End of the world or end of the month, same fight.

vests in the midst

Translated from the French original published by ACTA

Photos credit NnoMan – Collectif OEIL

Never before had the Champs-Élysées truly been “the most beautiful avenue in the world”. For a day, this artery, this symbol of luxury, became the embodiment of a regained common power.

Yes, order managed to contain most of the disorder on and around the Champs – despite some more or less successful attempts at wild breakaways. Act XVIII gained in intensity what it lost in geographical extension. But, it was enough to hear the Yellow Vests chanting “revolution!” all afternoon. It was enough to see the crowd pull down the huge metal plaque that protected the Bulgari shop, carry it forward, and charge the police – bellowing “We won! We won!”. It was enough to see the banners come within a few meters of the Arc de Triomphe, the enemy retreat and flee behind the Louis Vuitton before our onslaught. In short, it was enough to be there to understand.

Despite the obvious imbalance of power, there was mad determination, rampant trust: people were no longer afraid. What matters in a riot is not the quantity of material damage, the number of broken windows, thrown stones or burned cars. No, what matters is qualitative. It's the collective energy deployed, and how this deployment transforms consciences. It's not the statistical losses inflicted on the enemy that count. It's the political and ideological forces liberated among the people.


The media and government, who obsess over the “1500 ultra-violent” who allegedly organized the violence, hide the truth. On March 16th, everyone on and around the Champs participated in one way or another in the riot.

Unlike the first few Acts, no one thought to intervene in the looting, destruction, or clashes with police. Flying glass and hammer blows met with enthusiastic cheers. For the thousands of people present, all this seemed perfectly logical – normal. As summarized in the suddenly lucid Le Monde: “During the first weeks of the movement, there were always demonstrators to protest against the looters. This time, nothing.”

This is what horrifies the government: it's impossible to divide those swept up in the event. What horror, to see peaceful moms and dads smiling for photos on the velvet sofas of Fouquet's aflame behind them. Castaner encouraged them time and again to dissociate from the “vandals”. But all that talk is vain, inaudible. The arrogance of the government and the brutality of its police have reached such heights that there is no room for dissociation.

This is further proof that popular uprisings shake up those who take part in them. They develop their convictions and certainties through contact with practice. Today, principled pacifism has almost disappeared from the Yellow Vests' marches. Naïvety about state repression, too, has waned. Remember those who, not long ago, pretended to be able to put Yellow Vests in this or that box? To assign one or another intrinsic ideological identity?


But who's to blame for this progressive “radicalization” of the Yellow Vests? Who managed to convince them that only antagonism pays, if not the government itself? The insurrection gained in three weeks what traditional social movements hadn't for decades. By giving in to the Yellow Vests’ demands in early December, Macron confirmed that the State only hears popular needs when it's forced to do so, when it can no longer do otherwise. The Yellow Vests have understood this perfectly:

“We realized that it's only when we shatter that we're heard.”

– Johnny, 37, day-care director

“It's great to smash, because the bourgeoisie is so safe in their bubble. They need to fear for their physical safety for them to let go.”

– Anne, a Toulouse postwoman, 33 ¹

That the movement again reached such a level of conflict after 18 weeks is already a remarkable fact. But the ultimatum of March 16 was not meant to be a last swan song, however flamboyant. Nothing could be more dangerous than satisfaction with Saturday. It only makes sense as a springboard. It's a matter of using this date to launch a new phase, to build a spring of struggle.

The strong parallel mobilizations for the climate and against police violence raised the burning question of coagulation. Because the riot, even if repeated, is insufficient. It must be linked to a revival of economic blockades and to the continuing work of political and strategic clarification. Éric Drouet recognized this on Saturday evening: the supervised walks were useless. Only overriding imposed frameworks and widespread sabotage of the economy can lead the movement to victory.

We have no choice: the first fruits of repressive response suggest what crushing the current movement will mean for everyone.

Translated from the original published by lundimatin.

“Our life expectancy doubled since the Paleolithic. Wolves too live twice as long in captivity. We’ve become a pitiful sight — a death sentence.”

The wall we’re breaking through wasn’t put up yesterday. We need historic perspective and a sweeping battle plan. The greatest dangers are vital.

Began by the failed tax, the fluorescent tide’s surge is unstoppable. The yellow submarine can’t turn around. Tax refusal ain’t nothing! What’s called “power” can always be reduced to extortion. Here the stickup is payment in goods or cash, there leeching energy from busy minds and overworked bodies. They divide and rule humanity by category: inmates, prisoners of war, slaves, natives, women, workers, consumers, students, etc.

When we refuse to pay up, we have the chance to discover that as the fight goes on all these imposed debts are intolerable. Anger is infinite. After twelve Acts, the Yellow Vest uprising is mature. Ready to confront what animates, what rumbles in the abyss of our epoch, it declares: the economy is a countdown to extinction.

Power proposes a brilliant solution: tax the apocalypse. By economizing the economy, experts expect to delay the delay. Like the rest of us, they know the best thing would be to defuse the bomb. But the best is the enemy of their good: their property. They know well that the real response is to change our way of life. It’s an historic change — a great mutation that will bury them in the ashes of their petty power. They find it difficult to accept their place in the dustbin of history, and prefer to ape the role of brutal moron. They are, after all, heirs of republican tradition.

You’ll see, the rulers won’t teach us “ecological transition.” We will teach ecology without transition. We must learn step by step to live without them. This is how the poor wage war against the rich: defeat the world that makes poor and rich — Planet Money. We’re maladapted to Planet Money. Good! The time’s come to adapt to another planet.

