The Return of la Marine

By Hans-Georg Betz, a leading expert on populism and the radical right in affluent liberal democracies, and has written several seminal books and articles on radical right-wing populism, nativism, and Islamophobia. His academic profile can be found here. Originally published at openDemocracy

There is a saying in German – Totgesagte leben länger, roughly but not quite accurately translated into English as “Presumed dead but still kicking.” To put it more precisely – kicking quite strongly. In contemporary western European politics, this is particularly true for the main exponent of the French populist radical right.

For the past twenty years, the Front National (FN, now Rassemblement National, RN) experienced a series of blows and major convulsions that seemed to put nail after nail into the coffin of its political project: the defection of the FN’s number two, Bruno Megré, in 1998, which deprived the Front National of a number of its leading cadres who defected with Megré; the severe financial problems during the first decade of the new century, which forced the party to sell off its precious headquarters; Marine Le Pen’s disastrous performance in the televised debate with Emmanuel Macron ahead of the second and decisive round of the presidential election of 2017, which exposed her to ridicule; scandals involving “fictive employees” supposedly working for MEPs – a reflection of the party’s increasing financial difficulties reminiscent of earlier days; Marine Le Pen’s less than amicable break with her father followed by the discarding of the party’s traditional label, a move that disgusted a significant number of FN supporters; and, last but not least, the defection of Florian Philippot, her closest adviser and influential strategist.

As a result, in early 2018, Marine Le Pen’s public image was “in free fall,” as was the proportion of the French public sympathetic to her ideas Hardly surprising, by mid-2018, observers of the French political scene speculated that it was not entirely unlikely that the RN would disappear in the near future as a relevant force in French politics.

Returning with a Vengeance

Mark Twain once sardonically noted that the reports of his death were highly exaggerated. The same holds true for Marine Le Pen. A laughing stock in 2017, outed as unprepared, incompetent and not ready for prime time, she has come back with a vengeance. Recent surveys on a hypothetical presidential contest have credited her with running neck and neck with Macron, the current president of the republic. Surveys conducted in anticipation of the European elections later this year go in the same direction. The centrist joint list of La République en Marche(created by Macron for the presidential election of 2017) and Modem (François Bayrou) with roughly 25 percent of the vote and Marine Le Pen’s RN with roughly 20 percent are way ahead of all other lists, including Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Insoumise (roughly 8 percent).

The turn in fortunes is also reflected in Marine Le Pen’s improved public image. Not only has she reappeared on the cover of major French news magazines; pollsters are also again taking her seriously enough as a major political contender to measure her support as well as her appeal, particularly compared to the current president of the republic. The results show that the president of the RN has managed to restore much of her credibility, even if a large majority of the electorate continues to view her negatively. In the most recent survey, a large majority of respondents credited her with being dynamic and courageous, but also arrogant and authoritarian – albeit less so than Emmanuel Macron, who has come to epitomize smugness.

Gilets Jaunes Make all the Difference

Marine Le Pen owes her rebound in the polls to a significant extent to the revolt of the gilets jaunes, the grassroots protest that started in late 2018 against the rise in the tax on gas and diesel, promoted as a step towards advancing the government’s green agenda. The tax hike provoked widespread rage in the rural countryside, directed particularly against Paris where it occasioned acts of violent rioting. The eruption of rage particularly benefited Marine Le Pen – and for good reason. An opinion poll on the reasons for the growing tensions in French society from early this year identified the growing “social difficulties” of parts of the population as well as “the sense that the Parisian elites (political, economic, and in the media) are disconnected from the everyday reality experienced by the French” as the main drivers of popular disaffection, aggressiveness and rage. The sense of disconnect found its most memorable expression in a slogan, attributed to the gilets jaunes: Ils évoquent la fin du monde, nous on parle de la fin du mois  [They evoke the end of the world, we talk about the end of the month].

It is by now well established that the combination of socioeconomic problems, perceptions of social injustice, and political disaffection provides an ideal breeding ground for populist mobilization. Under the circumstances, Marine Le Pen’s return to the frontlines of French politics is hardly surprising. At the same time, she has also benefited from the particular issue which ignited the revolt. After all, even with Marine Le Pen, the FN/RN has been a major proponent of climat skepticism, raising serious doubts that “human activity is the “principal origin” of climate change.

