National Front in France: Ideology, Discourse and Power

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National Front in France: Ideology, Discourse and Power

The National Front in France The Front National is the most controversial political party in contemporary France. Since

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The National Front in France

The Front National is the most controversial political party in contemporary France. Since its electoral emergence in the mid-1980s, the party has dominated the French political landscape, setting the agenda and forcing other parties to position themselves on a whole range of issues and debates. The National Front in France provides a fascinating enquiry into the particular type of nationalism it embraces. It explores the value system of the movement and explains the way in which Front National ideology has been formulated and articulated in the 1980s and 1990s. The book is structured around four central issues:

• • • •

the general contours of, and influences on, Front National nationalism; the nation and its importance in Front National discourse; the threats to the nation (as perceived by the Front National); the reality of the Front National ‘in power’ in local government.

The National Front in France is a vivid, provocative and non-polemical examination of a value system hated by many, but now impossible to ignore. Peter Davies is Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Huddersfield.

The National Front in France Ideology, discourse and power

Peter Davies

London and New York

First published 1999 by Routledge 11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE Simultaneously published in the USA and Canada by Routledge 29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001 This edition published in the Taylor & Francis e-Library, 2001. © 1999 Peter Davies All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication Data Davies, Peter The National Front in France: ideology, discourse and power/Peter Davies p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. 1. Front National (France: 1972–) 2. Nationalism–France Political oratory–France– influence. I. Title. JN3007.F68D39 1999 324.244’03–dc21 98-42868 CIP ISBN 0-415-15866-4 (Print Edition) ISBN 0-203-00682-8 Master e-book ISBN ISBN 0-203-17329-5 (Glassbook Format)

This book is dedicated to four people who have encouraged and supported me: my Mum, Dad, Aunty Pearl and Gran.


List of illustrations Acknowledgements Introduction 1 The contours of FN nationalism: influences and emphases

ix x 1


T H E ‘ N AT I O N A L’ F N

Change and evolution: a static or evolving nationalism? 16 Leadership, membership and ideology 27 T H E ‘ R E G I O N A L’ F N

The federations: FN nationalism at a regional level 35 65 2 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology: ‘France for the French’ The centrality of ‘nation’ and ‘identity’ 66 ‘Open’ or ‘closed’?: The FN’s concept of the nation 80 Region and nation 88 Europe and nation 95 National symbolism in FN discourse: ‘Le Peuple’, ‘La Terre’ and Joan of Arc 105 3 ‘Threats’ to the nation: the fear of French decline Dénatalité as a ‘threat’ to the nation 120 The FN’s ‘family preference’ philosophy 125



Contents Exclusion: the threat of ‘the other’ 134 Immigration as a ‘threat’ to the nation 141 Immigration: contemporary perspectives 155

4 Nationalism in a local context: Toulon, Orange, Marignane and Vitrolles Culture: a vital battleground 171 Immigration: the Islamic ‘threat’ 187 Le social: the politics of municipal subsidies 195 The environment, security and the local economy 202




Notes Bibliography Index

229 264 273


1.1 1.2 2.1 2.2 3.1 3.2 4.1

Prenez les clés de la ville En avant pour la 6’e République Français Passionnement Le Pen a raison! Chirac c’est l’échec! 1991, défendons nos couleurs! Carte Nationale d’Identité Mieux Vivre à Toulon

63 64 117 118 164 165 219


Le Bon Sens



Please could I offer my thanks to: Heather McCallum, Lisa Carden, Lisa Blackwell and Luciana O’Flaherty at Routledge Publishers; the University of Huddersfield for its generous research funding; Dr Jeremy Jennings for his support during my studies at Swansea; Dr Derek Lynch and Colin McCaig for their help in reading through draft chapters; Brendan Evans and Andrew Taylor for their help with Chapter 1 Jackie Beedle for her secretarial assistance; and the many individuals within the FN who have aided me in my quest to understand the movement better.


For Change Vote FN. (FN publicity slogan) FNJ: The Rebel Wave, The Le Pen Wave. (Slogan of the Front National Jeunesse) Dear Compatriots. For two decades the left and the right have followed each other in power. They have said everything and promised everything. They have done nothing and failed....Women and men of the Front National, I want to give back France her vitality and her power, and to the people their pride and prosperity. I believe in France. (FN campaign literature, 1997 Legislative elections)

In the late 1990s it could be argued, quite plausibly, that the Front National, led and personified by Jean-Marie Le Pen, is one of the key players in French politics. Its power lies not only in the votes that it gains –an average of 15 per cent in all elections – but, perhaps more significantly, in the influence that it carries. Here, the notion that the FN is an agenda-setter is vital; a flick through any national newspaper will confirm the fact that the party has been effective in hoisting its concerns to the top of the national political agenda, and in forcing other political formations to react to, and position themselves on, these particular issues – most notably of course, immigration. The academic community has also shown considerable interest in the Le Pen phenomenon and the plethora of recent studies on the FN are adequate



testimony to this. But there is a significant edge to some of the most recent enquiries. After all, La France blafarde, Le Spectre de l’extrême droite, Une Tragédie bien française and Hitler Le Pen Mégret are not the most neutral of book titles.1 The reality of the situation is that the FN is a new and unpredictable variable – no longer on the murky fringes of French political life, but at the very heart of contemporary discussion and debate. The party itself might claim that there is widespread support for the ideas it embraces2 – this is a matter of interpretation – but the fact of the matter is that the political principles embraced by the FN have provoked sustained controversy. The fundamental aim of this book is to explain and analyse the value system of the FN. In so doing, it will focus on the ideology and discourse of the party, and it will attempt to depict the main contours and emphases of FN doctrine. It will try to distinguish between the ideology of the party – the core values which it upholds – and its discourse: the language in which it parades its doctrine and beliefs. Throughout, it will be the character and profile of the FN’s nationalism that will concern us. In addition to this fundamental aim, there are a series of supplementary objectives. First, this study will consider the main influences on FN ideology and discourse. This will mean assessing the influence of factions within the party and also regional FN hierarchies. Second, this book will explain how the practice of FN nationalism – the experience of municipal rule in Toulon, Orange and Marignane since 1995 and Vitrolles since 1997 – relates to the theory, as articulated in party discourse throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In particular, the study seeks to identify the dominant preoccupations and the ideological emphases of the FN-led councils. Finally, it is important to understand that the objective of this book is to comprehend and explain FN ideology and discourse – and not to undermine it in any polemical fashion. Of course, the value system of the FN will be assessed in a critical manner – its inconsistencies and defects will, naturally, be highlighted – but it is essential to note that the main aim is to understand the logic and mechanics of the party’s nationalism. And we should not labour under the illusion that the FN is devoid of a coherent thought system. Both Renouvin and Samson, for instance, have identified a clear ‘logic’ within FN ideology,3 and it will serve us well to remember this as the book unfolds. We should not fall into the trap of dismissing the FN as ‘fascists’ and, worse, as ‘fascists with no ideas’. This is not just an insult but a gross misconception. In his recent analysis of French nationalism, Sudhir Hazareesingh has talked of a ‘Gallic self-obsession’.4 This may not be the most helpful starting-point for an evaluation of the political ideas embraced by the FN, but it does indicate the backdrop against which we should try to comprehend the nationalism of the party. So far as the rest of this study is concerned, the primary argument to be pursued is that the nation,

Introduction 3 and the profound emphasis placed on this idea, is at the crux of the FN value system and is the key to acquiring a complete understanding of the party’s ideology and discourse. Further, it will be argued that over three decades, the FN has been consistent in its adherence to a particularly virulent brand of ‘closed’ nationalism: a political creed which has made it highly sensitive to foreign elements and the accompanying threat to the French nation which, according to the party, they embody. In its discourse of protest – against the Fifth Republic and successive governments (mainly of the left) – and in its more recent municipal discourse (when it has actually held power) the traditional, defensive nationalism of the FN has been central. This book seeks to explain and analyse this style of nationalism. The Front National was founded in 1972 by Jean-Marie Le Pen, Algérie française veteran and former Poujadist deputy. It has since become synonymous with Le Pen – the man who has presided over it since the early 1970s.5 The modern-day popularity and influence of the FN is, however, a far cry from its early fortunes. In the 1970s the FN was, at best, a political irrelevance. It operated on the fringes of French politics and never rose above its own internal squabbles. In electoral terms too, it was a formation of little note: it rarely scored over 1 per cent in national elections, and the nadir was reached in 1981 when Le Pen could not secure the 500 signatures necessary for him to take part in that year’s Presidential elections. Although the FN scored a significant electoral success in the Dreux by-election of 1983, the real national breakthrough came the year after when Le Pen’s party scored over 10 per cent in the European elections. This performance gave the FN nationwide notoriety, and it was the first in a sequence of impressive electoral efforts; in 1986 the party won 35 seats in the Legislative elections, and two years later Le Pen captured 14 per cent of the Presidential vote. In 1992 the FN celebrated its twentieth birthday, and not without its usual hyperbole the party press depicted the two decades between 1972 and 1992 as ‘the Le Pen years...20 years of nationalist combat’.6 The longevity of the Le Pen phenomenon was emphasised in 1995 when the FN leader passed the significant psychological barrier of 15 per cent in the Presidential poll that marked the end of the Mitterrand era and the beginning of the Chirac presidency. In the same year the FN produced an impressive showing in the Municipal elections, gaining control of three towns: Toulon, the largest, Marignane and Orange. In the Legislative poll of 1997 the party scored another relative triumph – maintaining its share of the vote in the firstround poll. In the 1998 Regional elections it did likewise, claiming to be both ‘respectable and respected’ in the light of crucial electoral deals it brokered with the centre-right.7 Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the FN has played on a series of significant themes. First and foremost, it perceives itself to be an ostracised political grouping,



excluded from the corridors of power by the French political establishment and ‘the band of four’. This phrase is used to describe what the FN views as the corrupt oligarchy of parties at the centre of French politics: the RPR (Rassemblement pour la République), UDF (Union pour la Démocratie Français), PS (Parti Socialiste) and PCF (Parti Communiste Français). The implication is that the FN has come to view itself as the ‘outsider’ in – or put more accurately, outside – the French political system, and has actually come to enjoy, and thrive on, this characterisation.8 In ideological terms the FN has exploited the fact that the philosophy of the PS – and to a lesser extent, that of the RPR and UDF – is, in its opinion, so contrary to its own value system. During the Mitterrand era, and afterwards, the FN made great play of the fact that its nationalist standpoint was almost the exact opposite of the Socialists’ ‘cosmopolitan’ perspective. This confrontation has revolved around the validity of the rights of man as a relevant political credo; while the PS, throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, has upheld this doctrine, and has thus endorsed the notion of integration and multi-culturalism, the FN has railed against it, labelling it ‘the new intolerance’,9 and has instead favoured a two-tier system in which French nationals are privileged, politically and economically, vis-à-vis immigrants. It has, in short, been a conflict between ‘open’ and ‘closed’ conceptions of the nation. Indeed, the FN makes great play of the writers and movements who it perceives to be its forbears on the nationalist right. Maurice Barrès and Charles Maurras are viewed as particularly important figures: men who glorified the uniqueness of France and who were especially alert to the dangers of ‘non-French’ or ‘anti-French’ elements.10 Today the FN claims to be the ‘second political force’ in France after the PS and also the only authentic opposition movement. And as if to signal its intent it has published its ‘Programme of Government’, subtitled, ‘300 Mesures for the Renaissance of France’, and it now sees itself as the only ‘national alternative’.11 Hazareesingh has talked about the ‘adversarial politics’ of the FN and the party’s recent rhetoric does tend to conform to this characterisation. While the premiership of Balladur was mocked on account of its impotence – in all areas of policy the FN cry was, ‘But where is the change?’12 – the Chirac presidency has been attacked for its record on unemployment and its military reforms.13 Interestingly though, the FN was quick to defend Chirac on his controversial nuclear testing policy; for Le Pen and his nationalist movement this matter involved a vital national interest which, in their view, outweighed all other considerations.14 For the most part, however, the FN has sought to undermine President Chirac, and the publicity slogan, ‘Chirac is a failure, Le Pen is right!’, neatly summarises the party’s simplistic attitude towards Mitterrand’s successor.15 Lionel Jospin’s administration has also come under attack. It

Introduction 5 has been labelled the government of ‘the plural left’ – a not-so-subtle sideswipe at the Communists’ involvement – and attacked on account of its legislation (the institution of ‘foreign preference’ laws) and its value system (its belief in ‘internationalist utopias’). In general terms the FN has seen little difference between the Juppé and Jospin regimes and has criticised them both.16 More fundamentally, the FN has recently called into question the very existence and legitimacy of the Fifth Republic. Focusing on the perceived weakness and corruption of the current regime, Marie-France Stirbois has stated: ‘We are living in the last years of a banana republic’.17 As if to emphasise this plank of party belief, Le Pen made anti-Fifth Republic protest the core of his 1995 Presidential campaign. Throughout the election period the FN leader talked about the need for a new constitution to embody the notion of ‘national preference’ – a profoundly significant FN demand – and to give France firm executive government. ‘Towards the 6th Republic’ was the forward-looking campaign epithet.18 Nonetheless, in doctrinal terms the FN has remained consistent in its emphases. It is still, primarily, a party that concerns itself with the well-being of France and French people before anything else. For his 1995 Presidential campaign Le Pen published a campaign document entitled, ‘Contract for France and the people of France’. It stressed three main themes, ‘Preference’, ‘Protection’ and ‘Unity of the Country’; what it really meant was preference and protection for French people only, as well as the unity of the nation. As a consequence of this, the party has tended to highlight the issue of immigration above all others. In recent years, however, it has diversified its attentions: it has tried to depict itself, first and foremost, as the ‘party of welfare’.19 The fact remains though that where social aid and education are concerned the FN is only interested in the welfare of French people, and not immigrants.20 This philosophy obviously has severe implications and ramifications. At root though, the most interesting and significant aspect of the modern-day FN is its reputation and notoriety. Whatever its pretensions, it endures as a colourful and contentious political party that voters and politicians alike cannot ignore. Fundamentally, the party actually seems to thrive on controversy. Its hardline platform on immigration and law and order21 has, for example, aroused profound criticism, so much so that a campaign has recently begun to declare the party ‘illegal’.22 In addition, over the last two decades, Le Pen himself has become the centre of various scandals and allegations, most notably over his description of the Holocaust as a ‘detail’ in the history of the Second World War.23 And, as we will see in Chapter 4, the FN and its four mayors have also become embroiled in a series of often bizarre controversies.24 There is, it seems, no end to the saga of sagas involving the FN and its leading personalities. It is as if the FN actually



arranges for controversy to follow it around so it can remain in the headlines. For Le Pen all news is, most certainly, good news. At the same time, however, we must acknowledge that today the FN stands as an entirely modern and professional political formation. It was the first French political party to have its own Internet web site and its output of publicity material is not only unremitting but impressive in its scope and production quality. The FN also has an ability to target, and then tap into, a variety of constituencies and audiences. Cleverly, it has involved itself in both high-brow and low-brow publicity offensives. For the educated and literary, there is now a lecture series, a pseudo-academic review, Identité, and a publishing house, Editions nationales, committed to ‘cultural combat through literature!’.25 Down market, as it were, there are now cartoon histories of Le Pen, a multitude of stickers and slogans, and a special boutique stocked up with FN key rings, perfume, badges, handkerchiefs and bow ties. And during the recent World Cup in France there was a selection of clever, tailor-made campaign slogans: ‘For France to win, a red card for the Euro’, ‘With the Euro France will remain on the touchline’.26 Here, for sure, is the ultimate in modern political combat. In recent years a multitude of studies have focused on the FN. Although many have examined the nationalist ideology and discourse of the party, the tendency has been to focus on dimensions to the party, and party thinking, that are given only supplementary attention in this study. This book, therefore, hopes to take its place among the growing number of studies about Le Pen and his intriguing, fascinating and controversial movement. By the end of the 1980s there was only a minimal literature on the FN, but it was expanding. Alongside early, and quite general, studies like Le Cas Le Pen by Eric Roussel and Les Hommes de l’extrême droite by Alain Rollat stood Au Front by Anne Tristan, a unique examination of the party by an undercover journalist in Marseilles. This ‘from the inside’ account was pathbreaking and controversial, and it revealed not only the FN’s obsessive xenophobia but the hardnosed militantism of the party on the south coast.27 In their study, Le Front National à découvert, Nonna Mayer and Pascal Perrineau emphasise ‘la metaphysique de Jean-Marie Le Pen’. They simplify the FN message as follows: the Right and its values mean ‘life’; the Left and its ideals mean ‘death’. They also ask whether the contemporary discourse of the FN amounts to ‘a “revolutionary” programme’.28 By the early 1990s a mass of in-depth studies had emerged, each with its own distinct emphasis and perspective. Michel Winock’s Histoire de l’extrême droite en

Introduction 7 France, for example, focuses on the genealogy of the extreme-right tradition in France, with Pascal Perrineau’s essay on the FN highlighting not only the continuities at play on the modern far right, but also the hugely significant socio-economic backdrop to the rise of Le Pen and his political ideas. Perrineau also chooses to emphasise the ‘modern demonology’ embraced by the FN that stigmatises the foreigner as a Fifth Column ‘menace’ for France.29 For his part, Guy Birenbaum in Le Front National en politique concludes that the FN thrives on its exclusion from mainstream political life. He claims that, as a kind of retort, the party concentrates on what it perceives to be the day to day injustices of life in France and sympathising with the victims. Birenbaum also considers the vocabulary ‘invented’ by the FN – a vocabulary that has become implanted on the conscience of the French political world. Birenbaum agrees with Christophe Bouseiller, writing in Extrême Droite: L’enquête, on the fact that rejection of immigration is now the FN’s sole concern. Bourseiller goes on to describe frontisme as ‘a calculated populism’ – in substance nothing more than an instinctive xenophobia.30 Pierre Milza’s essay. ‘ Le Front National: droite extrême...ou national-populisme?’ in Sirinelli’s Histoire des droites en France asks whether Le Pen’s ideology can be described as ‘fascism’. While Milza does not deny France’s fascist tradition, and also concedes that the FN does exhibit fascist tendencies, he concludes that the FN should be viewed rather as a populist, xenophobic movement which transcends traditional conceptions of left and right.31 René Monzat, in Enquêtes sur la droite extrême, maintains that the FN is part of the ‘subversive right’, a political family with alternative cultures to the classic right. He points out that this right is a heterogeneous coalition, devoid of real doctrinal coherency, and ready to exploit any signs of social, cultural or political malaise in France.32 Likewise, in their analysis of the FN, La République menacée: dix ans d’effet Le Pen, Edwy Plenel and Alain Rollat of Le Monde argue that the dynamic of insecurity is the key to understanding both the party’s emergence and doctrine. On the subject of nationality legislation they stress the link between the FN and Vichy, while in more general terms they highlight the party’s fundamental belief in the ‘natural order’, which incorporates notions of hierarchy, inequality and harmony.33 In 1993 Pierre Birnbaum published ‘La France aux Français’: Histoire des haines nationalistes. This book analysed the tradition of protection and xenophobia on the extreme right. In particular it highlighted the FN’s use of national symbols and the way in which the party followed in a long line of far right movements, all extremely sensitive to the threat of allegedly ‘anti-French’ elements.34 For his part, Hans-Georg Betz in Radical Right-Wing Populism in Western Europe has emphasised the fact that on economic matters the FN had, by the early 1990s, moved from neo-liberalism to a position based, fundamentally, on the notion of national preference. Here Betz talked



about ‘the FN’s rejection of multi-culturalism’ and concluded that the party’s economic programme had moved in line with the party’s ‘ethno-nationalist’ agenda. The work of Michel Soudais, Le Front National en face, however, focuses on various aspects of the modern FN: its new ‘popular’ electorate, its ‘revolutionary’ political programme, and also its experience in local government; what Soudais labels, ‘the real change personified by the FN mayors’.35 In 1997 Pascal Perrineau added to the literature on the FN with the definitive work on the electorate of the FN, Le Symptôme Le Pen. His conclusion was that the electorate of the FN was unique – situated almost halfway between traditional ‘right’ and ‘left’ constituencies.36 Two important studies, in English, have also appeared recently. In 1995 Jonathan Marcus produced an excellent survey of the FN. Entitled The National Front and French Politics: The Resistible Rise of Jean-Marie Le Pen, this study considered the emergence of the FN, its belief system, and also, more poignantly perhaps, its impact on French politics. Quite rightly, Marcus said that the mainstream right had ‘toughened up its own message, not just on immigration, but on a variety of issues like Europe and international trade, where it has to some extent stolen Le Pen’s nationalistic rhetoric’, but Marcus was wrong, as it turned out, in his prediction that the 1995 Presidential election might mark Le Pen’s ‘political swansong’. Harvey Simmons, in The French National Front: The Extremist Challenge to Democracy, published in 1996, has also researched an in-depth profile of the FN. He assesses the origins of the party – tracing its roots back to the immediate post-war era – and is also particularly interested in the ‘new political discourse’ of the extreme right. He argues that the FN has tried to insert its ‘language and terms into the political debate’, and that this very conscious tactic is a vital element in the party’s modern political strategy.37 Finally, we must be fully aware of the anti-FN literature which has been spawned by the party’s rise to prominence. Of course, many of the authoritative surveystyle studies of the FN display a fundamental hostility to Le Pen’s party, but there is now a new genre of campaigning and explicitly polemical books. Situated in one corner of this market is the small, introductory handbook-style guide. Michel Robert’s Petit manuel anti-FN is a good example of this type of book – it introduces the reader to fifteen important aspects of the FN’s daily activity – as is Nicole Gauthier’s L’extrême droite: un danger pour la démocratie?, a small guidebook which aims to place the ascendancy of the FN in the context of current European political trends.38 The anti-FN market is also home to a series of more substantive publications, which all aim to issue an intellectual riposte to Le Pen and his colleagues. The titles of some of these books are, by design, extremely emotive: Combattre le Front

Introduction 9 National, La France qui dit Non and L’appel de Strasbourg. The first of these, edited by David Martin-Castelnau, was a response to the FN’s municipal conquests in 1995. With contributions from, among others, Jean-François Kahn, Raoul Girardet, Michel Wieviorka, Bruno Etienne, Pascal Perrineau and Pierre-André Taguieff, this book seeks to set an agenda for future political activity. Perrineau, for example, argues that the nature of the FN electorate must be understood before any challenge can be made to the party’s influence, while Taguieff assesses the merits of the various anti-FN strategies on offer: ostracism, silence, calculated complacency, alliance, intellectual war, ‘the republican front’, and what he describes as, ‘action on social causes’.39 Taguieff has also contributed to the Nouvel observateur-sponsored, La France qui dit Non – a publication which sees itself as responding to the ‘resurgence of the extreme right’. Taguieff again stresses the need for a ‘counter-argument’ and declares that a confrontation with a ‘racist’ and ‘ethno-nationalist’ party must focus on the party’s conceptions of nation, race, ethnicity and civilisation. He says that enemies of Le Pen must attempt to deconstruct the ‘ethno-racial vision of the world which appears in FN discourse’.40 Likewise, the collection of essays included in L’appel de Strasbourg can be viewed as a response to the FN’s political and electoral emergence in Alsace. This book is particularly interested in the cause and effects of the FN’s rise. But as regards the political ideas embraced by the party there is, in Vassilis Vassilikos’ piece, a reminder that the need for a ‘scapegoat’ is a constant in the thinking of all ‘tribal groups’ – the guilty party is always and invariably ‘the other’.41 As one would expect, there are also the less standard and more unorthodox studies of the FN. Three of the recent batch are particularly worthy of note. In 1998 Caroline Fourest and Fiammetta Venner published a fascinating book entitled, Le Guide des Sponsors du Front National et de ses Amis. This work exposed the companies and firms who finance the FN, whether directly or indirectly. It is a very unusual reference guide and it cannot hide its suspicion of the FN as an organisation, nor its antipathy towards the political principles embodied by the party. Another intriguing book also appeared in 1988: Hitler Le Pen Mégret: Leur Programme, written by Raymond Castells. This simplistic but thought-provoking book attempts to compare and contrast the political programmes of Hitler ’s NSDAP (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiter partei [Nazi Party]) and Le Pen’s FN. Some of the analysis is interesting, but in general terms it is quite a narrow and crude effort to demonise the FN and its policy platform. More subtle is Christian Clamecy’s Lettre à un ami qui part pour le Front – a cri de coeur to ‘Thierry’, a misguided friend. This very personal work does not, primarily, seek to judge or condemn the



FN, but to understand and comprehend the party and its value system through an ‘objective’ reading of the party’s own documentation.42 There is, therefore, a healthy and varied literature on the FN. As regards this study, we should, initially, be aware of two themes that underpin the whole of the forthcoming analysis. First, it is important to note the significance of the notion of identity – an idea that now dominates the whole of FN discourse. Whether the context is the region, the nation or civilisation (Europe), the focal-point of party doctrine remains the preservation of identity – both French and European – and the need for defence is constantly reiterated. Second, the decade that saw the emergence and blossoming of the FN as an influential political force was also the decade that witnessed ‘l’alternance’: the advent of Socialist government for the first time since the Front populaire (1936– 9). Throughout the 1980s and 1990s there has been an ever-present ideological antagonism between Le Pen’s party and the PS, and it is significant that many crucial aspects of FN doctrine emerged – and were, to put no finer point on it, crystallised – by the experience of Socialist rule. This explains why, in the forthcoming pages, so much emphasis will be placed on the ideological development of the FN during the 1980s and early 1990s. This period was, as we will discover, fundamental to the evolution and growth of the party’s specific brand of nationalism. The structure of this book will reflect its main aims. The core of the book – Chapters 2 and 3 – will explain and analyse the nationalist ideology of the FN. As has already been stated, the contention of this study is that the nation acts as the pivot or axis around which the rest of the FN value system revolves. Thus, in Chapter 2 the party’s nationalism will be examined. The key component elements of this ideology will be considered: communal attachments – region, nation and Europe – and political symbols, most notably, the people, the land and Joan of Arc. The FN’s vision of the nation comes into even sharper focus when the topics of nationality code legislation and ‘anti-French racism’ are broached. In this context it would be true to say that, throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, the ideological duel between the PS and the FN – and, in particular, the two parties’ competing conceptions of nationhood – has been instrumental in helping Le Pen and his party forge a unique nationalist profile. In Chapter 2, therefore, several key questions will arise: what conception of the nation does the FN subscribe to? How do the separate parts of FN nationalism fit together? Is the party’s doctrine coherent or muddled by contradictions? And finally a fundamental demand: what kind of nationalism does the FN uphold? Chapter 3 – which dovetails naturally with Chapter 2 – will examine what are

