Apr 3, 2017

The Hope of Marine Le Pen

With the exception of Israel, this blog seldom goes outside of the USA.  I mention Israel, because today I write about Marine Le Pen,  who is being compared to Donald Trump,  as France's populist candidate. Marine Le Pen is a French nationalist who wants to divorce France from the European Union.  She wants to reestablish her country's borders and currency. She wants to unlink their destiny with Brussels and Berlin, especially in regard to immigrants and refugees. Le Pen heads the far right National Front Party.  The party was led by her father for decades,  who was known for his anti-semitic statements.

Marine's rising popularity is tied to increasing fear about the unassimilated Muslim minority, and the radicalization therein.  That radicalization has resulted in lethal attacks against the general population, and Jews in particular.  Le Pen would minimize immigration,  and greatly restrict refugees.  She openly considers France a Christian nation.  She would ban Hijabs, and expect Jews to sacrifice yarmulkas, instead using hats for religious head covering.  She would ban dual citizenship outside of Europe, which would mean that some French Jews could no longer also maintain Israeli citizenship.  While such proposed restrictions alarm most French Jews, there are those among them that find the status quo more dangerous.  Complete religious freedom doesn't mean much if you're being run down by trucks or shot in Jewish Day Schools.

Unlike Trump, Le Pen is seasoned in politics and is articulate.  The French election involves two rounds, with the first occurring this month.  The top two vote getters face off in May.


Scott Armstrong said...

The candidate is no Trump although the media in both countries make the compassion for their own reasons.Marine is an ideologue closing associated with what can only be called national socialism. While not trying to paint her as Adolf Hitler her political views are similar to those held by your run of the mill Nazi's in thirties Germany. She wants a big powerful central authority to fix France's problems. No small government person here. And unlike the fake news narrative still being peddled by the press here about Trump and Putin's conspiracy/love affair that connection is very real and open between Marine and Putin.
There was one good candidate in the race, Fillon the press saw this, a real conservative who could win and went about their usual muk raking to find what ever odds and ends they could to destroy him. And as with every other "conservative" politician in France in recent years they have pulled it off.
If LePen somehow wins blame the French media for being more afraid of a Conservative Catholic than a national socialist.

Scott Armstrong said...

Sorry for the typo's, whipped it out to quickly. comparison and closely

TRENT HALL said...

Marine Le Pen's father founded the party and was it's intellectual leader & spokesman for many years. She has sidelined him because of his explicit anti-Semitism and past support of, and high public regard for, Vichy France.

She represents a vision of the France of the past, with it's regard for the military, overseas possessions & fervid Roman Catholicism. This nostalgia for the past comports with Trump's message of Make America White/Great Again mixed with the fear/hated of immigrants. However, she is media savvy, far smarter than Trump, does her homework and understands the issues, and her message of a strong, centralized government resonates well with the mood of many who see French traditional culture & values being undermined with the New Europe. By bagging the anti-Semitism she represents the party as not a neo-Nazi one, but, rather as one akin to the Catholic center right parties that governed France during the late 1940's/1950's/1960's. A new deGaulle.

Most likely she will ultimately come in second this time, but, with perhaps sufficient seats to force a coalition government. Should that happen, she would be well positioned for eventual top power in the following election, should the public sour on the mainstream conservative party.

Scott Armstrong said...

"This nostalgia for the past comports with Trump's message of Make America White/Great Again mixed with the fear/hated of immigrants."

Keep spreading the Big lie Angry Left. It really helps everyone see you for what you are, slanderous, name calling, intolerant, and illiberal.

Scott Armstrong said...

By the way, please tell everyone here what the "mainstream conservative party"is in France.

TRENT HALL said...

It is not easy to describe French politics to American ears.

The parties are all to the left of the American Tea & Republican parties in ways Americans would understand them, despite the words "Conservative" & "Socialis" in their names. Hence, former President Sarkozy's party was a large component of the mainstream Conservative coalition, despite the name "Socialists" in the party name....just like the word "Socialis"t in the Nazi party full name was. Nomenclature is meaningless to understand their positions. (You can Google the names of the current Conservative parties in the French Parliament).

