by Ramin Mazaheri for The Saker blog
Turning to Trotsky to help analyse the Yellow Vests is indispensable not because I am a Trotskyist but because Trotsky is the foremost socialist architect, describer and critic of the actual waging of political revolution.
(This is the seventh chapter in a new book, France's Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West's Best Values. Please click here for the article which announces this book and explains its goals.)
In October 1917 Trotsky was elected chairman of the Petrograd Soviet, the revolutionary centre of Russia. He directed the organisation of the October Revolution's uprising against the Provisional Government, which had followed after the monarchy's toppling in the February Revolution. Trotsky knew what he was talking about, and perhaps more than anyone of his era he could accurately say what a revolutionary group needs to do to actually seize power.
The problem with Trotsky is not Trotskyism. He rejected making his name synonymous with the actual waging of progressive revolution, almost bewilderingly lamenting: "To reaction and its agents 'Trotskyism' is the international menace of the socialist revolution."
The two are not and must not be synonymous. Trotsky would surely berate his 21st century adherents for the primary complaint leftists make against his followers: To modern Trotskyists it's not "revolution" unless it's "Trotskyism" and only "Trotskyism".
The problem with Trotsky is not Trotskyism, it's Trotskyists.
If Trotskyism used to be synonymous with revolution but it no longer is - which is certainly the case - then who should be blamed more than the followers who take his name? French presidential elections inevitably feature multiple Trotskyist candidates - they even cannot get along with each other, much less other leftists.
Trotsky is different from his modern followers in that he saw conditions in the 1930s as ripe for revolution - even overripe - and he was shocked that others couldn't see that what he helped effectuate in Russia was actually possible elsewhere, and right then. From November 2018 until June 2019 the Yellow Vests undoubtedly agreed that conditions were - at a minimum - ripe for a major break with the mainstream practices of Western Liberal Democracy, and they were also shocked that French leftists couldn't see that.
Yellow Vest: "We have to bring France to its knees, because that is all that our governments understand. We will block the entire economy for as long as it takes. The fight against capitalism is heating up around the world, so the Yellow Vests are not the only ones demanding huge changes."
(Note: this book intersperses over 100 quotations taken from actual, marching Yellow Vests which were originally published in news reports on PressTV.)
A big reason for their absence from the most revolutionary situation in France since 1968 is that today's Trotskyists are so discredited that they wouldn't have been welcomed by the Yellow Vests.
Today's Trotskyists seemingly live in a state where it is perpetually September 1917 - they cannot possibly support the few global nations who have selfishly "jumped the gun" and taken power in their own country without the Trotskyists, and allegedly at the expense of the global revolution. If Trotskyists could realise that monarchy still plays a huge role in the world they would realise that living in a state where it is perpetually January 1917 would be far, far more useful in actually pushing socialism (and not just Trotskyism) forward.
What I will call Trotsky's definition of a revolutionary country is concise and clear, and any country fulfilling these requirements obviously deserves the fullest support:
"Meanwhile the hypothetical government (Trotsky is referring to a Western Liberal Democratic government which actually stood up to fascism) would give nothing either to the workers or to the petty-bourgeois masses because it would be unable to attack the foundations of private property; and without expropriation of the banks, the great commercial enterprises, the key branches of industry and transport, without a foreign trade monopoly, and without a series of other profound measures, there is no possible way of coming of the aid of the peasant, the artisan, the petty merchant."
Above is the most basic condition for socialist-inspired revolution on behalf of the people, and yet Trotskyists all over France and the West perpetually condemn any country which has made this critical first step on the road to citizen empowerment. Please note that Iran has not given up the Iranian people's control over all the "profound measures" listed above. Please also note that today's French Trotskyist groups usually incorrectly lump small merchants in with CEOs, instead of with the proletariat and farmers, while the Yellow Vests do not make that mistake.
Perhaps the most common word with Trotsky is "expropriation". Without the expropriation of the private property of the 1% then there is no movement which can make any type of socialism - or the barest amount of Socialist Democracy - possible.