Last but not least, Marine le Pen has shown remarkable programmatic flexibility on essential issues. For the presidential election of 2017, the FN candidate made the exit from the euro one of the core issues of her presidential campaign. It turned out to be an enormous flop. Following the disaster of 2017, it was quietly dropped, even if Marine Le Pen insisted that regaining “monetary sovereignty” was still on the agenda – albeit for some time in the future. Undoubtedly, Marine Le Pen took note of the fact that a large majority of French voters are opposed to giving up the euro. Under the circumstances, pragmatism trumps ideology, even on the radical populist right.

It does not matter anyway because there is, as always, the question of (im)migration, the perennial evergreen of the radical populist right. It is and has been at the center of the radical populist right’s nativist program, and it still retains its appeal. It is the issue where Marine Le Pen is held to be more competent than the current president of the republic. Not surprisingly, (im)migration figures right on top of the RN’s agenda for its campaign for the European election.

Ressentiments
Marine Le Pen set the tone in the fall of 2018 with a programme she held in Frejus, a town in Southern France, boasting a FN/RN mayor. Parting ways with likeminded parties in western Europe, she avoided framing the issue in cultural (i.e., anti-Islamic) terms; instead she adoped a narrative which cropped up in the wake of the “refugee crisis” of 2015/2016, the election of Donald Trump, and the upsurge in support for the AfD in the German federal election of 2018. In each of these cases, journalists venturing out to talk to “ordinary people” (in order to understand why they voted the way they did) outside the big metropolitan regions encountered similar ressentiments. The resentment was fed by a profound sense of injustice, stemming from the perception that ordinary citizens are systematically disadvantaged — perhaps even discriminated against – by their government seen as favoring instead migrants, refugees and minorities.

Marine Le Pen’s Frejus speech is a textbook example of this kind of populist cum nativist rhetoric appealing to these ressentiments. Charging public officials on the cantonal level (i.e., prefects) with prioritizing the “integration of migrants,” she asserted that these officials spend most of their time “regularizing, feeding, housing and medically treating them, finding them a professional training and according them job priority.” Against that, French citizens are told that there are no longer any funds available to provide them with affordable housing, no more money to boost the purchasing power of retirees, no more money for the handicapped and for families. But , Marine Le Pen charged, there are ample funds “for immigration!” And whereas French homeless persons “die in the streets from being exposed to the cold” there are “thousands of lodging houses” for migrants. Marine Le Pen’s conclusion: What we are seeing today is a blatant expression of the “contempt (mepris) state authorities have for the people (les gens), contempt for the identity of our countrymen sacrificed on the altars of a crazy ideological vision.” What we are seeing today is “the state working against the nation” rather than the state putting itself “in the service of the nation.”

« The France of the Forgotten »

This is a potentially powerful and persuasive message. Opinion polls show that on some social issues, such as inequality, those sympathizing with the RN are relatively close to the left. In 2018, for instance, some 60 percent of RN supporters came out in support of protecting wage earners, only a minority in favor of more labor market flexibility. Almost 70 percent agreed with the statement that in order the reestablish social justice it was necessary to take from the rich and give to the poor.

The centrist joint list of La République en Marche (created by Macron for the presidential election of 2017) and Modem (François Bayrou) with roughly 25 percent of the vote and Marine Le Pen’s RN with roughly 20 percent are way ahead of all other lists, including Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Insoumise (roughly 8 percent).

At the same time, however, the same percentage also agreed that “the unemployed could find work if they only wanted” – a position shared with the right. In other words, RN supporters are overwhelmingly in favor of some measure of social justice, as long as it tied to a notion of “deservedness” associated with productive work. Migrants and refugees clearly don’t count among the deserving. For too long the both Marine Le Pen and her father have charged that the vast majority of immigrants come to France primarily to take advantage of France’s generous social services; and for too long both have demanded to shut down the pompes aspirantes de l’Etat-Providence (suction pumps of the welfare state) and limit benefits to the native born (FN’s policy of préférence nationale).

Ever since she was elected president of the FN in 2011, Marine Le Pen has promoted herself as the candidate who defends “the France of the forgotten” (la France des oubliés). As such, she has gone out of her way to address the boondocks of France – aka la province – far away from the big cities, where established politicians would not want to be caught dead. Therefore it is perhaps not entirely surprising that Marine le Pen launched her campaign for the European election far away from Paris – in the small town of Thon in Vaucluse, a department in the south of France. In her speech, Marine Le Pen positioned herself and her party once again on one end of a new cleavage that pits, as she put it, les nationaux, represented by her, against les mondialistes, embodied by Macron. An astute politician, Marine Le Pen has been adroit in exploiting growing polarization tendencies in French sociey and politics along a new parochial vs cosmopolitan divide. This divide is nothing new. It first emerged in the final decades of the Belle Époque (1871-1914), which turned out not to be all that belle for much of France’s working class, providing ample opportunities for populist mobilization. Like today, populist agitation centered upon migration and national identity.

