The headline says it all: “Thousands of French ‘yellow vests’ protest for fifth Saturday”:
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of French cities on Saturday in the fifth weekend of nationwide demonstrations against Emmanuel Macron’s government, despite calls to hold off after a gun attack in Strasbourg earlier this week.
In Paris, police were out in force to contain possible outbursts of violence. But several major stores, such as the Galeries Lafayette, were open to welcome Christmas shoppers.
Numbers were down compared to Saturday last week.
The critical hint in this news fragment regarding the likely trajectory of the yellow vest protests is not that the number of protesters are declining, nor that Macron’s government has managed to get a handle on containing them. Rather, the hint is prefigured in “Saturday”, the day of the week that has become a recurring moment in the protest.
Saturday is free time away from labor for the protesters. On this day they are free to shop for Christmas, work in their gardens, hang out with friends and family. Some choose to spend this free time protesting Macron’s policies.
Yet, by spending their free time protesting Macron’s policies,, yellow vest protesters concede their protest will not interfere with their wage labor. This seems to be an unconscious recognition of the limitations of their protests. The protesters don’t want to challenge the mode of production as a whole but only insofar as it impinges upon their position as wage slaves.
Can it become more?
With all the gibberish about communization coming from the continent recently, you would think so. The yellow vest protests are a direct challenge to that school.
Except for this brief exchange, however, as far as I can tell the communizers have been remarkably silent:
“…[The] disorder must be pushed further. The moment of the urban riot is itself the limit point of what is now happening: historically it corresponds with two modalities, either the seizure of state power or pushing the state into a crisis to then push for concessions. But this is not 1917, no seizure of state power to then realize a socialist program is conceivable, and we are not in 1968, there were will be no agreements made at Grenelle. To stick with the urban riot is to remain at a level where the movement still has politics. But if what manifested on Saturday in Paris and everywhere in France returns to the blockades, creates new ones and begins to truly “block the country,” that is to say, to seize itself and to decide from there on its future, one can imagine going from riot to uprising to revolution. But no one can say in which direction this is going, this thing running faster than the whole world: there is no better mark of revolutionary content than this. This movement, because it is a class struggle, bears all that can be today a communist revolution, including its limits, its dangers and its unpredictability: but to reach that point, it will probably be necessary to burn a great deal of things that stand between us, whether it’s cars or social relations.”
The pronouncement does not explain how the protest can be pushed further, but it sets this as the task.