On November 17, 2018 he was born in France the movement of the ‘yellow vests‘ with the first protest against the rise in fuel prices as a result of the imposition of the ecotax. That first claim ended up leading to a set of demands that focused on the discomfort of the inhabitants of the rural zonesanger at neoliberal drift of government policies and the claims of a participatory and direct democracy. What sprouted in the Spanish squares on 15-M was reproduced seven years later in the roundabouts French and today some of those activists have made the leap to conventional politics, as Podemos did in 2014 when moving from the squares to the institutions.
In one of those roundabouts, in Burg-Madamepopulation bordering Puigcerdastarted his career Natalie Cullell, who dressed in one of those vests went every weekend to demonstrate against the loss of public services and the abandonment of Paris. Now, Cullell is aiming for a seat on the National Assembly under the candidacy of New Popular Ecologist and Social Union (NUPES) who leads Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the legislative elections that are held this Sunday, June 12 and June 19 (second round). It is presented by the third circumscription of the Eastern Pyrenees, which includes the towns of Font-Romeu, Prada or a part of Perpinyà.
“Let’s change the system from the inside“, explains to EL PERIÓDICO in a videoconference conversation. A teacher by profession, 45 years old and mother of three children aged 19, 17 and 14, this neighbor of The Cabanassea population of about 700 inhabitants located 16 kilometers from Llivia, suffered in the first person the cuts and the privatization of education. And it has decided to take the step in the face of the Government’s inaction in its territory, where public services have been closed, civil servant positions have been lost, there is an infrastructure deficit and there is a serious problem with housing, since 80% are second homes. “Nothing is done for the inhabitants, only for the sightseeingand our quality of life is declining,” Cullell said.
31% voting intention
She is convinced that the leftist coalition will be able to achieve an absolute majority, but she trusts mobilization and tries to avert the precedent of the 2017 legislative elections, when the abstention registered the historical record of 51% in the first round and 57% in the second. “It is better for citizens to express themselves at the pollswill prevent many demonstrations, especially after seeing how the protests in France are now repressed and how the yellow vests were treated,” he stresses.
He is also optimistic about his role in the elections. The polls give him a 31% voting intention in the first round and feels good vibes at his campaign events. According to him, those who attend his rallies confess that “in 20 or 30 years they had not seen anything like it, with such enthusiasm.”
Legacy of the French Revolution
Cullell doesn’t think his past as a yellow vest could happen to him bill at the polls, after the stigmatization that the group has suffered after leading disturbances in some of the protests. “The yellow vests are the French peopleit is not a small group, they bring together absolutely all social classes, it is all the united people who realize that they have been fooled for dozens of years and that they want to resume their lives because they no longer live, they survive, “he defends , before emphasizing his campaign slogan: “Make the invisible liveable and bring (to the Assembly) the voice of those who are gagged.”
Ultimately, it is about recovering the legacy of the French Revolution and that the deputies become “truly” the transmission belt of the people’s complaints. And given the doubts that his lack of experience in institutions may generate, Cullell argues that “the people are mature” and “prepared to govern themselves.” “They don’t need enarcas (as those who have passed through the elitist National School of Administration, ENA) or technocrats are called.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.