Introduction 11 perceived by the FN to be the specific ‘threats’ to its vision of the French nation. Inevitably in Chapter 2 we will refer in passing to many of these ‘threats’, but in Chapter 3 they will be our sole focus and they will be evaluated in depth. For the FN, a primary national danger is dénatalité –demographic decline. Here the party argues that a low national birth-rate puts a question-mark over France’s future as a nation, and is evidence of a definite national malaise – also characterised by a sharp deterioration in moral values and a decline in the importance of the family. Likewise, party writers identify ‘the foreigner’ as a symptom, or cause, of French national decadence; they cannot only justify an exclusionist philosophy, but they can also talk in terms of an immigrant ‘invasion’. At this juncture it is important to note the rationale behind commencing our analysis in Chapter 2 with a consideration of dénatalité rather than the more high-profile issue of immigration. The reason for this is that dénatalité is interpreted by the FN as a fundamental danger – a prime symptom of national decline – and one that has actually conditioned and provoked the party’s awareness of the immigration ‘problem’. So, in a sense, Chapters 2 and 3 are the core of the book: an examination of the FN’s nationalism and its main component elements. Chapters 1 and 4, however, also serve a crucial purpose. Chapter 1 is designed to introduce the reader to the main influences on FN ideology and discourse. As such it will assess the significance of the many factions within the FN, and their impact on the construction of party doctrine. It will also go on to examine the relationship between the electorate of the party and its doctrine, and to outline the distinctive regional discourse advanced by the party and its myriad of local federations. This chapter, therefore, will act as a prelude to the central chapters on the make-up of the FN’s distinctive brand of nationalism. In a similar way, Chapter 4 can be viewed as an intriguing sequel to the core chapters on the nationalist ideology and discourse of the FN. This last chapter moves from the theory to the practice of FN nationalism. More specifically, it evaluates the era of FN municipal rule (June 1995 to the present day) and asks several main questions: what have been the main themes of FN municipal rule? To what extent has the FN’s nationalist ideology been on display in Toulon, Orange, Marignane and Vitrolles? How does the practice of FN nationalism relate to the theory of FN nationalism? Before 1995 it was often noted that the FN had never had to deal with the challenges of power. After 1995 it has been possible to assess how the FN has actually dealt with power, and how its actions have matched up to its words. This, not surprisingly, is a fascinating topic. After detailing what this book is about, it is equally important to note what this book is not about. The emergence, history, organisation and electorate of the FN –



intriguing subjects in themselves – have no real place in a study of ideology and discourse, and thus, they are referred to only in passing.43 Similarly, the implications of the FN’s rise for the other political parties in France cannot be covered, although at times the knock-on effect in terms of doctrine and policy has been substantial. The scope of this book also leaves much of FN doctrine and philosophy untouched: for instance, the areas of defence, education, health and religion. The party’s economic philosophy has also, to a large extent, been disregarded on account of its minimal links to our main topic of interest: the FN’s attitude to the nation and nationhood. In a sense, this neglect reflects the fact that for many commentators on contemporary French politics, socio-economic issues are passé – overtaken in significance and gravity by identity-based concerns.44 Finally, it is important to state that this study is not intended to be a discussion of secondary literature about the FN, nor a synthesis of recent academic conclusions about the party. Rather, it sets out to consider the ideology and discourse of the FN; and to achieve this objective it focuses extensively on primary material. Unusually perhaps for a party that is often branded ‘fascist’ and ‘anti-intellectual’, the FN attaches considerable importance to its political doctrine and, even more importantly, to publicising and articulating this doctrine. It talks a lot, for instance, about ‘intellectual influence’, and one of the main functions of the Délégation générale – a key unit inside the party – is to engender this. It is in this context that the Conseil scientifique du Front national should be viewed: an internal party organisation devoted to intellectual debate. The journal, Identité, also finds its rationale in the FN’s desire to elucidate ideas and promote awareness and discussion of doctrine. In a sense, therefore, there is a paradox at the heart of FN discourse. On the one hand, there is the search for intellectual influence; on the other, there is the crude, coarse and simplistic populism that is personified by Le Pen and characteristic of much of the party’s rhetoric. This intriguing duality will underscore much of the forthcoming analysis. In addition, it should be remembered that the FN has yet to hold national political office: a fact that helps perhaps to explain the rashness and naïveté of some FN statements. It is against this backdrop that FN literature and documentation should be considered. The forthcoming analysis will be based on a selection of different primary sources: books, documents and pamphlets, plus party journals and newspapers.

1 The contours of FN nationalism Influences and emphases

The French identity is a priceless treasure. (Bruno Mégret, L’Alternative nationale) The Great Change. (Title of Le Pen’s publicity video for the 1997 Legislative elections) The Front National is the political expression of an authentic current of thought....The intellectual approach presented by the Front National is a synthesis built around three main poles: identity, liberty and power. (FN handbook, Militer au front)

This chapter focuses on the nationalism of the FN – the party’s nationalist ideology and discourse. It is important first to define the two terms that we will be using throughout the chapter. ‘Ideology’ can be defined as the ideas at the basis of a political system – in this context, the nationalism of the FN. As Thompson argues, ideology can be viewed as ‘a purely descriptive term: one speaks of “systems of thought”, of “systems of belief”, of “symbolic practices” which pertain to social action or political projects’.1 It must be noted, however, that the FN disputes the fact that it has an ‘ideology’ at all and actually uses the word in an extremely pejorative manner. Instead it prefers to say that it has a ‘doctrine’.2 ‘Doctrine’ for the FN connotes a body of ‘common sense’, ‘concrete’ belief; ‘ideology’, on the other hand, is viewed as ‘abstract’, ‘scientific’ and associated with the left. The position of the party is as follows: ‘The Front National has presented itself from the start as the political affirmation of the


The contours of FN nationalism

national, popular and social right...the quiet presentation of incontestable truths’. However, even though commentators such as Bihr and Cambadélis and Osmond argue that it is very difficult to actually pin down and define the essence of FN ideology – Bihr talks about the ‘political and ideological heterogeneity’ of the FN, while Cambadélis and Osmond speak of the ‘plurality’ of FN ideas and a ‘changing discourse’ – it will soon become clear that there is a set of discernible ideas at the base of the party’s nationalism; and hence we will use the term ‘ideology’ in relation to the FN.3 ‘Discourse’ on the other hand can be defined as ‘language’ and ‘vocabulary’ – in this case, the language and vocabulary utilised by the FN in parading its nationalist beliefs and ideology. In a sense discourse is the language in which a political party expounds its doctrine, formulates its policies, and crafts its rhetoric. As Eagleton notes: All discourse is aimed at the production of certain effects in its recipients and is launched from some tendentious ‘subject position’; and to this extent we might conclude with the Greek Sophists that everything we say is really a matter of rhetorical performance with which questions of truth or cognition are strictly subordinate. If this is so, then all language is ‘ideological’.4 By necessity, therefore, we will be interested in what Bruno Mégret – Le Pen’s deputy at the top of the FN – has described as the ‘vocabulary battle’, and in the way in which the FN expounds its doctrine and policies at both the national and regional level. We should also be aware of the findings of Souchard et al., who have added to our understanding of the FN in their analysis entitled, aptly, Le Pen, Les mots. They have dissected the language of the FN leader and examined the individual words that he uses in set-piece speeches. Their conclusion is that Le Pen’s discourse is coherent to a very significant extent and does, in the end, amount to a ‘true ideological system’.5 Although the current study does not seek to be as ‘scientific’ as this 1997 enquiry, it will focus on many of the themes and political ideas that Souchard claims are intrinsic to FN discourse: among which are nation, nature, culture, hierarchy, work, family and country. Bihr, in his provocative study of the FN, highlights other aspects of the FN’s discourse. He is particularly interested in the type of discourse put forward by Le Pen and the FN, stressing its efficiency, but also its irrationality and internal contradictions. His main contention is that Le Pen’s seductive charm is far more impressive than his argumentation and that, in essence, he actually perverts language for his own ends. This perhaps is a point of fundamental significance. The content of FN discourse is of course interesting, but maybe the style of it is of even greater, and more substantive, importance. Bihr’s conclusion seems to be that Le Pen’s discourse is flawed but still, somehow, attractive to many French voters. It is in this sense that it is viewed as the symptom of a serious cultural crisis.6

The contours of FN nationalism 15 It is interesting that Bihr refers to the linkage between the discourse of Le Pen and the French electorate. Even though this study is about the ideas of the FN, and not the sociology of its vote, it is important at this early stage in our enquiries to be aware of this relationship. The specific point that Bihr appears to be making is that people are liable to vote FN even if they suspect that the discourse of the party is incoherent or somehow ‘wrong’. This is a vital point. It leads us to believe that the motivations of FN voters are various. Indeed, it would be true to say that while some French people do commit themselves to the FN on account of the ideas and policies it embraces, others – perhaps a significant minority – vote for the party in spite of the party’s discourse and ideology, or are even completely ignorant of it. It could be argued that for these people it is anger at, and frustration with, the political system which provokes them into voting for the FN – a significantly vociferous ‘anti-system’ party. Thus, while many writers have conducted in-depth investigations into the nature and makeup of the FN electorate – and concluded that it is both cross-sectional and, increasingly, popular and working class7 – for us the key issue remains the significance of discourse and ideology in determining voting patterns: is the FN vote based, at bottom, on ‘negative’ protest or the ‘positive’ appeal of the party’s ideas? The evidence here is mixed. It is of course manifestly the case that the FN styles itself as a protest party – as a party apart from the reigning political system, and actually hostile to it. Moreover, it has significant criticisms of the Fifth Republic as a political regime and of the parties – both on the left and the right – that operate within it. The feeling is that many French voters are attracted to the FN precisely because it is new, different and not a ‘traditional’ political party, and in this sense it has succeeded the PCF as the main receptacle of the protest vote. Girardet in his analysis talks about a party ‘contesting and protesting’; likewise Perrineau argues that the FN actually thrives on ‘anger’ and uses this to its political advantage.8 The inference to be drawn here is that individuals who vote for the party are not opting in ‘favour’ of the policies and political ideas embodied by it, but rather, choosing to vote ‘against’ the political status quo in France. If this is true up to a point, it must also be recognised that, as this whole study seeks to demonstrate, the FN does possess a reasonably coherent political programme. Not only this, but contrary to the line of thought that views the FN as both ‘fascist’ and devoid of political principles, the party does appear to have a significant appeal precisely because of its ideas. Indeed, data from recent elections casts important light on this issue. For example, an exit poll during the 1988 Presidential elections revealed that 76 per cent of Le Pen’s voters opted for him because of his ideas, while only 57 per cent of Barre voters and 46 per cent of Chirac loyalists said that the ideas personified


The contours of FN nationalism

by their candidate motivated them.9 Although we should not read too much into these figures – the other possible motivations, ‘personality’ and ‘party loyalty’, are significant variables in the equation – there is a strong indication here that ideas are important to prospective FN voters and we should not dismiss the FN as a movement with no positive appeal. Similarly, an opinion poll during the 1984 European elections – a landmark stage in the rise of the FN – revealed the chief motivations to vote of FN supporters. The top five motivations to vote made interesting reading: supporting the idea of reducing immigration (64 per cent), opposing left-wing government (33 per cent), the personality of Le Pen (31 per cent), not wanting to vote for Simone Veil (26 per cent), and to vent hostility towards the ‘classic opposition parties’, the UDF and RPR (22 per cent). While motivations 2, 4 and 5 are all ‘negative’ and about protest, 1 is about policy and 3 about personal charisma rather than political ideas. This of course is just a snapshot of opinion – albeit at a formative stage in the FN’s political development – but it does suggest that both protest and policy are significant dimensions to the FN’s electoral attraction, and thus when we refer to the party’s electorate we should not jump to hasty conclusions. Of course the FN poses as the protest party par excellence, but as this study unfolds we should not forget that vital constituencies within the French electorate – small businessmen, farmers and the unemployed, to name but three – are attracted to the FN for positive reasons and because the brand of nationalism upheld by the party is in some sense seductive.10 This chapter will now introduce and outline the main contours of the FN’s nationalism, with Chapters 2, 3 and 4 building upon this initial discussion. At this specific juncture we will pay attention to two particular elements: change and evolution, and the ‘regional’ dimension to the party’s discourse.

THE ‘NATIONAL’ FN Change and evolution: a static or evolving nationalism? This section seeks to examine the evolution of FN nationalism since the founding of the party in 1972. In so doing it will attempt to show how, to what extent and why the ideology and discourse of the FN has evolved over three decades. It will also, by implication, serve as a general introduction to FN nationalism. In more specific terms, there is an important question at the heart of this section: if there have been changes

The contours of FN nationalism 17 and evolutions in the FN’s nationalism, do they relate to the core ideological beliefs of the party or the way in which these beliefs have been displayed and expounded to the wider public? It needs be said at the outset that political parties are certainly not monolithic, static or unchanging entities. In the case of the FN there is plenty of evidence to show that the membership, electorate, organisational structures, and also the popularity, of the party have all evolved dramatically since 1972.11 It should not surprise us, therefore, if there have also been, at the same time, significant evolutions in ideology and discourse. On this issue Birenbaum points out that on scope and depth alone, the political programme of the FN has changed; he contrasts the two-page manifesto of 1973 with the ‘more detailed’ brochure produced ten years later. That said, we should also note the view of Shields, who has stressed the element of continuity in FN thinking. He says that Le Pen’s manifesto for the 1988 Presidential elections was ‘a distillation of the programme on which he and his party had campaigned from the moment they first arrived on the national stage in 1984’.12 It is certainly possible to identify a set of core beliefs that have prevailed since 1972. Birenbaum argues that the FN has viewed it as a ‘priority’ to stay disciplined in ideological terms, and that the aim has been to ‘conceive and diffuse a consistent political doctrine’. However, we must also acknowledge that the FN has not felt itself limited or constrained by its ideology: Hayward, for instance, has stated that the party’s ideological appeal had a ‘more than circumstantial and protest bias’, while Shields has claimed that at bottom the FN represents ‘less an ideological crusade than an opportunistic political movement’.13 We must also recognise that over three decades the discourse of the party – the language in which it has expounded its nationalism – has evolved significantly and has responded to changing contexts. Different writers have differing perspectives on this matter. On a general level, Jenkins and Sofos focus on globalisation. They argue that even though the recent trend towards globalisation has been strong, the nation as a concept and nationalism as an ideology have maintained a remarkable resilience. In this sense one could argue that moves towards globalisation have given a renewed impetus to nationalist movements like the FN. Bourseiller, on the other hand, has argued that the Front’s political line has evolved in line with ‘events and the little phrases of JeanMarie Le Pen’; while Soudais claims that it was the end of Communism (c. 1989–92) which enabled the FN to return to its true nationalist roots. For his part Birenbaum notes another crucial change in FN discourse: the move from a language of ‘denunciation’ to one in which ‘the elaboration of solutions’ is paramount. The view advanced is that this change was inherent in the party’s effort to ‘rectify its image’ – in effect, its desire


The contours of FN nationalism

to sound more ‘credible’ and perhaps even ‘respectable’.14 But we should not be surprised by all this. All political parties have to change and evolve in line with circumstances and contexts. For the FN, a coalition movement home to an array of currents, traditions and factions, this would seem to be especially the case. The fact also that the FN has a ‘spongelike ability to absorb and integrate into its doctrine new ideas emanating from modern social movements’ adds to the impression of a party constantly in flux.15 The nation and immigration For the most part, the core ideas and assumptions that lie behind FN ideology have remained in place for three decades. In particular, we must acknowledge that the concept of the nation has been fundamental.16 From the moment it incorporated the word into its party title, the FN has consistently stressed the importance of the nation and the related notion of identity. As Le Pen made plain: ‘The Front National indicates by its name that it considers the nation a beneficial and irreplaceable reality’.17 In so doing it follows in a long line of far-right nationalist movements. Indeed, one expert on the FN was prompted to ask whether the FN’s emphasis on ‘defence of the nation and the West’ in the period 1977–81 made it the natural heir to inter-war fascist groups such as Croix de feu.18 Significantly, however, the FN’s brand of nationalism does not seek to overthrow the Republic. It is true that in the early 1970s Le Pen was surrounded by people who were committed to non-democratic means. However, it is argued that the FN soon made it clear in its public pronouncements that it was fully committed to legal, democratic and republican politics – even though some onlookers might have doubted this.19 Here the conclusion must be that the FN has moderated its language and rhetoric in the hope of winning more votes at election time. As Shields has stated: ‘At the deeper levels of discourse and policy, there is...evidence of a desire to succeed within the terms of the prevailing political context’.20 This might well be so. It may be true that the public face of the FN and the configuration of its nationalism has evolved and changed with an external audience in mind. In fundamental terms, however, the party’s definition of the ‘nation’ and its conception of nationalism has remained fixed. This extract from the FN youth paper, Volontaire, is representative: To be sons and daughters of France is a privilege and a responsibility. Born in Brittany, Provence, Alsace or the North, we are the inheritors of our people. We

The contours of FN nationalism 19 are attached to this earth by the centuries of labour, suffering and sacrifices of our fathers who, generation after generation, have passed life on to us and who have entrusted us with the national patrimony....This historic communion between our people and our land is the starting point of our nation.21 The sentiments expressed in this passage would no doubt gain favour with the majority of party leaders and activists, whether past or present. However, within the party there has always been a slight but significant tension between those who see the nation in deterministic terms – with the accent on blood lines – and those who prefer to see the nation as a product of history and of voluntary will.22 Notwithstanding this, the FN has developed a broad perspective on the question of nationhood and nationality, and this perspective has been influenced considerably by contemporary events. In the 1980s and 1990s, for instance, the party’s approach to the question of what constitutes a nation was affected significantly by the break-up of the Soviet Empire and the Gulf War. It was not the case that there was a massive evolution or change in the FN approach; rather that the party’s viewpoint appeared in sharper focus. In essence the FN claimed that ‘natural’, ‘ethnically-defined’ nations – like Lithuania and Croatia, for example, but unlike Kuwait – should be supported and championed by nationalists. These international developments helped to reinforce the FN’s view of nationhood: a nation was an organic entity, a product of history, culture and civilisation.23 On the question of what constitutes a nation, FN thinking has placed special emphasis on shared memories, suffering and the notion of sacrifice. Sacrifice is a particularly important idea within FN nationalist thinking. The reigning notion is that sacrifice – and more importantly, evidence of sacrifice – is a kind of ‘passport’, which gains you near-automatic ‘entry’ into the nation; hence the FN’s constant adulation of army veterans, the harkis and also an array of other heroic national figures.24 Here there have been noticeable developments. As Catholic influence within the FN grew in the early 1980s the party embraced Joan of Arc as its nationalist heroine. Although the FN’s reverence for Joan is in many ways problematic and contradictory, this icon is something that came to unite the whole party. In the 1990s, without detracting at all from the glorification of Joan, the party’s gaze turned towards Clovis as a unifying national symbol. This new adulation had been provoked by nationwide celebrations in 1996 – celebrations that marked 1500 years since the death of Clovis. The FN’s interest was of huge significance: Clovis, the Christian father of France, had been ‘captured’ in a most pragmatic manner. For Le Pen and his colleagues Clovis symbolised


The contours of FN nationalism

the nation, religion and the integrity of France.25 The FN’s respect for Joan and Clovis is important in another sense, in that it epitomises the party’s defensive nationalism; it is both proud and protective of what it sees as France’s ‘pure’ history and its national tradition. The FN’s primary goal has always been the defence of the nation. It is in this context that the party has been sensitive to what it views as the ‘threats’ to the nation – chiefly, uncontrollable immigration, Jewish influence, demographic decline, separatism, Euro-federalism, cosmopolitanism and Americanisation. The FN has paid careful attention to these themes throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. That said, it is possible to identify distinct phases; for example, in the period immediately following the legalisation of abortion in 1975 the pages of FN journals were dominated by talk of ‘anti-French genocide’ and ‘demographic stagnation’.26 Likewise, in the early 1990s the Maastricht debate focused the minds of FN leaders on the ‘dangers’ of a Brussels-led federal Europe; and in the same period the opening of Euro Disneyland in Paris alerted the FN to the threat of American ‘cultural imperialism’.27 As regards immigration – a question which, according to the FN, is of the utmost importance for the future of the nation – there is debate about how high a profile the issue had in the early years of the party’s political activity. While Simmons argues that, ‘Le Pen uttered hardly a word about immigrants in his 1974 election campaign’, and that it was only in the 1980s and 1990s that immigration became central to the FN programme, Marcus claims that in the 1970s immigration was seen by the FN as ‘a clear danger to France’. He recalls that the party’s slogan for the 1973 Legislative elections was ‘Defending the French’ and that: ‘While the Party’s economic policy was to change considerably, many aspects of the Front’s later, more populist appeal were already present, not least its anti-immigrant message’.28 This anti-immigrant message was to remain significantly high-profile in FN rhetoric. Moreover, by the late 1970s the FN had introduced the notion of insecurity into its political lexicon – to highlight what it viewed as the undisputed link between immigrants and crime.29 Subitra Mitra has asked whether the FN’s emphasis on immigration makes it essentially a ‘single-issue party’.30 Marcus, for one, is in no doubt. He denies the ‘single-issue’ label, but maintains that immigration and the French identity are the dominant themes in FN doctrine. At the same time he emphasises how the party has evolved: ‘Since the early 1980s the NF has developed into a sophisticated political party with policy proposals on a wide range of issues’.31 There is, therefore, general agreement that immigration is a fundamentally important issue for the FN. At the same time, there is also some evidence to suggest that the language used by the party on this issue has changed and evolved. In the FN’s formative years the language employed by the party press was crude and unrefined: for example,

The contours of FN nationalism 21 in 1978 Militant talked about ‘the survival of the white nations’, while two years later Le National spoke of the ‘biological and historical specificity of the French people’.32 Propaganda techniques were also basic; the slogan, ‘ONE MILLION UNEMPLOYED IS ONE MILLION IMMIGRANTS TOO MANY’, appeared in 1979, to be updated and promulgated throughout the 1980s and 1990s.33 It would though be wrong to imply that the FN has become more sophisticated since the 1970s, because in many senses the party is still blunt and unsubtle in the way it expounds its anti-immigration position. It is still a vehicle for what has been called ‘the politics of race’ and it still believes in ‘crude remedies’ for the problems facing France.34 However, it would be true to say that the party has, over time, altered its vocabulary. Here the impact of GRECE (Groupe de recherche et d’étude pour la civilisation européenne) is important. In the 1980s GRECE was a significant influence on the FN in terms of doctrine, but also in terms of political strategy. As Simmons states: ‘Le Pen very quickly realised the importance of using – and adapting – ideas as weapons in the struggle to unify the extreme right behind the NF banner’.35 The ‘new’ language employed by the FN put a heavy emphasis on concepts like ‘difference’, ‘identity’ and ‘exclusion’, and referred to the ‘foreigner’, simply and subtly, as ‘the other’. The FN’s hostility to immigration is now expressed in political, cultural and economic terms, and the references to race and colour are now far less blunt. In a sense, the discourse of the FN has moderated itself. This, for sure, has been a tactical manoeuvre: the FN is, and always has been, extremely sensitive to how its discourse is perceived. Shields has argued that the FN has renounced ‘the cruder trappings of right-extremism in favour of a more acceptable guise’.36 In basing its anti-immigrant and anti-immigration rhetoric on a slightly more respectable footing – on the alleged problems of integration, on what is viewed as the cultural chasm separating Islam and the West, and on the growing terroristic threat of Arabic groups – the party seems to have realised that an overtly racist and racialist discourse is a hindrance to gaining political influence. This is a key evolution: from extreme racialism to what René Rémond has called ‘a relatively moderate and legalistic’ discourse. Of course this new, more coded language has not totally replaced the cruder vocabulary. FN leaders are always prone to slip into unreconstructed jargon – as recent controversies involving Le Pen and Catherine Mégret indicate.37 The same general point could also be made about FN leaders’ attitude to the Jews. While it is true that throughout the last twenty-five years the Jewish issue has never really been as potent or topical as that of North African immigration – the Jewish community in France is relatively small compared to, say, the Algerian community – it is still noticeable that the discourse of the FN has become slightly less crude. This may seem a strange


The contours of FN nationalism

thing to say given Le Pen’s recent record – in 1985 he claimed that the Holocaust was ‘a point of detail’ in the history of the Second World War – but we must not forget that in the 1970s party spokesmen purveyed an overtly racialistic form of anti-semitism.38 If we acknowledge the evolutionary dimension to party ideology and discourse, we must also note that the FN has been fairly undeviating in the way that it perceives of itself. It believes that it alone incarnates the ‘national, social and popular right’.39 Even when the party altered its self-image in the 1990s, to ‘Neither right, nor left...French!’,40 the priority definition remained the nation and nationality. Given this emphasis it is no surprise to discover that the FN has made the nation its political battleground; from the early 1970s to the late 1990s party leaders have condemned what they have viewed as the internationalism, and cosmopolitanism of the socialist-communist left. This strategy has been a consistent one, but it gathered extra momentum after 1981. With Mitterrand in power, with PS governments expounding a solidly liberal position on immigration, and with the emergence of an array of ‘anti-racist’ organisations, the party had an ideal opportunity to define itself in distinctive terms: as an enemy of the ‘universalist’ rights of man and as the natural antidote to the ‘anti-national’ PS. In this sense it was helpful for the FN to have the Socialists in government; their policies were, in effect, helping to mould the party. In this context it is significant that the notions of ‘anti-French racism’ and ‘national preference’ were grafted on to FN ideology in the early mid-1980s – two concepts which together acted as a kind of doctrinal riposte to Socialist rule.41 Europe, the economy and society On Europe there have been changes only in nuance over the last twenty-five years. At heart the FN has remained steadfast in its attitude, asserting its strong attachment to the notion of a common European civilisation. However, this loyalty to ‘Europe’ only exists so long and so far as the national integrity of France is unaffected. This is the main thrust of FN ideology: the national identity of France must never be diluted. In the 1970s the party’s discourse on Europe was entwined with its discourse on the West (‘l’Occident’). Militant, for instance, declared in 1975 that three themes had been instrumental in the birth of the FN: the defence of the people of France, the defence of the nation and the defence of Western civilisation. In this period the party stressed that Europe was part of ‘the West’ and thus that France was part of the same geo-political entity.42 At this early stage there was already a strong emphasis on defence and protection and a clear belief in a European, Western culture. Since then the clarity of the FN position has sharpened. In the 1980s the party’s virulent anti-

The contours of FN nationalism 23 Americanism coexisted with its paranoid fear of Soviet communism, and as a consequence it has talked far more exclusively about Europe as a bloc on its own. Bruno Mégret, in a speech to the Assemblée nationale, stated: ‘Europe is a community of myths, norms, values, history, religions, ethnic groups; in brief, a community of culture and civilisation’.43 It is important to stress that the FN has always been hostile to any notion of federalism – preferring instead the idea of a loosely confederal Europe. In the aftermath of Maastricht, party spokesmen were particularly violent in their language: Le Pen talked about ‘the treaty against the peoples’ and argued that France must not disappear in ‘the Euro-federalist jungle’.44 It is here that the FN has revealed its attachment to the idea of a European confederation. In 1979 the FN claimed that it was close to helping build ‘confederal Europe’ – a Europe that was not just about money and a Europe in which ‘national sovereignties must be respected’.45 Sixteen years later the language had hardly changed at all: ‘Europe must organise itself around the communal identity of the European people and constitute a confederation respectful of each nation’.46 In the 1980s and 1990s the FN’s discourse on Europe seemed to mature, and it coined the phrase ‘l’Europe des patries’ to describe the type of Europe it would like to see created. This vocabulary, however, was entirely complementary to the ‘confederal’ idea. As Pierre Bérard argued: ‘Europe must pass through a state of confederal political union’;47 what the FN calls a ‘Europe of nations’. The language used by the FN has naturally evolved in line with political changes; as the integration process has progressed ‘Brussels’ has rapidly become a byword for everything unattractive and inefficient about the EU.48 There have been new emphases in FN rhetoric. In the 1990s the party has had to grapple with the ‘New World Order’ – Maastricht, Schengen and GATT – and its discourse has reflected this; further European integration has been viewed in apocalyptical terms and the spectre of ‘internationalisation’ has been raised.49 If, over twenty-five years, the accent of FN discourse has varied, the core belief has not. The party has remained committed to the idea of a non-federal Europe in which national identities are respected; in short, ‘a French France in a European Europe’.50 In FN thinking ‘nationalism’ has always been compatible with ‘Europeanism’, but only in the strict sense that the FN believes in ‘Europeanism’ – namely, a ‘Europe of nations’. On the economy – a topic easy to ignore when analysing the FN’s nationalism, but arguably an issue on which the party’s nation-centred instincts are increasingly evident – the approach of the party has evolved significantly over thirty years. If at this point we also take into account the party’s approach to adjacent issues like agriculture and ecology, we will be able to discern other important and related ideological developments,


The contours of FN nationalism

some of which relate directly to the idea of the nation and nationalism. It would be apt first to cite the words of Bruno Mégret: ‘Contrary to internationalist economists for whom the economy has no other function than that of assuring individual prosperity...we consider that the economy must also serve the national interest’.51 This can be viewed as a guiding principle, and over three decades of fluctuating economic thinking the FN has, on the whole, remained loyal to it. It would appear that there have been three main phases of FN economic thinking. In the early years, the party’s economic policy contained ‘a strong dose of corporatism’. Even at this stage, however, the FN was committed to the defence of small businessmen and the diffusion of ownership.52 By the late 1970s, the party’s ‘liberal’ era had commenced; in the words of Winock, Le Pen had ‘accentuated the liberalism of the economic positions of his movement’.


