04 December 2018

"Yellow Vests"—New French Revolution?

We will regretfully be taking a short research break this winter, as life's surprises pile up, leaving us little time to publish. Thanks to all our regular readers for your patience and support.

But first: a view from the catbird's seat of the latest protest movement to sweep France. Your humble author has lived among the French for many years, so… What is going on? Why are people so angry? Are these the rumblings of a new French Revolution?

A quick press round-up is in order.

1) Who are the Yellow Vests?

They aren't Parisians, or big-city folks at all. These are small- and mid-sized town, working-class people from 'flyover' France, who absolutely need a car to get to work. Retirees too, who've seen their pensions decline under Macron. They are low-income, blue-collar, patriotic in a country that sneers at patriotism. They are also overwhelmingly native French. One might call them France's 'deplorables.'

France is known as the 'strike capital of the world' for good reason, but this time, curiously, there is no one in charge. No trade unions, no political parties, no civil servant groups. This seems to be a truly popular, spontaneous, grass-roots uprising cooked up entirely on social media.

2) What started the movement?

Fuel taxes. As part of its 'ecological transition,' France is trying to phase out fossil fuels and power itself with 'clean energy.' (Is such a goal possible, or desirable? That's a whole other ball of wax.) The state has been raising fuel taxes steadily, and this hike is set to go into overdrive in 2019.

So... all this sound and fury for a little gas hike?

In fact, the French are already some of the most taxed people on the planet. Almost 50% of their GDP is made up of taxes of one kind or another. Unemployment is stuck chronically around 10%, purchasing power is falling, and people today fear their kids will live less well than they did.

This tax was, in a sense, the straw that broke the camel's back.

A simple French citizen named Priscilla Ludosky launched an online petition some months ago against the tax hike, from there it spread through social media, and the rest is history.

Why yellow vests? A recent law has made them mandatory in all vehicles, so the French already had a ready-made costume (and a way to flip off the nanny state) in the glove box.

3) Where are they protesting?

In a word, 'everywhere.' 

Paris is the focus of the world press, but in reality this is not a Parisian movement at all. This is small-town, flyover France to the core. That is where the real Gilets Jaunes can be found:

Roundabouts and on-ramps have been a favored protest spot. The Yellow Vests have been camping out, barbecueing, and rallying motorists for support:

Tollbooths have also been prized targets, as protesters break the barriers and let motorists get on toll-free:

Refineries, warehouses, ports, and factories have also been blocked, in an effort to gum up the works and get people angry:

In addition, tax offices have been heavily targeted:
As of Monday, 134 tax offices have been targeted in 55 departments. Internal revenue has denounced these "acts of vandalism" such as "fires, trash piles in front, as well as putting locks on the doors."

4) What else are they angry about?

The center-left government has been quick to paint the protesters as 'far-right', a handy smear as effective in France as it is in the U.S.  Here is one of its spokesmen:

'A majority of Yellow Vests have said to me, they all agree, that there are too many foreigners in the hospitals, and that it's not normal that they get treated for free.'

Aside the fact this flunky has hardly spoken to half a million French protesters, there is a kernel of truth here, something largely unsaid in all this anger: One of the reasons the French are taxed half to death is that they have, for the past forty years, been importing an extremely costly foreign underclass.

We've touched on this before in 'The Diversity Tax', but to keep it brief, this underclass punches far above its weight in welfare use, crime and all its attendant costs, and pushing white-flighters ever farther from cities (whence their need for cars). That's not even touching the new 'refugee' hordes, who are also granted free housing, food and medical care simply for stumbling over the border--all of which is paid for by the working French.

Side note: Who is burning Paris?

Protests in 99% of France have been peaceful, so why is Paris a war zone? Some is due to genuine 'Yellow Vests,' who are putting up barricades and lighting fires in homage to the great revolts of French history. 

But most of the horrific images seen on TV are the work of Antifa, with which Paris is crawling...

...and of the millions-strong diverse underclass living all around the city, who never miss a chance (New Year's Eve, World Cup) to destroy and pillage.

Almost all of the arrests, violence, and vandalism have occurred in Paris, host to a small percentage of protesters, while in the rest of France, citizens have managed to resist looting and burning down their hamlets.

