Freeman-Woolpert, Sarah

Sarah Freeman-Woolpert
1 February 2019Feature

Participatory movement is forcing France to reckon with the impact of austerity on the working class

Mouvement des gilets jaunes demonstration in Belfort, 19 January.Photo: Thomas Bresson via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 4.0)

At the beginning of January, 50,000 people flooded the streets of France for the first protest of 2019 organised by the yellow vests, or gilets jaunes.

This protest was a continuation of a national movement for economic justice that has shaken the country since November. While mainstream French and international media have largely characterised…