yellow Vests. Interviewed in the hospital, where she is still in pain and recovering slowly from multiple injuries, she declared: “Today I am determined to carry on the fight. It is ever more necessary to do so when you see the anti-democratic drift of this government […] The yellow Vests support me and I will continue supporting them. I am not going to stop fighting to defend our rights, as I have for 50 years, and to struggle against State repression whatever form it may take.”

Yellow Vest Workshop discussion. Photo by Yves Monteil for Reporterre

The Cat Is Out of the Bag

She will not be alone. The League for the Rights of Man and more than 50 other civil liberties groups, religious associations, trade unions, civic associations, and far-left parties have just called for a massive national demonstration for the right to demonstrate, along with the Yellow Vests this Saturday, April 13. I hope it will be massive.

The choice of Saturday is significant as an act of solidarity with the Yellow Vests, who alone have been defending the public’s right to assemble in public places, and this at considerable personal risk. For 22 weeks, the Yellow Vests have been acting out this basic democratic right through their principled refusal to beg the police for special permission for citizens to gather in a public square or parade through the streets. Imagine “Occupy Wall St.” happening all around the country, in cities and on traffic circles, on a weekly basis. All alone, the Yellow Vests have sustained thousands of injuries and thousands of arrests through this weekly act of civil disobedience, proclaiming the right to the city. Now, at last, they have recognition and allies.[3]

This new convergence of other groups, along with the new perspectives flowing from the Yellow Vests’ Assembly of Assemblies, may mark a new phase in their long and lonely struggle against Macron’s harsh, anti-democratic, neo-liberal regime in its implacable drive to wipe out the relative advantages in living standards, social services and personal liberties won by previous generations of French people in 1936 (the general strike), 1945 (the Liberation) and 1968 (the general strike and student uprising). Indeed, since 1789 (the Declaration of the Rights of Man, which enshrines the people’s right to demonstrate grievances).

P.S. Meanwhile, the Algerian people, having suffered a century of French colonial rule, a long and bloody war for independence, and more than 60 years of corrupt police-state rule, are carrying on a similar struggle for dignity and democracy, filling the streets once a week (but on Friday, not Saturday) in-so-far peaceful massive demonstrations. (The Montpellier Yellow Vests immediately voted their support.) The irony is that the Algerian police have held back on violence, whereas here in France, the level of state repression against the Yellow Vests reminds me of the oppressive atmosphere of police repression I experienced as a student in Paris during the Algerian War.

P.S. In my next report from Montpellier, I will try to relate, as a participant-observer, what it’s like inside the Yellow Vests. Meanwhile, don’t hesitate to send me any questions you may have about this under-reported but much-maligned autonomous popular movement.

Yellow Vest ‘I am your sister, mother, cousin, colleague.’ Photo by Ian Langsdon for EPA-EFE, REX. Shutterstock.

Notes

[1] See James Surowiecki: The Wisdom of Crowds: Why the Many Are Smarter Than the Few and How Collective Wisdom Shapes Business, Economies, Societies, and Nations

[2] https://www.mediapart.fr/studio/panoramique/allo-place-beauvau-cest-pour-un-bilan

[3] Typical of Yellow Vests’ sense of autonomy, our Montpellier/Peyrou group, although happy to join the Oct. 13 demonstration (which has received an actual permit) reserves the right to break off from the official group, march around where they please, and return when they choose. You can only « have » a right if you use it. During Act 21, after chasing around town with the cops on their heels, they ended up on the main square and spontaneously formed a very long line and began dancing an improvised Medieval dance to the rhythm of drums, flutes and noisemakers.

  • Cathleen McGuire

    SUPERB article. Thank you so much. I will send it far and wide.

    What is the result of the April 13 massive demonstration?

  • Milrem

    Struggling for democracy ? Are you kidding ? Your whole document is propaganda ! The yellow vest that demonstrate now ARE extreme right and left ! No yellow vest of the beginning is still demonstrating ! These people want to destroy the french republic and put a fascist system instead ! They are despised by the french an represent nobody;

  • kevinzeese

    The author is a Yellow Vest who has been involved from the beginning of the movement. Your comment is false. You seem to have hidden motives.

  • Milrem

    Ha, ha, ha ! you ask a yellow vest to do a comment on the yellow vest movement ? How impartial can it be ?
    This cannot be journalism. And extreme right and left were in the movement from the beginning, evidently ! So, your “so called” journalist is extreme left or right !
    My daughter and most of her friends were yellow vest at the beginning. They are satisfied with what Macron did.
    And Macron launched last january a poll on what the french want on all subjects ! The conclusion of this poll is tonight ! If this is not democracy, I wonder what is ?
    And you know what ? Almost none of the yellow vest claims are among the claims of the french ! Does it ring a bell to you ?
    I did not know your publication before but I will certainly not believe in it in the future !

  • Neville

    Why weren’t those terrorists clad in black clothing arrested by the Police ?
    In the beginning many police were in solidarity with the yellow vests

  • kevinzeese

    You do have an agenda. You seem to support Macron’s neoliberalism for the wealthy.

    Of course, we ask people in movements to write about those movements. They can give a unique perspective. But, we have had lots of people writing about the Yellow Vest movement. It is an issue we have covered on a weekly basis (sometimes multiple times a week) since it started.

