Millions of people across the world will be relieved that the fascist Front National leader Marine Le Pen has been defeated in her bid to be elected President of France. UAF commends anti-racists and anti-fascists in France who worked tirelessly to ensure Le Pen’s defeat. Nevertheless, the projected 11 million votes Le Pen received, double that of her father’s 2002 score, is a massive cause for concern.
After getting through to the run off Le Pen temporarily stepped down as head of the Front National. This move was intended to promote her as more “presidential”. In truth it was a cynical attempt to distance herself from her party’s toxic image.
Nobody should be in any doubt that the FN is a fascist organisation. Marine Le Pen’s father Jean Marie founded the party and remains its honorary president. He has been convicted 6 times for racism and inciting racial hatred and described the Holocaust as a mere “detail” of history.
Marine Le Pen may have smoothed the rhetoric but she has carried on her father’s foul legacy. Racism and Islamophobia are at the heart of her political agenda. Le Pen recently denied that France’s Vichy government was responsible for the infamous “Vel d’Hiv round up” of tens of thousands of Jewish people and their deportation to Nazi death camps. Behind her sharp suits lurk a cadre of activists with serious links to neo Nazi squads.
Despite Le Pen’s ultimate defeat in this election, she remains confident of capturing the Elysee Palace in 2022. Her belief is that demoralisation with a Emmanuel Macron presidency will pave the way for her to triumph in 5 years time.
Le Pen’s success must act as a wake up call to the millions of French people who hate racism and fascism. The building of a united front to drive the Front National back is an urgent priority. This message must be taken out into every workplace, trade and student union and to community and faith groups.
Tens of thousands have marched against the Front National in the past. This must now be turned into a real movement against them. A movement that addresses the question of islamophobia and racism.
UAF offers anti-racists and anti-fascists in France our solidarity and support in this critical task.