The time has come for “Homo Economicus” to go extinct! Our domestication and infantilization bear his name. Little “Sapiens” will rise again. For ten thousand years we’ve unlearned how to love the strange lifeforms classified by species. We’ve let our instincts run amok. We’ve colonized everywhere and appropriated everything. We’ve made reality a factory. As if to protect our innate excesses, we started producing our environment.

We detached ourselves from the world when we attached ourselves to producing it. We’ve invented infinite, interwoven objective conditions. Society is this complex mesh: a prison. Disgusted by what we don’t understand, we’ve tried to expunge our animal nature to an absurd degree. All today’s refinement renders us goldfish — with no one to clean our bowl.

Our life expectancy doubled since the Paleolithic. Wolves too live twice as long in captivity. We’ve become a pitiful sight — a death sentence. The more we’re integrated, the deeper we’re depressed. Social production culminates in mass isolation. Pacification, the march of civilization, is war against the world. Still, we can’t escape by locking ourselves up in guilt, the living hell. All are not equally to blame. Punitive ecology begins with a lie, a towering injustice that overshadows the climate scandal itself. From this perspective the most reasonable response is “fuck it.” No! We must get it through our skulls that to undo the civilized fabric we must create something else.

Belonging is the most beautiful feeling in the world. That’s why we must always fight our way out of confusion. The imperative to change reorganizes our lives. Where the common and loneliness meet, we grow more sensitive, solid, and demanding. Revolutionary war tempers destinies. She’s allied to determination: a friend of the unpredictable and enemy of the ready-made. Life is only beautiful because we know it as a struggle, as the just struggle: the one that returns and becomes clearer each day. Nothing, no one can come and take it.

This historic decision stands out on the horizon. Either we civilize to the final stage, to ultimate function, unto the Age of the Robot. Or, we make “civilized-war”, and fight for new worlds.

– Yellow Vests, Act XII.

Under the hood, Princess Mononoke

Written & translated by Les Lettres Jaunes

We are approaching a critical moment. We are approaching a historical moment. We are approaching a change in history. We are approaching the end. Our lives, those of our children and our grandchildren are on a tightrope. Let’s tell ourselves that we no longer have the grasp. We no longer have the ability to control and define our lives in our own way! We no longer have the ability to chose how to work, to educate our family, to eat, to produce, how to dress, to celebrate, how to fight, to share, to kiss, to meet, how to love… All our life is controled by the machinery from the Top which does not care about our complaints, our respect for laws and rules, our feelings. Those at the top are already machines, and a machine doesn’t smell, doesn’t think, it calculates.

Today, contradiction between reality from those at the top and reality from those at the bottom is really clear: There is Evil and there is Good! We are the Evil, they are the Good! Those at the top advocate the “Free world” by creating imaginary enemies to make their logic prevail. “We defend freedom of expression”; “we defend the right to demonstrate”; “we respect all opinions”! But they use these ideological parades to drape themselves with virtues and hide the real nature of their acts! They are talented illusionists, but their magic tricks no longer work. We, Yellow Vests from all over the world, we see their iron fist under the velvet glove.

Contrary to their adoring songs about Freedom, those at the top are now ready to use all the necessary means to eliminate those at the bottom: banning the right of free demonstrations, preventive custody, serial condemnation, countless surveillance files… These methods were until now covered by beautiful speeches: Freedom against oppression! Freedom against enslavement! Freedom against violence! Freedom against tyranny!

But the Freedom of those at the top is actually called forced march standardization. By producing a unique universe, a unique way of thinking, a unique way to behave, a unique way of producing, a unique way of living, they have slowly but surely created an unprecedented totalitarian logic in the name of cherished Freedom. In practice, however, they are the fierce enemies of Liberty. They are totalitarian because they want to make this commercial and legal standardization of everything the only rule for everyone: the same clothes! The same men! The same women! The same city centers! The same entertainment! The same jobs! The same suffering! The same nightmare!

This standardization produces further distance with life at the bottom. The European Union is the last example, the last Russian doll of the system. It has swallowed up the Nations and subdued them to its unifying method. However the national states are actually trapped by this logic they have created themselves. In the past, they swallowed up all their local peculiarities in order to melt them down into a unified national entity. Pro-Europeans, and Nationalists are both struck by the same syndrome: the destruction of the worlds of those at the bottom.

Is it up to Brussels, Frankfurt, Paris, Berlin, Madrid to define a standard size of a tomato, or the way to produce it ? Is it up to Brussels to decide for London ? We the people, we say No. Is it up to London to decide for Middlesborough, for Leicester, for Walsall ? More than ever before, we say No. It’s also not up to Silicon Valley, Facebook, Amazon, Google, Apple to transform our lives under the automatic and cold model of the algorithm!

On the apple tree no single apple is identical to another one. But with those at the top, the British apple has to be the same as the Romanian one! The apple of the Landes has to be identical to the apple from Normandy! We live it. We feel it. Everyday. Those from the top are building a colorless, dull and standardized life.

Thus We, men and women from all over the world, We Yellow Vests, we defend characters, nuances, accidents. We defend other ways of life! We defend the diversity of life and not its impoverishment! We defend the rootedness of particular Men and Women, who are the fruits of life and through their vitality they produce variety and not the standardized identity! The universe from those at the top want to produce a monstrous Man! The world from those at the bottom want to rediscover the warmth, color, and curiosity of otherness!

We don’t want to be anymore men and women hypnotized by our screens, prisoners of our smartphones, locked in the prisons of our Likes, of our retouched selfies, pseudo-Us, pseudo-bodies, pseudo-men, pseudonyms, anonymous ! We do not defend Man in itself, abstract, detached from all family, social, and cultural ties, this cosmopolitan Man, this worn-out man, a media portrayed image mass produced!

So we, all over the world, men and women from below lets wear this yellow vest valiantly, symbol of our deliverance, symbol of another beginning!

– To Us.

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