• [portfolio] Gilets jaunes : deux ans debout

    Ce mois de novembre marque les deux ans du sou­lè­ve­ment des gilets jaunes. Malgré le reflux du mou­ve­ment, il n’est, aujourd’­hui encore, plus une seule mobi­li­sa­tion sans hommes et femmes vêtus d’un gilet jaune. À l’oc­ca­sion de ces deux ans, nous publions quelques images prises au fil des mois par plu­sieurs de nos pho­to­graphes. Source : Ballast

  • Pourquoi les gilets jaunes n’ont-ils pas vu la couleur des quartiers ?

    Inégalités territoriales et sociales, violences policières… Malgré des combats partagés, la convergence entre le mouvement des « gilets jaunes » et les mobilisations des banlieues populaires n’a pas eu lieu. Nos trois invités, impliqués dans ces luttes, discutent de l’isolement politique des « quartiers ». Entretien avec Assa Traoré, porte-parole du comité Vérité et justice pour Adama, Marie-Hélène Bacqué, qui participé à la création de la coordination nationale des quartiers populaires Pas sans nous, et Azzédine Taïbi, maire communiste de Stains et conseiller départemental de Seine-Saint-Denis. Source : Regards

  • Allô place Beauvau ? C’est pour un bilan | Mediapart en #AccèsLibre

    allo @Place_Beauvau - c’est pour un bilan (provisoire) en #AccèsLibre tout le week-end

    Novembre 2018 / #Confinement 2020 : une répression française

    909 #signalements
    3 décès
    333 blessures à la tête
    27 éborgnés
    5 mains arrachées


  • Blessures invisibles, les impensées de la répression | Elsa Gambin, Léo Tixador et Nicolas Mayart

    D’innombrables arrestations, des milliers de blessés, et des centaines de personnes traumatisées parmi les manifestants : la violence de la répression policière affecte les corps et les esprits. Ceux qui ne sont pas atteints dans leur chair souffrent aussi, tétanisés par la peur, et voient leur existence bouleversée par les cauchemars ou la paranoïa. Source : Le Média

  • Le livre « Plein le dos, 365 gilets jaunes » est disponible en librairie, 372 pages, 20 euros :

    Les bénéfices vont aux caisse de soutien aux blessé.e.s, mis en examen et prisonnier.e.s du mouvement GJ !

    Ma compilation sur le sujet :

    #Gilets_Jaunes #photos

  • Garde à vue

    Emilie Rolquin est étudiante en école d’animation. Le 8 décembre 2018, elle fait partie des 974 personnes placées en garde à vue à Paris à l’occasion de l’acte 4 des Gilets jaunes. Ces 24 heures de privation de liberté, les cellules sales, sa rencontre avec la police, c’est tout cela qu’elle raconte admirablement dans ce petit film d’animation.


  • I saw children being gassed on the Champs-Elysees last week – police violence in France is out of control | The Independent

    Even in a city as traditionally turbulent as Paris, recent scenes of police violence have been exceptionally shocking. Victims over the past few weeks have ranged from journalists and students to environmentalists and asylum seekers. 

    No matter what their background, or political persuasion, all have been viewed as legitimate targets for heavily armed paramilitaries trained to deal with any perceived threat to order with extreme brutality. These specialist riot control officers – and there are thousands of them – consider summer as a time when every type of undesirable takes to the streets, and they see nothing wrong with imposing their authority as harshly as possible. 

    The sheer horror of the situation was made abundantly clear on the Champs-Elysees last week where – as usual – the catalyst for much social disorder was France’s forces of law and order using chemical weapons on their own citizens.

    Videos shot on the most famous avenue in the country show young children struggling to get away from clouds of fumes created by teargas that is banned in warzones. Astonishing as it may sound, French police are allowed to use substances designed to burn eyes, mouths and lungs against ordinary civilians, but, because of international treaties, soldiers up against genuine enemies are not.

    Dans la vidéo jointe on ne voit rigoureusement rien qui justifie l’emploi – massif – de gaz lacrymogènes.

  • Les #gilets_jaunes vus de New York...

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    Driving was already expensive in France when in January 2018 the government of President Emmanuel Macron imposed a tax that raised the price of diesel fuel by 7.6 centimes per liter and of gasoline by 3.8 centimes (about 9 and 4 cents, respectively); further increases were planned for January 2019. The taxes were an attempt to cut carbon emissions and honor the president’s lofty promise to “Make Our Planet Great Again.”

    Priscillia Ludosky, then a thirty-two-year-old bank employee from the Seine-et-Marne department outside Paris, had no choice but to drive into the city for work every day, and the cost of her commute was mounting. “When you pay regularly for something, it really adds up fast, and the increase was enormous,” she told me recently. “There are lots of things I don’t like. But on that I pushed.” In late May 2018, she created a petition on Change.org entitled Pour une Baisse des Prix du Carburant à la Pompe! (For a reduction of fuel prices at the pump!)

    Over the summer Ludosky’s petition—which acknowledged the “entirely honorable” aim of reducing pollution while offering six alternative policy suggestions, including subsidizing electric cars and encouraging employers to allow remote work—got little attention. In the fall she tried again, convincing a radio host in Seine-et-Marne to interview her if the petition garnered 1,500 signatures. She posted that challenge on her Facebook page, and the signatures arrived in less than twenty-four hours. A local news site then shared the petition on its own Facebook page, and it went viral, eventually being signed by over 1.2 million people.

    Éric Drouet, a thirty-three-year-old truck driver and anti-Macron militant also from Seine-et-Marne, created a Facebook event for a nationwide blockade of roads on November 17 to protest the high fuel prices. Around the same time, a fifty-one-year-old self-employed hypnotherapist named Jacline Mouraud recorded herself addressing Macron for four minutes and thirty-eight seconds and posted the video on Facebook. “You have persecuted drivers since the day you took office,” she said. “This will continue for how long?” Mouraud’s invective was viewed over six million times, and the gilets jaunes—the yellow vests, named for the high-visibility vests that French drivers are required to keep in their cars and to wear in case of emergency—were born.

