Left Coast Media

North Bae 022 - The Gilet Jaunes

December 24, 2018 Left Coast Media Episode 22
Left Coast Media
North Bae 022 - The Gilet Jaunes
Show Notes Transcript

Emily (@snarlsdegaulle) talks to Sauce (@communalsauce) and Mack (@incarcountry) about the Gilet Jaunes protests and the political situation in France.  Vive la Commune de Paris!

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Sauce:

This is sauce. On this episode you are going to hear from someone we've heard before, that's Mack, who's been a guest on a couple of our episodes. I'm very happy to let y'all know that Mack is going to be a regular part of our show and is joining us as one of our hosts. We did have an introduction episode for him, but it is somewhere and hasn't been edited yet. Um, I know it exists. I just can't find it. So please enjoy. Hello everyone, and welcome to the North Bay. Uh, I am one of your hosts, Communal Sauce and joining me tonight, is one of our other hosts, Mack.

Mack:

Hello. Hello. North bay. Listeners, you'll have to forgive me. I'm trying to stretch my neck here to get to this day, but I'm not quite a pro yet, so. So you're going to have to show me the ropes.

Sauce:

Okay. I'm stretching your neck ropes. Um, I think you have maybe not the correct execution method in mind for this particular episode topic, but we'll go with it. And also joining us tonight is emily. Emily is, has very graciously agreed to come on the podcast and give us a little background information, kind of talk with us about, uh, the, the yellow vis vests protests that are going on in France. So I'm emily, please introduce yourself.

Emily:

Hi. So my name is emily. I'm a freelance journalist living in New York. Um, and I a French citizen, a dual citizen. I'm a, you know, I've, I vote in every election and I go there fairly often so you can kind of view me as you know, as reliable sources. Any other. I guess that's a lot more reliable than the me. I think. So

Sauce:

you'd, you'd have this and this astoundingly midwest and approach to self deprecation Mack.

Mack:

It really is our way.

Sauce:

Emily, I think first off, could you maybe give us a little bit of background on the, on the protests, kind of a, I suppose at a medium level level view of what's, of what's going on.

Emily:

So the root cause or the root cause. But the inciting incident of the protests was a hike in the fuel tax. And so actually it was, I have to take a larger view to explain this, but it's actually bringing the price of diesel or the rather the tax on diesel up to the level of the tax on regular because I'm in the 19 seventies, uh, after the OPEC embargo, uh, the government in France at the time lowered the tax on diesel because it was more fuel efficient and it turns out it's also more polluting. But, um, diesel is still a very commonly used in France and particularly for people who are like poor because it is more fuel efficient and because it's less taxed. And so when they brought, when they decided to bring up the VAT on diesel to the level of the other, um, other kinds of fuels as a sort of like in pseudo environmentalists measure, uh, that kind of kicks off in late November, mid November. It's kicked off of protest movements in the, you know, in rural areas or the peripheral areas, um, and drivers or like people who own cars because these yellow vests are mandatory. You have to have them in your car. Every driver has to have them in their car, so people wearing yellow vests, I'll kind of all over the country, um, you know, save these coordinated protests. Um, and to kind of became about austerity in general and about how, you know, the government and a president menu on the especially is seen as completely out of touch with, um, with the working class, um, because it's one of these, uh, it's, it's a, it's an environmentalist measure what he's doing, you know, or that's what he says, but it also is a, is a flat tax that disproportionally impacts for people. Um, so it was really, it was really this, um, this confrontation of, you know, the, the technocratic, centralized, Teresian power structure with a periphery that has been, you know, ignored, like just historically, uh, you know, even going back to the times of the monarchy. And so then, you know, the, the protests kind of like took on a greater amplitude and there's still, there's still going on now and as far as I know, there's going to be another one tomorrow. It's every Saturday and that has been happening. Um, and as far as I know there's going to be one another one on Saturday, which is the day after we are recording this, so yeah, we'll see.

Sauce:

Yeah. Hopefully I will be able to edit this over the weekend and this will go out on a Christmas Eve on Monday. Hopefully. So Mack. I think you had, you had something about, about the techs, about class politics of that kind of attacks.

