The gilets jaunes: An ultimatum

(Photograph: Mathias Zwick and Hans Lucas)

In anticipation of Act XVIII (March 16) of the yellow vests in Paris.

(From lundimatin #182, 10/03/2019)

On the street, Algerian power responds with the same gas as French power, and the same gaseous speech. “It’s us or chaos” … “watch out, you’re infiltrated” … “how dare you speak on behalf of the people?”… there is a framework to express yourself: democratic elections!”, and without waiting it weaves intrigues. In Algeria too, there is talk of launching a “great national debate”. This is the basis of the counterinsurgency: to launch false debates on the one side, and a real repression on the other, and to justify it by the former.

But it is no longer time to respect the frames of reference. It has been forty years since the ruling class gained time through the theater of political and election puppets. Distress does not wait. The extinction of bees does not wait. The bailiff does not wait. The climate catastrophe does not wait. The blinded protesters do not wait. The chlordecone contamination does not wait. The last fish stuffed with plastic and the slaughtered dolphins do not wait. Senators, they can wait. Political commentators can wait. The yuppies of the metropolises can wait. The pension funds can wait. Monsanto and Bayer can wait, it is even the eternal secret of their fabulous profits. We are drowning, and we are told to wait for the next elections, in case a small law will finally be passed … What a joke! Waiting has been our only mistake, forever. And convincing us to wait is the art of all rulers.

What has risen will not fall again. If rubber bullets are fired arbitrarily, if the ideological weapons of mass intimidation such as the accusation of anti-Semitism against a whole movement and the whole logorrhea unleashed from the television channels against the “seditious”, if the threats of murder against protesters, if there is a new “anti-breakers/vandals” [anti-casseurs] law, if all this was powerless to put the yellow vests in a kennel, then nothing will bring back “order”. Because the apparent order was a transparent disaster. No weariness can restore the previous state of things. The mere fact that the presidential party celebrates, in such circumstances, that it be in the lead in voting intentions attests to how much electoral politics is dead. The cohort of old misers who chaperone the “young” presidential puppet hides with greater and greater difficulty his rage at having his business as usual upset. The “big debate” has been for Macron only the opportunity to shine in the only exercise he excels at: the exams of preparatory education [for France’s grandes écoles], where it is a question of pretending before the gallery a mastery that he does not have. And for the regime, it will have been one of those moments of total, paradoxical, senseless, insinuating – Soviet propaganda. It had been a long time since such a caste of debauched old men have been seen so unanimously indignant at the alleged vices of those whom they are stripping bare. To the victors, it is clearly not enough to have conquered: they still have to crush morally those they had to trample on to get there. In its timely turn to the right, the executive does not hide the fact that the big debate will give birth to a mouse, a jumble of technical measures distilled over three years, that a little bit of authoritarianism can not be bad and that new doses of neoliberalism are the solution to the ravages of neoliberalism. He does not even see that the police, the judicial and media means used, in recent months, to retain power have stolen the ground from under his feet. That all the masks have fallen. Let the discourses served up meet now only with an immense disgust. So great is the blindness of those who blind.

On Saturday, March 16, will converge on Paris Act XVIII of the yellow vests, under the slogan “Ultimatum: all France in Paris!”, the demonstration of “popular neighborhoods” against police violence and the” march of the century” for the climate, that is to say, almost all of the questions that the current power is unfit to answer. All the questions that exceed it, and which are the very urgency of the present. All the reasons we have to take our destiny out of its hands. If the impulse to invest the capital of the French State is so diffuse, it is simply that in Paris is found the biggest lock to have access to our situation, wherever we are in France, such is the degree of centralisation in this country. The media and economic power, the administrative and cultural power, the presidency, the ministries, the “national representation”, the multinationals and all the possible lobbyists: all this is based in a few square kilometers, protected but sinkable. “Macron resign!” is not the expression of an obsessive fixation on the symbolic power of the state, but the political condition for any local recovery of our conditions of existence. Macron, moreover, fully assumes the obstacle that he is: “They may kill me with a bullet, but never anything else.” The insurrectional impulse towards Paris has been imposed since November 17 as a necessary step on the long road to another organization of life, another organization of production, other ways of living that will be will be built differently region by region, canton by canton, neighborhood by neighbourhood. We still live somewhere, it is from there that the yellow vests were born and it is from there that this world in tatters can be repaired. And not from any administrative, national or European centrality. We have seen enough in this movement how easily the local becomes the general, by the complicit echo of the different localities.

Never, as in this epoch of apocalypse, has the slogan “revolution or death!” had more concrete meaning, and more scientifically confirmed. The maintenance of the present social organisation is tantamount to suicide, and none among the capitalists intends to yield less to his rapacity. Only while some saw in revolutions the “locomotives of history”, we now see that they are rather the emergency brake. We must stop everything and rethink everything. It can be scary, but we have never seen sixty million people starve. And what we found in the heat of the roundabouts is the simplicity of organising in good intelligence, each from his situation. And then, in truth, faced with governments that have set course for the worst, we have no choice. In Paris on March 16th, and everywhere else in France afterwards, what better season than spring to get back on the ground? And what more beautiful spring than the end of the misery of the economy?

From the Guardian …

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2 Responses to The gilets jaunes: An ultimatum

  1. Pingback: Yellow Vestiges: Inside the Riots of March 16 : How the Gilets Jaunes Outlasted Repression, "Dialogue," and Co-optation | NoPartySystem.Com

  2. Julius Gavroche says:

    An excellent review of the movement. Thank you for passing it along.

    In solidarity

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