This definition is so useful because it illustrates how the establishment of banking power fits into the economic history of Europe since 1492. With the start of Western Liberal Democracy in 1848 and the establishment of France's 2nd Republic all wealth joined together to "become bourgeois": royal landed wealth, commercial & New World colonisation wealth, and industrial & Old World colonisation wealth (such as from Algeria beginning in 1830) had united their political forces in oligarchy. Their economic forces became united in the power of the modern bank. By the 1930s "the banks" of oligarchical Western Liberal Democracy had become first on the list of Trotsky's opponents of progressive politics, and both the socialists and the fascists came to power by promising to gut their power. Fascists then joined with Western Liberal Democrats after World War II, with many of their key ideas becoming subsumed in Western Liberal Democracy just as the ideas of royalism have been subsumed in Western Liberal Democracy. One of the fascists' ideas would be encapsulated in the structures of today's pan-European project, as the coming chapters will illustrate: fascism's alliance of autocratic political power with corporate/banking power.
Non-socialist readers may be alarmed by Trotsky's phrase "attack the foundations of private property", as though they alone had a trade monopoly, a key branch of any industry or a great commercial enterprise. Such persons simply like to fancy themselves budding bourgeois, and thus don't want a ceiling to limit their all-but-certain rise, as bourgeois culture inculcates them to want to do. Giving the masses control of these key mega-economic entities - and not control over your home and the objects inside, nor your small business - is what modern socialism is, and it's also what it takes to win stability, control and peace for the masses.
Today's Trotskyists are not on the front lines, and they don't support any serious fronts anywhere
Trotsky today would surely demand a redefinition of what "Trotskyism" is because for modern Trotskyists it apparently doesn't include demanding control of the means of major production or armed anything. Trotskyism in the 21st century has become subsumed by Western Liberal Democracy because they now limit themselves to working within it, not against it.
More than any other aspect of his personal thought these remarks he made in 1935 when talking of France encapsulate what Trotsky was fundamentally all about:
"This is why the most immediate of all demands must be for the expropriation of the capitalists and the nationalization (socialization) of the means of production. But is not this demand unrealizable under the rule of the bourgeoisie? Quite so! That is why we must seize power." (emphasis his)
Any discussion cannot gloss over that point or this one below, which today's Trotskyists certainly ignore, seeing as how they reject any country which has actually enacted socialist-inspired revolution and nationalisations, such as China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, etc.:
"How can one come to soviet (workers' committees) power without an armed insurrection? How can one come to an insurrection without arming the workers? How can one defend oneself against fascism without arms? How can we achieve armament, even partial, without propaganda for this slogan?"
Trotskyist propaganda today is totally devoid of such propaganda, and this is even though Trotsky's writing is full of denigration for peaceniks who refuse to fight for their rights. Such militarism is, of course, very different from a militarism which clamours for invasion:
"The more successful the anti-militarist agitation becomes, the more rapid will be the growth of the fascist danger. Such is the actual and not fanciful dialectic of the struggle." (emphasis his)
By the 1960s the Western left had adopted anti-militarism as an almost iron law. Such history-ignoring nonsense translated into political nonsense which ultimately amounted to: reformism of the status quo at a snail's pace and with the ephemeral quality of a flower's existence. Western "Flower Power" didn't change the social pyramid, and Trotsky would not have been surprised at the political impotence of switching away from anti-militarist agitation while trying to win socialist-inspired changes.
A fundamental question which must be posed is: Why did Trotskyists never come out in favor of arming the Yellow Vests for their own self-defense? Every one knows they were getting attacked every Saturday by police. If today's Trotskyists are merely content to be tiny, ineffectual parties within Western Liberal Democracies, can't they at least promote a defensive militarism to defend the mere rights of Liberalism, such as freedom of assembly? Surely this would be the bare minimum Trotsky would have promoted as regards to the Yellow Vests.
This is a question which requires far more reflection because it strikes at the hypocritical heart of Western Liberal Democracy, which is truly more accurately called "Western Liberal Autocracy". The Yellow Vests show how the West refuses to accept even the barest Liberal Democratic rights of 1789, and in addition to rejecting all the egalitarian measure promoted by Socialist Democracy. It will be discussed in the chapter What the Yellow Vests can be: a force which can protect Liberalism's rights, at least.
A perfect time for France's Trotskyists to provide defensive assistance was during the Yellow Vests attempted establishment of a permanent camp near the Eiffel Tower in March 2019. Of course, they also needed defensive help every Saturday for months, as well.