Humiliation

At the time, the divide was limited; today, it has reached alarming proportions, most recently with the eruption of the revolt of the gilets jaunes. As Laurent Joffrin, the editor of the center-left daily Liberation has noted, what is behind this revolt is a diffuse sense of “humiliation, which feeds all this rage” – a humiliation of all those people who live “out of the way” (excentré, i.e., out in the “boonies”). It reflects a new kind of rupture, a new kind of stuggle, one not based on class but on “space: urban centers against rurbans (banlieue), the periphery against the bourgeois bohemians (bobos), the countryside against the metropolitan areas, the small against the large communities.” Far away from the big cities, the “rurbains” feel “loathed by the urbanites and abandoned by those in power – and often rightfully so.”

It is this sense of being the object of contempt and neglect by the political establishment, which, at least in part, has fed the most recent wave of radical right-wing populist mobilization in advanced liberal democracies, both in Europe and overseas. Mantra-like repetitions by the media and the “established” parties (as if the exponents of the radical populist right were not already part of it, given the fact that many of them have been around for several decades) warning of the fundamental threat these parties pose to democracy have done little to nothing to dissuade disenchanted voters to put their cross next to the them.

The European elections are unlikely to diverge from this pattern. There will be great lamentation in the land, a lot of abuse of ignorant, irresponsible voters and “deplorables” – just to go back to business as usual, in favor of big transnational corporations, the financial markets and the rich.

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23 comments

  1. Frenchguy

    Really not impressed by this article I must say… Some examples:

    “by mid-2018, observers of the French political scene speculated that it was not entirely unlikely that the RN would disappear in the near future as a relevant force in French politics”: while that always make a good paper, I doubt anyone seriously thought that. In most polls, the RN never fell below 15%. The 2017 defeat didn’t signal the end of RN, it just confirmed that Marine was probably not talented enough to ever reach the 50% threshold needed for the presidency. If any party that couldn’t reach 50% disappeared, we would have a pretty emply political scene.

    _”Marine Le Pen owes her rebound in the polls to a significant extent to the revolt of the gilets jaunes, the grassroots protest that started in late 2018″, that seems to get the calendar wrong. Macron started to fell in the poll during the Spring/Summer. Polls taken in October just before the gilets jaunes are actually quite close to what they are now. If anything, the Benalla affair seems to have made more damage.

    _”At the time, the divide was limited; today, it has reached alarming proportions, most recently with the eruption of the revolt of the gilets jaunes.” Oh come on, evidence that the divide has grown is thin. In 1994, the 3 main right-wing eurosceptics parties reached 27%, polls in 2019 put them at almost exactly the same proportion.

    _No mention at all of the fall of Mélenchon which has crashed in opinion polls compared to the highs of the presidency. It’s an important explanation of why the RN rebounded.

    Reply
    1. PlutoniumKun

      Can you explain why Melenchon seems to have fallen out of popularity so much? Is his support going to the right or fracturing among the left?

      Reply
      1. Colonel Smithers

        Thank you, Gentlemen.

        Firstly, I agree with French Guy and Jos. Bit shoddy, this article.

        @ PK: I wonder if that authoritarian streak in Melenchon is alienating more people. I notice from regular visits that younger leftists find Melenchon’s style a bit OTT and passé and the gilets jaunes who I have spoken to, a dozen on three occasions since last December, want to steer clear of him and other established politicians. Also, Melenchon seems ill prepared for and sometimes gets provoked in TV interviews. Venezuela is often weaponised against him, and Corbyn et al, but Melenchon seems not to have noticed and prepared a stock answer for the inevitable. I am going back to France at the end of May, staying largely in Deauville, and hope to send an update.