Mack:

Yeah. Uh, I was, I was like, you know, I don't really know a lot about French politics, but it, it seemed like, um, the, the sales tax was sort of construed by a lot of French people from what I've read anyway as sort of like a direct attack on regular people rather than a pulling the taxes from, uh, other, uh, other sources of revenue, but it's like a direct fuel tax on, uh, on these people, on the outskirts of the areas like you said.

Emily:

Uh, yeah. So, I mean, the class politics of that are. Yeah, that's exactly right. Because there's quite a few, you know, there's quite a slop of the population. It doesn't pay income tax. Um, and so for that reason, there was, this one was one member of parliaments, I forget her name, but she was part of the, of medical issues, like we should make everyone pay taxes every year that they make and you know, it's like, well, people do, everyone does pay taxes because they pay sales tax and it's a flat tax so that, you know, that in itself, um, you know, has a disproportionate impact on poor people because it's a flat tax. So right off the bat that's already the case. And then also in terms of like the transportation infrastructure, um, in the politics of transit, and you mean the people who are going to be really affected by this are people who, who need a car and have no other option for transportation. So that's people in rural areas where there are no train stations and you know, in fact train station or train lines, rail lines in rural areas have been suffering from a dramatic cuts or maybe they never had rail lines at all because it wasn't viewed as an important of transit corridor and all of the, all of the transportation infrastructure is very paracentric like you have to go into Paris. Relates to get anywhere else pretty much. Um, so yeah, so people, so you know, a lot of people have cars, um, because they cannot, they cannot go without them, um, in the and also in the, in the bond use. So those are the, the excerpts like the working class largely working class, um, you know, outer rims of cities and the, you know, of Paris and elsewhere. And those are also, I'm not very well served by transit. Um, so, so it's kind of the same

Sauce:

myself being a child of A. Well, I'm not going to say exactly, but uh, having memories of the 19 nineties and at the time I lived in the UK, um, I do, I do recall that a French, a truck drivers having a very strong, very strong line in like physically barring roads during strikes in the 19 nineties at. Do you, do you know if those sorts of tactics have been, had been happening with the Malaysian or is it been because most of what I've seen has been people on foot. Has there been any kind of, um, I suppose effect on effecting our infrastructure or any kind of vehicle based protests?

Emily:

Yeah, I mean there's a long tradition in France. Have blockading roads or streets or means of eager asked. I mean I'm referring to the, you know, the bear kids and actually the whole redesign of Paris by a baron Haussmann in the, in the, I believe in the 19th century was all of these big boulevards that were built were, they did that to kind of keep people from being able to build barricades in them. Like inscribed in the urban geography forever. Man,

Mack:

you really got them running scared when they remap the city for you.

Emily:

Yes.

Sauce:

The bridges in a, I think in New York that are put with purposefully built so short that you couldn't fit a bus underneath them because they didn't have people who use transit in certain areas of the city.

Emily:

Yeah, yes. Yeah. Robert Moses built, you know, the road to Jones beach. He builds a bridge over it so that people being basically didn't want black people going to Jones beach and he was like, well, a lot about the black people take the bus to go to Jones beach. So I'm going to build a, um, a bridge than buses cannot clear. Um, so yeah, I mean people can read about that in the power broker if they want. But yeah, no, definitely in this, uh, in this, in this genre, in this protest movement, there has been a lot of blockading of like rounded that's all over the, all over the country. And then, um, yeah, there is like there have also been, uh, yeah, I think, yeah, I think there also been in Paris, definitely. Uh, there has been some roadblocks and things of that nature and of course, like, you know, if you want to talk about like card-based protests in a general sense, like some cars had been torched as well. So that's like, I guess that counts.

Mack:

Yeah. I definitely saw a video of a, of a, of a flaming car being dropped on a toll booth from a forklift that really peaked my interest and we're going to be honest, claiming limo from the inauguration.

Sauce:

So actually speaking of things that peaked my interest. Um, and I suppose also also mine, my, my understanding at the very beginning of these protests was that they, um, they originated from, um, this hike in the tax, but they weren't, they didn't really have, um, a, the kind of left wind character that kind of would instantly send, you know, the US left online on twitter to talk about how uh, in fact, the, the general message I was hearing was that they were, they were kind of right wing protests and gradually, uh, the sentiment has shifted. And um, I was wondering

Mack:

if that is because the makeup of the protest has changed or is it more kind of support for any kind of insurrection?

