Le Pen

I know very little about French politics but it seems that Le Pen is trying to enlarge his electoral base by tempering his rhetoric. The NF seems to have a solid 10-15% voting share and has captured the mayorships in several towns and cities(including Marseilles, I believe.) Le Pen realizes that if he wants any kind of power in France he is going to have to enlarge his electoral base. He seems to be taking after his fellow nazi Jorg Haider in Austria-the so-called 'yuppie fascist'- a kind of Austrian David Duke. Haider got around 30% in the last Austrian election running on a program similar to the redneck, parochial, small business wing of the U.S. Republican Party; anti-immigration, anti-cosmopolitan, sticking up for the small business guy against the big bullies, anti-integration etc. The last thing a nazi is going to do is stick up for the small guy! The split in the NF seems to reflect that some are willing to go with LE Pen and try and enter the right-wing mainstream and then there are the 'purists' who refuse to lie about their politics.

I once heard a French Arab anti-racism activist interviewed who claimed that Le Pen's voters are often old grumpy stalinists from the CP. I do know that there is a large anti-NF, anti-racism movement in France that have held some very large demonstrations in various places, mostly organized by the usual ultra-left sects who, sadly, spend as much time fighting amongst themselves than they do fighting the right. It's interesting that fascist movements like Le Pen's are often strongest in countries that border the 'third world' and have a large population of immigrants from the southern hemisphere. The fascists really play on the xenophobia, ignorance and latent racism of the middle classes. They use scare tactics and imagery like the big brown muslim beast to the south is going to swallow our country, take our jobs and destroy our 'way of life'. I used to read GermanyAlert and the Searchlight but got bored reading about nazis.

Sam Pawlett.