Le Pen, the cats and the far right | The press

Whether Marine Le Pen wins or loses on Sunday, the far right emerges victorious from the French presidential campaign that is over. It is more standardized than ever. So much so that many are reluctant to call a shovel and the far right the far right.

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“We can call him a cat, but he’s still a cat,” David Morin, a professor at the University of Sherbrooke’s School of Applied Politics and a far-right specialist, told me, citing the joke of one of his students. .

From the very beginning, when we talk about the “extreme right” today, we think of skinheads, neo-Nazis and other neo-fascists. A very exaggerated image that, a priori, may seem very far from that of a Marine Le Pen smiling in a dress of tender pants in front of a kitten.

But by reserving the far-right label for those who wear it in traditional clothing, we are unaware that a new far-right has emerged alongside it in recent decades, says Professor Morin.

“This new far right is wearing a suit and tie. They are dynamic young executives. They are little artisans. They are alternative media and sometimes also educated people who have tried to rebuild the far right in a more politically correct way. They did so, for example, by trying to replace terms like “race” with terms like “culture.” »

They defend themselves well from saying that there would be a superior “race.” Rather, they say that one culture is superior to another and that certain cultures are incompatible with French civilization, which carries the risk of “savagery.” I’m not racist, come on. I’m just from a higher civilized culture …

All this is part of the rise of the new alternative right, born mainly in the United States with thehigh rightwhich aims precisely to try to break free from the lead rule that weighed on the image we had of the usual far right, neo-Nazi, to rebuild on something else.

David Morin, Professor at the School of Applied Politics at the University of Sherbrooke

With her demonization business, Marine Le Pen has used the same tactics, observes David Morin. He tried to muddy the waters with a strategy of “confusionism”, symptomatic of the radical right, consisting of sending contradictory messages to avoid associating with the far right.

The strategy worked very well. Under Marine Le Pen, the National Front founded by her father Jean-Marie has put on new clothes. The “front” has become “gathering.” Marine Le Pen has become only a “navy”, eliminating the negative connotation associated with the name of her father, a torturer during the Algerian war, a racist and notorious anti-Semite. He presents to the media an image of a smiling woman, who loves people and cats. She covers her dangerous ideas with new vocabulary. She rejects the far-right label.


PHOTO JACKY NAEGELEN, REUTERS ARCHIVES

Jean-Marie Le Pen, father of Marine and his predecessor at the head of the National Front, today the National Rally

While there is no consensus in academia on what is included under this label, it is clear to political scientist David Morin that the National Rally program is a far-right program. This is also the conclusion reached by the newspaper The world examining your project. “A far-right program behind a smooth image,” writes one.

David Morin sums it up in more color. “It may be a dietary Coca-Cola, but it’s still Coca-Cola at the base …”

What is this drink made of?

“If we 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. A community that needs to be protected from both foreigners on the outside and progressives on the inside. »

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

We also observe in the National Concentration another characteristic element of the far right, although it is not exclusive to it: a populist discourse that opposes the people and the predatory elites. Added to this is the idea of ​​a certain police state: Marine Le Pen wants to give a presumption of self-defense to the French police, who are known to be more inclined to vote for the far right than the rest of the population. Or this project of “national preference”, with the aim of creating a two-speed political and social system where those who consider themselves “real” French will have more rights than others. (Recalling Jean-Marie Le Pen’s iconic National Front slogans – [« Un million de chômeurs, c’est un million d’immigrés de trop. La France et les Français d’abord »]).

All in all, all of these ingredients together – and the list here is far from exhaustive – show that despite the demonization strategy, the devil is pretty good, thank you.

Eric Zemmour’s candidacy, with a more overtly extremist and racist speech, has also done a great service to Marine Le Pen. “This allowed Le Pen to soften his far-right discourse a little, to rehumanize it,” said David Morin.

While Zemmour is not ashamed, for example, of telling a young Frenchwoman of Senegalese descent on a television set that he would not have let her return to the country, Le Pen promises to look at it on a case-by-case basis. Comparing them, voters say to themselves, “It’s even worse than Zemmour! »

As for those who voted for Zemmour in the first round, if the polls are true, many will turn to their equally unbeatable version of Diet Coke. And whatever the outcome of the presidential election, unfortunately, everything indicates that those who drank will drink.

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