April 26, 2017
We are witnessing an historical reversal in France, where the ancient political spectrum is exploding into pieces as new fractures appear. Because of the intensive storm of media propaganda which has recently almost drowned the nation, the French can now perceive nothing more than the essential markers, and cling to red lines which no longer exist. However, the facts are clear, and certain evolutions are predictable.
After a very agitated electoral campaign, the French chose Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen for the second round of the Presidential election.
Already, almost all the losing candidates, with the exception of Jean-Luc Melenchon – and that’s no accident – have appealed to their followers to support Macron, who should then be easily elected.
The two major historical parties which have governed France since the beginning of the Fifth Republique – Les Republicains (ex-Gaullists) and the Parti Socialist (ex-Jaurèsians) – have been beaten. A newcomer, En Marche !, has made it to first place on the podium, facing the Front National.
This is not the first time that this sort of cleavage has occurred in the history of France – on one hand, a partisan of an alliance with what seems for the moment to be the world’s greatest power (the United States), and on the other, a movement seeking national independence – on one hand, the totality of the ruling class, without notable exceptions, and on the other, a party cobbled together of various bits and pieces, composed mostly of proletarians, two thirds of whom come from the right wing and one third from the left.
Evidently, the next French President will be Mr. Macron – a man from the Banque Rothschild & Cie, now supported by the totality of the business leaders of the CAC40.
However, whether our prejudices like it or not, the unanimity of the power of money is the fundamental characteristic of fascist parties.
This unanimity of Grand Capital is always accompanied by a National unity which erases the differences. In order to become equal, we must become identical. This is what President Hollande began with the law « Marriage for all », in 2012-13. Presented as establishing equality between citizens, whatever their sexual orientation, it posited de facto that the needs of couples with children are the same as those of gay couples. And yet there were several other more intelligent solutions. The opposition to this law led to a number of very important demonstrations, but they unfortunately failed to provide any other proposition, and were sometimes mixed with homophobic slogans.
Identically, the attack against Charlie-Hebdo was celebrated to the chant of « I am Charlie ! », and those citizens who declared that they were « not Charlie » were prosecuted.
It is a shame that the French people do not react either against the unanimity of Grand Capital, nor against the injunctions to use the same judicial techniques and to favour the same slogans. On the contrary, they insist on considering the current Front National as « fascist », with no other argument than its ancient past.
In the majority, the French think that Emmanuel Macron will be a President à la Sarkozy and à la Hollande, men who will pursue their political beliefs. They therefore expect to see their country increasingly decline. They accept this curse, thinking that in this way, they will evacuate the menace of the extreme right.
Many of them remember that at its creation, the Front National gathered together the losers of the Second World War and the losers of the social politics of the colonisation of Algeria. They focused on the figures of a few men who had collaborated with the Nazi occupier, without seeing that the Front National of today has absolutely nothing in common with those people. They persist in holding Second-Lieutenant Jean-Marie Le Pen (Marine’s father) responsible for the Algerian tragedy, and exonerating from their responsibilities the Socialist leaders of the time, particularly their dreadful Minister of the Interior, François Mitterrand.
No-one remembers that in 1940, it was a Fascist minister, General Charles De Gaulle, who refused the shameful armistice with Nazi Germany. This man, the official heir apparent of Marechal Philippe Petain (who was his daughter’s godfather), charged into the Resistance alone. Struggling against his education and his prejudices, he slowly gathered around himself, against the wishes of his ex-mentor, French people from all horizons to defend the Republic. He linked up with a left-wing personality, Jean Moulin, who, a few years earlier, had secretly embezzled money from the Minister of the Marine, and trafficked weapons with which to support the Spanish Republicans against the fascists.
No-one remembers that a colleague of De Gaulle, Robert Schuman, wrote his signature on the armisitice of shame, then, a few years later, founded the European Economic Community (currently the European Union) – a supra-national organisation based on the Nazi model of the « New European Order », against the Soviet Union and today against Russia.
Emmanuel Macron has recieved the strong support of ex-US President Barack Obama, and has gathered a team for foreign policy composed of the main neo-conservative diplomats. He makes no secret of supporting the external politics of the US Democratic Party.
Barack Obama, although he presented his foreign policy with a rhetoric which was diametrically opposed to that of his predecessor, the Republican George W. Bush, in practice followed his lead in all points. The two men successively continued the same plan for the destruction of the societies of the Greater Middle East – a plan which has already caused more than 3 million deaths. Emmanuel Macron supports this policy, although we do not yet know whether he intends to justify it by speaking of « democratisation » or « spontaneous revolution ».
If Hillary Clinton was beaten during the US election, Emmanuel Macron had to be elected in France.
Nothing proves that Marine Le Pen will be capable of playing the rôle of Charles De Gaulle, but three things are certain :
Just as in 1940, the British, choking back their disgust, welcomed De Gaulle to London, today Russia could support Le Pen.
Just as in 1939, only a few Communists braved the orders of their party and joined the Resistance, there will only be a few of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s partisans who will take that step. But as from the Nazi attack on the URSS, it was the whole Communist party who supported De Gaulle and formed the majority of the Resistance. There is no doubt that in the years to come, Mélenchon will fight side by side with Le Pen.
Emmanuel Macron will never understand people who resist the domination of their homeland. So he will not understand any better the people of the Greater Middle East who struggle for real independence alonside Hezbollah, the Syrian Arab Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
April 25, 2017
Here’s the body count in the latest geopolitical earthquake afflicting the West: The Socialist Party in France is dead. The traditional Right is comatose. What used to be the Extreme Left is alive, and still kicking.
Yet what’s supposed to be the shock of the new is not exactly a shock. The more things veer towards change (we can believe in), the more they stay the same. Enter the new normal: the recycled “system” – as in Emmanuel Macron — versus “the people” — as in the National Front’s Marine Le Pen, battling for the French presidency on May 7.
Although that was the expected outcome, it’s still significant. Le Pen, re-christened “Marine”, reached the second round of voting despite a mediocre campaign.