Furthermore, understand that France(like most of Europe)does not have a federal system (i.e., a dual system of sovereign/autonomous states/regions & a national government), but, rather a unitary one, with all power rested in a permanent civil service & government ministries. As befitting a nation with 200 different kinds of cheese, there are many political parties, with many factions among & between the parties. Consequently, no single party can secure an absolute parliamentary majority; hence all governments are coalition ones.

For the past several decades two mainstream coalitions have vied for control of the government, the Conservatives & the Socialists. They tend to change their official party names each election, but, the various parties retain the same interests. The big battles are not, unlike in the United States, over social issues, but, rather over economic policy.

The mainstream Conservative coalition has prevailed for most of the last several elections, though the actual Presidents of their various parties have played musical chairs, gaining & losing seats. Thus, while Hollanse has been slipping and losing seats, while Sarkozy's group is pressing again, the mainstream Conservative coalition at the moment seems to have the Socialists at bay.

The far right, the FN (National Front) of Le Penn, which is outside of the governing Conservative coalition of parties, has been chipping away at the Conservatives in the recent election, and some feel she may come in second place in the next elections. That would force the Conservatives to have to either form a coalition with the Socialist block, or have to take Le Penn in as a partner.

Sound familiar? It's like what Trump has threaten the Freedom Caucus in the House he would do....... compromise with the dreaded Democrats to avoid a default and to pass essential legislation......if the Freedom Caucus doesn't come to terms with his agenda.

Scott Armstrong said...

Gee Trent,

I actually speak French and spend part of the year there. Nice cut and paste job to look informed. The truth is there is no mainstream conservative party as you claimed. Yes there are a variety of small parties, and parties that come and go that form non-socialist coalitions. They are by no means "conservative" in the American sense,but rather unite against the idea of further socialization of France and its economy.
"En Marche!" is the name of a left of center(by American standards)new party. It never existed before and has left the old party leaders out of the loop.Its leader Macron will likely the next president of France.
No party in France will form a coalition with Le Pen, she will come in a close second but again be left out. This will mirror what happened recently with a similar candidate in Holland. Failed to will a controlling majority and the other parties are still trying to hash out the terms of the new government that excludes Wilders "New freedom Party".

TRENT HALL said...

Actually, you simply repeated what I said......that all the parties to the left of the mainstream Socialist parties in France unite to form coalitions against the Socialists. They are considered the Conservatives.....even though by American standards they are left of what the center is here......and whether it is Holland's/Sarkozy's/Macron's party that emerges as the top dog in that coalition is irrelevant......as long as they remain united against the Socialist block.

Also as I said, and you simply repeated in a rephrasing, none of the Conservative parties in France regarding social or basic economic policy would seem "conservative" to Tea Party or Republican Party followers in the United States, as all embrace what here is considered to be the "far left" regarding labor, social, & cultural positions by the O'Reily/Rush/Hannity et.al. admirers......all endorsed & enacted single payer national healthcare/family planning including contraception & abortion, 35 hour work week, 30 day vacation, generous governmenet supported pensions, yadda yadda.

The difference between the coalitions is primarily over the extent & scope of the nationalization of certain sectors of the economy and the pace of any proposed or enacted privatization of existing nationalized sectors. None of the parties on either side support enhanced defense spending or extensive military involvement outside their border. The French contribution to our "wars of freedom" in the Middle East & Afghanistan are negligible.

However, should the "Conservatives" et. al. lose more seats to Le Penn.....which is what has been happening.....and that is far more likely than normal conservative voters swinging to the Socialists.....then the Conservative coalitions will have no choice but to give her a seat at the table.....in the same manner that the Tea Party and Freedom Caucus followers here took over much influence and provide the energy & foot soldiers for the Republican Party. Without them, the Republicans have no working majority in the House.

