Monday, 24 March 2014

Following Ukraine, French far right also rises

Moving Right - France Journeyman Pictures

While the Pravy Sektor is attempting to transform itself from a paramilitary group into Ukraine's newest political party, France is experiencing a rise of support for Front Nationale at the local level in the country. Local politicians from Front Nationale have won several municipal elections even bumping socialists to third place in Marseilles, one of France's cosmopolitan cities to home to a multiethnic residents formed by immigration. The French media is calling the wins historic on multiple levels. The FN first came to prominence in Franc in 1982 under Jean Marie Le Pen, populist politician who rallied the more right wing and nationalistic French around a political platform of stricter immigration policies, pioneered Euroscepticism in French politics, has promoted nationalism and protectionist economic policy. Le Pen and his party soon influenced mainstream French politics throughout the 1980s as debates about immigration, EU integration and France's future as a international power continued to unfold. The FN were rising around the same time Ronald Reagan and Republican Party alongside Margaret Thatcher, UK's Conservatives and Tories were enjoying popular support in their respective countries. Prior to the Front Nationale, Le Pen worked on French nationalist politician campaigns Jean-Louis Tixier-Vignancour for the 1965 French Presidential election. Charles De Gualle, the popular and decorated World War 2 hero of Free French Army ended up winning the elections. However, it served as a launching point for Le Pen's political ambitions. Le Pen would run for French presidency nearly five times before ending his quest in the 1990s. French right wing has continuously played a prominent rule in French political life from Dreyfus Affair to the French government's quest to retain its position as a power force in the world.

Rise of the National Front or Front Nationale

The origins and popularity of the FN are explored

The Front Nationale has shifted its policies and views over the decades from stricter immigration to anti-immigrant and xenophobic policies as French youth and adults struggle with unemployment and deal with the blowback from the global economic recession. Like the United States or the PIGS, the French economy hasn't experience new growth or strengthening of industries that are experiencing lay offs of factory, manufacturing and automotive workers. The financial markets are hiccuping in the same manner as Wall Street. Jean Marie Le Pen's daughter Marine Le Pen has sparked regional to national support and interest for the FN. Marine Le Pen, the current leader and heir to the party has tried to reinvent the party as the party that not only fights for the people but is stronger in terms of carrying out immigration policy and reviving the economy compared to their socialist and liberal counterparts. A zero tolerant immigration policy, racist rants and coded language aimed at blaming Roma people (or gypsies), the European Union and French people of African and Arab descendant for France's economic woes, cracking welfare state system and rising crimes has won Front Nationale supporters among right wing, nationalistic and racist dissatisfied French. Local human rights organizations such as SOS Racisme have rightfully condemned the Front Nationale for its past and recent policies aimed at ostracizing Liberal and socialists and alienating if not scapegoating French people of immigrant background. As in Ukraine, the right wing have won allies with nationalists and frustrated citizens fed up with the government's policies. As its already been mentioned, European countries even in the European Union are seeing their popularity surge at the expense of some citizens.

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