    Even in a country where protest is a cherished ritual of public life, the violence and vitriol of the gilets jaunes movement have stunned the government. Almost immediately it outgrew the issue of the carbon taxes and the financial burden on car-reliant French people outside major cities. In a series of Saturday demonstrations that began in mid-November and have continued for three months, a previously dormant anger has erupted. Demonstrators have beaten police officers, thrown acid in the faces of journalists, and threatened the lives of government officials. There has been violence on both sides, and the European Parliament has condemned French authorities for using “flash-ball guns” against protesters, maiming and even blinding more than a few in the crowds. But the gilets jaunes have a flair for cinematic destruction. In late November they damaged parts of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris; in early January they commandeered a forklift and rammed through the heavy doors of the ministry of state—the only time in the history of the Fifth Republic that a sitting minister had to be evacuated from a government building.

    The gilets jaunes are more than a protest. This is a modern-day jacquerie, an emotional wildfire stoked in the provinces and directed against Paris and, most of all, the elite. French history since 1789 can be seen as a sequence of anti-elite movements, yet the gilets jaunes have no real precedent. Unlike the Paris Commune of 1871, this is a proletarian struggle devoid of utopian aspirations. Unlike the Poujadist movement of the mid-1950s—a confederation of shopkeepers likewise opposed to the “Americanization” of a “thieving and inhuman” state and similarly attracted to anti-Semitic conspiracy theories—the gilets jaunes include shopkeepers seemingly content to destroy shop windows. There is an aspect of carnival here: a delight in the subversion of norms, a deliberate embrace of the grotesque.

    Many have said that the gilets jaunes are merely another “populist movement,” although the term is now so broad that it is nearly meaningless. Comparisons have been made to the Britain of Brexit, the United States of Donald Trump, and especially the Italy of Cinque Stelle. But the crucial difference is that the gilets jaunes are apolitical, and militantly so. They have no official platform, no leadership hierarchy, and no reliable communications. Everyone can speak for the movement, and yet no one can. When a small faction within it fielded a list of candidates for the upcoming European parliamentary elections in May, their sharpest opposition came from within: to many gilets jaunes, the ten who had put their names forward—among them a nurse, a truck driver, and an accountant—were traitors to the cause, having dared to replicate the elite that the rest of the movement disdains.

    Concessions from the government have had little effect. Under mounting pressure, Macron was forced to abandon the carbon tax planned for 2019 in a solemn televised address in mid-December. He also launched the so-called grand débat, a three-month tour of rural France designed to give him a better grasp of the concerns of ordinary people. In some of these sessions, Macron has endured more than six hours of bitter criticisms from angry provincial mayors. But these gestures have quelled neither the protests nor the anger of those who remain in the movement. Performance is the point. During the early “acts,” as the weekly demonstrations are known, members refused to meet with French prime minister Édouard Philippe, on the grounds that he would not allow the encounter to be televised, and that sentiment has persisted. Perhaps the most telling thing about the gilets jaunes is the vest they wear: a symbol of car ownership, but more fundamentally a material demand to be seen.

    Inequality in France is less extreme than in the United States and Britain, but it is increasing. Among wealthy Western countries, the postwar French state—l’État-providence—is something of a marvel. France’s health and education systems remain almost entirely free while ranking among the best in the world. In 2017 the country’s ratio of tax revenue to gross domestic product was 46.2 percent, according to statistics from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)—the highest redistribution level of any OECD country and a ratio that allows the state to fight poverty through a generous social protection system. Of that 46.2 percent, the French government allocated approximately 28 percent for social services.

    “The French social model is so integrated that it almost seems a natural, preexisting condition,” Alexis Spire, a sociologist of inequality at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, told me recently. A number of the gilets jaunes I met said that despite the taxes they pay, they do not feel they benefit from any social services, since they live far from urban centers. But anyone who has ever received housing assistance, a free prescription, or sixteen weeks of paid maternity leave has benefited from the social protection system. The effect of redistribution is often invisible.

    And yet the rich in France have gotten much richer. Between 1983 and 2015, the vast majority of incomes in France rose by less than one percent per year, while the richest one percent of the population saw their incomes rise by 100 percent after taxes. According to World Bank statistics, the richest 20 percent now earns nearly five times as much as the bottom 20 percent. This represents a stark shift from the Trente Glorieuses, France’s thirty-year economic boom after World War II. As the economist Thomas Piketty has pointed out, between 1950 and 1983, most French incomes rose steadily by approximately 4 percent per year; the nation’s top incomes rose by only one percent.

    What has become painfully visible, however, is the extent of the country’s geographical fractures. Paris has always been the undisputed center of politics, culture, and commerce, but France was once also a country that cherished and protected its vibrant provincial life. This was la France profonde, a clichéd but genuinely existing France of tranquil stone villages and local boulangeries with lines around the block on Sundays. “Douce France, cher pays de mon enfance,” goes the beloved song by the crooner Charles Trenet. “Mon village, au clocher aux maisons sages.” These days, the maisons sages are vacant, and the country boulangeries are closed.

    The story is familiar: the arrival of large multinational megastores on the outskirts of provincial French towns and cities has threatened, and in many cases asphyxiated, local businesses.1 In the once-bustling centers of towns like Avignon, Agen, Calais, and Périgueux, there is now an eerie quiet: windows are often boarded up, and fewer and fewer people are to be found. This is the world evoked with a melancholy beauty in Nicolas Mathieu’s novel Leurs enfants après eux, which won the Prix Goncourt, France’s most prestigious literary prize, in 2018.

    The expansion since the 1980s of France’s high-speed rail network has meant that the country’s major cities are all well connected to Paris. But there are many small towns where the future never arrived, where abandoned nineteenth-century train stations are now merely places for teenagers to make out, monuments of the way things used to be. In these towns, cars are the only way people can get to work. I met a fifty-five-year-old truck and taxi driver named Marco Pavan in the Franche-Comté in late November. What he told me then—about how carbon taxes can seem like sneers from the Parisian elite—has stayed with me. “Ask a Parisian—for him none of this is an issue, because he doesn’t need a car,” Pavan said. “There’s no bus or train to take us anywhere. We have to have a car.” I cited that remark in a Washington Post story I filed from Besançon; in the online comments section, many attacked the movement for what they saw as a backward anti-environmentalism—missing his point.