The primary propaganda organ of Trotskyism - the World Socialist Web Site - never made such calls to action even though they are based in the United States and thus out of the reach of French intimidation and repression! The WSWS did correctly stress the need of the Yellow Vests to remain apart from the totally-discredited political establishment, such as parties and unions, (though this point was already non-negotiable to the Yellow Vests) but only to finally insist that they needed to be led by the political perspective of a Trotskyist vanguard provided by the International Committee of the Fourth International. Reject everyone else but me - it's typical modern Trotskyism.
Trotsky would have disavowed his namesakes for failing to seize the once-in-century moment provided by the Yellow Vests, and this is proven by his own writings.
For example, in 1936 Trotsky appeared to be apoplectic with France's leftists: 1.5 million out of 10 million French people voted communist and - to a guy who made a revolution with much less - that should have been enough to make a revolution in France.
"When one and a half million voters cast their ballots for the Communists, the majority of them mean to say thereby: 'We want you to do the same thing in France that the Russian Bolsheviks did in their country in October 1917.'"
In the West the Yellow Vests are the first popular political force operating on essentially socialist-inspired ideas since 1936. They are the first political force willing to operate under repressive and hotly-debated conditions since 1936. They are the first French progressive political force to have even more popular support than the combined leftists did in 1936: polls showed the Yellow Vests as having 75% approval rating and always - even after so much propaganda and repression - as having a majority approval rating in a country where such popularity is considered unachievable.
In 1936 Trotsky dismissed the vote results for not only the Radicals (it's a misleading name - they were "Reformists" of Western Liberal Democracy) but the further left Socialists as well: he didn't care about their score because they were not a working class party in composition or policy like the Communists were. The Yellow Vests are working class in composition and policy, but where were/are the Trotskyists? The Yellow Vests' fault was not being openly Trotskyist, obviously.
Trotsky would diagnose the problem today as one of poor leadership, which was his most common refrain. However, the worst leadership among Western leftists is among the Trotskyists because they clearly do not even champion the essentials of Trotskyist thought.
Yellow Vest: "So many of these types have been bought off by Macron and are happy to stay in his pocket. Pensioners, the jobless and public workers have been marching for seven months and our so-called intellectuals spit on us! We are getting beaten and gassed, and they criticise us!"
In 2022 I believe Trotsky would have backed countries like Iran because of to whom he pointed his vast criticism when discussing France: the proponents of Western Liberal Democratic measures, and those who seek appeasement via measures which fall short of expropriation. From the multiple French Trotskyist parties to the US-based WSWS they spent more time boosting their own parties than the Yellow Vests, which is to say that they are totally committed to working within the framework of Western Liberal Democracy.
Western Trotskyists are not revolutionary - they are waiting for that laughable "hypothetical government" which Trotsky himself noted would fail even if ever installed, and he was proven right by the failure of France's 1936 Popular Front, as the previous chapter discussed. Marxist-inspired analysis of history make it clear that the Western Liberal Democratic framework will never create permanent programs which guarantee a permanent redistribution of political power and wealth which aims at boosting the lower and middle classes - not in wartime, pandemic-time or any other hypothetical time.
The absurd contradictions and hypocrisies of the modern Trotskyist movement pale so enormously when held up with the actual achievements of Stalinist-inspired (i.e. USSR-inspired) movements which Trotsky famously rejected.
We should not blame heroic and committed Leon!
We should wrest him away from today's declared Trotskyists, as they refuse to actually put into practice his ideas while claiming his mantle, and we should redefine Trotskyism to describe more accurately what his necessary contributions were to leftism.
Trotskyism: A line of socialist thought which emphasised the need of a politically-advanced vanguard party to encourage taking power, while always remaining in dialogue with the masses, by force from Western Liberal Democracy in order to expropriate their political power and economic wealth for the benefit of the masses.
The above definition retains Trotsky's beloved notion of a vanguard party, but it can clearly include Cuba, China, Iran, Hezbollah and others - this is how Trotsky can be wrested from Trotskyists. Trotsky didn't want his name becoming synonymous with socialist revolution, but he sure wouldn't want it affiliated with today's totally unTrotskyist Trotskyists!
