Thursday, April 21, 2016

Two Reading Recommendations

A long but well-observed article on the FN in Harper's by Elisabeth Zerotsky.

And a new book by Catherine Collomp, Résister au nazisme, about the work of the Jewish Labor Committee in New York, which played an important role in rescuing endangered European Jews.


brent said...

Re: Zerotsky's article:
1) "Front Runner" is a provocative but misleading title: as the article makes clear, the first round front runner is still a big loser in the round that counts.
2) The writer chooses to wrap up her article with a quote from Houellebecq's sensationalist novel, but as the article suggests, Muslims in France are showing no signs of the ethnic solidarity politics Soumission predicts--even to the point of voting FN. And as every known politician left or right tries out the idea of a presidential run, it's hard to see this political class 'submitting' to an outsider.
3) MLP comes across as quite attractive to the writer, both intellectually and as a charismatic presence--but how widely is Zerotsky's faible shared by mainstream voters?
In sum, I feel that Le Pen is offered here as a coming attraction, without much evidence that her party will break out of its limits any time soon. In that sense I would rate her far less threatening than the unpredictable Trump (also facing a lackluster but deeply ambitious political establishment). The real story--in both cases--is that one-word answer from supporters: "Immigration."

Edouard said...

There are important differences between Trump and MLP. Trump's bid to take over the GOP -and to remake it in its own image (however unlikely that may be) stands in contrast with the FN's (old and new) consistent effort to promote itself as an alternative to the existing party system (as "a plague on both your houses") The presidential election systems in France and the US also make for different strategies. A two-rounds system -such as France's - is unthinkable in the US (and, if it ever did, it would have led to Trump starting his own party, as Le Pen -père & fille- did. Conversely, one can hardly imagine MLP being inclined -or able- to infiltrate (let alone take over) any of France's traditional right-wing parties... however much their names have changed over the years.

christopher delogu said...

Two good comments from Brent and Edouard that I happen to agree with, but I would add just a reminder of how JMLP's 2nd place finish in 2002 caused Lionel Jospin to not just be excluded from the second round, but to disappear from politics entirely -- a large factor, imo, when analyzing the unraveling and headlessness of the social-democratic Left. If current polls are to be believed, MLP will also finish second a year from now, but she'll thereby kill off either Tweedledum or Tweedledee, ie the center-Left candidate or the center-Right candidate, and neither of them wants to be the next Lionel Jospin. That said, for ordinary French people it matters little which person actually becomes president, so long as it's not the FN candidate, because all Gaullist bragging aside, the president is NOT l'Etat -- witness poor Hollande's irrelevance -- and l'Etat is all that matters in this pseudo-democratic oligarchy. The tune "I get along without you very well" comes to mind....