I am writing you from Montpellier, France, where I am a participant-observer in the Yellow Vest (Gilets jaunes) movement, which is still going strong after six months, despite a dearth of information in the international media.
Six months ago on Nov. 17, 2018, Yellow Vests burst literally “out of nowhere,” with autonomous local units springing up all over France like mushrooms, demonstrating on traffic circles (roundabouts) and toll-gates, marching every Saturday in cities, including Paris. But unlike all previous revolts, it was not Paris-centered. The humid November soil from which these mushrooms sprouted was the near-universal frustration of French people at the abject failure of the CGT and other unions to effectively oppose Macron’s steam-roller imposition last Spring of his historic Thatcherite “reforms”: an inflexible neo-liberal program of cutting benefits, workplace rights, and privatizing or cutting public services, while eliminating the so-called Wealth Tax designed to benefit the poor.
An open letter, originally published in French, written by a collective of French ‘Gilets Jaunes’ university academics – reacting to the social inequalities raised by the Yellow Vests movement, the series of measures the French government has taken since the movement’s beginning on 17 November 2018, and to abuses by the police forces during demonstrations and protest actions. The letter demands an acknowledgement of the movement’s demands, the resignation of the Interior Minister, and public inquiries into the violent repression that has swept France. As of the 15 May 2019, the letter has collected over 20,000 signatures. It joins similar calls and reactions by famous artists and medical doctors
At least in France we see the yellow vests persistent protests. But the american left couldn’t even stage a legal march with a permit. Where on earth is the left: it is growing marxist mouldy cheese and stewing over stalin jitters and fear of the police. The risks taken by yellow vests put the american left to shame as a bunch of nitwits and deadbeats.
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Three months on from its birth, the Yellow Vest movement continues to build support and make gains, argues Susan Ram