Schlagwort-Archive: #France

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

—————————

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

Christophe Guilluy: ‘The gilets jaunes are unstoppable’, spiked-online 11.01.2019

Dear all,

below some extracts of Christophe Guillluy’s interview with Fraser Myers on the cultural divide driving the yellow vests.

“ … Back in 2014, geographer Christopher Guilluy’s study of la France périphérique (peripheral France) caused a media sensation. It drew attention to the economic, cultural and political exclusion of the working classes, most of whom now live outside the major cities. It highlighted the conditions that would later give rise to the yellow-vest phenomenon. Guilluy has developed on these themes in his recent books, No Society and The Twilight of the Elite: Prosperity, the Periphery and the Future of France

spiked: What exactly do you mean by ‘peripheral France’?

Christophe Guilluy: ‘Peripheral France’ is about the geographic distribution of the working classes across France. Fifteen years ago, I noticed that the majority of working-class people actually live very far away from the major globalised cities – far from Paris, Lyon and Toulouse, and also very far from London and New York.

Technically, our globalised economic model performs well. It produces a lot of wealth. But it doesn’t need the majority of the population to function. It has no real need for the manual workers, labourers and even small-business owners outside of the big cities. Paris creates enough wealth for the whole of France, and London does the same in Britain. But you cannot build a society around this. The gilets jaunes is a revolt of the working classes who live in these places.

They tend to be people in work, but who don’t earn very much, between 1000€ and 2000€ per month. Some of them are very poor if they are unemployed. Others were once middle-class. What they all have in common is that they live in areas where there is hardly any work left. They know that even if they have a job today, they could lose it tomorrow and they won’t find anything else.

spiked: What is the role of culture in the yellow-vest movement?

Guilluy: Not only does peripheral France fare badly in the modern economy, it is also culturally misunderstood by the elite. The yellow-vest movement is a truly 21st-century movement in that it is cultural as well as political. Cultural validation is extremely important in our era.

One illustration of this cultural divide is that most modern, progressive social movements and protests are quickly endorsed by celebrities, actors, the media and the intellectuals. But none of them approve of the gilets jaunes. Their emergence has caused a kind of psychological shock to the cultural establishment. It is exactly the same shock that the British elites experienced with the Brexit vote and that they are still experiencing now, three years later.

The Brexit vote had a lot to do with culture, too, I think. It was more than just the question of leaving the EU. Many voters wanted to remind the political class that they exist. That’s what French people are using the gilets jaunes for – to say we exist. We are seeing the same phenomenon in populist revolts across the world.

spiked: How have the working-classes come to be excluded?

Guilluy: All the growth and dynamism is in the major cities, but people cannot just move there. The cities are inaccessible, particularly thanks to mounting housing costs. The big cities today are like medieval citadels. It is like we are going back to the city-states of the Middle Ages. Funnily enough, Paris is going to start charging people for entry, just like the excise duties you used to have to pay to enter a town in the Middle Ages.

The cities themselves have become very unequal, too. The Parisian economy needs executives and qualified professionals. It also needs workers, predominantly immigrants, for the construction industry and catering et cetera. Business relies on this very specific demographic mix. The problem is that ‘the people’ outside of this still exist. In fact, ‘Peripheral France’ actually encompasses the majority of French people.

spiked: What role has the liberal metropolitan elite played in this? (…)

spiked: How can we begin to address these demands? (…)“

– complete text attached –

Source: https://www.spiked-online.com/2019/01/11/the-gilets-jaunes-are-unstoppable/

Annotation: Début janvier 2019 plus de 250 universitaires, intellectuels et artistes disent leur solidarité avec le mouvement des Gilets jaunes, estimant que «c’est la responsabilité historique de la gauche de ne pas laisser le champ libre à l’extrême droite» Lien: https://blogs.mediapart.fr/edition/les-invites-de-mediapart/article/120119/nous-ne-serons-pas-les-chiens-de-garde-de-letat

Ce texte est une pétition ouverte, pour la signer cliquer: https://www.change.org/p/le-peuple-solidarité-des-universitaires-des-intellectuels-et-des-artistes-avec-les-gilets-jaunes

GUILLUY-Chr.-The-gilets-jaunes-are-unstoppable190111.pdf

Solidarité-avec-le-mouvement-des-Gilets-jaunes190112.pdf

Here is the full declassified national assessment provided by the French foreign ministry in English

