Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Gilets Jaunes

The Politics of the Gilets Jaunes and the Far-Right.

with 4 comments

Les Zouaves Paris après l'attaque du cortège du NPA dans une manifestation des Gilets jaunes.

“…the fact that the far right is present in this violence puts them off quite a bit. But it doesn’t bother me.” Verso Author, Éric Hazan.

The group who attacked the Nouveau Parti capitaliste during Acte XI of the Gilets Jaunes march turns out to have been created by former members of the violent far-right organisation, GUD, and (its continuing counterpart outside of Paris) ” Bastion social”.

Zouaves Paris: la résurgence de l’extrême droite radicale violente dans la capitale

France Soir, today.

And here:

“Je songe à ces méthodes qui consistent à violer l’intelligence révolutionnaire des militants (nombreux en France) qui ont l’habitude de se faire eux-mêmes leur opinion et qui se mettent loyalement à la dure école des faits.”

1939 Lettre à Trotsky [Marceau Pivert)

I refer to those methods which consist in violating and brutalizing the revolutionary intelligence of those militants – numerous in France – who are accustomed to making up their own minds and who put themselves loyally to the school of hard facts.

Pivert Answers Trotsky 1939

To read English language left-wing commentary on the Gilets Jaunes is to enter a world in which the far-right appears in the movement only from the outside. They are not the “real Gilets Jaunes”. The US left publication Jacobin has published an article that claims that criticism comes from supporters of Macron, and snobbish attitudes towards the “working classes (who) have been neglected and ridiculed” (IMEN NEFFATI). This academic defender of Gammon is not alone. Just translated into English is the contentious ‘sociology’ of Christopher Guilluy’s book, (Twilight of the Elites: Prosperity, the Periphery, and the Future of France). Jacobin’s co-thinkers in Spiked recently interviewed Guilluy, who said,

One illustration of this cultural divide is that most modern, progressive social movements and protests are quickly endorsed by celebrities, actors, the media and the intellectuals. But none of them approve of the gilets jaunes. Their emergence has caused a kind of psychological shock to the cultural establishment. It is exactly the same shock that the British elites experienced with the Brexit vote and that they are still experiencing now, three years later.

‘The gilets jaunes are unstoppable’

Christophe Guilluy on the cultural divide driving the yellow vests.

I have not read the translation but the book was published a couple of years ago and is now in a cheap paperback (on the shelf…). It  is not a work of sociological investigation: it is an illustration of a thesis. That is, that the left has dropped the working class, the ‘popular classes’. It has succumbed to ‘globalisation’ and is now based on urban ‘people from nowhere’, the ‘elite’. The rest of society, the “periphery” is left to rot.  This view, shared by the former radical leftist,  Jean-Claude Michéa (who has also written on George Orwell’s concept of ‘common decency’), is that French society has become Americanised, “ inégalitaire et multiculturelle ” – unequal and multicultural. 

The last word should set alarm bells ringing.

The book will merit a fuller discussion but for the moment one can see the opening that the idea of a popular revolt against the globalised elite by the ‘real’ French (as the Gilets Jaunes call themselves, as, for example in the “Gaulois de Calais)” gives to the far right. Marine Le Pen, like the British extreme-right, is a strong critic of “globalism”. The infinitely flexible picture of the “people”, the left-behind, the “somewheres” is ready-made for their use. The below illustrates one effort at being humorous about the brave little Gauls standing up to the arrogant cosmopolitans.

Some of the French left, and not only those in la France insoumise who wish to channel this fight against the “elites” into their Rally’s strategy to “federate the people” behind Jean-Luc Mélenchon, see in the Gilets Jaunes a social movement in which they can intervene.

Some of those “accustomed to making up their own minds” have been a lot more sceptical..

Facebook sert l’extrême droite. Et l’extrême droite pilote les Gilets jaunes depuis Facebook.

There are large numbers of leftist activists, often from the most radical parts of the left, who, like the highly regarded comrades of  patrie ni frontières who have produced their own independent – often highly critical – assessments of the Gilets Jaunes.

And of the police violence:

This Blog, which shares a common political origin in the self-management (autogestion) current, considers that these voices need hearing.

From André Y.

