Demonstrating with the Yellow Jackets on the Champs Élysées against la répression du gouvernement
. It was quite festive in the beginning; but cats are not partial to tear gas, so when the tear gas grenades started raining around us, the bicycle cats said Enough and we pedaled home.
There is nary a single media report about the Yellow Vest
demonstrations in Paris and France that I’ve read or watched that has
not been slanted by Fake News.
NOTE: This post will be fully updated, greatly expanded, and, in the process, thoroughly rewritten for an article in the January 2019 issue of the New English Review entitled THE TRUTH ABOUT FRANCE'S YELLOW VESTS.
It has (usually) not been deliberate, I gather, and nobody has said anything factually wrong; what is the problem is the fact that crucial information has been omitted. (Update: merci au Professeur Glenn Reynolds
, à Monsieur Pierre le Tech Mec
, à Monsieur Francis Turner
, et à la Ferme de Marguerite
It is not wrong to say that the demonstrations
were caused by the government's decision to raise gas prices. What is
missing is that this is just one of several draconian measures dating
back half a year, i.e., ‘tis the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s
For the past four to five months, the French government has done nothing but double down on
bringing more and more gratuitous oppression and more and more unwarranted
persecution measures down on the necks the nation's drivers and motorcycle riders.
In fact, the imposition of ever harsher rules has been going on for
the past decade and a half or so — whether the government was on the
right or on the left — and that is why the choice of les gilets jaunes
(the yellow jackets) by the demonstrators is particularly ironic.
The 2008 law (under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy) requiring the presence of high-visibility vests (gilets de haute visibilité
) aka security vests (gilets de sécurité
in every vehicle — hardly an unreasonable rule, for sure, as similar
ones exist throughout the continent — was just another example of the
myriad of evermore-onerous directives for car and motorcycle owners over
the past 15 years, and so the government in effect provided the 2018
rebels with their uniforms.
What has been most irksome for les Français
since the turn of the century has been the ubiquitous radars, which,
like red-light cameras in the United States, are accused of having (far)
more to do with bringing revenue to the state than with road safety.
And just like the arms industry in the Soviet Union, if there is one area of France where the technology was/is always moving
forward, it is the radar sector.
Call it the radar-industrial complex.
Over the years, the radars have become evermore stealthy and
insidious. For instance, radars have gone from
contraptions being able to photograph a single car on only one side on
the road, in the lane closest to the machine (with a burst of white
jolting to the driver at nighttime), to taking multiple pictures over
the entire roadway simultaneously of several vehicles driving in both
The first radars were installed in 2003
under President Jacques Chirac and his interior minister, Nicolas
Sarkozy, and in the beginning, drivers were always warned by a road sign
when a radar could be expected ahead (which brought about exactly what
allegedly was the desired goal, to get cars to slow down).
What has happened since shows the Deep State at work in Europe just as much as, if not more than, in North America — and this leftist statism
is the kind of news that has been ignored
by the mainstream media, in France itself as much as abroad.
— in spite of the insistent promises of then-interior minister Sarkozy —
new radars were installed without road signs announcing their presence.
The schemes to make the rules harsher have at times
been so far-fetched and outrageous that push-back was inevitable and led
to their demise. For instance, the attempt to require all vehicles in the
nation to be equipped with a breathalyzer. (Not surprisingly, it emerged
that a breathalyzer manufacturer who, naturally, was a close friend of a
number of politicians, was behind the bill.)
came the news of mobile radars, as mentioned above, meaning unmarked
cars loaded with a radar-installed contraption driven by gendarmes
dressed in civilian clothes. (Everywhere, young boys daydream of
wearing a shiny uniform and going into action to fight crime; imagine,
then, a policeman being asked to remove his uniform and put on his
plainclothes to do nothing but passively drive up and down the road or
highway in an unmarked car and let the hidden radar do its work, i.e.,
making him trick his (otherwise honest) fellow citizens who have done
nothing but "violate" a rather arbitrary administrative rule, a "speed"
(sic) limit that has barely changed, if at all, in almost 50 years).
crony capitalism has given rise to a
side economy, a side economy whose only purpose revolves around the
punishment of citizens with cars or motorcycles — not least with blossoming
(and very expensive) driving schools for drivers to recoup at
least some of the points they have lost on their driver's licenses
(again, for violations of a rather arbitrary malum prohibitum
rule). If and when they are down to 0 points, they are barred from returning to the schools
and they lose the license itself, for a
year or more — the licenses of some two million Frenchmen are
currently suspended — which leads in turn to job losses for some 80,000
drivers every year, since they can no longer commute.
WE ARE NOT MILCH COWS!
All of which brings us to 2018
. This year, as mentioned, Emmanuel Macron's government has doubled down on the repressive measures.
On July 1, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe did what no other country in
Europe or in the West (or, as far as I know, on the planet) has done:
the march of progress and lower the slowness limit
(sorry, the speed limit) on secondary (country) roads by 10 km/h,
decreasing the limit from 90 km/h (56 mph) to 80 km/h (50 mph).
At about the same time came the contracts that the government decided
to write with private corporations, handing the business of the state's
over to their company employees, to take
over the business of the mobile radars in their shiny new fleets of
vehicles. (Meanwhile, other private companies have been getting similar
contracts from city governments, meaning wage earners doing mostly
nothing but driving up and down the city streets, while a license plate
reader decides which cars' owners will be getting
This is actually the
point at which the first protests started. During the summer, the
country saw a huge increase in instances of destruction (or
incapacitation) of radars on the roadside. Many were defaced with paint,
others were set on fire, while still others were simply covered with
something like a garbage bag (one man arrested while covering a radar
was let free by a judge who decided that since the garbage bag hadn't
actually brought any physical harm to the machine in any way, the
defendant could not be accused of destroying it).
More recently, the government added more gratuitous sanctions to the
driver’s license point system, which is already far more punitive than
that of most European countries, not least neighboring Germany's.
Finally, with the announcement of the gas prise rise, the French said
"Enough is enough." And that was when the entire nation seemed to get
together via the internet to mount the Yellow Vest revolt.
Lire mes articles
sur la répression, la persécution, et le matraquage des conducteurs :
Il y du Fake News ici — Les médias (francaises et internationales) rapportent que les manifestations sont contre la hausse des prix de l’essence.
Ce n’est pas faux, mais le Fake News, c’est ce qu’on ne dit pas.
En fait, ces hausses ne sont que la goutte qui fait déborder la vase, le dernier exemple de répression, de persécution, et de matraquage depuis 4-5 mois.
• D’abord Édouard Philippe a fait ce qu’aucun gouvernement d’Europe ou de l'Occident (ou
de la planète) a fait — baisser la limite de lenteur (pardon, la limite
• Ensuite, il y a eu la multiplication des radars, des radars de plus en plus sournois
En fait, c’est durant l’été, à la suite de ces mesures, que les protestations ont commencé :
Par une hausse impressionnante des instances de destruction des radars sur le bas-côté de la route dans tout l'Hexagone
• Par la suite, le gouvernement a endurci le permis à points, de façon gratuite, avec des punitions grotesques
• Enfin, la hausse des prix de l’essence
Qu’est la démocratie si ce n’est
le pouvoir de dire aux autorités :
Nous ne sommes pas des vaches à lait !