5) How is the government reacting?

For the moment, with a solid 'Stay the course':
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has said 'We've screwed up.' In not listening to the anger of the Yellow Vests? Not at all. 'We haven't communicated well, we haven't explained properly why we all need to reduce our petrol use.'

Macron is getting dangerously close to a Marie Antoinette moment:
According to Macron, there'll be no 'moratorium' on the gas hike planned for January 1st. 'People are expecting me to bend, but you can't be pro-environment on Monday and then anti-gas-tax on Tuesday.' He tried to blame his predecessors and their '40 years of small decisions,' and called for a 'great dialogue on the ecological transition, to transform this anger into solutions.'

In a nutshell, 'Let them eat cake.'

French Prime Minister Édouard Philippe on Tuesday announced a suspension of the controversial tax increases on fuel planned for January 1 in a move aimed at bringing an end to weeks of "Yellow Vest" protests against the measures.
“This anger, you’d have to be deaf or blind not to see it or hear it,” Philippe said in his address. The backpedaling by President Emmanuel Macron's government appeared designed to calm the nation, coming three days after the worst unrest on the streets of Paris in decades.

This announcement does not seem to have quelled the protesters though, who are planning an 'Act IV' this Saturday 8th December in Paris—and the city is preparing as if for war:
Tourist attractions and museums in central Paris have said they will not open on Saturday, when fresh gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protests are planned, as French authorities prepared to deploy 89,000 security personnel across the country.
“France is fed up!! We will be there in bigger numbers, stronger, standing up for French people. Meet in Paris on Dec 8,” said one group’s banner.

A suivre…

6) Has the next French Revolution begun?

No one knows. As the days go by, things seem to be intensifying. Regional protests began peacefully:

Some elected officials have even lent their support:

But some Yellow Vests are radicalizing:

What happens next? It truly is anyone's guess, as the general feeling in France is that we have officially reached terra incognita. We shall keep updating, as things are moving fast.

Otherwise, a snug and happy winter to all our readers. After a short research break, we hope to be back online quickly sharing HBD data with any who may find it of interest.

Thank you, as always, for reading.


Anonymous said...

merci une mille fois! this is the best & most succinct primer i've seen.
our US media only tells us what the rootless globalist cosmopolitan elites want us to know.

John Ford said...

Dear France:


Mr. Rational said...

Oh, man, is this ever one HELL of a ride!  WHEEEEEE!!!

M.G. said...

Anon 4:33--

Avec plaisir! It's very hard to get the real scoop from U.S. media, I agree. Happy to share some info and images from the frontlines.

Deter Naturalist said...

I watch the major stock indexes as a proxy for "social mood." If you compare them to historical events, two things jump out at you:
1. Natural disasters (or other truly outside events) have at most a momentary effect on "mood," as even massive cataclysms like Indonesia's tsunami a few years ago cannot be found "on the tape."
2. Changes in mood (as measured by stocks) always precede major human-caused events like wars and revolutions. War & revolution essentially never occur when stocks are rising and high.

Yet stocks are an imperfect barometer. I only have data to 1991, but France's CAC 40 major stock index indicates a long sideways move began 18 years ago. That's a long period of stagnation, and if it occurred during the same kind of credit-bubble inflation as did the USA's, then the CAC 40's current level, near the ceiling of the last 18 years, is a lie-by-monetary-debasement.

I guess that from my lens, a real revolution is not much likely in the USA or in France as things stand today. But as I noted, the worldwide tsunami of debt assumption is the obverse of the Greatest Credit Bubble in history coin. It has turned the world's savings into post-consumer waste, and I cannot escape the feeling that when this 50-ish year period of intoxication-by-borrowing ends and sobriety returns, the urge to find scapegoats for the public's rage will be seen as epochal.

The USA's stock markets are now in a weekly downtrend. If that continues (which seems most probable at the moment) they'll establish a monthly downtrend by late spring. If that does occur, then the likeliest path will be toward the popular recognition of a financial calamity that has already now occurred.

