Yellow Vests!? “Here we are… Here we are…”

| Français | English | Čeština | Español |


(March 17th, 2019)

Paris is ours

Never before had the Champs-Élysées truly been “the most beautiful avenue in the world”. For a day, this artery, this symbol of luxury, became the embodiment of a regained common power.

Yes, order managed to contain most of the disorder on and around the Champs – despite some more or less successful attempts at wild breakaways. Act XVIII gained in intensity what it lost in geographical extension. But, it was enough to hear the Yellow Vests chanting “revolution!” all afternoon. It was enough to see the crowd pull down the huge metal plaque that protected the Bulgari shop, carry it forward, and charge the police – bellowing “We won! We won!”. It was enough to see the banners come within a few meters of the Arc de Triomphe, the enemy retreat and flee behind the Louis Vuitton before our onslaught. In short, it was enough to be there to understand.

Despite the obvious imbalance of power, there was mad determination, rampant trust: people were no longer afraid. What matters in a riot is not the quantity of material damage, the number of broken windows, thrown stones or burned cars. No, what matters is qualitative. It’s the collective energy deployed, and how this deployment transforms consciences. It’s not the statistical losses inflicted on the enemy that count. It’s the political and ideological forces liberated among the people.

The media and government, who obsess over the “1500 ultra-violent” who allegedly organized the violence, hide the truth. On March 16th, everyone on and around the Champs participated in one way or another in the riot.

Unlike the first few Acts, no one thought to intervene in the looting, destruction, or clashes with police. Flying glass and hammer blows met with enthusiastic cheers. For the thousands of people present, all this seemed perfectly logical – normal. As summarized in the suddenly lucid Le Monde: “During the first weeks of the movement, there were always demonstrators to protest against the looters. This time, nothing.”

This is what horrifies the government: it’s impossible to divide those swept up in the event. What horror, to see peaceful moms and dads smiling for photos on the velvet sofas of Fouquet’s aflame behind them. Castaner encouraged them time and again to dissociate from the “vandals”. But all that talk is vain, inaudible. The arrogance of the government and the brutality of its police have reached such heights that there is no room for dissociation.

This is further proof that popular uprisings shake up those who take part in them. They develop their convictions and certainties through contact with practice. Today, principled pacifism has almost disappeared from the Yellow Vests’ marches. Naïvety about state repression, too, has waned. Remember those who, not long ago, pretended to be able to put Yellow Vests in this or that box? To assign one or another intrinsic ideological identity?

But who’s to blame for this progressive “radicalization” of the Yellow Vests? Who managed to convince them that only antagonism pays, if not the government itself? The insurrection gained in three weeks what traditional social movements hadn’t for decades. By giving in to the Yellow Vests’ demands in early December, Macron confirmed that the State only hears popular needs when it’s forced to do so, when it can no longer do otherwise. The Yellow Vests have understood this perfectly:

“We realized that it’s only when we shatter that we’re heard.” – Johnny, 37, day-care director

“It’s great to smash, because the bourgeoisie is so safe in their bubble. They need to fear for their physical safety for them to let go.” – Anne, a Toulouse postwoman (33)

That the movement again reached such a level of conflict after 18 weeks is already a remarkable fact. But the ultimatum of March 16 was not meant to be a last swan song, however flamboyant. Nothing could be more dangerous than satisfaction with Saturday. It only makes sense as a springboard. It’s a matter of using this date to launch a new phase, to build a spring of struggle.

The strong parallel mobilizations for the climate and against police violence raised the burning question of coagulation. Because the riot, even if repeated, is insufficient. It must be linked to a revival of economic blockades and to the continuing work of political and strategic clarification. Éric Drouet recognized this on Saturday evening: the supervised walks were useless. Only overriding imposed frameworks and widespread sabotage of the economy can lead the movement to victory.

We have no choice: the first fruits of repressive response suggest what crushing the current movement will mean for everyone.

Original in French:

English translation:

(March 18th, 2019)

“Revolution, Revolution, Revolution!”
The Yellow Vests Invite Themselves to the Champs-Élysées
(Rouen dans la rue)

If they want a perpetrator, I’m right here. Let them come and take me.

