The 'gilets jaunes' protests: the battle for equality


The revolt of the 'gilets jaunes', the protesters whose symbol is their yellow hi-vis jackets, is aimed against tax injustice and arbitrary behaviour by the French state. What drives it is that which lies at the heart of of all emancipatory struggles: the demand for equality. Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel argues that its political future will depend on its willingness to embrace common cause with others movements who are advocating equality for all.

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The revolt of the 'gilets jaunes', the protesters in yellow hi-vis jackets, is a natural occurrence: unprecedented, inventive and uncontrollable. Like all spontaneous outpourings of the people it has swept past existing organisations, shaken up professional commentators and thrown those in government into panic. Like all collective social struggles it invents itself from day to day, in a political creation with no pre-established agenda and where self-organisation is the only determining factor. Like all popular mobilisations, it takes France as it is, with all its diversity and plurality, its miseries and its grandeur, its sense of solidarity and its prejudices, its hopes and its acrimonies.