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Movie stream the yellow movement music. Tear gas shrouded Paris's famed Arc de Triomphe on Saturday soon after the first "yellow vest" demonstrators began to gather. The police fired hundreds of gas canisters and used water cannon and stun grenades in an attempt to control crowds of protesters early in the morning - but to no avail. The Champs Elysees, where the Arc de Triomphe stands, became a battleground as the day wore on, with protesters setting fire to makeshift barricades and hundreds of vehicles. Shops were looted and vandalised and hundreds were injured in the clashes. "We are in a state of insurrection, I've never seen anything like it. Jeanne d'Hauteserre, mayor of Paris's 8th district, said. The protests, which began on November 17 over planned hikes in diesel taxes, have widened into an uprising against President Emmanuel Macron 's policies and become the biggest challenge to his presidency. On Tuesday, the government finally backpedalled on its initial policy decision and announced plans to halt the proposed increases. Here's what you need to know about the "yellow vest" movement and what implications it has for France. Who are the 'yellow vests' The movement takes its name from the high-visibility jackets protesters have adopted as a symbol of their complaint. Protests sprang up spontaneously in November against hikes in car fuel taxes, with supporters donning the fluorescent safety vests that French law requires all motorists to carry. Protesters are angry over record prices at the pump, with the cost of diesel increasing by about 20 percent in the past year to an average of 1. 49 euros (1. 68) per litre. Macron then announced further taxes on fuel, set to take effect on January 1, 2019, in a move he said was necessary combat climate change and protect the environment. Initially backed by people in small towns and rural France where most get around by car, the protests snowballed into a wider movement against Macron's perceived bias in favour of the elite and well-off city dwellers. Analysts say most of those joining the ranks of the "yellow vests" are workers on lower middle incomes who say they barely scrape by and get scant public services in exchange for some of the highest tax bills in Europe. On Monday, the discontent spread to include ambulance workers and some high schools, with students upset about education reforms. The movement takes its name from the yellow safety vests French law requires all motorists to carry [File: Benoit Tessier/ Reuters] What do they want? Supporters' goals are amorphous. Some want to reverse tax cuts seen as favouring the rich while others want more measures to help the poorest. Many have called on the business-friendly president, a former investment banker, to resign. The fuel tax "was the spark" said Thierry Paul Valette, a Paris protest coordinator. "If it hadn't been (that) it would have been something else. he told the Associated Press news agency. "People want fair fiscal justice. They want social justice. he added, as well as improved purchasing power. How big is the movement? Motorists began blocking highways across the country on November 17, setting up barricades and deploying convoys of slow-moving trucks. Nearly 300, 000 protested in the streets across the country that day. French paramedics, students join 'yellow vest' protests (2:04) Less than half that number, about 106, 000, took to the streets a week later, on November 24th, when a protest in Paris took a particularly violent turn. Last Saturday, an estimated 75, 000 demonstrators, were counted across the country in the afternoon, the interior ministry said. Most protests across France were peaceful, but the one in Paris degenerated into the worst rioting the capital has seen in years. What happened in Paris? Shops were looted and cars torched in plush neighbourhoods around the famed Champs Elysees avenue, as protesters intent on causing as much damage as possible mixed in with the "yellow vests. The Arc de Triomphe was besmirched with graffiti and vandalized inside. "The yellow vests will triumph. one scrawled slogan said. More than 400 were arrested during the clashes. Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris, said on Sunday: Once we learn the costs of this destruction, I think everyone will be stunned at how huge it will be. " Some organisers of the protests have denounced the violence, saying those behind it were attempting to "usurp" the "yellow vests. Meanwhile, Jason Herbert, a representative of the "yellow vests" who met briefly on Friday with Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, said he and others had to bow out of talks with the government because of threats from fellow demonstrators. He said the movement was radicalising. In all, four people have been killed and hundreds injured in clashes or accidents stemming from the protests. Protesters torched scores of vehicles in Paris on Saturday [File: Stephane Mahe/ Reuters] How have the protests affected the economy? Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told reporters on Monday that three weeks of protests have hit the French economy hard, with trade in shops, hotels and restaurants falling significantly. Some sectors saw their revenues hit by between 15 and 50 percent, he said, without providing a precise breakdown. "The impact is severe and ongoing. Le Maire said, emphasising that it was felt nationwide. Saturday's protest has "decimated" France's image, Roland Heguy of the CAT tourism federation told AFP, warning that this Christmas season was "at risk, if not already lost. Meanwhile, Vinci Autoroute, France's largest toll-road operator, has seen dozens of road blockades and forced openings of barriers since the protests erupted. Protesters have also damaged infrastructure, a spokesman said. French oil company Total has said 75 of its 2, 200 petrol stations have run dry because "yellow vests" were blockading fuel depots. Trucking federations said they had suffered operating losses of 400 million euros (453m) due to protesters blocking highways and toll stations as well as fuel depots. What is the government's response? Philippe, the prime minister, suspended the planned increases to fuel taxes for at least six months on Tuesday, saying no tax was "worth jeopardising" the country's unity. He also said that increases in the cost of gas and electricity, which were also set to take effect from January 1, 2019, would be suspended for three months during the winter. The measures were the first major U-turn by Macron's administration since he took office in 2016. His approval rating has hit a new low in the wake of the crisis, according to an Ifop-Fiducial poll for Paris Match and Sud Radio published on Tuesday. Macron's rating fell to 23 percent in the poll conducted late last week, down six points on the previous month. It's not clear if the concessions will appease protesters. "It's a first step, but we will not settle for a crumb. said Benjamin Chaucy, one of the leaders of the protests.