Macron spoke on July 24, 2018 before an audience of parliamentarians in the middle of the Benalla affair, which has since become a national scandal. Full of contempt and complacency as ever, the president talked a little bit about it, in schoolyard terms. On December 2nd, 2018, Olympic Marseilles fans responded to Macron’s provocation by launching what would become the hymn of the movement.

Emmanuel Macron, you fucking moron – We’re coming to get you where you live!

This time it wasn’t a boast. Since November 17th, the Yellow Vests have tried and tried again to pick up Macron from his place. From the Élysée. On December 8th, a helicopter was ready to exfiltrate Macron from the Élysée Palace, which had been transformed into a bunker for the occasion. The only reason the Yellow Vests failed was because of Macron’s vast security system. The police are the last line of defence for this regime. Rumor has it that all the police forces deployed to protect the Palace last Saturday failed to secure the Champs-Élysées. Bad sport Macron brags at recess and then runs to hide behind the teachers’ legs.

We could easily laugh at these Yellow Vests who always sing that they are going to look for Macron but never find him. But it is not so much Macron’s body that the Yellow Vests want to attack as the world he represents. He’s a flawless incarnation of that world, though. The world of elites and contempt for “nothing people”. The world of oligarchs who we didn’t hesitate to call the bourgeoisie not so long ago. The world of capital and financiers who forever lecture the struggling while wallowing in shameless luxury. The world of those who celebrate their presidential victory at Fouquet’s or who go skiing while Paris burns. The world of those who would do anything to make this system last.

It’s this world that the Yellow Vests sought and found last Saturday on the Champs-Élysées. They systematically destroyed and looted luxury boutiques. They freely distributed chocolate, jewellery, clothing and other finery normally inaccessible. They plundered what some call the most beautiful avenue in the world. The launched waves of successive attacks on the protectors of this world. And finally, they sacrificed Fouquet’s, which alone symbolized presidential contempt and the realm of the powerful. “We serve brunch for 95€. Come on in. And away from the beggars.”

The Champs-Élysées is not our avenue. The bourgeoisie are clearly terrified that we rejoice atop the ruins of the old world. Despite the fear, the stakes, the determination – it really was a Yellow Vest celebration that day. The government can spin us as criminals or worse. Did they miss our casual grace? The ease which we reposed on the improvised terrace amidst the smoldering Champs? That elegance proves we don’t live like criminals. We’re well within our rights.

If Macron had not taken the helicopter on December 8th, he was forced to take it on March 16th. We plucked him from the slopes, right off his skis. We went and urgently brought him back, where he couldn’t pretend that nothing was happening.

“Veni, vedi, vici” said an unsympathetic emperor.

Last Saturday we came, we saw, we conquered. What exactly? Who can say? But for the first time since the beginning of this movement, all the people cried as one: “revolution, revolution, revolution!”

Original in French:

English translation:

(April 2nd, 2019)

Gilets Jaunes Victory Communique Nº 1
(The yellow vests of the roundabout of Campanile)

