Yel­low vest protests show pop­ulism has glob­al­ized

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT -

The yel­low vest move­ment in France might lead the coun­try in a dif­fer­ent di­rec­tion, com­ments Zheng Ruolin, a colum­nist who lived in France for 20 years, in a post. The fol­low­ing are ex­cerpts from the post:

Usu­ally a protest has a clear ob­jec­tive. Once the goal is re­al­ized, the cam­paign will ebb. But the yel­low vest pro­test­ers have no clear aims, and the protest is in­fec­tious, spread­ing far be­yond France.

Both the right wing and the left wing of French so­ci­ety take part in it, mak­ing it an out­break of pop­ulism and peo­ple’s ac­cu­mu­lated anger with French pol­i­tics and econ­omy, as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tive democ­racy, the foun­da­tion of Western democ­racy.

The move­ment raises ques­tions about the whole gov­ern­ing struc­ture of the West, so the cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion’s makeshift com­pro­mise is naturally far from enough to send the pro­test­ers back home.

But the move­ment has not yet made any prac­ti­cal pro­pos­als of its own.

Those on the lower rungs of the so­cial lad­der feel they have been de­serted by eco­nomic glob­al­iza­tion, which has widened the in­come gap to some ex­tent, and the is­sues of the agenda of the ruling class, such as cli­mate change, are de­tached from those who are con­cerned about their liveli­hoods. That’s why they claim that the French pres­i­dent cares about the last day of the world, and they only care about the last day of a month.

The yel­low vest move­ment cor­re­sponds with Don­ald Trump’s pop­ulism in the United States. And they will likely spur the fast rise of global pop­ulism to a new high.

Yet, the cam­paign is doomed to fail, if not im­me­di­ately, be­cause the vested in­ter­ests they are against are pow­er­ful and deeply en­trenched, and the protest­ing powers are short of or­ga­ni­za­tion, a clear tar­get and ac­tion plans.

If the world econ­omy re­mains stag­nant, sim­i­lar protests will be reignited, form­ing a vi­cious cy­cle, which will es­ca­late the strug­gle be­tween the foes of fi­nan­cial and in­dus­trial cap­i­tal, caus­ing new un­cer­tain­ties for global trade and the eco­nomic re­cov­ery, which will rekin­dle peo­ple’s anger again.

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