As a frenchman familiar with the on-going debates of the Intellectual Dark Web, I’ve found it hard for the anglophone audience to exactly grasp what is happening in France. I’ve been getting questions from internet frands in the US and elsewhere and decided to write a quick analysis and summary of what’s happening in my country. Each word of this essay was carefully chosen and can be sourced.
Most of the provided graphs are from Jérôme Fourquet, Sylvain Manternach, Les « gilets jaunes » : révélateur fluorescent des fractures françaises, https://jean-jaures.org/nos-productions/les-gilets-jaunes-revelateur-fluorescent-des-fractures-francaises.
"Qu'ils viennent me chercher !"— Olivier Berruyer (@OBerruyer) December 2, 2018
[Emmanuel Macron, Président de la France, 2017-2019] pic.twitter.com/2Wr8FlPL5K
This tweet refers to one of Emmanuel Macron’s infamous phrases he had during the Benalla affair: “[I’m responsible,] let them come and get me!”
Frenchies and their protests
It is a known fact that French love to protest. There are (more or less violent) protests every 6 months for some specific reasons that usually cling to a particular social role (e.g. retired people, faculty students, immigrants, feminists, etc.). On many occasions, leftist militants are happy to break things for the sake of breaking things. Quite often too, suburban youth join them in this effort with more disastrous consequences (the last example being store looting and burning cars during world cup finale).
But the Yellow Vests are not just another one of these episodes. It is a wildly spontaneous and barely organized movement that do not concern just one class of people – a manifestation of the French essence. It is leaderless and truly express the core principles of mainland liberal and egalitarian French societies. And it is supported to this day by 80% of people. I can happily say today that I’m proud of being French – and I concede this might be hard to understand from an external point of view.
Cartography of the Yellow Vests
It is clear, according to polls, that the bulk of the movement is in the countryside, where it originally started. The support lessens as you go into higher metropolitan economic spheres.
Two maps can be superimposed to understand the dynamics involved: the map of the Diagonale du Vide (“empty stripe”), relatively empty and deindustrialized territories from South West to North East, and the map of the France Périphérique (“peripheral France”), the rural world outside of metropolitan areas.
The Yellow Vests seem to be the result of the fracture between peripheral and metropolitan territories.
The French society
To have a clearer understanding of this issue, it is important to examine the core anthropological principles of rural France since (basically) its inception. Indeed, it probably brings us back to the fall of the roman Empire and the fact that communistic peoples took hold of the country (which bears the name of the Franks, a collection of Germanic tribes).
It is indeed undeniable that French have a tendency towards socialism for a variety of historical reasons, which is, to some degree, quite an exception in Europe. In the 1930s, the socialist Popular Front was at the head of the Third French Republic whereas our neighbors were having authoritarian politics conducted by Hitler, Franco and Mussolini.
Monarchy (of which Maurras said was “Anarchy plus one”) was essentially a state of social progress and relative equity for most people1, and was quite liberal in its functionality : the heritage was fairly spread, sons left their houses relatively early and the way of living was rather communal (you have “ruins” of these former social practices in every French village, where “les communaux”, communal spaces [buildings, forests, etc.] still exist) – which greatly differs from other European anthropological structures like the multi-layered family systems and aristocratic way of organizing economic heritage of German people.2 3
However, it would be foolish to consider that nothing changed since. Technological development, economical structures and massive immigration greatly impacted the family structure as it did in most prosperous European countries – but the consequences were felt more in the metropolises than in the countryside. The French equity principle is still found in rural “communes” (name for french villages) all around the countryside. Indeed, the loss of economic prosperity of the rural world through deindustrialization, taxes and EU regulations kind of forced the rural population to go back to more egalitarian modes of living (in order to avoid conflicts).4 By the same token, the aristocratic system seems to have shifted towards the higher political and economical spheres – which provides another great insight on the disconnection between the floating, globalist and abstract world of metropolises and the grounded, local and practical world of rural France.
Some basic facts can help outline the disconnect between the two universes: most people in big cities: don’t have a car, don’t own small businesses, work in the services sector, have more of a diluted sense of identity, have less problem getting employed, etc.
It thus appears that the understanding of such a particular social matrix is rather difficult from an outsider’s perspective.
French “politics” in the era of the European Union
The big underlying topic of all these political, economical and cultural problems is the dictatorial (i.e. unelected) European construction, whose ultimate goal is to homogenize radically different economic and cultural landscapes and (on top of it) replace their populations (through massive immigration).
The montage of the EU Constitution, which French people explicitly refused during a vote in 2005, was imposed by globalist president Sarkozy.
It is only natural that a German-centered economic fabrication only benefits the German (but, given that Italy is lurking towards the exit door, for how long will it be the case?). These enforced neoliberal principles do not match our economy given that they are made in the context of a semi-global market in which we don’t have the lead. And this is not just France, this is barely every country except Germany, England (one of these countries who kept their own money) and a few select others whose social model is akin to that of Germany. The end effect of privatizations, tax cut for big businesses, unadapted money value and such was the progressive undermining of the middle class, whose living standard started stagnating and slowly regressing since the 1990s and the introduction of the Euro, whereas the situation of the upper 1% steadily improved, especially under Macron5.
Nothing can be understood outside of this perspective given that every single “law” passed in our country is indirectly imposed by the EU by our local vice-chancellor of the moment (currently Macron) and his/her class of bureaucrats. People don’t hate hierarchies ; but they sure despise unworthy self-proclaimed kings and queens.
