News Release

Examining Yellow Vest Demands


DIANA JOHNSTONE, diana.johnstone at
Based in Paris, Johnstone recently wrote the piece “Yellow Vests Rise Against Neo-Liberal ‘King’ Macron,” which states: “The Yellow Vests held their first demonstrations on Saturday, November 17, on the Champs-Elysées in Paris. It was totally unlike the usual trade union demonstrations, well organized to march down the boulevard between the Place de la République and the Place de la Bastille, or the other way around, carrying banners and listening to speeches from leaders at the end. …

“Briefly, the message was this: we can’t make ends meet. The cost of living keeps going up, and our incomes keep going down. We just can’t take it any more. The government must stop, think and change course. …

“A significant and recurring complaint concerned the matter of health care. France has long had the best public health program in the world, but this is being steadily undermined to meet the primary need of capital: profit. In the past few years, there has been a growing government campaign to encourage, and finally to oblige people to subscribe to a ‘mutuelle,’ that is, a private health insurance, ostensibly to fill ‘the gaps’ not covered by France’s universal health coverage. The ‘gaps’ can be the 15 percent that is not covered for ordinary illnesses (grave illnesses are covered 100 percent), or for medicines taken off the ‘covered’ list, or for dental work, among other things. The ‘gaps’ to fill keep expanding, along with the cost of subscribing to the mutuelle. In reality, this program, sold to the public as modernizing improvement, is a gradual move toward privatization of health care. It is a sneaky method of opening the whole field of public health to international financial capital investment. This gambit has not fooled ordinary people and is high on the list of complaints by the Gilets Jaunes [Yellow Vests].”

Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions and Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. The memoirs of Diana Johnstone’s father Paul H. Johnstone (a senior military planner and one of the authors of the Pentagon Papers), From MAD to Madness, were published by last year with her commentary.