Emily:

Uh, yeah, I think that's a little bit of color, a little bit of column view. I mean, I think I too at the start was like, this is probably a, I saw that it would be, I'm sort of right wing because, well like kind of car owners as a constituency are not the most, you know, flaming red and our kiss types. Like, you know, our owners like, you know, maybe some of the more liberal in other senses. But as car owners like in their politics as car owner is like your odds in pretty conservative and like, you know, have an anti collected this. Um, I mean like, I dunno reporting on New York, you see a lot of Colorado's organizing to like to make sure that their convenience in their parking spots, like supersede other people's lives and safety. So, you know, I did not expect a much. Sorry, that was a bit of a digression. No, I,

Mack:

I live in a city that's almost entirely a, I didn't own a car until five years ago, but it like in a medium sized midwestern city, uh, like everyone who owns a car and it is the, uh, the politics of those places really reflected in that there's not really sort of like the, uh, mobile common square that you have in like more of a dense places. So yeah, I get that. Definitely.

Emily:

Yeah. Um, and so I, I mean, I kind of like had a certain idea. I'm also, yeah, I mean like my family is from a rural area, my French families from a rural area and they're pretty conservative and so I kind of had that assumption. Um, but yeah, I see. It seems like this is the thing that I think that the historical reference that people first had for this, um, for this protest movement was, you know, I mean it was in 1953, there was this, there was this populist, this populist sort of protest by like small town shop keepers. There's an antitoxin protest and it was, um, it was basically like the sort of small business owners who were protesting like the, the arrival of like big supermarkets into, into their communities and it was harness. This whole movement was harnessed by, um, it kind of just like bigoted political figure called Roland barthes writes about him in this essay called project and the intellectuals and he kind of turned it into a conflict about not, not the working class against the ruling class, you know, not like the small town, like peripheral people against the rulers who keep in downtrodden, but the real French with like good French names like drupal and hall and like this sort of like the true friends against, um, you know, what he saw is like this Jewish and communism intellectual cabal against like the rural, a salt of the earth people. And I think that's what, like, I think that's what people associated with this, with this protested there at first. Like I think that's what they saw as the closest analog. Um, but, but yeah, but then it kind of shifted because like different kinds of people, um, start enjoining started joining the movement. There were people like from the new, so like largely black and brown people and they joined the protest because, I mean they were also kind of affected by this measure. I think that the reason that the, she got all of this press coverage at first and we're kind of like not immediately just dismissed by the press as like inconsequential and foolish and stupid was because they were perceived as being like right wing in rural and white and it's kind of like this affects, is he in effect, it's like the trump voter in the US. It's like, oh we're, you know, this is the real America. We must listen. We must, you know, interpret, interpret a message and like look deep into their soul because there's the soul of America. I mean you like that was kind of like the also with the media was giving off like in their initial coverage of the Ge digital and like, because they were seen as right wing and then it got broader. It became more of a big 10 became essentially, I mean, I think what unites everyone in that movement is that they're antimicrobial and they're, they're anti austerity.

Mack:

I was going to say like this, the whole thing seems to have evolved into a referendum on a micron and, and uh, and his politics and it, it's almost a for when I ended, it's almost as if this was most of the, uh, other than the initial, I'm a yellow vest that, uh, started the protest and that it's just sort of a, it's kind of like the last straw for everyone else.

Emily:

Yeah, exactly. It kind of, um, I mean, I think like once it, once it became clear that it was not a onetime thing, um, and then it was like gaining steam and also that the media was giving them consideration. Uh, then yeah, I think like more people joined. I mean, for example, there was a feminist protests and anti, um, you know, have a protest against violence against women. That was like the day before the first protest and like nobody could cover the feminist process and they all covered this. You digital the protests and I think like the fact that it didn't use the language of the left is, you know, unfortunately that's why they were taken seriously by. It's like the, uh, the traditional difference between what is, what is characterized in the media as a protest versus what is characterized in the media as a riot. Oh, absolutely. I mean like the, the protest slash riots in 2005, um, or, you know, I would even go so far as to call it an uprising that happened in, um, in the outer periphery of Paris. I mean like, yeah, those were not even as scrubbed any political, a political meeting at all or having any political aims. It was just like, it was honestly just seen as like an outburst of violence that had no rhyme or reason. So yeah, it's definitely, you know, definitely affected by like who was doing the protesting. Um, I mean, yeah, to your point earlier, I think it is not, it isn't, you know, the movement is not. Well I, you know, I even hesitate to call it a movement because it's not, you know, it's not like something with one ideology or one stroke, it's not structured or anything like that, but mostly like the traditional language of, of leftism isn't being used in different political parties have tried to cooperate it or channel it or something. But it doesn't really quite take ever. And even the different labor unions that are traditionally I'm really central to most protests. Like they haven't really been put at the center of it either. And like I think it seems like there was like overall I will to not work through traditional political structures like political parties in unions because I mean, you know, those, those forms of political action are kind of known quantities. It's like, you know, the traditional protest is there's a whole procession you have. I on a, it's a whole procession and it's like the union, the union goes first with their, like sort of Marshall's and then the black blocks go over here and then the political parties each go in their respective order and then the, the Association and the Community Associations Lineup and like, and then there's the, you know, the sound system and it's like all very sort of prescribed and I feel like probably, you know, that's when people have been doing for 50 years or so and if it's not really, I'm not really worked. And like all that happens is that uh, you know, political and economic rights are just like widdled down bit by bit and it's like, well why do the same, the same old thing. Right. And why rely on this?

Sauce:

And it's perfectly okay for you to curse on this podcast by the way, just in just in case you were choosing your words carefully, like we cuss up a storm.

Emily:

Oh, okay. I'm going to choose my words carefully anyway, but thank you. That's good to know.

Sauce:

So you think maybe maybe the US left in order for us to, to get media attention, we should start boulevard protests pretending to be right. Witness.

Emily:

Yeah, I dunno, I have no, uh, I'm not going to like pretend that I have like a, of organizing experience or, or anything like that, you know? Uh, I mean, I know a lot of people like to like to tweet as though they do grant recommendations. I really hesitate to give recommendations of like, what to do in the future. Um, but, but I think that yeah, it is true that like, uh, you know, political action that appears like very right wing, like can get more respect because it's like, I don't know, it's just like, it just ends up being seen as like more genuine.

Sauce:

Yeah. My sister

Emily:

for example, which is just the complete astroturf operation and was like, oh no, you know, there's a real America and they're just like concerned about taxes, you know. And meanwhile they were funded by, uh, these gazillionaires, uh, but they were right wing. So, you know, they got taken seriously

Sauce:

and um, you know, uh, because leftist organizers and protests are genuinely hopefully genuinely threatening to capital of the institutions and companies that are really what would not be doing so well if capitalism ended, have a vested interest kind of in making sure that such ideas don't make it out to the public and whether that is explicitly known and agreed upon by media outlets or whether it's just kind of a implicit, a subtext Julie like delivered it just that tends to be the way that those media decisions get made. I'm, I'm, I'm, uh, about two thirds of the way through the introduction to Chomsky's manufacturing consent. I've been at that point for 10 months now, so I couldn't tell you what else Chomsky says about this kind of thing, but it seems like something that book is about.

Mack:

I think that about. Yeah, I think you got it.

Sauce:

Alright, wonderful. Well, uh, so, so no ms dot canceled and uh, just me, just something to get on the Internet. Uh, I'm taking up this position.

Mack:

Congrats on your new job at Mit.

Sauce:

Thank you. Thank you. I am, I'm very, very excited to have become a staff person at the um, I cannot think of a funny thing for that acronym. So sorry. I will roll into another question to try and hide that big mistake on my part. And we do see, especially those of us in the U. S we see this idea of a big tent organization of big tent protests, big tent actions. And you, you even mentioned you even use the phrase big tent when you're talking about. Do you, do you see that kind of movements with, with more disparate elements? Do you see that as being something, something new to French protests in French politics or is this something that's kind of, um, happened before?

Emily:

I think it's like a bigger tent than usual. Um, there is, you know, there is some precedent for it, um, because, because, you know, like most protests that happened or against a specific specific measure, you know, like in a few years ago there was um, the needs of the up all night movement that was against this labor law reform and that kind of brought in a bunch of people. Um, you know, and like 1995, there was this general stray against like whatever she was doing at the time and whatever. But um, but yeah, did she, they're like an exceptionally big tent and there is such a big term that, that yes, there are like right wingers in their midst, I feel like I kind of like made it seem like there weren't any and it was like ideologically pure or whatever. Um, but, uh, yeah, I mean it's like, you know, it's every, it's like from communist voters to, um, to a fullness in the or now they're the, they're not the fullness of their, the, as I said, the hustle, but then Marine Le Ten party. Um, so maybe that's attempt. It's like too big for a lot of people to stomach and like that would be very fair. Like especially people who aren't white men. It reminds me, I apologize,

