Founding editor of The American Conservative and author of Ex-Neocon: Dispatches From the Post-9/11 Ideological Wars, Scott McConnell explains to readers that violence should now be expected in France as radical leftists have joined the riots there, using the cover of the Gilet Jaunes (Yellow Vests) protests to loot and destroy private property. He writes (abridged):
Paris and other major cities have seen two successive Saturdays of street blockages, metro closings, bonfires, window smashing, looting, and mass arrests.
If three weeks ago, one could expect road closures and economic disruption from a Gilets Jaunes protest, one should now anticipate violence. Casseurs (“smashers” in French; Antifa in American idiom) have joined the demonstrations, taking advantage of the crowds and general police exhaustion to smash stores and bank windows. So too have the “youth” from the suburbs begun to join in, looting when the opportunity arises.
A movement that three weeks ago seemed somewhat attractively apolitical… has begun to assume a different coloring. Center-right intellectuals such Pascal Bruckner and Alain Finkielkraut, critics of globalism and neoliberalism, were initially well disposed; now they lament the violence that trails in its wake. If a movement is seen to be both extremely popular and unstructured, requiring no more than a yellow vest to join, it will inevitably become a target for entryism, a tried and true radical left tactic.
With his speech Monday night, Macron clearly recognized that the unstructured working-class revolt was a threat to the survival of his government.
But to the extent that the Gilets Jaunes becomes an adjunct to La France Insoumise, with an added seasoning of banlieue looters and Antifa, the French right will back away. Practically all of Marine Le Pen’s tweets over the past several days have been directed at Macron’s signing of the United Nations’ immigration pact at Marrakech, a document that expresses a wooly aspiration towards a multicultural borderless liberalism.
It’s far from obvious that the Macron government has the fiscal strength to pursue both the pro-capitalist economic reform it seeks and placate the Gilets Jaunes.
Important as that pact may be, it is not what the French are talking about right now.
Read more here.