As with Napoleon Bonaparte, the well-being and understanding which socialist analysis has to offer insists on the political rehabilitation of a person whose adherents have distorted and disgraced him. The revolution does not have to eat its young, as counter-revolutionaries insist. By first fully dispatching the oldest enemy of Socialist Democracy - the autocratic oligarchy embodied by monarchy, whose ideals have been subsumed by Western Liberal Democracy - we will first clear the way to end arrogant imperialism and elitism, and indispensable first step towards demanding socialism at home.
But we should wrest Trotsky not just from the adulation which he himself opposed but also from Trotsky himself. Consider the perspective of W.E.B. Dubois, certainly the greatest African-American political writer of his era and maybe ever:
"He (Stalin) early saw through the flamboyance and exhibitionism of Trotsky, who fooled the world, and especially America. The whole ill-bred and insulting attitude of Liberals in the U.S. today began with our naive acceptance of Trotsky's magnificent lying propaganda, which he carried around the world. Against it, Stalin stood like a rock and moved neither right nor left, as he continued to advance toward a real socialism instead of the sham Trotsky offered."
Trotsky believed that Stalin had no sincere care for the working class, only for the "bureaucracy" - that's false. The Trotskyist blame towards Stalinism for abandoning the Western workers/leftism totally ignores his and the USSR's decades of leftist agitation, as the previous chapter detailed. The blame goes towards the forces of just-ended autocracy and the oligarchy of Western Liberal Democracy, not fellow communists and socialists.
In his consternation that others were not as ardently revolutionary Trotsky rejected the comparatively minor intra-socialist compromises which allowed for a continuing "advance towards a real socialism", even if only in one country at a time. Trotsky's war on the USSR - on "Stalinism" - is often viewed as a betrayal of the socialist movement, and today's Trotskyists make this same mistake as regards to China, Iran, Venezuela and - if they progressed further - probably the Yellow Vests, too.
What socialism cannot lose from Trotsky is the idea that armed revolution is the only path to an actual revolution in the aristocratic elite's property holdings - what it can lose is "flamboyance", "exhibitionism", acting as though one is "ill-bred" and being "insulting". Trotskyism seduced the individualist West in large part because both over-rely on the individual singularity of a vanguard party. There is an anti-democracy inherent in Trotsky's most constant complaint - the poor leadership of the leftist movement - as though if only Trotsky were still in charge, then all of Europe would be socialist today. The disregard of Trotsky's primary ideas has led to a situation where the far-left on the Western political spectrum has comported itself with the faux-noble airs of the far-right, i.e. aristocrats, which Trotsky himself was accused of.
I have presented a balanced view of Leon Trotsky here because a history of leftist movements is not possible without Trotsky, but a leftist history where Marx, Engels and Trotsky are the only leftists is an ineffectual and distorting absurdity. A history where Napoleon Bonaparte is not a leftist, where the 1848 Revolutions were not the Counter-Revolutions of 1848, where the rise of fascism is both socialism's fault and yet has nothing to do with socialism, where the Yellow Vests are not French leftism reborn, etc., are ineffectual and distorting absurdities.
Both those extreme views are dangerous because the parallels between France today and the 1930s is of vital importance, and thus recalling Trotsky's assessments of France provides us with the wealth of parallels which are necessary to make in order to show how the problems of Western Liberal Democracy today are unchanged since 90 years ago, just as re-reading Marx reminds us the problems are unchanged since 170 years ago.
Trotsky's failure to see Western Liberal Democracy as unable to subsume the ideals of fascism
Trotsky has so much right - above all, his refusal to concede anything to Western Liberal Democracy - but let's focus on the few things he got quite wrong.
Trotsky's writings unmistakably reveal that he really thought Western Liberal Democracy/parliamentarianism/free marketism was truly dead. To Trotsky the only fight remaining was against fascism. It's a mistake many leftists have made since 1850 - incorrectly assuming that Western Liberal Democracy is dead.
Apparently Trotsky thought fascism really was a "third way" - it was neither autocratic Western Liberal Democracy nor Socialist Democracy - but in the 1930s no non-Westerner would agree that jingoism, racism, authoritarianism and the myriad petty dictatorships of their leader class is something which only came to the fore in the West during their fascist era of the 1930s? Of course, they had been experiencing it in their own colonised countries! To non-Westerners the oligarchy of monarchism, Western Liberal Democracy and fascism is distinguished only in style and not function.