This evolution was

symbolised by growing links with the Club de l’Horloge, and by the publication of Droite et démocratie economique.54 Here it is interesting to note that although the FN is often bracketed as part of the ‘new right’, Le Pen claimed that he was actually pre-Reagan and pre-Thatcher in his economic liberalism.55 It can be argued that the FN’s new liberal economic creed was consistent with nationalism in the sense that ‘nation’ equated to ‘people’, and liberal economics aimed first and foremost to liberate, empower and enfranchise the people. As Bastow explains, the ‘neoliberalism’ of the FN, intrinsic to which was the notion of ‘popular capitalism’, was about returning power ‘to the people, to the French people’.56 In recent years the FN’s economic doctrine has evolved in a protectionist direction. Marcus for one has noted this evolution towards economic nationalism – symbolised by the emphasis on ‘national preference’ – and protectionism.57 As Bastow notes, however, we must be very careful on this score. He agrees with Marcus that in the external sphere the FN has launched a concerted attack on international free trade and all its symptoms: GATT and Maastricht in particular. Bastow claims though that this move towards protectionism is not evident in the domestic sphere, and so we must not get carried away in charting the evolution of FN economic thinking away from liberalism.58 Bruno Mégret updated the FN’s economic position in his 1997 book, La Troisième Voie. In arguing for an alternative economic system – away from the twin poles of socialism and liberalism – he reaffirmed the FN’s hostility to the ‘opening of frontiers and the savage competition which results’. He also went on to state that the movement towards ‘world free-exchangism’ was tantamount to a policy of ‘world integration’,

The contours of FN nationalism 25 and in actually calling it an ‘anti-national’ enterprise he appeared to be adding an extra, economic dimension to the party’s core nationalism.59 This strategy of relating all issues, whatever their nature, to the nation, and to the wellbeing and integrity of the nation, is entirely typical of FN writers and is a consistent thread in much of party discourse (as we shall discover). The FN’s approach to agriculture and ecology – two issues that are again, in the party’s view, intrinsically linked to the idea of the nation and nationhood – has also evolved. Ever since the 1970s agriculture has been viewed as a pillar of the nation, as an integral part of the French heritage. In this the FN is reiterating a traditional far-right belief: the talk of ‘roots’, ‘the earth’ and ‘rootedness’ is entirely reminiscent of Barrès, Maurras and Vichy. Ecology, however, as an FN concern, has a shorter history. Early party programmes did make mention of ecology; Le Pen’s manifesto for the 1981 Presidential elections, for instance, talked in a very general way about ‘respect for the environment’ and ‘harmony between man and nature’.60 It was only in 1990, however, that the FN started to put significant emphasis on the issue. As Mégret announced: ‘The defence of the national identity implies the defence of ecology and our heritage....We are going to make a big effort in the direction of the rural world’.61 In recent years, therefore, the FN has tried to reclaim ecology for the right, or more accurately, for nationalists. Party theorists assert that ecology has been hijacked by les Verts and the parties of the left, who do not own the issue. The argument, in effect, is that the environment – the soil, the land and the natural world – is the nation, is France, and should therefore be protected. Hence the view advanced by the FN that ecology as a political issue is, in fundamental terms, about the nation, and should be an important concern of nationalists.62 On social questions it is also possible to discern the FN’s overt nationalist philosophy. This is most obvious on the family. In line with many right-wing movements before it, the FN has placed consistent emphasis on la famille. It is viewed as the backbone of the nation, and as such the party seeks to privilege it. Since the mid1980s the party’s adhesion to the notion of ‘national preference’ – and ‘family preference’ – has been especially significant.63 Intrinsic to the concepts of both national preference and family preference is the belief that French people only should benefit from welfare allowances – a belief that enshrines nationalist and, some would argue, racist ideals. Bourseiller argues in fact that the idea of a maternal income is ‘one of the oldest FN themes’.64 The fact that the FN in government would seek to promote population growth and thus, in its view, a ‘stronger France’, by offering financial


The contours of FN nationalism

rewards to large families merely emphasises the nationalist imperative behind the party’s social agenda. As FN documentation has stated: ‘A society which destroys the family is a society which commits suicide’.65 On other social questions the FN’s loyalty to the idea of the nation is also preeminent. On education, for example, the party has always had a profound distaste for what it sees as the ‘anti-national’ syllabus taught in schools. For good measure, the FN has gone on to claim that this ‘cosmopolitan’ syllabus is invariably taught by leftwing, ‘anti-national’ teachers.66 The consistent call has been for a national education system –‘philosophically and politically neutral’.67 Thus, in its 1985 policy programme the FN complained that ‘rooted subjects like history and geography had been knowingly destroyed’.68 Here, in the midst of the FN’s concerted attack on the French education system, a clear nationalist agenda appears. The notion of ‘rooted disciplines’ is fascinating – the idea that subjects orientated towards the nation and national belonging should not be neglected. In this sense the education system would not actually be neutral – it would be biased in favour of the nation and national tradition. Jean-Claude Martinez echoed this general position in 1987. He argued that school and education should have definite ends; in particular, it should serve ‘national redressment’.69 There is also a sense in which the FN’s longstanding commitment to increasing and improving ‘security’ can be interpreted as a nation-related concern. If on the macro plane Le Pen’s party believes in protecting France from external dangers – immigration and Euro-federalism, for example – on the micro level its emphasis is on protecting the people who make up the nation. One FN document recites the story of Hugues Capet who on becoming king of France had to ‘maintain security between Paris and Orleans’.70 In this sense the FN view is that the state must protect the people. So far, this sounds like a fairly standard argument. However, in the context of contemporary France, the FN pays particular attention to the immigrant population. It argues that previous governments have been guilty of ‘political and moral laxity’; as a result they have served to ‘undermine the traditional values of our civilisation’. The implication of the party’s statement on security and justice is that the French legal system has actually ‘favoured’ foreigners. Under an FN government this would change: foreigners would not be privileged vis-à-vis French people, while at the same time a considerable effort would be made to reduce immigrant crime.71 The FN view is that, just like unwanted immigrants should be excluded from the nation, unwanted criminals and terrorists should somehow also be ‘excluded’. In the 1990s, a new group of people

The contours of FN nationalism 27 entered into the FN’s calculations: AIDS victims too were to be excluded and imprisoned in special ‘sidatoriums’. Like Jews, immigrants, socialists and terrorists before them, ‘impure’ AIDS victims had no place in the nation. Leadership, membership and ideology So far we have become familiar with the general contours of the FN’s nationalism. We have also noted how and to what extent this ideology, and the language in which it has been articulated, has evolved and changed since 1972. Now we move on to an adjacent issue: the relationship between FN ideology and discourse on the one hand and the party’s leadership and membership on the other. In many ways this issue is all about strategy. The FN leadership must advance an ideology and a discourse in a manner likely to placate the party’s membership and reflect its views, and also to attract French voters at large. This is a very difficult conjuring trick. At all costs the leadership must not alienate members or potential voters. In this section, therefore, we will investigate the nature and character of the factions that exist within the FN, and we will also attempt to deduce and quantify the exact impact of these factions on FN ideology and discourse. ‘Families’ within the FN coalition The leadership of the FN has been the subject of substantive academic enquiry.72 The elites at the top of the party are various; there is certainly not just one monolithic head. Of course Le Pen is the titular president, and in his own personal vocabulary he must attempt to reflect and synthesise the main currents of thought within the party. This, however, is a difficult task as the FN, by common consent, is a synthesis: extremely heterogeneous in terms of both leadership and membership. Bourseiller, for instance, has called it ‘a compound movement’; Monzat has described it as a ‘federation of diverse currents’; and Soudais has also commented on ‘the diversity of currents represented’ at the heart of the FN.73 While most writers are agreed that the FN is, at root, a coalition of varied political interests, there is no real consensus as to what these interests are. First, it should be stated that, as in all other political parties, there are hardliners and moderates, and also sub-groups representing different generations.74 When it comes to the ideological ‘families’ within the party, there are diverging perspectives. Simmons picks out four main factions: solidarists, integrists, horlogers and moderates. Bourseiller settles on seven main ‘families’: nationalist, new right,


The contours of FN nationalism

catholic, national conservative, revolutionary nationalist, royalist and moonie. And, within the Bureau politique he pinpoints four main groups within the 1990s FN: stirboisiens, horlogers, traditionalist Catholics and historic figures of the national right.75 Monzat for his part identifies even more sub-groups or factions: anti-Semitic and anti-Masonic veterans, resistants, ex-Poujadists, Algérie française loyalists, former Tixier-Vignancour supporters, neo-liberals, Chevaliers d’une Europe Chréitienne, monarchists, GRECE and neo-nazis; and Soudais is equally comprehensive: Maurrasians, Vichy and Algérie française veterans, Poujadists, revolutionary nationalists, Catholic traditionalists, and former members of GRECE, the Club de l’horloge, the RPR and UDF. Given the array of factions, it is no surprise that the FN likes to describe itself as ‘a national gathering’.76 The fact that different commentators have identified different factions within the FN serves to emphasise the fact that these groupings are neither official nor formally constituted. As Birenbaum has stated: ‘Membership of one of these teams does not forbid affinities or even ententes with members of teams considered as competing’.77 If we are to move on, however, and analyse the relationship between the internal FN factions and the ideology and discourse of the party, we need to identify the most important and high-profile factions within the party, so as to have an adequate base on which to commence our discussion. Thus, bearing in mind the analyses of Simmons, Bourseiller, Monzat and Soudais, it is perhaps possible after all to reach some kind of consensus on the most significant families within the coalition. We will focus on the following: Catholic integrists, Algérie française veterans, GRECE and Club de l’horloge neo-liberals, former Poujadists and monarchists. Our task will be to examine each of the main families and to deduce how and to what extent each group’s concerns are reflected in the ideology and discourse of the FN as it operates on the national political stage. It is very difficult of course to assess the exact impact of a faction –any faction – on a political party’s programme, on its core values and on its language and vocabulary. In a sense, it is impossible to prove the influence of a family within the FN coalition on policy and discourse. The bottom line, however, is that, in a very general sense, FN discourse and ideology is reflective of these factions’ concerns. Definite links and relationships are at times difficult to establish, but this should not diminish the fact that FN ideology and discourse, often ambiguous and contradictory, is most certainly a product of the party’s heterogeneous leadership and membership.78 The integrist catholic faction is probably the most visible, and influential, within the FN; Bourseiller has described it as ‘a genuine lobby at the heart of Le Pen’s

The contours of FN nationalism 29 party’.79 Although the party has always identified itself with the Catholic Church – viewing it as an important part of the national tradition – it has never, and will never, present itself as a confessional party as such.80 It is in this fact that the rationale of the integrist Catholics, within the FN, emerges. The integrists – also known as ‘fundamentalists’ –are represented in the higher echelons of the party by Roman Marie and Bernard Antony, and the voice of the faction is heard through Présent, AGRIF (l’Alliance générale contre le racisme et pour le respect de l’identité française et chrétienne) and les comites Chrétiente-Solidarité; the latter has been described as ‘a friendly organisation’ and seeks to create a link between political action and the social and moral doctrine of the church.81 The integrists’ main focus is the traditional Romebased Catholic Church. It is possible to identify a number of areas in which the integrists’ agenda is actually taken on board by Le Pen and the FN leadership, but we do have to bear in mind our initial caveat – that tracing the influence of a faction on the party’s political outlook is extremely problematic. On a superficial level it is clear that the FN leadership does feel the need to ingratiate itself with its Catholic constituency. For example, it is proud to proclaim that its party rallies are always preceded by mass. Likewise Le Pen, in his publicity literature, has been eager to exploit the fact that he has met and exchanged views with the Pope.82 More substantively, the doctrine of the FN shows a heavy Catholic influence. As we will see in Chapter 3, the FN espouses an explicit attachment to religious teaching and the values of the Church in its strictures on the family, abortion, contraception and homosexuality. Equally, the party’s condemnation of Islam is conditioned by a fervent belief in the superiority of Catholic Europe and in the inevitability of conflict between Muslims and Christians. The belief is that in some undefinable way, the Church is a bulwark against the ‘mortal perils’ that confront France, and that the good health of the Church conditions that of the nation.83 Significantly too, the FN’s perspective on the French Revolution appears to be, in part at least, the product of integrist influence. Since its formation in 1972 the FN has consistently condemned the Revolution and in recent years it has been particularly scornful of the rights of man. Amid the bicentenary celebrations, National hebdo produced a special supplement entitled ‘15 August 89’. In it François Brigneau talked about the Revolution as ‘essentially a crusade against the cross’, as an event that was ‘anti-Catholic by essence and design’; the priority of the Revolution, he argued, had been to destroy the Church; he maintained there was another approach: ‘loyalty to French France, to its heroes, to its saints and its tradition’.84 For some within the FN the ‘evil’ of 1789 is its political legacy; for others – most notably integrist Catholics – it is dechristianisation and what is viewed as the Revolution’s anti-Catholic rationale. As Bourseiller has written: ‘Strongly influential, the traditionalist Catholics use the Front to distil a clearly anti-democratic message’.85


The contours of FN nationalism It could be argued that the bridge between the FN and the integrists, particularly

in the late 1980s, was Mgr Lefebvre. The rebel archbishop was well known, if not notorious, for his sympathies with Le Pen and FN ideology. In turn the party idolised him as the personification of traditional Catholicism, as the ‘only guarantee of the catholic tradition’.86 National hebdo published a special set-piece interview with Lefebvre, and examining the content of the interview it is noticeable how the concerns of Lefebvre replicate those of the FN almost exactly: the Islamic ‘invasion’ of France, the significance of the veil or tchador controversy, and the ‘agony’ of Christian Lebanon.87 As we will see later, FN discourse has placed a significant emphasis on Islam and the veil. On Lebanon, however, it is worth noting the words of Carl Lang. In the same way as Lefebvre talks about the ‘agony’ of Lebanon, Lang refers to a country ‘in flames’. Lang actually argues that the ‘cowardice’ of France had been to blame for Lebanon’s problems: ‘For two centuries Lebanon was a Christian kingdom to which Saint Louis promised aid and protection always’. Lang cites the words of another archbishop, who claimed that Lebanon was ‘the last Oriental refuge of Christianity’, and goes on to state that Le Pen for one will not stand by and watch the country die. Although Lang alludes to the realpolitik of diplomacy – the dominance of Syria and the growing irrelevance of France – his argument is based essentially on religion; it could be stated that his language is, at the same time, both a product of integrist influence and designed to be a positive signal to the catholic constituency within the FN.88 The FN’s association with Catholicism and some elements of the Catholic Church adds to the impression of the party as a staunchly traditional political formation powerfully aware of the component parts of the national tradition. These links also suggest that it wants to expand its political and electoral appeal even more towards ultra-traditional Catholics in France.89 If the integrists exist as the most visible faction inside the FN, the veterans of Algérie française – primarily Le Pen, Holeindre, Sergent, Arrighi and Domenech – combine to form an extremely strong emotional force within the party’s ranks. It is true that a significant number of party leaders, and members, are veterans of the conflict and identify themselves forcefully with nostalgia for the French Empire. Many, including Le Pen –who is very keen to advertise the fact – fought for France in Indo-China and Algeria; others just retain a nostalgia for empire and a longing for French greatness. The belief of these people is that: ‘A people without memories is a people without a future’.90 The fact is that Algérie française veterans comprise a significant ‘family’ within the FN. In addition to their special brand of imperialist nationalism, the veterans retain a unique belief in the French military; naturally,

The contours of FN nationalism 31 therefore, it is the civil authorities in Paris who are blamed for letting the colonists and the army down in Algeria. The Algérie française faction within the FN is personified most strikingly by Roger Holeindre and by the CNC (le Cercle national des combattants). The CNC is a kind of glorified support group for anciens combattants; Le Pen’s view is that it represents a unique ‘civic and patriotic spirit’.91 The influence of the Algérie française faction on the FN as a whole can be gauged in several different spheres. First, in the FN’s general discourse it is clear that the issue of Algérie française holds great sway. As Birenbaum argues, the FN is habitually portrayed as the party of people who are still nostalgic about France’s colonies.92 Within FN ranks there is, most certainly, a strong pieds noirs presence; so much so that in 1987 the party set up the Cercle national des répatries (CNR) for former colonists. This was a very significant initiative; it was as if the FN was saying that it, alone, should be the natural home for all pieds noirs. On this score there is no doubting the saliency of the empire issue. At root, the FN view is that the French Empire should never have been dismantled. At one FN rally I attended I made a special note of audience reactions. My unofficial ‘clapometer’ showed that Roger Holeindre was the biggest hit; he only had to say the words, ‘Long live Algérie française!’, for the crowd to go wild in raptures.93 In FN circles the phrase has magic appeal. Second, it appears that the Algérie française faction has had a strong impact on the party’s immigration discourse. While the war itself has acquired mythical status – in 1990 the party launched a petition entitled, ‘No to the Celebration of 19 March 1962’ – it would seem to be the case that the party’s hostility to North African, Arab, Islamic immigrants, and Algerians in particular, stems directly from the bad memories and bitterness that the war, and the failure of the Algérie française movement, engendered.94 In 1984 Le Pen reminded people that he had predicted that the failure of ‘French Algeria’ would mean, almost inevitably, the dawn of ‘Algerian France’; and the FN now uses emotive words like ‘invasion’ and ‘colonisation’ in its rhetoric to describe the contemporary flow of Algerian immigrants into France.95 At the heart of the FN, the Poujadist inheritance is almost as significant as that of l’Algérie française. Although Le Pen himself was involved in the Poujadist ‘explosion’ of the 1950s, the impact of this experience on the ideology and discourse of the FN is not automatically obvious. However, it would be true to say that the Poujadist legacy has had a substantive effect, in an almost undefinable way, on the mentality and psyche of the party. The question of mentality is fascinating. In the 1950s Pierre Poujade and his followers whipped up a huge campaign of protest against big business and the governments of the Fourth Republic.96 Poujade, who saw himself as the spokesman for the ‘small man’ railed against taxation, bureaucracy, Parisian centralisation, the


The contours of FN nationalism

demise of small shopkeepers and, in general, the ‘system’. In the 1980s and 1990s, the ex-Poujadists within the FN – Birenbaum estimates that they account for 6.4 per cent of FN activists with a political past97 – have certainly influenced the nature and tone of FN discourse. It is not so much that this faction has been successful in getting the FN to replicate specific aspects of the Poujadist agenda, but rather that it has been able to affect the general psyche of the party; the FN is proud to proclaim that it speaks for ‘the people’, for the ‘small man’ and for the ordinary man in the street; and that it sees only corruption and decadence in the political establishment and particularly in the hegemony of ‘the gang of four’.98 On policy the faction appears to be a significant influence on the FN’s economic platform. As Marcus has written: For the domestic economy the National Front’s programme, with its emphasis on reducing taxation and public spending, has almost a poujadiste vein – an attempt to relieve the burden on the little man, the small shopkeeper or businessman. The Front wants progressively to abandon income tax. It proposes a variety of measures to help small businesses, to ease their access to funding and to reduce the amount of State bureaucracy with which they have to deal.99 The party’s commitment to tax reductions and its belief in the small-business sector, is particularly reminiscent of Poujadist doctrine. One recent FN leaflet proclaimed: ‘Small businessmen, artisans.... It is necessary to react!’ It went on to state: Despised, persecuted by tax, the victims of insecurity, and menaced by savage competition, artisans and small businessmen are nevertheless the soul of the towns and villages of France. To defend you, to permit you to create jobs and war against fiscal injustice you can count on the Front National and Jean-Marie Le Pen – the only political man of calibre to have created and led his own PME. You desire a town and a France more French, more dynamic, harmonious, prosperous, tranquil and clean? In the municipal elections, to see your ideas victorious you should support the FN candidates in your town.100 Here there is substantive evidence of the FN’s Poujadist inheritance: hostility to tax – ‘The war against taxation, whether at the local, national or European level, is a constant in the activity of the Front National’ –together with belief in the small business sector and a kind of parochial, small-town nationalism.101 Some of the FN’s specific policy proposals are also highly reminiscent of Poujadist demands:

The contours of FN nationalism 33 Today there are too many big hypermarkets. The valuing of traditional products and the favouring of small businesses. A war without mercy on insecurity and uncontrolled immigration.102 These proposals are significant for two reasons: their Poujadist tone, and the way in which they take account of the contemporary ‘scourge’ of immigration and insecurity. It is not just in its political rhetoric and its policy ideas that the FN reflects the influence of the Poujadist family within its ranks; the party’s emphasis on tax and taxreduction is highlighted by its friendly links with l’Association pour la suppression de l’impôt sur le revenu et la reforme fiscale, le Cercle des citoyens contribuables and the Universités fiscales européenes de printemps.103 The heterogeneity of the FN is emphasised by the fact that the Poujadists and the Algeria veterans within the movement – nostalgic, old fashioned, and to an extent past their political ‘sell-by date’ – have only a little in common with another group of insiders: those who began their political careers either in GRECE, in the Club de l’horloge, or on the mainstream right.104 Monzat states that: GRECE appears de facto as one of the three pillars of education and training within the FN, with the Présent team and also with members of the Club de l’horloge: it plays a significant role in the internal equilibrium of the party.105 Together, the GRECE and Club de l’horloge personnel form a liberal or neo-liberal faction within the party: a modern, intellectual and highly sophisticated lobby pushing a ‘liberal identity-based liberalism’.106 As Marcus has written: The National Front’s support for the liberal economy owes much to the influence of the French ‘New Right’. Its 1985 proposals for instituting a programme of ‘national preference’ in employment, for example, drew heavily on the text of a report published by the Club de l’Horloge and written by Jean-Yves Le Gallou, then a member of the Parti républicain, now a member of the Front’s Bureau Politique...economic policy is an area where the different ideological traditions of the Party’s leadership are most clearly evident.107


The contours of FN nationalism

The two most prominent liberals are Bruno Mégret and Jean-Yves Le Gallou. Both spent their formative political life on the liberal right and moved on to the FN in the mid-1980s. Mégret, Le Gallou and others were responsible in particular for the new language employed by the FN;108 this language was adopted in stages, but it was in the late 1980s that it become pre-eminent. From the pressure groups and parties of the liberal right, the FN took on a whole series of notions, ideas and words including ‘difference’, ‘preference’ and ‘identity’. This new language enabled the FN to advance its political programme in a more credible manner and to yearn for electoral alliances with the moderate right;109 on the surface there was now more sophistication and more intellectual respectability. This faction brought other baggage with it. In addition to a belief in electoral alliances with parties of the mainstream right, it brought a distinctive ideological outlook, which in time was to shape the ideology of the FN as a whole. It was particularly associated with the notion of ‘national preference’. In other areas too there was a definite and discernible impact: Birenbaum, for example, argues that the FN’s 1985 statement on employment was almost identical to that of a Club de l’horloge commission. Today there still seems to be a relationship of significance between Le Pen, the FN and the Club de l’horloge; Bourseiller has commented that the new right exists as a kind of ‘doctrinal laboratory’ and ‘has always served the arsenal of others’.110 There is, finally, a monarchist family within the FN. The most celebrated monarchist in the upper echelons of the party is George-Paul Wagner. Although it has been claimed that there are ‘numerous monarchical loyalists at the heart of the FN’, it would be true to say that the monarchist faction is not the most high-profile subgroup within the party.111 It would be wrong, however, to totally play down the influence of monarchists inside the FN, mainly because there is an important overlap between catholic and monarchist factions. There is a significant convergence in ideas here, and both groups – particularly the royalists – have exploited the opportunity to spread ideas and infiltrate a republican formation like the FN. Perhaps this is a curious state of affairs, but it serves to highlight the uniqueness of the FN and, significantly, the coalition nature of the movement.112 It must also be pointed out that many party leaders do harbour monarchist sympathies without actually ‘coming out’ as outright monarchists. Likewise it is clear that as a party of the right the FN exudes a natural nostalgia for traditionalist, monarchist writers – Maurras and de Maistre, for example. This nostalgia is captured by the FN’s many newsletters and journals: notable monarchists are lauded, important eras in royalist history are highlighted and, of even more significance, in 1989 the party aligned itself with the ‘Anti-89’ crusade. This campaign was a broad-based attack on

The contours of FN nationalism 35 the Revolution and the legacy of 1789. National hebdo summed up the general FN position; it regarded the 200th anniversary celebrations as a costly waste of time and talked about, ‘The farce of the Bicentenary’.113 It is important to realise that there is a definite overlap between monarchist and catholic agendas within the FN. The monarchist ‘cell’ naturally emphasises the catholic heritage of France and the ‘crimes’ of 1789, viewed as ‘an anti-Christian revolution’.114 The monarchist influence is also evident in the way in which the FN interprets the history of France; namely as a glorious history of kings and royalty. To those who say that the history of France begins in 1789 the FN says that the nation is of far greater depth and tradition. The FN does not crusade for a king, but the ‘saviour’ figure of Le Pen is viewed as the ideal substitute.

