In an interview with the Economist published November 7, French President Emanuel Macron said: “NATO is brain dead.” After nearly three years of attacks by President Trump and a rapprochement of NATO member Turkey with Russia, here yet is another nail in the coffin of an alliance that should have died with the fall of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union in 1991.
Paris: They are getting too old, or too fat, to build barricades, their hands too soft to dig up cobblestones, but they still have the voice to sing to the glory of those who fought to defend the world’s first workers democracy, a two month long experiment in 1871 which ended in a blood bath: The Paris Commune.
Every September for the past 15 years, the Association “Friends of the Paris Commune 1871” organizes a block party at Place de La Commune de Paris – 1871 (where else?) in the 13th district of Paris. They drink blood red wine made deeper with cassis, curse the Versaillais and Adolphe Thiers who sent the French Army to massacre the people and generally enjoy a Fall afternoon.
The Yellow Vest Movement, at times an insurrection, will be a marker in the history of France. There are only three ways a leaderless, spontaneous, grassroots revolt could have ended up:
Violent confrontation, blood and chaos, with its share of tears and gritting of teeth, for in a battle between the rabble and the organized state, the state’s machine of repression always wins.
A charismatic leader steps forward, galvanizes the movement and manages to impose its political will on the system, stopping its normal functioning, forcing elections, creating political and economic instability for a prolonged period.
The movement fizzles out, leaving in its wake massive demoralization and a total lack of confidence in the system and its actors; Like a volcano leaves its trail of destruction, hot ambers remain with the occasional after-shocks. Nothing gets done.
It seems the French Yellow Vest movement is now in the third option, but that does not mean President Emmanuel Macron can go on with business as usual.
“A medieval peasant revolt with social media. An Arab Spring without the Arabs. Don’t underestimate the potential danger of the Yellow Vests.”
They are the ‘deplorables’ of France. They get up early and go to work. If they were American, they would be those that make up Trumps hardcore base but no French worker is stupid enough to believe a billionaire can represent their interests. In the 1960s and early 70s they would have voted Communist. Today they vote for Marine Le Pen’s National Rally and other hard right conservatives. The Yellow Vests are White and ethnic French. They are mad as Hell and won’t take it any more! (1.)
There is a conservative movement in France rewriting the history of World War One. These people say the Allies should have never accepted an Armistice and marched on to Berlin once the German 1918 offensive was broken, thanks to US intervention. They say this would have prevented World War Two. They made the 100th anniversary of the Armistice a celebration of the Generals. They claim the war was fought by “patriots for liberty.” They say we are wrong to measure the killing with today’s yard-stick.