The lack of emphasis on the socio-cultural effects of industrial-era imperialism caused Trotsky to underestimate the jingoism, racism, social and economic regimentation, oppression of dissent and "dictatorship of the leader class" (i.e. the five features of the commonly-accepted definition of fascism) in Western Liberal Democracy, and to falsely assume these were only attributes of fascism.
Another problem may have been that socialists in the 1930s were aghast that fascists were using Marxist tools to accurately critique Western Liberal Democracy - this unneeded concern was discussed in the previous chapter. Today we see that socialists should have been lumping fascism and Western liberal democracy in the same boat, and some did. Stalin correctly said that fascism and Social Democracy (i.e. reformists of Western Liberal Democracy) were twins, and we are now correct to say that fascism, Social Democracy and Western Liberal Democracy are triplets.
It's no facile exaggeration - all three of these political schools of thought clearly united themselves after World War II against Socialist Democracy. The squabble between fascism and Western Liberal Democracy was even more short lived than the squabble between the houses of Bourbon and Orleans! All the rich factions of 1848 France famously "became bourgeois", per Marx, to unite in the new "Party of Order", just as fascism and liberalism unites in contemporary Western Liberal Democracy.
Western Liberal Democracy survives because of its ability to unite in adapting its right-wing solutions - its brutal version of class warfare - and in contrast with the left's inability to unite while operating out Western Liberal Democrats. They are much more effective at class warfare in large part because they have so many fewer people to organise/collude.
What Western Liberal Democracy took from fascism is that economic planning must be limited to the military, its obsession with security and its emphasis on xenophobia in order to distract from open discussion of its obvious pro-aristocratic class warfare. The two ideologies already agreed on anti-socialism, competition (one largely fixed at the beginning) and elitism, which are also three long-time beliefs of autocracy and oligarchy. The only real squabble was between choosing a cosmopolitan globalist elite, dominated by new money, or a sovereign national elite, dominated by old money.
Proof that Trotsky didn't understand the existing similarities between Western Liberal Democracy and fascism is encapsulated in his complaint about Stalinist/Comintern communism in 1936. I think every reader will be shocked at either his naiveté or his impossible demands upon the USSR: "If the Soviet trade unions had given a timely example by boycotting Italy (for invading Ethiopia), the movement would, like a prairie fire, have inevitably embraced all of Europe and the whole world, and at once become menacing to the imperialists of all countries."
The entire world was going to get set alight over Ethiopia, really?
Again, we cannot blame Leon: he is truly personally alight over the invasion of Ethiopia. But Trotsky is a progressive humanitarian and politically-active person - nobody else really cared about Ethiopia. Today neither Palestine, nor chemical weapons used against Iranians in the 1980s, nor the starvation of Yemen, nor any other blatant Western imperialist violence is setting the world alight. As the incredibly hypocritical double-standards regrading the 2022 refugees from Ukraine proves - the West only cares about White people, and even then only when either useful or of the proper class.
From 1789 to 2022 non-Europeans see the same racism, deadly abuse of power and privilege, haughty disregard and disinterest, and closed opportunities in both Western Liberal Democracy and fascism. Trotsky goes on to complain, as usual, that this is a proof of failure in revolutionary leadership - but the leaders are not the problem but the people: the good people of the West have been governed by Western Liberal Democracy for too long, and thus by it's false, elitist, over-competitive and bigoted precepts.
Trotsky also failed to foresee the monarchical-like expansion of the 21st century Western executive branch (initially justified, as in 1830, by a need to dominate Muslims), which makes it even more similar to authoritarian fascism.
It was perhaps myopia - being too deeply within Western culture and too unexposed to the non-Western viewpoints of the colonised. A Third Worlder didn't feel any real change in policy before, during or after the Western fascist era - the violence is less brutal in its cultural presentation, but the violence is still brutal. A Syrian heard about the victory over fascism in Europe on May 8,1945, but he certainly more deeply felt the shells which Charles de Gaulle dropped on him on May 29, in order to forestall any independence (freedom) movements. The French waged the Sétif and Guelma massacres in Algeria on V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day - May 8, 1945), and aided by the American army. How is this morally superior to Italy's invasion of Ethiopia?
"Is it not too late? No, everything shows that it is not too late. In France there is no powerful fascist party. Indeed, in France there will not be an organisation as large as Hitler's party even before the conquest of power: it is against the traditions and customs of the country." That was not a Western Liberal Democrat talking about the West's superior values - that was Trotsky in 1935, and he would quite soon be wrong about half the country, i.e. Vichy France.
