14 February 2019 — The Bullet
The Gilets Jaunes Revolt Shaking France
In 1934, the political situation in France was tense and uncertain. The year began with a mobilization of royalist and fascist militias (on February 6) that were followed immediately (on February 9 and 12) by a response from the Communist and Socialist wings of the workers movement. As Norbert Guterman and Henri Lefebvre reported, “all these men are ready for the concrete liberation a revolution would bring – and perhaps also, unfortunately, the mystique and brutal mythology of the fascists” (1999 , 143, trans. SK). When these lines were written in the mid-1930s, France was experiencing a rising tide of grassroots anti-fascist politics culminating in the strike waves of the early days of the Popular Front government. Yet Lefebvre and Guterman’s warning was well-placed. The Popular Front disintegrated due to many contradictions, ultimately giving rise to Marshall Pétain’s collaborationist administration, France’s contribution to fascist regime politics.