Yellow vests: When the Popular Classes defend their Nation
(read Part 1 – last paragraph …)
A woman is sending curious looks in the direction of the “Monsieur from Greece” who turned up out of nowhere in her otherwise inconspicuous little town. We start talking. “I am a painter” she tells me when I ask her what she does, but when I try to find out the political preferences of the people who live in the region of Commercy, what they tend to vote for, she refuses to give me an answer.“But” I say, “I just want to understand the region’s background; I am not interested in putting any labels on people”. “I understand” she said, “but, I want nothing dividing the people here. By starting a conversation on party affiliations now, we will do harm, we will cause divide. And I want to unite people, not to divide them”.
This is one of the secrets behind the, up to now, remarkable success of the Yellow Vests. This is also, mutatis mutandis, what SYRIZA did in Greece – while being almost oblivious of it – at a symbolic level (only!) when approaching the ANEL  party, thus uniting the force of the Social (Popular) identity and of the National one, behind the major national and social demand of the abolition of the neo-colonial Memoranda, even if this never materialized into anything real and led finally to a majestic Bubble, which was controlled from early on by foreign powers and services and later it just burst, rendering the Greek people an orphan and the Greek nation decapitated, this time more than ever before.
In fact, this is what the Yellow Vests do now; unintentionally and acting spontaneously on their collective political instincts, they are bringing to life one of the most significant social and political experiments in history by building their own social and national front – without even meaning to call it this. It is the French lower classes themselves that are doing it, who are trying, on their own initiative, to build the socio-political subject they so badly need for their salvation – and until now at least, they are doing it very well. It is the workers, the unemployed, the pensioners and the lower middle classes causing enormous confusion and unease not only to the Power, but to all of the country’s political elites, its parties and its intellectuals. All of them seem to be throwing their arms up before History, which all of a sudden has woken up and is now moving so fast that it barely has time, maybe, to throw just a glance back at them…
The painter tells me that Jeanne d’Arc (Joan of Arc) was born here. Another one jumps in adding, as if he felt it necessary to give me this information, “Here is also where she saw her visions”. There is no trace of any suggestion or proudness in their words. Just passing on information.
Jeanne d’Arc, however, is not a random person, nor is the information as unimportant as it seems at first glance. Also known as Joan of Lorraine, she saw, while still a teenager, visions instructing her to save France from English domination. And she played a significant role in changing the course of the Hundred Years’ War in favour of the French. She didn’t live to see the results of her work, as in May of 1430 she got captured by Philip, the Duke of Burgundy, and was handed over to the English. She was put on trial in the city of Rouen before a religious court, which was appointed by the University of Paris and commanded by the English, and she was sentenced to execution by burning; while they were burning her alive, an English soldier was heard shouting, “We are lost, we have burned a Saint”. Twenty years later her name was rehabilitated and her contribution to the liberation of France recognised.
Jeanne d’Arc emerged in the history of France from the depths of the country almost fully occupied at that time and dominated by England because its King and nobility could not and did not want to defend their country. Of course, today France is not threatened by an English invasion. What this day threatens the French people and their country with, along with all other peoples and nations of Europe, is the imposition of a relentless Financial Totalitarianism.
As far as its current “King” is concerned, the institutionally all-powerful and politically powerless President Emmanuel Macron (pictured with David Rothschild), Rothschilds’ young banker, not only has no intention of defending his people and his country from the “invasion” by Finance, but, on the contrary, until recently he presented himself as its primary instrument, by definition the best weapon of the Financial Elite, of the Bankers, the only man capable of ending the “French exception”, crushing any resistance and subjugating the country of the French revolution, of the Paris Commune and of May ‘68, to the power of neoliberal Totalitarianism.
Things have proven to be more complicated. Now, the European, not only the French political elite, is scared to death by what is happening in the country of Robespierre, even if they try to hide it as best as they can. And they seem to have no idea what to do, except resorting to violence.
But as Napoleon (the First, not the Third!) once said, you can do whatever you want with bayonets, except one – sit on them.
The main results of the Commercy meeting
We will need to return to what happened to the Commercy meeting and what it means. What we want now to underline are its two main achievements.
First, the movement has acquired its first national coordination structure, as rudimentary as it is still. From the organization and communication through Facebook, it is moving to a more “soviet” like type of organization (in the original sense of this word, not on the bureaucratic form they acquired).
Second, the movement has now a document somehow summarizing its main demands, the Appeal of Commercy. In that, the Yellow Vests are asking in particular for
– The resignation of President Macron
– A complete reversal of neoliberal social policies
– The right of the people to control political power, through the right of citizens to provoke referendums (on introducing or rejecting bills and on revoking elected representatives), through the convening of a Constitutional Assembly and the abolition of privileges of elected representatives.
Needless to say, such demands are already in frontal opposition to the Neoliberal regime already imposed on France and Europe.
Next Tuesday, February 5th, the Yellow Vests will try to make a second huge leap forward by the general strike they are calling for, along with one of the main French trade unions, the CGT. They are trying to get the French working class with them, and show their force not only in disturbing transportation, but also in the production of goods. The success or not of this strike will represent a crucial test for the direction and the pace events will take in France.
In our next article, we hope to be able to focus on the various obstacles and limits which are in front of the movement.
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 ANEL: Independent Greeks – National Patriotic Alliance is a conservative right-wing political party in Greece, which together with SYRIZA formed the governing coalition, which has been in power since 2015. Recently left from the government coalition over the Macedonia naming dispute.