Le Pen, cats and the far right | Press

Whether Marine Le Pen wins or loses on Sunday, the far-right emerges victorious from the ended French presidential campaign. It’s more normal than ever. So much so that many are reluctant to spade a spade and call the far right the far right.

Released on April 24

“We could call him a kitty, but he’s still a cat,” said David Morin, a professor at Sherbrooke University’s School of Applied Politics and an expert on the far-right, quoting a joke from one of his students.

From the very beginning, when we think of the “far right” today, we think of skinheads, neo-Nazis and other neo-fascists. While an overused image might seem a priori far from that of a Marine Le Pen, she’s all smiling in a trouser suit that’s fluffy in front of a kitten.

But by reserving the far-right label for those who wear traditional clothing, we ignore the emergence of a new far-right alongside it in recent years, says Professor Morin.

“This new far-right is in a suit and tie. They are young dynamic managers. They are little craftsmen. It is the alternative media and sometimes educated people who are trying to reconstruct the far right more politically. They did this by, for example, trying to replace terms like “race” with terms like “culture”. »

They defend themselves very well from saying that a superior “race” will exist. Rather, they say that one culture is superior to another and that some cultures are incompatible with French civilization, which puts them at risk of “savageness.” I’m not racist, come on. I’m just from a higher civilized culture…

All of this is part of the rise of the new alternative right born with the West, especially in the United States.bottom rightThis is precisely what it seeks to break free from, to rebuild upon something else, the lead alum that weighs on the image we have of the usual far-right neo-Nazi.

David Morin, professor at Sherbrooke University’s School of Applied Politics

David Morin observes that Marine Le Pen uses the same tactics in his demonization work. He tried to muddy the waters with a strategy of “confusion”, a hallmark of the radical right, consisting of sending contradictory messages to avoid being associated with the far right.

The strategy worked extremely well. The National Front, founded by his father, Jean-Marie, under Marine Le Pen, wore brand new clothes. “Front” has become “gathering”. Marine Le Pen, the negative connotations associated with her father’s name was “The Marine”, a torturer, racist and notorious anti-Semite during the Algerian war. She presents the image of a smiling woman who loves people and cats in the media. She covers her dangerous ideas with a new vocabulary. The extreme right rejects the label.


Jean-Marie Le Pen, Marine’s father and predecessor of the National Front, is today the National Rally

While there is no academic consensus on what fits this label, it’s pretty clear to political scientist David Morin that the National Reunification program is a far-right one. This is also the result of daily newspapers. World examining the project. “A fundamentally right-wing program behind a softened image,” writes one.

David Morin sums it up in a more colorful way. “It may be a Diet Coke, but it’s still Coke on the ground…”

What is this drink made from?

“To take the classic definition of the far right, it is the idea of ​​a national community that is somewhat mythologized, besieged, attacked from within and from without. It is a community that needs to be protected from both outsiders and progressives inside. »

This is exactly what Le Pen advocates: the idea of ​​a struggle between nationalists who defend a country’s original “purity” and globalists who threaten it with foreign objects.

At the National Rally we draw attention to another characteristic, though not unique, element of the far right: a populist rhetoric against the public and the plundering elite. Add to that the idea of ​​a particular police state – Marine Le Pen wants to give a presumption of self-defense to French police officers, who are known to be more inclined to vote for the far right than the rest of the population. Or this project of “national choice” aimed at creating a two-stage political and social system in which those considered to be the “real” French people will have more rights than others. (reminiscent of the emblematic slogans of Jean-Marie Le Pen’s National Front – [« Un million de chômeurs, c’est un million d’immigrés de trop. La France et les Français d’abord »]).

In short, putting all these components together – and the list here is far from exhaustive – shows that the devil is in pretty good shape despite the demonization strategy, thank you.

In a more overt extremist and racist rhetoric, Éric Zemmour’s candidacy also served Marine Le Pen a great deal. “This allowed Le Pen to soften, rehumanize the far-right rhetoric a bit,” says David Morin.

For example, while Zemmour is shy about telling a young French woman from Senegal on a television set that he will not allow her to return to the country, Le Pen instead promises to look at the situation on a case-by-case basis. By comparing them, voters say to themselves: “He’s still less evil than Zemmour! »

As for those who voted for Zemmour in the first round, if the polls are correct, many will revert to the equally undrinkable version of Diet Coke. And whatever the outcome of the presidential election, unfortunately it all points to the drinker’s drink.

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