On August 19, 1991, the people of the Soviet Union awoke to music from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake playing on national television. Swan Lake would play continuously that day as the “hard line” State Emergency Committee staged its coup against the first and last Soviet president, Mikhail Gorbachev, who had been arrested at his Crimea vacation residence. Newspapers and radio stations that had been supportive of Gorbachev’s reforms were shut down. Tanks rolled into the capital. Later that day, the obviously nervous members of the State Emergency Committee appeared on national television for a press conference. Veteran political commentator Aleksandr Bovin asked one of the committee members, Vasily Starodubtsev, a pointed question: “Vasya, tell me, how did you end up with this bunch?” The conference room erupted in laughter. Meanwhile, Russian Republic President Boris Yeltsin denounced the “junta” and called for strikes and street protests. Soviet military and security forces failed to rally to the side of the coup plotters. The coup attempt had failed. Within months, the Soviet Union would collapse, a collapse practically no expert had anticipated.
Move ahead twenty-seven years. As globalists wring their hands over the rise of anti-elite populist movements in Europe and America, French President Emmanuel Macron faces violent mass protests by the so-called “Yellow Vests,” an uprising of the French people initially, at least, representing rural residents and the working and lower-middle classes. The furious Yellow Vests have risen up against an aloof, apparently clueless, political-economic elite following the introduction of a regressive fuel tax that would undercut their already declining living standards. Anti-elite protests have since spread to the Netherlands and Belgium. In a number of instances, French police have refused to move against the gilet jaunes, named after the yellow vests French motorists must carry in their vehicles. The Davos set’s neoliberal poster boy Macron has been forced to seek negotiations with the Yellow Vests, and the French government has announced a six-month suspension of the fuel tax.
Yet the protests are about more than living standards and taxes. French journalist Edouard Tétreau has noted that the French authorities, after “fixing” the “mistake” of the fuel tax, will “have to focus on the long term crisis,” which is a “crisis of meaning, first of all: What exactly are we working for, if we cannot make ends meet or prepare a future for our children? Or when 48% of the wealth we produce is taken by a state that we can hardly hold accountable? Why do we continue to be together on this piece of land in Western Europe? Are we still a French nation with a common past, present, and destiny? Or are we already pieces of heteroclite ethnic, religious and social communities, corseted by such an undemocratic ‘thing’—to use General de Gaulle's description of the UN— as the European Union?”
What the Yellow Vests represent is nothing less than a nascent general uprising against globalization and the dispossession of the nations of the West. Watching the unfolding French crisis from America, it doesn’t strain one’s imagination to envision our own social, demographic, and political crisis getting uglier, nastier, and, indeed, more violent as our aloof, clueless, and genuinely treacherous elite use all the levers it controls to shunt aside real Americans and dismantle what remains of the old America.
The Washington Beltway globo-elite’s efforts to mount a coup of their own by reversing the 2016 election results are symptomatic: a stable political system rests on a certain assumption made by the players that victory or defeat in a free and fair election will not become a zero sum game in which the losers are crushed or a coup is mounted against the winner. In today’s deteriorating political situation, America is moving quickly toward a politics that resembles that of proverbial banana republics, as the managerial class appears to be hellbent on using electoral chicanery to manipulate the outcomes of all “democratic elections,” and is prepared to use police state methods to fabricate a case against a sitting president.
Meanwhile, Middle America is dying off as life expectancy declines amid an epidemic of suicides and drug overdose deaths, with whites fairing the worst, and rural areas leading the wave of suicides in data recently released by the Center for Disease Control. That this is taking place in the heartland of a “hyper-power” reflects the transformation of our country into a hollowed out platform for globalization, a petri dish for managerial experimentation in creating the Chimera of a “universal nation” while killing off and replacing the actual nation. What should be treated as a national emergency is a relatively minor story for our hive-like equivalent of a Ministry of Truth. (Once again, the Russian experience might be instructive, as life expectancy fell precipitously following the Soviet collapse during the “wild 90’s”—and, in another news story our media commissars haven’t paid much attention to, has risen substantially under the Kremlin boss they love to hate, Vladimir Putin).
Thus, a vitally important story has been buried by wall-to-wall coverage of an ex-president’s funeral. And, as usual, the implosion of Mexico, with over 250,000 (that we know of) killed in the last 12 years is largely ignored, even as drug cartel violence spills over into the United States with narcotics fueling the drop in life expectancy flood over the border.
James Howard Kunstler has wondered why Americans have not (yet?) revolted in the manner of the French. The French, writes Kunstler, are rioting “not simply over the cost of diesel fuel, they’ve had enough impingements on their traditional ways if life and seek to arrest the losses.” As we move further along a very dangerous road, our own managerial apparatus is no doubt paying close attention to events in France. And Macron’s cheerleaders should recall the events of 1991, as well.
Corresponding Editor Wayne Allensworth is the author of The Russian Question: Nationalism, Modernization, and Post-Communist Russia (Rowman & Littlefield) and most recently, Field of Blood: A Gripping Modern Western Set on the USA's Southern Border.