Victory: the anger that everyone thought was theirs to feel alone, was found to be felt by the greatest number!
Victory: the yellow vests shattered in the population the feeling of despondency and inevitability that gave to the powerful the certainty of having definitely won!
Victory: the roundabouts, areas without lives and very expensive for local authorities, became human places for encounters and sharing!
Victory: what was meant to manage traffic, to speed up fluidity and productivity has turned into spaces where time is spent without counting, chatting directly about life and the world!
Victory: State terrorism led by mutilations, LBD 40 [a flash-ball weapons model], military threats and unparalleled brutality failed to stop the protests, demonstrations and rallies, week after week!
Victory: despite the winter, the cold and the rain, the yellow vests continued to hold the roundabouts everywhere!
Victory: the State must deploy armored vehicles and pull down the mask of lies about democracy!
Victory: the police and surveillance services are caught off guard and are constantly confronted with situations whose logic escapes them!
Victory: the yellow vests movement has put an end to the false consensus in society, and finally enabled everyone to see those who want a common well-being and those who think only of their own interests!
Victory: despite all the blows, lies, slanders, insults, contempt that the media and politicians have constantly poured out, the yellow vests have not mixed in polemics and false debates!
Victory: starting from an opposition to taxes, the yellow vests entered onto the field of a radical questioning of society!
Victory: the labels, automatisms and political fetishes have been scrapped in favor of concrete practices!
Victory: after four months of existence, the movement does not intend to find a leader, much to the chagrin of the authorities who have no one to spectacularly put their teeth into!
Victory: in the face of State terror, the creative and collective capacities of the yellow vests are constantly inventing new strategies!
Victory: the political parties, among the yellow vests, are seen with hostility!
Victory: after decades of humiliation, isolation and being crushed, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people are raising their heads!
Victory: the yellow vest movement inspires millions of people all over the planet!
Victory: on the evening of December 1st, the Medef [Mouvement des Entreprises de France] asked its members to “give up some ballast vis-à-vis employees” “at the risk of losing everything”…!
Victory: faced with the quantity and quality of discussions, research, inventions and exchanges, the “Great National Debate” appeared for what it is: a grotesque comedy whose only benefits are for the leaders!
Victory: it is more and more common to hear yellow vests refuse to bow to the false division between vandals [casseurs] and pacifists (!)!
Victory: the yellow vests are and remain the nightmare of decision makers, authorities and predators of all kinds!
Victory: the movement builds itself and gradually, with great confidence in its popularity and with the greatest mistrust of obsolete methods of organization!
Victory: the yellow vests put the issue of society as a whole at the center of discussions and reflections, not just work-related or sector-specific concerns!
Victory: most politicians debate ridiculously with each other about who is “the most yellow vest” or who “identified them before everyone else”, while the yellow vests look at them with indifference, contempt or mockery, according to the day!
Victory: the government has been ridiculed by the UN for “excessive use of force and severe restriction of rights to demonstrate”!
Victory: social networks finally seem inadequate to this thirst for meetings, exchanges and direct coordination between people!
Victory: equality, benevolence and tolerance are the intangible principles to which, in fact, the yellow vests hold!


The yellow vests of the roundabout of Campanile, named the Olivier’s roundabout, in tribute to our friend killed on December 20, 2018

Villeneuve-sur-Lot, March 28, 2019

Original in French:é-de-victoire-no1

English translation:

(April 22nd, 2019)

Yellow vests (or not)
For a combative May Day
Anti-capitalist direct action

The powerful social movement which shakes France, known as the “yellow vests”, is now entering its sixth month of continuous struggle, with, of course, its heterogeneity and confusion, but also with its refusal to comply with the law and the bourgeois order, to be framed by political parties and trade unions, with its refusal of any representation or delegation of its power of action, with all its strength and determination, thus somewhat challenging the general characteristics of proletarian struggles as they have developed in recent decades.

# And this, in spite of the police repression: the hundreds of serious injuries, the demonstrators who lost an eye or a hand, the traumas caused by brutal beatings, the thousands of grenades of all types fired at marches, the utilization of weapons of war and armoured assault vehicles against demonstrators, the thousands of arrests, the raids in train stations and tens of thousands of preventive controls on demonstration days, the closure of assembly areas, the deployment of soldiers from (the so-called “anti-terrorist”) Operation “Sentinel” into the apparatus for the maintenance of bourgeois order, the displacement of roundabout occupations and other places of struggle, of discussion and organization of the movement.

# And this, despite the judicial repression: hundreds of immediate prison sentences, thousands of suspended prison sentences issued as a form of warning, bans on demonstrations, the “Anti-Riot Act”, and the house arrests.

# And this, despite the journalistic repression: all the lies published in the rags of the ruling class, only good for lighting a fire, all the class contempt that the journalists-cop stooges and other ideologues of the state express towards us, we “the rogues”, “the vile populace”, “the plebs”, “the scum”, “the rabble”, we proletarians.

# And this, despite repression by trade unions: these State agencies (which are no longer, or never even had been of the workers) whose essential mission is precisely to prevent and, if necessary, to control, suppress, to legalize and sidetrack onto a harmless path the explosion of our devastating rage as infuriated proletarians, who, whether we are wearing yellow vests or not, are fighting against the exploitation and misery.

