A book, originally published in France in 2016, has now been translated into English, which predicted the gilets jaunes (Yellow Vest) revolt in the country, which started last year at the end of 2018.
The book is written by an academic called Christophe Guilluy and is entitled: ‘Twilight of the Elites: Prosperity, the Periphery and the Future of France.’
It describes the growing divide between the liberal elites (both ruling and its support base in the big cities) and those living on the outskirts of the big cities, the smaller towns, villages and the wider French countryside.
Much of the focus in the liberal media has been on the sporadic violent uprisings of the immigrant population (mainly Muslim) in France and homegrown Islamist terrorism, whilst the problems of the ‘real’ France (the native white working class, which still makes up 60% of the population) has been largely ignored.
This has manifested itself politically by the growth of both the radical right and the radical left, whilst the large, multicultural, cosmopolitan cities continue to support the old left and right, largely diminished thanks to the rise of Emmanuel Macron, a former Rothschild banker, who was once attached to the old Socialist party, now a fringe party with around 5% support in the opinion polls.
The writer singles out fifteen cities where wealth and power are concentrated, not just Paris, but Lyon and Bordeaux, among others, forming a new middle class money power, which has helped bolster the traditional elites . Occupying the best-paid positions in finance, business and the media and paying the usual lip service to liberal misgivings about globalisation, according to the writer, they are “cleverly disguised as hipsters, untroubled by the least moral qualm in the safety of their townhouses, Today’s bourgeoisie forms the bulwark of the hardest and most unpitying form of capitalism imaginable.”
As a result, the writers says: ” It is plain to see that France has become an ‘American society’ like all the rest…inegalitarian and multicultural. In the space of a few decades, the implacable law of global markets has asserted its authority everywhere, replacing a society founded on egalitarian ideals by a polarised society seething with tensions of every sort beneath a placid surface.”
This process is replicated in almost every West European country and some have seen equivalent ‘Yellow Vest’ protests recently, as a result. This process has been ongoing much longer in the UK, thanks to the close cultural affinity between the the UK and the United States. The UK Miners’ Strike of 1984 was the peak of resistance to globalisation, long before the continental Yellow Vest revolt, though the Brexit vote in 2016 can also be seen as a culmination of those “tensions” between the ruling liberal elites and ordinary British voters.
The writer offers no magic solutions. While the notion of self-help is limited in its impact due to the suffocating force of globalisation, which is very difficult to reverse without enormous political will and state control. As a result, the likely end result will be “a modern slave rebellion”.
“The existing order will finally break down not as the result of some decisive event,” the writer predicts, “but as the result of a slow process of social and cultural disaffiliation of the working class.”
Where have we seen that before?