Yellow Vests: Act 24 as a Warm-Up for May 1st’s Response to Macron’s “Blah Blah”

“Yellow Vests, loss of impetus?” – this was the headline ran by BFM-TV in the evening of April 27th with the hope that the prophecy preached, for over 5 months now, is realised. Others, like Le Figaro, are trying to find a correlation between the relative decline in the number of protesters and Macron’s announcements. As usual, like for the past 5 months, the mainstream media looks for any signs that the movement may end. No, the real response to Macron will be May 1st.

For nearly five months the mainstream media has been preaching the loss of impetus of the Yellow Vests movement in search of a self-fulfilling prophecy. They were mistaken, act after act, they continue to persist with this error. Indeed, that the participation figure relatively decreased on April 27th was a very predictable fact. As the newspaper Le Monde explains, many Yellow Vests “had planned to stand down on April 27th in order to focus on the May Day demonstration”.

Always determined, the Yellow Vests save themselves for what is to come

On the contrary, it is the fact that the mobilization is still at this level after 24 weeks of mobilization that is noteworthy – a longevity unequaled in the history of social movements. According to the yellow figure [the estimation of participation created by the Yellow Vests, in difference to the propaganda numbers invented by the state – ed], there were nearly “60,132 demonstrators as minimum” according to a provisional count of those who mobilised on April 27th. Still largely understated, the figures of the Ministry of the Interior said around 23,600 Yellow Vests against the 27,900 demonstrators last week. Thus, the difference is not huge, especially since the event of May 1st is announced as the main date in the spirit of the Yellow Vests.

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For example, Macron’s announcements did not have a demobilising impact on the Yellow Vests. If, according to a survey, 63% of the population was not convinced by Macron’s announcements, it is obvious that this is not the case either for the Yellow Vests, who have been mobilised for 5 months despite the terrible repression. Worse still, the announcements seem to have had a “mobilising” impact on some Yellow Vests from the first hour. For example, a 58-year-old Strasbourg Yellow Vest felt that there was “nothing concrete” in Macron’s announcements. “It made me feel even more motivated,” he said.

Deepening ties at the base between Red and Yellow Vests

In this way, this 24th Saturday event is an intermediate day that has deepened, in particular in Paris, the elements of convergence that already existed between Red and Yellow Vests – between union activists and Yellow Vest protesters – for 5 months. If these elements of convergences were woven at the base since the beginning of the movement, the fact that large local CGT federations and unions called nationally to join the demonstration of Yellow Vests, on a Saturday, is a first since the beginning of the movement. A call for the “General Riposte”, supported by the NPA, including the presence of Philippe Poutou, and other organisations such as La France Insoumise or the French Communist Party.

And this is in no way the initiative of the Confederal Directorate of the CGT. In effect, since the beginning of the movement, the confederal secretary, Philippe Martinez, has made the choice to turn his back on social anger. If the CGT structures begin, even if belatedly, to correct their aim, this divisionist attitude has in no way been corrected, as is evidenced by the lack of appeal of the confederation CGT during Act 24, and the absence of Philippe Martinez on April 27th. It should also be noted that the leadership of Solidaires did not call to protest either, contrary to certain sections like that of the North.

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Yellow Vests at the international level to denounce European institutions

But this day will also be an occasion for a national call to demonstrate in Strasbourg against European institutions. The event had a notable international character, with Belgian, German, Swiss, Luxembourg, and Italian demonstrators, who joined the French Yellow Vests. Despite the prohibitions to demonstrate in the city center and around the places of EU power, the Yellow Vests used all their determination to arrive a hundred yards away, a few tens of meters from the Council of Europe – an institution that brings together the 47 countries of the European continent. The crackdown was fierce, leaving seven wounded among the protesters. The police arrested 42 protesters.

May 1st objective

Other elements were noteworthy for this act 24. Thus, one of the Parisian processions aimed to denounce the major media’s treatment of the movement.

Regarding the questioning of the right of the press, the presence in Strasbourg of Gaspard Glanz, largely applauded by the Yellow Vests, gave the best response to those who want to restrict the right of the press.

However, the Paris event was marked by the arrest of an independent journalist “Civicio”, Yasin, during a live broadcast.

The day prior in Cambrai, the repression was fierce, with dogs that were used to crack down hard on the protesters. More generally, the repression targeted very hard all those who wanted to derogate from the planned route or framework determined by the government and the Ministry of the Interior. A sign that it is more than ever necessary to give an answer to the height of the ongoing attacks against democratic rights.

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In the end, regardless of what the mainstream media says, in the spirit of many Yellow Vests, this day of April 27th was a little warm-up for May Day, International Workers Day. It is then that Macron will know the answer of the Yellow Vests to his big “blah blah”.

Damien Bernard, Revolution Permanente

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