THE ‘REGIONAL’ FN The federations: FN nationalism at a regional level FN discourse at the regional, federation level is a crucial aspect of the party’s political activity. In organisational terms, the departmental federations of the FN are vital. In terms of discourse they are equally so, representing an important political voice. To some extent in fact it is surprising that the regional dimension to the party has not attracted more detailed academic attention, for it is clear that the federations espouse and expound a fascinating political language, with each specific federation, within crucial set limits, stressing and emphasising its own particular concerns. This regional FN discourse – exemplified best in election literature, in the statements of local officials, and in the pages of the party press – is important because it reveals major clues about the nature of the party’s nationalism. In fact, according to Jean-Yves Le Gallou, it is the primary task of the FN’s regional representatives to uphold the party’s nationalist doctrine: With 239 new representatives, the Front National will in the future dispose of a powerful representation in the regional councils. These new representatives have a mission first of all to listen to the voice of French France in the regional councils: They are there to defend the identity and the sovereignty of the nation.115 Equally explicit was Carl Lang in 1995:


The contours of FN nationalism It is time to return the towns of France to the people of France.... On the 11 and 18 June...the voters could take the keys to their town and make them more French through less immigration, quieter through better security, and more generous via the award of social aid to French people first.116

While Chapters 2 and 3 of this book will be devoted to the national, Paris discourse of the FN, this section will investigate how the party’s nationalism is propagated at the regional level. Quite predictably, the FN sees itself as an extremely effective political force at the local and regional level.117 The party leadership demands both moderation and discipline in its local officials but, to put it crudely, it does not always get this.118 Several key questions therefore emerge: to what extent is the regional discourse of the FN identical to the discourse emanating from the party’s Paris HQ? What is the exact relationship between the FN’s nationalism and its regional discourse? To what extent does each federation have leeway to experiment and formulate its own individualised discourse? In what sense does the regional discourse of the party reflect, and act as a vehicle for, FN nationalism? FN organisation: Paris and the provinces An examination of the FN’s nationalism, as revealed at the local level, can only really follow on from an understanding of how the party operates in the provinces. The FN’s own publication, Militer au Front, states that the FN is ‘a movement of national scope (and) is active throughout the country’.119 This statement, however, conceals many complexities. The FN was founded in 1972, and for many years remained a small and irrelevant fringe movement. But, following the party’s electoral breakthrough in the early 1980s, FN leaders were eager to build up a nationwide organisation of departmental federations and to re-create the party ‘from bottom-up’. Jonathan Marcus quotes Carl Lang, speaking in 1988: It must be remembered that the Front was established around the personality of Jean-Marie Le Pen, from the top downwards, and it was necessary to decentralise the organisation, to give it roots, to provide it with the true structure of a political movement with national dimensions.120 It could be argued that over the last decade and a half, the FN has established an effective network of departmental federations.121 However, there is still much evidence

The contours of FN nationalism 37 to show that the party remains an overtly centralised organisation. There are many stories, for example, of the FN’s Paris HQ imposing national candidates on local party machines – most notably, those of Isère, Vaucluse and le Var – and also ample evidence of general national/local friction: in Bouches-du-Rhône, Bas/Haut Rhin and other areas of France.122 In addition, the FN has always emphasised its desire to create a uniform and homogeneous discourse. In the context of the party’s cantonal and municipal activity there appears to be a strong Paris influence. For a start, all the FN’s municipal councillors are led by a special official who ‘coordinates their action, and transmits national instructions to them’. The departmental official is, meantime, in constant liaison with the national secretary in Paris who ‘advances the FN’s programme of action in the communes’.123 What the FN hopes to create is a coherent and consistent discourse. As Jonathan Marcus states: For those who continue to carry the NF’s banner at elections, obedience to the party hierarchy is seen as essential. Le Gallou told a gathering of Front regional councillors that unity had to be preserved at any price and no sign of disagreement should be shown in public. Le Pen himself reinforced the message, noting that it was not acceptable to have diverging views within the NF in any council debate.124 Le Pen and the FN are thus highly aware of the discipline demanded by modern-day political combat. Guy Birenbaum reinforces this point. He states that in local elections Le Pen knows that he must cede his monopoly of speech, but only on one condition: that all candidates and leaders ‘reproduce an homogeneous discourse’; Birenbaum concludes that the FN’s aim is always to appear as a united and responsible party.125 It is not surprising, therefore, that the verdict of commentators is that the FN is a massively centralised body. Simmons, for instance, argues that the FN has an ‘obsession’ with discipline and hierarchy, and a paranoid fear of splits and divisions. He states that the party forbids local sections from liaising with each other independently: they are forced to go through the ‘executive organs’ at the top of the party structure.126 In a similar vein Marcus maintains that although the FN has made a conscious effort to expand its local roots, it is more ‘autocratic’ than ‘decentralised’: In practice the Front is a highly centralised machine with a strong pyramid-like organisation. Power is held at the top and Le Pen dominates its internal life. The essential function of the party machine is not so far removed from the traditional Communist model, which, in organisational terms it mirrors closely: the party


The contours of FN nationalism serves to transmit policy downwards to the foot-soldiers who actually put up the posters and staff the Front’s local operations.127

In matters of political discourse the FN is clearly very strict. Birenbaum talks about the ‘internal ideological discipline’ imposed by the party and comments that: ‘Official (FN) discourse must be diffused towards the base and must envelop all officials and militants’.128 This view is illustrated by FN veteran Jean-Marie Le Chevallier, who is quoted as telling one party councillor: ‘If you disgree with the party that got you elected, you either shut up or resign your seat’.129 Nonetheless, we should always remember that it is difficult for a political organisation – any political organisation – to impose total uniformity in organisation and discourse. Although it has been argued that local FN structures are very similar to national structures, it is also the case that the federations have their own individual organisation. The national/regional policy balance at a local level is determined by many factors, and the bottom line, clearly, is that it is logistically impossible for Paris just to impose a set of identikit policies for all regions of France. In this context, the FN’s publicity secretary has a particularly crucial role. Birenbaum is in no doubt that this key figure – each of the FN’s departmental offices has its own publicity chief – is under orders to diffuse national campaign material, but that he or she also has room to develop, and distribute, ‘departmental propaganda material’.130 The reality of the situation is that the party’s perspective and doctrinal emphases may vary in accordance with local circumstances, and to quote one authority on the FN, ‘there are clearly differing currents and viewpoints’.131 Le Pen, naturally, has often tried to emphasise national umbrella themes during local elections – for example, ‘the general corruption in all towns’132 – but Carl Lang, secretary-general throughout the early 1990s, has consciously backed ‘efforts to adapt the party’s rhetoric and message to meet local concerns, to find local echoes of its national themes of immigration, criminality, taxation and so on’.133 Jean-Yves Le Gallou has also stated: ‘One does not have the same programme in Neuilly as in Gennevilliers’. Significantly, Birenbaum argues that in the 1989 Municipal elections the party was able to ‘adjust themes to local situations’; but he says at the same time that the ‘finicky control’ of Paris forcibly obliged FN candidates around the country to take up two of the four main national campaign themes (taxation, immigration, insecurity and the environment).134 As Soudais argues, the fact of the matter is that the federations are working for the success of Le Pen and the FN at the central, national level.135

The contours of FN nationalism 39 Slogans, symbols and logos: the centrality of the nation The attitude of the FN towards local politics – and, in particular, the innate nationalism of the party – is illustrated most starkly in its regional press. More specifically, it is in the words and phrases chosen as journal titles, and in the symbols utilised as regional party logos, that the party’s approach to political activity emerges most graphically. First, our analysis will turn to the titles of FN newsletters. Around France party journals carry the following names: Vouloir (Meurthe-et-Moselle) Le Léopard (Basse-Normandie) Vigilance (Manche) National Maine (Mayenne) National 44 (Loire-Atlantique) Volontaire (Loire-Atlantique) Le Rempart (Rennes) La Lettre Nationale du Vendômois et du Perche (Vendôme) Le Porte Voix (Blois) La Lettre Nationale du Loir-et-Cher (Loir-et-Cher) Front National 74 (Annecy) Front Nord (Le Nord) L’Hermine (Brittany) Le Réveil de L’Ariege (Ariege) Allez Vitrolles (Vitrolles) National 60 (Oise) La Lettre de Pierre Descaves (Noyon) Le Pays Réel (FNJ 60, Oise) A L’Ecoute du Tarn (Tarn)136 Together, these titles paint a vivid picture of the FN: its rationale and also its general political style. A plethora of themes emerge out of this roll-call. Initially, it is noteworthy that six out of the nineteen titles incorporate the word national – an overt indication that the party’s main loyalty is the nation and all related ‘national’ concerns. Even though FN journals do highlight crucial regional concerns, and are dominated, to a significant extent, by ‘local’ issues, the titles of the publications do advance the nation and the national as the ultimate cause. As we have noted already, the nation is the fundamental reference point for all FN activists.


The contours of FN nationalism

Several other journal titles relate to the theme of nation – but much more subtly than those like National 44 and La Lettre Nationale du Loir-et-Cher. This in fact is where journals’ title-choice is particularly intriguing. Take, for example, the titles Le Rempart and Vigilance. Here, a crucial aspect of the FN’s nationalism is exposed. Both titles allude to the idea of defence and protection – Le Rempart conjures up a powerful image of ramparts and protected military forts, while Vigilance intimates strongly that local people have to be on guard in the face of ‘danger’. For experienced FN-watchers there is no doubt the meaning of this imagery: France, Frenchness or even the locality (Rennes) is in need of ‘ramparts’ to defend itself against manifold threats; likewise the people of Manche, and France, need vigilance to withstand and overcome contemporary dangers.137 The theme of ‘nation’ is also reflected in three other journal titles: Vouloir, Le Réveil de L’Ariege and Le Pays Réel. Together the words in these titles are highly significant: Vouloir translates as ‘want’ or ‘desire’, Réveil can be taken to mean ‘awakening’ and Le Pays Réel is a phrase utilised by many far-right movements to describe the nation’s fundamental feeling or sentiment. In each case there is an implicit connotation: first, the FN has definite, passionate desires; second, the party is striving for a real awakening of France as a nation, and among French people; and third, it is always searching for the real or traditional France. In each case too it would seem that the regional and the national are natural corollaries. A regional awakening, for example, will bring – inevitably, in the FN’s view –a national awakening. It is dangerous of course to read too much into some of the titles, but given the content and general tone of local FN publications, it would seem that journal titles are chosen with great care and with due regard for their meaning. A L’Ecoute de Tarn, for instance, seems to imply that the FN is in tune, politically, with the Tarn area, with all its hopes, fears and expectations. Here the populism of the FN is illustrated: in Tarn, as elsewhere, it believes that it alone enshrines the feelings and sentiments of ordinary people. As a title for a publication, Allez Vitrolles is also full of meaning; this slogan resonates with hope, ambition and belief. Like other political parties, the FN must always talk up its vision. In Brittany we also have the news journal entitled L’Hermine. The exact significance of stoats in FN discourse, however, remains unclear. Moving on, it is equally the case that the symbols and logos used by the FN’s various regional journals are of profound importance. To begin, it is a fact that of the nineteen journals mentioned above, fourteen incorporate a tricolore flame in their individualised logo. Thus, 72 per cent of this sample of journals make explicit, graphic allusion to patriotism or nationalism.138 Two journals, meanwhile, attempt to emphasise the overtly local, regional character of their own activity by inserting the tricolore flame into an outline map: of la Manche in the case of Vigilance and of l’Oise in the case of National 60. Here the regional and the national are juxtaposed in one important

The contours of FN nationalism 41 graphic image – as if the journal editors are trying to make a fundamental point about the relationship, or rather, the inter-relationship between regional and national politics.139 An array of other significant symbols are also employed by regional FN newsletters. The Loire-Atlantique journal, Volontaire, displays a torch and Le Porte Voix, in Blois, a musical note, while Le Léopard in Basse-Normandie, not surprisingly, uses a leopard as its logo. The first two images seem to have something in common: in differing ways they both denote communication – a key aspect of any party’s political activity. The leopard image is also intriguing. Perhaps the FN is viewed, by the editors of the newsletter, as the wild, powerful beast of Basse-Normandie politics.140 The list system – a key feature of PR at a local level – also enables the FN to pin its nationalist colours to the mast. In their choice of slogans and list names, the federations highlight the essence of the party’s value system: Contre L’Europe de Maastricht: Allez La France! (Somme and other regions, 1994 Europeans) Amiens Fait Front: Front National Les Français d’Abord (Amiens, 1995 Municipals) Pont-de-Metz D’Abord (Pont-de-Metz, 1995 Municipals) Saint-Brieuc Ville Française (Saint-Brieuc, 1995 Municipals) Bompard Orange Espoir (Orange, 1995 Municipals) Brest et Les Brestois D’Abord (Brest, 1989 Municipals) Lyon Fait Front (Lyon, 1995 Municipals) Liste d’Union Nationale: Strasbourg aux Strasbourgeois (Strasbourg, 1995 Municipals) Allez Vitrolles: Liste D’Union et de Rassemblement des Vitrollais (Vitrolles, 1995 Municipals) Boulogne Passionnement (Boulogne, 1995 Municipals) Defendre Nancy (1995)141 There is a clear emphasis on priority, preference and defence in the FN’s election-time slogans. All the while it is French people being protected and prioritised – in towns and cities, and in the nation as a whole. There is, most certainly, an acute paranoia about things non-French and anti-French. In its lists and in its general election literature the FN is also open and revealing about its candidates. Many details are flaunted. It is noticeable, for example, that on the FN’s 1986 regional list in Pyrenées-Atlantiques, the military achievements of five candidates in the top eight were purposefully magnified. In the order that they appeared


The contours of FN nationalism


Médaille Militaire – Croix de Guerre des TOE – Momas Croix de la Valeur Militaire – Pau Croix de la Valeur Militaire – Lescar

6 Pierre BRUNEL 8 Jacques BOUVET

Croix de Geurre 39–45 – Biarritz Croix de Guerre des TOE – Pau142

on the list, we have: The fact that FN candidates’ ‘glorious’ military careers are highlighted on this election notice is significant enough – in the sense that the party and its leadership is always keen to stress the themes of sacrifice and duty in the context of the paramount emphasis it places on the nation. But it is also highly significant that the five candidates with either a Croix de Guerre or a Croix de la Valeur Militaire to their name do appear in the top eight, and thus, in theory, have a greater chance of actually being elected. It is as if a military award is a kind of ‘passport’ to a top list placing – with none of the remaining candidates (9–17) having any military gong to display. Here, FN strategists are clearly at work: showing off what they see as candidates’ most politically-advantageous career information, and at the same time illuminating the party’s powerful attachment to military values and the notion of serving the nation. Another element of the FN’s value-system to emerge from the small print of election lists is the firm belief in family values. For instance, on the FN’s 1989 Municipal list in Brest the names of eight female candidates were complemented either by the phrase ‘mother at home’ or that of ‘family mother’. While the names of the men on the list, and other women, were accompanied by brief career details, the mothers – and their ‘vocation’ – acquired a special billing. The message seemed to be: mothers are vital to the nation. In a similar vein, many FN election pamphlets make a conscious effort to advertise the reproductive achievements of candidates – as if to say: ‘these people have done their duty; why don’t you?’143 The federations at work: nationalism with a local ‘spin’ To investigate how the FN’s regional discourse reflects the nationalism of the party it is important to examine the way in which the local federations construct their political discourse. Do the federations focus on the same political questions as the Paris HQ? To what extent, and in what ways, are they able to put a local spin on mainstream political issues? It is a common strategy of the FN to put a heavy regional spin on a dominant national theme or policy matter – so as to make this issue especially relevant and

The contours of FN nationalism 43 potent for voters in a specific region of France. In many ways this is a trademark element of the FN’s local, regional discourse. Local circumstances may play a part in another adjacent sense. The federations obviously share a common ideology and doctrinal commitment, but because of a peculiar local situation, they may wish to emphasise issues of special concern for their locality – issues that may not be at the top of the FN’s ‘national’ political agenda. These then are the two main options for editors of provincial FN journals. The most obvious issue on which FN journals are keen to develop the local angle is immigration. At a national level the FN press is vigorous and emotive in its appraisal and diagnosis of the immigration ‘problem’, and at a local level party publications are no less vivid in their reportage. Most pointedly, local party journals have used the word ‘Islamisation’ to describe the main effect of immigration. Recently in the Oise department La Lettre de Pierre Descaves used the term twice in quick succession. In exaggerated language, the newsletter talked about the ‘Islamisation of our schools’ and the ‘Islamisation of Noyon’. In related contexts the paper claimed that Noyon had an immigration level of 23 per cent, that the nation as a whole was suffering ‘reverse integration’, and that ultimately Noyon could become the new Vaux-en-Velin.144 This type of apocalyptic imagery and localised discourse was emulated in La Lettre du Front, the organ of the FN in Langeudoc-Roussillon. Responding to the presence of ‘hundreds of Algerians in Montpellier’ the journal proclaimed: ‘Tomorrow Algerian France’.145 Here the discourse of the party is clearly inflammatory, with little basis in reality, but the key point is that local journals not only emphasise national themes, but simultaneously seek to exploit specific and unique regional circumstances, adding local exemplars and localised perspectives to the dominant political issues of the day. The provincial discourse of the FN is, furthermore, eager to seize on concrete examples of immigrants’ ‘implantation’. Throughout the 1990s, for example, the party has exploited the publicity potential of two immigration-related issues: the wearing of foulards and the building of mosques.146 In the midst of Mitterrand’s second presidential term, these two issues evolved into national affairs; and in the regions it was not long before the same two topics had become the focal-point of polemical debate. Soon after the Creil episode, the Noyon FN launched a direct attack on ‘Muslim integrism’ and proclaimed ‘No to the veil in Noyon’. Further, in a number of French towns the FN’s political discourse has been littered with anti-mosque rhetoric. While in Orange – where the FN has held power since June 1995 – the product of this rhetoric was an organised referendum on the matter, in Quimper and Vitrolles the issue remained a political football. In both these towns in 1996 the FN stood its ground. In Vitrolles the party’s newspaper proclaimed: ‘No to the mosque’. It argued that ‘integrists’,


The contours of FN nationalism

supported by all the other political parties, wanted to transform a local building into a mosque and a Koranic school, and stated the FN’s outright opposition to the ‘Islamicisation’ of the commune.147 Likewise L’Hermine, the journal of the Finistere FN, was vehement in its protests against local mosque-construction plans. It addressed the question as follows: Let us recall the facts: in July 1995 a deal permitted Quimper’s North African community to plan the construction of a cultural centre (library, meeting room, mosque!)....If it is realised this project would lead to larger installations than those already existing on the rues Borossi and de l’Ile du Man. Would this signify the definitive implantation in Quimper of a North African community of over 1,000 people? This is not what we want. We do not want more Islamisation....Here as elsewhere it is necessary for us to be the spearhead of French resistance. The mosque in Quimper? No thanks! Nan trugarez!148 A clear message is contained in this passage – the FN will not watch quietly as mosques are constructed around France – but there are also other important signals. As if to emphasise a point made earlier, the word ‘Islamisation’ is used by the author, Claudine Dupont-Tingaud, as if it was a regularly-used item of French vocabulary – and not just a crude invention of the FN. This is not only interesting, but adds to the view that over the last two decades the party has almost patented its own political language, containing many bizarre terms. The word ‘resistance’ is likewise an integral part of this vocabulary, and it is a fine example of a word that, on the surface, is not one that the FN would be expected to embrace or utilise, but one that the party has been able to steal and re-define.149 As used by the FN, it signifies the party’s determination to ‘resist’ what it sees as the modern-day ‘occupation’ of France by immigrants – and at the same time it still evokes memories and images of wartime France. The two terms – ‘Islamisation’ and ‘resistance’ – both relate, in different ways, to the idea of the nation: on the one hand threatened by immigrants, and on the other in need of protection. Other federations have added spin to the immigration issue in a range of quite specific areas. In Lorraine the crudest tactic has been to emphasise local immigration statistics. Under the heading ‘IMMIGRATION IN FRANCE: THE INVASION CONTINUES’, the FN journal Vouloir claimed that 342 illegal immigrants had been taken in for questioning in the Lorraine region in 1990. The article said that this was not only a year-on-year increase, but that the overall figure incorporated:

The contours of FN nationalism 45 118 Turks 43 North Africans 43 Asians 28 South Americans 17 Africans 17 Middle Easterners 147 East Europeans Notwithstanding the fact that these numbers do not add up to the stated total of 342, the meaning of the figures was absolutely clear to the Lorraine FN. The party newsletter declared: ‘It appears clearly that the frontiers are like sieves’.150 The same general concern was shared by another federation – for similar geographical reasons. In a strident attack on the Schengen agreement, Carl Lang’s Front Nord bulletin stated in 1995: ‘Our region is particularly sensitive to drug-trafficking, and our children know this because they are the first victims’.151 It is noteworthy – and to an extent predictable – that two regions close to France’s north-eastern border should have prioritised immigration as a vital local issue. In Lyon in 1995 the FN went a step further: the party’s election brochure included all the information prospective voters needed, including the immigration rate –expressed as a percentage – in each canton.152 At a national level, the words ‘immigration’ and ‘insecurity’ are almost hyphenated in FN discourse – so close is the perceived relationship between the two issues. The same is true at a provincial level, where the issue of law and order is automatically linked to the question of immigration. This trend has been highlighted in Nantes where in May 1996 three FN politicians wrote an ‘open letter’ to the deputy-mayor on the subject of crime. They began: To the Mayor, The recent free-for all in Nantes is alas worsening; dozens of cars stolen, unpunished ‘youths’....Four youngsters arrested (Smain, Abdelkrim, Kamel, Karim) for carrying incendiary missiles; two others (Mourad and a minor) smashed a car and injured the driver....Social centres degraded and closed down, doctors on guard, schoolchildren attacked.... The people of Nantes know the reality of urban violence today! Although the role of immigrants and immigration in the troubles is not addressed directly, the roll-call of North African, Arab names leaves the reader in no doubt as to what the FN views as the root cause of urban crime (what the party labels ‘insecurity’).


