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Americans Everywhere Should Support the Gilets Jaunes
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Americans Everywhere Should Support the Gilets Jaunes

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American media seems to have taken painstaking effort to give the massive protests in Paris as little coverage as possible, but by now most people are aware of the facts. A protest over a hike in fuel prices by the exceedingly smarmy president Emmanuel Macron, has exploded into full scale civil disobedience relating to a number of grievances including mass migration and membership in NATO.

This protest of men and women in yellow high visibility vests (leading to the name Gilets Jaunes) has gripped the country and brought its capital to a standstill as the president has dug in at his residence and ordered mass arrests and, if necessary, the shooting of civilians who have been accused of attempting to launch a ‘putzsch’. Of course, famous neocons have immediately concluded that truth is to be found in the claim that somehow Russia masterminded this protest, again rather foolishly allying themselves to unlikable representative of the worst that European bankster arrogance can muster. Such things should of course be laughed at.

However, much like the meteoric rise of Matteo Salvini in Italy, the Brexit referendum, the closing of ranks in Hungary behind their streetfighting prime minister Viktor Orban, and even the recent shifts in Spanish politics, the protests against Macron are the continuation of a long and bitter struggle of the real Europe against the false Europe, the subterranean reality against the gold-plated illusion. With some caveats, we could also identify this current with the movement which elected Donald Trump, though perhaps not with the man, who every day seems to slide further into failure due largely to strategic mistakes of his own making which have empowered the opponents of everything he once stood so resolutely against.

Premier conservative outlets have yet to give full comment on the Gilets Jaunes, but it is likely to be incredibly banal and odious when it does come. The twin spectres of the extreme left and the extreme right will be raised, much to the almost obscene delight of the extreme centre. The two likely benefactors of Macron’s woes, Marine Le Pen of the National Rally, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon of Unbowed France, will be cast as the usual cardboard villains of this story in which there are simply ‘no good options in France’, probably because they lacked the Bill of Rights or Benjamin Franklin’s kite, or some other trinket. Perhaps they will even support ‘law and order’, which is currently being doled out in tear gas cannisters and mass arrest sweeps which would make Ferdinand Macros blush.

There is unlikely to be any kind of revolution in France. After all, Hillary Clinton isn’t funnelling campaign cash to the yellow vests, and people power is hardly what it once was. This being said, what these protests represent is the definitive end of ‘bold centrism’ as a solution to anything. After the effects of the 2008 financial crisis fully unfolded, in most countries people discounted with extreme prejudice the standard post-war party duopoly, from Greece to the US. Donald Trump was in many ways, a reflection of this dissatisfaction. While the president mocks his French counterpart, he can’t fail to notice the similarities between them. Both proverbial ‘outsiders’, or at least this is what the media told everyone, both handing humiliating defeats to party establishment figures (Clinton, Fillon). Trump is viewed as a ‘radical’, yet he has in no way governed as a radical. In fact, like Macron, his rule has often been marked by big promises of change, with little evidence of it occuring. Centrism defined.

The problem with Macron (and what will become a problem for Donald Trump if he does not change course quickly) is that he shed the trappings of party politics yet retained the swamp within. He was not a radical, and instead became a convenient anti-radical. Now, France is biting back and setting light to their buyer’s remorse before hurling it through a shop window. Macron will not survive his next election and will likely retire long before it comes around. Centrism will vacate the stage for visionaries, perhaps those of a truly conservative right and a newly refocused economic left to chart a future course away from the shipwreck cove of neoliberalism.

The disastrous German chancellor Angela Merkel is finally bowing out of public life, and the elimination of Macron as a contender for her mantle will leave the rape gang that is the European Union effectively gelded, allowing bold figures like Mattero Salvini to lay out a more realist foreign policy which will eschew military ventures on behalf of globalism, as well as a rapid reversal of the catastrophic migration patterns of the last fifty years. Europe will once more breathe life. However, if Macron remains and somehow recovers his position (highly unlikely at present), then the continent will continue its shameful decline in culture, economics, and prestige. As a great Frenchman once said, “the lessening of common intellectual and moral assets is a loss for everyone: the least will lose as much as the great”. Indeed, the entire world will be poorer for Europe’s demise, and will lament it for centuries to come. This is why all must stand in solidarity with the French people, the men and women in yellow vests, whether on the street or in prisons without trial, against the continent’s black-eyed undertaker, the vulturous bankster who believes he can arrest his way to popularity, Emmanuel Macron.

Perhaps it is even worth questioning the very notion of the Fifth Republic, which has culminated in such a shameful summit. How can it continue when its every movement is despised by the public who bear the burden of its bureaucratic arrogance and deceit? One may ask what would replace it, and an answer would seem to whisper from history, from the mouth of the same wise Frenchman, “France does not have to become a kingdom once again; in the large outlines of its necessity, of its directions, it has always been one. But it has forgotten it! … Memory! Memory!”

Author: K. E. Benois