French Yellow Vests, an American view

This 10 December 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

The popular depictions of France’s Yellow Vest Movement try to depict the grassroots populist mobilization as a “European Tea Party” fighting against big government and high taxes.

Journalist Cole Stangler joins to tell the Thom Hartmann program the much more interesting truth on the Yellow Vest movement. Do you think we’ll see similar mobilizations in the U.S.?

Another view from the USA on the Yellow Vests, by Daniela Cobet.

Macron’s very limited concesions to the yellow vests: here.

Dutch victims of Shell/Exxon gas extraction earthquakes don yellow vests: here.

21 thoughts on “French Yellow Vests, an American view

  1. Pingback: French high school students demonstrate against Macron | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. another good video on similar theme –

    you can find lots from France (BBC has a ban on reporting, Hartman should know that) by looking at this hash tag in your address bar – #Gilets jaunes

    Macron is a Rothschild banker and loathed in France … it has more to with him than gasoline price in my opinion…


  3. Thursday, 13 December 2018

    Yellow jacket uprising spreads across Europe and inspires the masses in the Middle East

    ON MONDAY night, French President Emmanuel Macron used a televised address to the nation to try and head off the insurrectionary wave sweeping the country.

    Macron’s boast that he would crush the masses has turned to ashes in his mouth and on Monday he made a humiliating climbdown, promising a £9 billion package and a whole raft of concessions on pay rises and tax cuts for workers in addition to freezing the hike in diesel prices that originally sparked the uprising.

    Macron’s ‘concessions’ were, in the words of one of the Yellow Vest organisers, ‘Too little, too late’, with a spokesman for the movement vowing that masses would come on the streets this Saturday to put an end to Macron’s rule.

    According to polls, 84% of the population support the Yellow Vests, while Macron has seen his support plummet to an historic low. Indeed, the day after his address, the Yellow Vests were joined by thousands of high school students angered by Macron’s education reforms. Last week, up to 300 French high schools were barricaded every day, prompting violent clashes as the state unleashed the police to brutally break up the occupations.

    School students have joined with youth and workers in this mass movement that is refusing to be either intimidated by the brutality of the CRS or bought off with a few crumbs from Macron. They want an end to Macron’s government and an end to capitalist austerity.

    Macron’s retreat before the working class has terrified the European bourgeoisie. A leading German banker expressed this fear saying: ‘Macron’s response suggests that a rioting and pillaging mob can dictate politics, while those who demonstrate peacefully – or not at all – are ignored.’

    It couldn’t be clearer – the strength of the working class and young people rising up in a mass revolutionary movement can not only dictate politics but can and will overthrow the bankrupt capitalist system that can offer nothing but perpetual poverty for the masses and the enrichment of the bourgeoisie.

    The German bankers are wailing that, with Macron pledging to increase public spending by £9 billion, France will be breaking all the fiscal rules of the Eurozone on cutting expenditure to below 60% of GDP – his concessions will push France’s national debt to above 100% of GDP and put it in the same position as Italy, which the EU is currently threatening with fines and sanctions for breaking the rules.

    France has now taken over from Italy as the country that will bring down the euro and with it the entire EU because of the revolutionary uprising of workers and youth. It is a movement that is spreading far beyond France. Last Saturday, saw mass demonstrations throughout the normally tranquil Netherlands demanding an end to economic attacks on workers and for the government to be removed.

    In Brussels, yellow-vested protesters marched on its European quarter, the centre for the EU, demanding the prime minister resign with the leading banner proclaiming ‘social winter is coming’.

    Neither Belgium nor the Netherlands has imposed fuel tax increases: all the economic hardship has become generalised into a powerful mass movement that hates capitalism and is rapidly embracing socialist revolution as the only way forward.

    This is spreading far beyond Europe and inspiring struggles across the Middle East. In Tunisia, youth have started their own national ‘red vest’ campaign targeting: ‘Corruption, high costs of living, unemployment and mismanagement’ that, coupled with disastrous governmental policies, had led to ‘systematic impoverishment’, eight years after their own 2011 uprising brought down the then-government of Ben-Ali.
    Scared that, as in 2011, the movement will spread to Egypt, the government there has banned the sale of yellow vests throughout the country.

    In Iraq, demonstrators, demanding an end to the appalling insanitary living conditions in the oil-rich province of Basra last weekend, donned high visibility jackets inspired by the French uprising.


  4. Saturday, 15 December 2018


    ‘THE SOUTH African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) salutes the workers of France who have been protesting in their hundreds of thousands against President Emmanuel Macron’s “government of the rich”.

    ‘There have been anti-government protests at more than 2,000 different locations since the movement broke out in early December. Protesters have faced water cannon, police batons and tear gas. In response they have erected barricades, hurled paving stones at the notorious riot police, and demonstrated on the steps of the Paris stock exchange.

    ‘SAFTU congratulates the protesters on having already forced the government to make important concessions. Having already agreed to postpone the implementation of an increase in the tax on diesel fuel – the issue which sparked off the protest – Macron has now announced an increase in the national minimum wage of around R1,635 per month, to take it up to around R24,491 per month.