    Few have written as extensively as the French geographer Christophe Guilluy on la France périphérique, a term he popularized that refers both to the people and the regions left behind by an increasingly globalized economy. Since 2010, when he published Fractures françaises, Guilluy has been investigating the myths and realities of what he calls “the trompe l’oeil of a peaceful, moderate, and consensual society.” He is one of a number of left-wing French intellectuals—among them the novelist Michel Houellebecq, the historian Georges Bensoussan, and the essayist Michel Onfray—who in recent years have argued that their beloved patrie has drifted into inexorable decline, a classic critique of the French right since 1789. But Guilluy’s decline narrative is different: he is not as concerned as the others with Islamist extremism or “decadence” broadly conceived. For him, France’s decline is structural, the result of having become a place where “the social question disappears.”

    Guilluy, born in Montreuil in 1964, is something of a rarity among well-known French intellectuals: he is a product of the Paris suburbs, not of France’s storied grandes écoles. And it is clear that much of his critique is personal. As a child, Guilluy, whose family then lived in the working-class Paris neighborhood of Belleville, was forcibly relocated for a brief period to the heavily immigrant suburb of La Courneuve when their building was slated to be demolished in the midst of Paris’s urban transformation. “I saw gentrification firsthand,” he told Le Figaro in 2017. “For the natives—the natives being just as much the white worker as the young immigrant—what provoked the most problems was not the arrival of Magrebis, but that of the bobos.”

    This has long been Guilluy’s battle cry, and he has focused his intellectual energy on attacking what he sees as the hypocrisy of the bobos, or bourgeois bohemians. His public debut was a short 2001 column in Libération applying that term, coined by the columnist David Brooks, to French social life. What was happening in major urban centers across the country, he wrote then, was a “ghettoization by the top of society” that excluded people like his own family.

    Guilluy crystallized that argument in a 2014 book that won him the ear of the Élysée Palace and regular appearances on French radio. This was La France périphérique: comment on a sacrifié les classes populaires, in which he contended that since the mid-1980s, France’s working classes have been pushed out of the major cities to rural communities—a situation that was a ticking time bomb—partly as a result of rising prices. He advanced that view further in 2016 with La Crépuscule de la France d’en haut—now translated into English as Twilight of the Elites: Prosperity, the Periphery, and the Future of France—a pithy screed against France’s bobo elite and what he sees as its shameless embrace of a “neoliberal,” “Americanized society” and a hollow, feel-good creed of multicultural tolerance. In 2018, one month before the rise of the gilets jaunes, he published No Society, whose title comes from Margaret Thatcher’s 1987 comment that “there is no such thing as society.”

    In Guilluy’s view, an immigrant working class has taken the place of the “native” working class in the banlieues on the outskirts of major cities. This native class, he argues, has been scattered throughout the country and become an “unnoticed presence” that France’s elite has “made to disappear from public consciousness” in order to consolidate its grip on power. Cities are now the exclusive preserve of the elites and their servants, and what Guilluy means by “no society” is that the visible signs of class conflict in urban daily life have vanished. This is his trompe l’oeil: rich, insulated Parisians have convinced themselves that everything is fine, while those who might say otherwise are nowhere near. “The simmering discontent of rural France has never really been taken seriously,” he writes in Twilight of the Elites.

    Since November, much of the French press has declared that Guilluy essentially predicted the rise of the gilets jaunes. They seem, after all, a fulfillment of his prophecy about “the betrayal of the people” by the elites, even if he is always elusive about who exactly “the people” are. While critiques from the movement have remained a confused cloud of social media invective, Guilluy has served as its de facto interpreter.

    No Society puts into words what many in the gilets jaunes have either struggled or refused to articulate. This is the hazy middle ground between warning and threat: “The populist wave coursing through the western world is only the visible part of a soft power emanating from the working classes that will force the elites to rejoin the real movement of society or else to disappear.”

    For now, however, there is just one member of the elite whom the gilets jaunes wish would disappear, and calls for his violent overthrow continue even as the movement’s momentum subsides.

    An intense and deeply personal hatred of Macron is the only unifying cry among the gilets jaunes. Eighteen months before the uprising began, this was the man who captured the world’s imagination and who, after populist victories in Britain and the United States, had promised a French “Third Way.” Yet the Macronian romance is already over, both at home and abroad.

    To some extent, the French always turn against their presidents, but the anger Macron elicits is unique. This is less because of any particular policy than because of his demeanor and, most of all, his language. “Mr. Macron always refused to respond to us,” Muriel Gautherin, fifty-three, a podiatrist who lives in the Paris suburbs, told me at a December march on the Champs-Élysées. “It’s he who insults us, and he who should respond.” When I asked her what she found most distasteful about the French president, her answer was simple: “His words.”

    She has a point. Among Macron’s earliest actions as president was to shave five euros off the monthly stipends of France’s Aide personalisée au logement (APL), the country’s housing assistance program. Around the same time, he slashed France’s wealth tax on those with a net worth of at least €1.3 million—a holdover from the Mitterand era.

    Macron came to office with a record of unrelentingly insulting the poor. In 2014, when he was France’s economic minister, he responded to the firing of nine hundred employees (most of them women) from a Breton slaughterhouse by noting that some were “mostly illiterate.” In 2016 he was caught on camera in a heated dispute with a labor activist in the Hérault. When the activist gestured to Macron’s €1,600 suit as a symbol of his privilege, the minister said, “The best way to afford a suit is to work.” In 2018 he told a young, unemployed gardener that he could find a new job if he merely “crossed the street.”

    Yet nothing quite compares to the statement Macron made in inaugurating Station F, a startup incubator in the thirteenth arrondissement of Paris, housed in a converted rail depot. It is a cavernous consulate for Silicon Valley, a soaring glass campus open to all those with “big ideas” who can also pay €195 a month for a desk and can fill out an application in fluent English. (“We won’t consider any other language,” the organization’s website says.) Google, Amazon, and Microsoft all have offices in it, and in a city of terrible coffee, the espresso is predictably fabulous. In June 2017 Macron delivered a speech there. “A train station,” he said, referring to the structure’s origins, “it’s a place where we encounter those who are succeeding and those who are nothing.”