The contours of FN nationalism

Moreover, as if to emphasise the mood of the times in Nantes, the FN authors sign off their letter with the phrase: ‘Our vigilant greetings’.153 The question of urban violence and ‘insecurity’ has been assessed more thoroughly by the Blois FN. It detects a definite escalation in the level of urban crime: it goes on to say that it is the duty of the FN to ‘sound the tocsin’, its right to demand ‘answers’ and its responsibility to propose ‘solutions’. Very selectively, the party newsletter cited the views of local inhabitants in an attempt to prove that ‘insecurity’ had increased. Miguel de Peyrecave, a local party official, told readers: ‘It is necessary to have the courage to say that the drama of the suburbs is born of the drama of immigration. Immigration, which poses a social problem, also poses a cultural problem: a problem of mentality’.154 It is indeed easy to see how the FN manages to link immigration to other issues. In many ways immigration is looked upon as the root cause of many other problems. FN discourse has moved a step further in Vitrolles. Here, amid the predictable claims that ‘insecurity’ and ‘small-scale crime’ have increased dramatically, the FN leadership has advanced the idea of ‘vigilance units’. This rather vague proposal – in essence, ‘citizens’ organising themselves in ‘solidarity’ with the victims of crime – illustrates how, at a local level, the FN prides itself on its street-level populism. In some areas, however, the FN has to report the facts – even if these facts do not support the general party line: namely, that ‘insecurity’ is a predominantly urban, immigration-linked phenomenon. In 1995 in Loir-et-Cher the monthly FN bulletin reported that the high-insecurity zones in its region were rural and not urban – with the rural zones afflicted by a massive 33.4 per cent crime increase.155 This figure dwarfed the equivalent percentage increase for urban zones. Local levels of immigration and crime are clearly of vital importance for FN federations. There are other significant aspects of the immigration question, however, which have been highlighted by the party at a regional level. While in Brittany the FN has poured scorn on the notion of welfare rights for immigrants, in Vandoeuvre, Lorraine, the local party, machine has made a substantive point out of its opposition to the vote for immigrants – an issue on which the FN alone seemed to be opposing the sitting mayor.156 FN federations have also been quick to react to recent high-publicity events. Bruno Mégret in Vitrolles, for instance, responded forcefully to the 1994 airbus hijack, an episode played out at the nearby Marignane airport: The Algerian civil war is transporting itself to our territory....We shall not accept the imposition of their (‘Islamic’) culture and their laws on us. It is necessary to re-establish the frontiers and put to work the 50 measures that I have proposed

The contours of FN nationalism 47 to deal with the painful problem of immigration. It must be noted that the first Algerian refugees have arrived in Vitrolles. In France as in Vitrolles, neither FIS, nor FLN.157 In excerpts such as these, Mégret made great play of Vitrolles’ geographical location – and developed a significant local angle on the immigration issue. The same tactic has been used by the party leadership in Basse-Normandie, which has railed against the notion of ‘intellectual asylum’ for foreign writers. In particular the party sought to counter the decision of the regional council and the Caen municipality to offer refuge to intellectual refugees.158 For local FN elites, immigration is an obvious national issue to adopt. In the regional context there is a definite consistency in the party’s anti-immigration attitude and also a skilful ability to exploit the matter. Other issues are also manipulated, especially where there is an obvious national reference. Agriculture, for instance, is viewed by the FN as a pillar of traditional France. As such, its fundamental importance is consistently stressed at a federation level. In each region, however, there is a slightly different focus or emphasis, and a different type of discourse employed. In Lorraine, the downturn in the region’s agricultural performance – the FN estimated that the region has suffered a 10 per cent decline in income – has been viewed in almost personal, human terms: ‘THE MISERY OF LORRAINE: OUR AGRICULTURE IS BEING ASSASSINATED’. This stark headline from the pages of the FN’s Meurtheet-Moselle journal was aimed at the post-Maastricht bureaucrats of Brussels – at their ‘inadmissable decisions’ and their ‘uncertain’ general support.159 This style of discourse – rhetorical, lacking in detail, and heavily anti-Brussels – was duplicated in Picardie: ‘Agriculture...has been sacrificed on the altar of the utopian dreams of Brussels Eurocrats’.160 Here, however, an avowedly regional booklet entitled Picardie en Tricolore put forward a national agricultural programme. It did call for the application of the FN’s ‘Charter for the French Countryside’ in Picardie, but this apart, it talked about France as a whole rather than the specific characteristics, and needs, of the region. In the department of Oise the anti-Brussels stance was reinforced – but the local focus was more explicit. In the FN’s federation journal, Jean-Michel Domage, Secrétaire aux Manifestations, announced: ‘NO TO THE C.A.P., NO TO GATT’. Domage went on to explain that he and his colleagues had been visiting local farmers to ‘permit dialogue and the distribution of tracts and leaflets clarifying the movement’s programme on agricultural matters’. He also stated that the FN was particularly interested in


The contours of FN nationalism

‘supporting the action of angry farmers’; naturally, too, the rather self-congratulatory piece ended with the words: ‘The reaction of farmers was generally good, and some announced that they would move over to the FN in the future’.161 More relevant, for some FN federations, has been the future of the French fishing industry. On the west coast, the Loire-Atlantique FN complained in April 1996 that the local fishing industry was being undercut by foreign competition. Further up the coast there was a similar cry: the FN newsletter, L’Hermine, insisted that Brittany was witnessing the ‘early death of the fish industry’.162 Nonetheless, it was Jacques Duchemin in BasseNormandie who most incisively expressed the fears of local fishermen: Like the peasants, the fishermen of France live a drama. Whilst they numbered 25,000 in 1976, today they number only 15,000, as against 101,000 in Spain and 41,000 in Portugal....The France of Maastricht accepts and organises the elimination of its fishermen. Duchemin’s piece did advance proposals for change. More significant though was the tone of his polemic: French fishing was in ‘crisis’, so there must be ‘safeguards’, and ultimately the industry must be ‘saved’.163 The reader gains the impression throughout that fishing and fishermen are intrinsic to France and French tradition. Here there is a definite logic to FN discourse: if, at a macro level it is the nation that has be protected, at a micro level it is the many important aspects of France – like her fishing industry – that have to be preserved. In the western regions there is, in addition, a huge concern about defence, the armed services, and associated industries. It is easy to see why FN federations have paid particular attention to these issues. It is in essence a question of the nation and of protecting it. For nationalists defence is a profoundly significant issue; the army and navy are viewed as guarantors of national independence and national honour. Thus, FN officials are acutely sensitive to developments in defence policy. In Loire-Atlantique, in the early stages of the Chirac presidency, party activists were scornful in their attitude to the new president’s commitment to certain local industries – shipbuilding especially. In campaigning mode, the party’s newsletter berated Chirac’s empty words, implying that the RPR leader was sent to the West of France prior to the 1995 poll just to make promises. For the FN the urgency of the situation lay in the fact that France could ultimately end up with only a small navy. The parochialism of the FN in the West was emphasised in the same issue. The newsletter’s ‘Defence Dossier’ was couched in bitter, selfish terms: ‘Our armament industries in danger’; ‘In the West 21,750 jobs are directly concerned’; ‘The regions of Pays de Loire and Bretagne are

The contours of FN nationalism 49 today particularly exposed’. The article eventually listed the threatened sites: the arsenals and factories at Brest, Lorient, Rennes, Indret, Laval, Le Mans and Cholet. It also claimed that 17,120 servicemen and 26,000 marines, based in or around the area, would be affected by any Chiracian move to make military cuts. In more substantive terms, the local party was instrumental in setting up a cross-party campaign body, the Comité de soutien à l’armée et aux industries de défense.164 An identical commitment to local arms industries was expounded by the Finistere FN. L’Hermine lambasted Chirac and Brussels, and spoke of ‘the reform of armaments and the reconversion of our defence industries, with everything sacrificed upon the altar of internationalism’.165 In more specific terms the party in Vitrolles proclaimed ‘THE EUROPE OF MAASTRICHT AGAINST EUROCOPTER’. Mégret argued that ‘Maastricht Europe’ had been unable to impose a ‘European preference’, and thus had been unable to give the nearby Eurocopter plant the necessary economic support. Seizing on this important local-national issue, Mégret spelt out his plans for a Eurocopter-linked training school; the aim of this measure would be ‘the development of our region’.166 But the ability to add a local ‘spin’ to national themes is not reserved entirely for questions of jobs and immigrants. Take the Carpentras episode, for example. As the FN, both nationally and locally, attempted to parry the many accusations aimed at the party, activists in Lorraine offered their own, bizarre retort. On the back page of August 1990’s Vouloir – the FN’s newsletter in Meurthe-et-Moselle – one headline stated: ‘LORRAINE CEMETERIES PROFANED IN TOTAL INDIFFERENCE’. The attached article claimed that the graves of pieds noirs had been vandalised postindependence; and also went on to report the profanation of tombs throughout Lorraine: at Marville, Nançois-sur-Ornain and Epinal.167 No specific details were given, and the article remained very vague. Nevertheless, the meaning of the piece was obvious: Carpentras was an anti-FN ‘plot’, and all means would be employed, at a federation level, to redress the debate. The nationalism of the federations: a radical discourse? In its regional discourse the FN, like many other parties, finds it easy, and at times natural, to gloss over specific policy positions. Often it will resort to high-sounding platitudes and very generalised rhetoric. This tendency, however, should not obscure the fact that local FN discourse is, for the most part, different, off-beat and againstthe-grain. If some commentators view this discourse as extreme and reactionary, others might see in it definite signs of radicalism. The fact that some federations go beyond the predictable, and go beyond the usual parameters of nationalism, adds to the


The contours of FN nationalism

impression that what we are dealing with here is a clever and eclectic collection of political ideas and policy propositions. At root local FN discourse is generalised and unspecific, and can descend to shallow levels. This platitudinous rhetoric has two chief characteristics. It is, first, markedly anti-government in tone – the target may be Paris and/or municipal administrations in the provinces. It is, second, tailored very carefully to the demands of electioneering: priority policy areas are demarcated and grandiose, high-sounding rhetoric is common. Specific, well thought-out policy positions are, it must be said, rare in FN election literature. Part of the problem, certainly, lies in the fact that the party has very little experience of government – in any shape or form. It is also just extremely convenient for the FN to churn out rhetoric and more rhetoric, with little or no attention being paid to detail and accurate costings. The FN does of course pride itself on its populist, ‘promises-for-everyone’ approach; it might in reality be counter-productive for the party to be too detailed about policy promises – promises that might, in the end, be impossible to keep. There are nonetheless strong indications that in the arena of local politics the FN is not only an effective force, but also a political movement with a sharp radical edge. Here – as at the national level168 – the key desire is to innovate and to break with the system. Although local party machines do not have a lot of room for manoeuvre, they are able to tailor their discourse to local needs and circumstances. In doing this, they are also able to parade their imaginative policy ideas. In this sphere the FN can appear as unpredictable and, further, as a political formation unconstrained by notions of left and right. At times it seems that the FN’s sole desire is to ‘shake up’ the political routine, and to move beyond the usual parameters of local political discourse. The notion that the FN exists as a radical, unpredictable political formation is best exemplified by Le Pen himself. Among his many fascinating political utterances, the FN leader has called for ‘a new French revolution’ and, quite bizarrely, for ‘the convocation of the estates general of the French people’.169 Although political parties invariably inflate and exaggerate their desire and ability to do and change things, the FN is a particularly powerful example of an anti-system movement (witness its attacks on ‘the gang of four’, for example) and a political party wedded to the notion of change. One only has to consider a selection of banner slogans from FN election literature in the provinces to substantiate this point. One of the most prominent words is ‘change’: ‘Vote massively for a true change’ (Pont de Metz) ‘For things to change a strong political, social and patriotic will is needed’ (Vitrolles)

The contours of FN nationalism 51 ‘Things must change! Only an FN candidate can make things happen’ (LanguedocRoussillon) ‘For change’ (Raynald Brasseur, Amiens and Nord) ‘In March 92 with Le Pen change is possible’ (Vitrolles) ‘For change vote Gilles Néret-Minet and his municipal team!’ (Neuilly) ‘With Bruno Mégret everything can change’ (Vitrolles) ‘The band of four must be changed’ (Languedoc-Roussillon) ‘Change will happen!’ (Strasbourg) ‘For change vote Mégret’ (Vitrolles, 1995 Municipals) ‘Jacques Fourny and his municipal team will make change happen!!’ (Boulogne) ‘It’s certain, the people of Vitrolles want change!’ (Vitrolles) ‘For real change in the Nord an FN councillor is indispensable’ (Nord) ‘A team determined to change things’ (Vitrolles, 1995 Municipals)170 There is also, in an adjacent sense, a powerful belief within FN regional federations that the FN not only stands for change, but is also, in a very profound manner, the force of the future. Hence, an array of other, more visionary slogans: ‘Blois Horizon 2001’ (Blois) ‘FN: The force of the future’ (Languedoc-Roussillon) ‘The future of Vitrolles is Bruno Mégret!’ (Vitrolles) ‘Tomorrow with Bruno Mégret a clean and honest local authority’ (Vitrolles) ‘Tomorrow with Bruno Mégret less taxes for the people of Vitrolles’ (Vitrolles) ‘Tomorrow with Bruno Mégret French families first!’ (Vitrolles) ‘Together let’s build the future of Orange’ (Orange) ‘Future of hope’ (Brest) ‘To give Nancy a future again’ (Nancy)171 With this quite general belief in change, it is difficult at times to get to the heart of FN regional discourse. Two points should be borne in mind at this stage. First, it is a fact that the FN’s radical rhetoric almost always remains rhetoric. The FN has only ever controlled four large towns – Toulon, Orange, Marignane and Vitrolles – and these towns were ‘won’ only as recently as 1995. Second, it needs to be said that many of the policy proposals cherished by the FN – and viewed by the party as radical – can actually be viewed as particularly un-radical and perhaps even reactionary.


The contours of FN nationalism In considering, and trying to understand, the radical edge to the FN’s nationalism at

a local level, it is vital to be aware of key policy areas. It could be argued that the FN’s nation-based doctrine is exemplified best, and most obviously, in three core areas: the environment, immigration and the family. The rest of this section will be structured around these key areas. However, at this juncture we should also be aware of four other areas of federation discourse: municipal referenda, police, transport and finance. These areas are important for two reasons. First, if it is argued that the notion of populism is intrinsic to FN nationalism – as it will be in Chapter 2 – it must be acknowledged that the attitude of the federations towards municipal referenda, transport, police and finance is reflective of a nationalist outlook. In each of these areas there is a heavy emphasis on ‘the people’, on ordinary French citizens. Most obviously, with referenda it is a case of listening to the people; with local policing it is a question of protecting the people.172 Second, and conversely, if it is argued that the nationalist outlook of the FN federations is reflected only minimally in the aforementioned policy areas, it can be asserted that this is the true radicalism of the FN: in effect, the ability to graft on ordinary, non-ideological policy concerns to its core nationalism. Notwithstanding these points though, it is clear that the nationalism of the FN has its most radical local edge in the areas of the environment, immigration and the family. The environment is a sphere in which FN federations have advanced a number of radical, nation-centred proposals. Here, the most surprising FN policy is bilingualism. This is a good example of a policy which does not so much reflect the party’s nationalism as arguably compromise or negate it. Clearly, this issue is one that most federations do not have to grapple with. However, in Strasbourg, it is one that the local FN, and its leader, Yvan Blot, have had to deal with head-on. Here, not only does the FN publish bilingual publicity material (‘Liste der Nationalen Union: Strassburg den Strassburgern mit dem Front National von Yvan Blot und Jean-Louis Wehr geleitet’, ‘Strasbourg avec Le Pen! Strossburi mit’m Le Pen!’), but in its policy initiatives it also embraces the subject. In 1995 item 9 of the FN’s ‘10 Point Programme for Strasbourg and the People of Strasbourg’ indicated the FN’s desire to ‘develop bilingualism’; party literature justified this policy by describing bilingualism as a ‘major economic and cultural asset’. It is in the sphere of education that the FN particularly wants to institute bilingual measures, and it tries to justify its policy commitment through opinion poll findings. In a poll commissioned and organised by the FN, 85 per cent of Strasbourg people said they were in favour of bilingual schools and 56 per cent approved of ‘bilingual signs’ (on roads, for example).173 In a sense, the FN is forced to confront the bilingualism issue in Strasbourg where there is a substantial Germanic influence.174 Even so, it is extremely interesting that

The contours of FN nationalism 53 the FN can take bilingualism on board. The FN, as we know, is an avowedly nationalist party, which upholds, first and foremost, the idea of the nation. However, Le Pen has gone on record as saying that he is in favour of ‘healthy’ regionalism – but the party is predictably hostile to all symptoms of separatism.175 All this means that the question of bilingualism is a particularly thorny one for the FN. It should be remembered that in other contexts, the party has emphasised its belief in language as a defining characteristic of nationhood.176 Thus, in a sense it is difficult to fathom how the FN can on the one hand believe in the centrality of the French language, but on the other prescribe bilingual policies in specific areas of France. Some efforts are made to square the circle. Stephane Bourhis, an FN official in Alsace, was asked by National hebdo: ‘Do you think that regionalism and the Alsatian identity complement our French nationalism?’ His answer helps us to understand FN thinking on this issue: I believe that we must open our eyes to the necessity of connecting national and regional enracinement. We must be able to defend our roots in their totality....In Alsace the Front National defends the double French-Rhineland identity and our representatives defend bilingualism and the cultural heritage of Alsace.177 The conclusion must be that the FN is entirely pragmatic in its attitude to bilingualism. It is able to countenance a double French/Alsatian identity, but not – as we will discover – a double French/Algerian identity.178 On the general subject of the environment, the FN is keen to parade its new-found ecological credentials. On the national plane the party has made great play of the fact that it perceives ecology to be a nationalist concern: an intrinsically right-wing issue. At a local level, in a very practical, community-orientated fashion, the FN also seeks to emphasise its hands-on environmentalism. In Bordeaux it has proposed a concerted anti-graffiti campaign and also the introduction of special billboards for community posters. On a similarly practical level, specific local manifestos have proposed the introduction of special hostel caretakers, refuse-collection improvements and also, in one case, the installation of a new postbox to do away with a particularly hazardous road-crossing for local residents!179 In matters of culture too, the FN reveals itself as a committed political formation. In a very general sense the party makes a powerful point of upholding heritage, national values and what, in FN circles, has been termed francité.180 Section 20 of the FN’s 1995 Lyon programme contains the best illustration of the FN’s commitment to regional culture. Under the heading, ‘CULTURE: VALUE OUR HERITAGE’, the


The contours of FN nationalism

party emphasises its attachment to cultural activity and its outright hostility to what it views as ‘official’, ‘politically-correct’ culture. In a practical manner the Lyon FN proposed that all municipal subsidies should be reserved for artistic creation ‘rooted in the national and popular heritage’ and that ‘traditional folk events’ should be encouraged.181 Likewise, in Boulogne Jacques Fourny has campaigned for ‘gentle and rooted architecture’ and in the Somme the FN has not only pressured for a ‘departmental conservatory for the arts and the traditions of the Somme region’, but also promoted the activity of folk groups. Here, use of the term ‘rooted’ is striking evidence of the FN’s right-wing ancestry.182 This genealogy is also manifest in the party’s Lyon literature: To defend our culture we would like to celebrate the famous moments in Lyon’s history. It is amazing that the previous municipality refused to commemorate the bicentenary of the Siege of Lyon and the martyrdom of the town during the revolutionary terror.183 In this statement there is not only an obvious reference to local history –and the emphasis that should be placed on this – but also an explicit attack on the pre-1995 administration and a pertinent comment on the Revolution, which has always been a key point of reference for the FN, as for most other political groupings in modern-day France. In Strasbourg too, the FN has placed a priority emphasis on cultural policy. However, in the city where the FN has been open in its attachment to bilingnalism, the party has had to be necessarily diplomatic in its cultural vision. Yvan Blot has stated that in Strasbourg the FN ‘must favour respectable artists from our Alsatian, French and European traditions’.184 Here the FN appears to be ‘hedging its bets’. If the nation is fundamental to the FN, in certain areas – like Strasbourg – the party also has to be sensitive to regional and European aspirations. This type of pragmatism is evident in many areas of FN discourse. A less polite view of the situation is that FN doctrine contains many unresolved contradictions and paradoxes. In even grander terms, the FN in Strasbourg has set out its design for ‘a humanist academy’. Blot and his associates claimed in 1995 that the non-diffusion of ‘humanist values’ could provoke ‘the death of our civilisation’ and so, in their ‘10 Point Programme’, they argued that Strasbourg should transform itself into a cultural centre, and that the city’s role in the late twentieth century had the potential to be akin to that of Florence in the sixteenth century!185 It is obvious that this type of FN thinking is particularly grandiose, not to say unrealistic,

The contours of FN nationalism 55 and also that many commentators in France would scoff at the notion of the FN as a beacon of humanist thinking. If we move on, it would be fair to say that the FN’s hostility to immigration is its most publicised policy position and also its most radical – if radical in this case is taken to mean extreme or controversial. At the level of local politics the party’s political discourse reiterates a strong general opposition to immigration, and a powerful adherence to the concept of ‘national preference’. It also throws up a number of other, more intriguing policy proposals. In many areas of France the FN is quite blunt in its attitude to immigration. In its literature for the Cantonal elections of March 1994 in the Somme region, the FN – through its candidates Raynald Brasseur, Lionel Payet and Jacqueline Bricour – campaigned to ‘reduce immigration’. In fuller terms the candidates offered their support for:

• •

an effective end to all legal and illegal immigration

• • •

reform of the nationality code expulsion of all ‘illegal’ and criminal immigrants

the progressive return, in humane conditions, of all Third World immigrants to their country of origin

priority to all French people (housing, social aid, employment)186

These general policy positions are, naturally, upheld across all FN federations. The FN’s election literature in each region tries to emphasise how and why certain cities and certain areas are particularly vulnerable to immigration and how immigration is actually afflicting the area. The FN in Lorraine – a region which for obvious geographical reasons is particularly sensitive to movements of population – offers a particularly good example of this. It has talked about the ‘bogus political refugees, the bogus students and the bogus holiday-makers’ who could exploit the post-Schengen frontier openings.187 Generally, however, the FN tries to disguise its more overt anti-immigration strictures within a carefully-constructed nationalism. It is as if the FN attempts to emphasise its pro-French philosophy rather than its anti-immigration position. In several towns this becomes apparent in the slogans and titles used in election literature. In Brittany, for instance, we discover an FN election list entitled Saint-Brieuc Ville Française and another operating under the banner Brest et les Brestois d’abord. Other overtly proFrench slogans include Strasbourg aux Strasbourgeois and Defendre Nancy. In Boulogne and Bordeaux the FN has stated its desire to create ‘A More French Town’. Pertinently, these four words were followed by the phrase: ‘Less Immigration’.188


The contours of FN nationalism

The approach of the FN is even more pointed in its ‘national preference’ policy. Once more, the term itself is highly significant: FN leaders want to advertise their ‘positive’ pro-French favouritism and not their ‘negative’ anti-immigrant perspective – although this, to the observer, is obviously implicit. The anti-immigration dimension to FN policy is clearly manifest within the party’s ‘national preference’ programme. On this subject there have been many important policy statements: Priority of access for French people to all municipal jobs. Priority of access to HLM accommodation for French people. The outlawing of accommodation overcrowding by immigrant families. As elected members we are engaged to make sure that HLM accommodation is reserved, in priority, for French people of our town. Each year the RPR and UDF have used millions of francs of taxpayers’ money to the profit of immigrants. Jean-Claude Bardet and the candidates on the Defendre Nancy list are on the lookout to oppose all such discriminatory measures, which favour immigrants, to the detriment of French people in access to housing, employment and social aid. For French preference and social aid to French people first. For the reservation of municipal aid to French families only. Ensure that social policies favour French people first to the extent that current legislation actually permits this. But it is without doubt necessary to propose to the government that preference be instituted. Reserve RMI and social aid to French people and, until a law is passed instituting national preference, verify, at the very least, the eligibility of foreigners demanding benefits! To vote for Brest et les Brestois d’abord is to refuse the right to vote to immigrants.189 From these statements it can be seen that there is a clear consistency of attitude around the regions. At times, however, there is some confusion as to what type of

The contours of FN nationalism 57 preference the FN is aiming for. In 1995, amid all the talk of ‘national preference’, Jacques Bompard in Orange stated that ‘local preference’ was one of the ‘simple principles’ on which an FN administration would be run: ‘In all domains – the signing of contracts, the hiring of services and employment offers – local preference will rule’.190 This emphasis on local as against national preference is obviously a fascinating departure, and one that raises many questions about the general coherence of FN doctrine. The same could also be said about the FN’s penchant for utilising slogans such as ‘Vitrolles d’Abord’ and ‘Pont-de-Metz d’Abord’.191 How can a party that centres its doctrine so firmly around the nation stand also for such parochial local preferences? Suffice it to say that the FN itself does not seem to worry about such inconsistencies, and does appear to ‘square the circle’, in its own terms, on this matter. Another key question is the potential legality or illegality of policies based on preference (of whatever type: national or local). Where, after all, is the line to be drawn between notions of preference, discrimination and racism? The FN does seem to be aware of this potential difficulty. In a publicity document, the Lyon FN calls for the ‘institution of national preference especially where it is legitimate’ (author’s italics). As the party has discovered in Orange, Toulon, Marignane and Vitrolles – where it now controls the town hall – there is some room for experimentation on this matter, but only in so far as constitutional laws allow.192 Away from the crude concept of prioritisation – which underpins the whole philosophy of ‘national preference’ – there is another more practical, more imaginative dimension to the FN’s hard-hitting anti-immigration discourse. An example of this comes in Strasbourg, where the FN has argued for a ‘consultative referendum’ on the immigration issue, and in particular on the question of welfare aid to foreigners; the FN promotes this idea as a counter to ‘the terrorism(sic) of “official thinking”’.193 The party is clearly searching for legitimisation of its policies in such a move. Once more, the FN is looking to the people and delving for populist approval. The FN has also become wedded to the idea of somehow quantifying the cost of immigration. Echoing the Rapport Milloz – which estimated at 210 milliards the cost of immigration at a national level194 – regional FN bureaux have shown a strong interest in this question. The FN hopes that putting a cost on immigration can justify antiimmigration policies in just the same way as a referendum vote could. In its policy programme for the 1995 Municipal elections, the Lyon FN committed itself to ‘instituting a municipal commission in order to establish the cost of immigration to Lyon and in the COURLY zone’.195 In Bordeaux the FN has made a similar commitment to evaluate immigration’s cost. Here a commission would report on an annual basis and would also formulate practical proposals, with the ultimate aim of reducing immigration levels in the city.196 Furthermore, on a more parochial level the FN in


The contours of FN nationalism

Strasbourg has stated its intention to curtail the right of immigrant entrepreneurs and businessmen to work at night. The FN argues that such people ‘respect neither schedules nor administrative rules’ and that legislation could put a halt to what it terms ‘unfair competition’.197 This policy appears as particularly vindictive – but it does emphasise the fact that at a local level the FN is committed to a precise strategy involving practical measures which amount to a war on immigrant communities. If it can be argued that FN discourse is radical on the environment and immigration, it could also be postulated that its ideas on the family are significant. Throughout FN discourse – at a national and local – level there is a heavy emphasis on the family and on new measures to help it. The underlying assumption is that the family is the backbone of the nation. In its Lyon election literature the party is particularly eager to explain the rationale for this attachment. Under the poignant banner headline, ‘FAMILIES: WELCOME LIFE TO LYON’, it tried to enlighten prospective voters: The family is, with the nation, the base of our civilisation, of our identity, because it not only perpetuates life but it also transmits our values, our traditions and all our cultural heritage. This is why it is the object of so many attacks. The trite acceptance of abortion, and the demagogy of ‘sexual liberation’ and the explosion in the number of divorces leads to the instability of individuals, the traumatisation of children and the fragmentation of the whole of society. Successive governments over the last decades have penalised the family consistently by constant reductions in family allowances. The municipality will do everything to restore and fortify the family and to give preference to Lyon families who are open to life and who devote themselves to the education of their children. It will endeavour to create a real liberty of choice between professional activity and a homelife.198 In local election literature the following proposals – all on the same theme – have been put forward by FN federations: The creation of a maternal revenue for mothers of French families. A maternal revenue equivalent to the SMIC (Salaire minimum inter-professionel de croissance) for all mothers of large families who desire it on the condition that they are French. The creation of a maternal income for mothers of French families.

The contours of FN nationalism 59 The ‘Vitrolles maternal income’ will be created by the municipality led by Bruno Mégret, who will augment the size of the parental education allocation paid by the Caisse d’allocations familiales to mothers and fathers of French families who leave work to raise families of three children or more. The doubling of the maternity allocation to all Lyon families after the second child....An increase in the size of the ‘parental education allowance’ paid by the CAF, but within the town’s financial limits, to mothers and fathers of families who stop work to raise three children or more. A ‘municipal allocation for parents’ could be given to parents, when one of them wants to stay at home to look after the children. A costed study would be necessary before such a scheme could be put to work.199 The belief in a maternal income is central to the FN’s policy programme. It is also an element of the FN’s doctrine that can either be interpreted as radical or reactionary – or both. Are we to applaud the FN’s policy as a progressive, welfare measure, or condemn it as an offensive sexist gesture? Whatever the conclusion, it is unclear whether local councils actually have the authority to implement such a policy. There is also the huge problem of cost. Nowhere in its literature does the FN attempt to explain the financial implications of such an initiative. Nor does the party define, in explicit terms, who exactly would be eligible for parental and family benefits. More specifically, how would the Lyon FN determine which families were, genuinely, ‘Lyonnaises françaises’? Would families have to prove their credentials? Which would be more important: being a native of Lyon or being a French national? An interesting adjunct to this FN policy is the notion of help ‘to mothers in difficulty’. In Lyon this idea is explained in substantive terms: To welcome life at birth, women in a situation of distress will be taken care of by le Réseau Municipal de Solidarité and accompanied before, during and after their pregnancy. They will be helped materially but also morally. Those who are isolated, and who desire it, will be supported by a sponsor family...volunteers who want to participate in this network of solidarity.200 This is a fascinating idea – a mixture of godparenting and adoption – and the communal connotations implicit in this idea do strike the onlooker as almost socialistic in character.