# And this, despite the haughty contempt displayed by most of the ultra-left sects (self-proclaimed “left communist”), for whom, atop their ideological pedestal and filled with their complacency and arrogance, the “yellow vests” movement does not embody the “purity” of the proletariat of which they dream of being the “beloved leaders” leading their docile flock over the right path of the “bright future” of “real socialism”.

# And this, despite all the other traps, false solutions, and phoney alternatives, which are put in our way: “participative and direct democracy” (RIC and other bullshit), for example, will only allow the oppressed to participate better and more openly in their own oppression. It is in fact the whole system of (bourgeois) politics and the capitalist social relations that go with it, that must be turned upside down, eradicated, annihilated, erased and destroyed, that must be removed and not reformed.

Basically, “we are not French; we are not the people; we are not citizens; we are the proletariat”. We are the coming revolution; we are the final solution to all the social contradictions that divide humanity into two classes with diametrically and viscerally antagonistic interests: the holders of private ownership over the means of production against those dispossessed of the means of existence, which they want to re-appropriate.

Nobody will be surprised therefore, in sight of the development of these struggles, that this year, May Day will probably be more virulent, more radical, and therefore more violent than ever before, thus expressing what this symbolic day historically represents at the international level: a day of struggle and combat of the world proletariat that has its origin in the massacre of our comrades, workers and anarchist communists during the events in Haymarket Square in Chicago (USA) in 1886.

Already some “black blocs” are calling to mobilize in Paris, “for a yellow and black May Day”, in conjunction with the most radical sectors of the “yellow vests”: “This May Day will be a day of struggle. A day in hell for the people who will defend the system. But for us (…) this day will be festive, a day to express our fury and our rebellion. A day in which destiny will shift.” (“Black Bloc France”, April 9th, 2019)

We do not believe that the material conditions and struggles as they are today have reached such a maturity that “destiny will shift”. Nevertheless, if on this May Day some streets and bourgeois districts of Paris and other cities of France and Navarre are engulfed in flames of the righteous and healthy anger of our class… if luxury shops are looted (like during the sacking of the Champs Elysées on March 16th) and the commodity, if not abolished, is at least redistributed among “the wretched of the Earth” (reappropriation of social wealth produced by us proletarians)… if the armed mercenaries in the pay of the capitalist class finally get what’s coming to them and are forced to retreat or desert (as did the cops who defected with their weapons to the insurgent proletariat’s side in Bolivia in 2003)… then there’s nothing more normal and logical, nothing more than sane and healthy. It would even be distressing if none of this happens. But it would also be equally distressing (for other reasons, of course) and damaging for the rest of our movement of opposition to the present state of things if simply all this were to happen and if it were left at that, if we were to limit ourselves to a class violence that might turn into a spectacle of violence, if we were not to go any further, if we were not to deepen the gap, the chasm that separates us from them, us being humanity in struggle and them being the capitalists and their world, made up of misery, exploitation, war and suffering.

What the “yellow vests” movement of struggle (and more generally the proletariat) needs most is not the endless repetition, “Act” after “Act”, Saturday of protest after Saturday of protest, of the same confrontations with repressive forces trained to play “cops and robbers” (although we do not mean to indicate any opposition to the violence of our class against the forces of Death), but what we need is really to develop our perspectives, our ruptures and radicality towards this world, to break the cohesion of the cops and gendarmes who repress us, to hunt down the masters who govern us even in their unassailable fortresses, to set fire to their palaces and castles, to knock down the citadels of profit, to pillage their banks, to block the whole economy, to dissolve their rate of surplus value and at the same moment our exploitation, to organize the genuine strike of our class: the insurrectionary general strike, etc.

As long as these essential points are not addressed, as long as a practical response is not put forward and assumed as such, i.e. as a total negation of the present state of things, then the emergence of a new world that we (we proletarians) all have to win, and the affirmation of the course of things to come will only be pure speculation.

So, until the bad times are over…

Yellow vests (or not), black blocs (or not)

For a combative May Day, Anti-capitalist direct action

Source in French:

(May 20th, 2019)

Gilets jaunes’ National Call-out // Sunday 26th May: To the streets during the elections!
(Gilets jaunes from Toulouse)

Following the call-out by the Assembly of Assemblies of Saint-Nazaire for action and mobilisation during the European elections, we call for regional coordination in order to take to the streets during the electoral masquerade on Sunday 26th May in all the major cities: there where most of the polling stations are concentrated.