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing and text

 

Advertisements

Written by Andrew Coates

January 29, 2019 at 12:50 pm

Gilets Jaunes, Foulards Rouges, Polarisation in France as Violence continues.

with 4 comments

Image result for pierre tremblay gilets jaunes encule

Gilets Jaunes: “Bum Boy – you work for the Jews.”

France’s Yellow Vest protesters hit the streets again

Police fired tear gas and water cannon to push back protesters at Place de la Bastille in Paris, one of the regular protest sites, as some demonstrators threw stones from a building site.

The local prefecture reported 223 arrests in Paris.

Interior ministry estimated at 2pm (1300 GMT) numbers for the 11th week of protests were at 22,000 across France, compared to 27,000 at the same time last Saturday.

During the violent demonstrations Jérôme Rodrigues, a leading figure of the Gilets Jaunes, was seriously injured in the eye by a “sting-ball grenade” (grenade de désencerclement) launched by the police. (« Gilets jaunes » : blessé à l’œil, Jérôme Rodrigues annonce qu’il va porter plainte )

Amongst the police repression, and the violence of some of the Gilets Jaunes, activists behind the banners of the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste were attacked by a far-right squad.

Ce samedi, lors de l’acte XI des Gilets jaunes à Paris, le cortège du NPA a été attaqué à deux reprises par une cinquantaine d’individus d’extrême droite. Organisé et ultra-violent, le groupuscule fasciste « les Zouaves » (qui a revendiqué les agressions) a ciblé délibérément notre cortège, blessant plusieurs de nos camarades.

This Saturday, during Act XI of the Gilets Jaunes in Paris, the of the NPA was attacked twice by fifty individuals from extreme right. Organised and ultra-violent, the fascist groupuscule  “the Zouaves” * (who claimed responsibility for the attacks) deliberately targeted our section of the march, wounding many of our comrades.

Cortège du NPA agressé par l’extrême droite : nous ne nous laisserons pas intimider !

On the origin of the term Zouve in the French colonial army see here.

The NPA claim that the fascists were not “real” Gilets Jaunes.

Yet they also say that the presence of the far right on the Gilets Jaunes marches is a “poison”.

This is some real Gilets Jaunes at work.

Un journaliste agressé à Paris par un gilet jaune : “Enculé, tu travailles pour les Juifs !

Le Monde.

This could be freely translated as “Bum Boy – you work for the Jews.”

The incident took place near to the  place de la Bastille.

Nor is far-right involvement marginal.

To cite one case;

Un milicien du Donbass au service d’ordre des gilets jaunes

Amongst others, Victor Lenta, who has a long history of activism on the  extreme right (former Parachutist, former member of the Bloc identitaire and Jeunesses nationalistes, who had participated in the Donbass militias to defend the Putin backed ‘People’s Republic of Donetsk’,  and his friends, were part of the Service d’ordre’, stewards, for Paris.

Image may contain: 7 people, people standing and outdoor

Divisions over the Gilets Jaunes list for the European Elections, revulsion at the racism, violence and anti-Semitism of some of the Gilets Jaunes, have grown.

Now there is another challenge.

Today will see a demonstration against the Gilets Jaunes.

Pro-Emmanuel Macron or anti-gilets jaunes (yellow vests)? A march in response to the French gilets jaunes movement was held in Paris on Sunday.

Dubbed the “Republican march for the liberties“, it brings together three groups that have since December voiced their opposition to the lasting social movement: the ‘foulards rouges‘, the ‘gilets bleus’ and the collective “Stop, maintenant ca suffit” (“Stop, that’s enough now”).

Who are the ‘foulards rouges’? The group protesting against the gilets jaunes

The poster for the 'foulards rouges' march

 

Written by Andrew Coates

January 27, 2019 at 12:43 pm

‘Gilets Jaunes’ List to Stand in France for European Elections.

with 10 comments

Gilets Jaunes List for European Elections.

Européennes : des « gilets jaunes » annoncent leur intention de présenter une liste

le Monde.

Ce projet devrait être déposé d’ici à la « mi-février » en vue du scrutin du 26 mai, a précisé l’un des responsables du « Ralliement d’initiative citoyenne ».