She essentially reassembled — but did not expand — her voting base. I have argued on Asia Times that Macron is nothing but an artificial product, a meticulously packaged hologram designed to sell an illusion.
Only the terminally naïve may believe Macron incarnates change when he’s the candidate of the EU, NATO, the financial markets, the Clinton-Obama machine, the French establishment, assorted business oligarchs and the top six French media groups.
As for the stupidity of the Blairite Left, it’s now in a class by itself.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the domesticated hard-left of Insubordinate France, managed to equal the Catholic Right François Fillon in the final stretch. Yet the vapid PS candidate, Benoit Hamon, stole Mélenchon’s shot at hitting the second round.
As for Marine, she lost almost four points in the final tally. With one extra week of campaigning Fillon, despite Penelopegate, could have been equal with Marine.
Marine has only one extremely long shot on May 7. She will be frantically touring “deep France” to turn the second round into a debate on French identity and a clash of nationalists, patriots and sovereignists against pro-EU globalists and urban “liquid modernity” practitioners.
Frontists are ready to rip Emmanuel Clinton’s neoliberal program to pieces, which will play very well in rural France and may even yield a few disgruntled Mélenchon votes.
Unlike Fillon and Hamon, he has not gone public calling his supporters to vote Macron. Disgruntled Fillon voters may also be inclined to switch to Marine — considering Fillon was viscerally opposed to someone he described as “Emmanuel Hollande.”
A quick look at the promises is in order. In a nutshell; Marine proffers a social model that “favors the French people;” Macron offers vague, “profound reforms.”
Macron’s plan to save 60 billion euros of public funds implies firing 120,000 functionaries; that is a certified recipe to a “see you in the barricades” scenario.
Marine only says she wants to reduce the public deficit — aiming at reducing state medical aid, the French contribution to the EU, and fiscal fraud.
Neither wants to raise the minimum wage and VAT. Both want to reduce the tax burden on companies and both want to fight the “Uberization” of work, favoring French companies (Marine) and European companies (Macron).
Marine’s absolute priority is to reduce social aid to foreigners and restitute “buying power” especially to pensioners and low-income workers. She’s vague about unemployment.
Macron’s “profound reforms” are centered on unemployment insurance and pensions. He’s keen on a universal unemployment protection managed by the state. Everyone would be covered, including in the case of being fired. Marine and Macron coincide on one point; better reimbursement of costly health benefits.
Europe is at the heart of the Marine vs Macron fight; that’s Frexit against a “new European project.”
Everyone in Brussels “voted” Macron as he proposes a budget for the eurozone, a dedicated Parliament, and a dedicated Minister of Finance. In short; Brussels on steroids.
Marine’s Frexit should be decided via a referendum — a direct consequence of the frontist obsession with immigration. Marine wants to reduce legal admission of immigrants to 10,000 people a year (it’s currently 200,000), tax employment of foreign workers, and suppress social aid. In contrast, pro-immigration Macron aims at what he calls an open France, “faithful to its values.”
On foreign policy, it’s all about Russia. Marine wants a “strategic realignment” with Moscow especially to fight Salafi-jihadi terror.
Macron — reflecting a French establishment as Russophobic as in the US — is against it, although he concedes that Europe must come to terms with Russia even as he defends the current sanctions.
If the coming, epic clash could be defined by just one issue that would be the unlimited power of the Wall of Cash.
Macron subscribes to the view that public debt and expenses on public service are the only factors responsible for French debt, so one must have “political courage” to promote reforms.
Sociologist Benjamin Lemoine is one of the few who’s publicly debating what’s really behind it — the interest of financiers to preserve the value of the debt they hold and their aversion to any negotiation.
Because they control the narrative, they are able to equate “political risk” — be it Marine or Mélenchon — with the risk to their own privileged positions.
The real issue at stake in France — and across most of the West — revolves around the conflicting interests of financial masters and citizens attached to public service and social justice.
The coming clash between Emmanuel Clinton and Marine LeTrump won’t even begin to scratch the surface.
أبريل 25, 2017
Written by Nasser Kandil,
Had it not been for the difference of two percent, Marine Le Pen would have been defeated and François Fillon would have entered the presidential second round versus Emmanuel Macron, or Jean-Luc Mélenchon would have won, since each one of them have won 2% less than Le Pen . So it is not in vain that France has elected under the blows of the terrorism to enable Le Pen to enter the race beside Macron to ensure his winning, otherwise his competition to win the candidate Fillon or the attractive frank and the accurate candidate Mélenchon would be full of dangers. In case Fillon versus Macron, the followers of Le Pen will vote for Fillon as the followers of Mélenchon, they will ensure the winning of Fillon, but in case the competition is between Macron and Mélenchon the followers of Le Pen and Fillion will vote in favor of Mélenchon and will ensure his winning, simply the reason is that despite the big divergence between the internal platforms of the three candidates Le Pen , Fillon, and Mélenchon the challenge which imposed by the terrorism as in the foreign policy options make this tripartite in one circle; the openness to Russia, the cooperation with its President, and the withdrawal from the war on Syria and its President. What is known by the observers is that it will be difficult to the extent of impossibility that the followers of Fillion and Mélenchon will vote for Le Pen in the second round.
The conspiracy is not the momentum which drives for searching for hidden forces which put their importance to ensure the winning of Macron, the conspiracy is not hidden and its owners have names that are defined by the policies of the competing parties who were intended to be removed from the competition. The openness to Russia and Syria is not a secondary issue, but rather a change in the geopolitics and the alliances at the international and the Middle East levels, the withdrawal from NATO is not a simple issue, and the recognition of Palestine is not a joke. The one who follows the biography of this candidate Emmanuel Macron who will become a President will easily discover that he is an employee in Rothschild Foundation which forms the heart of the savage Zionism and Liberalism, the banks, and the major associations in Europe, all of them did not get confused from supporting Macron, and funding his electoral campaign and the call to join his party which was founded only a year ago. Macron had spent only three years in the political work before he was assigned by François Holland as a Minister of Economics in favor of the economic and financial blocs, after he appointed him as an officer at the rank of the Assistant of the Secretary-General of the Presidency of the Republic.
