Rebranding Le Front National Still despicable?
Posted by avideditor on January 18, 2011
I am very skeptical of there change. The apple usually does not fall far from the tree. Her father was despicable, just happy she sounds better.
From Rebranding Le Front National
The National Front (FN) in France has moved to re-brand itself. Gone is the founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen, the one-eyed Foreign Legion paratrooper and Algeria Campaign veteran. He is replaced by his daughter, 42 year old Marine Le Pen who won 68% of the party vote, both are pictured below:
Marine Le Pen defeated a more traditional rival to gain control of FN. This is rather important. She has distanced herself from her father’s statements that minimize the Holocaust in WW2 and “has sought to distance herself from her father’s anti-Semitic tones, and has taken an inclusive line with gays and feminists – while at the same time continuing the anti-immigrant and anti-Islam diatribes that have given the National Front some of its special piquancy. France in recent years has voted for a ban on Islamic veils or full face covering in public places.”. Her victory against the traditionalists indicates that the majority of the FN have realized that the enemy of France and French culture is Islam.
Marine Le Pen has run away from her father’s anti-semitism and is taking the FN with her to form a party that is nationalistic, for traditional French values and identity, and is more soveriegn:
Le Pen is indeed trying to reposition the party away from the old far right that her father epitomized, particularly that he and Gollnisch minimized or downplayed the Holocaust. Le Pen pere was not above courting the Muslim vote saying, that there was nothing contradictory between Islamic belief and the Front ideology. He was also hostile to Israel, calling Gaza “the world’s largest concentration camp”. He also retained the anti-Americanism that was the calling card of the old far right.
Marine Le Pen would like to emulate the successes of the Dutch Freedom Party of Geert Widers and the latest electoral breakthrough of the Swedish Democrats by adopting the mantle of secularism and a defense of traditional values against the Islamic wave that is threatening to engulf Europe.
She has also made overtures to the Jews. After the brutal murder of Ilan Halimi by an immigrant anti-Semitic gang in 2006, she offered to march in protest of the murder and despite the protests of Jewish organizations she eventually did so with other politicians. Le Pen claims that due to Islamic influence one cannot teach English “the language of imperialism” or talk about the Holocaust for fear of offending the Muslims. She is placing her fears of Islam in the context of women’s rights, gay rights and other liberal causes, again in line with the more successful political counterparts in Europe.
In her maiden speech to supporters, Le Pen struck a less abrasive tone than her father, focusing on the state as the provider of social care, lambasting the effects of globalization and urging tighter state control of the economy.
But her booming voice and a brief allusion to what she sees as the danger of Islam were reminiscent of her father, who until stepping down this weekend dominated French far-right politics for four decades.
“The choice of globalization is deregulation… demographic submersion and the dilution of our civilization,” she told the crowd, who waved flags and bellowed: “France for the French!”
She said the state must punish any public official who tries to get around a 1905 law banning the use of public money to construct places of worship such as mosques, and end single-sex swimming sessions in public swimming pools for Muslim women.
Le Pen senior managed a run-off for the presidency with Jacques Chirac, but he said Sunday that in 2011, his daughter is more “in tune with the times.”Indeed, Ms. Le Pen, in her first speech as party leader, immediately made overtures to both right and left. She called for economic and social “patriotism,” saying that France is not “a caliphate,” or Islamic state, and describing the trends of globalization that particularly concern the French left as “a cultural tsunami and a moral Chernobyl.”
She also spoke to core National Front views that France’s destiny as a great nation is being diluted and damaged by foreigners and by the European project of integration: “Our country is at risk of dismemberment. … The values of our civilization, our traditions, our way of life, and our customs are being contested in many quarters – in schools, in the public sphere, and in entire neighborhoods.”
The younger Le Pen’s vote-getting potential in the large center-right of French politics is said to unnerve President Nicolas Sarkozy – and may account for the president’s shift this summer to a more overtly law-and-order message that targeted immigrants, Islam, and Roma gypsies. That effort appeared to backfire, and Mr. Sarkozy has since sought to portray himself more in international terms as the leader of the G-20 this year.
Le Pen junior defeated a challenge inside the party conducted this fall by traditionalists led by Bruno Gollnisch, who were considered more hard line espousers of far-right doctrine. Mr. Gollnisch, like Le Pen père, have cast doubt on the extent of the Holocaust. Gollnisch lost the bid and declined to accept the No. 2 party position.
On a cursory reading, it appears that the FN is attempting a re-branding. They are anti-Islamic immigrant and pro-French culture and against the ever enlarging EU bureaucracy that destroys national sovereignty.
By distancing herself from her father’s notorious xenophobia and slurs against Jews and the Holocaust, the younger Le Pen has managed to present a softer alternative while still tapping into deepening fears of Islam here. She recently compared Muslims praying in the streets to the Nazi occupation of France, and is being sued for libel over the comment.
Alternately appearing at ease and as stiff-shouldered as a general during her acceptance speech Sunday, Le Pen called in a husky voice for a stronger nation and the right “not to eat halal against one’s will,” a reference to meat that is slaughtered according to Muslim ritual. She argued for keeping France strictly secular, a topic popular across the political spectrum here.
Le Pen’s opposition to the euro and to the spread of Islam in France has won her growing support from members of Sarkozy’s Union for a Popular Movement party, or UMP, disappointed with the president, whose popularity slump could cost him reelection.
The National Front typically wins 10% to 15% of votes during local and national elections, despite having a harder time getting members elected into office. In 2002, Jean-Marie Le Pen shocked the country when he reached the presidential run-off against Jacques Chirac.
The National Front’s higher numbers in recent opinion polls have been attributed in part to Sarkozy’s attempt to legislate on issues typically found on far-right agendas.
By cracking down on crime committed by immigrants and Roma migrants, as well as successfully pushing for the passage of a law forbidding women to wear full-body Muslim veils, or burkas, Sarkozy has been accused of legitimizing the National Front’s platform in a botched attempt to win conservatives’ votes.
Sarkozy “did us an immense service,” said Marine Le Pen in a recent interview with the French periodical Causeur. “He came onto our territory. So he de-demonized us.”
This will be an interesting party and race to watch. Thus far, I cannot find fault with her message from what was presented in the articles. It appears she is trying to move the FN to a culture and country/ France for the French approach. There is a place for national identity and culture in each nation. These are not something to throw away on a whim, they are what makes countries unique and should be celebrated.