Daniel Halliday
Dec 14 · Last update 2 mo. ago.
Are the yellow vests protests in France achieving anything?
The yellow jacket protest movement started in France in November 2018 following disapproval of President Emmanuel Macron’s tax reforms. The protests have become controversial as looting, vandalism and arson have become increasingly common and a handful of people have died. Does this form of direct action work or is it making the situation worse?
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The deeper failure of the French government to address climate change
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These protests are proof that civil disobedience works
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Violence undermines such actions, making them less effective
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0 disagrees
This protest will only bring about negative consequences
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The deeper failure of the French government to address climate change

Unfortunately the knock on effect of these protests will be the ultimate boost of emissions as taxes such as this were an effort to allow France to catch up with their losing battle to reduce emissions in line with the 2015 Paris climate accord. The government’s failure to spell out the reasoning for this, and for these policies to be widely understood as austerity measures represents a deeper problem with Emmanuel Macron’s government. The problem here is the lack of innovation, if consumers are suffering as a result of these measures to such an extent, and the government continues to de-incentivise consumer emissions without supplying a realistic alternative, they ultimately leaving French consumers with no other option than to protest.

Although protesters in France are discontent with a range of issues effecting living standards in the country the protests were undoubtedly stimulated by fuel cost, caused specifically by rising diesel tax. France is particularly dependant on diesel as fuel, since the 1979 oil crisis the government subsidised diesel vehicles to curb France’s reliance on gasoline, this lead to a French market where 70% of new cars sold run on a diesel engine. These new taxes therefore not only hit car drivers hard, but hit 70% of French drivers, the vast majority. Arguably some sort of introduction of new measures before these taxes were put in place would have been a more effective way to ease the shock to consumers, cheaper public transport or an increase to Frances tram services to reach French suburbs for example.

thelocal.fr/20180123/france-fails-to-meet-targets-for-cutting-greenhouse-gas-emissions gizmodo.com/smog-is-forcing-france-to-rethink-its-love-of-diesel-1548333776

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Daniel Halliday
Jan 28
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DH edited this paragraph
https://www.thelocal.fr/20180123/france-fails-to-meet-targets-for-cutting-greenhouse-gas-emissions https://gizmodo.com/smog-is-forcing-france-to-rethink-its-love-of-diesel-1548333776
These protests are proof that civil disobedience works

The yellow jacket movement started in France on the 17th November 2018, mainly due to the rising cost of fuel caused by the sharp increases in "la Taxe intérieure de consommation sur les produits énergétiques" (TICPE, energy comsumption tax). The movement quickly spread beyond France and came to target unfair government austerity measures in general. Nearly a month later Macron has already back-tracked on austerity measures that targeted workers and the vulnerable by abolishing overtime tax, cutting pensioner tax, increasing minimum wage, and seeking fair tax-free private bonuses.

With a minority of one hundred of the worlds companies generating 71% of global emissions since 1988, according to the 2017 Carbon Majors Database Report, it seems evident that this fuel tax is misplaced. As the international corporate carbon footprint is much larger, top down taxing should be put in place as many of Macron’s initial economic measures and taxes were wrong and unfair, something even Macron acknowledged now. It is very clear then that in France civil disobedience has worked, regardless of the movement being commandeered by a few criminal opportunists.

theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/10/100-fossil-fuel-companies-investors-responsible-71-global-emissions-cdp-study-climate-change npr.org/2018/12/10/675425153/macron-promises-minimum-wage-hike-and-tax-cuts-to-end-yellow-vest-protests

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Daniel Halliday
Jan 28
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DH edited this paragraph
With a minority of one hundred of the worlds companies generating 71% of global emissions since 1988, according to the 2017 Carbon Majors Database Report, it seems evident that this fuel tax is misplaced. As the international corporate carbon footprint is much larger, top down taxing should be put in place as many of Macron’s initial economic measures and taxes were wrong and unfair, something even Macron acknowledged now. It is very clear then that in France civil disobedience has worked, regardless of the movement being commandeered by a few criminal opportunists.
Violence undermines such actions, making them less effective

This violence of this situation and the commandeering of the protests by criminal gangs/individuals will inevitably weaken the valid point that is being made here. The violence of the situation has made the issue more pressing and the coinciding of a terrorist attack in Strasbourg has made this more of a pressing issue and made the government more intent on change. But violence gives the politicians avoiding change a more valid “get out of jail free card” that they can use to dismiss protests such as these as criminal acts, damaging the public image of the protests and the protesters so that they can be more legitimately ignored.

This hijacking of the protest narrative unfortunately has many far reaching implications much further than even the country the protest is in, as any foreign violence can be used to undermine protests in other regions. This is something especially important in a time of such wide spread social activism, media institutions and governments can use violent protesters of other regions to undermine similar protests in their own region. Media organisations have even connected protest movements with other malicious forces such as terrorist groups in order to instil fear of protests in the general public, as is the case with 'Plane Stupid' protests at Stansted Airport in 2008. The violence has gone on for so long in Paris that a counter red scarf movement has begun, which opposes the violence but not the point of this protest.

thelocal.fr/20190123/frances-red-scarves-to-take-to-the-streets-to-counter-yellow-vests theguardian.com/news/blog/2008/dec/13/activists

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Daniel Halliday
Jan 28
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DH edited this paragraph
This hijacking of the protest narrative unfortunately has many far reaching implications much further than even the country the protest is in, as any foreign violence can be used to undermine protests in other regions. This is something especially important in a time of such wide spread social activism, media institutions and governments can use violent protesters of other regions to undermine similar protests in their own region. Media organisations have even connected protest movements with other malicious forces such as terrorist groups in order to instil fear of protests in the general public, as is the case with 'Plane Stupid' protests at Stansted Airport in 2008. The violence has gone on for so long in Paris that a counter red scarf movement has begun, which opposes the violence but not the point of this protest.
This protest will only bring about negative consequences

Such a long protest is bound to have a negative economic impact that will only make the situation in France much worse. It is always the poorest in society that are the worst affected in times of an economic downturn, adding a cold irony to anti-austerity protests such as these. Points like this can be made through shorter protests while participating in the democratic process to bring about democratic change, this could accomplish more while dealing less damage to the French economy.

The knock-on effects of past protests similar to this one have been so economically disruptive that they have caused policy makers to call for a legal backlash against disruptive protesters, such as the failed 2017 “Economic Terrorism” Bill proposed in North Carolina. The latest 'red scarf' counter protests are evidence of this being the case now, with the red scarf organisers claiming that the “Gilets Jaunes (yellow vest protesters) have dominated the national conversation for too long” [1]. By protesting for this long protesters will hurt themselves, their cause and the economy, which will be doubly worse for them in the long run, these protesters will not achieving anything with such prolonged action.

[1] thelocal.fr/20190123/frances-red-scarves-to-take-to-the-streets-to-counter-yellow-vests wfmynews2.com/article/news/local/economic-terrorism-bill-targets-disruptive-protesters/419945737

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Daniel Halliday
Jan 28
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DH edited this paragraph
The knock-on effects of past protests similar to this one have been so economically disruptive that they have caused policy makers to call for a legal backlash against disruptive protesters, such as the failed 2017 “Economic Terrorism” Bill proposed in North Carolina. The latest 'red scarf' counter protests are evidence of this being the case now, with the red scarf organisers claiming that the “Gilets Jaunes (yellow vest protesters) have dominated the national conversation for too long” [1]. By protesting for this long protesters will hurt themselves, their cause and the economy, which will be doubly worse for them in the long run, these protesters will not achieving anything with such prolonged action.
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