Student - January 17, 2019

Meanwhile in... France

Text:
Cathy (Kexin) Chen

For weeks, the yellow-vests movement has been disrupting public life in France. The participants are protesting against rising fuel prices, the high cost of living and tax reforms that hurt the working class. President Macron has made some concessions, but the protests are continuing, with occasional violent outbursts. Master’s student Jean-Marc Delore condemns the riots, but understands the sentiment.

This shows that the will of the people is important
Jean-Marc Delore is a Master’s student of Agroecology from France. He reflects on recent events in his home country.
Jean-Marc Delore is a Master’s student of Agroecology from France. He reflects on recent events in his home country.

‘The yellow-vest protest started in November, after the increase in fuel and gas taxes. In December many things were destroyed on the Champs-Elysées in Paris by protestors. I understand that the rise in taxation can result in deep frustration. But I believe most people who joined the yellow vests wanted to protest peacefully. The protest is only a manifesto. They want the government to hear their voices. Only a small group of people take advantage of the situation by taking violent action. The real yellow vests are people who are concerned about the issue, and who protest on behalf of the people. I don't think they want to destroy the country if they are fighting for the people. 

In France, power is highly centralized around Paris, and the elites hold most power, which creates a big gap between the governed and the governors. The yellow-vest protest should make clear to the government that the will of the people is also important, particularly when our purchasing power is continuously decreasing with constant increases in taxes, which are already among the highest in Europe. In France there is a need to re-localize power, so that people can feel involved in their politics and policy-makers can clearly understand their needs. I personally prefer the federal political system, like in Switzerland or Germany. I have always believed France can change, and I still have faith in it. I hope the French politicians will pay more attention to the disconnection between the people and the authorities.’

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