For all those who cannot go to the international demonstration in Brussels, we urge them to head for their nearest major city to march and to take to the streets.

All elections are dead ends and the movement has known this from the beginning: we avoided all the pitfalls that have been set for us (co-optation by the government, appointment of representatives, manipulation by parties or unions, division between good and bad “Gilets jaunes”, etc.). We will never fall again into the election trap that […] only serves to reinforce the power of those who have a party apparatus, an enormous social and financial capital, relays in the media, etc. and certainly doesn’t serve the interests of “those who are nothing”.

Because the State serves the economy, not the other way round! It is the armed wing that protects the interests of those who make their fortune by trading our means of subsistence (food, shelter, clothing, transportation, health care, education). It is in the pay of multinational companies that do not care about life and what people think about it. Their only goal is to enrich themselves by exploiting us through wage labour, by making us sick through hard work that makes no sense and by polluting and destroying the planet. No political decision can therefore overthrow the economy, because the economy is the political project of any modern State: a project aiming at behavioural discipline to make every moment, every fact and every action productive, profitable and controllable. And no elected official, no parliament, can really oppose it. Let us remember Greece and the humiliation it suffered when it dared to believe that an elected government could fight the European Central Bank and the IMF! The Greek people were bled dry and the elected government, despite all its good will, was humiliated and fell in line (austerity measures, etc.)

We therefore take note that real politics, which we have been pursuing for the past six months, begins with blockades and direct attacks on the economy.

On May 26th, we are therefore taking action: the electoral masquerade is over. We will no longer participate in it. And beyond that, we will no longer allow these moments of massive propaganda to pass quietly, moments which are aimed only at justifying the established order and providing it with a legitimacy that is nothing more than a lie.

We do not want elections or representatives. We no longer want to be governed. We no longer want to be “represented”. We do not want to take power, we do not want “more” power, we want to remove power. And instead we will embody politics directly, without intermediaries or polling stations. Popular wisdom, workers’ and militants’ organizations, roundabout occupations, have developed other political forms (assemblies, imperative and revocable mandates, rotation of tasks, workers’ councils, etc.). Through blockades, occupations, yellow demonstrations, etc., we will continue to fight against the economy that is chaining us and to occupy the “public” space in order to continue to take back control of our lives. The elections are cancelled.

Material and Political Autonomy!

Gilets jaunes from Toulouse

Original in French:

(July 31st, 2019)

Let’s be proud of what we are
(Yellow Vests from Place des Fêtes)

On July 27th, the Yellow Vests marched throughout France for their 37th Saturday of mobilization.

37. There is something unprecedented about that. Why still mobilise after 37 Saturdays? Some say that we will not “win” anything. They regret that we are exhausting ourselves in these endless demonstrations; they call for other forms of action, for us to take a firmer line, get structured, build on new foundations, and reinvent ourselves. In short, they want us to change at any cost.

However, far from being a failure, these 37 Saturdays are really an amazing feat. This is an achievement and something we can be proud of. In the heat of the summer there were only one thousand of us in Paris, marching all afternoon. The procession was surprisingly optimistic, as if we were amazed (and joyful) that we still existed.

Faces of passers-by were reflecting surprise this Saturday. They stared wide-eyed as we passed by. “What the hell, are yellow vests still around? Isn’t this old story over?”

Well, no, it’s not over. And that’s precisely what our Saturdays mean. That it won’t end.

“Faithful going to High Mass” was headlined a few weeks ago about us in a regional newspaper, with infinite contempt.
“Meeting the last Yellow Vests”, headlined Libération a few days ago, appointing for the occasion its special envoys across the roundabouts in the same way as anthropologists would be sent out to Indian reserves. Under the writer’s pen the interviewed yellow vests were no longer men, but “fellows”.

The current system wants us to disappear. Since November 17th, it has been determined to eradicate us. “So when is it to be?” it asks regularly.
“This has gone beyond a joke,” it says. Back to work, back to the real world, or in Macron’s Newspeak, back to “appeasement”.
They want to fossilize us, relegate us to the history books, and since it is impossible to totally deny our existence, since the first day they have been trying to turn us into ancient history.

