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.
Their hair has long turned gray. They have visions of barricades dancing in their heads. They have fire in their eyes and the same determination they had as youngsters in the 1968 revolts. Some 200 veterans of class struggle in France answered the call of the association Friends of the Paris Commune – 1871 on Saturday to celebrate the short-lived People’s Republic which became a springboard for proletarian revolution for a century.
France’s Minister for Family and Women’s Affairs this week lambasted fashion houses for proposing Islamic clothing for women. Laurence Rossignol said it is “irresponsible” for major brands like Marks & Spencer’s to promote the “confining of women’s bodies.” At question is everything from the ‘burkini’ bathing suit to high-end head scarves.
They are closer to 70 than 50 but have all the dynamism of the French high school students who disrupted Paris this week. They came out of the workers’s movements of the 1960s and 1970s and have not lost their determination to change the world, or at least a name.
“Right and left, who strew war against political Islam internationally, are harvesting the war of Islam nationally,” tweeted the anarcho-French philosopher Michel Onfry the night of the Friday the 13th massacre. A tweet which earned him the scorn of the establishment. Basically, you reap what you sow.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 4, laid out his view for an Islamic nationalist country before 12,000 Turkish immigrants in which he attacked Kurdish “terrorism” but not a word about the Islamic extremists operating in Syria and for good reason: Erdogan supports them.
How will Europe deal with hundreds of thousands of unskilled, uneducated and angry young men, mostly Muslim, flooding over the borders when the migrants realize there is no place for them here and they are unwanted? Many of these young people are totally illiterate, especially Afghans and Somalis. Some are just teenagers who ‘ran away to join the circus.’ They are irritated and have experienced war and violence. They come from closed and repressive, often feudal cultures. They are entering the tolerant and open Judeo-Christian democracies of Europe so foreign to anything they have known.
France faces terrorist attacks on the scale of September 11, 2001, according to former anti-terrorist magistrate, Marc Trévidic. “The threat is at the highest level it has ever been.” Trévidic told the French weekly, Paris Match. “We are no longer capable of stopping a terrorist attack.”
For the past week, cops, spies and magistrates have been coming out of the woodwork to warn the French: “Get ready for the worst terrorist attack since 9/11.” Why they are doing it now is not clear but what they see coming is.