How can one not but feel pride in being French?
Emmanuel Macron, Letter to the French
Act IX, Saturday January 12: the yellow vest insurrection continues.
In response to french president Macron’s invitation for a “great national debate” on the troubles that afflict the country, responses from among the anonymous many who have donned yellow vests …
The Great National Debate – Power before the Lottery of Words
(lundi matin #174, 14/01/2019)
We thus learn through the press that the President calls for the holding of a Grand National Debate to “better understand” the movement and the “claims” of the yellow vests.
Which basically comes to same thing that the television, radio and newspaper platforms have been trying to do for the past two months, that is, to try to answer the question that (journalists and news presenters, members of the government) taunts the most: “But what basically is a yellow vest? Which says a lot more about them than about the wearer of the vest in question.
This “debate” can also be considered as the continuation of a ethnological great phenomenon with nineteenth-century overtones, and perhaps we should say rather of zoology, exercised by the ruling classes and the rulers on the most dominated and deprived among us.
I therefore propose to re-qualify this great debate as a large zoological survey of twenty-first century France, subtitled In Search of the Poor, whose subsidiary question would not be “what is a yellow vest? But more precisely, “what is a poor man? And rewrite the great call of the government, or at least thatof E. Macron, in “My brave man, bring me a beggar, so that I may observe her/him.”
Some people realised that they had lost, that they had consumed the greater part of their lives in cocktails and social events, snacks and dinners in the city, and decided in all haste, with the greatest urgency, in the face of the impending the death that strikes at the fragile gate, to write, In search of lost time.
Others, realizing that they had also missed out on something, but without really knowing what or who, nor to be well aware of the implications and the retrospective movement that this awakening implied for (if indeed there was this awareness, and this, precisely, I do not believe) on their modest person, decided rather to go in search of the lost people, the lost poor, the beggar of our time. Is not Marcel Proust who wants it!
Also, it is without hurry and without taking up the pen that the President and his friends launch this great communication operation, but rather surrounded by an army of mobile gendarmes (the gentle return of lictors?), of CRS, of members of the BAC [anti-organised crime brigade]. Or maybe not, since we now know that insignia and armbands circulate like hot cakes, are exchange like Pokemon cards at the height of the recess, that is to say that the clothes do not make the monk, no more than the baton makes the policeman.
It should be noted finally that fifty years after May 1968, a government again chooses the line of the General, to subdue the disorder with the truncheon while saying “I understood you”. With a few more strips, the government would sing “Marshal, here we are! “? Maybe he thinks this; let’s beware, let’s not forget.
With the terms reclassified, let’s take a look now at the ridiculous fumbling that seems to be going on, with the government and the media displayed in a spectacle of surprise. To go from Charybdis to Scylla, he says? I do not believe it. This surprise replayed every day (and perhaps sincerely lived, disaster) says nothing about the subject – the revolt – about which they (members of the government and the media) claim to speak, but says all or almost all about these individuals caught in astonishment, in their bubble, their ignorance of the world, their gross ignorance and contempt for all that is not them.
An astonishment, therefore, which is not supposed to happen after fifty years (what do I say? More!) of neo-liberal policies and the great betrayal of the people by the left.
Thus, more than astonishment, it is a matter of blindness and which today reaches a limit, that of the principle of reality that the paragons of liberal pragmatism, the songs of rationalism, should nevertheless know well, they who consider themselves as serious as ants in their counting, with their feet firmly on the ground.
Yes, the famous last straw! In this case, the last straw of arrogance and contempt. An unbridled unconscious (communications experts would say uninhibited speech) spit in the face of individuals already on the ground. Individuals exploited, infantilised, crushed, and now despised and humiliated. Individuals whose “affects of fear” were instantly converted into “affects of hate”: the birth of indignation (to use the words of Frédéric Lordon in his essay Capitalism, Desire and Servitude). The point of no return has been reached. Unbearable is therefore the surprise of the dominant, who are far too often late; a sign of a blindness. But what does it mean, to be governed and informed by the blind? Let’s go further, let’s explore what this blindness says about them.
Several media, from those of the World to BFMTV, say of the yellow jackets that this is a new and protean movement, an expression of a social “grumbling” – here comes zoology – from heterogeneous groups and without leaders, and therefore “difficult to apprehend “. Strangling horror upon hearing such a thing, hiccups of shame.
“Change your job! and open your eyes!”, a sensible individual would answer.
If it is not precisely the journalist’s job to go out and make contact with the real, the world and the people who inhabit it and who every day move in every direction, producing what makes the material of what could be called “the news”, then I do not know what a journalist is.
Or, of course, and this is only a very personal assumption, I have a vaguely correct idea of what this job is, and I find myself compelled to conclude that the only thing these individuals have of a reporter is the microphone.
Definitely! After monks who have only the habit, police but the baton, journalists the microphone, so here we are, surrounded by misleading appearances. Is this the sign that our society functions thanks only to these individuals who have a function only by their attributes? In other words, that we live surrounded by impostors?