Movie stream the yellow movement free. Movie stream the yellow movement 2. In November of 2018, French citizens first took to streets across the country wearing yellow, high-visibility vests to protest the rising fuel prices intended to achieve Frances climate agenda. Demonstrations rapidly spread and still continue over a year later, with a riot in November triggering the worst violence Paris has seen in many months and leading to 147 citizen arrests. The Yellow Vests movement is predominantly comprised of working class and rural communities that struggle from precarious work conditions, declining public services, and increasing inequality. Protestors maintain that they are not against the ecological rationale of the fuel tax increase, but rather, against the burden of having to shoulder a green transition. To add fuel to the fire, in 2018, French President Emmanuel Macron approved a 3 billion euro wealth tax cut and increased carbon tax for the same amount. The move was intended to attract back some of the countrys richest citizens, who had left France in an attempt to evade the tax after it was introduced in the 1980s. But the Yellow Vests view the Presidents tax break as an embodiment of the economic inequality largely felt by swaths of the population. The Green New Deal Comes to Europe Since the beginning, one of the most popular slogans of the movement has been “fin du monde, fin du mois, même combat”, which translates to “end of the world, end of the month, same struggle”. The saying is meant to express the essence of the cause, which aims to resolve the fight against climate change with social justice. Reconciliation of these two elements is predicted to be one of the greatest challenges that will be faced by European societies in coming decades. As social tensions increase across the planet and significant climate change looms in the not-too-distant future, a new idea is gaining increased attention in media and political circles that might provide part of the solution, known as the Green New Deal. The sentiment behind the initiative is simple – it is not only possible, but necessary and desirable, to jointly tackle the climate emergency on one hand and social and economic crises on the other. The Deal is based on three main tenets: first, perpetual growth on a finite planet is irrational and unsustainable. Therefore, the only sensible way to ensure basic living standards for all is not to increase GDP indefinitely, but to redistribute already existing wealth and resources more equally. Several studies have shown that there is no correlation between wealth and happiness beyond a certain threshold. Second, the richest sectors of the population have been shown to have a much higher environmental impact than those less affluent, causing disproportionately negative effects. Redressing inequality, then, would not only be morally just, but also a key element to fight climate change. The third and final tenant notes that an ecological transition would require significant transformation of European economies and societies. For the shift to be both socially acceptable and economically sustainable, the Green New Deal maintains that working class communities cannot be expected to carry the burden of such a transformation and that those with the means to combat climate change should be obliged to do so. Though the grievances of the Yellow Vests have not fully given shape to a comprehensible political policy, a set of demands published and endorsed by the movement align with the spirit of a Green New Deal. EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen aims to turn Europe into “the worlds first climate-neutral continent” but faces opposition from political parties and companies that do not believe the transition is possible from a financial perspective. Copyright: Alexandros Michailidis / Can Europe Make It? The idea of a Green New Deal was first introduced to the mainstream of European politics when newly appointed EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen pledged to make a “European Green Deal” the “hallmark” of the coming decades, with promises of transforming Europe into “the worlds first climate-neutral continent”. Given the global nature of climate change, effective measures require a high degree of international coordination and political determination. And although the plan looks good on paper, it remains to be seen whether it will be politically possible to implement the Deal effectively. Many political parties and companies are unconvinced of the financial feasibility of such an ambitious transition, highlighting the risks that it could pose to the economy and national budgets. Other commentators have pointed out that the institutional structure of the European Union coupled with the balance of power in the current EU Commission, would greatly reduce chances of a successful Green Deal. There is concern that diverging national interests could lead to “watered-down” measures far from the ambitious plan outlined by von der Leyen before the European Parliament. Despite trepidation from political parties, what is certain is that the goals of movements fighting for social justice, such as the Yellow Vests, and marches to save the planet are not incompatible. At a time of social awakening, pressure from citizens – such as the youth climate movement – might just be the answer needed for the approval of laws and policies that will lead to progress for the benefit of all.
Movie stream the yellow movement album. Movie Stream The Yellow. My Valentines Day is usually very special but not for the reasons you might think. As a volunteer for the Yellow Movement, I spend my Valentines Day selling roses, candies and cards to fundraise and support students at Addis Ababa University that cant afford stationary or sanitation materials. This fund supports female students that cant afford the high cost of sanitary pads. This becomes very basic cost as tertiary education in Ethiopia is free and students are provided accommodation and food are provided for on loan, expected to be repaid upon graduating. We have made it a point to spend Valentines Day looking less than impressive and absolutely uninterested in romance for the good of those less advantaged in our society. The Yellow Movement is a youth lead initiative in Addis Ababa University that works to encourage discourse on the issue of gender based violence. On a weekly basis, we prepare questions we hope encourage deeper analysis on cultures and attitudes that support gender violence. Our campaign is limited to the campus and our online activity, valentines day is the only day of the year we get to leave our campus and take on the city. For the first time in six years, I wasnt able to physically participate in the fundraiser because of my travel schedule but there were ways even those away could support teams on the ground like media and publicity work which I took part in. Like feminism many in Ethiopia consider Valentines Day ‘western”, something that is encroaching on our culture and should avoid at all costs. So naturally, many media companies wanted to present our initiative as that one good thing that came out of Valentines day. While, at least I believe, they should have taken this time to discuss our cultural perception of romantic love. Seriously, eliminating gender based violence should not only be a discussion on what wed like to prevent in relationships, it should also be about the thing wed like to encourage. We should seriously analyse what our culture of romance is like? What do we do to lighten the weight of adult life that is best described as ‘the routine? How open are we about our struggles? Is how uncomfortable we are having this discussion publicly a reflection of how uncomfortable we are having this discussion in our private lives? I wish we had more studies to understood what our culture of romance is like, what we could learn from each other, how we communicate with our loved ones on a daily basis and how we can help it evolve. Because understanding relationships is also an important aspect of understanding how we can rebalance the dynamics in the household. The most basic struggle for equality starts in the home; where women either find the support they need to have a shot at a career or they dont, where they find characters that teach them about their value as individuals or they only teach them their value in terms of what they mean to men, where men learn the basics of their relationship with the women and each other. This may also help us understand how we can reduce domestic violence and reframe our education system to include important lessons in adult character. My day ended with a call from my mom in the evening, she called and I picked up, I mean she sounds okay but you know her heart is crying out at the confirmation that grandchildren are nowhere in sight. Yes, mom Im not having a secret love affair, Im just single. Hope you all had a lovely month full of love and kindness, I hope you remembered your home is the cornerstone of your nation and continent. You must be able to find equality and justice at home before you can find it anywhere else. Happy Womens Month! Mehret Berehe is a 2017 Mandela Washington Fellow and currently a Civic and Ethical education instructor. Mehrets journey as an activist for womens rights started in 2011 when she joined the Yellow Movement AAU, a youth led initiative in Addis Ababa University. Mehret Berehe Mehret Berehe is a 2017 Mandel Washington Fellow and member of the Yellow Movement. She is currently working on her Master at Mekelle University.
