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The Yellow Jackets Versus the European Empire

The Yellow Jackets Versus the European Empire

Today, the search is on for a larger explanation of the mayhem. Needless to say, some are blaming Putin. Yet until such time as Russian agent provocateurs are found in the streets of Paris, it’s hard to conclude that Muscovite incitement is anything more than schadenfreude via the Internet.

Speaking of the Internet, on December 6, Buzzfeed argued, “The yellow jackets are a beast born almost entirely from Facebook.” That is, Mark Zuckerberg’s company is the problem. As the article asserts, “The yellow jackets communicate almost entirely on small, decentralized Facebook pages.”

This description of the yellow jackets’ preferred medium might well be accurate, but it’s also true that activists, even revolutionaries, found ways of communicating before electricity, to say nothing of social media.

Thus we must conclude that the key driver of the protests isn’t an app but rather larger anger at the status quo. As Bloomberg News noted briefly on December 7, an additional flashpoint has been “declining services in rural and small-town France.” Le Figaro put the matter in much starker terms on November 16: “For a long time, peripheral France and its inhabitants have been immolated on the altar of globalization.”

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