FYI France

12.70 FYI France Resource List: "The Front National"

by Jack Kessler, kessler@well.sf.ca.us

Main Index

You have reached the Main Index page of a selective and partially-annotated Bibliography / Resource List, hopefully of use to anyone interested in the Front National, French politics, France, political extremism, and perhaps even the organization of any information in a "digital" age. From here you can go to the following lists, each of which contains as many attractive and interesting images, and live links, as can be provided in the space and time available: this woman and her folks are dangerous -- read about her & them -- read what she & they have to say, and think about it carefully... make good decisions...
 

* Books by, or about, or useful in achieving a full understanding of, the Front National, maybe...

* Printed Periodicals by or about or useful re. the Front National

* Web/W3 Resources by or about or useful re. the Front National

 

--oOo--

 

March 31, 2014: Update

 

"France's local elections : Devastating losses for the Socialists"


By Mar 31st 2014, 8:32 by S.P. | PARIS

>A crushing defeat at French local elections has intensified pressure on François Hollande to reshuffle his government. At a second round of voting on March 30th, Mr Hollande's Socialist Party lost over 150 towns, most of them to the opposition centre-right. This morning, the French president was holed up at the Elysée, the presidential palace, consulting close advisers over reshuffle plans, which could be announced as early as today.

>The Socialist losses were devastating. Although, as expected, the party hung on to Paris, where Anne Hidalgo becomes the capital's first female mayor, the rest of the country snubbed the ruling party. Among the more dramatic losses were Toulouse, a city in the south-west that it had thought was safe, Roubaix and Tourcoing, two industrial cities in the north with a deep left-wing heritage, and a string of other cities, including Amiens, Caen, Tours, Reims and Limoges, held by the left since 1912. Even some towns in the Paris region, which had been governed by Communist Party since the second world war, such as Villejuif, swung to the right...

>http://www.economist.com/blogs/charlemagne/2014/03/frances-local-elections-0

 

November 13, 2013: Update

 

"Le Pen Sees Once-Outcast Party Ruling France in 10 Years"


By Gregory Viscusi & Mark Deen - Nov 13, 2013 11:51 PM PT

>Marine Le Pen, on the threshold of leading her anti-immigrant, anti-European Union National Front party to its biggest triumph ever, says she may be just one electoral cycle from becoming president of France.

>Seven months before European Parliament elections, polls show the National Front as the country's most popular party. With Socialist President Francois Hollande failing to reverse the economic slump that began under Nicolas Sarkozy, Le Pen says disillusionment is driving public opinion her way.

>Her message: too many foreigners, excessive forbearance of Muslims, EU austerity, an overvalued euro, free trade and a lenient penal system are ruining France..."

>http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-13/le-pen-sees-once-outcast-party-ruling-france-in-10-years.html

 

December 20, 2011: Update

[It's the 1930's all over again, folks: get out those old simplifications, obfuscations, unfurl the old "patriotism" banners, dust off the mixed metaphors... JK.]

 

Marine Le Pen calls Eva Joly [ecology party leader] a 'francophobe'"

Reuters, by Chine Labbé, édité par Patrick Vignal

[Excerpt: version en américain, tr. JK --]

> Marine Le Pen is multiplying her attacks against the ecologist candidate for the presidential election of 2012 in France, Eva Joly, calling her on Tuesday a 'francophobe'.

> "Every time she opens her mouth, she gags on it," the president of the Front National declared on Europe 1, "All her ideas are delirious, and they very often are francophobe."...

> "Every time it is a matter of taking a position on a symbol of France, on the defense of France... she takes a position anti-, consistently, as though patriotism were something to be despised," Le Pen told the press.

>In July, Eva Joly suggested the cancellation of the military parade for July 14, proposing the replacement of the march down the Champs Elysees, in Paris, with a "citizen parade", of schoolchildren, students, and seniors.

>So Marine Le Pen says the ecology candidate, "understands absolutely nothing about the extremely deep ties which exist between the French people and their army."

>Presenting herself as representing "the true ecology", founded she says upon the re-industralization and re-localization of economic activity, on Monday the president of the Front National also attacked all the ecologists led by Eva Joly, accusing them of being "globalists"...

 

[Excerpt: version en français --]

>PARIS (Reuters) - Marine Le Pen multiplie les attaques contre la candidate Écologiste à l'élection présidentielle de 2012 en France, Eva Joly, dont elle a qualifié mardi les propositions de "francophobes".

>"A chaque fois qu'Eva Joly ouvre la bouche, cela devient un gag", a déclaré sur Europe 1 la présidente du Front national. "Toutes ses propositions sont délirantes et elles sont très souvent francophobes."...

>"A chaque fois qu'il s'agit de prendre position sur un symbole français, sur la défense de la France (...) elle prend le contre-pied systèmatique, comme si le patriotisme était quelque chose de méprisable", avait-elle dit à la presse.

>En juillet, Eva Joly avait suggéré la suppression du défilé militaire du 14 juillet, proposant le remplacement de cette parade militaire sur les Champs-Elysées, à Paris, par un "défilé citoyen", avec des écoliers, des étudiants et des seniors.