By the time of a future low in a few years, maybe all this warm-up while stocks are high will mean we won't have to wait for the socio-political upheaval that usually waits for the second of two downdraft corrective waves.

americangoy said...

Americangoy here.

Another great article, this time on-the-spot reporting.
What can I say, we live in interesting times (shudder).

We have Orwellian "news" media. We have one particular group controlling the printing of money, the reserve currency of the world (I need not explain further).

Our world is basically a sham, a trick, something akin to "the wizard behind the curtain" in the classic fable. More and more complications are introduced into our daily lives,

daily hegelian dialectics

to make us get sucked in into artificial conflicts about uninmportant side issues.

We fight about trans people, about identity politics, political, racial groups are set against each other, TV is bombarding us 24/7 with agitprop disinfo specialists, very highly paid.

We work jobs which could and should be automated, we use outdated technology like dinosaur droppings, tech is artificially held back, we sit in our factories, offices for 8, 9, 12, 14 hours per day, then drive in our cars for 1-2 hours each way just to be too tired to THINK.

We are like hamsters trapped on a wheel with our elites - excuse me, the elites are not our people, they are alien to our societies, invaders - hamsters trapped on a wheel with someone speeding and slowing the wheels so that the animal never realizes that there is something else in life.

The (White) French in the "flyover country", which the elite - remember, they are not our people, they are not of us - disdain, nay, hate.

This whole low IQ invasion was part of Hegelian Dialectic: Problem -> Reaction -> Solution.

Problem: artificially created, engineered, nurtured by the elite. Do you REALLY think muhammad and co. woke up one day and decided 'hmm, amma gonna just make my way to Europe', regardless of what some idiot chancellor german woman has said?

Do you realize that the fleet of smuggling ships was ready BEFORE the so called crisis, and that the fleet of ships was chartered - captain, technical specialists, engineers, sailors - to get these millions into Europe?

Reaction: Cue the predictable outrage of the normies, baa baa baa!

Solution: The solution is, of course, to introduce the police state. Cameras on every corner, militarize the police (what kind of grenades does the french police use, hmmm, research that), push laws that give absolute power to the rulers. This whole fake freedom has run its course, now it is time to take the gloves off, the natives are restless.

This is no longer 'slowly boil the frog' (I realize what I did here, and I make no apologies for my juvenile murican humour) (oh, I used a 'u' in humor, what a cosmopolitan I am, hmm).

This is now the next phase of the plan.

Anonymous said...

And the normies were supposed to eat this up. After all, look outside your window, it is too scary to go outside. Something has to be done!

And of course, push stuff totally unrelated to the current hegelian dialectic de jour - after all, "don't let a good crisis go to waste!".

And so anti "hate speech" laws are pushed out, more indoctrination in schools of children, especially White kids, so that they are gotten to at an earlier age and brainwashed.

Our rulers are amoral people.
Check that - they are evil people, with zero ethical, moral retardations on them. They will do anything and everything to stay top of the food chain.

Yes, the pompous front goy might lose his job - oh, the horror, he will never have to work for a living and will live the life of luxury and opulence - but the real power will remain the same.

I am sure that the elites are not that stupid, and that they have predicted this reaction as a possible one (although a welcome).

I predict the media will work overtime to placate, the main reason for the protests will be surrendered on (believe the gas tax is already rescinded), and the normies will go to work the next day. The ones "who can see" and who choose to protest - well, the whole militaristic police, the secret services, will be unleashed on them. They might be disappeared, jailed, or found mutilated "par encourage autres" (my french sucks, correct me, babes).

Anonymous said...

should be (although an unwelcome one).

Mr. Rational said...

Anonymous, Notepad and Preview are your friends.  Use them for help and they'll do you a world of good.

M.G. said...

Deter Naturalist--

I cannot escape the feeling that when this 50-ish year period of intoxication-by-borrowing ends and sobriety returns, the urge to find scapegoats for the public's rage will be seen as epochal.

As they say, what goes up must come down, but the free-money-palooza has been going on for an awfully long time now. Who's to say what the final 'pop' will look like.

I guess that from my lens, a real revolution is not much likely in the USA or in France as things stand today.

