Friday, May 06, 2011

The Leader of the Front National, Allegedly France's Equivalent of the Tea Party's Extreme Capitalists, Says That “Obama is way to the right of us”

How often have you heard that conservatives, that Tea Partiers, that capitalists, that inhabitants of the American heartland are the equivalent of fascists, of neo-fascists, of extremists from the far right as embodied by European parties like France's Front National?

As usual, when confronted with facts, the narrative comes up wanting… Very wanting.

Indeed, it just so happens that an extremist (a real one) like the Front National's Marine Le Pen criticizes privatization and "extreme" free market policies, holding that France needs "a strong state", while one of her top aides speaks of taking advantage of the fears engendered by globalization and surfing on insecurity and on social suffering. Meanwhile, one leftist leader got incensed when journalists suggested that the Left and the extreme right's Le Pen family are fighting over the same (anti-capitalist) backyard. (All links in this paragraph are to posts in French…)

Marine Le Pen sums it up in one sentence when the New York Times's Russell Shorto "pointed out [to her] that in the U.S. she would sound like a left-wing politician". She shot back that “Obama is way to the right of us”!
[Marine Le Pen] has come out with a detailed critique of capitalism and a position promoting the state as the protector of ordinary people. “For a long time, the National Front upheld the idea that the state always does things more expensively and less well than the private sector,” she told me. “But I’m convinced that’s not true. The reason is the inevitable quest for profitability, which is inherent in the private sector. There are certain domains which are so vital to the well-being of citizens that they must at all costs be kept out of the private sector and the law of supply and demand.” The government, therefore, should be entrusted with health care, education, transportation, banking and energy.
Inside the New York Times Magazine, Russell Shorto has an in-depth portrait of France's (Kinder, Gentler) Extremist, whose economics are "frankly leftist" and whose "economic stance is drawing interest from the left as well as the right": "When I pointed out that in the U.S. she would sound like a left-wing politician, [Marine Le Pen] shot back, “Yes, but Obama is way to the right of us,” and opined that proper government oversight would have averted the American financial crisis." Mainstream parties across Europe "have not found answers to this pan-European movement," adds the director of the John Adams Institute in Amsterdam, "for which the term “far right” seems increasingly inadequate."

Read also (en français) :
"Le besoin d'Etat fort" : les mots de Le Pen prouvent que la (l'extrême-)droite française n'a rien à voir avec le Republican Party et les Tea Partiers
Critique de la privatisation et de la politique ultralibérale : Marine Le Pen prouve que les conservateurs US n'ont rien à voir avec les thèses du FN
Le programme officiel du Front National : un Etat fort et interventionniste ainsi que le refus du libre-échange
FN et la gauche, même combat ? Un leader du Parti de gauche énervé qu'on dise que les gauchistes et les Le Pen sont sur le même terrain (anti-libéral)
L'objectif du FN : capter les peurs engendrées par la mondialisation et surfer sur l'insécurité et la souffrance sociales
…Sarkozy’s recent and highly visible use of the French military has given Le Pen another opening to exploit. She is opposed to his involvements in Libya and Ivory Coast and to globalist enterprises in general; she sees the uprisings in the Middle East to be partly a result of “policies put into place by the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization toward an impoverishment of the North African countries.” Sarkozy’s aligning France with NATO might win support in the White House and 10 Downing Street, but it has done little for his popularity at home. For the country’s disaffected, it only reinforces views of him as an elitist and a globalist. Where in the United States many of the disaffected might look to a return to Christian and free-market values, their counterparts in Europe find comfort in a turn toward nationalism, which includes state protection, and away from the institutions of globalization. Le Pen is locked into that mind-set.

Update. Marine Le Pen: France Should Leave NATO, "Turn Its Back" on the American "Hyper-Power", and "Turn Towards Russia"