By Matt Ward
Each successive weekend from late November all the way through December, the streets of Paris have been subject to violent protests. Initially against fuel tax rises and high living costs in France, these protests seem to have reached a point where they have now taken on a life of their own. This so-called “yellow vest” movement has wracked the French capital with violence each weekend for over a month and does not appear to be going away.
The initial cause of the protests was the steeply climbing price of fuel in France, hence the protesters wearing the yellow vests that are mandatory by law for every vehicle in France to carry. It has quickly moved on and morphed significantly from there.
French President Emmanuel Macron’s initial intransience in the face of these protests – that the fuel rises were necessary to fund investment in renewable fuel sources, so essentially the ordinary French family was just going to have to “take the hit” – was the final straw and proved to be the spark that lit a silent simmering resentment that has now ignited into what many fear will become a full-blown resistance movement in France. Certainly at the time of this writing, it seems unlikely to end anytime soon.
Talk of “revolution” is no mere hyperbole on the streets of Paris either. Protesters in the French capital are openly questioning whether this is the beginning of “another Revolution.” The memories of the brutal and bloody le Révolution Française of 1789 are still fresh and very much at the forefront of the minds of these modern-day protesters on the streets of Paris today.
These protesters believe that in this movement they are confronting not just what they deem to be wholly unfair governmental policies, which they see in part as favoring refugees and immigrants more than native French-born citizens, but that they are also protesting the rule of a man they have come to see as a “want-to-be dictator,” a man many in France have come to despise. They are protesting against a man many now regard as openly pandering to every want and desire of the globalists at the expense of normal French men and women, and very much to the wider detriment of the French nation. This man is Emmanuel Macron.
This golden boy has certainly lost his domestic shine. The crest of a wave that he rode so magnificently into power is but a mere distant memory now in France. The overwhelming majority of French people have come to loathe him. His popularity has crashed, and he has a lower approval rating at this point in his presidency than almost any other previous French president of modern times, with the exception only of Nicolas Sarkozy. (1)
Yet he has been, up until very recently, resolute and entirely intransient. It is exactly this, his perceived aloofness and intellectual arrogance, that has driven many French people onto the streets, and their perception that this man does not represent their own best interests, or even care. Many in France believe that Macron answers only to a globalist elite that does not answer to, or represent, the French electorate in any way.
And so the aims of this movement, initially protests over ever-rising fuel prices, have changed and morphed into an amalgamation of concerns that have the potential to blow France apart. Protesters on the streets are now calling for higher wages, lower taxes, better pensions and easier university entry requirements, and a head-on confrontation of immigration and the issues it brings with it. Their core aim, however, seems to be to highlight the economic frustration and political distrust among poorer French working families. It is a movement that has widespread support throughout France.
French authorities are so worried by these ever-increasing protests that they have publically admitted to preparing the use of a chemical weapon to potentially employ against their own people if these protests and riots go too far. Let me say that again; the French authorities have admitted that, in the wake of these riots, they have prepared chemical weapons to use against their own people should these protests continue to develop, grow and spread, and become increasingly lawless and violent. (2)
And the open dissent and chaos we are witness to in France is spreading.
In Germany, long-term Chancellor Angela Merkel, once regarded as the single most powerful woman in the world, is rapidly approaching the end of her tenure in power. She is a highly controversial figure, both in Germany and Europe, partly because of her controversial leadership of the European project, but mainly because of her reaction to the crisis of mass migration from the Middle East.
Merkel has effectively opened up the borders of Germany to any and all fleeing from the Syrian civil war, and this has profoundly changed the nature of life in many German towns and cities. All were allowed in, the good and the bad, with next to no vetting procedures. In 2015 alone, Merkel allowed over one million refugees from the Middle East and east Africa to resettle in Germany.
This has had a tremendous impact upon German society. Many Germans now speak about feeling like foreigners in their own country, and every fifth person in Germany in 2018 comes from an immigration background. (3)
What has further dismayed many ordinary Germans is that the conversation about immigration has been ruthlessly silenced. In Merkel’s tenure, anybody expressing concerns about the numbers of refugees entering the country has been automatically and uniformly labeled a xenophobe and a bigot, immediately killing any and all public conversation. Yet the resentment and the concerns about immigration have remained, now mulled over silently behind closed doors, ever growing, and becoming more and more pronounced with each passing year.
