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It’s not radical right populism! The Yellow Vests in France
UiO: C-REX - Center for Research on Extremism
First lines: Activists wearing Yellow Safety Vests started taking the streets in France since October 2018. Many commentators linked their grievances to radical right and “anti-establishment” politics. Why is it not so simple? Activists wearing yellow safety vests, or Gilets Jaunes, started taking the streets in France in October 2018. As these uprisings could not be connected to any political party or to any clear political agenda, some commentators linked their grievances with the ethnocentric and ‘anti-establishment’ discourse of the Rassemblement National (formerly Front National, RN). After more than a year of demonstrations, and some attempts by Marine Le Pen to latch on to the Yellow Vests (YVs) the RN has failed to capitalize on this discontent suggesting that the relationship of the YVs with the populist radical right is probably not that obvious. We argue that it is overly simplistic to associate the YVs with the populist radical right. While the ideology of the radical right is crucially informed by nativism, authoritarianism and populism, the YVs movement is not based on a single, accepted platform, and it talks very little about immigration and law and order issues. In addition, it is not just against the ‘establishment’ or democracy tout court but mostly concerned with institutional reforms (notably to improve the accountability of the executive). Our claim is supported by the findings of an ongoing research project at CEE & médialab of Sciences P