The Yellow Vest movement dumbfounded not only the French ruling elites, but also the left intellectuals throughout Europe. This, to be fair, was always the case with every serious revolutionary movement in the last one hundred years. Not one successful revolution was ever “correct” according to the left intellectuals and politicians. The fact that the “Yellow Vests” are treated in a similar fashion could be considered the evidence of significance of the events we are witnessing, and of their potential to initiate serious change in the life of the French society and in the rest of the Europe.
The intellectuals treated the “Yellow Vests” with empathy, but at the same time with paternalistic skepticism or even condescending ridicule. Like: the citizens, of course, have a right to protest, but their demands and views are contradictory, while their potential to win this battle is not quite apparent. Moreover, almost all analysts announced that the program, which was put together by the grass-roots movement, cannot be accomplished.
One characteristic example of this critique is the appearance of Slavoj Žižek on Russia Today.
Žižek sees the mass protests in France as an indisputable symptom of the systemic crisis, but then he parrots the ideologues of the ruling class in their denunciation of the program of the movement. The Slovenian intellectual sees the resolution of the problems in the emergence of some sort of socialist bureaucracy (not clear if the…