By now you’ve probably heard: politics in France has turned a very bizarre corner, for the mainline parties, and their candidates, hardly made an impression. Instead, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen are headed to a runoff election on May 7th. One poll that I saw had M. Macron winning with 23.9% of the votes, with Mm. Le Pen trailing closely with 21.4% of the votes. Fillon, Melenchon, Hamon came in at 19.9, 19.6, and 6.3% respectively.
Here’s the way it looks to the U.K.’s The Guardian:
Notably, neither Macron nor Le Pen together get a clear majority, but, interestingly enough, neither do the “mainline” candidates, who fell by the wayside. What this means in effect is that whether or not Macron or Le Pen win, they will have to govern either with each other, or by reaching out to those parties led in the last round of elections by Fillon, Melenchon & Co. And that will make governance difficult. As all of this has been going on, I’ve been receiving a steady trickle of emails from members of this website who live in France, who inform me that many of the same tricks we saw applied in the previous US election have also been rolled out in France: pro-Le Pen comments are censored on social media, pro-EU/globaloney articles are pushed, &c. In spite of this, Le Pen has advanced to round two: the mainline candidates did not.
The question is, why?
In doing a little research for this blog, I came across the following article from Global Research News(copy and paste in your browser:
This article is well worth pondering at length, but I want to draw attention to certain statements critical of the traditional right-left divide, and why French politics looks so peculiar now. Consider, first, the critique of the right:
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.
And now the left:
As the traditional left goal of economic equality was abandoned, it was superseded by emphatic allegiance to “human rights”, which is now taught in school as a veritable religion.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.
Add to this the following:
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.
And finally, this comment about Melenchon and Le Pen:
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.
So where’s my daily dose of speculation? A few months ago I predicted that even if Marine Le Pen does not win this bid for the French Presidency, the issues driving her and her party simply will not go away, especially if Mr. Globaloney continues to pursue the same policies with the same playbook, and to ignore the real issue.
That issue, I suspect, is much deeper than even Global Research understands, for the phenomenon is not political, it is cultural and civilizational, and it is, perhaps, not surprising at all that it should be France, and Britain (with the Brexit vote) where we see, if not the strongest opposition to Mr. Globaloney, then at least the most articulate and vocal, for those two nations are, to put it succinctly, the two oldest nation-states in the western world. They represent, so to speak, the core countries of modern western culture: Britain spread Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence and associated cultural institutions throughout the world via the British Empire. In doing so, it also put an end to many practices we would now consider barbaric. And yes, I realize in stating that I have taken a very unpopular view. (If you want to hear the politically correct view, attend an American university.) France, similarly, spread French law and jurisprudence and institutions throughout Europe during the Napoleonic era, which gave rise to the national aspirations of Italy and Germany and helped pave the way for their national unifications in the 19th century.
Why is this distinction between politics and culture important? It’s very simple: if what is driving the Trump train, or the Brexit vote, or, now, the upheavals in French politics, is cultural and not political, then the phenomenon is not going to go away very quickly, nor very quietly, no matter what the politicians do or do not do.
The first politician in the West that truly understands this, and can articulate the cultural vision and aspect of the problem, wins. Why? Because Mr. Globaloney has no real innate sense of culture. He has to buy it, but does not understand it, nor view himself as belonging to any cultural tradition(except a modern one no older than a century or century and a half). He endows modernist ugliness and promotes it at every turn (think David Rockefailure here, folks, and his “taste” in modern “art”); and people are turning from ugliness.
As for France, this will, indeed, be an election to watch, and I confess some personal emotional involvement; my paternal grandmother was French; I have my great-grandfather’s (her father’s) French prayer book; French composers – Saint-Saens, Rameau, Couperin, and so on – and musicians have enriched my personal life; when I studied organ, I played an edition of J.S. Bach’s organ music edited and prepared by the grand master of French organists (Charles-Marie Widor), and so on. So I watch what goes on there with great personal feeling, because I do not want France to become something one can only read about in history books, another victim of Mr. Globaloney’s hatred of and war on all things of beauty belonging to western culture and tradition.
See you on the flip side..