        Reply
        1. Frenchguy

          I would agree with you Colonel that it’s definitely the authoritarian streak doing it. Also yes he gets angry disturbingly quickly. Last October, his party center was searched by the police and there’s a video of him leading his troops screaming to a single policeman: “I am the Republic !”. I’d say this episode was a bit of turning point for him recently…

          As for where his voters go, some will go to Le Pen. Most I’d guess would stay on the left but the offer is quite poor now so they may abstain. The Socialist Party that should have profited the most has sunked so low that it had to appoint an outsider (Raphaël Glucksmann) to lead its list in the European elections. Glucksmann is leftist royalty, has “played” (that’s the word) a role in orange revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia, is mainly known in Parisian intellectual circles and has all the arrogance of Macron without the talent (I’m obviously not a fan).

          Reply
        2. Clive

          Corbyn definitely suffers from Melenchon-itis, I agree 100%, I can’t figure it out other than come to your conclusion that it’s wanton aloofness or arrogance. For Corbyn, for example, it’s stating the bleedin’ obviously that a not-exactly-sympathetic media will clutch its pearls and ask “why did you talk to Sinn Fein when they were indistinguishable from the provisionals?” or “why do you think you’re doing the right thing talking to Hezbollah when they are classified as a terrorist organisation?”

          The answers to which are an open goal for any real progressive or someone who is promoting themselves as something new — “because we’ve spent thirty or forty years saying we’re going to be holding our breath until we go blue in the face and how, exactly, has that worked out for us?” Or “I was right on Iraq, I was right about the IRA and I was right about Libya and I was right about Syria and I was right about Afghanistan, what record do you, in the MSM, have to say against that?”

          But no. He gets that look, like a school teacher who has been asked by the dim child in the class why do we have to learn quadratic equations, and does little more than make his distaste for the question all too obvious. No-one in politics since about 1980 has any excuse for not realising you have to play the media tart, now and again, like it or not. It goes with the territory.

          Reply
          1. Colonel Smithers

            Thank you, French Guy and Clive.

            I am glad that Clive expanded on my reference to Corbyn. I suspect that the media tart, a wholly appropriate and accurate description, is going to be sharper against Corbyn than in 2017 when a walk over by May was expected.

            Reply
  2. Jos Oskam

    For the record, I am Dutch, but have been living in rural France since 2003. I do not vote in France so I do not have a dog in this race. Not a fan of Macron but neither of any “extreme” party.

    Largely agreeing with @Frenchguy above. Likewise, I am not overly impressed with this article.

    For example, “…a large majority of respondents credited her [le Pen] with being dynamic and courageous, but also arrogant and authoritarian…”. Arrogant and authoritarian is not the kind of “negative” that costs a politician voters in France, almost the contrary. After all, the still widely respected Charles de Gaulle did not lack these traits either, to say the least. Macron is secretive, smug and contemptuous and that is an altogether different attitude… one that is hated with a passion by every French person not part of the “elite”.

    Where I live, people who voted for Macron feel deeply disillusioned, and next time they wouldn’t vote him for dogcatcher. On the contrary, in their rage they will probably go for a candidate whose agenda and personality is as far removed from Macron as possible. They will not vote “for” somebody who promises things but “against” the person and party they feel has betrayed them and sold them out to vague European and financial interests.

    So, the details of Marine le Pen’s political program and her statements will probably not be scrutinized in detail by the voters, the fact that she is an “anti-Macron” will matter far more to them. This may bring her more votes than ever before, which will make her a serous thorn in the side of the EU and a force to be reckoned with.

    Reply
    1. Andy Raushner

      She is of Jewish background that most don’t know about, but most of the so called far right is. They are Rothschild con people. Meant to control the flock. I warn thee now.

      Reply
        1. Susan the other`

          me too. Sadly, there is no end to looney political pamphlets. Much better to look at what la Marine is actually saying. I find her to be a straightforward French nationalist. She’s a threat to globalism not an escort. She lost her footing debating Macron because he was on a role. And he had a brief window of political grace wherein he could control the vocabulary. That happens a lot in politics. She is undeniably correct, however, and he is the fool. The State has turned against the Nation. All Macron can do is look ill, hurry away on vacations, pose with world leaders, and expose his fake sincerity by apologizing to the French with a shabby line like, “I’m sorry if I offended any of you.” His solution is to charge off like Napoleon, cutting essentially new imperialist deals with Africa. That isn’t going to solve the fiscal problems on the ground in France – it’s going to do the opposite, continue the inequality that perpetuates more inequality. How did world trade come to be regarded as the answer to everything domestic? Profits perhaps?

          Reply
          1. Off The Street

            So much of what appears in the media can come down to a simple question of fact. Is X true or is X not true? That should be a useful predicate if followed. The rest is evidence of being paid by the word and being paid to flog someone’s position.

