Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Le Pen Delivers Blow To Sarkozy

National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen has called for all of his supporters to abstain from the upcoming presidential runoff. Mr. Le Pen is considered by many to be a fascist and a racist bigot that is discontented with France's immigration policies. The opposite of Le Pen's ideology can be found in that of Madame Royal, the Socialist candidate that stands to gain from Le Pen's call.

So, why would Le Pen deliberately move in such a way as to strengthen one that is such a polar opposite?

Maybe, Le Pen is waging his bets that a Royal presidency will result in a further decline into what he feels is already an abyss, as far as French policy goes. If Royal makes more of a mess of the republic than what he feels has already been made, he or his movement will be strengthened more in the future. The one thing that fascism depends on is, reactionaries need an enemy (and that usually means communists and socialists) to react to. Mussolini was able to gain power by using the inefficiencies (brought on by the futile attempts to implement their failed ideology) against them.

If France elects Royal, that is what Le Pen is hoping will happen here.

As a footnote to all of this, Anne Applebaum of WaPo has an interesting analysis of who Sarkozy is appealing to.

4 comments:

Greg said...

I guess this is the article they are discussing at SF.com. Apparently Ms. Appelbaum is behind in her demographics, since it appears the French don't flock to the UK like they used to, and in fact the opposite might be happening.

I'm not sure Sarkozy is appealing to French citizens currently living abroad (there aren't all that many), but he is definitely trying to appeal to those French who have an entrepreneurial spirit and want to open businesses and hire employees in France. I haven't followed all the election issues as closely as I would have liked, but I don't think he has exactly shunned those whose various gov't "allocations" are their religion. That would be the political equivalent of a US presidential candidate supporting one's right to burn the flag.

Sarkozy is playing all sides until he gets elected, but even then it will be impossible to enact the kinds of reforms he wants to make the French economy more dynamic. Liberalizing the economy there is like reforming social security here.

LASunsett said...

Greg,

On the specific demographics Applebaum cites, I am not sure. What I wanted to cite was the appeal he has with free-market capitalists. How many of them are in France or living abroad, I don't know that either.

Like you, I haven't followed every twist and turn of the election. But, as time goes on, I am inclined to think you will be right in predicting a victory for Royal. I do not think France is ready for a free market capitalist leader, as they would not know how to act if France took a turn in that direction.

Sam said...

A "brain drain" occurs at any time a nation cannot fully employ their highly motivated college graduates. It isn't only happening in France.

Perhaps Le Pen -- if he is a fascist, which is hard to imagine if you consider the the French President has all the power of a king -- would like to recapture France from the tens of millions of Muslim immigrants. The failure of any action to reexamine French immigration policy will result in a Muslim population roughly one-third of the nation's total.

Does such a conern make Le Pen a racist? That would depend upon whether or not you belong to a targeted group.

LASunsett said...

Hi Sam,

//Does such a conern make Le Pen a racist?//

Not wanting your country to be overrun by immigrants, alone, does not necessariy make one racist. But if we look at Mr. Le Pen's career,
we can easily see that he is anti-semitic, just like his American counterpart, Pat Buchanan.