    ‘But the ‘‘gilets jaunes’’ (yellow jackets) are still determined to keep up the fight for more fundamental changes in the distribution of wealth. And the leadership of the main trade union federation – the CGT – has announced a national day of action on 14 December to demonstrate against austerity and unemployment.

    ‘South African workers will notice the similarities with the issues which have sparked similar anger here – the fuel levy increase and the poverty minimum wage. (Note however that the French NMW is seven times bigger than Ramaphosa’s pitiful figure!).

    ‘In both countries it is not just these specific issues that has made people so angry but a more general protest against high taxes, the rising cost of living, unemployment, poverty and a feeling that the country’s leaders are elitist, arrogant and out of touch.

    ‘100 schools were blockaded by students protesting against Macron’s education “reforms”. Paramedics blocked the approaches to the National Assembly with at least 100 ambulances, in protest against changes in their working conditions. Facebook has shown firefighters protesting outside municipal headquarters.

    ‘Both governments have cut social spending and presided over a big increase in unemployment (with ten million unemployed or under-employed in France), while big business has been given massive tax breaks. France’s central bank halved its fourth-quarter growth forecast to just 0.2% from 0.4%, just as low as South Africa’s.

    ‘Very significantly, the protests have spread beyond France, to Belgium and the Netherlands. Thousands gathered in Brussels and The Hague where there were burning barricades and street fighting, despite their governments not having made any similar proposals like Macron’s diesel tax.

    ‘The ‘‘gilets jaunes’’ are articulating the pent-up frustrations of all layers in society. Even Macron has had to admit that “the protests by mostly low-income people in small town or rural France are the result of long-term problems. Their distress doesn’t date from yesterday. We have ended up getting used to it. These are forty years of malaise that have come to the surface.

    “It is clear that we underestimated people’s need to make themselves heard,” government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux told Europe 1 radio. ‘These events recall the social explosion of 1968, the revolutionary upsurge that came very close to ousting President Charles de Gaulle, which could have opened the way to socialism not only in France but Europe and the world. The slogan on one of the current protesters’ yellow jacket read: “I was here in 1968 and I am still here fighting!”

    ‘In 1968, the protests began with the students and was only later joined by the trade unions which led to a march of a million in Paris. In today’s protests however neither students nor organised workers were at the forefront in the beginning.

    ‘Most of the first demonstrators were people from rural areas, protesting at the drastic cuts in their living standards. It is a movement expressing accumulated anger, uniting many who have voted very different ways in recent elections – right, left and centre, or not at all.

    ‘The movement is very diverse. The leader of the left-wing France Insoumise (France Unbowed), Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who got more than seven million votes in the first round of the last elections, has called the current movement the “citizens’ revolution”.

    ‘Yet the far-right, racist Rassemblement National (formerly the National Front) has also supported the protests.. Even the leader of the main party of French capitalism – Les Republicains – called for a referendum on the government’s diesel tax.

    ‘The involvement of such right-wing elements threatens to undermine the movement, unless the organied working class provides leadership. But only very belatedly did the leadership of the CGT issue its call for mass action on 14 December.

    ‘This is despite the fact that polls show that eight out of ten people support the protests and its main slogan “Macron resign!” In the last month his personal opinion poll ratings have dropped to an all-time low.

    ‘He has already ‘‘lost’’ seven ministers since coming to power in 2017, either embroiled in some form of corruption, violence, or, at best, disillusionment and at least half the members of his party – the LREM – have stopped going to meetings and the party itself is said to be splintering. There is a crisis opening at the top of society.

    ‘More and more Mélenchon voters, along with disappointed one-time Macron supporters, and workers and young people who have not voted at all in recent elections, have been on the streets.

    ‘The situation raises urgently the need for a strong union movement and left party to adopt a programme that channels the dissatisfactions of every layer of society behind socialist demands – the impoverished middle class, the workers whose jobs and wages are threatened and the young people who now leave school with no guarantee of higher education or jobs.

    ‘There must be no repeat of the trade union leaders’ capitulation in 1968, when they signed an agreement which contained a few concessions to the workers but left the capitalist status quo intact.

    ‘In South Africa we can see the basis for a very similar uprising in the growing number of workers’ strikes and community protests, many of which have led to violent confrontations with employers and the state, reflecting the polarisation of class forces in this most unequal society in the world.

    ‘This is why the Working-Class Summit in July was so important, bringing together 147 organisations of workers and communities who agreed on a plan of action to coordinate and unite these protests.

    ‘Just as in France, there is a swelling wave of popular protest against landlessness, joblessness, homelessness, poverty wages, outsourcing, labour brokering, dysfunctional education and healthcare, poverty, evictions, inequality, environmental destruction, electricity load-shedding, poor service delivery, crime, a dysfunctional justice system and water cut-offs!

    ‘SAFTU is about to announce its 2019 programme of action on all these issues, which will include a total shut-down for three days, which will draw into its ranks the majority of South Africans, who, just like their counterparts in France, have been excluded from power and driven into poverty. ‘Be prepared for a movement on the same scale as that now unfolding in France!
    ‘Workers of the world unite!’


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