Macron is not mere a candidate of banks and organizations, he is a public candidate for Freemasonry which its French forums announced their support, he is a supportive candidate of the Israeli and the Saudi positions in the Middle East, in continuation of the policy of his predecessor Hollande. Some people try to explain the rise of Macron supported by Hollande forgetting that Hollande has not gained more than 7 % of the French support before months, and that the candidate of his party Benoît Hamon has revealed the size of the popularity of the party that gained more than the popularity of his president. The organized campaigns for poll as well as the enthusiasm shown by the American, western, and Arab mass media which are funded and operated by Saudi Arabia and Israel to Macron are not hidden, this person has come and has become in front of the French people in a way that does not like that of Donald Trump who has a flowing history as a businessman, and has a media presence previous to his presidential candidacy. The scandals that broke out against the opponents of Macron reveal the programmed work that is carried out by effective and capable support, which intervenes in necessary in order to prevent the fall of France in another front and causes the change of the global and the Middle East balances.
When the votes which obtained by Marine Le Pen , François Fillon, and Jean-Luc Mélenchon are gathered and the outcome is more than 60% of the French people, and when the common among these three candidates is the openness to Russia and Syria then the NATO has the right to be worried, it is the duty of the US intelligence is to announce the state of emergency. This is France, Israel’s task is to get alert, and Saudi Arabia has to pay, the task of the French escalation against Russia and Syria is profits for all of them, but it is an insurance policy for Saudi Arabia and Israel before the others.
Translated by Lina Shehadeh,
أبريل 24, 2017
«Centrist» candidate Emmanuel Macron was no sooner announced winner in the first round of the French presidential election at the weekend, and with unseemly haste the political establishment rushed to close ranks against rival Marine Le Pen of the Front National.
Macron topped the poll in the first round winning 23.8 per cent of the vote. Le Pen came in second place with 21.5 per cent. Both candidates will now proceed to face off in the second round, to be held on May 7, with the other nine candidates having been eliminated.
The FN leader is entitled to call her electoral performance a «historic» achievement. It was the best result for the nationalist party in the French presidential elections since its foundation in 1972. But while her supporters were celebrating a landmark victory, the French establishment was desperately pulling up the drawbridge. Slings, arrows and boiling oil are being readied to make sure Le Pen is kept at bay from the seat of power.
Le Pen, who took over the party leadership in 2011 from her father Jean-Marie, has taken the FN from «fringe» status to now being a major mainstream political force, within a shot of winning the presidency of the French Republic.
But it is unlikely that Marine Le Pen will become Madame President – at least in the 2017 cycle. Her rival Macron is already receiving fulsome endorsements from the erstwhile two main parties, the center-right Republicans and the incumbent Socialists. Both parties suffered painful defeats at the weekend, the first time in 60 years than neither of them have a candidate going forward to the second round.
Republican candidate Francois Fillon, who won 19.9 per cent of the vote, immediately gave his endorsement to Macron, telling his supporters that Le Pen would be a «disaster» for the country. Socialist contender, Benoit Hamon, whose electoral performance crashed to scraping only 6.5 per cent of the vote, was even more vehement in endorsing Macron. In his defeat-acceptance speech, Hamon called on his supporters to get behind Macron because Le Pen was «an enemy of the state».
The so-called «hard left» candidate Jean-Luc Melénchon, of the France Unbowed party, came in fourth with a respectable vote of 19.6 per cent, narrowly behind Fillon. Considering that Melénchon was campaigning on a staunch socialist manifesto and that his party was only recently formed, it was a commendable result for the veteran left-winger. He can claim to have secured the mantle of the «genuine left» in France, and going forward has a strong base upon which to build a new socialist party. For that reason, Melénchon refused to endorse either Macron or Le Pen for the second round. To his credit, he is not selling out on political principles.
The final head-to-head election next month is shaping up to be a repeat of the 2002 presidential contest, when Marine’s father Jean-Marie caused a political shock when he made it through to second round back then. Similar to that occasion, as now, the establishment rallied to support Jacques Chirac, of the center-right UMP (forerunner of the present-day Republicans). In 2002, Jean-Marie Le Pen was trounced, winning only 18 per cent of the final vote, against Chirac’s nearly 80 per cent.
As before, the same maneuver of mounting the ramparts against Marine Le Pen is underway. Macron will consolidate voters from Fillon’s Republicans and Hamon’s Socialists, and he is projected to win up to 60 per cent of the final tally against Marine Le Pen.
In terms of votes, Le Pen’s FN has evolved to become an undoubted central political force in French politics. At the weekend, she garnered some 7.6 million, less than one million behind Macron, and well ahead of the other contenders. Her party’s performance exceeded that of its previous best in the 2015 municipal elections when the FN won 6.6 million votes.
Nevertheless, Le Pen’s FN is still tainted with its original association with fascism, racism and anti-semitism. Le Pen says that mainstream media labelling of her party as «far-right» is a smear. She prefers to call the FN «nationalist».
To a large extent, the 48-year-old lawyer has managed to «detoxify» the image of the party and has positioned it as a populist movement that stands against global capitalism and the European Union’s servility to corporate finance. Le Pen is campaigning on left-leaning economic policies of «social protection» and taking France out of the EU, in the same manner as the Brexit for Britain. She also wants to quit the US-led NATO military alliance and is openly calling for friendly relations with Russia. The FN aims to restore national control over French borders and implement big cuts in immigration numbers. Her strident denunciation of «Islamization» of French culture has earned her criticism of being xenophobic.
However, to label Le Pen and the FN as «an enemy of the state» seems to be an hysterical caricature. The suspicion is that it is her party’s policies of opposing global capitalism, the EU and NATO which is the real source of establishment animus, which is concealed by hollow accusations of «racism, xenophobia and fascism» and «enemy of the state».
