Harrison STETLER (Paris): France’s Yellow Vest Movement Comes of Age; The Nation Jan 05, 2019

Dear all,

freelance journalist Harrison Stetler (Paris) gives an insight into the experiences, motives, questions, hopes of Yellow-Vest-delegates participating in the first „Assembly of Assemblies“ in late January.

Below an extract (full text attached).

Greets,

Martin Zeis, Stuttgart

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05.02.2019 — https://www.thenation.com/article/france-yellow-vest-movement-macron/

France’s Yellow Vest Movement Comes of Age

At its first “Assembly of Assemblies” in late January, this grassroots democratic revolt brought together many people who had never participated in politics.

By Harrison Stetler

Harrison Stetler is a freelance journalist based in Paris.

 

„The danger,” Yanis warned, “is that the constant stream of information becomes its own type of ignorance. It’s very easy to forget the human need to educate oneself, and to forge one’s own opinion. What we need is for speech and debate to free themselves everywhere, that they fill every part of daily life, that everyone express themselves, respectfully of course.”

What Yanis was recalling was his own initial reaction to the eruption of France’s Yellow Vest revolt in late November 2018.

“At the beginning, there was this fear,” he continued.

The movement had been covered in media as a ploy of the far right and the fascist movement. I hesitated to go at first just because of that. But I finally decided that it was all the more important to go if that was actually the case, in order to not abandon the battle to them.”

When people in his hometown of Montceau-les-Mines, in central France, began to organize town meetings at the beginning of December, Yanis decided to go and scope things out. Yanis was amazed to see that more than 1,000 attended the earliest assemblies in late November and early December. People were thinking and talking about politics in ways they had never done before. For too long, democratic life was little more than the habitual cycle of elections, with citizenship reduced to the occasional vote.

The assemblies continued on a weekly basis. “I realized that something was growing,” Yanis remembers. People were organizing themselves and staying in contact, occupying critical road junctions and protesting. Now, almost two months later, on January 26, Yanis found himself making the roughly 200-mile trip to a village just outside of Commercy, a town in a rural, working-class region in eastern France. Currently unemployed after several stints working in cafeterias in local public schools, the 22-year-old Yanis had been selected by his town’s local committee to attend the inaugural “Assembly of Assemblies” of France’s nascent Yellow Vest movement.

As he would no doubt attest, before this historic convention in Commercy, the Yellow Vests had fallen victim to a familiar trap. Like many other spontaneous and largely leaderless mass movements, the Yellow Vests have been defined and labeled by others.

At first, they were taken to be a manifestation of the inchoate and inarticulate rage of the French middle class. This anger, which had long provided fertile ground for the likes of Marine Le Pen, finally boiled over into street violence and open revolt when Emmanuel Macron’s government announced tax increases on gasoline. Macron had already made a name for himself by pushing through unpopular reforms in the name of “necessity.” Was this just another occasion of the French being unable to take the bitter medicine, this time in order to reduce carbon-fuel emissions?

The dismissal of the Yellow Vests was made all the more easy because some of the worst elements in French society have tried to capitalize on the climate of disenchantment and anger. Some Yellow Vest social-media groups have contained unmistakable echoes of anti-immigrant and anti-Semitic conspiracies. Likewise, bands of skinheads have infiltrated some street marches, attacking most recently a group of left-wing activists in Paris during the January 26 day of protest. All of this has given credence to smug talking heads—no doubt with an eye on their checkbooks—who wish to sign the entire movement off as yet another worrisome sign of France’s slide into right-wing populism.

To any honest observer, however, the Yellow Vests’ dynamism and staying power, now going on their 13th weekend of protests at the time of writing, suggested that something deeper was happening. Weekend after weekend, the marches continued and the occupations of roundabouts in rural and suburban areas stood their ground. General assemblies organized on a weekly basis in every corner of France continued to attract people who for years had stood on the sidelines of political life. Teachers and students started to organize and unions began discussing strikes—culminating in a round of work stoppages set to begin on February 5, bringing together Yellow Vests, several unions, and left-wing parties, including Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Insoumise.

France’s battered social movements, fatigued after many retreats before Macron’s steamroller of reforms, started to show new signs of life. (…). —  emphasis added

Die Masken fallen. Hintergründe des Machtwechsels in Paris – drei Texte zu MACRONS Unterstützern

Globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS

Stephan Best

14.05.2017

Hallo an die Listen.

Während die französischen Parlamentswahlen näher rücken, nimmt auch eine kritischere Sichtweise der Bewegung En Marche zu, die Emmanuel MACRON zum Präsidentensessel verholfen haben. Trotz weitgehend eingehaltenem Schweigegebot für die Medien die knapp vor den Wahlen aufgetauchten Leaks nicht zu veröffentlichen scheint das öffentliche Interesse an einer Berichterstattung über die Unterstützerkreise des Kandidaten wieder zuzunehmen. Die folgenden drei Artikel (a. b. c.) beschäftigen sich mit dem von deutschen Medien meist bejubelten und gerne mit seinen EU-Visionen begründeten kometenhaften Aufstieg.

(Der letzte Text wurde bereits über unsere englischen Listen verteilt.)

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a) Frankreich

Die Masken fallen

Macron-Leaks enthüllen: Machtwechsel in Paris von langer Hand geplant

er künftige französische Präsident Emmanuel Macron (r) und der schei

Der künftige französische Präsident Emmanuel Macron (r) und der scheidende Amtsinhaber Francois Hollande (M) begrüßen am 08.05.2017 in Paris den Chef des französischen Generalstabs, Pierre de Villiers. (Foto: dpa)

Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten | 14. Mai 2017, 0:52 Uhr

dwn-machtwechsel-geplant-20170514

b) Von der Stiftung Saint-Simon zu Emmanuel Macron

von Thierry Meyssan

Das plötzliche Erscheinen von „En Marche“ (Übersetzt: Vorwärts!) einer neuen politischen Partei auf der französischen Wahlbühne und die Kandidatur ihres Präsidenten, Emmanuel Macron ist keinem Zufall geschuldet. Es ist nicht der erste Versuch der Anhänger einer aus französischer Regierungskaste und den USA bestehenden Allianz.

Voltaire Netzwerk | Damaskus (Syrien) | 28. April 2017

http://www.voltairenet.org/article196126.html

c) Pepe ESCOBAR: Emmanuel Clinton and the revolt of the elites; Asia Times 08.05.2017

Dear all,

below an analysis by Pepe ESCOBAR about Macron’s movement „En Marche!“ – set up for him by a network of powerful players and think tanks.

Below an excerpt – full text attached.

Martin Zeis
globalcrisis/change News

Emmanuel Clinton and the revolt of the elites

By Pepe Escobar May 8, 2017 9:31 PM (UTC+8)

So in the end the West was saved by the election of Emmanuel Macron as President of France: relief in Brussels, a buoyant eurozone, rallies in Asian markets.

That was always a no-brainer. After all, Macron was endorsed by the EU, Goddess of the Market, and Barack Obama. And he was fully backed by the French ruling class.

This was a referendum on the EU – and the EU, in its current set up, won.

(…)

An Orwellian shock of the new

Contrary to global perceptions, the biggest issue in this election was not immigration, it was actually deep resentment toward the French deep state (police, justice, administration) – perceived as oppressive, corrupt and even violent.

Even before the vote, the always sharp and delightfully provocative philosopher Michel Onfray, author of Decadence, the best book of the year and founder of the Popular University of Caen, identified some of the main players behind the Macron bandwagon: the “bellicose” philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy; Le Monde’s Pierre Bergé; Jacques Attali – who almost single-handedly turned the Soclalists into hardcore neoliberals; eminence grise Alain Minc; former MSF head Bernard Kouchner; and former May 1968 stalwart Daniel Cohn-Bendit – “In other words, the feral promoters of a liberal policy that allowed Marine Le Pen to hit her highest score ever.”

