Tendance Coatesy

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Fillon, Le Pen: Right wing Plague or Right-wing Cholera.

with 6 comments

French Far-Right Hesitates between Marine le Pen and François Fillon.

France 24 reports,

By overwhelmingly backing former prime minister François Fillon, voters in the primary held by France’s centre-right on Sunday opted for an economically liberal, socially conservative candidate whose vision for France leaves little ambiguity.

Any hope rival primary candidate Alain Juppé had of springing a surprise in the Les Républicains party run-off vote failed to come to fruition, with Fillon taking some 66.5 percent of the vote. If Fillon’s strong performance in the first round of voting could be in part attributed to voters merely wanting to shut out Nicolas Sarkozy, his landslide victory over Juppé on Sunday left little room for doubt: Fillon’s firmly right-wing platform had won the firm backing of the conservative electorate.

The “fight between one project and another”, as the more moderate, centrist Juppé had called his showdown with Fillon, had been decided. Despite attacks by Juppé between the two rounds of voting that had depicted him as both “ultra conservative” and “ultra liberal” economically, Fillon had clearly prevailed.

The Guardian columnist    comments,

The Front National leader has reason to fear the Republican candidate, whose views overlap with some of her key ideas.

..

The Front National has reason to fear Fillon. His traditionalist and socially conservative line on family values and “the Christian roots of France”, his emphasis on French national identity, “sovereignty” and “patriotism”, his hard line on immigration and Islam as well as a pro-Putin foreign agenda against “American imperialism” all overlap with some of Le Pen’s key ideas.

This could potentially see Fillon steal some of Le Pen’s most socially conservative voters, particularly rightwing elderly people, who always have a big turnout to vote but remain sceptical about the Front National.

“Fillon presents us with a strategy problem, he’s the most dangerous [candidate] for the Front National,” Marion Maréchal Le Pen, the Catholic and socially conservative Front National MP and niece of Marine Le Pen, told journalists this week.

..

Despite Fillon’s hardline rightwing stances, he is not a populist. “He’s closer to [the former British prime minister] David Cameron than [the Ukip leader] Nigel Farage,” said Jean-Yves Camus, an expert on the French far right.

This leaves Le Pen a wide margin in which to go for Fillon’s jugular as she fights a campaign centred on “the people versus the elite”. The Front National has already begun attacking Fillon as a snobbish, political has-been. It argues thatFillon, as Nicolas Sarkozy’s prime minister, was responsible for the failures of the Sarkozy era and cares more about the rich, globalised elite than the working class who have faced decades of mass unemployment.

The battle will largely focus on economic policy. Fillon has promised a “radical shock” for France with free-market reform, major cuts to public sector jobs and reducing public spending. Le Pen claims to represent the “forgotten” French underclass and has an economic line that is essentially leftwing: she is anti-globalisation and favours protectionism and state intervention. Le Pen’s campaign director, David Rachline, has called Fillon’s programme “economically insane” for wanting to slash 500,000 public sector jobs.

Le Pen’s advisers believe Fillon will struggle to appeal to the lower middle class and working class voters who are afraid of losing their jobs. The Front National has slammed Fillon as a symbol of lawless, ultra-free market, globalised capitalism. Fillon, in return, says Le Pen’s economic project is simply “a cut and paste of the extreme left”.

Some on the French far-right are already moving towards backing Fillon (Le conservatisme affiché de François Fillon séduit à l’extrême droite).

Has the French left any chance?

The Socialists continue to hover between indecision and hesitancy.

This weekend the French Communist Party (PCF)  voted to back Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Presidential bid (Finalement, les communistes soutiennent… Mélenchon. Libération). They supported his candidacy under the banner of la France insoumise  by a slim, at 53,6% for, majority. It is obvious that there was little chance of a the Communists being able to launch their own Presidential challenge. The Party announced its intention of launching their own campaign in support his proposals against austerity. They do not intend to give him ‘carte blanche’ (un blanc-seing).

This follows the decision of the other component of the (now effectively  defunct) Front de gauche, Ensemble, to back Mélenchon, Communiqué du Collectif National d’Ensemble des 19 et 20 novembre 2016)

 That Mélenchon  looks potentially capable of beating a Socialist candidate into fourth place no doubt counts in his favour – although no poll gives him a chance of getting to the run-off.

The reasons for the PCF’s reservations – shared no doubt by many in Ensemble, are not hard to find. Beginning with the personality of the Man of Destiny.

We nevertheless cite a major source of difference which, given the importance of the issue of immigration in the coming contest,  will no doubt grow in importance

 has noted (Guardian),

Despite a steady increase in Euroscepticism in France, the underlying principle of free movement of people across the EU remains broadly undisputed. Apart from in one telling area. There is growing evidence of opposition towards EU migrants and the notion of freedom in what has become known as “social dumping”. This relates to “posted workers”, employees sent by their employer to carry out a service in another EU member state on a temporary basis. Those EU workers do not integrate in the labour market in which they work.