It is notable that EU leaders also joined with French establishment figures in rushing to endorse Macron at the weekend. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded quickly to congratulate him on winning first place in the initial presidential round. With two weeks to go until the second and final round, those public comments from EU leaders seem to be a flagrant interference in the French election. Nonetheless, they underscore the urgency for the political establishment within France and across Europe to keep Le Pen from entering the Élysée Palace on May 7.
As for Macron, the branding of the «centrist» politician has the unmistakeable air of slick marketing by the powers-that-be. Of course, being avidly pro-EU, pro-NATO and frosty towards Russian leader Vladimir Putin makes Macron a keen favorite in the eyes of the status quo.
The 39-year-old Macron claims that, politically, he is «neither right nor left» and the mainstream media have glowingly dubbed him a fresh-faced «outsider». Corny comparisons are made to John F Kennedy, Tony Blair and Barack Obama. There is a palpable sense that Macron’s image is being intensely manufactured as the golden boy of politics who, it is advertised, will bring «hope and change» for everyone.
Only in a crass, superficial sense could Macron be described as «an outsider» who is forging a «new politics». It is true that he has never served in elected office. And he formed his political party, En Marche, (Forward) only a year ago.
But everything else about Macron is deeply establishment and status quo. With an elite education, he worked as a former Rothschild investment banker on a multi-million-euro income, before being appointed by Socialist President Francois Hollande as economy minister four years ago. In that post, he was the architect of the widely hated pro-business labor «reforms» (hire-and-fire), which the Hollande government forced into law last year by decree, despite massive public protests.
Macron cleverly stepped down from his ministerial post in anticipation of entering the presidential elections, and thereby gave himself a modicum of distance from the despised governing Socialists. The latter, by the way, is really a misnomer, as Hollande’s government (2012-2017) served as ardent proponents of neoliberal capitalism in the service of global finance. That is partly the reason why Hollande’s would-be successor Benoit Hamon received such a drubbing in the latest poll, while Jean-Luc Melénchon of the Communist-backed France Unbowed emerged with respectable support.
So, Macron is certainly no «outsider» nor fresh-faced «challenger» of the status quo. That’s just all superficial marketing and branding to ensure that he prevents Le Pen winning power. Macron will eventually prove to be a willing servant of global capitalism, the EU and NATO, and a ruthless economic hitman against the working class.
In his first-round victory speech at the weekend, Macron declared that he would create a France that is «fair and efficient» for everyone. The use of the word «efficient» is a creepy harbinger of the priorities that this establishment-technocrat will deliver in his presidential service to big business, global capital and US-led transatlantic militarism.
Macron’s endorsement list tells a lot. It includes: incumbent President Francois Hollande and current prime minister Bernard Cazeneuve, the foreign minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. As well as the entire center-right Republican leadership. These two parties were solidly rejected in the first round of the presidential election at the weekend. And yet they are now cheerleading for Macron, the supposed «outsider». This amounts to failed French politicians begetting more failed French politicians. Wow, plus ca change!
April 24, 2017
It’s not that the National Front has changed since the 1980s – it’s that the other parties have changed so much for the worse.
C’est ça – that’s the point, as the French say, and which translates into English rather ineffectively.
Nobody should be happy about having to vote for Marine Le Pen, but please tell me what economic policies has Emmanuel Macron espoused which will end the systemic anti-Muslim, anti-Colored racism in France?
Got nuthin’? Of course you don’t.
And that’s why it is intolerable to hear French people say that a vote against Le Pen is a vote against racism: Racism is not just pretty words but concrete actions – it is the government installing a Black family next to yours to promote equality.
Don’t fancy that: congratulations, you are not a leftist!
But Emmanuel Macron is the epitome of today’s “fake leftism” – leftism which has a “non-racist” and “minority-friendly” face, but which is neutered of any economic or social policy that would actually improve the lives of any minority.
What good is having gay marriage in France if you can’t afford the marriage certificate because you are both unemployed?
Gay marriage typifies the misplaced priorities of the West’s fake leftists – the show over substance –which must make the Ho Chi Minh’s of the world roll their eyes and mutter, “This is the Left I sacrificed for?”
While preparing to cover the first round of France’s election I was reviewing five years of news reports I made while covering the Francois Hollande era for Press TV. I was reminded that November 7, 2012, is a day which must not be forgotten.
On that date Hollande announced he was breaking the essence of his electoral campaign: He cut taxes for the wealthy and on corporations, with financing to come from cuts to social services and a hike to the VAT (sales) tax, which is a regressive tax on the average person.
Here were the two lead paragraphs from that report:
“France has announced another round of austerity measures, in an unpredicted change-of-heart. Many expected a recent report calling for tax breaks for businesses to be ignored, but the Hollande administration will implement its neoliberal measures almost completely.”
“This plan corresponds with President Hollande’s promises,” said Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s Prime Minister. “They are leftist because our objective is to create more jobs and to correct injustice,”
Also on November 7, 2012: Hollande, Ayrault and the Socialist Party unveiled the bill for gay marriage in Parliament.
The politics of distraction….
It’s disgusting for fake leftists like Francois Hollande, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to manipulate civil rights in order to push right-wing economics, but it works.
Today, not enough French voters saw the through the masquerade of Macron, I’m sorry to report.
Even fewer remember the lessons from 5 years ago, it seems. How many journalists even helped people to remember?
However, all of France does remember perhaps the biggest-ever anti-government demonstrations which followed November 7, 2012: between 300,000 to 1 million people marched – not against austerity, but against gay marriage.
The politics of distraction causing misplaced priorities….
Then in January 2013 Hollande launched a war in Mali.
The politics of distraction, this time with dead Colored bodies….