Mack:

it reminds me of the hand tie globalization protests in the United States and other areas in Europe, uh, in the, in the nineties, in that there was, um, a whole bunch of people there against the sort of like, um, uh, uh, I gave nwl policies put forward by George Hw Bush for a whole lot of different reasons. You know, you had your sort of anti immigration nationalists in the same room is sort of like a labor union is trying to preserve their jobs to fight Nafta. Um, it, it kind of reminds me of that, that the space in, uh, with the, with the lls seems a lot more contested in the streets than that did. Um, but that's, that's what came to my mind the more I dug into this is that it sort of reminds me of the, uh, the, the early days of like the anti globalization infrastructure.

Emily:

Uh, yeah, I think that's a really, really good analog to this. And I mean, you know, similarly to, in the US, a lot of the, like the, you know, these rural deindustrialized regions that like are now the sort of domain of, of the, of the little pens are kind of like, they used to be all voting communist pre the fall of the Berlin Wall. Um, but you know, like I guess like these are like these are, this is a constituency like of, you know, what people are experiencing economic oppression or whatever. And then they started buying into the extreme right of who is to blame for their problems.

Mack:

So it's like, you know, it's like that electorate of the formula of the communist party like has kind of become like fullness united voters. Um, and these are kind of like, you know, these are the same people that make up part of the judicial and constituency and like maybe, you know, maybe this is an opportunity for like for antiracist movements to like, um, you know, just like to pick them back off again and to get them to see the fn not as part of the solution. But part of the problem. Um, I don't know where I was going with that, the contested space in the streets. I mean, yeah, there's like, there's kind of been like a whole, like there has been, like just kind of struggles, a sort of like mini war between like antsy quote Unquote Antifa. I just like, I guess they actually do just call themselves an antibody and um, and like described nationalists.

Emily:

Um, so there was a, a group called the external Paul says, which is a royalist far right, a organization that was like in the sort of within the, within the larger group of the vision and the, and the antifascists started to, you know, there's like to try to eject them from, uh, from the US. But I, you know, I'm not gonna say that like that they've all been thrown out of a protest. But um, they're, you know, they're not like their presence in there is not uncontested there. I mean, yeah, a lot of the, a lot of this sort of like traditional, like sort of right wing militia type groups are trying to get in there and trying to, you know, to have their piece of the Pie, but uh, but yeah, certainly like the ants eat or not or not like letting that happen, uh, with, you know, they're not going to take it lying down. There were people who held a mass in honor of marines when net on the anniversary of her death. That was like a lot. It was kind of was too much. I mean, not on wireless or like fascist street and Alicia's, but he's, a lot of them were just like very, very nice bourgeois people from 16,000 smaller whatever. But yeah, they uh, they definitely exists is fascinating to me. Okay. There's three pretenders to throne in three distinct pretenders to the throne. I need to find this information because like, shockingly, I did not prepped for that question ahead of time. I don't know. I didn't expect that, but yeah, I really, I really should. Anytime I'm interviewed about France, I should be prepared to this course on royalism. Really just a shine. We have oversight on my part. Hold on. Okay. Okay. Yeah. So the, as of May 2018, which is when I tweeted out this screenshot of tenders to the throne of France, there's one who is, so there's one called Louisa global and he's kind of a 40 something looking kind of Tan, reasonably attractive kind of guy. Um, so he's from the house of Bourbon. Then there's from the Orleans a line nail, he looks like a vampire and then the artists, the descendant of like the bonus part. So he would be human, be kind of a candidate to be emperor I guess. So his name is, he looks like he goes to business school. So that's of those. Is this your king? I'm picked to like sense of the good team. There's like a trading card. Oh yeah. Um, I dunno honestly, the Napoleon one is like really reminds me of metformin. So I dunno, I would rather just go with the original rather than the copy. I'm going to go with the burden. Yeah.

Sauce:

Do you think that these protests and the opposition to austerity measures and neoliberalism, do you think that they're an automatic win for Le Pen the next time? There are elections?