Movie stream the yellow movement game. Movie stream the yellow movement live. Movie stream the yellow movement movie. Movie stream the yellow movement videos. The past weeks have seen a massive confrontational movement arise in France opposing President Emmanuel Macrons “ecological” tax increase on gas. This movement combines many contradictory elements: horizontally organized direct action, a narrative of being “apolitical, ” the participation of far-right organizers, and the genuine anger of the exploited. Clearly, neoliberal capitalism offers no solutions to climate change except to place even more pressure on the poor; but when the anger of the poor is translated into reactionary consumer outrage, that opens ominous opportunities for the far right. Here, we report on the yellow vest movement in detail and discuss the questions it raises. A las barricadas: the yellow vest movement has provided a venue for people to revolt without giving up their identity as consumers. Preface: The Ruling Center and the Rebel Right In the buildup to the 2018 elections in the US, we heard a lot of arguments that it would be better for centrist politicians to win control of the government. But what happens when centrists come to power and use their authority to stabilize capitalism at the expense of the poor? One consequence is that far-right nationalists gain the opportunity to present themselves as rebels who are trying to protect “ordinary people” from the oppressive machinations of the government. In a time when the state can do precious little to mitigate the suffering that capitalism is causing, it can be more advantageous to be positioned outside the halls of power. Consequently, far-right nationalism may be able to gain more ground under centrist governments than under far-right governments. In attempting to associate environmentalism, feminism, internationalism, and anti-racism with neoliberalism, centrists make it likely that at least some of the movements that arise against the ruling order will be anti-ecological, misogynistic, nationalistic, and racist. That works out well for centrists, because it enables them to present themselves to the world as the only possible alternative to far-right extremists. This is precisely the strategy that got Macron elected in his campaign against Marine Le Pen. In this regard, centrists and nationalists are loyal adversaries who seek to divide up all possible positions between themselves, making it impossible to imagine any real solution to the crises created by capitalism. A social movement of anger and confusion. In short: if the wave of nationalist victories still sweeping the globe eventually gives way to a centrist backlash, but anarchists and other revolutionaries are not able to popularize tactics and movements that adequately address the catastrophies that so many people are facing, that could pave the way for an even more extreme wave of far-right populism. We should study populist social movements under centrist governments in order to identify the ways that far-right groups can hijack them—and figure out how we can prevent that. This is one of the reasons to pay close attention to the “yellow vest” movement unfolding right now in France under the arch-centrist President Macron. The “yellow vest” movement shows the strange fractures that can open up under the contradictions of modern centrism: above all, the false dichotomy between addressing global warming and addressing the ravages of capitalism. This dichotomy is especially dangerous in that it gives nationalists a narrative with which to capitalize on economic crisis while discrediting environmentalism by associating it with state oppression. Against the dictatorship of the rich: a banner seen near Nantes. What is taking place in France is reminiscent of what happened in Brazil in 2013, when a movement against the rising cost of public transportation provoked a nationwide crisis. This crisis gave tens of thousands of people new experience with horizontal organizing and direct action, but it also opened the way for nationalists to gain ground by presenting themselves as rebels against the ruling order. There are two significant differences between Brazil in 2013 and France today, however. First, the movement in Brazil was initiated by anarchists, but grew too big too quickly for anarchist values to retain hegemony—whereas anarchists have never had leverage within the movement of the “yellow vests. ” Second, the movement in Brazil took place under a supposedly leftist government, not a centrist one. The hijacking of the movement against the fare hike in Brazil set the stage for a chain of events that culminated in the electoral victory of Bolsonaro, an outright proponent of military dictatorship and extrajudicial mass murders. In France, the context seems even less promising. What should anarchists do in a situation like this? We cant side with the state against demonstrators who are already struggling to survive. Likewise, we cant side with demonstrators against the natural environment. We have to establish an anti-nationalist position within anti-government protests and an anti-state position within ecological movements. The “yellow vest” movement provides an instructive opportunity for us to think about how to strategize in an era of three-sided conflicts that pit us against both nationalists and centrists. Burning barricades. The Yellow Vest Movement in France Several weeks ago, the Macron government officially announced that, on January 1, 2019, it will once again increase taxes on gas, which will raise the price of gas in general. This decision was justified as a step in the transition to “green energy. ” Diesel vehicles comprise two thirds of vehicles in France, where diesel is less expensive than regular gas. After decades of political policies aimed at pushing people to buy cars that run on diesel, the government has decided that diesel fuels are no longer “eco-friendly” and therefore people must change their cars and habits. Macron reduced taxes on the income of the super-rich at the beginning of his administration; he has not taken steps to make the wealthy pay for the transition to more ecologically sustainable technology, even though the wealthy have been the ones to benefit from the profits generated by ecologically harmful industrial activity. Consequently, Macrons ecological arguments for the gas tax been largely ignored. Many people see the decision to increase the tax on gas as yet another attack on the poor. The French government is responsible for creating this false dichotomy between ecology and the needs of working people. Decades of spatial planning have concentrated economic activity and job opportunities in bigger metropolises and developed public transportation in those same areas while isolating rural areas, making cars necessary for a large part of the population. Without any other option, many people are now completely reliant on their cars to live and work. Blocking a toll collection point. In response to Macrons announcement about the tax on gas, people started organizing on the internet. Several petitions against the increase of the price of gas became viral, such as this online petition that is about to reach a million signatures as this text goes to press. Then, on September 17, 2018, a driver organization denounced the “overtaxation of fuels, ” inviting its members to send their gas receipts to President Macron along with letters explaining their disapproval. On October 10, 2018, two truck drivers created a Facebook event calling for a national blockade against the increase of gas prices on November 17, 2018. As a result, more and more groups appeared on Facebook and Twitter sharing videos in which people attack the presidents decision and explain how difficult their financial situations already are, emphasizing that increasing the taxes on gas will only make it worse. On the eve of the national call, about 2000 groups across the country were announcing their intention to block roads, toll collection points, gas stations, and refineries, or at least to hold demonstrations. In order to identify the participants during this day of action, demonstrators decided to wear yellow emergency vests and asked sympathizers to show their support to the movement by displaying these vests in their cars. The symbolism behind this vest is simple enough. The French drivers manual mandates that every driver must keep an emergency vest inside their car in case of accident or other issues on the road. In view of their dependency on cars, fearing to see their living conditions worsen, protestors chose these emergency vests as a symbol of resistance against Macrons decision. By extension, protestors and media came to call this movement the “yellow vests. ” A blockade near Nantes on November 17. Thousands of actions took place during the weekend of November 17. Approximately 288, 000 “yellow vest” protestors were present in the streets for the first day of national blockade. This was a success for the movement, especially considering that it did not receive any assistance from trade unions or other major organizations. Unfortunately, things escalated when fights broke out between “yellow vests” and other