The "Gilets Jaunes" in France: a revolution unfolding in front of our eyes ?

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
12,420
#1
France has a long history of revolutions in the past 200 years of so... The french revolution of 1789 of course, but also 1830, 1870 and more recently 1968.

Hence French politicans have always been wary of social unrest, lest it degenerate.... The tactic since 1968 seems to have been to let social unrest happen and wait for it to peter out... and if it did not, to quickly backtrack and give in to whatever demands were being made

This wave of unrest started it seems after a rather innocuous increase of the tax on gasoline (which in France, as in the rest of Europe bar Russia is heavily taxed already) adding about 4% on the current price... In 1789 it is taxes that led to the revolution, although taxes then were much lower than today. Marie Antoinette is said ot have declared in response to the comment that "people dont have bread", " let them eat cake"..... In 2018 in response to "we will no longer be able to drive", some declared "use bicycles"... This of course was not well received by those working outside of big cities and who hvae to use various vehicles as part of their work

The wave of unrest has now turned into serious riots..... As per procedure the government has backed down, but this may be too little too late.... or not.... time will tell

One point of interest about this unrest is that there are no clear leaders.... but we have seen that before in other movements such as in Ukraine or Egypt or Tunisia recently.... perhaps this is the new trend

So is this a revolution we have in front of our eyes, and what can we learn from it on the mechanics of revolutions past ?
 

Baldtastic

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,037
Londinium
#4
This is just from an outsiders perspective but don't the French always riot? Under any president, under any government and over any reform?
While I'm an outsider also, yes would be my response. Strikes and protests are very common. Constantly low approval ratings for all Presidents (except for just after an election) is also a staple of French politics.
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
14,670
Welsh Marches
#5
It's an interesting situation, but as far as I can see there is no obvious alternative for Macron, everyone can come together to attack him but there is no one to replace him. After all, he was installed as the only alternative to the RN. It's much the same as with Mrs May in the UK.
 

Baldtastic

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,037
Londinium
#6
It's an interesting situation, but as far as I can see there is no obvious alternative for Macron, everyone can come together to attack him but there is no one to replace him. After all, he was installed as the only alternative to the RN. It's much the same as with Mrs May in the UK.
As I understand it, the protesters were mostly, at the start at least, extreme left and right. Perhaps they expect to bring down Macron and then replace with their own. That sounds like an awful election.
 

Linschoten

Ad Honoris
Aug 2010
14,670
Welsh Marches
#7
I don't pretend to know much about this, but I think it started as a fuel tax protest with very wide support, and extremists from both wings have been capitalizing on it and turning it violent. So one has middle of the road people who won't the like the violence and desectration of monuments, and extremists who don't like one another; an unholy brew that can be destructive but doesn't seem likely to lead anything positive. Perhaps Macron can defuse it a bit by giving way on the fuel tax issue.
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
12,420
#8
As I understand it, the protesters were mostly, at the start at least, extreme left and right. Perhaps they expect to bring down Macron and then replace with their own. That sounds like an awful election.
My understanding is that they were rather disenfranchised (neither right nor left).... then the extremes joined them (and as usual are largely responsible for the violence)
 

Baldtastic

Ad Honorem
Aug 2009
5,037
Londinium
#9
My understanding is that they were rather disenfranchised (neither right nor left).... then the extremes joined them (and as usual are largely responsible for the violence)
I think I'm going preface all my posts in this thread with, "my understanding"!

...My understanding is that the inital protests were by truck drivers who were then reinforced/supported by extreme left and right*, swelling numbers from social media etc, this then encouraged more people to come out as it was a popular movement and seemingly growing in numbers. So, the moderates started the protest then joined at the end.

*could be government spin to dismiss the protesters.