All of the above are faithful servants of the French deep state. I have outlined in Asia Times how the Macron hologram was manufactured. But to see how the deep state managed to sell him, it’s essential to refer to philosopher Jean-Claude Michea, a disciple of George Orwell and Christopher Lasch, and author of the recently published Notre Ennemi, Le Capital.

http://www.atimes.com/article/emmanuel-clinton-revolt-elites

Ciao Stephan Best

Pepe ESCOBAR: Emmanuel Clinton and the revolt of the elites; Asia Times 08.05.2017

Dear all,

below an analysis by Pepe ESCOBAR about Macron’s movement „En Marche!“ – set up for him by a network of powerful players and think tanks.

Below an excerpt – full text attached.

Martin Zeis
globalcrisis/change News

http://www.atimes.com/article/emmanuel-clinton-revolt-elites

Emmanuel Clinton and the revolt of the elites

By Pepe Escobar May 8, 2017 9:31 PM (UTC+8)

So in the end the West was saved by the election of Emmanuel Macron as President of France: relief in Brussels, a buoyant eurozone, rallies in Asian markets.

That was always a no-brainer. After all, Macron was endorsed by the EU, Goddess of the Market, and Barack Obama. And he was fully backed by the French ruling class.

This was a referendum on the EU – and the EU, in its current set up, won.

(…)

An Orwellian shock of the new

Contrary to global perceptions, the biggest issue in this election was not immigration, it was actually deep resentment toward the French deep state (police, justice, administration) – perceived as oppressive, corrupt and even violent.

Even before the vote, the always sharp and delightfully provocative philosopher Michel Onfray, author of Decadence, the best book of the year and founder of the Popular University of Caen, identified some of the main players behind the Macron bandwagon: the “bellicose” philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy; Le Monde’s Pierre Bergé; Jacques Attali – who almost single-handedly turned the Soclalists into hardcore neoliberals; eminence grise Alain Minc; former MSF head Bernard Kouchner; and former May 1968 stalwart Daniel Cohn-Bendit – “In other words, the feral promoters of a liberal policy that allowed Marine Le Pen to hit her highest score ever.”

All of the above are faithful servants of the French deep state. I have outlined in Asia Times how the Macron hologram was manufactured. But to see how the deep state managed to sell him, it’s essential to refer to philosopher Jean-Claude Michea, a disciple of George Orwell and Christopher Lasch, and author of the recently published Notre Ennemi, Le Capital.

Michea studies in detail how the Left has adopted all the values of what Karl Popper dubbed “open society.” And how media spin doctors molded the term “populism” to stigmatize the contemporary form of Absolute Evil. Marine Le Pen was ostracized as “populist” – while media propaganda always refused to note that National Front voters (now 11 million) come from the “popular classes.”

Michea emphasizes the original, historical meaning of “populism” in Czarist Russia; a current within the socialist movement – much admired by Marx and Engels – according to which peasants, artisans and small entrepreneurs would have their place of honor in a developed socialist economy. During May 1968 in France nobody would have thought that populism could be equated with fascism. That only happened in the beginning of the 1980s – as part of the new Orwellian language of neoliberalism.

Michea also notes that now it’s much easier to be a Left neoliberal than a Right neoliberal; in France, these Left neoliberals belong to the very closed
circuit of the “Young Leaders” adopted by the French American Foundation. French Big Business and high finance – essentially, the French ruling class – immediately understood that an Old Catholic Right candidate like François Fillon would never fly; they needed a new brand for the same bottle.

Hence Macron: a brilliant repackaging sold as change France can believe in, as in a relatively soft approach to the “reforms” essential to the survival of the neoliberal project.

What French voters have – sort of – endorsed is the unity of neoliberal economy and cultural liberalism. Call it, like Michea, “integrated liberalism.” Or, with all the Orwellian overtones, “post-democratic capitalism.” A true revolt of the elites. And “peasants” buy it willingly. Let them eat overpriced croissants. Once again, France is leading the West.

ESCOBAR-Emmanuel-Clinton+revolt-of-the-elites170508.pdf