individuals. One “yellow vest” protester, a woman in her sixties, was killed by a driver, a mother who was trying to take her sick child to the doctor and attempted to drive through a blockade when people in yellow vests started smacking her car. Altogether, more than 400 people were injured, one protestor was killed, and about 280 individuals were arrested that weekend. The movement remained strong despite these incidents. The blockades continued over the following days, even if participation diminished. In order to maintain the pressure on the government, the “yellow vests” made another national call for the following Saturday, November 24. Once again, various “yellow vest” groups on Facebook planned actions and demonstrations everywhere in France and circulated a call to converge in Paris for a big demonstration. Facing a water cannon. At first, this demonstration was planned for the Champs de Mars, near the Eiffel tower, where law enforcement would have surrounded and contained the protestors. However, this official decision did not satisfy some “yellow vesters, ” and other calls circulated on social media. The November 17 demonstration in Paris had failed to reach its objective, the Presidential palace; consequently, the “yellow vesters” who were about to converge in Paris decided to repeat that effort on November 24. So it was that, rather than gathering at the base of the Eiffel tower, people converged and blocked the Champs Elysées, a target with powerful symbolic status. This luxurious avenue is the most visited in Paris; the Elysée palace where President Macron resides is located at the end of this avenue. As they had the preceding week, demonstrators tried to get as close to the Presidential palace as possible. Barricading and confrontations took place all day along the most well-known Parisian avenue. It was reported that this second round of actions gathered about 106, 000 participants throughout France, with about 8000 in Paris. These figures suggest that the movement is losing momentum. In the course of the demonstration in Paris, 24 people were injured in clashes and 103 people were arrested, of whom 101 were taken into custody. The first trials took place on Monday, November 26. Bonfire on the Champs Elysées. What Kind of Movement Is This? The “yellow vest” movement describes itself as spontaneous, horizontal, and without leaders. It is difficult to be certain of these statements. The movement started via social media groups that facilitated decentralized actions in which people decided locally what they wanted to do and how to do it. In this regard, there is clearly some kind of horizontal organizing going on. Regarding whether the movement is truly leaderless, this is more complicated. From the beginning, “yellow vesters” insisted that their movement was “apolitical” and had no leader. Instead, it was supposed to be the organic effort of several groups of people working together on the basis of their shared anger. Nevertheless, as in practically every group—anarchist projects included—there are power dynamics. As is often the case, some people manage to accumulate more leverage than others, due to their access to resources, their capacity to persuade, or simply their skills with new technologies. Scrutinizing some of the self-proclaimed spokespersons of the “yellow vest” movement, we can see who has been able to accumulate influence within the movement and consider what their agenda might be. - Christophe Chalençon is the spokesperson for the Vaucluse department. Presenting himself as “apolitical” and “not belonging to any trade union, ” he nevertheless presented his candidacy for the 2017 legislative election as a member of the “diverse right. ” When we dig deeper into his personal relations and Facebook profile, we can see that his discourse is clearly conservative, nationalist, and xenophobic. - In Limoges, the organizer of the November 17 action of the “yellow vests” in the region was Christophe Lechevallier. Once again, the profile of this “angry citizen” is quite interesting. The least we can say is that Christophe Lechevallier seems to be a turncoat. In 2012, he presented his candidacy for the legislative elections as a member of a centrist party (the MoDem. Then he joined the extreme-right Front National (now called the Rassemblement National) and invited in 2016 its leader Marine Le Pen to a meeting. In the meantime, he was also working with the French pro-GMO agricultural organization FNSEA (the National Federation of Agricultural Holders Unions) known for defending the use of chemicals, such as the Glyphosate, to intensify their productions. - In Toulouse, the “yellow vest” spokesperson is Benjamin Cauchy. This young executive has been interviewed several times on national and local media. Again, this spokesperson is hardly “apolitical” if we consider his past. Benjamin Cauchy speaks freely about his political experience as a member of the traditional neoliberal right (at that time, the UMP, now known as Les Républicains. However, during law school, Benjamin Cauchy was one of the leaders of the student union UNI —well-known for its connections with conservative right and far-right parties and groups. But even more interesting, Benjamin Cauchy has not publicly acknowledged that he is now a member of the nationalist party Debout La France, whose leader, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, made an alliance with Marine Le Pen (of the Rassemblement National) during the second round of the last presidential election in hopes of defeating Macron. There are frustrated consumers on both sides of the barricades. So it is clear that conservative and far-right groups are hoping to impose their discourse, spread their ideas, and use this “apolitical movement of angry citizens” as a way to gain more power. This has not gone entirely unopposed. The yellow vesters of Toulouse decided to evict Benjamin Cauchy from their movement due to his political views. On November 26, while invited at a radio show, the latter said that as an answer to his eviction, he was creating a new national organization entitled “ Les Citrons ” (the Lemons) to continue his fight against tax rises and took the opportunity to denounce the “lack of democracy that exists within the ‘yellow vest movement. ” Finally, it seems that the so-called “leaderless movement” completely changed its strategy in the aftermath of the second Parisian demonstration. On Monday, November 26, a list of eight official spokespersons of the movement was presented to the press. Apparently, the preceding day, yellow vesters were asked to vote online to elect their new leading figures. These nominations and strategic decisions are already creating tension within the movement. Some yellow vesters are now criticizing the legitimacy of the election, raising questions about how these leaders got selected in the first place. Meanwhile, some members of the movement have called for another day of action on Saturday, December 1. The demands are clear: 1. More purchasing power; 2. The cancellation of all taxes on gas. If these demands are not granted, demonstrators say that “they will march towards Macrons resignation. ” So far, 27, 000 persons have announced that they will participate in this event. Once again, the unity that was the watchword several weeks ago seems to have evaporated, as several local organizers have dissociated themselves from the movement in opposition to the more confrontational path that the movement seems to be taking. A blockade by night. Rather than addressing the question of horizontality, corporate media outlets have been focusing on another question: is the protesters anger legitimate? Many media outlets have suggested that this movement is mostly composed of undereducated low-income people who are against protecting the environment; they describe the demonstrations as violent in order to delegitimize the anger of the participants. Despite this, some media outlets have shifted their discourse over time, becoming somewhat less condescending and more whiling to broadcast demonstrators concerns. For example, after the confrontations at the Champs Elysées last Saturday, Christophe Castaner, the new Minister of the Interior, said: “the amount of damages is poor, they are mostly material ones, thats the most important thing. ” Quite a surprising statement, considering how corporate media outlets and politicians have decried similar actions during the demonstrations on May Day and the protests against the Loi Travail. From our perspective, theres no doubt that their anger is legitimate. Most people who take part in this movement speak of the difficult living situations they have to deal with every day. It makes sense that they are saying that they have had enough; the gas issue is just the straw that broke the camels back. The lower-class population has to struggle harder and harder to survive while everyone else remains comfortable enough not to be affected by economic shifts and tax increases targeting consumers. For now, at least. So anger—and direct action—are legitimate. The question is whether the political vision and values that are driving this movement can lead to anything good. “Well, lets give them biofuels - Brigitte Macron. ” Troubled Waters Numerous racist, sexist, and homophobic acts have taken place during yellow vest actions. During the November 17 demonstration in Paris, several well known anti-Semites and nationalists were seen among the crowd of demonstrators. Members of far-right and nationalist groups participated in the demonstrations on November 24 in Paris, as well. Some comrades have reported that the presence of the far right in the Paris demonstration is “undeniable. ” They describe seeing a group of monarchists with a flag; the crowd considered their presence “insignificant” compared to the water cannons that law enforcement used during the clashes. The same report also mentions several elements that are difficult to interpret. For example, while the crowd in Paris chanted some classic slogans of May 1968 (“CRS SS”) and the Loi Travail demonstrations (“ Paris debout, soulève toi! ”) they also chanted the first verse of the Marseillaise, which is currently associated with traditional republican parties and the far right, not radicals. This chant could be understood as a reference to its origins in the French Revolution, but the song has been coopted by its role as the French national anthem, giving it a patriotic and nationalist tone. Yellow bloc. Another example: while marching down the Champs Elysées, the crowd chanted “We are at home. ” For an English-speaking reader, this statement seems innocuous enough, an affirmation that the demonstrators had taken the streets, as the authors of the above report framed it. However, this chant echoes the one regularly used by National Front supporters during their meetings. Understood in that context, “we are at home” has a more sinister connotation. For nationalists, it means that France is and will always be a white, Christian, and nationalist country. Everyone who doesnt fit their identity and political agenda is therefore considered a stranger or an intruder. In other words, this slogan creates a narrative about who belongs and who doesnt. The use of these words during the yellow vest demonstrations is poorly chosen, if not ominous. Paris is not the only place reactionary tendencies have emerged in the movement. Indeed, on November 17, in Cognac, yellow vest protestors assaulted a black woman who was driving a car. During the altercation, some protestors told her to “go back to [her] country. ” The same day, at Bourg en Bresse, an elected representative and his partner were assaulted for being gay. In the Somme department, some yellow vesters called the immigration police when they realized that migrants were hiding inside a large truck stuck in traffic. The list goes on. Finally, some participants in this “apolitical” movement have openly expressed contempt for social movements in general—including the movement for better education, the movement to defend hospitals and access to health care, and the movement of the railworkers. In effect, this movement that purports to dissociate itself from collective struggles so it can benefit “everyone” ends up promoting individualistic self-interest: the right of isolated consumers to keep using their cars however they want at a cheap price, without any real vision of social change. Police block the freeway as yellow vesters make representations of themselves. How Should We Engage? Among anarchists and leftists, we can identify two different schools of thought regarding how to engage with the “yellow vest” phenomenon: those who think that we should take part in it, and those who think that we should keep our distance. Arguments to distance ourselves: The yellow vest movement claims to be “apolitical. ” By and large, the participants describe themselves as disgruntled citizens who work hard but are always the first to suffer from taxes and government decisions. This discourse has a lot in common with the Poujadisme movement of the 1950s, a reactionary and populist movement named for deputy Pierre Poujade, or, more recently, with the “ Bonnets rouges ” movement (the “red beanies”. - The idea that the movement is “apolitical” is dangerous in that it offers a perfect opportunity for far-right organizers, populists, and fascists to insinuate themselves among protesters. In other words, this movement offers the far right a chance to restructure itself and regain power. - As soon as the movement gained widespread attention, extreme-right politician Marine Le Pen and other conservatives and populists expressed support for it. So much for the talk about being “apolitical”! “The ultra-right will lose! ” Arguments in favor of participating in the movement: This appears to be a genuinely spontaneous and decentralized movement involving low-income people. In theory, we should be organizing alongside them in order to fight capitalism and state oppression. Mind you, the concepts of class war and anti-capitalism are far from being accepted or promoted among the demonstrators. - Some argue that we should participating in order to prevent fascists from coopting the movement and the anger it represents. Some radicals believe that we should take part in these actions as a way to make new connections with people and spread our ideas about capitalism and how to respond to the economic crisis. - For some radicals, being skeptical of the current movement and not wanting to take part in it can also indicate some sort of class contempt directed at the “apolitical” poor. Others argue that in every situation, we should always aim to be actors rather than spectators. Some even assert that if we are “true” revolutionaries, we should leap into the unknown and discover what is possible instead of passively criticizing from a distance. All these arguments are valid, but if they lead to anarchists participating in a movement that offers fascists a recruiting platform— as some anarchists did in the Ukrainian revolution —that will be a disaster that opens the way for worse catastrophes to come. “Down with the state, the police, and the fascists. ” The fundamental problem with the yellow vest movement is that it begins from the wrong premises, attempting to preserve conditions that we should all have been fighting to abolish in the first place. Rather than seeking to protect todays alienated and miserable consumer way of life, which is itself the result of a century of defeats and betrayals in the labor movement, we should be asking why we are so dependent on cars and gasoline in the first place. If our ways of surviving and traveling had not been constructed in such an isolating, individualized way—if capitalists were not able to exploit us so ruthlessly—we would not have to choose between destroying the environment and giving up the last vestiges of financial stability. We have to change our habits and give up our privileges in the course of fighting for another world (or another end of the world) but as always, governments and capitalists are forcing us to bear the brunt of the problems they caused. We must not permit them to frame the terms of the discussion. “Overthrow Macron, disband the government, and abolish the system. ” Open Questions Incidentally, the situation is quite different outside the French homeland. On the island of Reunion, since November 17, there has been a social upheaval in which all strategic sites have been blocked—the port, the airport, and the prefecture. Fearing that they might lose control of the situation and being concerned about the impact on the economy, French authorities established a curfew on November 20 that lasted until November 25. In Europe, as the yellow vest movement attempts to restructure itself after being weakened by leadership issues and conflicts over strategy, this might be an opportunity to create new bridges and make proposals about more systemic solutions to the problems that caused this movement. Regarding ecology, we have to emphasize that the rich are the ones chiefly responsible for climate change, and that they will have to be the ones who pay to deal with it—if we are not able to dethrone them first. To some extent, this seems to be what the current blockading movement against capitalism and climate change Extinction Rebellion is trying to do in England. It is ironic that two different blockading movements about capitalism and ecology are taking place on either side of the English channel right now—one making ecological demands of the state, the other reacting to state environmental measures. About nationalism, we must assert that it is no better to be exploited by citizens of our own race, gender, and religion than it is to be exploited by foreigners, and emphasize that we will only be able to stand up to those who oppress and exploit us if we establish solidarity across all the various lines of difference—race, gender, religion, citizenship, and sexual preference. We are inspired by the yellow vest protesters in Montpellier who formed a guard of honor to welcome the feminist march on November 24. Above all, we need an anti-capitalist, anti-fascist, anti-sexist and ecological front within the space of social movements. The question is whether that should take place inside the “yellow vest” movement, or against it. Chaos for Christmas. There are so many dawns that have yet to break.