    This was the moment when a large percentage of the French public learned that in the eyes of their president, they had no value. “Ceux qui ne sont rien” is a phrase that has lingered and festered. To don the yellow vest is thus to declare not only that one has value but also that one exists.

    On the whole, the gilets jaunes are not the poorest members of French society, which is not surprising. As Tocqueville remarked, revolutions are fueled not by those who suffer the most, but by those whose economic status has been improving and who then experience a sudden and unexpected fall. So it seems with the gilets jaunes: most live above the poverty line but come from the precarious ranks of the lower middle class, a group that aspires to middle-class stability and seeks to secure it through palliative consumption: certain clothing brands, the latest iPhone, the newest television.

    In mid-December Le Monde profiled a young couple in the movement from Sens in north-central France, identified only as Arnaud and Jessica. Both twenty-six, they and their four children live in a housing project on the €2,700 per month that Arnaud earns as a truck driver, including more than €1,000 in government assistance. According to statistics from France’s Institut national de la statistique et des études économiques (Insée), this income places them right at the poverty line for a family of this size, and possibly even slightly below it. But the expenses Arnaud and Jessica told Le Monde they struggled to pay included karate lessons for their oldest son and pet supplies for their dog. Jessica, who does not work, told Le Monde, “Children are so mean to each other if they wear lesser brands. I don’t want their friends to make fun of them.” She said she had traveled to Paris for gilet jaune protests on three separate weekends—journeys that presumably cost her money.

    Readers of Le Monde—many of them educated, affluent, and pro-Macron—were quick to attack Arnaud and Jessica. But the sniping missed their point, which was that they felt a seemingly inescapable sense of humiliation, fearing ridicule everywhere from the Élysée Palace to their children’s school. They were explaining something profound about the gilets jaunes: the degree to which the movement is fueled by unfulfilled expectations. For many demonstrators, life is simply not as they believed it would be, or as they feel they deserve. There is an aspect of entitlement to the gilets jaunes, who are also protesting what the French call déclassement, the increasing elusiveness of the middle-class dream in a society in which economic growth has not kept pace with population increase. This entitlement appears to have alienated the gilets jaunes from immigrants and people of color, who are largely absent from their ranks and whose condition is often materially worse.2 “It’s not people who don’t have hope anymore, who don’t have a place to live, or who don’t have a job,” Rokhaya Diallo, a French activist for racial equality, told me recently, describing the movement. “It’s just that status they’re trying to preserve.”

    The gilets jaunes have no substantive ideas: resentment does not an ideology make. They remain a combustible vacuum, and extremist agitators on the far right and the far left have sought to capitalize on their anger. Both Marine Le Pen of the recently renamed Rassemblement National and Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the left-wing La France Insoumise have tried hard to channel the movement’s grassroots energy into their own political parties, but the gilets jaunes have so far resisted these entreaties. The gilets jaunes also found themselves at the center of a diplomatic spat: in early February Italy’s deputy prime minister, Luigi Di Maio, met with two of their members on the outskirts of Paris in a jab at Macron. Two days later, France withdrew its ambassador to Rome for the first time since 1940, but the gilets jaunes have not attempted to exploit this attention for their own political gain. Instead there was infighting—a Twitter war over who had the right to represent the cause abroad and who did not.

    The intellectual void at the heart of an amorphous movement can easily fill with the hatred of an “other.” That may already be happening to the gilets jaunes. Although a careful analysis by Le Monde concluded that race and immigration were not major concerns in the two hundred most frequently shared messages on gilet jaune Facebook pages between the beginning of the movement and January 22, a number of gilets jaunes have been recorded on camera making anti-Semitic gestures, insulting a Holocaust survivor on the Paris metro, and saying that journalists “work for the Jews.” Importantly, the gilets jaunes have never collectively denounced any of these anti-Semitic incidents—a silence perhaps inevitable for a movement that eschews organization of any kind. Likewise, a thorough study conducted by the Paris-based Fondation Jean Jaurès has shown the extent to which conspiracy theories are popular in the movement: 59 percent of those surveyed who had participated in a gilet jaune demonstration said they believed that France’s political elites were encouraging immigration in order to replace them, and 50 percent said they believed in a global “Zionist” conspiracy.

    Members of the movement are often quick to point out that the gilets jaunes are not motivated by identity politics, and yet anyone who has visited one of their demonstrations is confronted with an undeniable reality. Far too much attention has been paid to the symbolism of the yellow vests and far too little to the fact that the vast majority of those who wear them are lower-middle-class whites. In what is perhaps the most ethnically diverse society in Western Europe, can the gilets jaunes truly be said to represent “the people,” as the members of the movement often claim? Priscillia Ludosky, arguably the first gilet jaune, is a black woman. “It’s complicated, that question,” she told me. “I have no response.”

    The gilets jaunes are also distinctly a minority of the French population: in a country of 67 million, as many as 282,000 have demonstrated on a single day, and that figure has consistently fallen with each passing week, down to 41,500 during “Act 14” of the protest on February 16. On two different weekends in November and December, other marches in Paris—one for women’s rights, the other against climate change—drew far bigger crowds than the gilets jaunes did. But the concerns of this minority are treated as universal by politicians, the press, and even the movement’s sharpest critics. Especially after Trump and Brexit, lower-middle-class and working-class whites command public attention even when they have no clear message.

    French citizens of color have been protesting social inequality for years without receiving any such respect. In 2005 the killing of two minority youths by French police in the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois ignited a string of violent uprisings against police brutality, but the government declared an official state of emergency instead of launching a grand débat. In 2009, the overseas departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique saw a huge strike against the high cost of living—a forty-four-day uprising that also targeted fuel prices and demanded an increase to the minimum wage. In 2017 an almost identical protest occurred in French Guiana, another French overseas department, where residents demonstrated against household goods that were as much as 12 percent more expensive than they were in mainland France, despite a lower minimum wage. The French government was slow to respond in both of these instances, while the concerns of the gilets jaunes have resulted in a personal apology from the president and a slew of concessions.

