Macron’s assault on living standards and liberty cannot be ignored any longer.
So let us be very clear. It is not the Yellow Vests that are xenophobic and racist, but increasingly large components of the French elite. The elites will not hesitate for a moment, when the post-Macron era comes, to entrust power to the far right if necessary.
That is to say, if their odiously iniquitous capitalist order were really threatened; if the French people, thirsty for justice, their hearts full of renewed hopes, shouting for their joy in regaining their dignity, gathered in revolt and aware of their strength, managed to get back on their feet, to become masters of a collective future of solidarity and progress, then the elite would look to the ultra-right parties as their solution.
In a sense, 2018 is less like 1848 itself and more like the decades that preceded that tumultuous year. These were, in the words of Trygve Tholfsen in his 1977 study of working-class radicalism in the run-up to 1848, ‘hungry decades’ – decades in which disgruntlement and radicalism bristled and grew before exploding in firm demands for change. And though many people were alarmingly poor in these ‘hungry decades’, it wasn’t their ‘immediate deprivation’ that drove them to organise and take action, says Tholfsen; rather, their instinct for revolt was built on ‘solid intellectual foundations’ and it expressed a ‘denial of the legitimacy of the social and political order’.