PARIS — Protesters waged hit-and-run clashes with police Saturday on the first anniversary of the “yellow vest” movement — the impromptu, amorphous uprising against social inequality that caught France off-guard and startled observers worldwide. The movements shifting cast of caretakers had vowed to re-energize the demonstrations, which gripped the country last year but have dwindled in size in recent months. The anniversary brought a boost in support on the streets in central Paris — and sporadic violence and tear gas. But the numbers of protesters fell short of the outpouring last year. And the provinces, once seen as the soul of the movement, were relatively quiet. Still, the conversation — or rather shouting match — that the yellow vests started is now part of the countrys political calculus. Social inequality has emerged as the central domestic policy issue of Emmanuel Macrons presidency, whether he acknowledges it or not. Initially launched in response to a proposed hike in fuel taxes, the yellow vest movement took its name from the high-visibility jackets French drivers are required to keep in their cars for roadside emergencies. Much of the protesters anger was aimed at Macron. They denounced him for being monarchical, arrogant and uninterested in the difficulties ordinary people face. They called for his resignation — even though he had been elected in a landslide little more than a year before. Instead, the French president offered a very French response: talk. He conducted a two-month listening tour, a “grand debate. ” Macron, always in a crisp white shirt and spotless tailored suit, endured up to six hours of personal attacks in town halls and school auditoriums across the country. The result of these sometimes painful encounters, and of the protests in the streets, was that Macron — a former investment banker who had styled himself as “Jupiter” — humbled himself, at least a little bit, enough for his approval ratings to recover. On Saturday, most of the unrest took place on the Place dItalie, a major intersection in southeastern Paris, where a small group of violent protesters smashed store windows and set trash cans and a few cars on fire. Police responded with tear gas. “Even if the images are spectacular on the Place d'Italie, the fact remains that the rest of the rest of Paris is calm, ” Paris police prefect Didier Lallement told reporters. At least 105 people had been arrested, Paris police announced. At the height of the protests last year, marchers clogged the grand boulevards of Paris. Demonstrators smashed shop windows and ransacked beloved national monuments, such as the Arc de Triomphe. In their crowd control efforts, French police were accused of going too far, firing rubber bullets at participants. In April, Macron hosted a rare news conference, where he announced a number of conciliatory measures: middle-class tax cuts, a crackdown on tax evasion schemes and reinvestment in local administration across the country. The fuel tax that had incited so much anger was also abandoned. “In a certain way, the gilets jaunes were very good for me, ” Macron told Time magazine in September, using the French term for the yellow vests. “Because it reminded me who I should be. ” But while the yellow vests slowed some of Macrons agenda, they didnt deter him. He continues to seek to overhaul sectors of Frances famously generous welfare state — persisting where previous French presidents have caved. And that promises to produce further clashes. Central to Macrons plans are changes to Frances retirement system. The main proposals include pushing back the full pension-eligible retirement age from 62 to 64, and streamlining 42 different pension plans into a single points-based system, meaning that certain workers who already have particularly generous pension benefits, such as police officers and public transport employees, stand to lose out. Those proposals have already generated protests. And the unions that represent transport workers — including the Paris Metro, national railway conductors and airport ground crew staff — have vowed a major demonstration beginning in early December. Separately, on Thursday, several hundred hospital workers demonstrated in Paris, decrying budget cuts that they say have inhibited their ability to provide quality care, particularly in emergency rooms. As Le Monde newspaper put it in a Friday editorial: “The street, once again, is poised to take revenge. ” The yellow vest movement, Le Monde insisted, represented more than a predictable resistance to an unprecedented policy change: “It revealed the social impasse that combines the ecological transition, the lack of public services in a large part of the territory and the muted resentment among some of the French who feel left out of the democratic game. ” After the hospital staff protests on Thursday, Macron immediately promised to take the outrage seriously. “I have heard your anger over working conditions that have become impossible at times — diminished salaries, ceaseless workflows, and material difficulties, ” he said. But while Macrons government has indicated a willingness to give a little on some of its reform proposals, he has shown few signs of backing down altogether. Priscillia Ludosky, a cosmetics worker from the Paris suburbs whose online petition against Macrons carbon tax launched the yellow vest movement last year, said in an interview that Macron has yet to take the sentiment behind the movement seriously, even if he offered a number of concessions last year. “I dont have the impression he will change things, ” she said, noting that Macron has refused to see the yellow vests for what she believes they are, which is an expression of the popular national will. “He doesnt recognize the movement as representative of the population. ” But the movement has come under criticism for representing the interests of just one segment of French society. Although Ludosky herself is a black woman, most yellow vest demonstrators are lower-middle-class whites. The movement struggled to gain traction in heavily immigrant suburbs on the outskirts of virtually every major French city, which remain the countrys poorest enclaves. And there have been occasional flare-ups of intolerance among the yellow vest protesters. In one episode, conservative intellectual Alain Finkielkraut, a popular radio host and a household name in France, was heckled with anti-Semitic slurs as he got out of a cab near his Paris apartment — even though he had been one of the few intellectuals to have initially supported the movement. Ludosky dismissed that incident as isolated. “There were also beautiful things that happened at roundabouts around the country, with people supporting each other and bringing food, but those dont get ‘buzz, she said. After a year, political analysts say the movement is largely symbolic, and that it had little impact on an electoral landscape that remains dominated by Macrons nominally centrist party and the extreme right faction of Marine Le Pen. Yellow vest candidates fared poorly in the European parliamentary elections in May, and few are discussing the prospect of a yellow vest ticket in Frances March 2020 municipal elections. Ludosky insisted that the movements power remains its refusal to participate in mainstream political life. “[The yellow vests] showed that the fractures that existed in French society, and in a symbolic manner, we can say that they brought a form of a return to class struggle in France, ” said Jérôme Fourquet, a political analyst and senior pollster at IFOP, of Frances leading polling agencies. “This was the periphery against the metropole. ”.