In the economic world, the abnormality that is the EU can be hard to grasp.
It’s arguable that Macron (a former investment banker at Rothschild hiding his homosexuality from the public6 and someone who most likely takes cocaine7) was elected mainly thanks to the rampant anti-fascist narrative – still widely used today to discredit Yellow Vests protests – and thanks to the support of literally all of the mainstream media. His undeniable sense of affairs had him surrounded of a very influential staff, including people like Michèle “Mimi” Marchand, a literal drug-trafficking delinquent businesswoman whose task was to render the Macron couple “marketable” – a difficult task given its bizarre nature.
Marine Le Pen – who blatantly failed during the presidential debate – was done for from the first minute. It could have been a cow instead of Macron – the result would have been the same.
The main information channel in France is BFM TV (often deemed “BFM WC”, “WC” being the word for “toilets”) is owned by globalist french-israeli Patrick Drahi, currently living in Switzerland to who Macron literally offered the biggest phone operator on a plate 6 months after being elected. Jacques Attali, Macron’s mentor, an ardent jewish globalist who counseled every French president since Mitterand (1981), couldn’t help flatter himself the day after saying live on BFM TV that “he elected Macron” and that he also “know who’s going to succeed him” (a female according to him) – he also said on the year before that “the next president [would] be a newcomer”.
The deeper analysis of the vote reveals that, if you account for the non-voters, Macron had in actuality 44% of the votes and, given that probably more than half of them were just to impeach Le Pen, he most likely got a genuine support from about 15 to 20% of people, which roughly corresponds to higher economic classes of the metropolises and which is more or less the number of people who disavow the YV.
The start of the protest
The whole Yellow Vests movement started with the inflation of diesel price (as a way of enforcing hypocritical “green” taxes). Actually, the French do not dislike “classic” annual tax money for 70% of them8, which they regard as a fair contribution to society. But it is to misunderstand the value of the car in the rural world to say this was merely an excuse9. A few weeks prior from the tax rise, the regime revised the speed limits on all national routes to 80km per hour in order to prevent car accidents (hey, why don’t we just set all speed limits to 20km per hour?).
So the tax rise on gas price, given that rural France simply cannot live without driving their car, was seen as adding insult to injury given the already massively disapproval of Macron’s politics, whose ratings fell to 28% 18 months after his election – lower than all of his predecessors in the Fifth Republic.
Add obvious and visible contempt for the people10 and criminal illegal immigration11 and you get a cocktail which is exploding to Macron’s face.
The movement defines itself as thoroughly apolitical and all classic parties have been outran from day 1. All possibility of political representation is met with huge skepticism among the vast majority of the YV.
Their demands range from a new Constitution (which reminds some of the [so-called] far-left proposals) to direct democracy (which reminds some of the [so-called] far-right proposals), but no consensus has been established.
The wide support for the movement has rendered the classic defamatory strategies inoperative: the minority struggle narrative (which raises men against women, vegans against non-vegans, muslims against non-muslims, etc.) cannot be used – even though they still attempt to use the “fascist menace” rhetoric, and unsuccessfully so.
We still have a lot of useful idiots at the margin breaking things (far-left anarchists) and looting stores (suburban immigrant youth) and this is not convenient for the movement; it’s unclear how this is going to unfold.12
In its final analysis, the common denominator to the movement – which is the big change from other partisan protests – is the renewed affirmation of the French ideal, its history and (what remains of) its culture – and it’s no surprise that those who don’t feel they belong to this society are left behind. I’ve never seen so many French flags in the streets.
- Colombi Claire, La Légende noire du Moyen-Âge. ↩
- The most recent and up-to-date reference in term of anthropological studies of the family unit across Europe has been done by Emmanuel Todd in several of his books, but most notably L’Origine des systèmes familiaux. ↩
- It may very well explain the persistence of a certain form of Communist ideology in France and why most local historical insurrections always assumed communistic expressions (rural jacqueries, Paris Commune, events of May 1968, etc.). ↩
- It should be duly noted that many regional oddities exist, e.g. the South West is more aristocratic and the West coast more authoritarian to a certain extent. ↩
- This might also be due to the “natural” self-perpetuation of existing capital, notably studied by Thomas Piketty in Capital in the Twenty-First Century. ↩
- A photo uncovering his relationship with Matthieu Gallet (former head of Radio France) was about to be published and was finally held back by Closer magazine during his campaign, according to Pierre Charon, colleague of former president Nicolas Sarkozy, as mentionned in the newsletter Faits & Documents; unsurprisingly, Macron later accused friends of Sarkozy of spreading the rumor: “I know some of your acquaintances are spreading these rumors on my private life”. ↩
- Gérard Fauré (Dealer du tout-Paris : Le fournisseur des stars parle) on Sud Radio, when pressured to answer the question “Do they all take cocaine?” replied “It’s everybody – almost everybody”. ↩
- Alexis Spire, Résistances à l’impôt, attachement à l’État : Enquête sur les contribuables français. ↩
- On the role of the car in the collective unconscious, Jordan Peterson has raised a great point in his book 12 Rules for Life where he noted that it might be something approximating the concretion of individual rights. ↩
- My favorite Macron quote being: “in a train station, you cross paths with people who succeed and people who are nothing”. ↩
- In november, Ouistreham, a coastal city in Normandy, had a curfew put in place for minors. In the countryside, the topic of (so-called) “migrants” is definitely the most recurring topic in any political conversation. ↩
- It can be observed, rather comically, than these troublemakers are basically from metropolitan areas. ↩