How The Right Can Learn From The “Yellow Vests” Protests
I wanted to share this excellent article with you. I was reviewing it earlier today and then I found an email from Festus with a link to the same article. It is a bit long but worth your time. This isn't about growing a garden or cleaning your sling shot but more so about a mindset and realities of America today . One of the things I think the author misses is this. We are born in to a foundation. In our home, our community, our state and federal government and the rules and laws of the land. We, on the right bought in at some point to the Constitution, Bill of Rights and so forth. Many of us also found faith at some point through some means. We have lived our life within the foundation of these beliefs. We are within the guardrails of our foundation and morality. So, through the years of our life with these beliefs we have not had to step out like yellow vest in the article. The folks who despise our foundation, faith, stability, and living by the rules and laws documented, are teh ones we see fighting for change, like yellow vest. So, keep this in mind while reading through the article. I would like to hear your feedback if you wish to share your thoughts. Thanks Festus for your sharing this.
This article was posted by Lars Hanneman on September 8, 2019 at Amerika.com
When the “yellow vests” protests gained momentum, it excited many people because it looked like an idealized a populist revolution where an angry crowd chases out an corrupt government. Instead it should have been a lesson on why an angry crowd will never ever inflict meaningful change.
Those on the Right can learn a great deal from this movement and what it achieved, and where it failed. If anything, we benefit from observing social outrage movements closely and calculating how to adapt them to conservative goals.
Understanding Revolutionary Activity
In one of the ironies of history, Americans — denizens of a country created through a revolution — know little about revolutionary activity. The Left knows that every government, every nation, every culture that is not 100% under their control is their enemy and must be subverted and taken over, while on the Right people think that it is “their country” and “their nation” and “their culture” and that they already sit in an exceptional niche in history. That assumption leads to all sorts of myths and urban legends about how the Founding Fathers were somehow conservatives or how conservatism itself can even be revolutionary. The end result is boomers wearing three pointed hats that clean up behind themselves when they have a demonstration with the same fervor with which they would hand over their guns to a cops while babbling something about muh thin blue line.
These people would most likely grow angry when you tell them how John Adams was basically an Antifa activist lawyer, how years of street gang activity, crime, smuggling and shadow government laid out the foundational for a continental congress that later looks so civilized in oil paintings and to which what today is Canada wasn’t invited because, well, you can’t possibly think of everything. The Gadsden Flag is not a symbol of tax cuts but a gang sign of people much closer to the Trinitarios, Sureños, or Latin Kings then to the modern American conservative movement. Killing the tax collectors of the crown was for them most likely about whether those collectors carried any tax money and less about revolutionary zeal. Maybe in two centuries, whatever equivalent to the armchair Rambo conservative then might exist will have Lucky 13 ink in his face, talking about credit default shortages for middle hive dwellers in Megacity One.
Understanding a Peoples’ Mentality
France has a strong protest culture because two centuries ago they had this stupid revolution against a king, but it ended up just giving them an emperor anyways while still managing to be the epicentre of the cancerous egalitarian ideology that grips Europe to this day. Later protesting students toppled the government of Charles de Gaulle in the 1960s, swinging the nation further toward Full Soviet. Unions, labor organization committees and that sort of thing remain strong in France and the French have the mentality that if they want something, they just have to threaten the destruction of property or chimp out over a few days and then they will get it. Strikes are common and because everyone is somehow affiliated with the Left or an organized strike one way or the other the sympathy for such measures in the population is high and people who otherwise would be negatively affected by the strike are usually understanding and cooperative towards it.
That leads to a very impulsive, almost choleric, and short-sighted political culture that dug itself in a hole long ago. You just have to look up the numbers and you can see the end of the project of an egalitarian state.
The Cause Célèbre
Social outrage movements build up steam over time until there is a point when someone or something turns that rolling snowball into an avalanche. This Cause Célèbre usually grows out of a minor event that has huge symbolic value, or reaches the most people even if the actual effects would be rather small.
In France it was a gas tax that the government of Macron introduced to finance the reforms the people voted him into office for. This tax was aimed at the middle class workers who lived outside the major cities to escape its diversity, yet they commuted every workday to these places where the economic centers are. This provoked a protest movement where people demonstrate because they want to afford to be able to get to work so that they can work and pay all those taxes, but still have their bourgeois escape homes in the countryside. Occupy Wallstreet started out similarly. Occupy Wallstreet started out in Israel as a rent protest movement because people could no longer afford to live in the packed city of Tel Aviv and so they started to pitch tents in the city park.
From an aristocratic mindset, this is absurd. The “right to work,” to pay taxes, and deal with stress just so that you can afford material stuff and toys and vacations to distract yourself is an absurd bourgeois concept, and yet it is useful. The landed gentry was in best case rather poor or worse in debt and sure money is nice to have but there are more important things, and that is what separated the gentry from the commoner. Also both the “yellow vests” protests and the Occupy movement were first started by women, usually of an advanced age. Having older women as the face of a movement in its early days draws more people, because no one expects trouble where women and women in an advanced age are. Its sounds more like a hen coffee party and not something where the cops crack your head in.