Emily:

Not necessarily. I mean, like right now there's a poll that just came out today that, that puts those for last year and then at like, you know, what kind of a plurality of the electorate, like um, so they're kind of ahead in the polls, but they only have 24 percent, uh, you know, current that. So that's not really a huge. Um, and what it seems it seems that, uh, if you look at like who would potentially vote for one political party is, there was one, um, it seems like those voters are taken from the electorate of the existence of the SSN and also a nationalist movement and of the Socialist Party. I mean, I don't think that it's, I wouldn't say that it's necessarily a win for Marine Le Pen because again, I think like just party politics is part of the system that's being announced. So, I mean, as much as, as much as different, right wing parties have tried to kind of co ops that I think, I think like for, you know, for better or worse or, you know, signing out for better. But uh, the opposition, the opposition, the Metformin, he's kind of always going to be like, you know, it's always gonna be like as far left and the far right tussling over, like who gets this piece of the electorate in less and less the last really like substance game up and stops doing the same thing. It's always done. And I mean certainly the Socialist Party and the way that they like completely slid to the right during the presidency is part of the reason that we're in this situation. Um, so like the Socialist Party just went full speed ahead into neoliberalism and I'm into frankly like right wing identity politics, you know, Andrea loans, especially with his friend minister in advance who is kind of like, you know, point, he's just like a conservative. You look at, if you look at his actual ideas, um, I mean it would be kind of surprised. I think the next upcoming elections or the European, the European Parliament elections, I believe and I don't know, I would be like, I'd be pretty shocked to see like a resounding when Penn. Yeah, I mean, yeah. This thing is that like ellen's world politics is kind of the antithesis of what of what this movement is controlling institutional. So I don't. Yeah, I don't really know who benefits from this. I would like a lot of digital and the members of like the protesters are people who would usually not. Um, so I'm not sure how like them becoming politicized is going to play out honestly. I was looking over some of the demands and there's stuff about, it seems really conflicted like anyone can post on facebook, like, you know, it closes as like these are the conditions of men's know because yeah, there are people like in these protests like you know, who are st luke's, abolish borders and their people in a protest saying kick out refugees. And That's kind of like a, something I wanted to touch on as well that like I kind of hEar two arguments being made simultaneously about them. The first one or not coherent, organized and the like, and it's bad. I may need to like be serious and put together a platform and, and have spokespeople and also, you know, at the state in the same breath, I hear that what's driving them is like reactionary ideas and racism. So it's like, you know, people should make up their minds, um, go with, I is wrong with uh, with this, uh, this protest movement, but certainly if you look at like, you know, the kind of tv appearances of people who have been appointed as a sort of spokes people, representatives who have gone on tv and held their own against members of parliament and government ministers and stuff, which I found that I've done it very impressive because these are people who are like professionals with communication and then like someone who is just like a working stiff who doesn't necessarily have no media training is like just wiping the floor with them. Um, but yeah, the arguments that like is that the decisions people are making or like about an economic oppression about austerity and they're, they're like very clearly saying like this is not just about the fuel tax and no, you can't just like bios or required us down with like, you know, a slight increase in the minimum wage. Like we don't, we're not going to be, you know, we're not going to be pacified as crumbs anymore. Like we want something that really is very different from what's happening now. So that's kind of, it's kind of cool to see. Um, you know, it's like people like on television who are on french television, which is usually like just this cesspool of smug, a pseudo intellectual bad faith and you know, people come in and our dislike. No, excuse me, like you need to stop bullshitting and I'm not going to lick your boots. Like every other sort of professional communicator who comes on tv, that's a push. Whatever agenda they have, like I'm going to actually be real. That waS super cool to see.

Mack:

There's some pretty Interesting demands here. one, one of, one of the ones that caught me was abolishing the senate and citizen legislative reforms for, for citizens to pass their own laws.

