The scale of the movement and the speed with which it was formed are striking, outside trade-union organizations and political parties. Who are the gilets jaunes? What do they want? Are we witnessing a renewal of the forms of protest and politics?
My tendency as a labor historian has always been to look at life beyond the workplace. Life taught me that working people are multi-dimensional. They care about many things in addition to work and unions, they bring multiple concerns and aspirations.
Racism, Antisemitism, ideas of “outside agitators” are the right’s most effective tools for delegitimizing the message and messengers of social justice. If protest can be blamed on those outside, both the message and the messenger are untrustworthy.
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