    Guilluy, whose analysis of la France périphérique ultimately fails to grapple significantly with France’s decidedly peripheral overseas territories, does not shy away from the question of identity. He sees a racial element to the frustrations of la France périphérique, but he does not see this as a problem. Some of the most frustrating moments in his work come when he acknowledges but refuses to interrogate white working-class behavior that seems to be racially motivated. “Public housing in outlying communities is now a last resort for workers hoping to be able to go on living near the major cities,” he writes in Twilight of the Elites, describing the recent astronomic rise in France’s urban real estate prices. “These projects, mostly occupied by immigrant renters, are avoided by white French-born workers. Barring some utterly unforeseeable turn of events, their expulsion from the largest urban centers will be irreversible.” It would not diminish Guilluy’s broader point about la France périphérique if he acknowledged that victims of structural changes can also be intolerant.

    Guilluy also regularly recycles anxieties over immigration, often from controversial theorists such as Michèle Tribalat, who is associated with the idea of le grand remplacement, the alleged “great replacement” of France’s white population by immigrants from North and Sub-Saharan Africa. In making his case about “the demographic revolution in process,” Guilluy has been accused of inflating his statistics. France, he wrote in Fractures françaises, “welcomes a little less than 200,000 legal foreigners every year.” But these claims were attacked by Patrick Weil, a leading French historian of immigration, who noted in his book Le sens de la République (2015) that Guilluy failed to consider that a large number of those 200,000 are temporary workers, students who come and go, and others of “irregular” status. Guilluy has not responded to these criticisms, and in any case his rhetoric has since grown more radical. In No Society he writes, “Multiculturalism is, intrinsically, a feeble ideology that divides and weakens.”

    Whether the gilets jaunes will eventually come to agree with him is a crucial question. Like Guilluy, they are responding to real social conditions. But if, following Guilluy’s lead, they ultimately resort to the language of race and ethnicity to explain their suffering, they will have chosen to become a different movement altogether, one in which addressing inequality was never quite the point. In some ways, they have already crossed that line.

    On the afternoon of Saturday, February 16, the prominent French intellectual Alain Finkielkraut got out of a taxi on the Boulevard Montparnasse. A crowd of gilets jaunes noticed him and began hurling anti-Semitic insults. The scene, recorded on video, was chilling: in the center of Paris, under a cloudless sky, a mob of visibly angry men surrounded a man they knew to be Jewish, called him a “dirty Zionist,” and told him, “go back to Tel Aviv.”

    Finkielkraut’s parents were Polish refugees from the Holocaust. He was born in Paris in 1949 and has become a fixture in French cultural life, a prolific author, a host of a popular weekly broadcast on France Culture, and a member of the Académie Française, the country’s most elite literary institution. In the words of Macron, who immediately responded to the attack, he “is not only an eminent man of letters but the symbol of what the Republic affords us all.” The irony is that Finkielkraut—another former leftist who believes that France has plunged into inexorable decline and ignored the dangers of multiculturalism—was one of the only Parisian intellectuals who had supported the gilets jaunes from the beginning.

    I spoke to Finkielkraut after the attack, and he explained that the gilets jaunes had seemed to him the evidence of something authentic. “I saw an invisible France, neglected and forgotten,” he said. “Wearing fluorescent yellow vests in order to be visible—of being a ‘somewhere’ as opposed to an ‘anywhere,’ as Goodhart has said—seemed to me an absolutely legitimate critique.” The British journalist David Goodhart, popular these days in French right-wing circles, is the author of The Road to Somewhere (2017), which sees populist anger as the inevitable response to the widening gulf between those “rooted” in a particular place and cosmopolitans at home anywhere. “France is not a ‘start-up nation,’” Finkielkraut told me. “It can’t be reduced to that.”

    Finkielkraut said that the attack was a sign that the reasonable critiques orginally made by the gilets jaunes had vanished, and that they had no real future. “I think the movement is in the process of degradation. It’s no longer a social movement but a sect that has closed in on itself, whose discourse is no longer rational.”

    Although the Paris prosecutor has opened an investigation into his attackers, Finkielkraut has not pressed charges. He told me that the episode, as violent as it was, did not necessarily suggest that all those who had worn yellow vests in recent months were anti-Semites or extremists. “Those who insulted me were not the nurses, the shopkeepers, or the small business owners,” he said, noting that he doubted he would have experienced the same prejudice at the roundabouts, the traffic circles across the country where gilets jaunes protesters gathered every Saturday. In a sense, these were the essence of the movement, which was an inchoate mobilization against many things, but perhaps none so much as loneliness. The roundabouts quickly became impromptu piazzas and a means, however small, of reclaiming a spirit of community that disappeared long ago in so many French towns and villages.

    In Paris, where the remaining gilets jaunes have now focused most of their energy, the weekly protests have become little more than a despicable theater filled with scenes like the attack on Finkielkraut. There is no convincing evidence that those still wearing yellow vests are troubled by the presence of bigotry in their ranks. What is more, many gilets jaunes now seem to believe that pointing out such prejudice is somehow to become part of a government-backed conspiracy to turn public opinion against them.

    Consider, for instance, a February 19 communiqué released in response to the attack on Finkielkraut from La France en Colère, one of the movement’s main online bulletins. “For many days, the government and its friends in the national media seem to have found a new technique for destabilizing public opinion and discrediting the Gilets Jaunes movement,” it begins. “We denounce the accusations and the manipulations put in place by this government adept at fake news.” But this is all the communiqué denounces; it does not address the anti-Semitic violence to which Finkielkraut was subjected, nor does it apologize to a national figure who had defended the movement when few others of his prominence dared to do the same.

    A month after our last conversation, I called Priscillia Ludosky back, to see if she had any reaction to the recent turn of events in the movement her petition had launched. She was only interested in discussing what she called the French government’s “systematic abuse to manipulate public opinion.” She also believes that a government-media conspiracy will stop at nothing to smear the cause. “If there was one person who ever said something homophobic, it was on the front page of every newspaper,” she told me.

    In the days after the attack, Finkielkraut lamented not so much the grim details of what had happened but the squandered potential of a moment that has increasingly descended into paranoid feverishness. As he told me: “This was a beautiful opportunity to reflect on who we are that’s been completely ruined.”


