Right now, the situation is escalating in France. Violence is appearing and is part of the protests of a the so-called “gilets jaunes”. It is not clear how much the movement has been highjacked by extremists as it is based on somewhat blurred motives. This might be due to the fact, that the movement isn’t contained by political parties or trade unions. It is self-organizing through social media.
Consequently, the movement consists of a great variety of people who are motivated by their anger and frustration. It is their reaction to the gap they experience between the promise to be able to live off one’s income and the reality they live in.
Seeing how this violence escalated in the last weeks is frightening and frustrating.
The efforts made to react to the movement and contain it are not heard nor accepted.
The situation resembles a family fight in which the long-held frustrations break out and no one is capable to quieten it. It resembles the scenes in which two people are fighting so hard with each other that no one can intervene. It is not until both are so exhausted, that their fighting noise will be less audible than the calming voices.
This situation might stay longer than expected. It endangers consensus in society.
It does it by augmenting economic problems. On the île de la Réunion small commerce have been losing income due to roadblocks, in other places, small shop owners found their shops destroyed by the emerging violence. It does it also by creating a different anger. Destruction and violence emerging in the cities lead to a wide range of damages frustrating those who had only been watching until now.
The resulting frustrations aimed at the government as well as the “gilets jaunes” are widely shared on social media. This adds fuel to the discord and anger. It leads to a belief of “if you are not for me, you are against me” making it even more difficult for the parties involved to calm down and start thinking about the situation and the solution it requires.
Where does it lead us to, when emotions lead society?