Despite this, Merkel’s attitude, like that of Macron’s, has remained intransient:
“That some countries refuse to accept any refugees is not on,” Merkel has said, referring to Central European states including Poland and Hungary that have refused to take migrants. “That contradicts the spirit of Europe. We’ll overcome that. It will take time and patience but we will succeed.” (4)
It is just this attitude that has alienated her from her core support. Many in Germany have genuinely come to believe that Merkel’s loyalty is to Europe and globalism more generally, not at all to Germany. Her immigration policy, flying in the face of what many Germans think is right or fair, has caused ongoing outrage among ethnic Germans. Merkel, like Macron in France, is widely viewed as being highly detached from the needs and struggles of ordinary Germans. She is viewed as being aloof, elitist and close-minded to the concerns of many of those who were responsible for propelling her and her CDU party into power in 2005.
This attitude has had real consequences. One, horrifically, is the resurgence of the far right in Germany. With memories of the appalling atrocities committed during the Second World War by those of the far right still all too fresh, the spectre of the far right returning in Germany is clearly something that must be prevented at all costs. Yet the imminent removal of Merkel will not accomplish this.
Ominously, Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Party (CDU) seems intent upon replacing Merkel when she retires with Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a women referred to as “mini-Merkel,” or “Merkel 2.0,” because so many people view her to be an exact clone of Angela Merkel, in her attitude and her policies.
And now, as the year has drawn to a close and a new one has dawned, these feelings of resentment and alienation have advanced far and wide. The “yellow vest” movement is spreading. What began as small- scale demonstrations in Paris have now spread to other major French cities, in Toulouse, Bordeaux and Lyon. It has spread across national boundaries to Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Brussels has seen riots, as has Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague, Nijmegen, Maastricht, and Rome. All in the last few weeks. Yellow vests have even been protesting just last weekend on the streets of London.
It would seem that the ordinary man and woman feels utterly powerless and perhaps very scared by what is happening in western Europe right now. And this is turning into undisguised outrage. What is concerning is that this outrage is manifesting no longer as mass protests, but in violence, in mass looting and in acts of mass vandalism that have seen the major tourist attractions in European capitals closed for weeks now.
For a long time, I have sat back, watching and wondering if and when there would be some form of a push-back to the overtly globalist and multicultural aspirations of the current ruling Western elites. The Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump were clearly democratic manifestations of this push-back in Britain and the United States. But I have wondered what, if anything, might happen in mainland Western Europe, where the European “dream” is much more tightly entrenched, and controlled.
Perhaps this so-called “yellow vest” movement is the start of this push-back. Whether it is or it isn’t remains to be seen, and only time will tell for sure. One thing that is for certain though, is that the unhappiness and discontent that has existed for quite some time, growing and bubbling just underneath the surface in Western European society, is now spilling out into the open as barely controlled rage.
From a biblical perspective, this is also not really a surprise. The fragmentation and collapse of traditional power structures or, at the very least, the significant undermining of them, must happen so that soon one unique individual, one charismatic, sophisticated, charming, intellectual man, who is a political, military and economic genius without compare, can come from seemingly nowhere and take hold of the fractured reins of powers, and unify Europe and the world’s power systems under his sole rule.
Before that can happen though, there needs to be chaos. I have spent my entire adult working life so far as a history teacher, and have studied countless wars and conflicts. I have seen the carnage and destruction wrought when nations fight against each other, and the utter destruction that often is left in its wake.
Yet despite this ruin, amongst the wreckage of destroyed cities and towns, after the slaughter has ended, when the dust settles and wars come to an end, the traditional power structures almost always without exception seem to remain in some shape or form. Government as a concept still remains. It is merely a different person that steps into the Prime Minister’s Office, or behind the presidential desk, when the chaos finally subsides.
The only thing, historically, that seems to sweep such power structures away is popular revolution and revolt.
I have heard many argue, quite persuasively, that when the rapture occurs it will bring many countries to their knees. Without question it will. But afterwards, when countries are picking themselves up, the pre-existent power structures that were in place pre-rapture will still remain in place post-rapture. And there will certainly still be people available and willing to step into the void left by those who are “snatched away.”
What we could be witness to now, and only time will tell if this is true, may be the beginning of an incendiary, longer-term process that begins to undermine traditional power structures themselves, especially in Europe, in preparation for that one single appalling individual who will ultimately come to unite all power and authority under and in himself.
The current multinational system will have to fall so that it can be replaced, and war never seems to quite do this. Mass societal chaos does.
I have to wonder how much the obvious push-back we are witness to today is a part of that process. Only time will tell. One thing that is a certainty though, is that 2019 – much like 2018 was – will be a time of significant change.