A week ago I would have agreed with you, but watching public order start to degenerate rapidly all over France (not just in the immigrant no-go zones like usual), I'm not so sure anymore. There's a groundswell of anger in this country that is taking everyone by surprise, and no one seems to know how it will end. This could wind up being 'the big one.'

M.G. said...

American Goy--

Great to see you here and glad you appreciate the reporting.

The solution is, of course, to introduce the police state. Cameras on every corner, militarize the police, push laws that give absolute power to the rulers.

This is the endgame of multiculturalism it seems, there's just no other way to make it 'work' than by sheer brute force (indoctrination can only take you so far).

I predict the media will work overtime to placate, the main reason for the protests will be surrendered on (believe the gas tax is already rescinded), and the normies will go to work the next day.

Hmmm, I'm not so sure about this. There's a kind of popular fury whipping around that seems to have taken on a life of its own. It's getting less focused, more sweeping, and more unstable. Truckers, farmers, and police unions are joining in, tax offices are being vandalized, tollbooths smashed, teens are setting their high schools on fire.

This is not like other protests I've seen in France. I have a feeling that the normies are not, in fact, going to go to work the next day. I think we're in for a long, very bumpy ride which might well be taking us over a cliff. I hope I'm wrong.

Mr. Rational said...

There's a groundswell of anger in this country that is taking everyone by surprise

M.G., you are witnessing a preference cascade in real time.  People were angry and opposed but the enemedia ridiculed and demonized them, downplayed their concerns and made it appear they were alone.  Well, turns out they had plenty of company and the Giletes Jaunes turned out to be how they found each other.

This is an irreversible social shift.  The can of worms has been opened.

Mr. Rational said...

And I just realized that "jaunes" is where the English word "jaundice" comes from.

M.G. said...

Mr. Rational--

This is an irreversible social shift. The can of worms has been opened.

Exactly how I feel. No matter what happens now, no matter what concessions are made, there'll be no going 'back to normal.' This is the new normal.

And I just realized that "jaunes" is where the English word "jaundice" comes from.

Yes, I think something like 50% of the English language is of French (or Latin via French) origin, and in the medical field that's probably a lot higher.

And here's the cherry on the cake--I looked up the etymology of 'gilet', and it turns out it comes from an Arab word, 'jalikah', which meant 'shirt worn by Christian galley slaves.' I can assure you that many Frenchmen today feel like galley slaves working to support a parasitical Muslim underclass!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for publishing--this and much else.

Deter Naturalist said...

I have long believed that "the turn" would be unusually rapid, due to today's "status quo" resting on nothing but volatile shared belief in the face-value of an ocean of debt.

It is a condition perfectly set up for phase-change inversion over a minuscule change of "temperature," going from "soft" water to concrete-hard ice seemingly in an instant.

I just hope my sentiments are early signals of the coming fashion.

I have realized that individualism is a disaster. A person of any stripe can be great as an individual, but it is the aggregation of such individuals that yields culture, and all evidence cited here and by my own eyes tells me that when two cultures attempt to occupy the same geography you get Darwinian selection sooner or later. I may like a particular specimen of another subspecies but once I recognize this biological inevitability it's time to fight. It's their subspecies or mine, in the geography for which we battle.

helena said...

"when two cultures attempt to occupy the same geography you get Darwinian selection sooner or later"

one imagines that cultures across the globe behave in a similar manner to cultures on a petri dish. Why wouldn't they?

Happy Xmas

I'm hoping that the next post might cover some possible policies / strategies for emerging from this sinking sand of multimarxism.

I saw this on hbd chick's twitter and thought it might be of interest: http://fakenous.net/

Anonymous said...

Two months later, the Yellow Vests are still protesting. What is the situation now?

I don't know anybody in France, but from the outside things seem to be going well for Macron. Numbers of protesters are slightly down. The fact that a dozend protesters were killed, several losts hands or an eye might have something to with that. But still, the police shows up every Saturday and obeys Macron's orders.

From the pictures I have seen, the men who lost a hand or an eye were white. That the police does not use comparable force when (still minority) youths riot and burn hundreds of cars, might have harded the political view of some of the native French. Yet I do not see how this could lead to Macron's fall.

Please give us an update on what you think of the situation.