Emily:

Oh yeah. Like a. Yeah, a referendum. Yeah. So I, yeah, I have a take on that. Also abolishing the senate is like a pretty cool, the branches things amends because the senate is made up of. So I should leave the senate is elected by uh, other elected officials like mayors and uh, and city councilors and stuff like that. So it's like not representative democracy. I mean in the senate. Um, so like that is kind of like an easY target in terms of like if you're a movement that wants like more more representative institutions. Um, and then the referendum Is like, I mean it's interesting choice and like, you know, it seems like a very intuitive thing to propose. But um, I don't know if you look at like other countries where they've had that for a long time, like Switzerland. It's like, oh, this is not necessarily always like, like anyone can put anything up for a referendum, you know, and like they only need like to have one point five percent of the population approve it in order for it to, like to become a referendum. So in Switzerland, some of the latest referenda that some latest like measures that passed via referendum included like bending minarets. Um, so, you know, it's not necessarily a recipe for like, you know, super wonderful measures to get past. Um, there was actually, it was pretty unfortunate. Um, someone from the nationalist party, his name is eddie. Yeah. So someone from the student Is like sort of a left wing party was saying like, oh, well, I mean like the reference and could potentially be used to, you know, to call a lot of things. It's your question and maybe, um, maybe, you know, there are people who will, who will use it to put to a referendum, you know, gay marriage and like try to sort of re litigate that and you know, it's fine if people do that because like we have a democracy and we have like, you know, a free exchange of ideas or whatever, like a marketplace of ideas. And so he kind of like didn't really, you didn't really think that it was valid for people to worry about like the rights of minorities being threatened via like for referendum measures. Um, so, you know, I think that's a worrying that a lot of people have this, like a lot of people who are like minorities have about that. I'm like, it seems like it's, you know, it gives the impression of life. But look, this is like, this is the will of the people and we're abiding by the will of the people in there for like everything that this government does is like perfectly democratic and representative. Um, yeah. I'm not. Yeah, I'm a little bit, I'm a little bit, uh, uncertain about, about that measure. It has the late nineties open democracy feel, the managerial politics kind of thing. Kind of like a gimmick almost. Yeah. Yeah. And the french government to build out of this. Still maintaining that power and their authority. I mean like, yeah, I dunno. I think so they passed, they just passed like an absolute urgency of sort of package of laws that were supposed to address those demands. And also they have since like, you know, like a few days ago or maybe last week, they like, they fully just like abandoned the, the tax hike on diesel. um, so that is kind of like, you know, but that didn't really stop anything like this emergency law. It was an emergency, like legislative package is going to stop anything either. So what woUld they have voted um, is um, the. Sorry, I'm translating this french jargon into american jargon, removal of the tax on over time is one of the, was one of the measures and then um, there was a minimum or you know, there was a form of a minimum wage increase in the form of some kind of bonus. I'm not sure like what the, what the term for it is, but it's like she make minimum wage, you get like some kind of bonus. The thing about that is, you know, of course they had to like to make it over complicated in a technocratic and like not really just because the way they did it was like if you make minimum wage but you live in a household where someone else makes like above a certain amount, I think it's like 2100 euros a month is the threshold. So like if I make minimum wage but like my husband makes 2100 euros a month that I don't get that, that minimum wage increase. And it usually is like people who make minimum wage, who live in a household with someone who makes a lot more. Those are usually women right? Those are usually like women who are married to men and so even even in what they were trying to, I guess frame it as this nice little a measure that was like catnip for the people that I still found a way to make it like completely inequitable. So I mean it's not really looking good. So according to a, according to a conservative and p and I think it's like this checks out of only about half of minimum wage workers are going to get that little bump. So. So that seems like not really. It seems like you've learned not really going to be consensus with that and like, uh, there's been a, the actual, the next thing that people are going to do is they're going to block the produce market in hong. She's so it's kinda like the biggest market in France and it's like, you know, around christmas time it's kind of a huge deal. Um, and so that's kind of, that's the next thing that's in the works. So yeah, I don't think, I don't think it's going to stop here. And certainly metformin has kind of like, you know, his image has been kind of like shattered, you know, I mean even like in the eyes of people who thought that he had a perfect image in the first place, which is not everybody, you know, it's kind of like when people are comparing this to the arab spring, which you know, that that comparison is not very flattering to him. Um, but yeah, but again, as with the arab spring, it's like maybe, maybe, you know, it'd be like one ruler is like, in fact at the same old system, kind of like sales a vacuum and takes his place. Um, and not much real change actually happens. Uh, so I don't really have any like any predictions.

Mack:

So obviously these people are the seeds of the sixth republic. Uh, the reestablishment of the paris commune.

Emily:

Yeah. Yeah. It's going to be great. Parents come to the massacre at the end by the military. You don't have to do that one.