“What the hell! Are the Yellow Vests still out there?”

Yes, little lady! Yes, my good sir. They still exist. They’re here in the flesh, outside your house. And they sing, all dressed in yellow.

We are not the last Gallic village, or veterans nostalgic for their acts of glory, as the voices of the system try to make us believe.

37 Saturdays. Our heads are regenerating as they are cut off. (It seems that the Hydra of Lerna has become a Yellow Vest.)

37 Saturdays. Phoenix of insurrections, we are rising from our ashes.

37 Saturdays. The guard dogs of the system can give it all they’ve got, they can wheel out their big guns. There’s nothing they can do about it. Something is smoldering and will continue to smolder.
When the fire is in the old wood, it cannot be put out.

37. We are and will remain the nightmare of the supporters of law and order (who are always the supporters of the established order).

37. We are a tough weed with invisible roots, which grows back twice as strong every time they try to pull it up.

Why then continue to demonstrate? Because our Saturdays are already emancipation, days torn away from the monotony of weeks. They have a special color and smell, made of adrenaline and excitement. They allow us to remember our struggle, to see together in processions that our determination is intact. In that sense, there’s some something ritual about them. Like a great revolutionary mass.

37. 37. 37. We are a shipment of explosives left in an old dry wooden shed during a drought-ridden summer.
We are the embers on which you are blowing with every new scandal, every budget cut, and every act of police brutality.
Winter Yellow vests… Summer Yellow vests… Autumn is coming, and we are back and remain intact, the flowers in the pallet truck.

The Yellow Vests declare themselves in a state of permanent revolt. Every Saturday we prove that our movement is not ephemeral. We will not go back home. Saturday’s demonstrations are a way of symbolically acknowledging that there is no turning back. That sooner or later, the conflagration will come. Until this society has collapsed, the Yellow Vests will continue to march. We keep alive at all times the spark of insurrection that will light the first fuse.

Because we are a harbinger. What is flanked by CRS vans, screaming “Macron resign!”, and what you can see through your windows, is not a procession. It’s a prophecy. The announcement of a major upheaval.

On Saturday, the eldest member of the procession was 74 years old. This is a man who has been pounding the pavement since December, always armed with his megaphone, in which he screams relentlessly: “Macron in jail”. The youngest was a 13-year-old schoolboy, who stumbled upon a demonstration at the end of November while riding his scooter towards the Champs. The Yellow Vests became his second family.

There were people from all parts of society, from all worlds – there were all sorts of people except energetic businessmen. We are a heterogeneous crowd, bringing together those who you might think nothing could bring together. Nowhere in French society is there such a successful mix of populations. The Yellow Vests are the bugbears of various “experts”, as they are always several steps ahead, and they cannot be confined within any category. The crowd is so diverse, so unclassifiable, that it seems strange, even suspicious.

“But who are these people?” asks the onlooker. There are angry and idealistic people, many people who have suffered. Our only common feature: the thirst for justice. Soon, no matter how much you want it, you will no longer be able to despise us.

It’s been 37 Saturdays. And why not many more? There would be nothing ridiculous about the Yellow Vests marching for their 200th weekend. If that is what is necessary for the system to implode, we will do it.
“Work, consume and shut your mouth!” This is the magic formula that sums up our society. They want citizens who behave very well… But the Yellow Vests refuse to obey this injunction. They know that they live in a world that cannot go on any longer. We are not only fighting for a few euros on our paycheck, we are fighting against a system that is destroying our planet.

You don’t stay at home when your house is on fire.

This autumn thus promises to be very hot. Under the motto: “End of the world, end of the month. The same culprits, the same fight”, the date of Saturday September 21st is becoming already a new highlight. Let’s hope that there will be major demonstrations everywhere on the occasion of this 45th Saturday.

37. Yes, we’ll see the summer out. There is no longer any doubt about that. And if this 37th Saturday has a special meaning, it is to proclaim once again that something unsinkable is born.

Let’s be proud of what we are!

Yellow Vests from Place des Fêtes

Original in French:

This entry was posted in Blog - english, Class struggle in the world, English, Internationalism and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.