 Hence, “social dumping”, where foreign service providers undercut local service providers because their labour standards are lower (in terms of pay and social protection). Interestingly, the most staggering attack against posted workers has come not from the far right, as one would expect, but from the radical left.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, an MEP, a presidential candidate in 2012 and running again in 2017, has singled out posted workers in a speech at the European parliament last July. He declared that “posted workers took the bread out of French workers’ mouths”. Part of the French left was stunned by words that could have easily been uttered by Marine Le Pen.

Meanwhile Jean-Luc Mélenchon  has insulted yet another section of the left. He has attacked the journalist and Latin American specialist  Paulo Paranagua with a series of allegations about his political past in Argentina.  The journalist, the Presidential hopeful  raved, had been objectively Muse of the CIA – no doubt the reason he was captured and tortured for his association with armed resistance to  the 1970s military regimes of the time. Paranagua was only released from an Argentinian gaol and deported to France after an international campaign in his defence.

A protest at these slanders has been launched: “Nous n’acceptons pas de voir notre passé commun insulté par J.L. Mélenchon“. Signatures  include Alain Krivine..

Update, Post Primary Opinion Poll:

None of the left gets more than 13% in opinion polls, Fillon, 26% Marine Le Pen (24%) Emmanuel Macron – Centre (14%) et Jean-Luc Mélenchon (13%), t François Hollande9%, François Bayrou, Centre, à 6%. Ecologists Yannick Jadot and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan 3% Far-left Nathalie Arthaud et Philippe Poutou 1% – poll today l’Express.

6 Responses

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  1. Far Right Extremism Poses A Real Threat To Us All.

    The murderer of Jo Cox, MP for Batley and Spen, has been jailed for life for “planned and pre-meditated murder” in the run-up to the EU referendum. This vile murder epitomizes the toxic ultra-nationalist far right sentiments that have been on the rise in recent years. Muslims and immigrant communities have been the target of this hatred for quite some time now but we as a society do not seem to be taking the threat of the far right seriously.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/qari-asim-/far-right-extremism-poses_b_13236906.html

    news seeker

    November 28, 2016 at 3:20 pm

  2. A French Wiki gives Melenchon 15% ahead of Macron yesterday https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_de_sondages_sur_l%27%C3%A9lection_pr%C3%A9sidentielle_fran%C3%A7aise_de_2017
    The term ‘Social Dumping’ comes from Scandinavia I think, where it seems widely used on the Left , eg Ryanair were accused of Social Dumping and widely boycotted in Denmark (O Leary reportedly pulled out of Denmark in a huff) https://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/jul/17/ryanair-closes-denmark-operation-temporarily-to-sidestep-union-dispute
    Even on the Red green site : http://enhedslisten.dk/valg-socialdumping
    https://translate.google.ie/translate?hl=en&sl=auto&tl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fenhedslisten.dk%2Fvalg-socialdumping

    Greg Timony

    November 28, 2016 at 7:00 pm

  3. The problem is that the left have been pushing anti working class social engineering agenda, such as the gay agenda.

    The left can succeed only if they drop these metrosexual demands, drop the bourgeois gay agenda, and take up the hammer of proletarian socialism.

    Dean

    November 29, 2016 at 12:14 am

  4. Thanks Greg.

    Some of the northern left have very dubious attitudes, for example, this:

    “The majority for Britain leaving the EU was an expression of class revolt against the EU of the upper class. This provides a good starting point for the Left to become the head of a rebellion against the EU, which has been the hub of social dumping, erosion of tax-financed welfare schemes and democratic influence, suppressing all attempts to depart from neoliberal policies and total failure to respond to the climate crisis. If the Left doesn’t manage to take the lead in this fight – on an anti-racist and internationalist basis – it will be more or less racist forces of the extreme Right that will profit.”

    SAP (Socialistisk Arbejderparti) is the Danish section of the Fourth International. It participates in the Red Green Alliance.

    http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article4631

    This reactionary nationalist-populism is clearly opposed by most of the FI, notably Socialist Resistance.

    Socialist Resistance statement on the result of the EU referendum.

    “The Brexit vote to leave the EU is a victory for the right-wing xenophobes and a disaster for the struggle against austerity in Britain. It is a victory for racism and a mandate to strengthen the borders of Britain against migration.”

    http://socialistresistance.org/brexit-vote-is-a-disaster-but-the-struggle-goes-on/8534

    Andrew Coates

    November 29, 2016 at 11:21 am

  5. I dont agree Andrew , on the contrary they are being forced to reconcile defending their welfare states (the no 1 priority for those of us reliant on social welfare to live) with neo-liberalism’s use of migration to reduce wages and social welfare seemingly endlessly (several cases of near slavery reported here in Ireland ) . Fighting ‘Social Dumping’ is a good tactic IMO , I just hope it isnt too late

    Greg Timony

    November 30, 2016 at 6:35 pm


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