Blame Hollande for a lot, including Macron
Hollande is the one who foisted Macron on us. He plucked him from the obscurity of the chorus, schooled him as his deputy secretary-general of Élysée Palace, appointed Minister of the Economy out of nowhere, and dubbed Macron to carry on his legacy.
Hollande admitted as much – he wants to see what he “built” continue. Many thought he was the only one who felt that way, and that’s why Hollande couldn’t even run for re-election.
So France elects a younger version of Hollande instead?
Once again I write these words: This ends the myth that the French are more sophisticated or intellectually cultivated than everyone else.
They couldn’t even see through Macron!
Anyone think Macron will be promoting peace? Or even “first do no harm” isolationism?
Le Pen might…if the military-industrial-financial-media-cultural complex doesn’t hound her with accusations of being a Russian spy like they did with Trump. Maybe she won’t even bomb Syria to get some breathing room from the fake leftist hordes in pussy hats.
Or maybe not, but Le Pen is, like Trump, the hope candidate in the French election because a vote for Macron is a vote for your own unemployment. Or your wife’s. Or your children’s.
One thing is sure: If they elect Macron the whole country will be crying in 6 months, just as France was with Hollande.
It’s simply staggering that he’s expected to win at a huge 65%-35% margin. Austerity has never worked anywhere, ever – even the IMF now admits that, only after decades of ruined lives – and yet the French are going to elect a guy who will enact 20% more austerity measures that Francois Hollande.
Trump and Le Pen are totally different
Let’s admit it – Trump is hilarious…by presidential standards.
His tweets, his self-importance, his shilling for Trump merchandise while meeting with the president of China – he’s what we’d all like to be if we had no conscience or sense of responsibility.
In France we call this person: Gerard Depardieu. Seriously! The French talk about how they secretly would love to be this fat, vineyard-owning glutton who shoots his mouth off however he wants – the guy got a Russian passport from Putin, after all!
But it’s simply not accurate to say that Trump and Le Pen are the same just because they both represent the White Trash Revolution sweeping the West.
Trump is hilarious and entertaining (and thousands of kilometers from where I live), yes, but hate for him is new: Le Pen and her family have been hated for decades.
The Le Pens have spent decades insulting Muslims, Roma, minorities – French people – and that simply cannot be erased.
French people repeatedly tell me: “Ramin, you are new here – you’ve only been here 8 years – you don’t understand the National Front.”
It’s possible, but I respond: Everybody I meet views the National Front in some sort of time warp. Only the cynics claim politics never changes: look closely and you see that the situation is different from 1980, or 2002, or 2007, etc. And they cannot see that five years of austerity will do far more collective damage than taking a risk on Le Pen.
Worse, they can’t understand that nearly all French parties are racist: Fillon wrote a book titled “Conquering Islamic Totalitarianism”; Melenchon is rabidly secular; the Socialists cracked down on the Roma worse than Sarkozy. Only the Communists got the brotherly love in France: Our 2 candidates only got 1.8% combined, and that is your fault and not ours.
Understand this well: Very few people are “happy” about Macron tonight. Think about it: 4 candidates all won nearly 20% of the vote – that’s unheard of! Macron eked out a miniscule victory – this is no sweeping mandate whatsoever.
And listen to me now and believe me later: This is not a “seismic shift” in French politics. Yes, the Gaullists didn’t advance for the first time ever, and the other mainstream party is absent too, but Macron has no party: he will necessarily staff his cabinet with the same old Socialists and Républicains; his neophyte party will necessarily make a coalition government with them in Parliament.
Macron is simply an Obama-style brand shift by the Empire. Like Obama he will be a smooth-faced handmaiden for Clintonian globalization. Nothing will change if Macron is elected.
However, I can report to you that this current of National Front fear/resentment/myopia is too strong for me to think that Le Pen will win: I have met so many people from across all boundaries who simply cannot, will not, ever vote for any Le Pen. Their dead ancestors practically forbid it.
Nobody can say the same about Trump.
So I am not hopeful that Le Pen will go the way of Brexit and Trump.
I write this while waiting to do interviews #9 and #10 on Round 1 Election Day for Press TV – maybe I’m not thinking clearly?
The worst has been seeing my grinning colleagues on France’s major media stations – they are thrilled to pieces. Of course, they’re on the wrong side of most of the issues. I’ll give them some credit: The #1 channel in France – TF1 – interviewed me as part of a piece about the view of foreign journalists and had the sense to make the lead quote, LOL. I coulda done it in French – they didn’t ask!
I have been repeatedly proven wrong about Macron
I was hoping the fawning, brain-dead, hugely pro-Macron French media would be wrong about “the Roths-churian candidate”, but it seems I was.
I never took him seriously because he’s such a seriously flawed candidate: 39 years old, Rothschild banker, Macron Law author who sparked 4-months of strikes and protests in 2016, 64-year old wife, heir to Hollande-ism, 7 step-grandkids, selling off industrial jewel Alstom to the Americans which only profited shareholders and not citizens, etc. and etc.
The guy is like Teflon! Nothing stuck! And why? He said nothing! He didn’t unveil his 60 billion in euros in austerity cuts (10 billion more than Hollande) until early March!
Robbers never tell you they are stealing, after all. But, beyond just the economy, Macron was as vague as possible – and it worked!
Well, now it’s up to Le Pen to attack him mercilessly for the great sins of…his record. Everybody should.
But instead it is Le Pen who will be attacked mercilessly and by everybody under the French sun. And let’s be honest – she is no saint, and her sins are not just bad TV and gaudy real estate.
In fact, she’s a terrible candidate, period. She’s useful to spark debate, but she’s no winner. Who really wants her to win? This all makes her a loser on May 7, most likely – that’s what Trump would say, and he can say that: he won.
The National Front is fighting decades of correctly-earned ill-will. There is undoubtedly tremendous – just tremendous – dissatisfaction in France, but how is Le Pen going turn the battleship around to take office?
I think I can fairly write that nobody is happy tonight, but Macron will provide an uplift when he likely wins. He will: it’s human nature – he has youth on his side. I suppose he’s an Adonis when you stand him next to hated hobbits like Hollande.
