The timing is a disaster for the UN annual junket. The Yellow Vest protest has also spread to the UK now. Politicians must be tip toeing in Katowice, Poland. The Western leaders can hardly offer prime symbolic gifts for carbon action for fear of triggering similar protests at home.
As the protests grew week after week, the “crumbs” thrown to appease the crowd only made them more resolute. The people are realizing how much power they have. The normal veneer of civility holds that the police and laws keep the peace, but the truth is that if the people feel exploited and act together, any free nation can grind to halt in days.
In hours, French President Macron is set to speak to try to defuse the anger.
Craig Rucker from CFACT took time off from the UN climate folly and walked the streets with the Gilets Jaunes. This is so interesting because he is not the usual journalist observer, and he is there, not opining from afar. He says the people have taken over the streets, but the movement is being smeared as violent, though the rioting is due to radical leftists not the core protesters of the movement. One thing is for sure, everyone with any agenda will be looking for a way to own the power in this protest.
After interviewing many gilets jaunes (yellow vests), and observing their demonstrations, CFACT can report that the streets belong not to the government, nor to the police, but to the men, women and children in the yellow vests. Moreover, contrary to what you may have seen in the media, in their hearts, the police are with the protestors.
The demonstrators are in fact the friends, neighbors and families of the police arrayed against them. Except in extreme cases, the police are standing aside and leaving the gilet jaunes in charge.
The gilets jaunes … are butchers, bakers and automobile makers. They are the folks who drive the trucks, farm the food, build the buildings and fix what breaks. They are France. They have had enough.
The gilets jaunes took over a large toll station on the road to Marseilles. CFACT was there. They narrowed the lanes, but allowed traffic to pass. Toll collectors and police left them completely in charge. The protestors did not allow motorists to pay the toll. They are prepared to starve leviathan.
The real Gilets Jaunes are angry that the media and government are misrepresenting them. As Craig says, Just about everyone with an agenda is trying to horn in… (read it here).
Contrast that with Adam Nossiter of The New York Times who tries (hopes) to argue that this is not a populist movement (code for right wing) saying it is a class war, not a nationalist thing. Jo Nova says, it may well be a class war rather than a climate change protest, but everybody knows which class wears the green pants. And right wing is by definition a movement against the overgrown size of government. What could be more right wing than a protest against a tax?
What both Nossiter and CFACT describe is a profound distrust of institutions.
How France’s ‘Yellow Vests’ Differ From Populist Movements Elsewhere
There’s this social distress that exists more or less everywhere,” said Marc Lazar, a specialist in Italian history at Sciences Po. “Of people who are very worried about the future, not only are they suffering, but they have profound distrust of institutions and political parties. This is what we are seeing everywhere in Europe.”
Institutions have been captured by the well-to-do bureaucrats, by corporate players, but most of all, by Big Government itself. And the major political parties have become Institutions. Almost all the key institutions have burned through their brand-names, and climate change is surely one of the show ponies for Big Government’s blazing disregard. How many esteemed organisations joined the bandwagon of The Government against The People? Of the hundreds of national and historic groups, which Scientific and Academic institution or public broadcaster stood for the people?
Adam Nossiter tries to make out that this is “like Occupy”.
What ties these uprisings together, beyond the demands, is a rejection of existing parties, unions and government institutions that are seen as incapable of channeling the depth of their grievances or of offering a bulwark against economic insecurity.
But what makes France’s revolt different is that it has not followed the usual populist playbook. It is not tethered to a political party, let alone to a right-wing one. It is not focusing on race or migration, and those issues do not appear on the Yellow Vests’ list of complaints. It is not led by a single fire-breathing leader. Nationalism is not on the agenda.
The uprising is instead mostly organic, spontaneous and self-determined. It is mostly about economic class. It is about the inability to pay the bills.
Except that Occupy was started by students, not workers and the key issue was inequality rather than grinding taxes. Occupy was the “99%” against the 1% of the most wealthy, but the Gilets Jaune is about the provinces against Paris. The people against The Governing Class. In the Occupy movement, fourteen times as many in the crowd identified with the US Democrats rather than Republicans. A third of the Occupy protestors had salaries over $100,000. [See Wikipedia, Protestor Demographics]. They are both leaderless uprisings against perceived unfairness, but that’s what any protest is about.
Meanwhile snowflakes at the UNFCCC are up in arms that they can’t “welcome” a scientific report:
While France burns, the petals at the climate conference are “shocked” they couldn’t even officially use the world welcome in the minutes to laud their latest pseudo-scientific gloom and doom report, issued in October. The UNFCCC commissioned that report, probably because it needed to readjust the PR memes and reissue the same-old message that there was “still time to save the world, but only just”. We Must Act Now Or Else [exclamation mark!].
Who knew, reports needed to become part of the family?
Matt McGrath, BBC:
Scientists and many delegates in Poland were shocked as the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Kuwait objected to this meeting “welcoming” the report. It was the 2015 climate conference that had commissioned the landmark study.
The report, launched in Incheon in South Korea, had an immediate impact winning praise from politicians all over the world.
Exactly. Only Big Government could get an apocalyptic report and “praise it”.
Instead they wanted to support a much more lukewarm phrase, that the conference would “take note” of the report.
Saudi Arabia had fought until the last minute in Korea to limit the conclusions of the document. Eventually they gave in. But it now seems that they have brought their objections to Poland. The dispute dragged on as huddles of negotiators met in corners of the plenary session here, trying to agree a compromise wording.
None was forthcoming.
Got to get those priorities straight eh?