>Marine Le Pen avait alors estimé que la candidate écologiste "ne compren(ait) absolument rien aux liens extrêmement profonds qui existent entre le peuple français et son armée"...

>Se posant en chantre de "la vraie écologie", fondée d'après elle sur la réindustrialisation et la relocalisation des activités, la présidente du Front national s'est également attaquée lundi à tous les écologistes menés par Eva Joly, les accusant d'être des "mondialistes"...

http://www.lepoint.fr/fil-info-reuters/marine-le-pen-qualifie-eva-joly-de-francophobe-20-12-2011-1410440_240.php

 

--oOo--

 

Marine Le Pen, France's (Kinder, Gentler) Extremist


By Russell Shorto, New York Times, April 29 2011

[Excerpt:]

> Step inside an office building in the town of Nanterre, just west of Paris, and you are confronted by what the nostrils register as an odor of the past, for it's a rare thing these days to encounter the lingering taint of cigarette smoke in public spaces. The trail of it leads upstairs to a corner office and to the woman who has, in the past few months, come to dominate French newspapers and chat shows, where she is depicted variously as the new face of European bigotry or a herald of a new European political realignment.

> Marine Le Pen, the leader of France.s far-right National Front Party, greeted me with an aggressive handshake and the abrupt body language of a person who has a lot to do. It was mid-March. A flurry of polls had just come out showing that she would beat Nicolas Sarkozy if the French presidential election were held at that moment (the election will take place a year from now), and she was working hard to press her advantage. She wore a simple navy blue suit and no jewelry, and her hair was pulled back somewhat haphazardly, with stray wisps dangling. Her gaze is steely, but her eyes have humor in them. Her deep voice, with its smoker's rasp, carries authority.

> Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was a founder of the National Front in 1972 and served as its leader, and perennial presidential candidate, until his retirement in January, at 82. Along the way, thanks in part to his penchant for crisply-expressed opinions -- that the Nazi occupation of France was "not particularly inhuman", that the gas chambers were "a detail", that "the races are unequal", that someone with AIDS is "a kind of leper", that "Jews have conspired to rule the world" -- he and his party became emblems of European right-wing extremism. The height of his popularity came in 2002, when he reached second place in the initial round of voting for president and won the right to enter a head-to-head contest with the incumbent president, Jacques Chirac. Le Pen was trounced in that election, and his party faded as a force to be reckoned with.

> Then in January, Marine -- at 42, the youngest of his three daughters -- won a battle to succeed her father as president of the party...

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/01/magazine/mag-01LePen-t.html?_r=2

 

--oOo--

 

March 16, 2010: Update

France. Far-right party "rises from the ashes"


CanWest News Service, March 16, 2010

[Excerpt:]

> French far-right leader Jean-Marie Le Pen on Monday celebrated his party's surprise strong score in regional polls. "It is the phoenix rising from the ashes," said the 81-year-old, who gave Europe a scare in 2002 when he beat the Socialist candidate in the first round vote for the French presidency. The National Front's gained 12 per cent of the vote, a number that qualified the party to enter party lists in 12 of France's 22 region...

http://www.ottawacitizen.com/news/France+right+party+rises+from+ashes/2687185/story.html

 

--oOo--

 

February 7, 2007: Update

Pour l'écrivain Alain Soral, rallié au FN, "Marx voterait aujourd'hui Le Pen"


LE MONDE | 07.02.07 | 15h40 . Mis à jour le 07.02.07 | 15h40

[Excerpts:]

> Le Front National représenté par son secrétaire général Louis Aliot, organisait, mardi 6 février, une conférence de presse avec Alain Soral, écrivain polémiste, ancien communiste, partisan de Jean-Pierre Chevènement lors de l'élection présidentielle de 2002, aujourd'hui proche de Dieudonné et soutien de Jean-Marie Le Pen dans le cadre de l'Union patriotique...

> M. Soral, qui se dit toujours marxiste, estime que "seul le nationalisme possède les fondamentaux pour incarner une véritable alternative économique et sociale (...) à la déferlante mondialiste et ultralibérale". "Je pense que si Marx était vivant aujourd'hui il appellerait à voter Jean-Marie Le Pen", affirme-t-il en expliquant que le Front national, qui "agrège des ouvriers, des petits patrons, des artisans" est "le parti du peuple" et porte "l'esprit de la Commune".

http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@2-823448,36-864559,0.html?xtor=RSS-3224

 

--oOo--

 

May 1, 2006: Update

Jean-Marie Le Pen Président (?)

Jean-Marie Le Pen fustige la crise de régime
lun. mai 1, 2006 1:43 CEST

[Excerpts:]

> PARIS (Reuters) - Dopé par la "crise de régime" qui fait "vaciller" la France, Jean-Marie Le Pen a lancé lundi sa campagne présidentielle avec l'objectif de faire mieux qu'en 2002 et, pourquoi pas, accéder à l'Elysée... "Je crois à la victoire aux deux tours de la présidentielle", a-t-il lancé lors du traditionnel défilé du 1er mai des troupes frontistes en hommage à Jeanne d'Arc...

> Les militants du FN défilant à Paris avaient d'autres motifs de satisfaction, notamment la surenchère des partis de droite sur l'immigration qui, selon eux, confortent leurs thèses. "Aimez-là ou quittez-là", proclamaient des pancartes en forme de carte de France brandies tout au long du cortège pour revendiquer l'antériorité du slogan sur l'immigration récemment repris par Nicolas Sarkozy, lui-même sur les pas de Philippe de Villiers. "S'il y en a que cela gêne d'être en France, qu'ils ne se gênent pas pour quitter un pays qu'ils n'aiment pas", avait déclaré le président de l'UMP fin avril. "On reprend ce qui nous appartient", a expliqué une militante, soulignant que le président du FN avait lancé il y a près de 20 ans cette formule inspirée des services de l'immigration américains...

> "Il n'est pas impossible que la ruine du système entraîne des élections anticipées, en tout cas, nous nous y préparons", a expliqué en marge du défilé Marine Le Pen. La vice-présidente du FN considère que "l'ensemble de la classe politique légitime" Jean-Marie Le Pen en venant sur ses positions sur "l'immigration, la mondialisation, les délocalisations et l'analyse du système politique". Elle souligne qu'à un an du scrutin de 2002, Jean-Marie Le Pen n'était qu'à 7% à 9% dans les sondages alors qu'il oscille aujourd'hui entre 12 à 14%. En outre, selon une enquête Ifop publiée le 21 avril, 34% des Français estiment que l'extrême droite est "proche de leurs préoccupations"...

> La radicalisation des discours de Nicolas Sarkozy et de Philippe de Villiers, président du MPF, sur l'immigration semblent avoir contribué à replacer Jean-Marie Le Pen au centre du jeu, considère l'état-major frontiste. Sur l'immigration, le président du FN affirme ne pas craindre la concurrence, répétant à l'envie que les Français "préfèrent l'"original à la copie", même si un sondage Ifop, publié par le JDD, montre que 47% d'entre eux se disent proches des positions de Nicolas Sarkozy sur l'immigration...

http://today.reuters.fr/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2006-05-01T114343Z_01_CHE141877_RTRIDST_0_OFRTP-FRANCE-FN-20060501.XML

 

--oOo--

 

November 22, 2005: Update

Rioting, and Martial Law

And now there has been nation-wide rioting, and Martial Law, and "immigration" is being blamed by many... and Le Pen is saying, simply, "I told you so, I warned you"... So what is the Front National "effect" in the general situation in France now?

 

--oOo--

 

May 29, 2005: Update

The EU Constitution vote

What was the role of the Front National, in that vote? Le Pen campaigned, hard, for the "Non". Were French voters simply frustrated with and discouraged by the so-called "pocketbook" issues of the economic recession, as so many journals reported, or was this a vote in favor of Front National policies?

 

--oOo--

 

April 22, 2002: Update -- well, It Happened...

The Le Pen Presidential Elections, 2002: taking "je m'en fous" too far?

What follows here is an English-language report on the Présidentielles 2002, the French national vote to elect their President. Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the extremist right wing party the Front National, won against the nation's Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, in the first round voting on Sunday April 21. Le Pen now faces the nation's President, Jacques Chirac, in the runoff to be held on Sunday May 5.

73 % of those eligible to vote in this election did so. Nearly 1 in 5 of those voted for Jean-Marie Le Pen and the Front National.


Data sources in what follows all will be mainstream news and political reporting organizations in France -- more will be added as reports come in, and URL credits will be supplied in all cases -- rendered into English here for those friendly to or at least interested in France whose command of that nation's language is less than perfect, which includes most of us out here outside of Paris. All of us everywhere need to know about this...

National Results:


"First Round"

Votes
%
J. Chirac 5,386,251
19.41%
J.M. Le Pen 4,771,077
17.19%
L. Jospin 4,398,735
15.85%
F. Bayrou 1,927,985
6.95%
A. Laguiller 1,615,798
5.82%
J.P. Chevènement 1,496,143
5.39%
N. Mamère 1,474,880
5.31%
O. Besancenot 1,199,305
4.32%
J. Saint-Josse 1,201,320
4.33%
A. Madelin 1,098,250
3.96%
R. Hue 955,120
3.44%
B. Mégret 661,440
2.38%
C. Taubira 577,789
2.08%
C. Lepage 527,641
1.90%
C. Boutin 332,026
1.20%
D. Gluckstein 131,422
0.47%

Registered to vote : 39,432,827
Voted : 28,725,912
Blank and voided ballots : 970,730
Valid votes : 27,755,182
Abstentions : 10,706,915 votes or 27,63%


http://cgi.europe.yahoo.com/fr/profpoli/carte/president1f5.htm

Cities:



Paris
Lyon
Marseille
Lille
Bordeaux
Toulouse
Nantes
Strasbourg
Montpellier
Rouen
Reims
Amiens
Chirac
24.01%
20.18%
18.21%
16.61%
24.02%
17.34%
18.84%
17.75%
16.09%
20.33%
19.38%
18.26%
LePen
9.35%
15.07%
23.34%
16.02%
10.74%
14.65%
9.83%
17.84%
17.61%
12.58%
17.19%
15.56%
Jospin
19.95%
15.35%
15.58%
20.21%
18.08%
20.23%
20.74%
17.39%
19.31%
18.44%
17.15%
16.19%

 

Départements: the national picture --

North

Nord

Pas-de-Calais

Somme

Aisne

Seine-Maritime

Oise

Calvados

Eure

Paris 1
Val d'Oise

Paris 2
Yvelines

Paris 3
Essonne

Paris 4
Seine-et-
Marne

Chirac
17.73%
16.59%
17.60%
18.82%
19.07%
18.29%
19.53%
19.32%
18.82%
22.62%
19.11%
19.68%
LePen
19.42%
18.41%
16.31%
21.22%
16.22%
22.71%
14.21%
19.58%
18.12%
14.75%
15.96%
18.89%
Jospin
16.80%
17.47%
13.93%
15.36%
16.78%
13.66%
15.82%
13.91%
16.28%
15.00%
16.83%
14.86%

West

Finistère
Côtes-d'Amor
Morbihan
Ille-et-Vilaine
Manche
Loire-
Atlantique
Orne
Mayenne
Maine-et-
Loire
Sarthe
Eure-et-
Loire
Chirac
21.98%
20.29%
22.62%
21.32%
25.38%
18.77%
23.36%
25.82%
22.10%
21.27%
20.23%
LePen
10.80%
11.68%
14.89%
10.45%
13.31%
11.55%
18.24%
11.87%
11.67%
15.01%
19.09%
Jospin
18.55%
19.25%
16.72%
17.81%
13.67%
17.97%
13.22%
14.40%
15.00%
16.65%
14.42%

Central

Loiret
Loire-et-
Cher
Indre-et-
Loire
Indre
Cher
Yonne
Nièvre
Saône-et-
Loire
Allier
Creuse
Puy-de-
me
Loire
Chirac
19.73%
19.06%
19.70%
21.19%
20.69%
19.99%
17.28%
19.17%
20.88%
26.20%
18.96%
16.89%
LePen
19.38%
18.36%
14.49%
15.33%
15.82%
20.96%
16.19%
17.77%
14.12%
11.16%
13.61%
21.67%
Jospin
14.10%
14.59%
16.43%
16.56%
14.73%
13.63%
20.12%
16.88%
16.03%
18.25%
16.99%
13.40%

East

Meuse
Meurthe-et-
Moselle
Moselle
Bas-Rhin
Marne
Aube
Haute-
Marne
Vosges
Haut-Rhin
Belfort
Haute-
Saône
Doubs
Chirac
19.69%
18.41%
18.99%
18.53%
20.58%
20.93%
19.92%
19.20%
18.12%
14.22%
17.99%
18.71%
LePen
20.35%
18.11%
23.67%
23.38%
19.33%
21.73%
22.42%
20.94%
23.52%
22.46%
22.31%
19.03%
Jospin
14.27%
16.16%
14.49%
11.17%
13.83%
13.67%
13.09%
14.23%
10.80%
9.91%
13.42%
14.58%


Southwest

Vendée
Deux-
vres
Vienne
Charente-
Maritime
Charente
Haute-
Vienne
Gironde
Landes
Pyrénées-
Atlantiques
Dordogne
Lot-et-
Garonne
Gers
Hauts-
Pyrénées
Chirac
24.93%
22.36%
21.48%
20.32%
19.64%
21.83%
18.84%
19.20%
18.71%
21.65%
17.44%
17.94%
16.29%
LePen
11.75%
9.27%
11.10%
13.41%
13.73%
11.22%
14.22%
10.47%
10.35%
12.22%
18.93%
13.32%
12.29%
Jospin
14.76%
18.15%
17.33%
16.22%
17.69%
19.66%
18.07%
21.89%
17.76%
17.43%
15.74%
19.88%
20.06%

South

Corrèze
Lot
Tarn-et-
Garonne
Haute-
Garonne
Cantal
Aveyron
Tarn
Aude
Ariège
Pyrénées-
Orientales
Lozère
rault
Gard
Chirac
34.23 %
19.15%
17.66%
15.19%
30.87%
22.18%
18.06%
15.00%
14.31%
16.96%
24.70%
15.01%
15.07%
LePen
8.86%
10.75%
20.12%
16.60%
11.12%
12.11%
16.80%
19.81%
15.11%
20.92%
13.58%
22.98%
24.85%
Jospin
16.44%
17.57%
15.64%
21.24%
14.38%
16.31%
18.68%
21.35%
23.73%
16.64%
12.85%
16.05%
13.84%

