«The movement of" yellow vests "reveals a new desire for association»


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Tribune. The movement of "yellow vests" marks a political turning point in the quinquennium, but also, more deeply, a common desire to exchange and live together differently. An unprecedented desire for association and social bond is spontaneously manifest, supported from the beginning by nearly 80% of French people. The reference to 1968 is not fortuitous; we speak without restraint in the street between strangers. In squares, roundabouts, we talk about wages, the end of the month, pensions; we eat together, we share the ordinary in an extraordinary moment where we also feel fully citizen by reinventing a democracy on a human scale.

One would not understand the resistance and the persistence of the "yellow vests", day and night, in the cold and in the rain, in spite of the work, the children, the daily life, if it also did not manifest the pleasure to be associated together under no authority, command or central organization. Thousands of roundabout informal associations meet for the duration of a mostly peaceful protest. We find this same desire on television sets where, without speaking on their behalf, the invited "yellow vests" represent with sincerity, and sometimes brilliance, the legitimate place of the ordinary citizen, on an equal footing with the politicians and the professionals of the communication.

It is therefore not surprising that beyond the financial measures announced by Emmanuel Macron on the SMIC and the CSG retirees, including the flagship claim of the movement is the referendum citizen initiative (RIC), showing that the future the people want to be associated with the political life of the country by new forms of democratic procedures. In the end, the associative form of the event undoubtedly counts as much as the substance of the multiple claims, whatever one thinks of them, sometimes utopian or contradictory.

New "associativity"

The misdiagnosis of sociological diagnosis of the new quinquennium, like precedents, has been to believe in a frenzied individualism, enclosing individuals on themselves in an atomized society, easy to manipulate, waiting only for the figure of the Commander for the to unify and represent it. Without seeing that the individualisation in question is more and more "relational", that it is only really accomplished in the free relation of equality to the other and to others. It is this new "associativity" of the individuals that created the networks from which, on the Internet, the movement of "yellow vests" started, all astonished to be together when they thought they were alone.

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