Trotsky was especially wrong in the first part - how can a country occupying Algeria (making it "France") not have a powerful fascist party? Is it not "fascism" because it's happening to non-Europeans? He was also wrong in the second part: there is no fascist party in France, the UK and the US because their Western Liberal Democracies were already quite fascistic. The idea that their traditions are anti-fascist is nonsense to those they were currently colonising.
That quote is not Trotsky being racist, because of course he was not, but merely of Trotsky both succumbing to European ethnocentrism and to not realising that France's traditions and customs were also filled with elitist, racist autocracy. The French Revolution was overthrown by European monarchs, Leon!
Trotsky was quite disproven, and almost a century later our goal is to explain why: He did not realise that France's impressive but relatively minor experiences with social revolution have been drastically outweighed by the fascism inherent in the "traditions and customs" of monarchy and, after 1848, Western Liberal Democracy.
As coming chapters will demonstrate, the rights and redistributions won by the Western masses in the postwar period (1945-1975) have been under constant attack in the third restoration of Liberalism (1975-today) and thus serve as an exceptional era in the anti-worker history of Western liberal Democracy.
The idea that there has been neither revolution nor fascism is the trick of Western Liberal Democracy, which openly allied with fascism's supporters against socialism immediately upon the cessation of WWII hostilities in order to fight Socialist Democracy around the world. It was absurd - Jim Crow-era United States assumed leadership of the "free world" while also being an Apartheid state - but imperialist Western Liberal Democracy controls the means, therefore they have the tools to employ and pay for the massive propaganda to uphold this idea.
How can Trotsky's great leaders lead a leaderless movement?
What's certain is that Trotsky would be somewhat at a loss with what to do with the leaderless Yellow Vests because he did not live in a leaderless time.
The Yellow Vests insist that they could not have sprouted successfully if they had acclaimed a leader precisely because all of France's leadership (Trotskyists included) are so discredited. However, this did not preclude France's Trotskyist parties nor the Trotskyist partisans in their several other prominent leftist parties from humbly, patiently and methodically forming a bond with the Yellow Vests. The problem is entirely in the domineering attitude of today's Trotskyists.
Trotsky would have likely said this, and I am forced to agree: The Yellow Vests are a "pre-revolutionary movement" which will be routed.
They were definitely routed every Saturday, and they were a revolutionary movement in ideal, but they have not yet progressed to the actual waging of revolution, nor have they fully grasped that only a revolution away from Western Liberal Democracy can ever allow them to achieve their core demands.
The Yellow Vests are thus a harbinger of coming revolution, we can safely predict.
What the Yellow Vests are doing is creating political enlightenment at every rural roundabout, urban march and Facebook page, and Western Trotskyists must either get on board or declare that they are not in favor of Socialist Democracy but Western Liberal Democracy. If they continue to work more with Western Liberal Democracy than with the Yellow Vests then they are not Trotskyist, who wrote, and the emphasis is his: "There can be no greater crime than coalition with the bourgeoisie in a period of socialist revolution," and this is what they done so far during the Yellow Vest era.
Because they live in a leaderless times the Yellow Vests are the ones introducing clarity into the political consciousness of the struggling masses - I believe Trotsky would have called them the vanguard party of France today, and not France's Communist or Trotskyist parties.
If the Vesters lack one thing it's in fully knowing that, "Without a complete overturn in property relations - without concentration of the waning system, the basic branches of industry, and foreign trade in the hands of the state - there is no salvation for the petty bourgeoisie of the city and country." There is no salvation because, again, the era of 1945-75 appears as a short anomaly compared the modern eras of 1848-1944 and 1976-2022 - the short era of Social Democracy in Europe was easily overturned.
The USSR, China and Iran overturned property relations, but this overturning is actually not among the Vesters' demands, which were first made public in December 2018. Of course, many Yellow Vests knew that nationalisation is the only way, even if only instinctually.
Yellow Vest: "How Macron has handled these privatisations reveals exactly what we have been denouncing since the start. How can Macron sell off our national inheritance without even consulting the opinion of the people? This is exactly why we are demanding regular citizen referendums. Why are we selling something like the airport of Paris now, when it will certainly be worth much more in the years to come, and especially if we invest some money into it? Despite what the government is saying, we are losing money with this sale, and with other privatisations."
