France’s Front National brand detox is going nowhere

The party remains thoroughly toxic, right to the top.

France’s far-right Front National (FN) has been rising in the opinion polls of late – one showing that one in four French voters would back the party in next spring’s European elections.

As part of her bid to capitalise on disillusionment with socialist President Francois Hollande’s broken promises to reverse austerity and deliver jobs and growth, FN leader Marine Le Pen has been trying hard to reposition the party, away from racism and Holocaust-denial into the political mainstream. She has even threatened to sue anyone using the term ‘extreme right’.

Yet in less than one month three FN candidates for next March’s local elections have quit the party.

“The defections demonstrate the idea that behind the official discourse, the party has not changed since Marine Le Pen took the reins in January 2011,” according to French broadcaster Europe 1.

Nadia Portheault, a 26-year-old mother from an Algerian background and head of the party’s list in Saint-Alban, in the Haute-Garonne department in the south west, got the ball rolling on November 5 after hearing one party militant say: “You and your children are good for the oven… “.

Portheault said that the party was plagued with “racism and homophobia” and that “neo-Nazis” are among its members.

She originally wanted to run to become mayor of Saint-Alban, near Toulouse, in south-west France, using her maiden name of Djelida. But FN executives said such an Arab name would be a “disability”, with one saying that immigrants from North Africa might end up in the Nazi gas chambers, like French Jews during the war.

Portheault and her husband, Thierry, said the brother of one activist boasted about his Swastika tattoo and hated “Arabs and gays”.

Now other candidates have slammed the door on the party, after seeing it from the inside.

Arnaud Clere, a militant in the country’s main right-wing party, UMP, in the Somme, announced in May 2013 his decision to ally with the FN for municipal elections in commune of Gamaches. Excluded from the UMP, he decided to join the small party Sovereignty Freedom and Independence which has been allied with the Front National since 2012. But six months later, the defector is having serious regrets.

“I made ​​the mistake to ally myself with a sectarian, anti-republican, dictatorial party,” he said.

The second defector, Anna Rosso-Roig who was previously with the radical Left Front, announced Monday morning she was withdrawing his candidacy from the Marseille electoral list, as she not able to adhere to its “too radical political line”.

During the 2012 legislative elections, the mother of two children confided that she “have been seduced by Marine Le Pen”, who she viewed then as “much more moderate than her father”, the founder of the party, Jean-Marie.

Arnaud Clere is now clear he’d been taken in too. He “made ​​a mistake to think that the FN was a party one could frequent.” Clere adds: “When you see Marine Le Pen on television, you cannot imagine what [the party] looks like behind the scenes.”

Marine Le Pen’s strategy of de-toxifying the party is a “sham”, Europe 1 says. ‘Behind the controlled and policed ​​speeches of Marine Le Pen, is ​​racism and xenophobia, which is common in local meetings.’

Arnaud Cléré recounts a meeting last month with the head of the party’s list in Henin- Beaumont, where he saw swastikas tattooed on the arms of two participants.

“When I listened to Marine Le Pen, I thought this kind of character did not exist in the National Front but unfortunately I have seen it with my own eyes,” he says. Anna Rosso -Roig recounts the humour of the Marseille’s candidate Stephane Ravier, who reportedly described rape as “love relationship that one of the two parties wishes. The other party could make an effort.”

In a book published in 2013, Bienvenue au Front-Journal d’une infiltrée, (Welcome to Front), journalist Claire Checcaglini, who infiltrated the party for several months, confided: “I found a lot of racist people who were relaxed about their racism.”

One FN electoral candidate, who too openly displayed the movement’s abhorrent politics when he declared of black justice minister Christiane Taubira that he would “rather see her in the trees than in the government” was suspended.

But Marine Le Pen hasn’t been trying that hard to hide the true nature of the party. Only last month she caused outrage with islamophobic comments in connection with the release of four French hostages held by  al-Qaida for 37 months in Niger. A faux pas? No, just more evidence that the party remains thoroughly toxic, right to the top.

As you’re here, we have something to ask you. What we do here to deliver real news is more important than ever. But there’s a problem: we need readers like you to chip in to help us survive. We deliver progressive, independent media, that challenges the right’s hateful rhetoric. Together we can find the stories that get lost.

We’re not bankrolled by billionaire donors, but rely on readers chipping in whatever they can afford to protect our independence. What we do isn’t free, and we run on a shoestring. Can you help by chipping in as little as £1 a week to help us survive? Whatever you can donate, we’re so grateful - and we will ensure your money goes as far as possible to deliver hard-hitting news.

24 Responses to “France’s Front National brand detox is going nowhere”

  1. swatnan

    The facists are losing and in retreat right across Europe.

  2. Archibald_Cunningham

    And you are basing this on….? The Marxist regimes of Europe are getting more and more desperate because people are beginning to see them for what they are: greedy, corrupt, treasonous ideologues whose endgame is the complete destruction of all unique tradition, culture, religion, bloodlines, and national identities in Europe. That’s why we are seeing more and more articles like this, and why patriotic parties like the FN are surging everywhere.

  3. Skiltz1

    Regarding Ms. Clere, “methinks the lady doth protest too much!” Obviously party functions of every single political party are raucous, mostly uncontrolled events. Many FN party members come from the rural regions of France and there is also a great deal of anger and resentment at decades of repressive politically correct speech and behavior which began with the New Left (the so-called 68’ers). French SP functions, just like the Democrats and Republican party functions were notorious for cocaine and sex in the hotel rooms. The political Right in France is growing strong and luminous, attracting talent from all over France. Nothing will stop the juggernaut and when the FN comes to power in a few years – the good news is – France will look the nation we all remember it – beautiful, proud and free of Islam and the muslim bacillus that is poisoning Europe.