The contours of FN nationalism

It would be interesting to know, however, whether the ‘women in a situation of distress’ would have to be ‘lyonnaises’ or ‘françaises’ before they would be eligible for help. 201 Away from the issue of welfare payments, the FN is certainly radical in its policy proposals. In many areas the party is overt in its desire to lower tax rates for French families – in particular the tax d’habitation (another important element of the party’s tax-cutting platform).202 Even more interesting, however, is Bruno Mégret’s ‘bonus’ idea in Vitrolles. He told his electors in 1995 that ‘a bonus of 3000 Francs would be paid to all Vitrolles families on the birth of a second child and for children following’.203 Meanwhile, on an organisational level the Bordeaux FN has promised to create a ‘special delegation of the family’ if it ever formed a municipal administration; this body would be asked to put in place a ‘large-scale family policy’, and in particular a service called ‘SOS Child Protection’ –which, it seems, would offer a specialist crèche service.204 This concern for municipal crèche provision is echoed in Orange where the 1995 Bompard list advertised its wish to ‘put in place a family crèche policy’ as part of its wider plan to create ‘a town for Orange families’.205 In Lyon there is another idea: the inception of ‘a special home crèche allowance’; for various economic reasons the Lyon FN is strongly anti-municipal crèche in its outlook and it would like to offer financial benefits to families who decide to look after their children ‘at home’.206 Mothers and children are, not unnaturally, the main focus of FN family policy. At some junctures, however, the party does stress other elements of its pro-family vision. In Orange, for example, the FN leadership has mapped out its belief in an ‘extra-municipal commission’, which would be open to young people between the ages of fifteen and twenty: schoolchildren, students and people in employment. The FN wants young people to ‘give their opinion in all domains that concern them’ – another populist policy idea in the same vein as municipal referenda.207 The word ‘solidarity’ – used by the FN in the context of its proposals for ‘women in distress’ – is utilised again when the party moves on to the issue of the handicapped. In Amiens the FN gives particular prominence to this subject. In amongst a series of policy proposals, the FN suggests that a quota of municipal jobs should be reserved for physically handicapped people and special subsidies should be granted to mental health associations.208 In regional FN literature there is also a serious awareness of issues affecting old people. On a low-level practical plane the FN has stated its desire to ‘protect elderly people’ and to increase the dignity of old people’s lives; in LanguedocRoussillon this would mean reimbursing old people for all their medical supplies. In other areas of France the FN shifts the focus to daily, practical help for elderly people. In the Bastide-Benauge quarter of Bordeaux, for example, the FN has promoted the

The contours of FN nationalism 61 idea of free personal ‘telephone-assistance’ for old people – for use especially when an old person is the subject of crime or illness. In Lyon this idea is taken a step further – and the chief aim is to create ‘a real municipal support system’. This support network would incorporate two main elements: practical aid for the elderly (with an important role designated for unemployed helpers) and a 24-hour help-line available to all people aged over 70. This helpline would, apparently, create a direct link between the old person and the town hall!209 So far as education is concerned, the FN expounds a series of interesting and unusual policies. Perhaps the party’s most radical proposal comes in Lyon where the notion of ‘cheque-education’ emerges. As the FN explains it, the system would help the less privileged families in an area, giving parents a free choice of schools. It is not totally clear who would pay for this policy, but the indication is given that the State would finance such a scheme, with the municipality contributing.210 Additionally, in its effort to improve the lot of pupils and students, the FN has proposed a number of initiatives. In 1995 in Bordeaux the party promised students an RMI (Minimum Student Revenue) of 3,000f per month. In le Nord the FN leadership focused on more practical matters: it has committed itself to an extension of free public transport for schoolchildren and also an increase in school-meal subsidies. In Bordeaux FN plans were far grander: the party advertised its commitment to the ‘construction of a university’.211 In slightly more sinister terms, the FN has also expressed concern about the nature of teaching material in primary schools. In Nancy in 1989 it stated that all textbooks bought by the commune must be monitored for their ‘neutrality’. The inference to be drawn here is clear: the FN detects a left-wing plot to brainwash schoolchildren.212 As such, one salient aspect of federation discourse emerges: beyond the practical there is invariably the political. The same is true with the party’s discourse in other areas: in among the imaginative policy ideas there is a definite pro-French bias and, thus, a clear message to France’s immigrant population. It is clear, therefore, that the ideology and discourse of the FN, as a whole, is a product of several important influences. In one sense it is obvious that the political attitudes of the FN have, to a large degree, remained constant. However, as a modern and ambitious political formation the FN has also been ready to adapt itself and its ideas to changing contexts. Where appropriate and necessary, it has grafted new beliefs and new emphases on to its existing political programme. Here, the FN appears as clever and pragmatic in its tactics and strategy. In another sense, it is important to acknowledge the nature of the FN ‘family’. We must remember that the FN is not a typical political party; it is a broad church and prefers to see itself as a movement, and not as a party in the traditional mould. This is a significant departure for many


The contours of FN nationalism

reasons, not least because it has crucial knock-on implications for the party’s doctrinal stance. Most important is the fact that the discourse of the FN has become a product of a variety of influences. Each of the main factions in the party – the integrists, the monarchists, the ancien combattants, the Poujadists and the Horlogers – is determined to put its stamp on FN rhetoric and the party’s overall public discourse. This in turn means that on occasions the criticism can be made that FN doctrine lacks coherence and unity. Finally, as the second half of this chapter has shown, FN discourse has an extremely distinctive regional profile. Of course the discourse emanating from the FN’s Paris HQ and from the party’s national leadership is of paramount importance. None the less, it is also the case that the regional federations have some room for manoeuvre and for advancing their own individual programmes and policy ideas. In certain contexts this gives rise to intriguing positions: the bilingualism of the Strasbourg federation and the attack on immigrant shopkeepers’ opening hours in Lyon, to cite just two examples. Here we see the FN at its most radical and eccentric. In the next two chapters – the heart of the study – we will move on to a more concerted examination of the FN’s national ideology and discourse: to the huge emphasis on the nation, and to the huge anxiety about ‘threats’ and terminal French decline.

Figure 1.1 Prenez les clés de la ville. In June 1995 the FN did seize three townhall keys – in Toulon, Orange and Marignane (and in 1997 it added a fourth –Vitrolles). This mass-produced leaflet accompanied the FN’s electoral efforts across the country. We should view the municipal victories of June 1995 as a key stagingpost in the FN’s electoral advance – their first taste of real power.

Figure 1.2 En avant pour la 6’e République. As Le Pen challenged for the Presidency of the 5th Republic in 1995, he was also at the same time calling for its destruction. This election leaflet depicts the Republic as a rotten regime – impotent in the face of unemployment, immigration, corruption, insecurity and taxes. Le Pen’s call was for a new, stronger ‘6th Republic’ to save France. The message to French voters was: ‘Turn over the page’.

2 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology ‘France for the French’

Jean-Marie Le Pen is one of the rare French politicians who speaks of the nation, the people and the country. He is also one of the rare people who actually knows the meaning of these words. (FN handbook, Passeport pour la victoire) The Front national is thus loyal to a politics centred around national identity...the defence of our people, of our cultural and natural heritage. (FN programme, 300 Mesures pour la Renaissance de la France) Today it has become imperative for each people, each nation, each state, but also for each of us, to return to the fundamental values which are part of our European, Greek, Roman and Christian heritage, and which many people seek to forget or deny. (Jean-Marc Brissaud, La France en danger)

It is clear that although the last decade and a half has witnessed a marked expansion in the scope and detail of the FN’s policy platform, its current ideological outlook revolves around two key themes: nation and identity. Intrinsically related, these twin concepts condition, to a large extent, the prime thrust of FN discourse. And as such, important elements of party discourse relate directly to this nation-centred, identityconscious starting point. The party’s hostility to Socialist ‘cosmopolitanism’ is perhaps the most overt illustration of the FN’s nationalist perspective; and out of this emerges a forceful critique of current nationality code legislation and (what is described as)

66 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology ‘anti-French racism’. Accompanying this ‘negative’ discourse is a more positive vision: of a strong France, standing up to external dangers like regional autonomism and European federalism, and of a pure France, upholding its people, its territory and its national icons. The centrality of ‘nation’ and ‘identity’ Raoul Girardet has recently argued that the nation is a ‘fixed point of reference’ for the FN, and it is indeed true that this idea is at the heart of the party’s political discourse. The party’s emphasis on the nation as a key ideological tenet dates from its formation in 1972. The party’s former general secretary, Jean-Pierre Stirbois, stated sixteen years later that it had been an honour for the FN ‘to have taken as its priority political definition the national reference’.1 Allied to this idea of the nation as a fundamental political entity is the belief that nationalist thought thrives on ‘concrete situations’, in which individuals and groups look to survive, protect themselves and reproduce. According to this view, people need to organise and defend themselves in a nation.2 One National hebdo poster put this in simple but striking terms: ‘With Le Pen defend the people of France’.3 Jenkins and Sofos also suggested that nationalism as an ideology feeds on the ‘raw material’ of collective identity. It is certainly true that for the FN identity, and in particular the maintenance of national identity, is of profound concern. The concept of identité is defined by Bruno Mégret and Georges-Paul Wagner, two high-ranking FN notables, as a ‘natural instinct’, a product to some extent of ‘aggression’. It is claimed that the identity ‘instinct’ is fundamentally indispensable to the preservation of a group or a nation and the individuals within it.4 For in the FN’s exaggerated view, France and the integrity of the French identity are perpetually in jeopardy. Even during low-key, run-of-the-mill by-election campaigns the party’s nationalist rhetoric is hyperbolic; in one the issues at stake were summed up in apocalyptical terms: ‘France or death?’5 Pierre-André Taguieff has also talked about the FN’s ‘ideology of the concrete’ – in short its belief in traditionalism and the ‘natural order’. Likewise, Souchard et al. have focused on the ingredients that together comprise the FN’s traditionalism: namely, work, family and country. The opinion of both writers is that there is a strong traditionalist bent to FN ideology. It would also be true to say that for the FN, identity is viewed as a crucial element in this scenario and as such is regarded as a ‘permanence’. For Le Pen, to take away part of people’s identity is to take away part of their soul; he has condemned the idea of ‘half-caste mixtures’, and the consequent loss of identity, as a threat to human dignity and the right to be oneself.6 For the FN, the issue of identity cuts across a number of areas. In its 1993 ‘Programme for Government’, the party set out its agenda: immigration (‘reverse the tide’), family (‘in favour of national preference’), education (‘transmit knowledge’),

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 67 culture (‘defend our roots’) and the environment (‘safeguard our heritage’). Identity is thus a fundamental issue for the FN, and in its discourse the party is overt in the way in which it articulates this. Le Pen, for instance, has explained, in forcible terms, the rationale behind the christening of the FN’s doctrinal review publication, Identité. He referred to the perceived threats and dangers facing France: In choosing the title Identité, the founders of the review wanted to get to the heart of the problem of our future. What will be tomorrow if by reason of the demographic, social and political changes of our century, we are incapable of defining ourselves or situating ourselves?7 The notion of identity has in fact become the focus of much political and intellectual debate in France. Indeed, throughout the 1980s and 1990s the debate about France’s national identity has been vividly illuminated by the apparently antithetical positions of the FN on the one hand, and successive governments on the other. This dichotomy has been presented by the FN as a battle between ‘nationalists’ and ‘cosmopolitans’. The debate has revolved chiefly around the following questions: what is the French nation? How is it defined? And what is the legal definition of French nationality? Central to the FN’s conception of the nation are defensive ideas of preservation, loyalty and insularity, with France viewed as an entity in need of constant protection from external elements. Essentially, this view sees France as a weak, humiliated and vulnerable nation in terminal decline. There is an almost reactionary hostility to ‘nonFrench’ influences – which are invariably blamed for the nation’s demise – and, crucially, a call for ‘the renaissance of French France’8 under the leadership of a nationalist saviour (namely, Le Pen). In fundamental terms, there is a passionate self-identification with the nation; the FN sees itself first and foremost as ‘the party of France’.9 In one of his first speeches to parliament as an FN deputy, Le Pen reflected this. He stated: The common designation of our movement (is that) we accord an essential importance to the idea of the nation....There are Communists, Socialists and liberals, but we are before all nationalists....The interests of France and the French are of premier significance. ‘French people first’ implies no hostility, hatred or violence, but first it is necessary to render justice to our compatriots.10 Echoing this general concern, Fabrice Le Roy, a party activist and one-time head of the Paris FNJ, told me: ‘We are fighting for the French identity. We are serving France – we want a French France. Our first motivation is the nation. In the case of immigrants, we are not against them as people, but just against the political phenomenon’.11 Thus, FN discourse depicts the nation as a fundamental, natural and realistic base for human

68 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology action.12 And, echoing the main thrust of romantic nationalism, it is also viewed in cultural terms. Samuel Maréchal, organiser of the FNJ’s cultural events, has stated: Our people finds its true character on French territory. Its heritage is blood; its soul is culture. We must lead a double battle: assuring the longevity of our culture, which is currently menaced, and launching a reconquest of spirits, which will allow us to take political power in the future.... We must create a national, popular, social and cultural alternative!13 The party’s conception of nationhood is, therefore, broad and unspecific enough to incorporate allusions to ‘blood’, ‘territory’ and ‘culture’. Mégret is slightly more explicit: ‘To be French signifies the belonging to a group, rootedness in a soil, and the identification with a culture’.14 Carl Lang emphasises the importance of blood in his definition: ‘The nation is a shared heritage, a common patrimony, the heart and the line of generations of French people’. For Francois-Xavier Sidos it is simple: ‘The future is the nation’.15 FN leaders also argue that nation is not a divisive idea like class, but one that can strike a bond between all men regardless of social status. The party is in fact extremely clever – and perhaps cynical – in the way it defines France, and in the manner in which it endeavours to reach out to different constituencies and to persuade these groups that they are integral to the French nation. This strategy is particularly evident in relation to residents of DOM-TOM (Départements d’outre-mer, Territoires Français d’outremer) and to French people living outside France. When addressing the former, Le Pen’s language is careful and calculating; purposefully designed to quash the view that the FN is ‘racist’ and can only appeal to white citizens of Metropolitan France. As if to prove this, the party brochure, Une politique pour l’outre-mer français, makes a concerted effort to identify Le Pen with non-white people: five out of eight photos show him juxtaposed with coloured men and women.16 In appealing to residents of DOM-TOM –and at the same time trying to convince them, and perhaps himself, that they are part of the nation – the FN leader maintains that: To be French is an honour....One is born French or one becomes French, either through received blood (‘le sang reçu’) or through blood paid (‘le sang versé), just as happens in the Legion, where men of all origins and of all religious confessions choose to serve France. Whether one is of the mother country or not,

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 69 of our race or of our religion, we are first and foremost French, passionately attached to this nation.17 It is less problematic for Le Pen to appeal to French people resident abroad, but still, it is instructive to examine his language. He has written: Dear Compatriots, I have the profound conviction that the fate of our country will be decided in the years between now and the Millenium...the current plight of France and its growing enslavement leads me, unfortunately, to believe, this with certainty. This is why I am engaged in a battle for our future: the people of France must be able to express their will with all firmness and freedom. French people living abroad, your participation in the grandeur of our country is essential: more and more, you will be the key players in spreading the economic, cultural and political influence of France in the world.18 Thus, in addition to emphasising the special role of French people living abroad, Le Pen claims that this group of people has a vanguard role in economics, culture and politics. It is in this sense that the nationalism of the FN seeks influence overseas, rather than crude expansion. FN nationalism also attempts to target special socio-economic groups within France and to play up its pro-French social agenda. There is always a nationalist gloss to the party’s strictures, and a special language reserved for individual groups: young people, old people and the unemployed, to name but three. As Le Pen has said: ‘The return of prosperity is only possible within the context of the nation’. In somewhat vague terms the FN demands are ‘social equilibrium’ and ‘national solidarity’.19 For those in poverty, a new FN-sponsored organisation has emerged: Fraternité française. This is a body supported by the FN, and which aims to create ‘a treaty of union between French people in difficulty and French people who refuse to stay indifferent to injustice’.20 The vocabulary utilised by this organisation is particularly interesting. One leaflet incorporates the words: ‘France, it is also you...before thinking about the misery around the globe, think about the misery at our door’. Another proclaimed: ‘Continue to help the people of France’.21 Here the nationalist agenda is clear: Fraternité française appears to be a response to the specific poverty of French people, and not to the general social phenomenon of poverty. On one level, therefore, the FN’s nationalism aims to be all-inclusive. On another it glorifies unity and strength. One recent edition of National hebdo even echoed Gaulliststyle nationalism in its special front-page display: Le Pen’s ‘appeal to the people’

70 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology begged for national reconciliation, and it was presented against a tricolored background, just like de Gaulle’s call for resistance in 1940.22 The nation is, consistently, the focalpoint for FN discourse. According to Fabrice Le Roy, everything around the nation is important: ‘We want a strong France, but not a dominating France’.23 All FN leaders deny that there is anything dangerous in upholding or glorifying the nation. Martial Bild explained to me: ‘Nationalism is not dangerous – there are no sentiments of hatred. On the contrary, the rallying of peoples is good, emphasising the equality of men, and nothing to do with hating other people. Rather, the nation is fundamental and natural’.24 In the same spirit Lang has stated: ‘The nation is peace, the national preference is prosperity’.25 This language is predictable; others might view war as the ultimate product of nation-centred politics and inequality as the enduring legacy of ‘national preference’. The FN is immune to such thoughts and Fabrice Le Roy defends his party from the accusations that have dogged it since birth: The myth is that Le Pen is a nationalist just like Hitler and Mussolini were socalled nationalists. That is wrong because Hitler and Mussolini did not love their nation; they tried to destroy it, rather than build it up. We do not want France to dominate other nations like the Greeks and the Romans did; their empires declined and fell anyway. We believe in the old French saying: ‘Everyone in his home and God for everyone’.26 Although it is true that the FN does not seek territorial expansion – its nationalism is defensive rather than expansionist – it should be pointed out that the party is committed to higher defence spending, to counter what it views as the dangers emanating from the East, the South and from the ‘Islamists’.27 The last cited passage also raises other questions. For example, the notion that nationalism fosters the equality of men is difficult to fathom. The fact that, in ideological terms, the FN is hostile to any concept of equality or egalitarianism is only the first problem. As we will see in Chapter 3, the FN’s nationalism is often prone to descend into a rhetoric of superiority and exclusion. In addition, the argument that the nation is natural and fundamental – a prime tenet of FN doctrine – is also difficult to take on board. A major feature of FN discourse is the reliance on nature; it is self-evident, however, that use of the term ‘natural’ raises as many questions as it answers. Already, therefore, we have become aware of the weaknesses and incoherencies at the heart of the FN’s nation-centred discourse. However, in acknowledging these problem areas, we should not be distracted from our main focus. Our prime interest is

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 71 the nature and make-up of the party’s nationalism, and it is certainly true that in the last fifteen years the ideology of the FN has emerged in stark terms. This is primarily because, with a Socialist president in power between 1981 and 1995, new and important cleavages have appeared in French political life. These cleavages have had the effect of thrusting the FN and its value system centre stage. ‘Cosmopolitanism’ and ‘anti-French racism’ During the Mitterrand years, the FN seemed to thrive on the reality of a Socialist administration in power. Since 1995 the party has been able to contrast its doctrine less with that of Chirac and his prime ministers, but it has still been ready to exploit the ideological cleavages that exist between itself and the government. In many ways in fact the FN’s ‘nationalist’ vision of France emerges most graphically when it is contrasted with what it perceives to be the Socialists’ ‘cosmopolitan’ vision of the nation. It has been argued by FN leaders that the dichotomy between these two conceptions of the nation now transcends other more traditional political cleavages in France, such as left right and statist-free market splits.28 The FN is extremely crude in the way it exploits and emphasises this new ‘division’.29 For instance, in every issue of its internal newsletter the party now inserts a ‘thumbs-up’ logo next to news of laudable, ‘pro-French’ action –and a ‘thumbs-down’ image next to reports about reprehensible, ‘anti-French’ or ‘cosmopolitan’ developments.30 National hebdo also launched its own feature: a weekly series entitled ‘Cosmopolitan voyage’. Each week the paper reported from different areas of Paris which, in its view, had lost its French character: la Villette, Seine-Saint-Denis and la Goutte d’Or, plus many others.31 Le Gallou has argued that the dichotomy between those who believe in identity and those who believe in cosmopolitanism32 is illuminated perfectly by the contemporary immigration debate. He states: ‘Immigration is the symbolic starting-point for the debate on the future of the French nation. It is on this issue that the partisans of cosmopolitanism and the defenders of the national identity are most clearly divided’.33 Although it is clear that throughout the 1970s FN literature played on the theme of cosmopolitanism, it is clear that the anti-cosmopolitan rhetoric of the FN was only truly galvanised by the arrival of the Socialists in power in 1981. This contention is reinforced by Mégret, who argues that the ideology of the PS changed dramatically after 198134 and also by Gabriel de Montalivet, an FN militant in the Paris region, who told me that the identity question had totally replaced the economic question as the preeminent political issue.35 From a more neutral, objective standpoint, Le Monde

72 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology columnist Alain Touraine has likewise argued that debate on economic and social issues has been superseded by debate on the very nature of identity and the nation.36 At its most basic this ‘new cleavage’37 is the product of a fundamental question: what is a nation? Or more specifically: what is the French nation? Throughout the 1980s and 1990s the FN’s contention has been that the PS holds a conception of the nation antithetical to its own. FN leaders and theorists claim that present-day Socialists are hostile to the notion of national identity; they maintain that the ‘cosmopolitans’ and ‘xenophiles’ of the PS exalt only ‘mixtures, half-castes, the melting pot, and cultural and ethnic roots’.38 As such, Le Pen’s party believes that its vision of ‘France for the French’ is threatened by this other, ‘internationalist’ conception of the nation.39 For the FN, this ideology of cosmopolitanism has, in recent years, played an important part in creating a ‘rupture of collective memory’ and in negating the French identity.40 Labelled by Mégret ‘socialism’s misadventure’, cosmopolitanism is viewed as one of the prime modern-day evils endangering France’s future;41 like ‘internationalism’ and ‘universalism’ – two similar notions within FN discourse – it is viewed by the FN as the antithesis of, and at the same time the main threat to, the nation and nationalism. As Martial Bild told me: ‘A new, more fraternal society cannot be forced’.42 Mégret, the most likely successor to Le Pen at the top of the FN, is vivid in his analysis: cosmopolitanism is portrayed as a ‘virus of unrootedness’43 affecting the health of the nation. It is argued that the nation is akin to a tree gradually losing its roots in ‘cosmopolitanism, materialism and totalitarianism’.44 In a similar way, cosmopolitanism is likened to the AIDS epidemic, slowly destroying the immunisation defences of the nation.45 Here, the FN goes beyond the idea of overtly physical threats – immigration and Third World over-population, for instance – and identifies what could be viewed as a more metaphysical dimension to the national problem. Le Gallou in particular is responsible for this part of FN theory. He argues that in both intellectual and historical terms, the notion of French identity has been devalued.46 In an intellectual sense, he claims that the ‘universal and eternal values of the abstract man’ have been exalted to the detriment of the nation and specifically French concerns.47 Hostility to what is perceived as Socialist ‘abstractionism’ is a significant theme within FN discourse. It reflects the party’s belief in the ‘real’, ‘natural’ and ‘known’ over the ‘ideological’, the ‘artificial’ and the ‘constructed’. In many ways this position is illustrated best by the FN’s loyalty to ‘concrete’ values such as family, school, order and hierarchy rather than those that are part of the ‘jungle of abstractions’.48 Equally, it would also be true to say that the party owes much more allegiance to the Vichy triptych of ‘Work, Family, Country’ than to the Revolution’s slogan: ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’. As Marie-France Stirbois explained to me, the values of Vichy are ‘concrete

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 73 realities’ that exist naturally, not just ambiguous ‘abstract values’ like those of 1789. Further, Bruno Racouchot told me that the FN did not create the idea of the nation; he argued that the nation was a living entity, not an abstraction. And, in a comment that reveals much about the substance of FN doctrine, Racouchot stated that the party’s philosophy was not intellectual and abstract, but one of ‘practical politics, like Plato, observing the world’.49 The FN objects to the perceived universality of what Mégret dubs ‘the New Socialist Ideology’.50 From the standpoint of the FN, the Socialists’ apparent concern for the whole of humanity, and not just France, is a danger signal for the future of the nation. Thus, cosmopolitanism – in short, ‘the Zambèze before the Corrèze’ – is viewed as an ideology of high treason. As an early FN newspaper proclaimed: ‘If the foreigner is treated better than the Frenchman, what does it mean to be French?’51 In a similar vein, Mégret claims that the refusal to erect boundaries and frontiers between citizens and foreigners leads to a lack of interest in those who should be cared for most. He argues that ‘everyone commiserates with the death of Malik Qussekine or the imprisonment of Mandela, but no-one intervenes to help a neighbour getting beaten up on the Metro’.52 Thus, the FN condemns what it views as the ascendancy of the ‘universal’ over the ‘particular’, of the ‘rights of man’ over the ‘rights of the nation’, and of the ‘rights of humanity’ over the ‘real sovereignty of the people’.53 The main thrust of the FN argument is that ‘cosmopolitanism has replaced the nation’.54 From a historical perspective, Le Gallou has cast doubt upon two ideas that in his opinion have evolved into commonly-held principles: first, that ethnic diversity is natural, and second, that France as a nation is enriched by foreigners – notions that were upheld in the nineteenth century by republican nationalists like Renan and Michelet. Le Gallou stresses instead the ‘very European history’ of France and the continuity implicit in eight centuries of monarchy. He also disagrees with the presupposition inherent in the ‘enrichment’ theory: namely that France’s initial poverty fostered the need for enrichment – which is supposed to have arrived in the form of immigration.55 FN theorists go on to argue that what they interpret as the Socialists’ attachment to the idea of the rights of man fosters belief ultimately in man as an individual agent, devoid of a communal identity or national attachment. Le Roy has explained the gulf between PS and FN standpoints in philosophical terms. He argues that ‘the difference relates to the conception of man’ and claims: ‘As nationalists we at the FN believe that man is human, a product of the past and tradition. The cosmopolitans or internationalists on the other hand treat man solely as an individual and economic agent’. At bottom Le Roy’s assessment of the contemporary political divide is a product of the FN’s preliminary conception of the nation: the belief that