People will look at Macron and say: “it’s a fresh start”. They’ll lie to themselves – human nature.
The fools – they’ll be crying in 6 months again. And I hate to write that – I’m a fool too. But I’ll be a fool for the 3% chance that Le Pen could turn out to be a real statesman instead of just a blonde Mussolini. I repeat: austerity has never worked anywhere – just ask the IMF.
Hell, I’m a fool for democracy! Give the people a chance to simply VOTE on a Frexit! How can the EU be “democratic” if we are scared of democracy?
Waitaminut – I’m really losing my head here, eh? I’m forgetting the damned facts, the damned platforms, no matter how much Macron tried to hide his!
A referendum on Frexit, leaving NATO, possibly dropping the euro, finally ending austerity…what on earth is Macron offering that is even close to that?!?!?!?!?!
Macron is economically as far-right as Marine Le Pen is on the far-right on the cultural spectrum! Do you have to be a Communist like me to even THINK about an economic spectrum actually existing anymore?!
Dammit, it’s not over! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?! Heck no! We have 2 weeks of serious debate to make! We can quit when it’s over, not before!
I just talked myself into having faith in Le Pen again!!!!!!!!!!
Sure it was borne out of desperation, but it’s founded on facts.
Now we just have to let France know that.
Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. His work has appeared in various journals, magazines and websites, as well as on radio and television.
[ Ed. note – Marine Le Pen, who wants to steer France out of the EU, and Emmanuel Macron, the pro-EU candidate, will face off against each other in the May 7 runoff election in France.
Both have emerged as top vote-getters in today’s election. According to the New York Times, Le Pen, with 34 percent of the votes counted, is the official front-runner, having garnered 24.6 percent of the vote, compared to 21.9 percent for Macron. The BBC, on the other hand, while still naming Le Pen in first place, is saying the tallies were much closer–at 23.5 percent and 23 percent respectively.
“What is at stake in this election is a referendum for or against lawless globalization,” Le Pen said to the enthusiastic cheers of her supporters after claiming victory. “Either you choose in favor of a total lack of rules, without borders, with unlawful competition, the free circulation of terrorists, or you make the choice of a France that protects. This is truly what is at stake. It is the survival of France.”
Macron, too, spoke to a crowd of supporters–many of them waving both the French flag and the flag of the EU.
“The two political parties that have governed France for years have been discarded,” he said. “The deep … feeling which has led our people to love our country and overcome its divisions is spectacular. You have shown that the hope of our country was not a dream but a relentless and benevolent will.”
Below is an article actually published a couple of days ago, but it gives some insights into French politics and why today’s election may have turned out the way it did. ]
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
The 2017 French Presidential election marks a profound change in European political alignments. There is an ongoing shift from the traditional left-right rivalry to opposition between globalization, in the form of the European Union (EU), and national sovereignty.
Standard media treatment sticks to a simple left-right dualism: “racist” rejection of immigrants is the main issue and that what matters most is to “stop Marine Le Pen!” Going from there to here is like walking through Alice’s looking glass. Almost everything is turned around.
On this side of the glass, the left has turned into the right and part of the right is turning into the left.
Fifty years ago, it was “the left” whose most ardent cause was passionate support for Third World national liberation struggles. The left’s heroes were Ahmed Ben Bella, Sukarno, Amilcar Cabral, Patrice Lumumba, and above all Ho Chi Minh. What were these leaders fighting for? They were fighting to liberate their countries from Western imperialism. They were fighting for independence, for the right to determine their own way of life, preserve their own customs, decide their own future. They were fighting for national sovereignty, and the left supported that struggle.
Today, it is all turned around. “Sovereignty” has become a bad word in the mainstream left.
National sovereignty is an essentially defensive concept. It is about staying home and minding one’s own business. It is the opposite of the aggressive nationalism that inspired fascist Italy and Nazi Germany to conquer other countries, depriving them of their national sovereignty.
The confusion is due to the fact that most of what calls itself “the left” in the West has been totally won over to the current form of imperialism – aka “globalization”. It is an imperialism of a new type, centered on the use of military force and “soft” power to enable transnational finance to penetrate every corner of the earth and thus to reshape all societies in the endless quest for profitable return on capital investment. The left has been won over to this new imperialism because it advances under the banner of “human rights” and “antiracism” – abstractions which a whole generation has been indoctrinated to consider the central, if not the only, political issues of our times.
The fact that “sovereignism” is growing in Europe is interpreted by mainstream globalist media as proof that “Europe is moving to the right”– no doubt because Europeans are “racist”. This interpretation is biased and dangerous. People in more and more European nations are calling for national sovereignty precisely because they have lost it. They lost it to the European Union, and they want it back.
That is why the British voted to leave the European Union. Not because they are “racist”, but primarily because they cherish their historic tradition of self-rule.
The Socialist Party shipwreck
As his five-year presidency drew to its ignominious end, François Hollande was obliged by his drastic unpopularity to let his Parti Socialiste (PS) choose its 2017 presidential candidate by primary. In a surprising upset, the Socialist government’s natural candidate, prime minister Manuel Valls, lost to Benoit Hamon, an obscure member of the PS left wing who refused to vote for the unpopular, neo-liberal, anti-labor laws designed by Hollande’s economic advisor, Emmanuel Macron.
To escape from the unpopularity of the PS, Macron formed his own movement, “En Marche!” One after another, Valls, Hollande and other prominent PS leaders are tiptoeing away, leaving Hamon at the helm of the sinking ship. As Hamon justifiably protests against their betrayal, the party bigwigs pledge their support to Emmanuel Macron.
Macron ostentatiously hesitates to welcome his shopworn converts into the fold, fearing that their conversion makes it too obvious that his “En Marche!” is a clone of the right wing of the PS, on the way to becoming the French subsidiary of the U.S. Democratic Party in its Clintonian form. Macron proclaims that he is neither left nor right, as discredited politicians from both left and right jump on his bandwagon, to his embarrassment.
