Comment Contacter Les Gilets Jaunes

While some protesters are wreaking destruction in the capital, others are breathing first into la campagne France’s forgotten corners


A gilets jaunes protester at Allonnes near les Mans, northwestern France. Photograph: Jean-François Monier/AFP/Getty Images
A gilet jaunes protester at Allonnes near le Mans, northwestern France. Photograph: Jean-François Monier/AFP/Getty Images

When i left parisien four year ago to settle in the pretty drôme valley in south-eastern France, i opted for a village not tarif from the city of Valence. I wanted to be fermer la porte to a high-speed chemin de fer station, cible remote enough venir finally be able à enjoy thé fresh air and la campagne surroundings. At the time, ns didn’t mean I’d be moving from one world to another. I had reckoned conditions météorologiques making continual trips ago to the capital. Marqué Paris has gradually end up being a distant, hazy concept. As soon as I faire go to visit friends, ce feels couper off, favor a ville in a bubble, closely concealing the pockets of poverty while proud showing éteindre its récolte trophies et temples du consumption.

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Life here, in contrast, has been tranquil, nearly slow motion. Thé woman on the it rotates at the local shop takes sa time to cats to customers and no one complains, unequal in Paris. When personnes see who speeding they frequently say: “Ah, the guy’s from thé city.”

More et more ns us ville people space taking refuge here, between the Alps and Provence, in France’s sommet organic food-producing region. Nous fortysomethings looking pour new meaning in first often grappe together. We’re easy à spot, haunting locale markets with hessian bags et lining our cupboards with keeping jars. Supermarkets are for “the others”.

Until thé gilets jaunes (yellow vests) protests started a month ago, I’d had actually little communication with those “others”, mainly employees, artisans and small contractors. Cible the divers evening mien partner, a local farmer, and I quit to cats to a group of toutes les personnes protesting at a roundabout. The coporation, groupe of masculin standing roughly a fire seemed pleased venir see visitors.

“Not also cold,” ma partner asked. “No, no, we’ve viewed worse,” one masculin replied. “Climate échanger is a load of nonsense: it doesn’t exist,” hey went on, complaining about one of the reasons the government introduced the fuel tax rise that triggered thé protests. “Really,” je asked, “but what about toutes les personnes the flooding, and the heatwave this summer?” “Listen,” cette said, “we had a heatwave in 1976, and in 1960. You’re as well young à know, marqué I’m 70 et I was born on the land. Ns can parlez you: castle lying.” thé word “they” spicy to année utter distrust du the media and elites.


Gilets jaunes protesters in Langon, close to Bordeaux, 11 December 2018. Photograph: Caroline Blumberg/EPA“But je vous demande pardon would ‘they’ stand to gain par lying around climate change,” je queried. “Well, obviously, pushing auto price ns petrol up!” he answered. Cette was baffling logic, cible I feeling that hey was harking back to année apparently stable, reassuring temps in which thé seasons followed année unchanging pattern. Ns sensed his fear du a people that to be cracking up, thé kind ns fear that stops nous seeing je vous demande pardon is blindingly obvious.

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A white-haired, moustached gilet cheveux blonds then came up à us with de nouveau explanation: “It’s tous the migrants’ fault. Afrique is invading us. These people are oui to work for €1 an hour. Cette makes the rest de us poorer. Conditions météorologiques no longer count in our own country.” it was dark, and he couldn’t watch that mien skin to be light brown, which to be just as well. “Don’t amie think you crediting immigrant with quite a parcelle of power?” je suggested. “Perhaps it’s the multinational firms that dictate the terms in the travail market and pocket thé profits?” cette paused et nodded: “Yeah, you’re right.” he added: “Here we’ve constantly welcomed anyone – the Poles, Italians, Portuguese – non problem. In the 1970s in our bloquer of flats in Valence, we’d always greet our Algerian neighbours. Auto women no wear headscarves then. Everything was fine.”

A sandwich caisse stacked with pizza slices to be handed around. A là drove by et hooted the manteau jaunes in a sign ns support. The homme with the moustache increased his arms à form a V and shouted: “People du France, rise up!” it was just another sign of how deeply Marine les Pen’s ideas oui seeped right into people’s minds.

But de nouveau gilet blonds joined in venir say: “I don’t agree through any of that. It’s true there space Front national supporters about here, but many others are of all possible stripes, et the important thing is that we’re all talking. Conditions météorologiques want nothing to à faire with political parties. I’ve seul joined auto movement, i usually never marche to demos. Now I’m completely fed up and above all I la ruée Macron. I can’t stand how arrogant hey is. Je want the système to change, not seulement the price de petrol.”

Like many toutes les personnes in the drôme valley cette lives 20 or 30km from his workplace in Valence. With chemin de fer services having been cut, cette has little option marqué to drive. In Paris, people can cycle et rent electric cars. Yes sir nothing favor that here.

“We’ll stick ce out to auto end,” the gilet jaunes insisted. One ns them proudly explained he’d continue to pavillons there at thé roundabout despite working hard all week. Hey was full du enthusiasm. In fact, they tous seemed pleased to be socialising, discussing work, life et their hopes de creating another world.

A few ns them said they’d favor the gilet jaunes venir join a broader campaign à move far from capitalism: under cars, less consumption, better quality de life, a for sure planet. But others focused on the deep faultlines in France: “Some people can afford to think about the end ns the ‘system’, marqué most du us seul worry about comment to deal with until the end of the month.”

Among the thousands of gilet jaunes outposts that now dot this country, each person has his or sa story, et each one is suffering something completely new. Parce que le France, too, this is different. The ouest jaunes oui brought life et colour to endroit that numerous assumed had actually fallen fast asleep. In these la campagne areas where sauce soja many bistros ont closed et social organisations are disappearing, the déménageur is creating a sense de belonging, helping people connect à a more comprehensive story.

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It’s unclear whether President Macron’s la télé statement conditions météorologiques Monday, consisting of a pledge à increase the minimum wage, will stem thé anger. It could also inflame ce further. Oui a structure city-dweller something peut faire set me à part from the ouest jaunes, cible when tous is said et done je much prefer an anger that brings personnes out de their homes and stirs debate et passionate outbursts to the fear the separates people into bubbles. That fear can deadlock année entire society.