74 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology man as an individual is nothing, and that he only becomes something as part of the history and tradition of the national community. In consequence, the FN maintains that the rights of man is the harbinger of cosmopolitan, internationalist ideals, and thus, that it is the antithesis of nationalist doctrine.56 In addition, the FN’s critique of the ‘rights of man’ philosophy highlights the doctrine’s apparent non-demarcation of rights. Le Pen’s party believes that, in line with its policy of ‘national preference’, rights should be distributed in accordance with nationality and the rather ambiguous concept of loyalty.57 Thus, any philosophy that views man as an ‘abstract’, ‘universal’ phenomenon, and men as born intrinsically equal in rights – as the FN claims that PS doctrine does – is condemned: ‘The (philosophy of the) rights of man wants to construct a new human genre, indifferent, where all the particularisms and specificities in the nature of man disappear...(It is) an egalitarian and totalitarian vision (that implies) the death of peoples and nations’.58 FN theorists also argue forcefully that rights have to be earnt. Here, the FN claims that the concept of rights is inseparable from that of duties. Referring to social trends like immigrant crime and the non-integration of foreign communities in France, the party sticks to a definition of rights, inherent in which is the notion of reciprocity. The FN claims that the Declaration has been abused. Party writers emphasise the fact that the full, unabridged title of the 1789 document is: ‘The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen’. For the FN, the term ‘citizen’ implies notions of duty and loyalty, and thus it believes that the Socialists’ emphasis on rights alone is a false, naive and misleading one.59 And, in line with its belief that man only truly blossoms as part of a group, the FN argues that it is shortsighted to talk exclusively of the rights of ‘man’. The idea that the individual is the supreme value in society is castigated. Mégret in particular maintains that the rights of the family and the nation should be acknowledged and upheld as well: especially the right to life, which relates directly to the FN’s antiabortion standpoint.60 Possibly the most distinctive product of the FN’s vitriolic anti-cosmopolitanism is the notion of ‘anti-French racism’. Le Pen calls this ‘the other that we cannot tolerate’.61 In short, the FN accuses the government, the political establishment and the media of embracing not only ‘cosmopolitanism’, but an overt ‘anti-French’ bias. Here there is a twofold objective: first, to emphasise what has been viewed as the ‘devaluation of France’ and the ‘negation of the French identity’ and second, to counteract accusations of FN racism.62 Indeed, the concept has not only been explained and illuminated in a short brochure, Le Racisme antifrançais, but embodied in FN-

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 75 sponsored movement, the LAGRIF. Its slogan is ‘With You, For You!’ – but it is interested only in people who are French and Christian. Le Pen justified the existence of LAGRIF by referring to ‘the multiplication of examples of anti-French racism...when being a national is a hindrance’.63 It is stated by the FN that ‘anti-French’ bias is the consequence of the growth of cosmopolitanism in France. FN leaders claim the idea that society is a multi-cultural entity, home to people of differing races, religions and cultures, has almost inevitably provoked the emergence of theories which advance the view that the French people are being discriminated against. Le Gallou accuses the PS of attempting to accommodate all identities and all ‘differences’ in their pursuit of their cosmopolitan ideal and of denying and negating the fundamental social cells which the FN champions: the family and the nation in particular. In the end, he argues, the ideology of cosmopolitanism defines a racist not as someone fighting a person of another race, but as a person defending his own identity and that of his community. He proclaims that ‘an antiracist war is being fought against those who oppose cosmopolitanism’.64 Le Gallou cites a number of examples of what he interprets as ‘anti-French racism’. In his opinion it is unjust that immigrants are accorded the same social, economic and association rights as French people. Reinforcing the FN’s belief in the reality of inequality and inequalities, Le Gallou argues that the restriction of political rights – only French nationals are allowed to vote – should be copied in all other spheres. He also believes that the current ideological climate in France fosters anti-national attitudes. Here Le Gallou quotes the case of a ‘French café-restaurant’ in Paris, condemned by the Ligue contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme (LICRA) on account of its ‘racist’ and ‘provocative’ use of the word ‘French’ (LICRA upheld the view that in this case the word ‘French’ connoted ownership rather than culinary specialisation).65 Similarly, in 1996 the FN’s newsletter reported on an incident in Tarbes, in which three servicemen, almost automatically, took the blame for a town-centre confrontation with a gang of North Africans.66 The FN response to episodes such as these is a combination of anger and sarcasm. Le Pen declared in 1990: ‘If one day I eat a croissant, is one going to cry anti-Turk racism?’67 Le Gallou, similarly, has complained that anyone who defends the French cultural identity is immediately branded a ‘racist’.68 FN leaders are also critical of the way in which the French language has been abused,69 and in line with other party writers, Le Gallou condemns the way in which even the slightest manifestation of national sentiment – like flying the tricolore outside a school – is seen by some as

76 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology provocative.70 As if to sum up his party’s position, Le Pen told his followers at a party rally that ‘the only racism which is not opposed today is anti-French racism’, and ‘the only religion one can mock openly is Christianity’.71 There is, therefore, strong attachment to the notion of an anti-French ‘conspiracy’ at the heart of the FN’s nationalist discourse. France’s nationality code legislation In recent years there has been much polemical debate about the state of France’s nationality legislation and it would be fair to say that the advent of the Jospin government has done nothing to lessen this.72 However, it was in the late 1980s and early 1990s that the FN established its position on the issue. For its leaders, the ‘liberal’ character of France’s current nationality legislation is a prime indication of the ascendancy of cosmopolitanism. The party expounds the belief that the Socialists’ rationale for maintaining ‘lax’ nationality legislation – in particular, what the FN terms ‘nationality on demand’ – has been inextricably tied up with their ‘cosmopolitan vision’, implicit in which is the ‘irreversible installation of immigrant populations on our soil’.73 As Mégret states: Instead of facilitating access to French nationality, we want for our part to retain its unique character. Those who become French, if (they) have not received it through the family line, must merit what they ask for. To enter into the national integrate into an exceptional community of destiny, is not something to be given to every man on earth. French nationality is not a possibility or a right; it is an honour. This is why we want to reform the nationality code. We do not want the identity card to be given to the first stateless person...France is not a club of bridge players.74 The essence of the FN view on the nationality code issue was neatly, and crudely, encapsulated in a mock national identity card which the party produced for publicity purposes. Below the inscription, ‘SOCIALIST INTERNATIONALIST REPUBLIC’, were the words ‘Obtention in six months on simple demand’. Inside was the message: Immigrants: six months to become French. With the Socialists, the French identity card has no more value than a scrap of paper! On the 4 April 1991 the Socialist Prime Minister announced that French nationality could in the future be acquired on simple demand within six months....The Front National says NO to

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 77 immigration-colonisation! We demand reform of the nationality code. To be French, one must inherit it or merit it. With Jean-Marie Le Pen and the Front National, defend French France!75 The increasing significance of the debate on nationhood and nationality in France has been illustrated by the polemic provoked by the country’s nationality code legislation. In his analysis, Le Gallou focuses specifically on the period of ‘cohabitation’ (1986– 8) when Chirac was prime minister. He claims that in stalling on nationality code reform in the late 1980s –and thus, in not ‘tightening’ France’s legislation – Chirac and the mainstream right succumbed to the lure of ‘cosmopolitanism’ and the ideology of the rights of man. In 1993 Le Gallou struck a similar pose, arguing that the reform efforts of Balladur and Pasqua were inadequate, and that as a result of their policies all immigrant criminals aged sixteen to eighteen would, quite easily, be able to become French.76 Le Gallou has in fact emerged as the FN’s prime spokesman on the nationality issue. He argues that the Germanic notion of the ‘right of blood’ (‘Jus sanguinis’) should be the ‘cardinal principle of nationality’, rather than the ‘right of soil’ (‘Jus soli’), the idea that has traditionally underpinned French legislation. The first notion says basically that those born of French parents (whether in France or abroad) should be the sole inheritors of French nationality – a line of thought echoed by Le Pen. In short the FN argues for the ‘primacy’ or ‘re-establishment’ of ‘blood rights’.77 This emphasis on the significance of birth and family lineage –‘nationality implies both birth and a line’ – is accompanied by the view that nationality also implies acceptance of a culture, custom, history and spiritual tradition.78 It is important here to recall Madame Stirbois’ ‘formula’: nationality is a product of ‘blood inherited and blood paid’.79 This means in effect that ‘national belonging’ is a function of blood (‘blood inherited’); however, loyalty and sacrifice – two recurring concepts in party discourse – can also bring nationality (the ‘blood paid’ idea). Le Pen has summarised this aspect of FN doctrine as follows: ‘We estimate that it is an honour to be French, an honour that must be sought and merited if one is not born of parents already French themselves’.80 For Le Gallou, naturalisation must be reserved for people who ‘want it, ask for it and merit it’.81 It was, entirely appropriate, therefore, that the FN launched its campaign for the tightening of nationality legislation under the banner: ‘To be French you have to merit it’. For the FN, the nationality code debate raises fundamental questions about national belonging and national identity. This emphasis has, however, provoked a reaction. For Bertrand Renouvin the fact that the FN stresses the importance of ‘blood’ rather than ‘soil’ in the context of nationality-acquisition is clear evidence of the party’s wish to destroy the ‘real’ French nation. Meanwhile, for Raymond Castells

78 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology the pertinent fact is that Hitler based his nationalism on blood – just like the FN does.82 It is Jean-Pierre Stirbois and Le Gallou who together have established the two main pillars83 of FN discourse on nationality: first, the notion of ‘blood rights’ – implying that only those born of French parents can be French – and second, the principle of ‘non-automatic’ naturalisation procedures.84 As their leader has stated: ‘The FN proposes to suppress the right of soil and to make naturalisation (discretional, and based primarily on the notion of merit) the only other way for foreigners to acquire French nationality’.85 Stirbois has argued that only in the most exceptional of circumstances can a person have two nationalities, because as he says: ‘It is not possible to be loyal to two countries’.86 Le Pen likewise has stated that converts to French nationality, including French Jews must totally renounce their nationality of origin.87 Perhaps the most eloquent synopsis of FN philosophy came when the FN leader addressed France’s Beur population: If you are loyal to France, if you love it, if you adopt its laws, morals, language, way of thinking and, in a word, if you integrate yourself completely, we will not refuse you being one of us, so long as there is a spark of love and not only a material interest in your stay. But if you are loyal to your roots – which is something I would respect – and if you just pretend to live under our laws, with your own morals and culture kept to yourself, it is better that you return home because otherwise it could all end very badly.88 Le Gallou has contrasted the FN’s philosophical commitment to ‘the right of blood’ with belief in ‘the right of soil’ – this latter notion implying that simply living or settling in a country entitles a person to nationality. He states that in the past, nations of massive immigration, like the USA, have looked upon ‘the right of soil’ as a basic principle, determining the very nature of society. But Le Gallou argues that France has never embraced the notion fully, and has used it only in pragmatic fashion when circumstances have dictated it; he claims that ‘the right of soil’ is now trumpeted by SOS-Racisme and the left as if it was something innately French and republican – which in his view it is not, and has never been.89 The underlying view is that embracing such a doctrine fully would lead to a massive and unconstrained immigrant ‘invasion’.90 In essence FN philosophy demands a revolution in France’s thinking on nationality legislation. FN leaders are strong in their condemnation of ‘superficial’ measures of detail that go no way at all to solving France’s problems of naturalisation and immigration.91 Le Pen reflected this feeling in a letter to party faithful: ‘Like other

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 79 countries, we hope France has the courage to defend its identity and priority rights of its children instead of welcoming foreigners’.92 Jean-Pierre Stirbois argued that such a transformation was possible, and that nationality code reform could bring back the old times and ‘the France of fields and steeples’.93 For his part, Mégret says that the truly courageous people are rare – those who, like FN leaders, dare to propose changes to existing nationality code legislation.94 In a similar vein Le Pen has argued that the bravest people are those who will respond to the cry: ‘Citizen, the nation is in danger!’95 In practical terms, the product of the FN’s discourse on nationality is a detailed policy platform with the ultimate aim, ‘a true reform of the nationality code’.96 In line with what it declares is popular feeling on the issue, the FN has called for the suppression of articles 27, 37–42, 44–58 and 153–7, which, it claims, lead to ‘anomolies’.97 The FN’s war on the concept and reality of automatic acquisition of French nationality has always remained steadfast. It has been claimed, for example, that the 1973 RPR-sponsored bill – which extended French nationality to children born in France of parents (one or both) born in French colonies before independence – multiplied the cases of automatic acquisition of French nationality.98 In short the FN derides the fact that acquiring nationality has evolved into an almost mechanical process entirely devoid of ‘an expressed will or real consideration of a person’s merits’. One party document proclaims: ‘In its current state the nationality code makes more people French reluctantly or by interest, than French by heart’.99 The charge has in fact been made that recent French governments have been happy almost to presume ‘Frenchness’.100 There might also be knock-on political effects. In 1990 Le Gallou argued that the ‘lax application’ of the nationality code could lead to 100,000 more immigrant voters each year.101 The FN has recently sought to modify the thrust of nationality code legislation by insisting on the existence of a ‘double will’ to accompany naturalisation applications: the will of ‘France’ on the one hand, and that of the ‘foreigner’ wanting to become French on the other. Le Figaro reported that this development was a simple extension of the FN’s guiding principle, namely that French nationality was an honour that had to be demanded and merited. The newspaper went on: ‘By this logic, the rubrics detailing automatic access to French nationality by birth, marriage or reintegration will be suppressed’.102 In Le Pen’s estimation, abandoning the process of automatic acquisition of nationality would affect between 70,000 and 80,000 people. He has argued that such a move would help restrict French nationality to the deserving few who actually sought and merited it.103 The FN has also made it clear that it would like to see such a development made ‘retroactive’, thereby stripping all new, post-1974 French citizens of their nationality. According to some observers, however, this idea is ‘an anti-constitutional measure’, while for others it is a sign of the FN’s adherence to

80 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology ‘Vichyist’ values. As Le Monde commented in a sarcastic vein: ‘Why 1974 and not 1960, or even 1789?’.104 In tandem with this hostility towards the automatic allocation of French nationality, the FN has attacked the laxity of governments on the procedure of naturalisation. Both Jean-Pierre Stirbois and Le Gallou have castigated the public authorities’ lack of willpower on the subject while proposition no.10 of the FN’s 1991 immigration charter, Fifty Concrete Measures, insisted that naturalisation should become, in effect, a ‘special’ procedure and not one to be followed de rigeur. FN leaders claim that Articles 68 and 69 of the nationality code should be much more strictly enforced.105 Stirbois says applicants for naturalisation must be made to satisfy all moral and social requirements,106 while Mégret, in the aftermath of the publication of the party’s Fifty Measures, proposed ‘a probationary period’ for all newcomers to French nationality, so that ‘French nationality would no longer be conceived as a passport to social security, but would become a veritable honour’.107 It is claimed by the FN that criminals and holders of dual-nationality often escape the authorities’ net on the back of public sympathy. Le Gallou has summed up this situation as follows: France is one large family, and simple good sense leads to the rejection of bad subjects. If you are going to get married, you don’t want your wife or spouse to be a criminal. In the same way, in a large family like France, you also do not want criminals.108 The FN is vehement in its stance on ‘anti-French racism’ and nationality code reform precisely because its conceptualisation of the nation is exclusive and restricted. In France, the battle between ‘conservatives’ (those who believe in ‘France for the French’) and ‘liberals’ (those who see France as an all-embracing, welcoming nation) has been fought out for generations. Today, this divide between ‘conservative nationalists’ and ‘republican nationalists’ can be represented by the gulf between the FN on the one hand, and the politicians and parties who are condemned as ‘the cosmopolitans’ on the other. ‘Open’ or ‘closed’?: The FN’s concept of the nation It follows that such a heavy emphasis on the nation requires a precise and coherent theoretical basis. The suspicion, however, is that the FN perspective on the nation is either a skilfully-crafted mixture of the two chief schools of thought – which Winock labels ‘open’ and ‘closed’ – or, less charitably, full of internal contradictions. If we take

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 81 Winock’s schema as our starting-point, we could postulate that the discourse of the FN seems to shy away from embracing one strand en bloc. Rather, there is a constant effort to reconcile the main schools of thought on the nation and nationhood: whether these are described as ‘open’/‘closed’, ‘ethnically diverse’/‘ethnic’, or ‘soil-based’/ ‘blood-based’.109 The words of Madame Stirbois indicate the essence of the party’s strategy: ‘The Front National welcomes at its heart those who are French by blood received (“blood received”) as much as it welcomes those who have become French by blood paid (“blood paid”)’.110 Within FN thinking there is definite evidence of some adherence to ‘open’ nationalism. Two of the party’s chief theorists – Le Pen and Le Gallou – quote Ernest Renan extensively in their writings on the nation. His famous definition – ‘A nation is a living soul, a spiritual principle...a daily plebiscite’ – is cited repeatedly. To the FN, Renan’s ‘admirable’ formula indicates that the nation is ‘the totality of citizens living in the same country, and who, through their proper consent, desire to continue to live together’. Renan’s emphasis on ‘will, heritage and roots’ appeals to the FN’s sense of history. Le Gallou’s polemic in Le Racisme antifrançais stresses the nation’s long history: its ancestry and the sacrifices made to it. Echoing Renan, he says that a nation is a group of people living and suffering together.111 Le Pen articulates the same sentiment: (France) is the land of our fathers, the soil cultivated and defended throughout the centuries; the country fashioned in the landscape, the cities, the language, the history and enriched by people’s efforts and fertilised by their sweat and blood....The people of France are the heirs to nearly two thousand million human beings, who suffered and loved for France, making sacrifices, including their lives...we must honour and maintain this...we must not undo it...France is not only the people of the moment, but also those of yesterday who are now dead, and those of tomorrow who are still to be born.112 More recently Le Pen has talked about the FN as ‘the movement for all those who love their country, the melting-pot and crucible’.113 The fact that these words appeared in a party publication aimed at the residents of DOM-TOM is vitally significant – and predictable. In addressing French citizens in the Caribbean and the Pacific the FN leader has to define nationhood in the broadest terms possible. By contrast, however, there are also strong indications that the FN is loyal to ‘closed’ nationalist ideas. In many ways it could be argued that the party’s attachment to Renanian thinking is only superficial. For example, in the last lines of the cited passage, Le Pen appears to switch, adroitly, to the vocabulary of Barrès: ‘France is

82 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology not only the people of the moment, but also those of yesterday who are now dead and those of tomorrow who are still to be born’. In another passage, the FN leadership almost restates Barrès’ classic phrase: The nation is the community of language, interest, race, memories and culture where man blossoms. He is attached to it by roots and deaths, its past, heredity and heritage. Everything that the nation transmits to him at birth already has an inestimable value.114 In some places the FN is explicit in its exposition of deterministic doctrine. In Passeport pour la victoire, for instance, it clearly attests to the role of language and racial origins in determining national belonging (the central thesis of German deterministic theory) by dissecting the word ‘nation’. Tracing the word’s origins back to the Latin word ‘natio’, the FN links the word to ‘naissance’. Thus, for the FN, ‘the nation...designates a living people, existing together in the same geographical space, having the same historical origins and sharing the same sense of destiny’.115 In this case blood rather than soil is the chief determining factor of nationhood for FN theorists – a belief that is reinforced by the party’s emphasis on the family as a social institution and its marked preference for nationality legislation based on the concept of ‘blood rights’. Dwelling on what the party saw (and still sees) as France’s catastrophic birthrate, one FN official argued that the French nation depended for its survival on French births: If there is not a reaffirmation of the national reality or a certain kind of national egotism we will be submerged by a Third World wave....The administrative entity called France will still exist perhaps, but the French nation will disappear.116 However, as Jenkins and Sofos argue, nationalism is not just about simple dichotomies; the reality, they say, is far more complex. This is an important point to take on board as we launch our investigation into the nationalism of the FN. And it will be helpful at this stage to think about the way in which other writers conceive of nationalism (and its different varieties). Hazareesingh, for example, talks about two different brands of nationalism: republican and anti-republican. As we will discover, it is quite difficult to fit the FN neatly into one of these categories. Martinet points to the difference between republican nationalism and what he views as another nationalism based purely on identity-related concerns. Later, however, he argues that a nation

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 83 must, by necessity, be a mixture, and that homogeneous national entities are impossible to create (a fact, for sure, that Le Pen and his party would dispute). Guibernau also tries to think around the concept of nationalism. Like Winock, he propounds the view that there are two general types: the nationalism of the French Revolution, which highlights equality and popular sovereignty, and that of the German Romantics, a much more spiritual idea which puts a strong emphasis on a nation’s language and also its territory. And, thus, the rather perverse fact is that many French nationalists – and many who might be viewed as being on the far right – have based their defensive, exclusive, xenophobic nationalism on a Germanic theory.117 It is against this general backdrop that we must view the nationalism of Le Pen and his colleagues. It is never easy to pigeon-hole a party’s ideology, and this is certainly the case with the FN. In its discourse it is reluctant to acknowledge, and even to be consistent in, its theoretical sources. As Jenkins and Sofos argue, nationalism is a generic idea but there are a range of individual peculiarities. The FN seems to exhibit its own set of internal peculiarities – all party writers seem to have their own individual philosophical influences, often varied and uncoordinated.118 And as a consequence, it could be argued that the party’s corporate discourse does lack a coherent theoretical basis. The Gulf War, Eastern Europe and anti-Americanism To illuminate the FN’s conception of the nation, it is instructive to consider three areas of recent party discourse: the Gulf War; the rise of nationalism and self-determination in contemporary Europe; and ‘anti-Americanism’. In each of these spheres of party interest, there are vital indicators as to the nature and characteristics of the FN’s nationalism. The FN’s anti-interventionist stance on the 1991 Gulf War revealed much about the party’s theory of nationhood. When Le Pen claimed that Iraq had a legitimate claim to Kuwait, and that the small ‘artificial’ city state was ‘so little anchored in human history’,119 he was arguing in effect that Kuwait – like every other part of the Middle East, a product of Western imperialism – lacked the basic preliminary credentials of a real nation. This emerged as a crucial aspect of the FN’s analysis of the Gulf War crisis. In the midst of the debate on the Gulf War, one FN writer likened Kuwait to AlsaceLorraine; in the view of the FN, Alsace-Lorraine was intrinsically French – whatever its history – and Kuwait, in the same sense, would always be ‘artificial’ and an anomaly as an independent nation. The message seemed to be: Kuwait belongs to Iraq just like Alsace-Lorraine belongs to France.120

84 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology The Gulf War illuminated other aspects of the FN’s nationalism; in particular the principle of ‘national interest’. Mégret, for instance, argued that it was not in France’s interests to intervene. Under the headline, ‘THE NATIONAL INTEREST FIRST’, he declared that French interests were not at stake in the Gulf.121 Madame Stirbois amplified this point. She said she accepted the notion of sacrifice for the nation, but only where ‘vital interests’ were at play. Stirbois implied that ‘Anglo-Saxon’ petrol interests did not justify the loss of French lives; ‘OUR SOLDIERS HUMILIATED’ was, thus, the front-page headline of National hebdo as the war commenced.122 The general FN argument was summed up neatly by Roger Holeindre: ‘The Front National is neither pro-Irakian nor pro-American, but pro-French’.123 It was taken a step further by Jean-Claude Bardet. He maintained that nationalists knew that France had no interest in the conflict; hence the view advanced by the FN that the Gulf War was a product of ‘cosmopolitanism’ and all its agents: the UN, the USA and the ‘New World Order’.124 From the Gulf War episode, therefore, we can glean that the FN upholds what it sees as legitimate, unified nations, and is hostile to ‘artificial’ national entities; it also has a very powerful belief in the notion of ‘national interest’. The vehemence of the FN’s discourse on the nationalist reawakening of Eastern Europe (1989–92) also illustrated key features of the party’s nationalism. For party leaders, the liberation of the old Soviet satellite countries, and the independence surge of new nations like Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia and Croatia highlighted the intrinsically ‘artificial’ nature of the former Soviet Union, former Yugoslavia, and the Communist structure in general.125 In broad terms it could be asserted that the FN is in favour of what it views as ‘natural’, ‘ethnically-defined’ nations, and hostile to what it views as ‘artificially-manufactured’ states like, for example, Yugoslavia – ‘one country, six republics, three languages, three religions and two alphabets’.126 As Martine Lehideux proclaimed: ‘There is not a Yugoslavia’.127 It should be pointed out, however, that if homogeneous, ethnically-defined nations exist in theory, or in the FN imagination, they do not exist in reality – a point that negates not only much of FN discourse, but also casts doubt upon the essence of deterministic doctrine as a whole. The FN’s doctrinal stance was further highlighted by its passionate belief in the legitimacy of German reunification. Prior to 1989, both the party’s leadership and membership agreed that ‘the Germans must become masters of their own destiny’.128 This sentiment was based on the notion that a re-united Germany was a natural, homogeneous, ethnic bloc, although as we have already noted, this is a rather naive and simplistic view. Alluding to trends and changes in Central and Eastern Europe, Le Pen said: ‘I believe that nationalisms were never dead. They are reappearing today because

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 85 they have found the liberty to express themselves. I am one of those people who think that attachment to the nation is linked to an instinct of man’.129 So, even though a reunited Germany might have been a threat to French influence in Europe, the FN still welcomed its emergence as an authentic and united national bloc. At the height of the recent nationalist agitation in Central and Eastern Europe FN leaders argued that ‘Croatia’s battle’ was ‘France’s battle’ too –the search for true national identity. The FN view was that French nationalists should support ‘its brother peoples’.130 Madame Lehideux told FN militants: ‘We understand the peoples of Eastern Europe in their search for liberal ideals....It is just like our own fight for our identity’.131 In places this type of linkage is made even more explicit. In 1990 National hebdo announced: ‘It is the same battle in Dreux, Riga, Marseille, Bucharest, Salon, Leipzig and Prague’.132 For his part, Yvan Blot, a former FN Euro-MP, proclaimed that the role of all movements of the national right was to ‘demask the hypocrisies’ and to ‘defend with firmness and honesty the independence and identity of all nations of the European continent’.133 However, defence of the ‘national principle’ also has applications outside Europe. In the early 1990s the FN displayed its sympathy for the independence of French-speaking Quebec. The view was that ‘this country has a history, a memory, an original language and in short a civilisation to defend’. ‘The Canadian nation’, it was argued, ‘seems only to exist in books’.134 There is, however, a major contradiction at the heart of FN discourse on Europe’s nationalisms. On the one hand, the FN has been vociferous in its support for the embryonic nationalist movements of Europe – Lithuania and Croatia in particular – yet on the other, it totally rejects the possibility of ‘ethnically-defined’ regions within France seceding from the centre.135 But is not France at heart an ‘artificial’ entity, an ‘accident of history’, just like Yugoslavia or the former USSR? Is not the case of Brittany or Corsica, for example, akin to that of Slovenia or Latvia? It would appear that FN discourse skirts over these problematic questions. Nevertheless, the FN’s commentaries on recent European history show it to be passionately in favour of the emergence of ‘ethnically-defined’ nation states. Finally, it is essential to acknowledge the overt anti-Americanism at the core of FN discourse on the nation: a theme that also underpins the doctrine of many other, earlier movements on the French extreme right.136 Underlying the FN’s rhetoric on what it perceives to be the gradual ‘Americanisation’ of France is the equation of culture with identity. Thus, for party leaders, any negation or watering down of innate French culture – via what Mégret terms ‘Mickey the coloniser’ – is viewed as a loss of