This project should  be (formally) registered by the middle of February, for the 26th of May election, added an official of the Ralliement d’initiative citoyenne  .

Le “Ralliement d’initiative citoyenne” : quand les “gilets jaunes” se lancent dans les élections européennes

France Inter.

A List of Gilets Jaunes is to stand in France for this year’s European Elections (26th of May).

Called “ralliement d’initiative citoyenne” (Rally for Citizens’ Initiatives), its name evokes the Gilets Jaunes’ demand for citizens’ referendums, (Référendum d’initiative citoyenne).

The head of the list is Ingrid Levasseur  employed by BFMTV.

At present they are calling for more candidates.

According to reports this list is “close” to Bernard Tapie, at present the owner of the daily,  La Provence.

For reasons to be wary of Tapie – very lengthy reasons – see his Wikipedia entry (in English).

About the only good thing I can say about him is that he is not actually far-right.

Et si les gilets jaunes bousculaient la partie? 

Yesterday an opinion poll published by BFMTV suggested that in the event of a Gilets Jaunes list standing in the European elections this year they would arrive in 3rd place. with 13%. The principal losers in this scenario would be the far-right, Rassemblement national, who would lose points, remaining in second place with a reduction to 17,5% La France insoumise would drop a point and a half, and go down to 8,0% beaten into fifth place by the Greens Europe Ecologie-Les Verts who would get 8,5%

It will be interesting to see how  leftist  admirers of the Gilets Jaunes react to this news.

But a note of caution, the name is not a trademark, so let’s have none of that stuff about ‘real’ and ‘fake’ gilets jaunes.

Meanwhile Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Olivier Besancenot (Nouveau parti anticapitaliste) and  Eric Drouet (one of the best known leading figures of the Gilets Jaunes) have backed an appeal for a general trike, from the 5th of February onwards. (Mélenchon et Besancenot soutiennent l’appel à la grève générale de gilets jaunes).

 

Gilets Jaunes Menace Rape and Beat up Journalists.

with 5 comments

Gilets jaunes : de nombreux journalistes agressés dans plusieurs villes

Comrade Journalist Attacked by the Gilets Jaunes. 

As the Gilets Jaunes movement is in its death throes, they have turned on the media.

The Local reports.

Reporters Without Borders on Sunday called on those who speak for France’s “yellow vest” protesters to condemn numerous attacks and threats against journalists across the country during the latest round of anti-government demonstrations.

“A turning point has been reached,” Christophe Deloire, secretary-general of the Paris-based media rights watchdog, told the BFM television channel.

“We are facing a very serious situation which is threatening to get worse,” he said, after reporters were beaten, kicked and threatened with rape during Saturday’s rallies.

“We call on the spokespersons of the ‘Yellow Vests’ to solemnly condemn increasing violence against journalists during demonstrations,” he tweeted.

Threats of rape:

This is one of their acts, a journalist put in serious danger.

 

Here is the worst, which is described as an attempted lynching.

Those in the UK who wish to imitate this movement have made a serious error.

 

Written by Andrew Coates

January 14, 2019 at 1:38 pm

People’s Assembly Demo – up to 4 Thousand Strong – ends in Confusion over who are the ‘real’ Yellow Vests.

with 17 comments

Antonia Bright

Some marchers declined to wear the high-vis jackets in case the symbolism might be misinterpreted, however.

Antonia Bright, a campaigner with the anti-racism group Movement for Justice, said she wanted to “steer away from white populism”.

“I don’t need it to march for what I am standing for,” she said.

BBC

Socialist Worker reports,

The demonstration was much smaller than previous marches against the Tories—a sign that the focus on parliament has turned the focus away from the struggle needed to bring them down.

And there were very few trade union banners on the march.

Hundreds of anti-austerity yellow vest protesters have marched on London demanding a UK general election. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said austerity was “tearing apart the very social fabric” of the country. He said he expected Prime Minister Theresa May to lose on Tuesday when MPs vote on her Brexit deal.

Police officers tussled with pro-Brexit demonstrators to stop them getting into Trafalgar Square, where Mr McDonnell was speaking.

The I.

Police officers tussle with Pro-Brexit demonstrators near Trafalgar Square (Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

Jim Scott

 No photo description available.