Sauce:

So we're coming up on an hour right now. And I know that we can take four or five hours, but is there anything that you wanted to cover on this topic that we haven't already asked you about?

Emily:

Um, yeah, I dunno. I, I think, I think you were pretty thorough, but yeah, if you have other questions that you want to ask, I could also spend forever talking about this. Honestly,

Mack:

the only questions I had left were extremely sort of lefty vagueness. This type of protest situation seems fairly typical through France, like every 10 to 15 years there seems to be some in the streets crisis for the government. So as they thinking about how the french government usually does with mccrone did except usually more competently a bike and cd to these movements after a certain point. I guess my vague left deism was a, is this a sustainable way for the fifth republic to maintain power because it seems so common.

Emily:

Yeah. I mean, like, I think this goes to like the roots of the fifth republic because in 1958 at the height of the algerian war of independence, the french are like, oh, charles de gaulle, like come save us and be our president and like solve this Algeria thing for us. And he was like, okay. So yes, let me rewrite the constitution so that like, I have a lot more power. Um, and so, you know, when you have a constitution that was kind of debuted under those circumstances, like, you know, the president having like, you know, like, like it's, it's a more presidential center regime than any other in the western world. Like in terms of like the legal rights of the president. Um, and so, you know, and like, you know, you just have like a string of like very unpopular presidents, especially after the, um, in 2002 or 2007. It went from being a seven year presidential term and a five year term for parliament to like both of those elections, legislative elections and presidential elections happening at the same time. So like you were before you had a cohabitation of two parties, usually party a presidency, like never had the parliament, so you had like this cohabitation, um, which kind of pulls both parties for the center towards compromise and like whatever. I'm not like in love with bipartisanship, but like it kind of like maintained an equilibrium and then like you stopped having that um, after, um, yeah, you stopped having that after 2002. Uh, so, so yeah, so like you have less presidents with like she just like implement, like their whole agenda, kind of steam roll. Everybody, um, because they have like an absolute majority and then at the end everyone hates them and like if they get voted out and replaced by like the other guy that our guys, same thing and everyone hates him and so on and so forth. Um, so I mean, yeah, this is kind of like, I think this is sort of a symptom of this larger, um, this larger problem of like cults of personality and like, you know, authoritarian personalities being in power. Um, and yeah, like we have like, you know, we had these regular, like big protest every 10 years. I think part of that is that, I mean as much as the police in France, you know, violent, like, and you know, a particular towards certain people, I think like there's much less repressive of protest historically and in the, you know, in the 20th century when those protesters are, are predominantly white, it's much less a repressive of process than the us police. Um, and so like, you know, yes, there's a tradition of milton's ism and all that stuff, but it's also the police kind of like allowed as much as it was happening to happen. Um, and now the police is like kind of toughening up a little bit. Like, especially since I would say since like suck cuisine. I'm like, that's, you know, you see it, it's kind of like hardening and like now it's like just tear gas straight away. Um, you know, it's like riot police straight away, um, you know, kettling people. So it's really, you know, it's really starting to be like the police is starting to see more militarized. I think that is what a people are detecting that shifts, um, especially in the context of like these new anti terror laws. Um, you know, there was this, there was this national security law was voted that basically put the state of emergency I'm into, you know, it's a permanent application. Um, and so that gave the police a lot of, you know, a lot of power in terms like search and seizure. Um, so I think like, I think policing has evolved in a, in a way where like, you know, the clash between the protesters and the government is becoming more violent and heightened. Um, and so yeah, I mean I think that is maybe part of what's led us to what seems like a breaking point is, uh, is it sort of the conflict is heightened.

Sauce:

Well, emIly, this has been fantastic. Thank you so much for giving us your time. If our listeners want to read more of what you worked on, more of what you've worked on and follow you, where can they find you?

Emily:

Um, so they can find me on twitter. My handle is snarlsdugaulle. Um, should I spell that? That's my favorite. Oh, thank you. Thank you. Yeah, it's spelled s n a r l s d u g a u l l snarls the goal. That's me. Every time I just. I am so pleased. I just want to make people laugh.

Sauce:

Pulled it off. thank you very much. Thank you. Emily. You can find on twitter at smells to goal. Thank you mack, who you can find on twitter at incar country and I suppose thank you source who you can find on twitter at commonweal source. Listeners. have a wonderful day and we will be back hopefully fairly shortly.