- Created: Friday, 15 February 2019 16:04
- Written by Séamus Padraic
Fight Racism! Fight Imperialism! 268 February/March 2019
Since 17 November 2018, hundreds of thousands of people have taken part in anti-government protests across France. The movement of ‘gilets jaunes’, named after the hi-vis jackets that have become their uniform, began in response to planned rises in fuel duty (TICPE). Its roots, however, are much deeper and based in deteriorating living standards for the working and middle classes. As the movement has developed its demands have broadened to include reintroducing the ISF wealth tax (abolished in 2017) to developing systems of direct democracy. It has no clear leadership and its political character is being contested by different political forces (see ‘Gilets Jaunes: A contradictory movement’ on our website). However, the French state recognises it as a threat and is committed to breaking the movement using a three-pronged approach: the granting of token concessions; diversion into harmless official channels; and state repression.