  • 350 universitaires se déclarent « complices » des gilets jaunes
    Lundi Matin, le 22 mars 2019

    Universitaires, nous nous déclarons « complices » des gilets jaunes face aux dérives autoritaires du pouvoir

    Le 18 mars 2019, au moment où 65 personnalités intellectuelles participaient à un simulacre de débat avec le président de la République, et après avoir limogé un préfet de Paris jugé encore trop avare en LBD et grenades (malgré de nombreux blessés dont un nouvel éborgné ce jour-là), le Premier ministre annonçait une série de mesures répressives sans précédent. Non content d’interdire administrativement de manifestation des individus supposés dangereux, le gouvernement entend maintenant empêcher les rassemblements dans des zones entières, créer des "unités anticasseurs" aux pouvoirs renforcés et utiliser des drones et des moyens de marquage chimique des manifestants.

    Plus encore, il veut faire de tous les relais et soutiens aux rassemblements des Gilets jaunes des « complices » potentiel·les des délits qui y seraient commis. Le même jour, le syndicat « Synergie Officiers », rassemblant plus de 40% de voix aux élections professionnelles, publiait un communiqué fascisant ciblant les « nervis d’extrême gauche », décrits comme « des essaims de cloportes » et des « graines d’assassins ». Deux jours plus tard, le 20 mars, le gouvernement annonçait vouloir faire appel à l’armée pour protéger les bâtiments officiels, ce qui ne s’était pas produit depuis plus de 50 ans. Tout cela contre des manifestantes et manifestants réclamant justice sociale et démocratie, et faisant face, depuis maintenant plus de 4 mois, à une répression policière et judiciaire d’une ampleur inégalée.

    Face à cette dérive grave d’un pouvoir incapable d’offrir une réponse politique à la contestation des gilets jaunes, alors que pleuvent depuis des semaines les condamnations internationales des violences policières contre le mouvement (Conseil de l’Europe, Nations Unies, Parlement européen), nous, universitaires pour beaucoup spécialistes des questions de mouvements sociaux, de maintien de l’ordre et de violence politique, alertons solennellement la population des graves dangers que la nouvelle politique du gouvernement, de la majorité parlementaire, de la police et de la justice, font peser sur les libertés publiques et les droits humains. Nous nous déclarons par avance toutes et tous complices des prochains rassemblements que les gilets jaunes organiseront, avec ou sans l’autorisation de la préfecture. Nous condamnons fermement l’ensemble des violences que les forces de police infligent aux manifestantes et manifestants, comme celles que les jeunes des quartiers populaires subissent depuis des décennies, et demandons instamment l’arrêt de l’utilisation des armes de guerre (LBD et grenades) dans des opérations de maintien de l’ordre. Prenant acte de cette aggravation exponentielle des tendances autoritaires du pouvoir et des institutions, nous enjoignons toutes et tous les ami.es de la liberté à ne pas céder un pouce de terrain face à la répression et à s’organiser pour y faire face.

    #Gilets_Jaunes #France

    Ma compilation sur le sujet :

  • « Un public éloigné des traits sociologiques des gilets jaunes » - Libération

    « Un public éloigné des traits sociologiques des gilets jaunes »
    Infographie Julien Guillot

    Le directeur du Cevipof livre en exclusivité les résultats d’une enquête d’observation de plus de 200 débats en France.

    Professeur des universités à Sciences-Po et directeur du Centre d’études de la vie politique (Cevipof), Martial Foucault a coordonné un réseau d’observateurs qui se sont penchés sur 240 débats sélectionnés chaque semaine par tirage au sort dans l’ensemble de la France métropolitaine. Au total, 2 500 questionnaires ont pu être exploités.

    Quels enseignements pouvez-vous tirer de votre enquête ?
    J’insisterai à ce stade sur une question majeure : qui a pris part aux 10 000 débats déclarés officiellement ? Chiffre qu’il faudra réviser à la baisse, d’environ 10 %, en raison de doublons et de faux débats. A l’arrivée, près de 70 % des participants ont accepté de répondre aux questionnaires que nous avons administrés sur place, un chiffre très élevé. Grâce à ces réponses, nous pouvons dresser à grands traits un portrait sociologique. Ce sont majoritairement des hommes (55 %), âgés (60 ans en moyenne), retraités (50 %) et actifs de plus de 50 ans (34 %), dotés d’un fort capital humain (64 % déclarent détenir un diplôme de l’enseignement supérieur) et propriétaires de leur logement (75 %).

    En quoi cette sociologie est-elle singulière ?
    Tout d’abord, elle n’est pas un miroir de la société française dans son ensemble. Ensuite, elle semble, même s’il faut rester prudent, éloignée des traits sociologiques des gilets jaunes et par extension du soutien des gilets jaunes. Par exemple, sur le terrain des caractéristiques sociales subjectives, les participants au débat nous ont indiqué s’en sortir soit « plutôt facilement » (55 %) avec leurs revenus, soit « très facilement » (11 %). Mais allons plus loin sur le terrain des attitudes mesurées par leur rapport à leur propre existence sociale. Il est frappant d’observer qu’ils sont nombreux à être satisfaits de la vie qu’ils mènent et plus encore très satisfaits de leur lieu de résidence.

    Les participants sont-ils des soutiens du Président, qui fut l’initiateur du grand débat ?
    C’est loin d’être évident. Car par rapport à cette impression de bien-être personnel, plus de 80 % d’entre eux anticipent que leur propre situation économique et sociale va se dégrader dans les prochaines années. Ce n’est donc pas la France des électeurs optimistes, heureux, qui avaient contribué à la victoire d’Emmanuel Macron qui s’est empressée de participer aux débats pendant deux mois. Mais ce n’est pas non plus une France défiante, conservatrice, fermée sur elle-même qui s’est mobilisée. Il y a clairement une France plurielle qui se sent soit menacée par le contexte de crise des gilets jaunes, soit déboussolée par les choix d’action publique de l’exécutif et qui souhaite proposer des alternatives. Je précise que cette inquiétude n’est pas psychologisante. Elle est bien réelle et verbalisée.
    La cartographie du grand débat est-elle différente de celle des « vrais débats » organisés par des gilets jaunes ?
    Lorsqu’on cartographie les débats officiels, on observe qu’ils sont organisés dans des territoires où la mobilisation des gilets jaunes a été la plus faible.