            Edit: added question mark

            Reply
            1. Briny

              Often the answer is gobbledygook neither. After all, that makes the answer and speaker “nuanced” according to the MSM.

              Reply
          2. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            It’s pure “Hilary-ism” to denounce anything those dirty deplorable wage-earners say or do…and to slap anyone listening to their actual real-world needs with the “right-wing populist” label. Marine and The Donald’s message do have racist overtones and that really is deplorable…but that does not mean it is not at least tangentially a cruise missile blow on what is actually wrong out there. How “labor” fell for “capital’s” quest for unlimited zero-wage workers is a head scratcher. Ask Woody Guthrie or Cesar Chavez what they thought about unlimited immigration. As the GJ’s state they are trying to get to the end of the month, not save themselves from the end of the world, and French politicians that ignore the everyday pocketbook issues of the teeming masses often find themselves in the Place De La Republique staring down into a wicker basket drenched in blood.

            Reply
  3. IsabelPS

    It is interesting what you say, Frenchguy. I have been having the impression that, in Portugal, where (strangely) the far-right is quite marginal, on the left side of the spectrum (be it in the media or the social networks) there has been a sort of blowing up of its importance. I almost feel it is a distraction of something (exactly what?) that should indeed worry us.

    Reply
    1. Frenchguy

      Yep, the far-right explosion is way over-rated. Most of them are just typical rightwingers which have just decided to try to make it on their own and are turning up the rhetoric to be heard. But real idealogical extremists and fascists are quite rare and have no audience (apart from maybe Golden Dawn in Greece ?). Look at Salvini, is he really that different from Berlusconi… ? And Le Pen seems mean with her anti-immigrants rhetoric but the actual French policy is already one of the hardest in Europe so let’s not pretend her arrival to power would change much.

      But then it suits everyone to pretend like we’re back in the 30s. The established parties can campaign on the fight against fascism, the media can cover this historical battle, the “far-right” can, with some truth, rail against the forces of the establishment. And meanwhile, nobody has to bother about actually governing well, much easier that way.

      Reply
  4. Andy Raushner

    The right-hegalian Euro skeptics are toast anyway. They live the fantasy of the bourgeois nation state and it’s colonial empires could and should be rebuilt, completely ignorant that it was the banking elite who put them into power in the first place. It is a dead system that has no future. Debt cannot be withdrawn and the era of mass economic growth is ending. They will starve both the pre-indo European and indo European people’s who make up modern Europe, until rebellion. They will have no qualms killing them to stay in power. Exposing themselves to who they really are.

    Reply
  5. David

    Most of what needs saying has already been said by others. I’m not convinced by the article either. I’d just add that support for the FN/RN has historically been a symptom of the weakness of the established parties as much as the strength of Le Pen, and perhaps more so. As long as these parties effectively ignore the interests of ordinary people they will leave free space for those that don’t. By contrast Mélenchon not only has problems of arrogance, he leads a party which is a hotch-potch of different groups many representing extreme social opinions.

    Reply
  6. Amfortas the hippie

    FN and the lePen dynasty’s “popularity” beyond their natural nativist, revaanchist cohort is entirely, to my mind, due to the smug disregard for “ordinary people”(if not outright hostility and derision) that has become the norm for the center-left…and this is analogous to our own travails with Team Blue and the smug pretensions of the hillary crowd.
    le Pen is merely picking up some of the numerous birdsnests left on the ground by the erstwhile “social democrats”.
    a few years ago, when i rummaged around for clarity about french politics(i went all the way back to De Gaul), I found to my utter surprise that I could easily be on board with many of Marine’s domestic policies….pretty much everything except the racist bile. support for french farmers, especially.
    Woe to us if we fail to learn the lessons here…because at some point, the Right will notice that there’s a lot of votes to be gotten from the “left behind”, and move away from the overt racism and nativist rhetoric…and discover sewer socialism and other new deal-ish things.
    the gop’s biggest problem for at least a decade has been their dwindling core of old white angry godbothering racist people….hence the voter suppression and purges and such.
    if they find a way to capture a goodly portion of the bernie vote, we’re done.
    trump has accidentally and hamfistedly shown them the way.
    that’s my biggest fear, these days.

