The French Yellow Vests — Gilets Jaunes,BigRedCar
December 4th 2018
Big Red Car here on a lovely, sunny ATX day. On Earth as it is in Texas, y’all!
So, the French are in the midst of some political riots.
Because France is a fashion forward country, the identifying rallying call is the chic “yellow vest” — gilets jaunes. Very chic fashion statement.
Here is a picture of the riotously fashionable yellow vest crowd in front of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
The Arc de Triomphe is the 162 foot high arch in the Place Charles de Gaulle from which a dozen avenues radiate.
Arc de Triomphe, Big Red Car?
The Arc was thrown up starting in 1806 to celebrate the Emperor Napoleon’s victory at Austerlitz. It was inaugurated in 1836. Took thirty years to finish. In this picture, notice the dozen streets which radiate in all directions from the Arc de Triomphe.
Napoleon didn’t live to see it finished, but his body was returned from Saint Helena for burial at the Invalides (old soldiers home).
The Arc is a big deal and the French have used it to signify great victories and defeats. The French parade through it on Bastille Day during their famed military parade.
The bad, old Germans (Prussians) marched through it in 1871 (Franco-Prussian War), the French in 1919 (World War I), the evil Nazi Germans in 1940 (World War II), the victorious Allies in 1944 and 1945 (World War II).
A French aviator flew his World War I plane through the arch. Bravo!
Uhhh, the riots, Big Red Car?
Oh, yes, the riots. So, the Yellow Vests are an ad hoc political group, sort of like the Tea Party or Antifa. They are upset about several things:
1. The Yellow Vests are primarily rural dwellers who are angry about a recent increase in fuel prices. If you live in a rural area, you likely use more fuel than if you are a fleet-footed, Uber-using city dweller. Fuel prices.
2. The fuel price increase is part of President Macron’s “green tax” which is focused on climate change.
3. The Yellow Vests complain generally of not being able to make ends meet, but making too much income to qualify for social welfare benefits.
4. The Yellow Vests claim no leadership, but they are made up of members of the working class and middle class who complain of a slipping standard of living.
Oh, I forgot. French law requires drivers to carry a yellow vest in their car to be able to signify when they have a car breakdown. That’s why everybody has a yellow vest. Should have told you that earlier. Sorry.
What do they want, Big Red Car?
The Yellow Vests want the following:
1. The Yellow Vests want Macon to repeal the green tax on diesel fuel.
2. Once the protests got underway, some of the Yellow Vests said they wanted an increase in the minimum wage.
3. Others want the National Assembly (Congress) dissolved and new elections to be held.
4. Still others want Macron to resign.
Violence, Big Red Car?
Yes, dear reader, there has been some violence. The violence started when President Macron took off for the G-20 conference in Argentina.
1. Rioters — casseurs or thugs — have defaced the Arc de Triomphe.
2. Rioters have stopped traffic.
3. Yellow Vests have looted stores, vandalized buildings, and got into fights with police.
4. There are four dead and a great number of injured.
In response, Macron has decided to delay the implementation of the green tax for six months, but not to cancel it.
Some 72% of the French support the protests though 85% decry the violence. Rioting OK. Violence, not OK.
This has now been going on for three weeks.
So, there you have it, dear reader, the Yellow Vests.
I checked with CNN and MSNBC and they haven’t yet been able to figure out an angle by which this can be President Trump’s fault, but they said to work with them. It’s still early.