With the rise of the gilets jaunes, the yellow vests movement sweeping France (and spreading to Belgium, the Netherlands and elsewhere) it has become apparent that the color of anti-neoliberalism is yellow. Despite much confusion, this much is clear. The people rising up in France did not take to the streets to protest a particular fuel or carbon tax; they are protesting inequality, the inequality of tax cuts for the rich coupled with tax increases and austerity for everyone else — inequalities and inequities inseparable from neoliberalism. Of course, neoliberalism can be attacked in a progressive as well as in a regressive way. It can be criticized in radical and reactionary and moderate ways. Donald Trump, for instance, rode to power by, among other things, attacking the decline in most peoples quality of life — a decline that is inseparable from the neoliberal organization of the world. In addition to considerable help from the anachronistic electoral college, Trump won the presidency by attacking NAFTA and other so-called free trade deals (arrangements central to neoliberal capitalism. He also promised to fix the crumbling infrastructure that accompanies the neoliberal austerity programs championed by financial elites. But he did all of this in a racist, nationalistic, ultra-reactionary way, scapegoating immigrants, Muslims, and others. And it is a curious fact that when blended with reactionary Republican red, anti-neoliberalism yellow creates orange — the color of Trump. Likewise, when blended with blue (the color that symbolizes the Democratic Party these days) the color of anti-neoliberalism produces green — the Green New Deal, for example, that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others are championing (which also happens to be the color of money, and of the military, which the deal remains subordinated to. Moreover, when blended together Republican red and Democrat blue yield purple — the color not just of bipartisanship, but of the financial elites who support them (in the US and globally) — i. e., the color of royalty. And the opposite of purple (its negation) as any glance at a color wheel will tell you, is yellow. As such, the yellow of the yellow vests is more than just the color of anti-neoliberalism, its the color of anti-inequality. That is, its the color of radical democracy, of a radical egalitarianism that is hostile to the privatization of the public realm, and hostile to the concentrations of wealth that characterize the present toxic organization of the world. This radical democracy is evident, among other places, in the yellow vests call for a peoples assembly — not to mention in their demands for taxes on wealth, a higher minimum wage, and a maximum salary. So, yellow is not just the color of anti-neoliberalism but (unlike orange and green) it is the color of a radically egalitarian, radically democratic anti-neoliberalism — a color that just so happens to be the color of the sun, and of a new day, as well. Post Script Although the gilets jaunes initial rejection of a regressive fuel tax has led to their being characterized as averse to fighting catastrophic climate change, because inequality, globalization and catastrophic climate change (as Bruno Latour demonstrates in Down to Earth) comprise a unity, by fighting inequality the yellow vest movement (especially in its larger, more diverse manifestations) is fighting catastrophic climate change — just as fighting catastrophic climate change in earnest requires fighting inequality. Elliot Sperber is a writer, attorney, and adjunct professor. He lives in New York City and can be reached at and on twitter @elliot_sperber.
Movie stream the yellow movement song. Movie Stream The Yellow mouvement démocrate. Movie stream the yellow movement video. Credit. Alain Jocard/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images BOURGES, France — In a world seething with anger over the widening gap between the rich and everyone else, France stands out as a country elaborately engineered to protect social peace. It has less economic inequality than the United States, Canada and Britain, according to the World Bank. Its people enjoy comprehensive health care under a national insurance program. Only Denmark, Belgium and Sweden spend a larger percentage of their economies on social welfare programs for working-age citizens, according to an analysis by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Even so, France is consumed by a ferocious and sustained outpouring of social unrest. The tumultuous, intermittently violent protests of the so-called Yellow Vest movement have shaken the country since they began in November, intensifying in recent weeks. President Emmanuel Macron had been preparing to address the nation last Monday to detail new measures in response to the demonstrations. But as the Notre-Dame cathedral went up in flames that evening, Mr. Macron scrapped his address, and used the devastation of a beloved and iconic monument to call for national unity. It may be a hard sell. The anger drawing people to the barricades has been fueled by a sense that the national interest has long been undermined by Mr. Macrons own economic class, the globe-trotting financiers who have turned France into a sanctuary for the rich. That grievance was amplified by concerns that Frances wealthiest would be able to benefit from tax breaks for their sizable donations to rebuild the cathedral. In part, the anger drawing people to the barricades reflects forces at work in much of the developed world, as the bounty of economic expansion flows disproportionately to the wealthy. But the demonstrations have also drawn fuel from more narrowly French laments: The traditionally generous social welfare system is increasingly neglecting key slices of the populace, especially young people, tripping deep-seated notions about fairness that date back to the French Revolution. “The government promotes equality very strongly, ” says Louis Maurin, director of French Inequality Watch, a research institution in the city of Tours. “In every school in France, its written on the walls: liberté, égalité, fraternité. Yet everyone thinks people are gaming the tax system. The feeling of being cheated can make you really angry. ” Though France may seem a bastion of egalitarianism compared with conspicuously unequal societies like the United States, it has seen a widening of the gap separating the affluent from the rest of the nation. Average incomes for the richest 1 percent of French households doubled between 1983 and 2015, while the bottom 99 percent saw incomes rise by only one-fourth, according to the French economist Thomas Piketty. Beneath these broad indicators, France is cleaved by profound forms of inequality: between urban and rural communities; full-time employees and temporary workers; graduates of prestigious universities and the plebeian masses. And not least, between retirees, who maintain the divine right of pensions, and younger people excluded from social welfare programs. The Yellow Vests reverberate as a primal scream from working-class France at the tax-avoiding, wealth-hogging Parisian glitterati enabled by a government now headed by one of its own, Mr. Macron, a former investment banker. But the movement is also consumed with a historical French aspiration: protecting and even expanding national welfare programs in the face of worries over mounting debts and stagnant economic growth. Such tensions were already active when Mr. Macron assumed the presidency two years ago. He prescribed reforms aimed at rejuvenating the economy. In his telling, outdated strictures on business and institutionalized hostility toward the wealthy hindered entrepreneurialism. A labor code forged over centuries to protect workers discouraged investment, yielding an unemployment rate stuck above 9 percent. Mr. Macron vowed to make France hospitable to global capital, trading worker protections for economic revival. He made it easier for employers to fire workers on the assumption that this would enhance their inclination to hire. He cut taxes on the wealthiest French households. Outside France, financiers celebrated the young, charismatic new president who had replaced the narrative of decline with vibrancy. Yet inside France, and especially outside Paris, Mr. Macrons agenda resonated as class warfare. Eager to avoid perilously unpopular cuts to