Hamon himself appears to be unaware that the basic cause of the Socialist Party’s shipwreck is its incompatible devotion to two contrary principles: traditional social democracy, and the European Union (EU). Macron, Hollande and their fellow turncoats at least have made their choice: the European Union.
The Twilight of the Traditional Right
The great advantage of Republican candidate François Fillon is that his policies are clear. Unlike Hollande, who tried to disguise his neoliberal policies as something else, and based his claim to be on the left on “societal” issues (gay marriage), Fillon is an unabashed conservative. His policies are designed to reduce the huge national debt. Whereas previous governments (including his own, when he was President Sarkozy’s Prime Minister) beat around the bush, Fillon won the Republican nomination by a program of sharp cutbacks in government spending. Fillon claims that his austerity measures will lead French capitalists to invest in France and thus save the country’s economy from being completely taken over by foreign corporations, American retirement funds and Qatar. This is highly doubtful, as there is nothing under EU rules to encourage French investors to invest in France rather than somewhere else.
Fillon departs from EU orthodoxy, however, by proposing a more independent foreign policy, notably by ending the “absurd” sanctions against Russian. He is more concerned about the fate of Middle East Christians than about overthrowing Assad.
The upshot is that Fillon’s coherent pro-capitalist policy is not exactly what the dominant globalizing elite prefers. The “center left” is their clear political choice since Tony Blair and Bill Clinton revised the agendas of their respective parties. The center left emphasis on human rights (especially in faraway countries targeted for regime change) and ethnic diversity at home fits the long-term globalist aims of erasing national borders, to allow unrestricted free movement of capital. Traditional patriotic conservatism, represented by Fillon, does not altogether correspond to the international adventurism of globalization.
The Schizophrenic Left
For a generation, the French left has made “the construction of Europe” the center of its world view. In the early 1980s, faced with opposition from what was then the European Community, French President François Mitterrand abandoned the socializing program on which he been elected. Mitterrand nursed the hope that France would politically dominate a united Europe, but the unification of Germany changed all that. So did EU expansion to Eastern Central nations within the German sphere of influence. Economic policy is now made in Germany.
As the traditional left goal of economic equality was abandoned, it was superseded by emphatic allegiance to “human rights”, which is now taught in school as a veritable religion. The vague notion of human rights was somehow associated with the “free movement” of everything and everybody. Indeed the official EU dogma is protection of “free movement”: free movement of goods, people, labor and (last but certainly not least) capital. These “four freedoms” in practice transform the nation from a political society into a financial market, an investment opportunity, run by a bureaucracy of supposed experts. In this way, the European Union has become the vanguard experiment in transforming the world into a single capitalist market.
The French left bought heavily into this ideal, partly because it deceptively echoed the old leftist ideal of “internationalism” (whereas capital has always been incomparably more “international” than workers), and partly due to the simplistic idea that “nationalism” is the sole cause of wars. More fundamental and complex causes of war are ignored.
For a long time, the left has complained about job loss, declining living standards, delocalization or closure of profitable industries, without recognizing that these unpopular results are caused by EU requirements. EU directives and regulations increasingly undermine the French model of redistribution through public services, and are now threatening to wipe them out altogether – either because “the government is bankrupt” or because of EU competition rules prohibit countries from taking measures to preserve their key industries or their agriculture. Rather than face reality, the left’s reaction has mostly been to repeat its worn-out demand for an impossible “Social Europe”.
Yet the dream of “social Europe” received what amounted to a fatal blow ten years ago. In 2005, a referendum was called to allow the French to approve a Constitution for united Europe. This led to an extraordinary popular discussion, with countless meetings of citizens examining every aspect of this lengthy document. Unlike normal constitutions, this document froze the member States in a single monetarist economic policy, with no possibility of change.
On May 29, 2005, French voters rejected the treaty by 55% to 45%.
What seemed to be a great victory for responsible democracy turned into its major failure. Essentially the same document, renamed the Lisbon Treaty, was ratified in December 2007, without a referendum. Global governance had put the people in their place. This produced widespread disillusion with politics as millions concluded that their votes didn’t matter, that politicians paid no attention to the will of the people.
Even so, Socialist politicians continued to pledge undying allegiance to the EU, always with the prospect that “Social Europe” might somehow be possible.
Meanwhile, it has become more and more obvious that EU monetarist policy based on the common currency, the euro, creates neither growth nor jobs as promised but destroys both. Unable to control its own currency, obliged to borrow from private banks, and to pay them interest, France is more and more in debt, its industry is disappearing and its farmers are committing suicide, on the average of one every other day. The left has ended up in an impossible position: unswervingly loyal to the EU while calling for policies that are impossible under EU rules governing competition, free movement, deregulation, budgetary restraints, and countless other regulations produced by an opaque bureaucracy and ratified by a virtually powerless European Parliament, all under the influence of an army of lobbyists.
Benoit Hamon remains firmly stuck on the horns of the left’s fatal dilemma: determination to be “socialist”, or rather, social democratic, and passionate loyalty to “Europe”. While insisting on social policies that cannot possibly be carried out with the euro as currency and according to EU rules, Hamon still proclaims loyalty to “Europe”. He parrots the EU’s made-in-Washington foreign policy, demanding that “Assad must go” and ranting against Putin and Russia.
Jean-Luc Mélenchon Grasps the Nettle
Not only is the drab, conformist Hamon abandoned by his party heavies, he is totally upstaged on the left by the flamboyant Jean-Luc Mélenchon, a maverick ready to break the rules. After years as a PS loyalist, Mélenchon broke away in 2005 to oppose the Constitutional Treaty, gaining prominence as a fiery orator. In 2007, he left the Socialist Party and founded the Parti de Gauche (Left Party). Allied with the much weakened Communist Party, he came in fourth in the first round of the 2012 Presidential election with 11% of the vote. This time he is running for President with his own new movement, La France Insoumise, which can be translated in a number of ways, including “the France that does not submit”.