Hope you have no problems with your laptop & entry/re-entry into the USA what with your shuttling back and forth to and from "war torn France" the land of Muslim "no-go neighborhoods" according to Trump intel....after all, even lovely Nice had a terrorist truck attack and I suspect you are on a Homeland Security watch list now that you prefer to spend time away from Make America Great land.....I hope you have at least stopped eating "French" fries.....Haslet/Boehner/Ryan declared they are now called "Freedom" fries in the House cafeteria.

Scott Armstrong said...

" None of the parties on either side support enhanced defense spending or extensive military involvement outside their border. The French contribution to our "wars of freedom" in the Middle East & Afghanistan are negligible."

Gee Trent, the socialist president of France fought a war against ISIS in Mali and won. It was a big deal. The French had troops in Afghanistan until 2012,have special forces in Syria,and Iraq. That is far more than any other European country at the moment.

By the way, LePen is drawing far more support from the disaffected left than it is from what the media calls the right. That explains the strong support in former communist strongholds in northern France. Macron is campaigning on further immigration and has rejected the notion that France has any unique culture. That makes him "Left".
In other words, the old left/right, Conservative/ Liberal labels don't work in explaining the current political situation in France. In the 30's Adolf Hitler gained power as the leader of the NAZI party.That was an abbreviation of National socialist and he lived up to the billing. LePen is following a similar path,strong central authority, state controlled economy and maintaining the socialist model.
Liberal academics pulled a slight of hand by labeling such people as "far right" when really they more resemble communist totalitarians. They did this so as not to stain the image of their beloved left as the solution to mankind's problems.
Clearly your hatred of conservative thought allows you to add insult to your reasoning.

TRENT HALL said...

Clearly, your understanding of Hitler's Nazi Party ruling principles is as bent as your understanding of current French politics.

First, although the Nazi Party did win large in the 1932 general election, almost 30% of the vote, which is huge in a multi-party parliamentary system, it was still not 51% and hence could not assume power as a result of the election, unlike the Conservative & Socialist coalitions in France that by banding together, do reach over 51% of the seats in Parliament.

Hitler came to power because President Hindenburg appointed him; members of the ruling cabinet thought him to be a useful idiot and felt they could easily control him, and thus by appointing him Chancellor, appropriate the energy & vigor and popular support Hitler's cache brought to the table for their own purposes.

In the event, of course, Hindenburg soon died, the Nazis burned down the Reichstag, blamed the communists, Hitler declared himself de Fuhrer, abolished all political parties save the Nazi Party, abolished free trade unions, sent thousands of opposition figures real & imagined to Dachau, employed lethal force to effect these policies, and by Concord with the Pope, assumed control over the appointment of Cardinals/Bishops under the German orbit. Control of the media soon followed.

Although Nazi ministries engaged in state planning, the Party espoused capitalist economic policy & practices, not French style socialist, state owned nationalized ones. Hence German business & industry, even during the war, were never nationalized, but, were privately owned. (Jews were charged for their cattle car train fare to death camps; tickets had to be purchased/accounted for, so that the railroad operators were properly reimbursed...business as usual). Cynics will claim this capitalist system was so that Party officials could benefit from bribery & favors extracted from businesses in return for government contracts, but Hitler in Mein Kamp (1923; a decade before assuming power) despised the communists & socialists who favored government/public ownership. Party doctrine was never 'socialist" in terms we would employ.

Unlike socialist France, Hitler abolished trade unions. Party doctrine said workers were the backbone of the volk.....the German people & the Party were one and the same, hence there was no need for unions in this philosophy.....which, of course, pleased German industrialists & business owners. Rather, Germany & Italy promoted "Corporate Fascism" which was full employment via government spending via contracting with the private sector. This was the mirror reverse of Communist Russia, which promoted full employment via government spending by contracting with State owned firms.

These are important differences and while Le Penn no doubt would likewise be fond of Hitler's penchant for strong central authority, sentimental 19th century kitsch, heroic nudes, Wagnerian bombast, monumental classicist architecture, and a Catholic church espousing government policy, she would not get far in France today espousing the NAZI "socialist" views of no trade unions and no state owned enterprises. Substituting Muslim immigrants for Jews as scapegoats, however, is her ticket to ride.