French Politicians Defeated by Protesters. Gov't Reportedly Caves on Leftist Tax Hikes


The French seem to have found a wonderful way to mark the 50th anniversary of the country’s 1968 student riots: A much-delayed sequel.

As sequels usually tend to be, this one is a bit disappointing. There aren’t soixante-huitards graffitiing nonsense slogans like “Take your dreams for reality” and “Be realistic, demand the impossible” on the walls. There aren’t the romantic visions of students sucking on lemons to counteract the tear gas the Gaullist police forces were using upon them. The Stone Roses, if they ever do re-form, probably aren’t going to release an album influenced by this round of riots.

The only thing to be said for “Paris is Burning 2: Electric Boogaloo” is that the rioters actually kind of have a point. Instead of formless student occupations, they’re protesting the fact that their country was about to levy draconian taxes on gasoline. Also, unlike the May ’68 protesters, it seems like the yellow vests movement has succeeded in achieving its aims.

Multiple sources reported Tuesday that the French government was about to suspend the proposed gas taxes to quell the weeks of protests, many of which have turned violent.

Reuters noted “would mark a major U-turn by President Emmanuel Macron after 18 months in office.”

'The View' Audience 'Gleeful' at Idea of Trump Jailed, Until Whoopi Reminds Them of Cold, Hard Fact

The announcement was due to be made by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe. News reports were unclear about whether it would be a moratorium on the taxes or whether the latest round of tax increases would be abandoned entirely.

The fuel taxes have been a major part of the agenda of French President Emmanuel Macron, who has insisted that the taxes are necessary for combatting climate change.

His constituents, apparently, disagree.

“The so-called ‘yellow vest’ movement, which started on Nov. 17 as a social-media-organized protest group named for the high-visibility jackets all motorists in France must have in their cars, has focused on denouncing a squeeze on household spending brought about by Macron’s taxes on fuel,” Reuters reported.

Do you think that France's "yellow vest" protesters were in the right?

“However, over the past three weeks the protests have evolved into a wider anti-Macron uprising, with many criticizing the president for pursuing policies they say favor the rich and do nothing to help the working poor.”

The move to tax gasoline in order to discourage its use was met with anger among rural and suburban French, who tend to use their cars more. When the government said it was prepared to go ahead with another round of tax increases in January, anger mounted to the point where the yellow vest brigade took to the streets.

Keep in mind that this anger comes at a time when gas prices are generally low by French standards, a gallon of petrol costs an average of about $6.60 in France. The average in the U.S., according to the AAA, is currently $2.44.

Macron, the 40-year-old boy wonder of European politics, has tried to position himself as a progressive technocrat, something which has earned him the sobriquet “president of the rich” among French people, Reuters reported.

“He has said repeatedly that he will not back down but with his ratings barely above 20 percent and with other major changes in the pipeline, including pensions reform, party officials say he needs to find a way of cooling the turbulent atmosphere,” Reuters reported.

The Final Line of Biden's 'Pride Month' Proclamation Accidentally Shows Just How Far the US Has Fallen

“He is also aware that the anti-establishment fervor spurring the yellow vests on could spell trouble in next year’s European election.”

The European Parliament election could definitely be a boon for France’s Euroskeptic populists, particularly those allied with presidential challenger Marine Le Pen. While Macron isn’t up for election anytime soon, unrest like this could spell serious trouble — and it’s clear his government is listening.

No, he didn’t have to helicopter himself out of Paris like de Gaulle did during the ’68 riots. However, when the Arc de Triomphe is defaced and streets around the Champs Elysees are seeing serious damage, things aren’t good. They’re going to get a lot worse, too, if Macron thinks he can tax fossil fuels into oblivion.

Truth and Accuracy

Submit a Correction →

We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.

, , ,
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture