“We have to be clear that the threat posed by Le Pen will not go away and she is carrying out a serious attempt to build a fascist party in France, an attempt that won’t simply be halted at the polls.”
By Stand Up To Racism
The collapse of the traditional centre of French politics has opened the door for Le Pen with its near total collapse in presidential politics.
In 2017 the Socialist Party and the Republican Party candidates secured 26% of the vote between them. In 2022 they couldn’t get 7% between them, with both ‘losing their deposits’ by faking to get through the 5 percent threshold.
But Melenchon representing the radical left got some 22% of the vote, while his organisation was also at the heart of anti racist street protests against Le Pen.
Far right Eric Zemmour got 7% of the vote, with rhetorical threats to deport 1 million Muslims, formally places himself to the right of Marine Le Pen. But in practice he isn’t attempting to build a fascist party in the way Le Pen is.
Deep political polarisation and discontent exists in France, much of it in the previous heartlands of the left. It’s worth noting that despite claims of the so called ‘extreme Left’ and the fascist right being ‘the same’, Melenchon urged his voters not to give a single vote to Le Pen.
There was a difficult choice for French voters whether to vote to keep Le Pen out or to vote for Macron whose use of Islamophobia and racism has helped to legitimise her.
But we have to be clear that the threat posed by Le Pen will not go away and she is carrying out a serious attempt to build a fascist party in France, an attempt that won’t simply be halted at the polls.
Le Pen associates with the fascist and racist populist right across Europe from Matteo Salvini in Italy and Victor Orbàn in Hungary to the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) in Germany. Le Pen’s strategy is far closer to the Nazi strategy than to the strategy of Zemmour.
All fascists are liars, even in the 1930s Hitler would change his message depending on who he was talking to, and not just about antisemitism.
Le Pen may have distanced herself from her fathers open antisemitism, but she’s swapped this for Islamophobia – as a more ‘palatable’ form of racism to a modern audience.
The process of detoxifying the Nazi brand means that the street strategy is still undeveloped. There is no SA or SS to back up the racist rhetoric. But if fascists are successful electorally, the attempt at that part of the strategy will come.
The magnificent protest in Paris on March 19th and the protests against Le Pen initiated by Melenchon and others across France on April 16th show the possibilities of creating a mass opposition to Le Pen and the fascist right.
The task of creating a broad based anti racist and anti fascist movement, that unites anti racists whatever their political differences is urgent. It was this method that the Greek anti fascist employed to defeat fascist Golden Dawn just over a year ago, and also how we drove back the threat of fascist Tommy Robinson in 2018-19, as well as how the fasist threat of the BNP and the later English Defence League (EDL) was broken here in Britain.
Now, amidst the ongoing crisis, and with a barrage of racist policy and rhetoric from Johnson’s Racist populist government, fascist Robinson is looking to get a foothold in Telford, where Stand Up To Racism will be opposing his planned mobilisation alongside others on 7 May.