An epitaph for the Yellow Vests protests

by Fabius Maximus

Summary: News about the inevitable burn-out of the “Yellow Vests” protests, and what it tells us about politics in our time.

Mob protest - dreamstime_111755862

ID 111755862 © Siarhei Nosyreu | Dreamstime.

French ‘Yellow Vests’ see turnout dwindle on fifth weekend of protests

By France 24.
“Defiant “Yellow Vest” demonstrators faced off with tens of thousands of police around France on Saturday,
but the movement appeared to have lost momentum on a fifth weekend of protests.”

‘Yellow Vest’ Protests Dwindle Amid Warnings and Concessions.”

By Aurelien Breeden at the NYT.

Protests by ‘yellow jackets’ calmer, fewer numbers in France.”

By Allen Cone at the UPI.

Occupy Wall Street, the Tea PartyBlack Lives Matter, and now the Yellow Vests. These are the peasants protest of our time. Without feasible goals, without organization. They dominate the media for a brief time, exciting the Outer Party (for whom becoming informed is entertainment). leave little or nothing behind. It is back to business as usual for France’s ruling class!

As I predicted. See the posts listed below.

These protests warm the cockles of the hearts of the 1%. The proles vent their accumulated frustrations without any ability to upset the game. Plus, it is fun to watch the festivities on TV! Can life get any better for the 1%?

An after-action report on the Yellow Vest Protests

“What does that get us? A discontented, lazy rabble instead of a thrifty working class. And all because a few starry-eyed dreamers like Peter Bailey stir them up and fill their heads with a lot of impossible ideas.”

–- Henry F. Potter, leading banker and first citizen of Bedford Falls, commenting on France’s social benefits and security for its workers. From It’s A Wonderful Life.

Emmanuel Macron, President of France, has brilliantly handled the Yellow Vest protests. He combined a carrot (cancelling the increased carbon taxes, giving other benefits) with the stick (massive mobilization of the security services). Plus patience, waiting for the protests to burn themselves out.

He appears to be fortunate that the protests have not escalated. Macron mobilized almost all of France’s security services. They had nothing more to use, other than the military. It was a successful show of force.

Macron’s popularity has been trashed by his service to France’s elites. As was the popularity of his predecessor, François Hollande. As will be the popularity of his eventual successor. They loyally serve the 1%, then go off to a lavish retirement. All that matters are their policies, slowly boosting inequality and eroding away the security of the middle class.

Another oddity, one of many in the Crazy Years

As crime rates rise, Britain and France cut their police forces. I can think of conspiratorial explanations for this, but no rational ones.

France Doesn’t Have Enough Cops.

By Claire Berlinski at The American Interest.

“Between 2005 and 2011, the government cut the police budget by 3 percent, the equivalent of 7,236 full-time employees. Between 2015 and 2018, the PP was reduced from 35,000 to 29,000. Between 2009 and 2011, 400 of Paris’s 6,400 police stations disappeared.

“Meanwhile, the economic crisis caused an upsurge of every kind of crime and social malaise, including political violence. Casseurs – violent far-right, far-left, and anarchist thugs – began showing up at demonstrations determined to commit vandalism and violence to prove that the state was unable to contain them.

“Then came the Syrian war, ISIS, and the refugee crisis. …This unspeakable and unprecedented humanitarian crisis coincided with a wave of terrorism inspired by the Syrian jihad. More than 250 people have been killed in France, and almost 1,000 wounded, in the wave of atrocities that began when Mohamed Merah killed three French soldiers and four Jews, three of them children, in southwestern France in 2012. …

“In 2012, the budget for the Police Nationale was raised again, but manpower still remains below 2007 levels. …The salary for a police trainee in Paris is €1,318 a month (housing is included). On Monday, in response to the Gilets Jaunes’ demands, Macron announced that the SMIC – akin to the minimum wage – would be increased to €1,598.

“Last summer, prompted by a rash of protests and police suicides, two Senators from France’s Les Républicains conducted an inquiry into the state of France’s security forces. Anyone who read their report would be unsurprised that the police have been unable to control a national uprising. The police, they concluded, were ‘at a crisis point.’ The Senators called on the President to act quickly, warning that they were ‘on the verge of implosion.’

“Witnesses, in sworn testimony, repeatedly called the dire condition of the police ‘unprecedented,’ noting the “shocking” lack of investment in equipment, the old and substandard police buildings, the aged vehicles. (The average age of a police vehicle is almost 8 years old; this is supposed to be the maximum age for a law-enforcement vehicle.) The security forces, they said, lacked basic supplies. ‘Equipment and premises are degraded,’ one said …The suicide rate among members of the force was 36% higher than the national average. …Between 2009 and 2015, police injuries on mission increased by 29%. Last June, the General Inspectorate found that the use of service weapons had risen by 54% in the past year.”

The cuts to police in Britain are even larger. Real funding fell by 19% from 2010 to 2018, while crime increased. Daily Star: “Lawless Britain: 600+ police stations shut – entire CITIES left unprotected.” Since 2009, they cut 22,424 police officers (22% of the force). The cuts continue.

“In an unprecedented public warning, the chief constables of the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Merseyside forces told the Guardian the fresh cuts would leave them with officer numbers last seen in the 1970s. …Forces are now coming to terms with the impact of the further budget squeeze and anger is mounting.” {The Guardian.}

Conclusions

The most obvious lesson: yet again the hysterical predictions of our political gurus proved to be wrong.

The most important lesson: the West’s leaders have proven themselves again to be competent. But they rule in the interests of their elites, not us. That is rough justice, the proper reward for our apathy and passivity. So long as we resort to peasants’ protests instead of organizing, we will get what we are given.

The hidden lesson: everywhere I look today, I see anomalies. Our mad wars, RussiaGate, Merkel throwing open Europe’s borders, nations cutting police while crime increases. It is a long list. That suggests that unseen forces are at work. What we should expect in the Crazy Years.

Yet everywhere I look, I see people giving confident analysis of the big picture, as if God was whispering in their ears. I suggest that instead of confidence in your vision, you should expect the unexpected.

Other posts about the Yellow Vest protests

  1. The “yellow vest” protests in France: peasants playing.
  2. What the news media don’t mention about the Yellow Vests.
  3. Why the French protest.
  4. Hear the voice of the Right in France. The Yellow Vests do.

Related Posts:

We truly are under attack. We need user support now more than ever! For as little as $10, you can support the IWB directly – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. 226 views
Related Posts: