A protest movement in France known as the Gilets Jaunes, or Yellow Vests, has become a political crisis for French President Emmanuel Macron. The protest movement began over a hike in a fuel tax, but has grown into something much more and is now threatening to further weaken President Macron, whose popularity was already sinking in France.
On the line with me to discuss the origins of this movement and its political significance both in France and throughout Europe is Arthur Goldhammer, a senior affiliate with the Center for European Studies at Harvard University. He is also a translator of French works into english. If you are one of the many people who read Thomas Picketty’s book Capitalism in the 21st Century, you read Art Goldhammer’s translation.
We kick off discussing the origins of this protest movement. We then have a wider discussion about the roots of Macron’s unpopularity in France and the implications of his unpopularity for Europe, the European Project and liberal democracy more broadly.
If you have twenty minutes and want to learn the broader international implications of the Yellow Vest movement, have a listen.
Arthur Goldhammer has a B.S. and Ph.D. in Mathematics from MIT and has taught at Brandeis University and Boston University. He has translated more than 125 books from French, for which he won numerous awards. His most recent award was for Thomas Piketty’s bestseller Capital in the 21st Century. At CES, he is Co-Chair of the Contemporary Europe Study Group and Chair of the Visiting Scholars Seminar.
A long-time observer of French politics, Goldhammer regularly contributes commentary on France and French politics on his blog site “French Politics.” He writes regularly for The American Prospect, The Nation, Democracy Journal, and Foreign Policy and serves on the editorial boards of The Tocqueville Review and French Politics, Culture, and Society.