Yellow Vest week in review: March 16 to be the biggest march in months
Yellow Vest week in review: March 16 to be the biggest march in months by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker
TDC Note – We have pointed out for the past three weeks the Yellow Vest movement seems to be moving into a different, better organized phase. This is the reason for the escalation in violence towards the protesters by the brown-shirts working for Macron. Will this we the week when everything moves to a whole new level?
The fundamental problem with media coverage regarding regarding the Yellow Vests is that it fails to see it as an already-permanent movement, or even a possibly-permanent one: each week must be either the biggest one yet, or the very last one.
The Yellow Vests see it similarly, but differently: for them each week is the very last one, too… because they will FINALLY storm Élysée Palace (Act 16: “Insurrection”, Act 17: “Decisive Act”, and now Act 18 on March 16: “Ultimatum”.)
The Yellow Vests are like the Vietcong: it’s not that they are so innately tough, it’s that they have nowhere else to go. Ask a protesting Yellow Vester and they’ll tell you: they have no money to pay their bills, much less do anything fun on the weekends… so why not go protest and enjoy what you can’t buy – camaraderie?
As a journalist who has covered every medium- to major-sized protest movement in France in the last decade (and the small ones, i.e. pro-Palestine, anti-imperialism, anti-capitalism, etc.), I have come to deeply resent and fear the Yellow Vests.
What a damned long workout they impose on us! They are marching 10-15km every Saturday, with zero consideration for TV journalists who have to carry equipment. Furthermore, why on earth do they march so damned fast?! If Guinness keeps this record, the Yellow Vests must take the crown for “protester km/h”.
This is surely the legacy of the constant police attacks during the first six weeks – you can’t hit what you can’t catch.
It’s also more confirmation that so many of them have not been politically active (which is also why so many get arrested – they don’t know what they are doing): French demonstrations are supposed to be festive, leisurely, tipsy strolls. French union demonstrations are basically half-parties: you lose a day’s pay… but there will be loud music, lots of alcohol, cheap barbecue, and scatological signs instead of proper propaganda. “We didn’t get our political demands? Oh well, at least we had a good time.” But at Yellow Vest demos public intoxication is far, far rarer and political seriousness is far greater.
The most significant media polls about the Vesters (and there are crazily few polls about them) revolves around a majority of France now not wanting them to protest every Saturday. The effect of this can be summed up easily: So the hell what?
Since when did political protesters need the approval of the majority to practice the modern right to free assembly? Protesters are usually against the often-clueless majority. They wouldn’t be protesting if the majority was getting it right! It’s not as if the Yellow Vests are a clearly manipulated, virtue signalling, identity-based, hipster/bobomovement, like the recent anti-Semitism marches (excuse, me I meant the marches to pave the way for criminalising anti-Zionism).
But they must keep broadcasting these very particular polls for a reason, and it was summed up by failed 2017 Macron-party candidate and sociologist Jean Viard, who said, “When there is a poll which says that 70% of France is fed up with the Yellow Vest demonstrations, we can stop the movement.”
Well that is certainly debatable, no?
Why should we choose 70%? How will they “stop the movement”? (Answer: reimpose a State of Emergency.) Isn’t 30% still a huge minority in a West European / liberal / bourgeois democracy, which gives some support for minority rights (the wealthy minorities more than others, of course)?
I give the reader that quote just to illustrate how France’s mainstream media and mainstream politicians are currently thinking, which is “When can we really pounce?”
Other polls show that while a majority wants the marches to stop, a majority still supports the Yellow Vests – these are two different things, and the latter is more significant in the long (and short!) term.
The main reason French people are increasingly against the marches themselves is the French tendency to get easily bored.
The French desire for sensation – “Something, anything… just not more ennui!” – is constant (and the basis of Western decadence). Combine that with the fact that these protests are not that fun unless you believe in the Yellow Vest movement. As I related, it’s long, hard work, and it’s in the cold. (The fact that France has a winter protest movement is truly unprecedented, and should have immediately put our gauges into the red.)