    Macron’s meetings were an effort to respond to the Yellow Vests, but they were flawed and rightly criticized. His violence against the Yellow Vests started immediately. And, there continue to be police who support the movement. And, the French public, by large majorities support the Yellow Vests. Macron, on the otherhand is very unpopular and has almost now support.

    See our coverage. It is probably more in depth than any other website. https://popularresistance.org/tag/yellow-vest/

  • kevinzeese

    I don’t know what terrorists you are talking about but the Yellow Vest movement has been very nonviolent. There have probably been some infiltrators that have tried to cause violence. Despite their nonviolence, the police have been very violent doing serious physical harm to nonviolent protesters and making mass arrests for no good reasons. The Macron response has been despicable.

  • Milrem

    I have no agenda ! I am a simple citizen, and as most normal people, I hate the yellow vest movement since about 3 month ! I was a supporter at the beginning but found out some of them had an agenda, as you say ! And this agenda is anticapitalist, anti european, anti french republic !
    As you are supporting these revolutionaries, I suppose you are part of their movement and the title of your “document”, “popular resistance” shows that in your opinion, there can be only resistance, no cooperation ?
    Macron is much more popular than you say and the funny thing is that the claims of the yellow vests were not at all followed by the claims of the citizens ! The yellow vest movement will be stopped within a few weeks, in blood if needed, with the sympathy of the people.
    It doesn’t mean of course, that people are happy with their financial lives. Since 40 years, France is governed by socialists (even Chirac was a leftist !) and we pay the price now with the highest level of taxes in the world ! Macron is of course not responsible of this situation, but i will, like all the french, consider he is responsible if he doesn’t change the trajectory.

  • kevinzeese

    Thank you for letting us know your bias in favor of capitalism. Socialists in name only have governed France. Socialists in favor of the wealthy!

    Macron has below 20% popularity. The Yellow Vests above 70%.

    Yes, this phase of the Yellow Vest movement will end, but it is only a phase. The issues they have raised over inequality and failed neoliberal capitalist policies will remain. They will become the national consensus in France, they are already the majority opinion, and they will impact the diretion of the country. This is just one stage in how movements transform counties.

    See http://www.PopularResistance.org/school to learn about how movements create change. It is not just from one phase of a campaign. This stage, the Yellow Vest protest stage, is just the take-off. There is much more to come.

  • Jon

    Good bye then. If you do not understand the workings of the empire, of which France is a part, then you are not needed here where journalalism is precisely for liberation, not faux “impartial.”

  • Neville

    The black clad ANTIFA terrorists who turn up world wide to cause mayhem on peaceful demonstrations

  • Neville

    A Poll conducted by the people who wrote the results

  • Neville

    Macron wants France to be of the EU where the whole of Europe will be run by a central government so say goodbye to your French Republic if he gets his way

  • Milrem

    France is not a liberal country ! It is a socialist country where almost half the people make their money with state’s help ! France is world champion in taxes. How can it be liberal ?
    Socialism doesn’t work…at all !!
    You are too young so you haven(t seen the horrors of communism and socialism in the east. I was married to a chinese woman. She told me how people were doing absolutely nothing. They did not care about making money (which was not possible) because there was nothing to buy anyway. Working good or bad did not matter, they could not be fired !
    Have you seen what liberalism has made of China in less than 30 year ? 600 million people became as rich as the europeans, all the others out of poverty ?
    I was also in Ceaucescu’s Romania in 1982. Horrible, no glasses on the restaurant windows, nothing to eat or drink anyway in these restaurants, nothing in the museum where everything had been stolen probably by the guards?
    Keep in mind people never work for a state ! They work for themselves. If you take away what they make, they stop working !
    Now, if I was President, the present yellow vest would all be in prison ! And if France was like China, or Russia or many other states, a few thousands would be dead ! I think Macron should be tougher and contrary to what you say, people are behind him !
    Concerning Europe, I hope we will have a Europe of regions sooner or later. And I will still be a proud french ready to fight against invaders like you !

  • dan

    Like over here in US to some extent; you have folks who still trust the “official/mainstream” media which parrot whoever’s in power, whoever supports the status quo. Trust authority or chaos?! Trust Trump…Trust Obama Trust Corporate Clintons Treat the agitators, rebels, whistleblowers like Assange Manning Snowden as the enemy of The People…..
    Sure folks are often afraid of change; but to support Imperialism and/or neo-liberalism no matter what is stupid and bone-headed; whether in France or elsewhere. The only time cops tend to support protestors are when cops’ wages working conditions are effected….

  • Milrem

    Not at all! It is because there are no laws up to now in France to put a demonstrator in jail. But laws are changing and these destructor will hopefully soon go to jail for a long term. The police and the people hate them

  • Milrem

    The demonstrators became very violent after 4 or 5 weeks… Because they were not yellow vest anymore : they were left and right extremists and nihilists. The police was violent with these violent failures.

  • Neville

    Gosh, what then would be going through the minds of police seeing black clad disguised people destroying the joint while the yellow vests looked on ?
    Would the Police had seen the difference in that Yellow means protest whereas Black means anarchy ?
    Black clad vandals have a filthy history of destruction at all past international government meetings so I can’t fathom why the French Police didn’t go hard on them from day one instead of seriously injuring Yellows who’s only fault was being there .

  • Neville

    If Macron were a leader he would walk the streets with them