Daniel Halliday
Dec 14 · Last update 14 days 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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Violence undermines such actions, making them less effective
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This protest will only bring about negative consequences
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These protests are proof that civil disobedience works
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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.

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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.

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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. It is very clear then that in France civil disobedience has worked, regardless of the movement being commandeered by a few criminal opportunists.

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