The Morning After the Revolution

Yellow Vests Yes Hooligans, No

“That wasn’t a revolution,” scoffs my intellectual friend. Well, 6000 protesters in town, violence, vandalism, tear gas thick in the air and riot police  everywhere … it was revolutionary for Bourges. My friend scoffs again and calls me “naive” – 

Fears unfounded and fears confirmed. Hopes fulfilled and dreams shattered. It is the miserable, grey, drizzly morning after the revolution the day before.


We were expecting Sunday mourning, with world clearing up post apocalypse, but the fears were unfounded, the town was never a battlefield, but fears confirmed, the hooligans did come to town to try and wreak weekend mayhem; – the pitched battle with the police never happened, there was no «reckoning» – just groups of masked and hooded «hooligans» overturning and burning dustbins, ripping up concrete bollards, and «signing» boarded up shopfronts with their revolutionary rhetoric.

Rest In Capitalism

Hopes fulfilled, as over 6000 people came to small town France, the organisers knew that there would never be the 12,000 forecast. Who knows though, perhaps next week? – Something that the local authorities and downtown shopkeepers fear the most – our town becomes a new yellow hub. Now we are firmly on the protest map, we will become a «must-trash» destination for radical malcontents?

Weekends of fires, street battles, smoke bomds and clouds of teargas stinging the air. What a prospect.

Walking downtown in the wake. It’s hardly an aftermath. I get talking to one shokeeper, he’s halfway up a ladder, electric drill in hand.

«Are you taking it down?» I ask

«You must be joking,» he replies with an ironic, despondent laugh. «I’m strengthening and putting up a bit more.»

Boarding Up

And it is the same case along the main street. Shopkeepers repairing or replacing damaged hoardings and some unprotected shops, boarding up for next weekend.

«They’ll be back» – echoed by all, along the street.

Boarded up, but open for business. First weekend of the January sales, and in this staunchly No Sunday Shopping country, it is one of those are Sundays, where shops are actually allowed to trade for «special reasons» (Eg the run up to Christmas or as today, the first weekend of the sales.)

There are those who ave braved the rain and the cold for  spot of bargain hunting, and there are those shopkeepers who tell you that hey are ready to flaunt our nation’s draconian Sunday trading laws

«If I can’t open on a Saturday, I’ll open on a Sunday. I’ve got to make a living,» confides one shopkeeper, as he hammers in a wooden board.

Open for the sales

The world seems a sinister place this morning.

Walking across a car park, every car has a yellow vest on the dashboard in clear view, as if to say «Please don’t burn my car, I support you»

Don’t burn my car

Living in fear, but life goes on. There is a long line outside the baker’s as the good citizens of Bourges queue for their daily bread. There is a war zone feel, a blitz mentality – rushing out between bombing raids to buy a baguette.

We hope some normality will return, but we wait for  next weekend – the tenth week of national protest for the yellow vests movement and perhaps «chapter 2» for Bourges.

«Did you go on the demo?» asks an intellectual friend I meet in the bread line.

We begin to talk about the yellow vests. I think I understand. I went down to the demo before it started  and talked with a few. The yellow vests, a group of dipsarate and desperate people who are tired of grinding along the bottom. They want to start living and not simply existing.

My friend calls me naive, , he scoffs, he snorts, he laughs and explains, patronising me all the while. My reasoning and arguments crumble into blabbering stupidity, as they always do. I am no good at debating or arguing or putting my point across. I am no good at politics,  I’m not even sure what my politics are anymore. But yesterday, mixing and milling with the masses before the demo, everyone seemed so in tune with everyone else. Everyone seemed so united, it was a carnival atmosphere and then …

I’ve got  the words of an old Beatles song going through my brain

You say you want a revolution

Well, you know

We all want to change the world

You tell me that it’s evolution

Well, you know

We all want to change the world

But when you talk about destruction

Don’t you know that you can count me out

Don’t you know it’s gonna be

All right, all right, all right

I wonder if it’s going to be all right?