top of page

What Could the French “Yellow Vests” Teach Us about Ourselves?


French protesters wear yellow vests as they march in Paris against rising oil prices and living costs near the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees.  (Image: Olivier Coret/News Pictures/REX/Shutterstock 11/24/18)

French protesters wear yellow vests as they march in Paris against rising oil prices and living costs near the Arc de Triomphe on the Champs Elysees. (Image: Olivier Coret/News Pictures/REX/Shutterstock 11/24/18)

Originally published on Common Dreams, January 4, 2019

Most coverage of the Yellow Vest movement in France—lasting seven weeks and drawing hundreds of thousands onto the streets—misses a key question, and one at the heart of our own nation’s journey.

We’re told the diesel tax hike was the “last straw” for the rural, working poor unable to make ends meet, while the underlying cause of the uprising is resentment at the worsening inequality.