Southeast

Jura
Ain
Rhône
Haute-
Savoie
Savoie
Isère
Ardèche
Drôme
Hautes-
Alpes
Vaucluse
Alpes-de-
Haute-
Provence
Alpes-
Maritimes
Bouches-
du-Rhône
Var
Chirac
17.29%
17.18%
18.07%
18.64%
18.01%
15.26%
17.26%
15.91%
17.34%
16.68%
16.36%
21.97%
16.94%
21.27%
LePen
18.27%
21.86%
19.35%
20.79%
19.79%
18.29%
16.75%
20.80%
14.36%
25.79%
16.60%
25.99%
22.40%
23.54%
Jospin
13.44%
12.64%
13.97%
11.41%
13.09%
15.98%
14.21%
13.95%
13.19%
12.58%
13.65%
12.18%
14.01%
12.09%


Paris (a)
Seine-St. Denis
Paris (b)
Centre
Paris (c)
Hauts-de-Seine
Paris (d)
Val-de-Marne
Haute-
Corse
Corse-
du-Sud
Chirac
16.13%
24.01%
23.94%
19.38%
27.50%
27.66%
LePen
17.74%
9.35%
11.89%
14.34%
14.22%
17.41%
Jospin
17.84%
19.95%
16.66%
17.16%
15.70%
15.00%

So, grouped geographically this way, you can see in a second where the FN issues are: in the East and in the Southeast.

A certain amount is being made in France today of the "abstention" vote -- that, really, a lot of folks did not vote or refused to do so -- it is their only good news, maybe. The "abstention rate" on Sunday was 27.63% : this is much higher than had been predicted, one of the highest such rates in recent memory. Grasping at whatever straws can be found, French news commentators now are suggesting that these abstentions indicate simply general disenchantment or even a protest vote -- anything to counter the impression that French voters actually might favor the FN.

But there is the pre-election analysis of "abstention" to consider as well:

    "If the abstention rate is greater than 25% -- A rate greater than a quarter of the registered voters would constitute a serious reversal in this election, as a record number of candidates are running, and every possible political alternative is represented. Such an outcome would demonstrate the profound alienation of the French from their political system, and would be the result of a splintering after many years of crisis in political life. The previous record for abstentions in the First Round of a presidential election was set in 1969, when 22.5% of registered voters did not cast their votes."
            -- Le Figaro Magazine, samedi 20 avril 2002, p. 28.
-- ok / unfair / benefit of hindsight... but irresistible nevertheless... So: severe general disenchantment, or a significant swing to the extreme right? Which, in a democracy, would be worse? Either way, Sunday's news is not good news for France.

nb. Voter turnout in the most recent US presidential election, Bush v. Gore in 2000, was 66.7% of registered voters / "abstention rate" 33.3%; in Clinton v. Dole in 1996 turnout was 66.0% / "abstention rate" 34.0% -- which is a lot bigger than the French version of the problem -- dunno whether the French should be comforted or further distressed by this.


Hard to judge, alarming as it is -- or condemn or dismiss or even analyze too closely -- & after all, the last US presidential election was nothing to brag about either.

Still, the significant statistic appears to be that nearly 1 in 5 French voters now favors the Front National: or at least is so fed up with her / his politics -- these are the folks who were not calm enough simply to abstain -- that the vote has gone in that direction.

So, ok, now assure us that "everything will be alright" in the Second Round, on May 5 ?...

 

--oOo--

 

February 4, 2002: Update -- just in case you thought Le Pen, or the Front National, or these issues, had died in France... many of the French themselves think they have / thought they had...

The following photo is of none other than the Front National's Jean-Marie Le Pen -- in full rhetorical flame -- who now once again is running for election, this very Spring, as president of France:

 
 

And apparently "8% à 9% des intentions de vote" already are with him... see Charles Platiau in Reuters,

 
http://fr.news.yahoo.com/020204/85/2h0l9.html

At a time when the home front news everywhere is a little shaky -- questionable elections, scandal, corruption, terrorism, the massive deployment of weapons of "mass" as well as "not - so - mass - but - still - effective" destruction throughout the globe... -- it seems useful to remember just how fragile our political institutions really are, in a lot of places, and not just "at home" wherever that may be.

In France, which is one of the closest and oldest political and cultural allies of the US, institutional fragility in politics has a long history, honored as much in the breach as in the memory. From the turmoil of the revolution of over two centuries ago, to the tragedies of the 1940s, there always have been men and women in France ready to wreak profound and violent political change -- for the sake of the change alone, it very often seems.

At the same time the French have less tendency than others simply to forget their periods of violent change. The country is covered with historical monuments. Major towns still have their boulevard du 11 Novembre 1914. French pupils still learn to distinguish their Vendémiaire from their Frimaire from their Prairial in school -- reciting such lessons at times to little effect, francophobes point out, but nevertheless at least they remember them... simply remembering could be a first step for a few other political cultures now entering rough waters after more successful sailing, so far, than the French have enjoyed...

And, beyond "examples", at least one of the remedies for isolationism -- and a necessity for globalization -- is an ongoing awareness of what may be happening to your friends as well as to your foes, whatever the current "home front" distractions might be. Nations which cannot find Afghanistan on a map, or which act surprised when foreign friends criticize, or which get taken over by extremists, have nothing to blame but their own ignorance.

