10 Reasons The Gilets-Jeunes Are The Real Deal

Diversity is one of neo-Liberalism’s keywords, yet in thinking about such terms we should also recall Nietzsche’s axiom that things are only spoken about when they are disappearing. Here, however, in the Gilets, we have an example of true diversity, different in every way from the standard Neo-Liberal usage bombarding us every day.

The fundamental reason the Gilets Jaunes differs from any colour revolution or indeed any major revolution of the 20th century is precisely the manner in which this alternative diversity functions. The Gilets are making their own meanings within their own spaces of appearance: ‘where they are seen by others as others are seen by them’ (Arendt 1958). And they are making it through discussion.

Furthermore, these meanings are under their control and are held in common by the Giletswhatever their other differences. As the writer says “We’re all different with different ideas, but we have a common goal, We’re a lot then in a big family we fight but we meet every week”. This sociality creates meanings as an outcome of communal being-ness in common and these meanings remain under the control of the Gilets who made them. Differences, for instance over seeking election to the EU parliament, are simply tolerated.

Diversity of response and opinion is seen as a strength, not a weakness. There is no ideological template applicable to every context. Instead, as an anonymous ex-French Intel guy said last week on Le Media, one roundabout is full of young people, another full of black bloc, another full of older people and they are all talking with each other. Through this sociality and commonality, meaning is produced and then held communally because participants inside varied and infinite contexts (spaces of appearance) and repeated actions of sociality act these meanings in common. Focus is centred on their common interest i.e. the impossibility of existing in today’s France. Everything else is fluff.

Every week these participant meanings are sustained, built upon and maintained through more actions of sociality, more discussion and more actions. Communal meanings held and actioned in this way produce social power; because actioned meaning in common is precisely what social power is!

Furthermore, this unity in diversity utterly splinters all the demonizing and pathologizing names invented by the media and globalisers over the last thirty years as a means of divide and rule. These devised names applied to groups in society: work-shy; dole-bludgers; terrorists; anti-Semite; Russian Bot; racist; sexist and any of the plethora of names applied by the state and the MSM towards elements threatening the façade of Neo-Liberalism, are simply bypassed. As in many other things the Gilets simply refuse to recognise them.

I don’t know what the future holds but I do know that all these reasons taken together prove the Gilets Jaunes are the real deal for genuine change; not only in France but also in how the rest of the world conceives and practices politics itself.

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