    A l’inverse, sans trop vouloir généraliser, on a observé l’organisation de « vrais débats » dans des départements où la mobilisation est la plus forte. Il s’agit de territoires plus enclavés, précarisés, dépendants fortement de l’Etat et dépourvus de métropole : le Loiret, l’Yonne, la Picardie, le Puy-de-Dôme ou la Haute-Loire. Dans ces territoires, il y a moins d’appétence pour le débat officiel, avec moins de 10 % de gilets jaunes dans ces réunions. Par souci de transparence, il serait intéressant de pouvoir indiquer la hiérarchie et la nature des doléances qui émanent de participants au grand débat national et celles, plus spontanées, issues des « vrais débats ».

    Infographie Clara Dealberto et Julien Guillot

  • Michel Wieviorka pour le NYT

    Opinion | There Really Is a French Exception - The New York Times

    Ian Langsdon/EPA, via Shutterstock

    But will the government rise to the occasion created by the Gilets jaunes movement?
    But it’s worth noting that the government hardly set up any meetings or direct exchanges with the Gilets jaunes as such. Instead of reaching out to them, Mr. Macron preferred to engage with local officials or other ordinary citizens.

    Nor has the great debate spawned any real representatives among the Gilets jaunes — a vacuum that makes concrete negotiations difficult. The movement’s very nature contributed to this, of course, since time and again the Gilets jaunes themselves pushed back against any attempt to structure or formalize their efforts. For a brief moment there seemed to be an impulse to create a political party from the movement or at least let emerge some official spokespeople. But that no longer seems remotely possible.

    Mr. Macron, even when faced with the breakdown of the political system itself, has continued to tackle problems from the top down and without resorting to intermediaries. Instead of moving away from this vertical approach, he has exploited it. His only credible political opponents now are parties at the extremes, on the far left (Jean-Luc Mélenchon and La France Insoumise) and the far right (Marine Le Pen and le Rassemblement National). According to polls, the president’s party is leading the race for the European elections.

    Was all this a strategic calculation? Quite probably. In any event, the situation today is a far cry from auguring the renewal of this democratic system. The most that has emerged so far is a handful of proposals from civil society — for example, the program for a greener economy jointly put forward by Nicolas Hulot, a former environment minister, and Laurent Berger, the head of France’s leading (and reformist) union, the Confédération française démocratique du travail (the French Democratic Confederation of Labor).

    France, unlike other countries, has been fortunate enough to experience a popular upheaval that has raised serious economic, social and institutional questions. Elsewhere — in Britain, the United States, Italy, Poland, Hungary — the discontent immediately lapsed into populism, nationalism or withdrawal. But if the French government doesn’t adequately address the legitimate, or at least reasonable, concerns of the Gilets jaunes, it runs the risk of pushing them, as well as other French people, toward the pitfalls France has avoided so far.

  • Dépolitiser les gilets jaunes | André Gunther

    Depuis le début du mouvement, les Gilets jaunes sont identifiés par leur sociologie. Du gouvernement aux médias en passant par les intellectuels, le refus de prendre en compte la dimension politique de la révolte est la caractéristique majeure de sa description. Cette représentation ne va aucunement de soi à propos du premier mouvement transversal qui a largement mobilisé à travers le pays...

    La souffrance des plus faibles est-elle un état naturel contre lequel on ne peut rien ? Est-on certain qu’elle restera contingentée aux portions inférieures des classes moyennes, sans risque de contamination au-delà ? En réalité, la croissance exponentielle des inégalités indique que le monde de brutes que nous promet l’ordre néolibéral n’aura jamais de limite, et que ceux qui se croient protégés aujourd’hui seront les proies de demain. Si l’analyse politique des événements est bien la marque de leur intelligence, rien ne nous empêche de comprendre dès à présent de quel côté est notre intérêt.

  • Rencontres aux ronds-points. La mobilisation des #gilets_jaunes dans un bourg rural de #Lorraine

    À partir de l’observation locale menée par le sociologue R. Challier, le mouvement des gilets jaunes révèle son pouvoir transformateur de la #conscience_de_classe.

    #classes_sociales #Raphaël_Challier

  • Bruno Latour : « Les Gilets jaunes sont des migrants de l’intérieur quittés par leur pays »

    Parce que dès qu’on commence à discuter d’une maison, d’agriculture, de voitures ou de déplacements, on se rend compte que chaque sujet est attaché à beaucoup d’autres produits qui viennent de plus ou moins loin, et que tout est lié par des réseaux de dépendance. Cela permet de se rendre compte que les questions dites « écologiques » ne sont pas extérieures aux préoccupations dites « sociales » mais au contraire intérieures. Encore faut-il qu’on puisse décrire ces situations qui amènent de proche en proche à la réalisation de nos imbrications, de nos dépendances, et donc, c’est là tout l’intérêt de l’exercice, aux marges de manœuvre. Il faut arriver à trouver la politique qui soit capable de suivre un dossier comme celui de la taxe sur l’essence dans ses différentes intrications avec les groupes d’intérêt qui lui sont attachés ; or ce groupe d’intérêts, ce sont des gens qui ne correspondent ni à un département, ni à un rond-point, ni à une ONG, ni à un parti. Chaque affaire, chaque sujet de préoccupation, chaque « concernement », je ne sais pas comment dire, est ad hoc. Il lui faut un groupe d’intérêt à sa taille, qui soit spécifique. Le passage à la généralité annule toutes ces différences et donc toutes les marges de manœuvre.

  • France’s class wars, by Serge Halimi & Pierre Rimbert (Le Monde diplomatique - English edition, February 2019)

    In times when social groups crystallise and there is undisguised class struggle, everyone has to choose sides. The centre ground disappears. And even the most liberal, educated and distinguished people drop any pretence of peaceful coexistence. Fear robs them of their composure.


    During the Paris Commune in 1871, there was a similar transformation of thought among intellectuals and artists, some of whom had been fair-weather progressives. The poet Leconte de Lisle was infuriated by ‘this league of all the underclass, all the useless people, all the envious, the murderers, the thieves.’ Gustave #Flaubert thought that ‘the first remedy should be to end universal suffrage, the disgrace of the human mind.’ Émile #Zola, reassured by the punishment that had resulted in 20,000 deaths and almost 40,000 arrests, thought it offered a moral for the working class: ‘The bloodbath they have just experienced was perhaps a horrible necessity to calm some of their fevers’

    #peur #gilets_jaunes « #libéral » #France

  • Le @mdiplo publie un incroyable recensement de la peur de classe contre les #GiletsJaunes. Et une analyse qui fait le lien entre violences policières et violences judiciaires.