What were those old book titles, so infamous in the 1940s and 1950s and so little-read since?:

    • While England slept; a survey of world affairs, 1932-1938 / Winston S. Churchill (New York : G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1938).

    • Why England slept / John F. Kennedy (New York : W. Funk, 1940).

      -- or, for that matter,

    • Mein Kampf / Adolf Hitler (Munchen : F. Eher Nachf., 1925-1927).

      -- anyone wanting to read a modern day version of the latter, in the French context, is directed to the various resources by and about the French FN assembled herein, via the links shown above.

Guys like Le Pen never keep their ideas a secret. Publicity -- for building "the movement" as well as for egomaniacal grandstanding and fund-raising and other purposes -- always is their first priority. It's just that the rest of us never take them seriously, or just "don't want to know".

Le Pen now is 73 years old. But age is no barrier in French, or any other, politics. Petain was 84.

And for those who will say, "But things are very different now, things were much worse back then..." Well, there were those who said that back in 1940, too...

A partial list of current worries, the type of thing which contributes to a Le Pen:

  • Unemployment is rising again in France -- back up towards the double digits. The memories of decades of 12%+ national chômage which tore into the social fabric of the country still are fresh. Such memories understandably panic any voter who thinks of them now.

  • The general economy is not doing so well in France now, either. The recovery from the US - led "dotcom bust" -- which has lagged the US economic recovery by about 6 months, as it lagged the "dotcom boom" in the first place -- now seems to have stalled. Just as investment managers in the US increasingly are warning of a long and slow recovery -- no "V-shaped recovery" here, it seems -- so investors in France too are becoming worried. And it is worry, not necessarily reality, which fuels extremism.

  • And corruption doesn't help. The escape of the President and other politicians from the worst which might have happened, in the recent French corruption scandals -- might have been better to have faced the fire -- fuels a cynicism greatly increased now by the tales coming out of Washington about "EnronGate". Back when French national unemployment was high, the worst-impacted were youth -- nationally 25% or even 35%, with regional figures even higher -- it was virtually impossible to get a job "near home" if you were "young", and the proportions of "SDF / sans domicile fixe" were enormous. To an already disenchanting situation, then, add the possibility / probability of "cheating at the top", plus an easy escape from same by the supposed culprits, and you have a recipe for "disenchanted youth" voting for extremists on simply a "je m'en fou" factor -- which was a large component of the appeal to unemployed youth made by the Nazis in the early Weimar years.

  • And the Brave New Europe of The Euro, while it is Good News also is Unsettling News, for many -- any time you have change you lose a few to the sheer novelty and uncertainty of it. So the Front National also may benefit from whatever marginality is out there on the "Europe" issue: people afraid of the Germans, people longing for their old icons, people afraid of "Europe", people afraid of "change", people afraid of their own fear...

  • To which "September 11" and the ringing sloganeering of the US White House that "Everything Has Changed..." do not help. The uncertainty, and insecurity, engendered by the very mediagenic bin Laden and his bunch no doubt succeeded, at least in part and with some folks -- quite a few people have been scared, all of us at least a little, by the very real new risks presented. With all the other headlines -- the Middle East, the Iranians arming Hizbollah, new North Korean missile capacities, and so on -- in foreign relations there are things to panic about even if one is not the panicky type, and in spite of The Euro and other good news. So some people turn to extremism, such as Le Pen and the Front National...

    France is no exception in this, one of the leading US classical scholars just has released, and is pushing, an alarming rearmament panegyric -- While America Sleeps : Self-Delusion, Military Weakness, and the Threat to Peace / Donald Kagan, Frederick W. Kagan (Griffin Trade Paperback, 2001) ISBN: 0312283741 -- on the theory that nowadays "might will make right" as it has, he says that he demonstrates, throughout history... no wonder that people are worried...

  • And all of which, perhaps, manifests itself in ways even more fundamental than political extremism: fertility rates are down since the 1960s and are falling, now, in Western Europe generally and in France -- below 2 babies per woman. People have or do not have babies for many reasons. But if and to the extent that one of these reasons is economic and political insecurity, then a general fall in the fertility rate just might become a useful and even alarming political prognosticator... people do tend to go to extremes when they are feeling insecure...

There is a fragility in human institutions which is too often taken for granted, in nations which enjoy a long history of stability in same, or at least in the notion of that stability. The US, for example, is a nation which enjoys, or believes that it enjoys, a nearly 225-year run of relative political stability: memories of total ruptures and near-interruptions -- the antiwar 1960s, the racial 1920s, turn - of - the - 20th - century labor unrest, the Civil War, early rebellions -- all grow dim, particularly with recent Cold War successes against an "Evil Empire" opponent. Things look good.

