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What Could the French “Yellow Vests” Teach Us about Ourselves?


What Could the French “Yellow Vests” Teach Us about Ourselves?

Frances Moore Lappé

Most coverage of the Yellow Vest movement in France—lasting seven weeks and drawing hundreds of thousands onto the streets—misses a key question, and one at the heart of our own nation’s journey.

We’re told the diesel tax hike was the “last straw” for the rural, working poor unable to make ends meet, while the underlying cause of the uprising is resentment at the worsening inequality.


The French are also teaching what they are rediscovering, direct face to face conversation via the bionet.

Every conversation engages new ideas in every human brain. In the street one simply turns around and has a conversation of new ideas with a random brain crammed with new ways of thinking.

When exhaustion begins to creep in and people tend to stay home they still talk new ideas to everyone they meet. That’s what humans do all day every day.

It matters not what rich people profiting from wars and environmental destruction think. When spring returns and early warm summer mornings feel good, people will return to the streets fortified by a winter of new thoughts germinating in society. The rich will be swept away along with trash in the street and sewage under the street.


“Listening to the Yellow Vests, we can reject the lie that a market works on its own for the good of all.”

But, but, Ayn Rand. /s


It teaches us that populism is dangerous and illogical


It is interesting how everyone seems to project their own hopes and desires on the “yellow vest” movement. I doubt many here would agree with all the demands, such as

All the money earned by highway tolls will be used for the maintenance of motorways and roads in France and road safety. (not mass transit)

Immediate end to temporary foreign worker programs.

Return of unsuccessful asylum seekers to their country of origin.

Real integration policy is implemented. Living in France means becoming French (French language course, French history course and civic education course with certification at the end of the course).


"We cling to the belief that in our dog-eat-dog world, ruled by an infallible “free market,” the best rise to the top. "

I’m not sure we’ve ever had a “free market”. How can we have one when it is riddled with corruption and controlled by oligarchy monopolies?


People have become so chicken in the USA that some of the furloughed people said that they would protest but they do not have money for a vest! Huh! What has happened to us as a society?


Well, I will be marching with the pink pussy hats on January 19th, but I see your point. rhetoric and sign holding are not enough to bring change.


The history of the US lends itself to the mythology that freedom has to do with “owning” property and that it is a reward for violent combat because European “immigrants and pioneers” fought the English for independence from the crown and fought and killed the Natives to steal their land and resources.

This condition was carried forward generation after generation. It is far more embedded in national cultural assumptions within the States than it is in any other place that I know of, certainly more so than in European cultures.

The intrinsically divisive and excluding nature of money and property undermines solidarity within classes and supports a tendency to believe that others’ problems are not one’s own.

Despite this, the history of unions in the states was at one time quite impressive. But these were divided and eventually largely conquered because solidarity was not recognized to the extent that national strikes became a prominent part of negotiations, as they are in France.


There is something fundamentally wrong with Americans. The gross inequality, the mindless carnage of gun violence that happens daily, the glorification of ignorance and stupidity that flows from political leaders and church pulpits, not to mention leaders who take their policy leads from the right wing lunatic fringe. You don’t see this anywhere else.


The French are also reminding the rest of the continent’s resistance movements against the EU superstate that change isn’t going to come easily or peacefully. You cannot beg crumbs from the banksters nor can you expect them to leverage a humanity they simply don’t possess. You must force justice.

But I agree with FML: as long as there’s a bipartisan agreement that the wealthy are the most fit to rule, we’re basically going to lay here and be used as target practice.


HI bardamu, but it was lovely to see google employees walking out…there’s HOPE~


HI mealouts: The answer to your question is"They really, really don’t have any extra money."


Oh, yes, of course.


while on the whole the French do have more readiness to protest and more of sense of social decency, at heart the yellow vest protest was about not wanting to pay more for driving everywhere, as can be seen by the protest fizzling out once the government backed off the fuel tax. That doesn’t happen much in the US because the politicians here know better than to tax motorists, but when they do, as in Rhode Island when a toll was about to be imposed to pay for anew bridge, there were indeed mass protests and the state backed off on thee toll. It all illustrates how hard it is to do much about cutting carbon emissions.


…the Goddess of Mindless Greed.