In their bones and in their deeds the heroic Yellow Vests are revolutionary - it's the fault of other Western leftists to not have joined them, and to have feared joining them starting after the incredible police brutality and intimidation on May Day 2019.
The Yellow Vests suffer from a similar defect as Trotsky did: without a disciplined bureaucracy there is no way to institute the practical demands of the revolutionary masses. Trotskyism refused to support just such a bureaucracy in the USSR, and for that people like DuBois admired Stalin, the USSR and "real socialism instead of the sham Trotsky offered" - the "sham" being revolution without a bureaucracy to install or preserve it.
Trotsky and his scourge of bureaucratism is similar to the Yellow Vests insistence on being a leaderless movement which also makes a boogeyman of establishing a formal bureaucracy. The fault in both is that they think everyone is as politically advanced and committed as they are when they are not - they are vanguards.
Make no mistake, the Yellow Vest movement was ultimately not checked by poor leadership or a disdain for disciplined bureaucracy but by total war against it. Had this war been waged by a President Marine Le Pen it would have been called "fascist", but because it was waged by a President Emmanuel Macron it was whitewashed. This absurdity can be easily recognised by seeing that Western Liberal Democracy is fascism, has allied with fascists for nearly a century, has subsumed key tenets of fascism into contemporary liberal democracy - is fascism.
Trotsky really thought "imperialist democracy" and "parliamentary democracy" was totally discredited and smashed for good in 1939 - it was not.
It is ultimately most accurate to say that Trotsky correctly saw, but did not correctly describe, that Western Liberal Democracy and fascism were interchangeable and needed to be discredited and smashed for good - why don't you see this?
Upcoming chapter list of the brand-new content in France's Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West's Best Values. The book will also include previous writings from 2018 through the 2022 election in order to provide the most complete historical record of the Yellow Vests anywhere. What value!
Publication date: July 1, 2022.
Pre-orders of the paperback version will be available immediately.
Pre-orders of the Kindle version may be made here.
Pre-orders of the French paperback version will be available immediately.
Pre-orders of the French Kindle version may be made here.
Chapter List of the new content
- New book announcement - 'France's Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West's best values' - March 15, 2022
- Introduction: A Yellow Vests' history must rewrite both recent & past French history - March 20, 2022
- The UK's endless reaction: 1789 & feudalism's end creates modern conservatism - March 25, 2022
- Glorious Revolution of 1688: England declares 'death to all other revolutions' - March 29, 2022
- Modern political history makes no sense if Napoleon is not a leftist revolutionary - April 2, 2022
- The 'Counter-Revolutions of 1848' stillborn child: Western Liberal Democracy - April 7, 2022
- Louis-Napoleon: The revolutionary differences between Bonapartism & Western Liberal Democracy - April 11, 2022
- The Paris Commune: The true birth of neoliberalism and EU neo-imperialism - April 17, 2022
- Where the West is stuck: The fascism of the 1930s and the 'fascism' of the 2020s - April 23, 2022
- On 'Leon Trotsky on France' in order to reclaim Trotsky from Trotskyists
- The Yellow Vests' childhood: Seeing French elites, only, swayed by neoliberalism
- No one here is actually in charge: How the EU empire forced the Yellow Vests
- The radicalisation by Europe's ongoing Lost Decade: the Great Recession changes France
- To Yellow Vests he's the radical: Macron and 'Neither Right nor Left but the Bourgeois Bloc'
- Yellow Vests: At worst, the most important French movement for a century
- Who are they, really? Ask a reporter whose seen a million Yellow Vest faces
- Yellow Vest Win: Ending the West's slandering of all popular movements as far-right xenophobes
- Yellow Vest Win: The end of Western anarcho-syndicalism & unions as leftism's hereditary kings
- Yellow Vest Win: The end of Western parliamentarianism as the most progressive government
- Yellow Vest Win: Reminding us of the link between fascist violence & Western democracy
- What the Yellow Vests can be: a group which can protect Liberalism's rights, at least
- The 2022 vote: The approach needed for 'Before'- what came 'After' polls closed
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for PressTV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of ' Socialism's Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism' as well as ' I'll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China', which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.