Thursday, February 19, 2015

Times article on FN

Some interesting reportage here.

After the attacks in Paris, [Steeve] Briois [FN mayor of Hénin-Beaumont and party #2] personally reached out to the mosque to let its members know that he stood with them and to invite them to a rally in town. The Socialist community refused to attend the mayor’s rally — the Socialists held their own ­— but many Muslims did.


brent said...

It is a really interesting piece, but I wonder about the reporter's remark about 2017:

"Even if [MLP] makes it to the runoff, whichever mainstream party loses the first round would almost inevitably direct its voters to support the other mainstream party"

After Doubs, should we regard this truism as simply out of date? Was the 50/50 split of UMP voters on behalf of the FN candidate a local anomaly, or was it indicative of something much bigger?

Art Goldhammer said...

Brent, That is of course the big question. I think, though with diminishing confidence over time, that voters still view national politics differently from local politics and that Le Pen's negatives still remain strong, so that the transfer of votes in the second round of the presidential election would favor the mainstream candidate. But I worry more every day.

Francofou said...

Why do you worry? Win or lose, she wakens people from their dogmatic slumbers, and that is a good thing.

Mitch Guthman said...

I think it will depend on who is the UMP’s candidate in the second round. Juppe made a very clear appeal for UMP voters to vote Socialist and also took the opportunity to attack the FN by making reference to Sophie Montel’s argument that some races are “clearly not equal” to others. So, I see no difficulty for Juppe in forging a republican front with the left and perhaps even some kind of government of national unity as an acknowledgment of that support.

If it’s Sarkozy (and I still think he’s the frontrunner) in the second round, then I think all bets are off. Even Bayrou has very strongly criticized Sarkozy for his refusal to agree to support Hollande if, by some miracle, he advances to the second round against Le Pen. I think it’s too early to say but there do seem to be rumblings from the actual PS voters that one hears being interviewed that they’d stay home before voting for Sarkozy.

Sarkozy might want to consider the wisdom of Tony Soprano who wisely observed that those who want respect need to give respect.

Mitch Guthman said...

@ Francofou,

It’s an interesting observation; although I always thought telling somebody “may you live in interesting times” was an ancient Chinese curse but then 52-card pickup isn’t a game that I like to play.

As to why I worry, here’s an exercise that might clarify your thinking about MLP (or my thinking about you): Try Googling “Travail Famille Patrie” and let me know whether that’s a country you’d want to live in.

Francofou said...

Even if one buys the FN-Nazi equivalence (I don't; nor am I a supporter of FN), my point still stands: the status quo, with internal squabbles all over the place and an ossified, ineffective political system, somebody has to shuffle the cards. If not MlP, who?

Mitch Guthman said...


At the outset, let me say that I do believe that at its heart the FN remains very much the party of Vichy; a party that has accepted neither the French republic nor the principles upon which it was founded.

I have mentioned many times the stories of those who flirted with or actually defected to the FN about the darkness being hidden from sight by MLP's velvet glove. These stories are a harbinger of how France would suffer under Le Pen. To be clear: I believe that, for reasons of its heritage and associations (past and present), the FN can never be a normal political party for me and should never be a normal party for anyone who is not a monster, no matter how desperate the circumstances.

As for who else, as a man of the center-left, I would say that France should wait and see if a genuine government of the left will emerge there as it has in Greece and as may soon be the case in Spain, also. The PS is obviously in great internal turmoil because it is a party of the left and center-left being lead by people of the center-right (or who which to pose as being of the center-right in order to curry favor with the Davos gang). But I am hopefully that from the depths of recent (and very like future) humiliating defeats a political movement will emerge that will dislodge Hollande, Valls and their friends from power and will seek a new agenda of a socialism of the possible.

The imposition of austerity and neo-liberalism has created tremendous human suffering and chaos throughout Europe. But nothing good comes from chaos, only more chaos and then disaster as Europe's long dormant ghosts awaken. Only a fool would embrace chaos.

Francofou said...


A new left may emerge - anything is possible. But now the political and media establishment is doing what it can to push voters into the arms of the FN. To reverse that, they will have to do more than engage in yes-we-can rhetoric and offer a credible alternative to the FN. Even if they do, MLP will be a force to be reckoned with, barring unforeseen upheavals. Thanks for the interesting contributions.

alexis mccraig said...

Only a fool would embrace chaos.

I say that only a fool or a nihilist with no concern for his posterity would allow a hostile culture to overtake his own. A lot of the FN's support is built around one issue: uncontrolled immigration. If another party addresses that, your FN fears would largely evaporate. Or do you just love this dysfunctional multicult?

Demography is destiny. Only naive Westerners afflicted with magical thinking believe that they're exceptions.

Anonymous said...

Not sure what your point is with that "demography is destiny" - it makes no sense, unless you think Europe is soon going to be half Chinese, half Indian. And still I fail to see ho that relates to the FN. Whereas the BNP does indeed rail on Indians/Pakistanis/Bangladeshis, the FN doesn't.

As for uncontrolled immigration: immigration is tightly controlled. Asylum claims are now so difficult to prove satisfactorily that even someone who was raped and tortured is treated as a suspect and a liar. Legal immigration isn't increasing and in fact French speaking elites no longer hope to send their kids to France, but send them to Canada (a move that became apparent around 2008-2009, with all the negative consequences for France.)According to the study, this is due to the underfunded state of many French colleges, discriminations or racist attitudes (We're not talking about checking one's white privilege there, nor about subtle racism), and many embassies' staff dismissive words.
As for illegal immigration, it's hard to measure but nothing allows us to think that there's more than there used to. Ways to regulate illegal immigration include better controls on human traffickers, more transparent and fairer channels for legal immigration as well as paths to citizenships for legal immigrants, widespread and free French classes for adults and teenagers (required for citizenship already), deportations focused on traffickers, criminals and ASBOS families rather than tax-paying undocumented families whose children go to school, automatic amnesty for traficked people who help build a case againt traffickers...

Mitch: I, too, worry. The discourse's mainstreaming has worked. And indeed as of now, based on what I've seen, between Sarkozy and the FN, many people on the left would not bother go vote, whereas between the Fn and the PS, many voters on the right would choose the FN (not a majority but still).
That makes the 2016 UMP Primary elections crucial.

Anonymous said...

@Anon 9.37am "As for illegal immigration, it's hard to measure but nothing allows us to think that there's more than there used to.."
Cloud cuckoo land!
Read some of the numerous almost daily reports about uncontrolled flows across the Mediterranean to Lampedusa; the large crew-less rusty wrecks being auto-piloted towards Greek and Italian shores with thousands on board; the outcry in Italy and Spain about being under-resourced front-line defenders against an unstoppable tsunami. Then remember that once these economic "refugees" -- in the main the product of and enriching hundreds of criminal people-smugglers -- hit Schengenland (Italy, Spain and that means Ceuta and Melilla) they are free to move as far and as fast as they can to anywhere else in Schegenland. How do you think the thousands of illegals camped at Calais demanding entry to the UK got there? Or the tens of thousands now provoking PEGIDA protests in Germany?

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