Evidence Of No Evidence Declassified Here is the full declassified national assessment (of alleged chemical attacks on Douma) provided by the French foreign ministry in English:
By Reuters
April 15, 2018 „Information Clearing House“ –  PARIS: France concluded after technical analysis of open sources and „reliable intelligence“ that a chemical attack on Douma on April 7 was carried out by Syrian government forces, a declassified intelligence report showed on Saturday.
Here is the full declassified national assessment provided by the French foreign ministry in English: I. SEVERAL LETHAL CHEMICAL ATTACKS TOOK PLACE IN THE TOWN OF DOUMA IN THE LATE AFTERNOON OF SATURDAY,7 APRIL 2018, AND WE ASSESS WITH A HIGH DEGREE OF CONFIDENCE THAT THEY WERE CARRIED OUT BY THE SYRIAN REGIME.
Following the Syrian regime’s resumption of its military offensive, as well as high levels of air force activity over the town of Douma in Eastern Ghouta, two new cases of toxic agents employment were spontaneously reported by civil society and local and international media from the late afternoon of 7 April.
Non-governmental medical organizations active in Ghouta (the Syrian American Medical Society and the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organizations), whose information is generally reliable, publicly stated that strikes had targeted in particular local medical infrastructure on 6 and 7 April. (…)
See highlighted Document: Report 20180415

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

Gilbert MERCIER, Dady CHERY: “Nuit Debout”: Dawn of a French Style Revolution?; News Junkie Post, 14.04.2016

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS
Martin Zeis, 17.04.2016

http://newsjunkiepost.com/2016/04/14/nuit-debout-dawn-of-a-revolution
via http://www.globalresearch.ca/nuit-debout-dawn-of-a-french-style-color-revolution/5520505

“Nuit Debout”: Dawn of a French Style Revolution?
By Gilbert Mercier and Dady Chery*
News Junkie Post
April 14, 2016
— E x t r a c t —
Some call it a phenomenon, others compare it to the failed 2011 Occupy movement, but Nuit Debout has taken the largely discredited French political class, from across the bogus standard left to the far right, by surprise. Sociologically, it should not be a surprise at all. The backdrop is a sense of deep social malaise, a ras le bol et envie de redevenir vivant (a spillover and wish to be alive again). France, as a society, has been morose and depressed for decades, and the state of emergency imposed in a cowardly panicky haste by François Hollande’s administration since November 2015 has turned the country into a pressure cooker. (…)
… Most of the mainstream media in France and elsewhere are drawing an analogy between Nuit Debout and the Occupy movement of late 2011, as well as the Indignados actions in Spain. This is certainly not a coincidence, considering that Occupy largely fizzled and failed for lack of organization and radicalization, just like the Arab spring in the Middle East was hijacked by the West, under United States leadership, to implement regime change policies through fake revolutions in Libya and Syria. The Occupy movement was infiltrated by informants, neutered and more or less dismantled between early December 2011 and late spring 2012 under the instigation of George Soros’ countless little helpers who were paid to hijack the movement. If the Nuit Debout activists follow the tracks of their predecessors of Occupy, the outcome will be the same.

Since 2011, however, throughout the world some elements have greatly changed: the connection between the political class and citizens has reached a breaking point; the notion of elections being a farce has become widespread; wealth concentration and social inequality have reached an unprecedented and unsustainable level; and conflicts and the business of warfare have reached an apex. These factors are fertile ground for the collective quantum leap that is a revolution. As an indication of this shift, a Nuit Debout activist interviewed by the French daily newspaper Liberation said that the movement should consider “a more muscular struggle.”

The mainstream analyses do not take into account the fact that France has a revolutionary tradition. The last revolution that bore fruit was in May 1968 and is probably the greatest influence on Nuit Debout. The May 1968 movement started with students and young people, but it quickly expanded to include all the labor unions, which were then very strong. It grew into an open-ended general strike that froze all activities in the country in all sectors of the economy and eventually led to the resignation of President Charles de Gaulle in April 1969 and extensive government reforms. It is May 1968′s humorous and irreverent discourse that we find echoed in Nuit Debout’s slogans today. In 1968, for example, we had “Salaires légers, chars lourds” (Light salaries, heavy tanks), and in 2016 we find “Ils ont des milliards, nous sommes des millions” (They have billions, we are millions). Both movements question the essence of political representation as if all social issues are again up for debate in the public square. Just as in 1968, the labor unions are quickly stepping in and joining the students, and like the activists of the May 1968 movement, the Nuit Debout activists are hunkering down for what they call une lutte prolongée (a prolonged struggled).

Nuit Debout envisions an era of social justice and ecological responsibility. This is expressed with humor by a suspension of the calendar, as if the month of March will continue until the revolution is achieved. In the Nuit Debout calendar, this article would be published on March 45, and Christmas will fall on March 300. The Nuit Debout movement exudes a contagious joy, which is a necessary ingredient in the cocktail of every successful revolution. A revolution, after all, must be departure from the status quo. Today’s revolution must displace the suicidal worship of wealth and power to create a joyous culture that is sustainable and celebrates life. The richness of the burgeoning discourse, and the inclusion of cultural elements like cinema and song are good omens for the success of Nuit Debout. On a fine day in March we might again hear an old classic from 1789: “Ah! ça ira, ça ira, ça ira! Les aristocrates à la lanterne….”

* Editor’s Notes: Gilbert Mercier is the author of The Orwellian Empire, and Dady Chery is the author of We Have Dared to Be Free. Photographs one and three by Nicolas Vigier; two and five by Titi Photo; six by Georges; and eight by Thierry Ehrmann.

