Which way forward for France’s “yellow vest” protests?
10 December 2018
With the fourth Saturday of “yellow vest” protests against President Emmanuel Macron, a mass movement is clearly emerging among workers against the capitalist system. Macron’s withdrawal of the regressive fuel tax hike that initially triggered the protest resolved nothing. Among the “yellow vests,” demands for social equality, large wage increases, Macron’s ouster, eliminating the privileges of the super rich, an end to militarism, and for general strikes and a revolution are coming to the fore.
Claims that the Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 marked the end of the class struggle, the final triumph of capitalist democracy, or the End of History have been blown to pieces. As “yellow vest” protests spread from France to Belgium and the Netherlands, Bulgaria, and as far as Iraq—where workers in Basra donned yellow vests to protest NATO’s neocolonial regime—the international working class is emerging in struggle against the diktat of the banks.
Saturday’s massive crackdown was a searing lesson in the character of bourgeois democracy: as soon as there is any expression of genuine popular opposition, the guns come out. After riot police backed with military armored vehicles and water cannon kettled and assaulted peaceful protesters starting early in the day, violent clashes erupted in all of France’s largest cities. A record 1,385 people were arrested.
The “yellow vest” protests are now at a critical stage. The movement has provoked a confrontation with not just the president of the rich, but the entire regime of the rich. Most leading figures in the “yellow vest” movement continue to turn down offers of talks from the political…