But it is useful to remember -- useful never to forget -- that there have been times, and might be again, when things don't look so good. A recent work analyzing the history of some of the typical of American political philosophy -- Louis Menand's The Metaphysical Club (New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001) -- forcefully makes the point that the debt owed by the US to seminal thinkers such as John Dewey, Charles Peirce, William James, and Oliver Holmes stems greatly from labor unrest and Civil War insecurities which these four knew in their youths. Such insecurity will come again, to any society, and when it does some will take the path indicated by a Front National and a Jean-Marie Le Pen. For the rest of us, it would be well at least to remind ourselves that the extremists are out there, and that the world is never certain: in the words of Paul Simon, "these are the days of miracle and wonder... the bomb in the baby carriage was wired to the radio..."

So now comes -- once again, to the fray in France -- Jean-Marie Le Pen and his Front National, who and which many in France seemed certain would die an irrevocable death in the internecine Mégret / Le Pen squabbling of a few years back. "Squashed like a bug," was the very definite phrase uttered by a French friend to me, back then.

But the bug lives, and is running for president now, again, and has nearly 1 in 10 French voters saying that at least they'll consider it in the elections this Spring... Hard to kill some bugs...

 

--oOo--
 

July 3, 2001: Latest news from Vitrolles: a not-so-subtle reminder -- to any of us, and particularly any of us who are French, who have tried to take comfort in the recent Le Pen - Megret fracas and FN internecine split -- that Europe has been / still is / always could one day become, again, a very dangerous place... like the U.S. too, I suppose... these guys, Haider, Bossi, Berlusconi... the price of liberty is nightmares...

      
      From: p.ufict-cgt@libertysurf.fr
      Subject: Vitrolles : censure
      Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2001 11:26:58 +0200
      
      Le syndicat CGT des fonctionnaires territoriaux de Vitrolles continue 
      d' informer les professionnels et amis des bibliothèques et de la 
      Lecture Publique sur l'évolution des bibliothèques de Vitrolles et de 
      leur personnel :
      
      La procédure d'acquisitions décrite dans le précédent message 
      commence à produire ses effets :
      
      Le personnel a pu constater que trois titres proposés par eux à 
      l'acquisition ne font pas partie de la liste des ouvrages 
      effectivement passés en commande la semaine dernière. (Il faut se 
      souvenir que le volume des acquisitions est très faible) :
      
      Voici les ouvrages écartés :
      
      - La mort qu'il faut / Jorge SEMPRUN. - Gallimard, 2001
      - Cette aveuglante absence de lumière / Tahar BEN JELLOUN. - Le Seuil, 2001
      - Tout le monde fait l'amour / Pascale CLARCK. - Albin Michel, 2001
      
      
      Il s'agit indéniablement d'un acte de censure, dans la mesure ou il a 
      été clairement annoncé au personnel par le responsable des 
      bibliothèques, oralement bien sûr, que lorsqu'un ouvrage n'était pas 
      retenu pour commande, il ne fallait pas le représenter dans les 
      propositions pour la commande suivante. Monsieur WINTER a même été 
      précisé à ce même personnel que par contre les ouvrages choisis par 
      Monsieur BORDON, le Directeur des affaires Culturelles, ne pouvaient 
      pas eux "être censurés".
      
      Ceci signifie que le public des bibliothèques de Vitrolles est 
      définitivement privé de l'accès aux livres de Jorge SEMPRUN et Tahar 
      BEN JELLOUN, au moins tant que les Mégret seront en place.
      
      Quant au Pascale CLARCK, c'est typiquement le titre un peu 
      provocateur, mais carrément obscène aux yeux de la prude Madame 
      MARANDAT, l' élue à la culture, qui justifie sa mise à l'index. Son 
      mot d'ordre pour les achats de livres de la bibliothèque est " Pas de 
      sexe, pas de violence, pas sang ni de mort".
      
      Syndicat CGT des Fonctionnaires territoriaux de Vitrolles, B.P. 92
      13743 VITROLLES CEDEX - Tél : 04-42-75-25-89 Fax : 04-42-79-07-28 ou 
      p.ufict-cgt@libertysuf.fr
      
      

 

--oOo--

 

 
Comment:

n.b. In case anyone would like to know which side I am on:
 

Recent events:

"Rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated..."

        -- Mark Twain -- on recent anti-FN gloatings over the apparent Le Pen - Mégret split -- the point, after all, is not them but their popularity...

Libération 22 sept. 1998, p. 35:

"Millon reçoit une lettre d'avertissement"

-- "Dans une lettre ouverte à Charles Millon rendue publique hier, les principaux acteurs culturels lyonnais (80 personnalités) affirment que l'acceptation des subventions publiques de la région ne saurait être interprétée, encore moins exploitée, comme une preuve de ralliement ou d'adhésion à une politique qui place, de votre fait, l'assemblée régionale dans la dépendance du Front national..."

"Whenever someone tells you, it ain't the money, it's the principle of the thing -- it's the money."

        -- apocryphal -- old American, and probably French, expression

Some history:

"La culte des belles lettres est en décadence et même il se meurt dans les villes de Gaule. Aussi tandis que de bonnes et mauvaises actions s'accomplissaient, que la barbarie des peuples se déchaînait, que les violences des rois redoublaient..."

        -- Gregory of Tours, describing France in c.594 A.D.

"Mundus senescit..."

        -- apocryphal

 
"The world is going to hell: children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book..." 

