I very rarely do book reviews, but in this case I felt that I simply *had* to share with you what I consider a true gem, one of those books which one simply has to read. I am referring to the book “France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values” by Ramin Mazaheri, a PressTV correspondent and a regular contributor to the Saker blog. Though we never met face to face, over the years Ramin and I have developed a real friendship, but that is not the reason for this review. The reason for this review is simple: I want to convince as many people as possible to read this book.
That’s what my review will be all about.
The title of the book “France’s Yellow Vests: Western Repression of the West’s Best Values” gives a first indication of the scope of the book. Yes, of course, it is about the Yellow Vests and how the state viciously repressed this truly popular, grassroots, movement. But the book also discusses the so-called “Western liberal democratic values”. In fact, this book could be seen as two books in one.
The first part is an absolutely fascinating, and delightfully controversial, discussion of the evolution of what we now call Western liberal democracy. The second half discusses the Yellow Vests specifically (Chapter 1 through Chapter 8 deals with French history from 1789 until World War II. Chapter 9 through Chapter 18 deals with the Yellow Vests.)
To make his case, Ramin looked as far back as “The Glorious Revolution” of 1688, which is indispensable to understand the roots and evolution of Western liberal democratic thought. The book also includes a fascinating discussion of the French Revolution and of the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte. Ramin also discusses the French Commune, Fascism and even Leon Trotsky!
What makes this book so fascinating is that the author is a Marxist, but a special kind of Marxist, one which does not hesitate to be extremely critical of other Marxists, which makes for a very refreshing, unpredictable and truly riveting read! Ramin’s analysis is informed by Marxism, but it is truly original and his conclusions often surprising and unpredictable.
Personally, there is a lot I completely disagree with, especially Ramin’s apology for Napoleon, but here is the wonderful thing about this book: even when I disagreed with Ramin’s conclusion, I was compelled to rethink my own views due to his many excellent arguments. Besides, Ramin does not want the reader to agree as much as he wants the reader to think and rethink his/her certitudes.
One of the most powerful aspects of the book is that it truly and indisputably shows the truly evil nature of Western liberal democracy. Just for that reason alone this should be an absolutely mandatory reading for anybody considering himself/herself has a proponent of Western liberal democracy. If that applies to you, then I challenge you to read this book. If, after reading it, you will not have changed your views, then you will at least have tested your beliefs against Ramin’s arguments. And if you do change your mind, you will be forever grateful to Ramin for his truly eye-opening book!
The second part of the book is a detailed analysis of the Yellow Vests phenomenon which Ramin personally saw from up close and which he truly understands. His main conclusion is that unlike the innumerable fake-popular, fake-leftist, movements out there, the Yellow Vests are the “real thing”: a truly popular movement against the brutal class oppression of the French ruling elites.
Here I have to say that I fully concur with Ramin. The Yellow Vests are definitely the real thing, and not a fully co-opted and controlled fake opposition (“caviar left” is the French expression) which we observe in almost all EU countries. What is most amazing about the Yellow Vests is that many powerful actors tried to either bring them under control or use them for petty political, partisan, interests. These attempts all failed and while COVID pandemic provided the perfect pretext to crack down even harder against the Yellow Vests, the movement has not been destroyed which, by itself, is quite amazing, especially considering the truly vicious and brutal violence unleashed by the French state against the Yellow Vests.
My purpose here is not to review the book chapter by chapter or thesis by thesis. My intention is, rather, to “bait you” just enough to make you get the book and read it for yourself. The reader can purchase it on Amazon in English and French, and in paperback or e-book form. They can also find it in participating bookstores in Europe via IngramSpark, but Amazon is the most certain and fastest way.
This is how the book is summarized on its Amazon page:
The most comprehensive book on the Yellow Vests, and from the journalist who knows them the best. No journalist in English or French reported at more Yellow Vest demonstrations than daily news reporter and author Ramin Mazaheri. Divided into two parts: The first gives new explanations for the European wars against French progressive politics from 1789-2017. The second is a complete analysis of the causes and victories of the truly progressive and totally misrepresented Yellow Vest movement. With over 100 quotations from actual, marching Yellow Vests no book gives their view such pride of place – decide for yourself. The Yellow Vests either end or begin a major era in French and European history, but their repression was certainly a once-in-a-century event for France. Finally find out why Western elites believed repressing them was – and still is – necessary.
It’s all true, but please do check it for yourself :-) I can promise you that you will not regret it. And, do I need to mention that this book also makes a great present, especially if you want to open somebody’s eyes about the true roots and nature of the society we live in?
This book is one powerful “red pill” – make sure to have it in your “toolkit”!
Thank you for bringing back the “good ol’ days” of journalism and intellectual discourse, when academics could sit in a lounge over coffee and cigars and cheerfully scream at each other about how they couldn’t possibly have THAT position on THIS such and such. They are long gone, obliterated by Feminazis, BLM morons, Envirowhackos and wealth redistributionists. Rock On!
I agree that the Yellow Vest movement is truly grass roots. How ever, I don’t think that demonstrations are enough. Tens of millions demonstrated against the Iraq war and it made no difference. What’s needed is strikes, in particular general strikes.
Beautiful review. Thanks, Andrej. Gonna be my next buy
I have only just recently finished reading Ramin Mazaheri’s book and I can say, unreservedly, that it is far and away the most enlightening book that I have read this year. Never ponderous nor obscure, it is written with great intelligence and ‘street-savvy’ insight. And in a gently teasing style that makes the reading of it feel like a delightful conversation. Ramin has done a great service to the brave gilet jaunes and to the cause of real-left popular politics. Just read it – as The Saker says, it’s an eye-opener. Bravo to Ramin!
I bought the book and agree with the Saker, it is a very good book, well worth the price.