social welfare programs, he increased a range of taxes on the middle class and working poor. He was cutting taxes for people in designer suits, his fellow members of the Davos set, while sticking the bill on those donning work boots for a living. Such policies would probably produce anger anywhere. In France, where equality is more than a word engraved on monuments, but a moral code, it yielded rage. “Macron is out for the rich people, ” says Nadia Benkmis, 36, a mother of six here in Bourges, a modest town 130 miles south of Paris. “He wants to exterminate poor people, like the way the Jews were exterminated. ” She says this while standing in the parking lot of a local food bank, bearing two shopping bags full of donated groceries. The shelves inside offer a cornucopia befitting France: gleaming leeks, beefsteaks, Camembert cheese. For Ms. Benkmis, her weekly visits are a mortifying reminder of her lost station. “My family was rich when I was growing up, ” she says. Her own life has traced the arc of downward mobility. She used to clean houses, but gave that up when the youngest of her six children was born a year ago. She does not qualify for unemployment benefits. Her husband does not work, either. If he did, they would surrender the government benefits that now sustain them: some 1, 200 euros (1, 350) a month in cash assistance for their children, plus a monthly housing subsidy of 500. These sorts of calculations are enmeshed in the daily life of Bourges. Once a hub of munitions factories, the town has lost jobs in recent decades. Remaining operations are inclined to hire temporary workers, mirroring a national trend. Over the last 18 years, open-ended labor contracts in France have remained flat at about one million, while the number of contracts lasting less than a month exploded to 4. 5 million from 1. 6 million, according to Philippe Askenazy, a labor economist at the French National Center for Scientific Research. Only about half of those on short contracts are eligible for unemployment benefits. “Bosses prefer taking on temporary workers, ” says Virginie Bonnin, 40, who works in local auto parts plants. “We are disposable. ” A single mother of three girls, Ms. Bonnin earns 1, 900 a month. She learns on Thursday nights what her hours will be for the coming week. When her jobs end, she is sustained by unemployment benefits of about 1, 400 a month. “Im not the worst off, ” she says. “But its tricky. In those times, I will not eat meat so that the kids can eat meat. ” Her last summer vacation, a sacred French institution, was two years ago. Ms. Bonnin was provoked into joining the Yellow Vests by the same measure that mobilized much of the country, a tax on gasoline that was to take effect in January. Macron promoted it as a means of adapting to climate change. Outside major cities, where people rely on cars to get nearly everywhere, it supplied proof that the president was indifferent to the working class. “Macron is concerned with the end of the world, ” one Yellow Vest slogan put it. “We are concerned with the end of the month. ” That accusation endured even after Mr. Macron suspended the gas tax in the face of Yellow Vest furor. “Having to make sacrifices while rich people arent paying taxes anymore, ” Ms. Bonnin says, “theres a sense of despair, as well as a sense of social injustice. ” This notion animates many of the Yellow Vest participants. More than a threat to livelihoods, Mr. Macrons reforms constitute a breach of the French social order, an attack on the understanding that the state looks out for struggling people. Such thinking holds special currency among white people born in France, who dominate the ranks of the Yellow Vests. Many echo sentiments heard across Europe amid an influx of Muslim migrants, and in the United States, where President Trump has fomented fear of immigrants. They claim that outsiders are capturing benefits that should be going to French-born working people. Coralie Annovazzi, 20, still lives with her parents as she works temporary waitressing jobs. She gets no cash assistance from the government, because people under 25 are not eligible. Poverty among French people 18 to 25 years old leapt to 14 percent in 2015 from 8. 8 percent in 1984 after factoring in taxes and grants from the government, by Mr. Askenazys reckoning. Over the same period, poverty among those age 51 to 65 dropped to 7 percent from 11 percent. “Theres not enough for young people, ” Ms. Annovazzi says, as she sits inside a tent at a Yellow Vest camp. But her harshest words are reserved for the migrants living in a nearby motel, alongside a lifeless stretch of highway. Nearly 100 young men from Afghanistan, Sudan and other war-torn countries sit listlessly in their rooms, unable to work while they wait for their asylum claims to be processed. They subsist on state grants of about 200 a month. To Ms. Annovazzi, their presence reveals how native-born French people have seen their status usurped. “These migrants, they have gotten the latest sneakers, the latest smartphones, ” she says. “All of that is paid for by the state. ” Claudine Malardie, 53, nods excitedly. “If youre French, you dont get any assistance, ” she says. “Give me a pot of black paint and Ill paint my face black, and then I will get benefits. ” In fact, Ms. Malardie does receives benefits, an 860-a-month disability payment. She pays 300 a month in rent for a state-subsidized apartment. Such attitudes have distanced the Yellow Vests from minority communities. In Grigny, a remote suburb south of Paris, African and Arab immigrant families fill dilapidated 15-story apartment towers. Elevators are frequently out of service, forcing even pregnant women to climb stairs. People complain that they cannot secure jobs, because a Grigny address is a mark of ill repute. “We are treated like foreigners, ” says Checkene Sacko, 18, who was born in France, the son of immigrants from Mali. He and others in Grigny applaud the Yellow Vests for demanding better wages. But they recall how local protests over police brutality in 2005 were largely dismissed by the French public as the work of thugs, in contrast to the lionizing of the Yellow Vests. A tax on gas, they note, is a problem only for people who can afford cars. “Those are people who have jobs, ” Mr. Sacko says. “They are mostly white people. ” If black people had thronged the demonstrations, he adds, the police “would already have given themselves permission to shoot them all. ” Racist tropes notwithstanding, the Yellow Vests have divined a decisive truth: Working poor people can no longer take for granted the succor of the French state. For most of the 20th century, France was ruled by the notion that progressive taxation and publicly financed social insurance programs were the best way to preserve amity. But in the early 1980s, the government began cutting support for low-income people. By 2014, barely 20 percent of government cash benefits were going to households in the bottom fifth of French incomes, according to research by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. That was less than Finland (42 percent) Britain (33 percent) and even the United States (22 percent. Reversing that trend confronts difficult arithmetic. French government debt amounts to 97 percent of the nations annual economic output, according to the International Monetary Fund. As one of 19 nations that share the euro currency, France is severely constrained in its ability to run further deficits, limiting social spending. In the face of the Yellow Vest demonstrations, President Macron dropped some tax increases and lifted the minimum wage. But that failed to mollify the protesters, leaving France in a familiar place: unable to jolt a stalled economy with spending, and unable to bolster aid for poor people. Unless, that is, Mr. Macron suddenly gained a proclivity for taxing rich people. In Bourges on a recent Saturday, Ms. Bonnin and other activists dawdle in a crosswalk, blocking cars in a show of dismay for the trajectory of French life. Three police officers ask them to allow traffic to flow, bringing a feint of compliance. One demonstrator carries a speaker blasting a protest song. “Macron, shut your mouth, ” the chorus resounds. “That will be good for France. ” The demonstrators shout the lyrics in unison, and one of the policemen laughs.
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