Submit to what? Mainly, to the euro and to the antisocial, neoliberal policies of the European Union that are ruining France.
French flags and la Marseillaise have replaced the Internationale at Mélenchon rallies. “The Europe of our dreams is dead,” he acknowledges, vowing to “end the nightmare of dictatorship by banks and finance”.
Mélenchon calls for outright disobedience by violating EU treaties that are harmful to France. That is his Plan A. His Plan B is to leave the EU, in case Plan A fails to convince Germany (the current boss) and the others to agree to change the treaties. But at best, Plan B is an empty threat to strengthen his hand in theoretical negotiations. France is such a crucial member, he maintains, that a French threat to leave should be enough to force changes.
Threatening to leave the EU is just part of Mélenchon’s vast and complicated program which includes calling a national convention to draft a constitution for France’s “sixth Republic” as well as major ecological innovation. Completely changing both France and the European Union at the same time would require the nation to be in a revolutionary effervescence that is by no means visible. It would also require a unanimity among the EU’s 28 member States that is simply impossible.
But Mélenchon is canny enough to have recognized the basic problem: the enemy of jobs, prosperity and public services is the European Union. Mélenchon is by far the candidate that generates the most excitement. He has rapidly outdistanced Hamon and draws huge enthusiastic crowds to his rallies. His progress has changed the shape of the race: at this moment, he has become one of four front-runners who might get past the first round vote on April 23 into the finals on May 7: Le Pen, Macron, Fillon and himself.
The Opposites are (almost) the Same
A most remarkable feature of this campaign is great similarity between the two candidates said to represent “the far left”, Mélenchon, and “the far right”, Marine Le Pen. Both speak of leaving the euro. Both vow to negotiate with the EU to get better treaty terms for France. Both advocate social policies to benefit workers and low income people. Both want to normalize relations with Russia. Both want to leave NATO, or at least its military command. Both defend national sovereignty, and can thus be described as “sovereignists”.
The only big difference between them is on immigration, an issue that arouses so much emotion that it is hard to discuss sensibly. Those who oppose immigration are accused of “fascism”, those who favor immigration are accused of wanting to destroy the nation’s identity by flooding it with inassimilable foreigners.
In a country suffering from unemployment, without jobs or housing to accommodate mass immigration, and under the ongoing threat of Islamist terror attacks, the issue cannot be reasonably reduced to “racism” – unless Islamic terrorists constitute a “race”, for which there is no evidence. Le Pen insists that all French citizens deserve equal treatment regardless of their origins, race or religion. She is certain to get considerable support from recently nationalized immigrants, just as she now gets a majority of working class votes. If this is “fascism”, it has changed a lot in the past seventy years.
What is significant is that despite their differences, the two most charismatic candidates both speak of restoring national sovereignty. Both evoke the possibility of leaving the European Union, although in rather uncertain terms.
The globalist media are already preparing to blame the eventual election of a “sovereignist” candidate on Vladimir Putin. Public opinion in the West is being prepared for massive protests to break out against an undesired winner, and the “antifa” militants are ready to wreak havoc in the streets. Some people who like Marine Le Pen are afraid of voting for her, fearing the “color revolution” sure to be mounted against her. Mélenchon and even Fillon might face similar problems.
As a taste of things to come, on April 20, the EU Observer published an article entitled “Russia-linked fake news floods French social media”. Based on something called Bakamo, one of the newly establishment “fact-check” outfits meant to steer readers away from unofficial opinion, the article accused Russian-influenced web sites of favoring Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, François Fillon, Francois Asselineau, and Philippe Poutou. (They forgot to mention one of the most “sovereignist” candidates, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, currently polling in sixth place.) Since a large majority of the eleven candidates, including three of the four front-runners, are strongly critical of the EU and of NATO and want to improve relations with Russia, it would seem that Putin wouldn’t have to make a great effort to get a more friendly French government next time around. On the other hand, the EU Observer article is only a small sample of blatant “interference in the French election” on the part of the globalists on behalf of their favorite, Emmanuel Macron, the most enthusiastic Europhile.
The Future of France
Among those listed as alleged Russian favorites, François Asselineau is by far the most thorough critic of the European Union. Systematically ignored by the media since he founded his anti-EU party, the Union Populaire Républicain (UPR), ten years ago, François Asselineau has thousands of ardent supporters who have plastered his poster all over the country. His tireless didactic speeches, reproduced on internet, have driven home several key points:
– there is no way to improve the EU from the inside, because any change would require unanimity among 27 member states who disagree on key issues.
– the only solution for France is to use Article 50 of the EU treaties to withdraw entirely, as the United Kingdom is currently doing.
– only by leaving the EU can France save its public services, its social benefits, its economy and its democracy.
– it is only by restoring its national sovereignty that genuine democratic life, with confrontation between a real “left” and “right”, can be possible.
– by leaving the EU, France, which has over 6,000 treaties with other countries, would not be isolated but would be joining the greater world.
Asselineau is a single issue candidate. He vows that as soon as elected, he would invoke Article 50 to leave the EU and immediately apply to Washington to withdraw from NATO. He emphasizes that none of the other critics of the EU propose such a clear exit within the rules.
Other candidates, including the more charismatic Mélenchon and Le Pen, echo some of Asselineau’s arguments. But they are not ready to go so far as to advocate a clear immediate break with the EU, if only because they realize that the French population, while increasingly critical of the euro and alienated from the “European dream”, is still fearful of actually leaving, due to dire warnings of disaster from the Europeists.
The first round campaign is an opportunity for Asselineau to present his ideas to a wider audience, preparing public opinion for a more coherent “Frexit” policy. By far the most fundamental emerging issue in this campaign is the conflict between the European Union and national sovereignty. It will probably not be settled in this election, but it won’t go away. This is the major issue of the future, because it determines whether any genuine political life is possible.