Dear conservatives: France's "yellow jacket" protesters are not our friends

That protesters would desecrate such a defining symbol of French glory says much about what this movement now is: thuggery veiled as political opposition. But if you don’t think that this treatment of national monuments alone discredits the yellow jackets, then consider their treatment of Parisian persons and property. As the center-left Le Monde reports, this weekend saw hundreds of cars burned out, dozens of buildings or street stalls destroyed, and dozens of injured police officers. Many small business owners have suffered losses during the riots. These things are very poor testaments to conservative values. On the contrary, when one considers that the protesters are also calling for the re-institution of a wealth tax, and of massive new government spending, it’s clear that the yellow jackets aren’t conservative.

But that agenda speaks to something: the fact that that what’s really going on here is a rebellion against Macron’s reform program. While Macron has successfully passed some economic reforms to open up France’s statist economy to greater competition and higher growth, the dividends have yet to show. In part this is because Macron hasn’t been bold enough with his reforms. But it’s also because Macron retains a hardheadedness that, whiles necessary to fix France, also upsets many vested interests. Evidencing as much, France’s powerful unions are getting involved in the yellow jacket rebellion, sensing that they can use it to knock out Macron’s broader economic reform program. As France 24 reports, the big unions are calling for a nationwide strike on Dec. 14th to demand a cancellation of the planned fuel tax hikes alongside their standing demands for minimum wage hikes and pension boosts.