    Reply
  7. Stanley Dundee

    This article posits an emotional basis for the GJ, etc:

    As Laurent Joffrin, the editor of the center-left daily Liberation has noted, what is behind this revolt is a diffuse sense of “humiliation, which feeds all this rage” – a humiliation of all those people who live “out of the way” (excentré, i.e., out in the “boonies”). It reflects a new kind of rupture, a new kind of stuggle, one not based on class but on “space: urban centers against rurbans (banlieue), the periphery against the bourgeois bohemians (bobos), the countryside against the metropolitan areas, the small against the large communities.” Far away from the big cities, the “rurbains” feel “loathed by the urbanites and abandoned by those in power – and often rightfully so.” It is this sense of being the object of contempt and neglect by the political establishment, which, at least in part, has fed the most recent wave of radical right-wing populist mobilization in advanced liberal democracies, both in Europe and overseas.

    Maybe this case is special, but I have a general reluctance to accept arguments psychologizing populist causes when material considerations are more than adequate to explain them.

    Reply
    1. cirsium

      Material considerations definitely explain the Gilets Jaunes.. They want to exercise their constitutional right to have a citizen’s referendum so that they can bring back democracy. They want large companies and multinational companies to pay a fair share of taxation. They want Macron to stop selling off utilities which belong to the French nation. They want to regain monetary sovereignty by rescinding the 1973 act so that France would have its own public national bank and currency again. This would mean coming out of the Euro. Rather than “feeling” loathed by the urbanites, the Gilets Jaunes are reacting to circumstances. They have had enough of working more than two jobs and still not being able to make ends meet at the end of the month, of the withdrawal of services like schools, medical centres, hospitals and bakeries in rural areas, of seeing people looking in bins for food. The Gilets Jaunes have rediscovered fraternité by protesting every Saturday and talking and meeting over the week. They are now looking for egalité and liberté. That is why they carry the French flag and sing the French national anthem. They want their country back. As Rutger Bregman says, it is matter of common sense, not right or left.

      Reply
  8. charles 2

    Some – relevant IMHO – details for NC readers :
    1) European Elections in France are the only one which are using proportional system, and EuroMP are not considered by the public as very important due to “consulting” status of the European parliament, therefore, they are an ideal outlet for the “middle finger” vote, and are suited for protest parties, whether it is the extreme left or right, or greens
    2) For the main leaders of RN, Euro Election is their easier (and mostly their only) ticket to a public mandate, so all of them are competing, whereas organisations which are really aiming to govern send only secondary leaders, or even people outside of the party structure (case in point : The socialist party with Raphael Glucksman). Being MP also bring important immunity from various prosecutions.
    3) Marine Le Pen disastrous showing in 2017 was not a bug, but a feature : the Le Pen clan deep inside doesn’t want to manage the country any more than Nigel Farrage or Boris Johnson want to be the PM who implements Brexit. They don’t have any serious team working in policy : it would mean diverting too much money that could go instead in their pockets. There are more interested in maintaining the personality cult boutique that bring them fame with the public, adulation from their fanbase, and some tangible monetary benefits. After Marine, one will get Marion for another 20 years…
    4) This situation suits very well the TINA parties (the right of left PS who morphed into LREM, and Les republicains) because it transforms the two rounds election system in which they had to compromise with allied parties at their respective left or right, into a first past the post where a few percent differences in national polls translate into large majorities in Parliament.
    5) Only a unified left of left parties could break that equilibrium, but I don’t see it happening any time soon because :
    a) sensitivity to the environment is not universally shared
    b) there is a deep ideological split between those who think that a left leaning policy has to happen for the whole Europe to work (Generation.s (Diem25) and the Greens) and those who think that France must go alone.

    Reply
    1. Colonel Smithers

      Merci, Charles II. Well said, too.

      I have passed by the Le Pen residences in Saint-Cloud. Very nice, they are. Somewhat mysterious how the initial inheritance came about, but the family has a knack of attracting wealthy, if gullible, supporters.

      I thought that Philippot may have brought some policy to the party, but his proposed exit from the Euro was not shared by the party. Or any policy by the sound of your analysis.

      With regard to Diem25, Varoufakis is not the most appealing of leaders. He seems happy on the international circuit, but without having to get his hands dirty and building a real grass roots movement like, say, Momentum in the UK and the DSA in the US.

      Reply
  9. ChrisAtRU

    While the dunderheads in US #MSM were fawning over Macron, many of us on the left were predicting that #Macron2017 would yield #LePen2022. Still hoping #JLM can pull through, though …

    Reply

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