In mid-November 2018 a wave of protest emerged in France on a scale not seen for several decades — the gilets jaunes movement, bringing together disaffected individuals from all walks of life with a shared sense that they had been forgotten by the current economic, social and political system. Gathering every Saturday in Paris and other French cities — or, in some cases, every day at roundabouts — until the spring of 2019, the demonstrators mobilized on a continuous footing (they even returned to the streets this autumn) and drew the attention of the ruling elites to social situations and expectations that hadn’t previously received much coverage.
What is the exact nature of this motley movement? What is it an expression of? What may come of it? Aziz Jellab goes back over this episode and stresses the sizeable role played by a sense of inequality, social injustice and lack of recognition. In so doing, he shows how greatly the French need to reinvent the social bond between them, breathe new life into democracy and find new ways to “live well together”.