The Yellow Vests in France

yellow jacket tax protester Many have been wondering what’s up avec des gilets jaunes.

DbT‘s editor is the farthest thing from an expert on French society, and has not set foot on French soil since 1987.

Nevertheless, since the automobile and its French accoutrements play such a central role in the thing, DbT hereby offers its official guess:

The Yellow Jacket movement is a rightist version of #Occupy.

Marine Le Pen is a big fan of the phenomenon, and is trying to ride its energy into new elections.

Meanwhile, the thing, like #Occupy, has neither leaders nor a coherent agenda, and is fueled by Twitter storms and pose-striking. Hence, it won’t last, and will have little effect.

None of which is to excuse Macron, who is a yuppie dunce bent on repackaging dangerous (witness the neo-fascist tendencies afoot) Reaganite dogmas.

Trying to sustain an automobile-centered way of life, however, is a losing gambit, in any form. Capitalism’s #1 machine is simply unsustainable under the given laws of physics, which are rather strict.

Cough Doctors

quack-doctor Chronic dry coughs are one symptom of lung cancer. Physicians who examine cigarette smokers with chronic dry coughs can take an xray to check for lung tumors, or send the smoker home to take cough syrup.

Huge and unsustainable use of petroleum is one symptom of cars-first transportation. Activists who aim to create sustainable societies can either attack cars-first transportation, or strike futile poses about “oil addiction.”

These two situations are precise analogs: Getting arrested in an attempt to win marginal twitches in the petroleum supply chain is precisely the same as sending a coughing cigarette smoker to the pharmacy for cough drops. Both are reckless evasions of duty.

Meanwhile, the eco-shirkers are now congratulating themselves for staging “the largest grassroots environmental protest in decades.”

ROFLMAO. Anything is bigger than nothing, right?

Social movements are rare and hard to organize. To succeed, they must choose the right targets and point in the direction of imaginable and meaningful victories.

To see instead this kind of wasted, deluded effort makes me profoundly sad, especially when activism on behalf of real transportation reform is something large chunks of public might come to support.