    Lutte de classes en France (aperçu)

    Au mouvement des « gilets jaunes » le chef de l’État français a répondu en lançant un « grand débat national ». Ce genre d’exercice postule que les conflits sociaux s’expliquent par des problèmes de communication entre le pouvoir et ses opposants, plutôt que par des antagonismes fondamentaux. Une hypothèse hasardeuse…

    La peur. Pas celle de perdre un scrutin, d’échouer à « réformer » ou de voir fondre ses actifs en Bourse. Plutôt celle de l’insurrection, de la révolte, de la destitution. Depuis un demi-siècle, les élites françaises n’avaient plus éprouvé pareil sentiment. Samedi 1er décembre 2018, il a soudain glacé certaines consciences. « L’urgent, c’est que les gens rentrent chez eux », s’affole la journaliste-vedette de BFM TV Ruth Elkrief. Sur les écrans de sa chaîne défilent les images de « gilets jaunes » bien déterminés à arracher une vie meilleure.

    Quelques jours plus tard, la journaliste d’un quotidien proche du patronat, L’Opinion, révèle sur un plateau de télévision à quel point la bourrasque a soufflé fort : « Tous les grands groupes vont distribuer des primes, parce qu’ils ont vraiment eu peur à un moment d’avoir leurs têtes sur des piques. Ah oui, les grandes entreprises, quand il y avait le samedi terrible, là, avec toutes les dégradations, ils avaient appelé le patron du Medef [Mouvement des entreprises de France], Geoffroy Roux de Bézieux, en lui disant : “Tu lâches tout ! Tu lâches tout, parce que sinon…” Ils se sentaient menacés, physiquement. »

    Assis à côté de la journaliste, le directeur d’un institut de sondage évoque à son tour « des grands patrons effectivement très inquiets », une atmosphère « qui ressemble à ce que j’ai lu sur 1936 ou 1968. Il y a un moment où on se dit : “Il faut savoir lâcher des grosses sommes, plutôt que de perdre l’essentiel” ». Lors du Front populaire, le dirigeant de la Confédération générale du travail (CGT) Benoît Frachon rappelait en effet qu’au cours des négociations de Matignon, consécutives à une flambée de grèves imprévues avec occupation d’usines, les patrons avaient même « cédé sur tous les points ».

    Ce genre de décomposition de la classe possédante est rare, mais il a pour corollaire une leçon qui a traversé l’histoire : ceux qui ont eu peur ne pardonnent ni à ceux qui leur ont fait peur ni à ceux qui ont été témoins (...)

  • « Gilets jaunes » : le commerce traverse une mauvaise passe

    A l’issue d’une réunion avec les représentants des commerçants et des artisans ce mercredi soir, la secrétaire d’Etat Agnès Pannier-Runacher a signalé que 3.200 dossiers avaient été déposés par les entreprises pour faire une demande de report de cotisations sociales et fiscales. Elle a précisé que le gouvernement fera un nouveau point dans 15 jours avant d’entamer un déplacement à Toulouse ce jeudi pour faire le point avec les commerces de la ville.

  • Off Guardian : les 10 raisons pour lesquelles les Gilets jaunes sont une excellente chose

    « Regardez la tête de Jupiter ! Il ne sait pas quoi faire. Il a essayé le racisme, l’immigration, le matraquage, les gangsters, les blessures, la violence policière, la prison, le tabagisme, la répression, le mensonge et nous sommes toujours là ! ! ! ! ! Nous ne lâchons rien et continuons tous ensemble sans laisser personne de côté. Ce n’est pas facile. Nous sommes tous différents avec des idées différentes, mais nous avons un objectif commun : nous appartenons à une grande famille, nous nous querellons, mais nous nous retrouvons chaque semaine, samedi, dimanche et soir, lorsque nous le pouvons et oublions nos différences. »

    La diversité est l’un des mots clés du néolibéralisme, mais si nous réfléchissons à ces termes, nous devons également rappeler l’axiome de Nietzsche selon lequel les choses ne sont dites que lorsqu’elles disparaissent. Cependant, avec les Gilets, nous avons un exemple de vraie diversité, différente à tous égards de l’usage néo-libéral habituel dont on nous abreuve tous les jours.

    La raison fondamentale pour laquelle les Gilets jaunes diffèrent de toute révolution de couleur, voire de toute révolution majeure du XXe siècle, est précisément la manière dont cette diversité alternative fonctionne. Les Gilets construisent leur système de compréhension à l’intérieur de leur propre sphère « où chacun voit l’autre tel que l’autre le voit » (Arendt 1958). Et ils le construisent par leurs discussions.

    • [A]bstraction is the language of power, hierarchy and representation. Abstraction and its use in a political context are what unite all regimes be they communist, Nazi or neo-liberal. [Gilets] demands are simple, concrete: lower toll way charges, a ban on plastic bottles, a stop to compulsory withdrawals from personal bank accounts, an end to planned obsolescences in consumer goods just to name a few. What these demands enunciate is a world view grounded in people’s immediate lives.

    • In French:

      1. Ils ne sont pas dans l’abstraction et l’idéalisme : l’abstraction est le langage du pouvoir, de la hiérarchie et de la représentation. L’abstraction et son utilisation dans un contexte politique sont ce qui unit tous les régimes politiques, qu’ils soient communistes, nazis ou néolibéraux. Les Gilets ne sont pas de cette école. Leurs revendications sont simples et concrètes : réduction des frais de péage, interdiction des bouteilles en plastique, cessation des retraits obligatoires dans des comptes bancaires personnels, cessation de l’obsolescence programmée dans les biens de consommation, pour n’en nommer que quelques-uns. Ce que ces revendications énoncent est une vision du monde enracinée dans la vie immédiate des gens. Les Gilets Jaunes disent des choses comme :

      « Je suis dans la merde, je travaille 2 heures par jour pour un petit salaire de 240 euros/mois avec un supplément CAF ! »