The protest movement in France by the gilet jaunes (yellow vests) is escalating. There has been significant violence in Paris, and more peaceful anti-government demonstrations at barricades on roads and at fuel depots across France, with students now joining in to blockade their schools. An opinion poll found 72% of French people still support the protest movement that began in response to a rise in fuel taxes but is rapidly becoming a full-on challenge to President Emmanuel Macron, seen as favouring the rich.
Comparisons are being made with the student revolt of 1968 when civil unrest not only at the universities but also in the factories effectively brought the economy of France to a halt. The protests reached a point where political leaders feared civil war or revolution; and President Charles de Gaulle secretly fled France for a few hours. It started as a protest against capitalism, consumerism, American imperialism and traditional institutions, values and order and then spread to involve almost 22 million workers. As today there were no leaders, just a widespread series of wildcat strikes.
France was born out of a bloody revolution by the proletariat and the spirit of Robespierre and the later Les Miserables runs deep in their veins. The problem for Macron is that every previous president succumbed to public pressure and retreated from much-needed reforms. Which is why the economy remains sclerotic and the state-sector with its eye-poppingly generous benefits schemes stays as is.
The France chart has a fearsome T square in Fixed signs of a rebellious Uranus opposition Pluto square Mars and Midheaven in vengeful Scorpio (opposition Algol). An odd mix of revolutionary and utterly immoveable. That T Square has moved by Solar Arc to catch tr Saturn in hard aspect through December/January 2019; and tr Saturn will also square the 8th house Venus over the New Year – so a discouraging cloud will hang around for a while.
Paris is seeing a sharp downturn in business with shops and restaurants suffering badly and as the protests spread that will be repeated elsewhere damaging an economy struggling to grow even in miniscule amounts.
The central Bank of France chart, 18 January 1800, is being severely jangled through December to mid February 2019, and pretty much sinking till late 2019 with tr Neptune square its Mars.
Macron’s personal chart, 21 December 1977 10.40 am Amiens, France, has Solar Arc Neptune conjunct his Ascendant now with tr Uranus square both for the next two and a half month as his image takes a pounding. On midpoint transits he’s also in crisis through December to mid February, worsening from mid December till mid January. There’s a minor uptick then, but he looks fairly crushed moving ahead from the spring 2019 onwards.
His relationship chart with France has an explosive Mars Uranus square Saturn to start with and that’s catching the early January Solar Eclipse to mark this confrontation. With nothing that looks like a détente thereafter. Like Hollande, he may limp towards the end of his term.
This protest is not as serious as the 1968 one which occurred when Uranus Pluto in Virgo were conjunct the France North Node and moving to conjunct the France Sun; and tr Neptune was conjunct the Midheaven for a paralysing few weeks. But Macron’s image is unlikely to recover.
His Presidency chart, 14 May 2017 11.25am Paris, was launched on a reform platform with Uranus in the 10th trine Saturn; but has a questionable Neptune in the financial 8th in an over-hopeful quincunx to Jupiter and a publicity-seeking but can-be-paralysed square to Mars.
It’s another outburst from the ‘forgotten many’ which is becoming an epidemic in Europe (and beyond). But one to which the EU has no answer. And France especially appears incapable of overcoming truculent public sentiment to enforce the kind of root-and-branch reform which long term would improve the economic situation for all.