Memes with Force: Lessons from the Yellow Vests

Paul Torino and Adrian Wohlleben

An article on memes, revolutionary destitution, & looting as ‘anti-fascism’ by two North American comrades who traveled to France during the first phases of the ongoing Yellow Vests movement. First published on Mute.

“The meme reopens the basic question of the Party, and offers what is perhaps the minimal basis for organizing a force of rupture in the twenty-first century. The fluidity of the meme makes it possible to join a march, a blockade or a roundabout occupation without having to buy into a “common interest” or the legitimizing “beliefs” of a movement. It does not solve, but simply defers the question of a common grammar of suffering to a later point…The meme authorizes everyone to act on their respective experience of how the ‘elites’ (a deliberately under-constructed enemy) have screwed them over, like a Tarot deck in which the audience fills in the personal content. Each of us is invited to intervene against the enemy without waiting or asking permission, and for our own reasons.”