 

Comment:

The demonstration was small because very few people on the British left and in the trade union movement are going to march for a General Election at a march organised by the groupuscule Counterfire, even if endorsed by labour figures and Moemntum.

Still fewer identity with the politically ambiguous gilets jaunes. *

Channel Four last night interviewed French gilets jaunes, in Calais, all of whom were hard right, either Le Pen voters or backed the sovereigntist racist Philippe de Villiers.

The events of the day amply proved the ambiguous nature of the Yellow Jackets.

The pro-Brexit organisers of the march, Counterfire, who run the People’s Assembly, are the last people to take a lead on this issue.

A General Election will not solve Brexit unless Labour takes a clear stand opposing it.

Or to put it another way, as Red Flag says,

4-5000 people on the People’s Assembly Demonstration in London which the organisers called under the slogan – ‘Britain is broken – for a general election now’. But this ducks the central question in British politics – how can Labour force let alone win an election when its policy on Brexit is indistinguishable from the Tories

* on this see this article Gilets jaunes (in English) Ni Patrie Ni Frontières,

In May 68 we shouted “CRS = SS !”
Today, the Yellow Vests shout : “The police with us!,” “CRS, be with us !”

Written by Andrew Coates

January 13, 2019 at 11:54 am

Far Right Gilets Jaunes Attack Railway Union Picket.

with 3 comments

 

“There can be no unity with fascists even against a Tory government — they are not on our side, they are anti-working class.”

RAILWAY workers have called for people to turn out in defence of their pickets on January 12 after far-right activists attacked striking train guards in Manchester.

RMT assistant general secretary Steve Hedley said today it is “urgent” that members of the public stand by strikers after a group of thugs dressed up like French “yellow jacket” protesters marched on a picket line at Victoria station, central Manchester, yesterday.

The RMT strike, in defence of safety-critical train guard jobs, was scheduled on the same day that far-right organisers tried to launch a series of “yellow jacket” protests across the country, with a similar protest being held in London.

….

An RMT member of south-east Asian heritage was also singled out for abuse by the “yellow jackets,” who called him a “sex offender” and a “paedophile,” as well as shouting at him that “your lot get away with it” — an apparent reference to the recent grooming scandals in Rochdale and Rotherham.

Morning Star

Image may contain: one or more people, people standing, crowd and outdoor

Written by Andrew Coates

January 7, 2019 at 11:44 am

Anti-Semites and Racists take the lead in Gilets Jaunes Protests.

with 2 comments

Gilets Jaunes preparing to the do the racist “quenelle” on the steps of Montmartre.

Background:

Anti-semitic and hard-right “entryism” has been obvious from the beginning. Dieudonné, a serially convicted anti-semite, appeared beside, Mathieu Seurot, one of the principle figures of the movement in the south west, as early as November 19th. A placard which appeared briefly last week on a gilet jaune held roundabout in the south was stuffed with anti-semitic and anti-masonic references including the letters “SS”.

..

One of the leaders of this group of yellow vests, Eric Drouet, a 33 years old truck driver from Melun east of Paris, was arrested in Paris yesterday. He is accused of carrying a concealed weapon, a cosh or truncheon. His supporters say that the weapon was planted by police.

The yellow vests have wide public support. This is already receding and could begin to collapse after the disgraceful incidents on Saturday. Anti-semitism exists in France on both the right and left but holocaust denial and Jew-baiting rings loud alarm bells in the majority of the population.

I think readers of this blog, who know that I lived in Montmartre , and hold the place and the people very deeply in my heart, will realise just how obscene I find this:

Les manifestants ont chanté ce samedi matin à Montmartre ce signe de ralliement antisystème mais aussi antisémite, popularisé par Dieudonné. L’humoriste antisémite peut jubiler

(Thanks to the French comrades who signalled this)

It is not alone.

 

Un camion bulgare caillassé puis poursuivi pendant 12 kilomètres par des Gilets jaunes à Rouen

 

You can guarantee that supporters of the Gilets Jaunes, in the UK do not register this.

French Yellow Vests fight on, and new forces join the movement

by Charlie Kimber.

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

December 27, 2018 at 1:30 pm