Story-Building for Revolution: Post-Marxist and Neo-Nationalist Perspectives on the Yellow Vests Movement

O ’Story Building’ de uma Revolução: Perspetivas Pós-Marxistas e Neonacionalistas sobre o Movimento Coletes Amarelos




Mass Protests, Far-left, Far-right, Post-Marxism, Neo-nationalism


On 17 November 2018, hundreds of thousands of French joined in protest against the ecological tax rise on hydrocarbons announced by Emmanuel Macron. The Yellow Vests phenomenon had been born. Since then, it has been active for several months and there seems to be no end in sight. As the movement began to get organized, it created websites and pages on social media, producing a challenging storytelling based on more than 40 demands and 25 proposals for the crisis. Thus it gave voice to the middle and middle-lower classes, which are deeply dissatisfied with their present socioeconomic conditions. Naturally, this narrative appealed to the extremist parties, from Mélenchon’s radical left to Marine Le Pen’s neo-nationalist right, as they immediately declared their support for the cause. Shortly afterwards, it was time for the intellectuals to manifest their views. On one hand, post-Marxists such as Slavoj Žižek and Antonio Negri wrote their articles on the subject. On the other, Russian nationalists, from leftist Boris Kagarlitsky to traditionalist Aleksandr Dugin, did not hide their enthusiasm about the movement either. For, in fact, all these intellectuals have something in common: they all are story-building for revolution.


A 17 Novembro 2018, centenas de milhares de franceses aderiram ao protesto contra a subida da taxa ecológica sobre os hidrocarbonetos anunciada por Emmanuel Macron. Nascia, assim, o fenómeno dos coletes amarelos, o qual tem perdurado ao longo de vários meses e parece não ter fim à vista. À medida que o movimento se foi organizando, criou um site e páginas em redes sociais, produzindo um «storytelling» de carácter reivindicativo com base em mais de 40 exigências e 25 propostas para a crise; o qual dava voz a um clima de profunda insatisfação quanto à situação socioeconómica em que vivem as classes média e média-baixa. Claro está que esta narrativa agradou aos partidos extremistas, desde a esquerda radical de Mélenchon à direita nacionalista de Marine Le Pen, que imediatamente declararam o seu apoio à causa. Pouco depois, era a vez dos intelectuais se manifestarem. De um lado, destacaram-se os artigos dos pós-marxistas Slavoj Žižek e Antonio Negri. Do outro, os nacionalistas russos, desde o esquerdista Boris Kagarlitsky ao tradicionalista Aleksandr Dugin, tampouco esconderam o seu entusiasmo quanto ao movimento. Com efeito, todos estes intelectuais têm algo em comum: a produção de um «story building» de cariz revolucionário.


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Author Biography

Rodrigo Almeida Sousa, Transdisciplinary Research Centre ‘Culture, Space and Memory’ (CITCEM), University of Porto.

Rodrigo Almeida Sousa is a writer and academic researcher at CITCEM (University of Porto) with an interdisciplinary background: Philosophy (BA/Catholic University of Portugal), Literary Theory (MA/University of Lisbon) and Audiovisual Communication (PhD/Complutense University of Madrid - Outstanding Doctorate Award 2015-2016).

In his research, he usually relates cultural dynamics, trends, historical-social events with media supports and communicational paradigms, with a view to examining contemporary dilemmas, par- ticularly regarding creativity, communication and social discourses. Lately, he has been focusing on digital cultures, sub-cultures and movements, generated and/or fostered within the post-truth environment and their reflection on audiovisual narratives (news, opinion, entertainment, film, TV, arts). As a writer/screenwriter, he has authored two successful children’s books (My School Would Make a Movie, 2011; Louie The Cootie, 2013) and award-winning short and full-length movie scripts (e.g. Gesto, A. B. Correia, 2011; Cova, L. Alves, 2011)




How to Cite

Sousa, R. A. (2019). Story-Building for Revolution: Post-Marxist and Neo-Nationalist Perspectives on the Yellow Vests Movement: O ’Story Building’ de uma Revolução: Perspetivas Pós-Marxistas e Neonacionalistas sobre o Movimento Coletes Amarelos. Perspectivas - Journal of Political Science, 20, 9-21.