  4. Doug Smith

    “the muslim bacillus that is poisoning Europe.”

    The Final Solution, again.

  5. Doug Smith

    As a matter of interest, which European country has a Marxist government?

  6. TM

    Perhaps there is too much ideology everywhere and not enough pragmatism and reality. I shudder at the thought of being ruled by the extreme Right or the extreme Left as well. Often people who are versed in political dogma just don’t seem to have both feet in the real world. Extremists are usually loonies and the people we all avoid in the pub and elsewhere. Perhaps that’s why they form parties with like minded people?!

  7. TM

    I don’t know whether they are. It seems if I am honest that extremism in all forms is slowly growing everywhere again. That is what is worrying me. The moderate voices are dismissed and ignored for political gain, but it is a dangerous game that governments and parties play when the moderates are silenced. Just look at history to see that. No one spouting hatred or provoking violent responses should be tolerated.

  8. Skiltz1

    No, the initial solution. Start with a gentle cleansing, then a harsher social scrubbing. The Left must be ideologically puzzled these days. From the First International on, the Left was militantly atheist – and today it has become the Sultan’s eunuchs parading with the most virulent enemy of Marxism in the world – Islam. The islamists have wiped out every single Communist movement – in Indonesian where the PKI was the third largest CP in the world muslims butchered over half a million communists, in Iran the Left was totally decimated by the muslims. They are the most reactionary force on the planet and the Left is doing a love waltz with them. For shame!

  9. Doug Smith

    Your analysis is lacking subtlety.

    Within the Labour Party it is the Left that opposed intervention in Syria – the Right wanted to support Al Qaeda and other Islamist fundamentalists against Assad’s secular regime.

    It was also broadly the Left within Labour who opposed the Iraq war. Labour’s Right were unthinkingly gung-ho and backed policies that instigated increased terrorism and produced disastrous instability.

    Even today Labour’s Right shamefully fail to recognise Blair’s catastrophic performance on the world stage – whereas most on the Left would probably want him banged-up for war crimes.

  10. swatnan

    I agree; Its a paradox: That there should be zero tolerance to those spouting hatred and intolerance. But I’m willing to live with it: free speech, but only within decent limits.

  11. TM

    Good point you made. The great problem for a democracy with free speech and freedom theoretically at least as the cornerstones of that democracy is that everyone should be heard, no matter how odious, offensive or provocative their point of view, or indeed whether it just disagrees completely with our point of view. The reality is that often the voices that are heard are those that agree with those in power or influence, usually Right of centre views, or the extremists who don’t care what others think but will spout whatever they like, aka extreme Islamic stuff or BNP and EDL stuff. The moderates on all sides are literally drowned out. And so to be heard, some of the moderates become extreme. It is a serious problem for democracy, and the heart of the matter is that in general most voices outside of a narrow band of people or a narrow band of acceptable views, are just not heard anywhere accept on the Internet like here.

  12. Skiltz1

    You have the temerity to call the Labour Party – left ?! Like the Democrats in America, they are merely one of the formal political expressions of capitalism in Britain – posturing as leftists. As the British used to say (when genuine, authentic leftists, i.e. Marxist-Leninists still existed in that country) the Labour Party talk radical when they are OUT of power. The limp-wristed left in America do the same thing – they shout revolutionary slogans and then when it comes time for the elections they cave in to the Democratic Party saying that they are the lesser of two evils. This constant capitulation is the reason nobody trusts or respects the left any longer – and why anyone supporting or working with groups like UAF are working with a useless cult – they might as well join Scientology!

  13. Doug Smith

    “This constant capitulation is the reason nobody trusts or respects the left any longer”

    There’s some truth in that.

    Labour and Tory both end up doing the same thing when in government. Both are opinion poll led and both lack the political imagination to set the agenda. Whichever you vote for, same result.

  14. Skiltz1

    Look at what the institutional parties (Conservatives, Labour, Lib/Dem) – all of them – did to the traditional working classes in Britain. They eliminated industry in the very birthplace of the industrial revolution and abandoned their own working classes to the unemployment line, council housing and perpetual immiseration. At the same time, they flooded the country with immigrants from the worst cultures on the planet – muslims from Pakistan, North Africa, Saudia Arabia, etc. They have displaced their own people and provided free social benefits to backward third world rats. The leadership of these parties should be tried for treason.

  15. Archibald_Cunningham

    How about addressing what my comment was really about, instead of playing semantics? It’s true that no European governments are economically Marxist, but they are nearly all socially/culturally Marxist. Are you trying to say that the EU, and by extension most of Europe, is NOT currently run by far-left ideologues?

  16. TM

    Yes, the Working classes have been abandoned by all the mainstream parties. And the Tory Party is a vehicle for the wealthy and the Upper Middle class, and the Labour Party is a vehicle for the wine bar socialists. All of them in a cosy bubble down in London. But bubbles eventually burst.

  17. Two Bob

    You do not speak for the working class.

  18. Two Bob

    They are congregating in Brussels. Barroso being one of them.

  19. Sun

    I’m left wing. But I refuse to be with Left wing traitors. Vivi La France. France for the French!

  20. joames

    ‘Nowhere’ except up in the polls.

  21. joames

    If by ‘retreat’ you mean gaining seats, votes and support.

  22. joames

    All governments of EU have parties with strong Marxist tendencies.

  23. Janis Brown

    Hi, I read your blog. I really like your views about toxin. I appreciate your work. I will recommend a very good site to all who wants the non-invasive and natural way to detox the body. It provides the natural therapy for your body.
    All interested can visit here for excellent detox foot patches therapy.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.