The Oxidation Of Republics

The Arc de Triomphe during a riot in Paris France. Image Capture by TNB.

Warning: you might not want to click some of the links in this article, just to avoid giving the sites traffic.

The recent French riots began in November 17th as a grassroots movement protesting one thing: the fuel tax increases.  Macron, already unpopular due to a failure to immediately and dramatically reduce the unemployment rate and a growing reputation as a wealthy elitist, had followed through on a core promise of his campaign, to reduce greenhouse emissions.  

Three weeks later, the “yellow vest” movement has leaders, and those leaders have demands.  They include across-the-board tax decreases, workplace pay equality, an increased minimum wage, and federal subsidies to businesses who hire young workers.

The reason for the odd mixture of left and Euro-right demands is that, while the movement began as an attempt to address a specific issue, political leaders in punditry and party administration have quickly moved to lay claim to the large group of socially active citizens.  In this, it mirrors what happened with the TEA party efforts in America, which were quickly redirected to support various “tea party” groups and agendas from their initial cross-party appeal on the single issue of stemming future tax increases.

Nationalist / “Euro-Right” figures have presented strong support for the yellow vest movement, framing it as a full repudiation of anti-Nationalist President Macron.  An example can be found on Breitbart, where Marion Marechal of the National Rally (formerly National Front) spoke in favor of it while claiming that leftist elements within it were responsible for all of the violence.

Ms Maréchal, who dropped the ‘Le Pen’ from her name, also said that by the time violence erupted at the iconic Champs-Élysées, the real members of the movement had already left.

How does one explain “nationalists” attacking a tribute to national war dead?  Claim it’s not them.

Meanwhile, hard-left revolutionaries are using it as a rallying point and calling for support of the yellow vest movement, in an overt attempt to co-opt the grassroots effort.

CGT leadership should do everything it can to support this movement, and build on its momentum to put on the agenda a general offensive of the working class against all the reactionary policies of the government. For starters, the leadership of the CGT should make a call to its members to participate massively in the demonstration of yellow vests in Paris, scheduled for 24 November. Then, Wauquiez, Le Pen and the other bourgeois demagogues would hesitate and try to hold back the movement. Which is to say, their masks would slip.

The conspiracy theorists in the U.S. are using it as a propaganda tool as well, as seen on the site

“Speculation is now raging that globalist French President Emmanuel Macron will be forced to impose a form of martial law to deal with the chaos.”

Political blood is in the air, and the nationalists and the socialists and the self-styled populists all want to gain control.  Ultimately, though, there is one winner: Russia.

Russia has forged social bonds with nationalist parties not only in France but around the world, promoting the strong nationalism of Russia to declare solidarity.  Simultaneously, Russia has promoted the economic bonds with socialist movements around the world, citing their position as a primary implementer of Marxism.  To the conspiracy theorists, they have offered platforms and information which undermine trust in their native governments.  No matter who wins, as long as it is one of the newly resurgent groups, Russia wins as well.

Oxidation happens in chemistry when oxygen is introduced to a substance.  It transforms that substance, destroying what was there originally and leaving corrosion and ash in its wake.  In the case of international politics, the oxidizing element is distrust.  The reasonable hesitation to believe flawed leaders or biased reporting has been weaponized, turned into a reflexive rejection of everything stated by “the opposition”.

What is being seen in France, with a revolution being threatened, is the equivalent of fast oxidation: fire.  But the same thing is happening, using groups with similar positions, in the UK with the Brexit vote.  There is discord, there is evidence of Russian influence and the extremist parties are friendly with Russia.  The same has happened in Italy.  In Brazil.  Instead of fire, we see rust; the slow and steady abandonment of belief not just in the current leaders but in the very notion of the value of a republic; alternate voices are no longer said to be a valuable way to gain insight and reach the best solutions for all, but rather impediments to the authoritarian rules implemented by whichever political group is currently ascendant.

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.