A journalist who wears a microphone to hastily fill a paper and produce sensational images and so be spotted to join a newsroom? Yes. The same goes for this policeman who strikes, there to show and exercise his power, there to exert his will power, his desire to dominate, hit and humiliate the other with impunity, but here especially to distinguish her/himself. From whom? from the other whom s/he strikes, from the other whom the journalist thinks s/he only “grunts”, from the other which the President thinks must be the object of an apparatus of communication and repression to return to the ranks.
Journalists lies, police violence, State corruption: signs of drifting, sign of imposture, and symptoms of a gigantic desire for distinction, and then?
It would be the last time for our re-qualification of the terms in the grand lotto of words: would we face the bottom, and again, a matter of distinction? An affair driven by a first and primary fear of being, for these impostors, let’s say it, let us push further the hypothesis, for these backward hicks?
And what is a hick if not the other that one judges less well than oneself, the inhabitant of the smallest borough than his own, which one judges a boor, “the invisible”, the one who would have no function and therefore no power, in short, the dominated?
Let’s check: the president and the politicians wear the costume, but none of them fulfills his function, namely to represent the electorate, to defend the general interest. On the contrary, they all represent themselves, defend their personal interest, are there by ambition, career, love of power, hubris, and not for the only reason they should be there, to temporarily play a political function. To be there for the Other, and not for oneself.
A maxim then, to address during this zoological survey, to the governors and the media: they forget on the one hand that we are all the backward rednecks of someone, and on the other hand, that they are not necessary to anyone, if not to themselves.
After this informative journey to the land of words, we know:
1°) That we are the subject of a zoological survey;
2 °) That we face a large group of blind impostors who are afraid of being hicks, and for whose benefit this investigation is conducted;
3 °) That we can draw the following consequences: to hold out, to define, to document, to demonstrate, always.
Language Intervention Brigade
Yellow Letter #17: The Totalitarians
Since the beginning of the yellow vests movement, mysterious Yellow Letters are distributed at roundabouts and on social networks. As always, with much justice and poetry, this 17th missive dismisses the standardization produced by globalisation and the fictitious identity promoted by those above.
(lundi matin #174, 14/01/2019)
In recent days, the verbal escalation has come to an end. The contradiction between the reality from above and the reality from below has been clearly stated: there is Evil and there is Good! We are evil, they are good! Those above preach the “free world” by creating imaginary enemies to have their logic triumph. “We want freedom of expression”; “We want to defend the right to protest”; “We want to respect all opinions”! But they use these ideological parades to adorn themselves with virtues and hide the real nature of their actions! They are talented illusionists, but their magic tricks convince no anymore. We, Yellow Vests, see their iron fist under the velvet glove.
In contrast to their enamored songs about Liberty, those from above are now ready to use all the necessary means to eliminate those from below: the prohibition of free demonstrations, preventive detention, theft communal war chests, serial convictions, surveillance files … These means were until recently covered over by beneficent speeches: Freedom against oppression! Freedom against servitude! Freedom from violence! Freedom against tyranny! But the freedom from above is called in reality forced standardization. By producing a unique universe, a unique way of thinking, a unique way of acting, a unique way of producing, a unique way of life, they have slowly but surely created an unprecedented totalitarian logic, in the name of cherished Liberty. They are, on the contrary, the fierce enemies of Liberty. They are totalitarian because they want to make commodity and legal uniformity the unique and imprescriptible rule for all: the same clothes! The same men! The same women! The same city centers! The same entertainment! The same jobs! The same sufferings! The same miserable nightmare!
This standardisation produces remarkable identities ever further from the life below. The European Union is the last Russian doll in the system. It swallowed States and subjected them to its unifying method. But States had also torn up all the local particularities in order to merge them into a large national ensemble. Statists and Europeanists are struck by the same syndrome: the destruction of the worlds below. Each time, it is a question of realizing a unity ever further from concrete life, from local life, from practical life!
It’s not for Brussels, Frankfurt, Paris, Berlin, Madrid to define the size of a tomato, or how to live and produce! It’s not up to Brussels to decide for Paris! But it is not for Paris either to decide for Eymoutiers, for Mont-de-Marsan, for Colmar. On the contrary, starting from below, the commons rises! On the apple tree, no apple is the same. But with those from above, the apple of France must be the same as that of Romania! The apple of the Landes must be identical to the apple of Normandy! Indifferentiation from above consists in fixing an imaginary idea detached from reality. This indifferenciation from above no longer takes into account the abundance of difference. It generates a dead and standardised life.
So we, men and women from below, we yellow jackets, we embody particularities. We defend characters, nuances, chances. We defend other ways of living! We defend the diversity of life and not its impoverishment! (…) We defend the rooting of particular men and women, fruit of the immense capacity of the living to produce variety and not flat identity! The universe from above wants to produce a man above ground and monstrous! The world below wants to find again the warmth, the color, and the curiosity of otherness!