The Target Demographic
A revolution needs human fuel. If a cause does not generate outrage across a great spectrum it does not gain momentum. The cause of the “yellow vests” in form of the gas tax created outrage among the middle class bourgeoisie, while on the other hand the poor and angry do not even own cars. Occupy outraged the poor and angry who could not afford the city anymore, but the middle class still could. In the end both poles are necessary. You need the financial and material support of the middle class, and you need the bodies of the poor and angry.
Outraged middle class bourgies are neither talented street fighters nor are they backed up against a wall where they have nothing else left than the fight. The best they can do in an actual street fight is serve as meat shield. Among the poor and angry the tactical skills are at best thin, but no one misses these people if they get turned into minced meat and they have the material motivation to physically go somewhere and break stuff, even if their only actual motivation is to steal things. The people who do the actual dirty work are not high minded liberals but thugs. Hooligans are in the first line when social order breaks down as well as other street gangs and similar organizations.
When the middle class Facebook activists staged a sit-in at the Tahrir Square in Cairo they set up a stage where some blogger wanted to give a talk until the Muslim Brotherhood showed up and chased them away. Despite their transparent claims that “This is our thing now,” the protesters knew that the Muslim Brotherhood would seize the square anyway; they just had to wait until the middle class Bloggers went home because mama made them dinner.
Washington’s Continental Army was not staffed with patriotic Yankee Doodles but with the urban poor, with immigrants who didn’t really know the meaning of the enlistment papers they signed, with runaway serfs, deserters from other armies, criminals and press-ganged volunteers.
When you read literature that circulates in the patriot movement you get the impression its all about guns and camouflage fatigues and hiding in the woods larping as soldiers. This stuff is the worst. If you think revolutionary activity is buying tactical gear on amazon and your tenth semiautomatic AR-15 you basically can go right to the FBI headquarters, walk in, go to the desk guy and ask him if he wants to arrest a “dangerous dissident” today. These activists are the people you see at public events wearing tacticool gear and doing open carry on streets that they don’t own or control and where they are strangers to the surrounding public. The Militia culture is pure commercialized cancer and the right wing equivalent to corporate pride month products in rainbow colors.
The Left is organized and setup to break the law every day. They control the universities, from there they control the courts, from there they control the police; they control the government, they control the media. They can attack from every direction at any time. The FARC called that “la combinación de todas las formas de lucha,” the combination of all methods of struggle. They have legal teams to defend even the most amateurish violent antifa criminal, like bike lock guy, they control courts to give measly sentences to the most amateurish violent antifa criminal, like bike lock guy. They have universities that employ even the most amateurish violent antifa criminals, like bike lock guy, like the pencil neck nerd who pointed a gun at James Fields. Former Weathermen terrorists later worked as professors and got invitations to the White House.
Any revolutionary movement needs legal infrastructure and business infrastructure. A commercial front is important to supply oneself with hardware and to have legal employment for people involved in revolutionary activity. Where do you think would the money come from to pay full time revolutionaries? Patreon donations maybe. One does not buy heavily taxed tactical toys on Amazon when a commercial infrastructure makes supplies more economical by purchasing them wholesale. The corporation buys in bulk and sells it tax-free and cheaper to its loyal people. This was a practice done often by businesses in Europe where one could find remnants of the feudal lord and servant structure, like in Spain. One better finds way to organize such an enterprise if he doesn’t speculate that Chick-fil-a donates parts of its motor pool for gun trucks.
The American Right idealizes living in a rural culture instead of an urban one, but most of them depend on the cities, which creates this horrible bastard creature of suburban living. It lacks the strict social pressure you would encounter in rural areas, and it gives access to the commercial and cultural hub of the close city. But as staging area these places are completely useless. You can see in every police chase video how with one ghetto bird and its thermal camera such an area can be controlled. I personally think this trope of the Right is a leftover of the American pioneer Calvinism where one builds spread out farms that shine like the candles on a chandelier against the dark forest where the savage heathen lives. Afrikaners did the same and look where their isolated little farms got them. Forget that idea of individual Abrahamic patriarchies. Now you are the savage heathen in the dark forest, creeping up on civilization.
The “yellow vests” movement started in the countryside, where as mentioned the bourgie middle class worker bees have their little bourgie escape homes, and then it moved to urban centers which are built around government infrastructure which is linked with taxation and traffic control. During that time, around 60% of all speeding cameras in France were destroyed and they set fire to toll stations and a few local administrative buildings.
Then they started to protest in Paris, which is tactically not so smart because that city was designed with eighteenth century style revolutions in mind so the streets are rather broad so that you can’t build barricades. It was not an important battlefield anyway and rather a controlled steam valve where people can burn down private property and can have catch-up games with the police.
A successful revolutionary movement needs the duality of staging protests in the urban centers with one hand while carving out pieces of territory in the countryside or other urban areas where the police presence is low because all the cops are busy elsewhere. For the purpose of distraction every social outrage movement that fields enough bodies can do it. Everybody knows the picture of the Vietnamese monk barbequeing himself during a Buddhi