 

Angelique CHRISAFIS (Paris): Nuit debout protesters occupy French cities in revolutionary call for change

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS
Martin Zeis, 13.04.2016

Dear all,

last Saturday hundreds of thousands gathered in 120 cities of France (Paris, Nantes, Toulouse, Rennes etc.) protesting against a labor draft „El Khomri“ and debating large-scale political / social changes and alternative ways of living …

Below an extract of an illustrative report written by Angelique Chrisafis about the origins and motives of the Nuit-debout-movement in France.

See also:

https://www.facebook.com/NuitDebout/
https://www.facebook.com/nuitdeboutparis/
https://www.facebook.com/Nuitdebout-Namur-706645572772499/
https://www.facebook.com/NuitDeboutPaysBasque/

Greets,
Martin Zeis

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/08/nuit-debout-protesters-occupy-french-cities-in-a-revolutionary-call-for-change

France
Nuit debout protesters occupy French cities in revolutionary call for change
For more than a week, vast nocturnal gatherings have spread across France in a citizen-led movement that has rattled the government

By Angelique Chrisafis in Paris
Friday 8 April 2016 17.31 BST

As night fell over Paris, thousands of people sat cross-legged in the vast square at Place de la République, taking turns to pass round a microphone and denounce everything from the dominance of Google to tax evasion or inequality on housing estates.

The debating continued into the early hours of the morning, with soup and sandwiches on hand in the canteen tent and a protest choir singing revolutionary songs. A handful of protesters in tents then bedded down to “occupy” the square for the night before being asked to move on by police just before dawn. But the next morning they returned to set up their protest camp again.

For more than a week, these vast nocturnal protest gatherings – from parents with babies to students, workers, artists and pensioners – have spread across France, rising in number, and are beginning to panic the government.

Called Nuit debout, which loosely means “rise up at night”, the protest movement is increasingly being likened to the Occupy initiative that mobilised hundreds of thousands of people in 2011 or Spain’s Indignados.

Despite France’s long history of youth protest movements – from May 1968 to vast rallies against pension changes – Nuit debout, which has spread to cities such as Toulouse, Lyon and Nantes and even over the border to Brussels, is seen as a new phenomenon.

It began on 31 March with a night-time sit-in in Paris after the latest street demonstrations by students and unions critical of President François Hollande’s proposed changes to labour laws. But the movement and its radical nocturnal action had been dreamed up months earlier at a Paris meeting of leftwing activists.

“There were about 300 or 400 of us at a public meeting in February and we were wondering how can we really scare the government?. We had an idea: at the next big street protest, we simply wouldn’t go home,” said Michel, 60, a former delivery driver.

“On 31 March, at the time of the labour law protests, that’s what happened. There was torrential rain, but still everyone came back here to the square. Then at 9pm, the rain stopped and we stayed. We came back the next day and as we keep coming back every night, it has scared the government because it’s impossible to define.

“There’s something here that I’ve never seen before in France – all these people converge here each night of their own accord to talk and debate ideas – from housing to the universal wages, refugees, any topic they like. No one has told them to, no unions are pushing them on – they’re coming of their own accord.”

The idea emerged among activists linked to a leftwing revue and the team behind the hit documentary film Merci Patron!, which depicts a couple taking on France’s richest man, billionaire Bernard Arnault. But the movement gained its own momentum – not just because of the labour protests or in solidarity with the French Goodyear tyre plant workers who kidnapped their bosses in 2014. It has expanded to address a host of different grievances, including the state of emergency and security crackdown in response to last year’s terrorist attacks.

“The labour law was the final straw,” said Matthiew, 35, who was retraining to be a teacher after 10 years in the private sector, and had set up an impromptu revolutionary singing group at the square. “But it’s much bigger than that. This government, which is supposed to be socialist, has come up with a raft of things I don’t agree with, while failing to deal with the real problems like unemployment, climate change and a society heading for disaster.”

Many in the crowd said that after four years of Hollande’s Socialist party in power, they left felt betrayed and their anger was beginning to bubble over.

(…)

full text, images and videos see:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/08/nuit-debout-protesters-occupy-french-cities-in-a-revolutionary-call-for-change

Europe Fractures: France Pivots To Putin, Germany-US Splinter On Ukraine

by Tyler Durden Zero Hedge 10.02.2015
Following yesterday’s summary of the utter farce that the Minsk Summit/Ukraine “peace” deal talks have become, the various parties involved appear to be fracturing even faster today. The headlines are coming thick and fast but most prescient appears to be: Despite John Kerry’s denial of any split between Germany and US over arms deliveries to Ukraine, German Foreign Minister Steinmeier slammed Washington’s strategy for being “not just risky but counterproductive.” But perhaps most significantly is France’s continued apparent pivot towards Russia…
http://www.globalresearch.ca/europe-fractures-france-pivots-to-putin-germany-us-splinter-on-ukraine/5430300