        -- attributed to Cicero

 
"The sky is falling..."

        -- Chicken Little

-- any of which could apply to my personal opinion of the views of either the FN or its more virulent detractors, I suppose -- in my own case they are what I think of the FN's supposed "positions", which I regard as being merely incidental to their overall political aims.

"Why England Slept"

        -- title of a book on the 1930's by J.F.Kennedy

The necessity of expressing this personal opinion, here, is of greater interest than the opinion itself, though, I believe. The presentation of the FN's views here could be seen as helping either the FN or their opponents: their opponents, in that increased publicity for what appear to be ridiculous ideas will assist those who seek to ridicule them -- the FN itself, in that this site increases publicity for FN propaganda. There will be those who will say that "objectivity" would be a better posture to adopt -- that it would be best simply to offer what the FN and its critics say and do, and let the facts and opinions "speak for themselves".

"If all the economists / lawyers / social scientists / [name one] in the world were laid end-to-end they would come to no conclusion"

        -- apocryphal

I was trained, however, by a generation which had lost faith in an ideal of "objectivity" derived from a hundred years -- some would say several hundred -- of confidence in notions of "science" and "progress". People questioned these notions, during the 1960's and 1950's, because such unmitigated disasters had been produced by them during the 1940's and 1930's and really during the entire first half of this century. One of my teachers, Harold Lasswell, used to urge students, including scientific researchers and so - called professionals, to "clarify your observational standpoint": he had lived at the center of the 1930's / 1940's maelstrom, and he had learned that you are a participant, no matter how removed you think you are or wish to be.

So here, rather than do what most researchers and historians and librarians traditionally have done, I declare my personal biases quite frankly to be against the FN and to be in favor of spreading their propaganda only so as to expose them to the ridicule which their supposed ideas deserve -- and to consign their sheer and cynical political opportunism and growing political power to the historical garbage heap.

"America is a fortunate country. She grows by the follies of our European nations."

        -- Napoleon

"Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day."

        -- Thomas Jefferson

Mine is a naive American strategy, I know, one which ultimately relies upon an idealistic faith in the wisdom of the majority and the functioning of democracy: in places where democracy does not work so well and majorities are not so wise, a better strategy for dealing with the FN might be to "sweep them under the rug" and ignore them.

"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others"

        -- attributed to Winston Churchill

But now that the FN has polled 15% of the national vote in France -- and they poll well over the majority in several regions and major cities of that large and significant Western European country -- the FN no longer can be ignored. The Nazis polled only 3% nationally in Germany in 1928...

"Nothing is so admirable in politics as a short memory."

        -- John Kenneth Galbraith

The current strategy in France is to go to the other extreme and "diabolize" the FN, giving them a following which their simplistic and superficial ideas do not deserve: read their Bruno Megret's book online in fulltext, cited and linked herein. My own publication of their ideas here may help them even further. My hope -- naive and American though it might be, or be seen to be -- is that others, and they the majority, hereby will see how ridiculous and dangerous those ideas and this party are. If the result is the opposite, well, I would not want a world ruled by oligarchies, no matter how much more enlightened than the rest of us they might be.

"Oh ! que c'est doux et mol chevet, et sain que l'ignorance et l'insécurité, à reposer une tête bien faite !"

        -- Montaigne, Essais.

"L'ignorance et l'insécurité sont deux oreillers fort doux, mais, pour les trouver tels, il faut avoir la tête aussi bien faite que Montaigne."

        -- Denis Diderot, Pensées Philosophiques.

The presentation of the FN here is being made not to victimize France or the French: their "Front National" is a social illness which any of us could have -- most of us do, in one way or another, although the infection is perhaps not so virulent elsewhere as it is in France today. The purpose of the presentation is more to suggest one way in which the "new media" can be used for social action -- the FN themselves already do this, very well -- and to attack the idea that the useful but also professional presentation of extremist viewpoints must or even can be "objective".

"Pour enchaîner les peuples, on commence par les endormir."

        -- Marat

"A library is an arsenal of liberty."
"Chicken Little only has to be right once..."

There were entirely too many "objective" social scientists and other professionals analyzing events in Germany and the Nazi party there, during the 1930's. 

--oOo--

Versions of what is shown here have appeared online regularly, since 1992, as a feature of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which is distributed for free via email every month except August. Ejournal subscriptions may be obtained via email request to: kessler@well.sf.ca.us . The lists contain a selection only: new books and periodicals, and additional online digital information resources, develop in France every week, on the Minitel and the Internet -- one can be sure only that there are more, not fewer, than what is shown here online in France now.

Here this file is one of a number made available -- hopefully attractively, all in one place, and relevant to libraries and online digital information work in France and Europe -- as part of FYI France (sm)(tm), an online service to which anyone can subscribe by postal mailing a check for US $45 payable to Jack Kessler, to PO Box 460668, San Francisco, California, USA 94146 (site licenses also are available): please write your email address on the front of your check. Please email suggestions for improvements to me at kessler@well.sf.ca.us

--oOo--

--hjlm--

 

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