86 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology identity.137 The introduction into France of new-style leisure parks, together with the opening of the much-hyped Euro-Disneyland complex, has been interpreted as a threat to the French cultural identity – and thus to the French nation.138 Mégret in particular has lambasted the Disneyland project: The Disney society...has obtained control of the park’s cultural content. And each year there are dozens of millions of French and European children who come to visit Westernland, Mainstreet, NewOrleansquare. They will leave, their young heads full of American myths, as if there were not sufficient heroes, sagas and legends in the European mind to nourish the dreams of our children.139 In his tirade against creeping Americanisation – ‘Wine or Coca-Cola’ –Mégret quotes the words of Henri Gobard in La Guerre culturelle: logique du désastre: ‘Peoples can lose a battle or even a war and still recover...but when a people loses its culture, it becomes no more than a docile flock heading towards the abbatoir’.140 In this sense, the party’s strident anti-Americanism is entirely representative of its nation-based discourse: a defensive paranoia intent on preserving the core and essence of French culture and identity.141 Although this selection of evidence would lead us to conclude that FN discourse is dominated by notions of ethnic, defensive nationalism, it is the case at the same time that the party certainly conceives of itself as a republican movement, championing a unique brand of republican nationalism. The party upholds the Republic in general terms, but it has specific criticisms of the Fifth Republic. This has led to calls for ‘a Sixth Republic –French and social’.142 It is also a fact that allusions to the great triumphs of the French Republic and the utilisation of republican imagery and vocabulary form a vital part of FN nationalism. The image of Marianne, for example, is regularly used in the FN press to symbolise the Republic, usually depicted as either under threat or as the ultimate loyalty for French citizens.143 Other types of symbolism are also employed. One party document is produced in passport form; the inscription on the front cover reads: ‘THE REPUBLIC OF FRANCE – PASSPORT FOR VICTORY’. Prominent inside the brochure is the party emblem: a tricolore in the shape of a flame; needless to say, the handbook is printed in only three colours: red, white and blue. The republican flag is also the focal point of the Fête Bleu-BlancRouge. Staged in Paris every September, this party festival celebrates the work of the FNJ, the organisation’s youth movement, and provides party leaders with a receptive environment for keynote speeches.144 Leaders of the FN are also more acutely aware than most of the historical dimension to party philosophy. Thus, when Le Pen utilises the Jacobin cry, ‘Citizen, the country

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 87 is in danger!’ in an attempt to highlight the threat heralded by uncontrolled immigrant naturalisations, he appears to be making a definite bid for part of the republican heritage. The fact that the FN has also employed the Marseillaise, the ultimate sound of the Republic, as the tocsin of impending disaster is further evidence of the FN’s self-alignment with the republican ethos.145 One of the best examples of the FN’s overt republican rhetoric came in the wake of the murder of a party militant by an Algerian immigrant in Avignon. In the aftermath of the killing, Marie-France Stirbois made the following plea: The news today is full of indisputable examples of the rise to power of the antinational lobbies so often denounced by Jean-Marie Le Pen. The aim of these forces is the disintegration of the French identity and our republican values, and they are at work to break the last resistance of our Western and European society....It is about time that we called our compatriots to a new resistance in the wake of the rise of (Muslim and Jewish) fanaticism....Our movement must be the unshakeable rock around which the momentum of popular resistance must be organised.146 This powerful appeal not only talks of ‘our republican values’, but also goes on to highlight the need for ‘a new resistance’. In republican vocabulary of course the term ‘resistance’ has a mesmerising impact. Ever since de Gaulle the word has had magical republican overtones. The FN now sees itself as the vanguard of ‘national resistance’ against those who uphold ‘anti-French racism’, the rights of man and ‘uniform internationalisation’.147 Thus, although the FN appears to have abused the essence of republican nationalism, it does remain loyal to many of the essential themes of republican history. In the issue of National hebdo in which Stirbois launched her appeal, the aggressive headlines boasted a common theme: ‘IMMIGRATION: THE WOMEN ENTER THE RESISTANCE’, ‘RESIST’, ‘FRENCH PEOPLE, OPEN YOUR EYES BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE’. Le Pen summed up the attitude of the FN in the same edition: ‘Either Resistance or submersion’.148 The fact that Le Pen used the word with a capital ‘R’ merely serves to emphasise the republican linkage. Le Pen in fact uses the republican ideal to justify his patriotism. He told one interviewer: ‘Patriotism is not only a right. It is a duty inscribed in the (Fifth Republic) constitution which forces the chief of state to guarantee our institutions’.149

88 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology Region and nation Implicit in the FN’s nationalism is a huge emphasis on the role of associated and related communal entities. It is in this context that party theorists stress the significance of the French regions on the one hand, and Europe on the other. In an important sense, the FN’s discourse on the regions of France and on Europe has to dove-tail with its core emphasis on the nation. Thus, the FN exhibits a strong belief in regions and regionalism, and in Europe, but just so long as the nation is not endangered and not undermined. This means in practice that the party can endorse a ‘sensible’ regionalism that does not harbour any separatist intentions, and a ‘Europe of nations’ that has nothing in common with EU-type ‘federalism’. At the crux of the FN’s discourse on regionalism is the idea of harmony and equilibrium. The party’s anti-individualist philosophy stresses that ‘man does not exist alone’, and thus, that he only blossoms as part of a group.150 Here, FN theorists stress the ‘concentric rings of community’ that, for them, foster harmony and solidarity: namely family, commune, region, nation and civilisation. Against this backdrop the FN is happy to uphold what Le Pen has termed ‘an intelligent and well-lived regionalism’, but there is a general unwillingness to countenance any ideas or constitutional arrangements that go beyond this.151 If we refer back to Chapter 1 we will recall how on another level – that of organisation – the FN, exhibits a similar attitude: regional federations are given some room for manoeuvre, but the nation and the national framework are always viewed as pre-eminent.152 Thus, it is clear that the party believes in the strengthening of regions and that it is extremely sensitive to overgrown, unhealthy regionalism, which it views as a dangerous threat to national integrity. In essence the FN’s main objective is the safeguarding of France; separatism is, therefore, viewed as ‘national suicide’.153 In his statement on regionalism and separatism, Le Pen ‘the Breton’ reinforced this position: I passionately love Brittany, an intimate mélange of land, sea and sky, with its people of peasants, sailors and soldiers, feet solidly planted, but eyes raised towards the sky...and more, a sacred character. But love for (the region) will never, in my spirit, inscribe itself as a reaction against the community of destiny...the French nation.154 This equivocal attitude towards regionalism has several dimensions: the importance of rootedness; the complexion of the central region–nation relationship; and an attack on ‘Jacobin centralism’ and the concept of the department. The notion of enracinement,

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 89 fostered and explored by Mégret, is described as ‘a vital prerequisite for human blossoming’.155 In essence it can be viewed as an attachment to the idea of territory (in its broadest sense) and ‘certainty’. It is an anti-individualist principle because it thrives on the idea of territory-based groups and communities. The FN view is that individuals will only be secure and affirmed if they are rooted or anchored in community-based life – whether this be the family, commune, region or nation. The FN also espouses the idea that ‘the human spirit is a supra-individual phenomenon’.156 Le Pen has stated: ‘If I am a regionalist and simply a regionalist, it is because I believe that one can deepen the implantation of man’s roots in his terroir, whether geographical or cultural’.157 The FN’s concept of rootedness – and the related notion of equilibrium – is based on the presumption that family, region and nation are natural, eternal institutions, to which people have always showed allegiance. They are not, in the FN’s view, artificial constructions, but the product of two fundamental realities: blood (the family) and history (the nation).158 Any attack on these ‘natural’ pillars of society is viewed by the FN as a threat to harmony. If these attacks are successful, the inevitable product, so the view goes, is disequilibrium and ‘unrootedness’. If what the FN views as the essence of regionalism is perverted by the activities of autonomist movements or the existence of ‘artificial’ departments the ‘equilibrium’ of the nation is upset.159 The point is therefore made that provincial attachment is, and should be, natural. Mégret maintains that most of his compatriots ‘are proud of their difference at the heart of the French crucible. This idea naturally leads on to the phrase used by Le Pen: ‘the Breton apartment in the French building in the European quarter’.160 Mégret also argues that region, nation and continent are complementary entities. What he does not condone, however, is the concept of belonging to two peoples or two nations: ‘One cannot belong to two peoples, one cannot be the son of two nations, but this does not prevent one feeling Vendean or Savoyard’.161 The FN position remains that it is logical to owe a loyalty and an allegiance to a region. The fundamental qualification, however, is that this regional loyalty should not compromise fidelity to the nation. So in fundamental terms, Le Pen identifies ‘a frontier that one cannot cross without taking the risk of seeing our nations, cemented by history and by common ordeals, break up to the benefit of world revolution’.162 The view essentially is that local particularisms bring ‘charm’, but they also bring ‘risks’.163 This position was illustrated perfectly during two recent political crises – Corsica and New Caledonia. In the eyes of FN spokesmen the two episodes were very different, but they both revolved

90 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology around the same core issue: was France on the verge of ‘selling out’, of crossing the ‘frontier that one cannot cross’?164 The controversy surrounding the constitutional status of Corsica, which reached a peak in 1990, gave the FN a suitable platform on which to develop its views on regionalism and the French nation. Although periodic surges in separatist activity kept Corsica on the political agenda throughout the 1970s and 1980s, it was the Joxe plan, a statute put to parliament in November 1990, and which aimed at strengthening Corsican local government, that inspired the most virulent political debate.165 The FN has always upheld the vision of ‘a Corsica respected within a French France’.166 In 1990 Marie-France Stirbois articulated the party’s position: In the Assemblée nationale I have defended the integrity of the territory battered and attacked by the sinister Monsieur Joxe. On this occasion I recalled that Corsica was an old land attached to France because France stood for authority and justice above all factions. We must remember that Corsica was the French region which sacrificed most children to the nation, proportionately during the holocaust of the First World War.167 In particular, it was the Socialist government’s notion of, ‘a Corsican people, a component of the French people’, which provoked much debate among the political classes, especially on the far right.168 In National hebdo one columnist focused on Joxe and ‘his unfortunate notion of a “Corsican people” ’; a cartoon in the same paper showed Joxe and Rocard ‘playing’ with Corsica – the inference being that they were manipulating it for their own ends.169 The crux of the debate was grasped by a Le Monde report. The newspaper stated in October 1990 that if the Joxe plan went through, the government – in recognising the ‘uniqueness and specificity of the Corsican people’ – would have created a special kind of territorial collective and Corsica, therefore, would have ceased to be a simple ‘region’ on the continental model.170 In FN circles there was talk of decolonisation and even analogies with Algeria.171 For the FN, the fundamental issue at stake in the ongoing debate about Corsica’s status is the unity and integrity of the French nation. Marie-France Stirbois told the Assemblée nationale in April 1991: Accepting the first article (of the statute) would be to cede to the objectives of the Corsican separatists, who in reality want only one thing: to separate themselves

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 91 from the French state....At all times the tendency of men of state in charge of the destiny of France has been to weld together our provinces, to make our country one great living body. To accept the idea of dismemberment, undeniably implied in the ambiguous formulation of M. Joxe and his successor M. to sign the death warrant of One and Indivisible France.172 The ‘doomsday scenario’ of national dismemberment forwarded by Stirbois was a constant feature of FN polemics on the Corsica issue – and regional disputes more generally. Mégret, for example, in his personal response to the question, ‘Is there a Corsican people?’, claimed that the proposed Joxe legislation was ‘naive and utopian’. Writing in December 1990, Mégret argued that the Joxe plan was inconsistent with Article III of the Fifth Republic constitution, which stipulated that national sovereignty belonged to the people and is exercised by their representatives.173 However, it is difficult to comprehend how sovereignty is compromised by increased local government and administrative autonomy – the core objective of the Joxe legislation. Indeed in general terms it could quite easily be argued that popular control actually increases when political power is devolved. At the height of the Corsica debate Mégret asked, sarcastically, who would be next to demand special status as ‘a people’: Basques, Bretons, or even Kanaks, Bantous and Beurs?174 Jean-Baptiste Biaggi was blunt. Under the heading, ‘WHAT FUTURE FOR CORSICA?’, he implied that most Corsicans wanted ‘a French future’. He wrote: ‘To believe that the Corsicans want independence is a criminal aberration’.175 For her part, Madame Stirbois told the French parliament that the Socialist plan for Corsica ‘set a dangerous precedent’ in legislation, risking the break-up of France into separate provinces.176 Thus, the position of both Madame Stirbois and Mégret was based on the premise that Corsica represents ‘a region’, ‘a specificity’, ‘a particularity’ or even ‘an ethnic group’ within France177 – but on no account did it have the status of ‘a people’ or ‘a nation’. In this vein Jean-François Galvaire, speaking at the FN’s ‘Anti-Joxe’ rally in September 1991, spoke of Corsica as a constituent part of ‘the French construction’.178 In addition, Mégret states in his polemic on Corsica – significantly titled ‘France and her people’ – that there is nothing wrong in Corsicans highlighting their pride in being Corsican as long as this sentiment revolves around being ‘a Frenchman of Corsican origin’.179 At the height of the 1975 troubles, Le National elaborated this position in another way: ‘Love of Corsica does not oppose love of France – they are complementary’.180 It is thus not surprising that FN election lists in Corsica have fought recently under the slogan, ‘Corsica First and France Always’.181

92 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology The belief that Corsica, like Le Pen’s native Brittany, is a region and not a people or nation is bolstered by the FN’s analysis of French history, and more specifically, by its belief in ‘a centralised will...affirmed under all regimes’.182 RLP hebdo, commenting on fresh demands for Corsican independence, stated: ‘The termites of separatism are at work in the solidly-built French house. Will the agitators of the FLB, FNLC and IPARRE-TARAK really be able to destroy that which ten centuries of monarchy, empire and republic have edified?’183 Thus, within FN discourse, France’s history of unity is emphasised; the argument is that France has emerged organically as a coherent, unified ‘territorial structure’, and that Corsica, therefore, is an essential part of the nation. Madame Stirbois cites the work of Hincmar, Philippe le Bel, Guillaume de Nugaret, Francis I and Jean Bodin in her depiction of France as an organic whole; she insists that ‘the unalienable character of the Crown’ was the most important tenet of medieval law and that the king’s task was always to promote unity and sovereignty before anything else.184 Even though Corsica became attached to the French ‘organism’ only relatively recently, it is obvious that ‘the isle of beauty’ is viewed by the FN as an integral part of the French nation: any concession to the idea of ‘a Corsican people’ would be interpreted as a betrayal. As Le Pen declared: ‘The Joxe statute is not about opening things up, but about breaking things’.185 ‘Long live French Caledonia!’186 The case of France’s Pacific territories also reveals important features of the FN’s nationalism. In particular, the campaign surrounding the New Caledonia ‘self-rule’ referendum of 1988 brought out several significant points about the party’s vision of France. In 1988 the FN was at the vanguard of the ‘No’ campaign, and throughout believed that Paris was going to surrender New Caledonia to the autonomist groups on the island. Roger Holeindre’s assessment of the situation was entitled ‘Caledonia...everyone guilty!’, and he signed off with the powerful message, ‘Long live France!’ In the FN’s view, the aim of the pro-independence faction is, still, to create ‘a multiracial and pluricultural people without the domination of any one community’; this has been described in FN circles as ‘a dangerous utopia’ – further evidence that the FN believes predominantly in closed and non-cosmopolitan societies.187 Fundamentally, the FN position was, and is, that New Caledonia is French, and should always remain French. In 1995 the party explained how it was faced on the island with, ‘a separatist current believing in brutal independence’, and that in response it aimed to ‘reaffirm the belonging of the territory to the French nation’.188 A year later, under the heading, ‘POLYNESIA FIRST, FRENCH POLYNESIA’, the FN reiterated this belief: ‘The Front National is the political force which wants to maintain French

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 93 cultural influence in the south Pacific and the Polynesian identity’.189 This last phrase is significant: the FN wants Polynesia to remain an outpost of Frenchness, but somehow, at the same time, it also wants the territory to maintain its own identity.190 It could be argued that another contradiction exists within FN discourse on the Pacific island whose status is of an overseas territory within ‘greater France’.191 In one sense Le Pen has vehemently castigated the backward character of Melanesian society. In controversial remarks made in 1988 – which provoked an angry response from the then premier, Michel Rocard – Le Pen argued: When one is the bearer of an unmistakeably better civilisation – France and Europe – one substitutes it for forms of inferior civilisation....The civilisation of Florence, Paris, London, Munich, Vienna and Madrid is superior to that of the Stone Age, of which the Melanesians are the last representatives in the world.192 Such comments have serious implications for the party’s conception of the nation. Apart from the obvious derogatory tone of the statement, it is essential to note that Le Pen acknowledges not just ‘differences’, but blatant notions of inferiority and superiority. This conflicts with the FN’s general and much-repeated refusal to entertain dominating, ‘racial’ ideas. Furthermore, the FN leader’s allusion to distinct civilisations suggests that within France – mainland and overseas territories – he is willing to conceive of separate ‘peoples’. Indeed, given the equation of ‘people’ with ‘nation’ at the heart of FN discourse, Le Pen’s statement on New Caledonia is tantamount to a recognition of separate national identities within the entity known as France.193 By contrast, it should be pointed out that at other times the FN views the country’s Pacific territories – New Caledonia in particular – as a worthy, cherished and integral component part of the French nation. As early as September 1985, National hebdo was encouraging New Caledonians to preserve their place within the French nation, proclaiming that, ‘it is better to vote for what is sure than what is not’.194 It is also the case that FN spokesmen have mocked the attitude of other politicians to New Caledonia and its ‘Frenchness’. Jean-Pierre Stirbois, for example, ridiculed the former French president, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, for refusing to utter the words, ‘Here is France’, on arrival in New Caledonia;195 as if Stirbois was saying, this, New Caledonia, is the real France. And it is a fact that the FN was the only mainstream political party campaigning for a ‘No’ vote in the 1988 referendum on independence – a plebiscite Le Monde described as ‘a battle of principle’.196 Le Pen for his part underlines the fact that, in his judgement, New Caledonia has an undeniable French character. In an attempt to emphasise the Frenchness of New

94 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology Caledonia he entitled his musings on the Pacific territory: ‘Caledonians first, French always’. In his personal depiction of the island, Le Pen talks about being heavily struck by ‘the extremely French nature of Caledonians’. He also emphasises the ‘message of confidence, solidarity and friendship’ his visits to the island have sought to convey. It is sentiments like these that generally underpin the FN view of France’s pacific territories.197 Indeed, a desire to preserve the relationship was the motive force behind the formation by Jean-Pierre Stirbois of Le Comité pour la défense de la France d’outre-mer.198 The importance of the French language in New Caledonia is also highlighted: There are more than 100 different tribes in New Caledonia, for most of the time hating each other and speaking more than 32 dialects.... Without the French language these tribes could not communicate with each other, and even the autonomists of the FLNKS must express themselves in French in launching their anti-French slogans.199 In stark contrast to his cited comments about ‘the inferiority of Melanesian civilisation’, Le Pen also acknowledges the ‘European mental structures’ of New Caledonians. He claims that the islanders show ‘an apprehension of problems that are identical to ours’.200 In fundamental terms, Le Pen maintained that the 1988 referendum and the government’s manoeuvrings on the New Caledonia issue amounted to ‘a disguised project that would lead inevitably to the independence of the island’. This feeling was amplified by a former party député, Yann Piat. Referring to l’Accord de Matignon which set in motion limited moves towards self-rule, she stated that ‘the FN has always defended the interests of New Caledonians and can in no case approve of the position of the French government on New Caledonia contained in the project’. Le Pen labelled the same agreement a ‘pseudo-event’ of no legal value. The FN is thus hostile to the concept of independence and to any return of lands to the native Melanesian populations – it argues that New Caledonia aspires only to ‘tranquil stability’.201 Like the harkis of Algeria, the New Caledonians might be racially distinct from the mainstream French, but according to FN philosophy, entry into the nation can still be acquired through loyalty, military service and sacrifice. It is clear therefore that ‘exaggerated regionalism’, whether autonomy, separation or secession, is viewed as a threat to the nation by the FN. As the examples of Corsica and New Caledonia indicate, the party upholds the nation before anything else. Nonetheless, it would also be true to say that the FN views nationalism and a ‘sensible’ regionalism as entirely complementary. With specific reference to France’s territory overseas, Mégret has written: ‘In the same way that it is good to be Corsican (or

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 95 Breton or Alsatian) and French always, it is more than ever necessary to recognise other identities...Guyanese, Polynesian, Caledonian’.202 We should not forget the point made earlier: the FN is very wary of regionalism, but it does see itself, fundamentally, as pro-region. The above passage illustrates this point in the context, primarily, of overseas France. With regard to metropolitan France it is, among other things, the FN’s belief in the old-style system of ‘provinces’ that makes exactly the same point: The French nation is simply constituted of provincial entities having their culture, their history and their proper traditions, and in championing the defence of our identifies we want a fuller blossoming of these things. For a region, recovering its personality consists of taking conscience in its identity, of knowing what it is, but also in knowing where it is situated, that is to say of belonging to a superior entity.203 Thus the Revolution and ‘fanatical Jacobinism’ is condemned; in the FN view it ‘provoked two centuries of uniformity and the destruction of local and provincial specificities going well beyond that which was necessary to assure national unity’.204 The party, therefore, wants to water down ‘arbitrary statism and Parisian Jacobinism’,205 and it would like to replace the system of ‘artificial’ departments which, according to Mégret, is contrary to ‘ancient cultural and historical realities’.206 Instead of the departement system the party favours a return to the provincial tradition: the ‘cultural and historical re-rooting of France’ in regional entities devoid of economic and administrative responsibilities.207 According to FN theorists this would reawaken regional identities, re-establish natural rootedness and national consolidation, and also foster ‘equilibrium’. So, the FN does wish to encourage regional identities, but not too much. The view is that if these identities are harnessed correctly they can actually invigorate and revitalise the nation.208 Thus, in rejecting the ‘artificiality’ of departments and the ‘absurdity’ of autonomism or extreme regionalism, the FN attaches itself to the idea of ‘natural’ regions but also, more significantly, to the existence of ‘one French people’.209 Europe and nation Chirac...Euromaniac. Long live the franc. Europe...this crime against France and the franc.210

96 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology In the same way as it is impossible to understand the FN’s conceptualisation of the nation without recourse to its views on regions and regionalism, so it is difficult to ignore the implications of its discourse on Europe. The region–nation–Europe hierarchy that underscores party philosophy is of vital significance. Attempting to comprehend one or even two of these terms in a void is difficult. As concepts they are by necessity interlinked and interwoven. In general terms Europe is viewed by the FN as a natural historical, geographical and political entity, a civilisation and a tradition. The party objects to any notion of a ‘European construction’ – an artificial, bureaucratic Europe based solely on an economic rationale (in part, the FN’s current view of the European Union). Instead, it upholds the notion of a ‘Europe of nations’, with individual nations maintaining their identities; in effect, the belief in ‘a French France in a European Europe’.211 The FN’s Europe would be a strong, powerful and rigidly-defined geopolitical bloc, able to stave off all potential threats. Le Pen has spoken of the Europe that he would like to renew: Europe has a history which started at Marathon....It must constitute a nation in the face of a double menace – that of Soviet communism and that of galloping Third World population growth. It must organise its defence together. This can only be done if it rekindles its soul. That is why I recently spoke of a ‘Europe of heroes and soldiers’. If Europeans do not resurrect the sense of the homeland, Europe is lost. We live in an epoch of moral, spiritual and intellectual laxness.212 Illuminating several key themes within the FN’s conception of Europe – history, identity, interdependence and potential threats – the tone of this tract is highly representative of FN discourse on Europe as a whole. Throughout party leaders’ writings on Europe, a central theme can be identified: attachment to a Europe based on geo-political and cultural concerns rather than economic interests. The view is that some form of reconstruction is needed. Although a lot of the details are vague, the FN’s vision of a ‘Europe of nations’ is essentially a confederal one – based in theory on the Swiss model of ‘respect for different cultural zones’.213 For Le Gallou, ‘European union’, as conceived by the FN, has two principal objectives: to ensure the survival of the civilisation and cultures of Europe, and to aid the continent of Europe in its quest to re-establish itself in the world and to re-assert its influence.214 In many ways the FN conception of Europe is akin to both Gaullist and Thatcherite visions. FN policy maintains that union should be based on key common concerns: defence, foreign policy and high-profile strategic projects.215 A common currency has

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 97 also been proposed though the FN has always opposed ‘artificial economic unity’ and, in recent times, it has been scathing in its hostility to the ‘Euro’ and monetary union.216 According to Mégret there is a common element which links the areas in which the FN would sanction Europe-wide co-operation – politics and power: The European construction has sense only if it aims to re-constitute a major pole of power. Yes to military power to assure the European defence of Europe. France must take the initiative in a true European defence of Europe....Yes equally to a Europe of science and technology, because it is in this sphere too that our future lies....Yes to co-operation in the area of foreign policy on the condition that this is a policy of power destined to defend the interests of Europe.217 Thus, a European level of political and diplomatic decision-making would create – in the FN’s view – a powerful continental bloc: a counterweight to the pressure of external forces. According to FN discourse, this political union would not be contrived, but authentically based on a common European identity. Le Pen expounds upon this heritage and personality: Europe is a historical, geographical, cultural, economic and social civilisation. It is an entity with a vocation of action. In reality Europe is divided, in regression. Europe is still retreating from its frontiers of the year 1000, but it still harbours the possibility of renaissance...a spiritual, intellectual, political unity, all that has been its genius, that is to say a will to act for civilisation, of not leaving itself submerged or vanquished.218 Disregarding the fact that, for once, the FN admits to some kind of natural economic bond – a position that will appear ironic in due course – this passage highlights the FN’s attachment to the concept of a common European identity and also to the notion of a rigidly-demarcated geographical space. In tune with its instincts of defensive nationalism, the FN argues that ‘Europe is geographically, culturally and ethnically defined’.219 It is claimed that without effective external frontiers, Europe will be merged, if not submerged, into an ‘internationalist future’.220 This attitude conditions FN thinking. As a consequence, the party is opposed to Third World immigration into Europe and the entry of Turkey into the EU but, quite naturally, in favour of the reinsertion of the countries of Eastern Europe into the European ‘family’.221

98 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology In the light of this clearly-defined notion of what Europe is, and is not, it is difficult to ignore the racial implications of FN discourse. When Le Pen told the European Parliament that Europe was, among other things, ‘ethnically defined’222 he seemed to be suggesting some kind of racial definition of Europe. Although much of the FN’s European doctrine is based on the civilisation argument, the allusion to ethnicity is also apparent. Either way, this part of FN thinking emphasises the full extent of European homogeneity. From this stems the belief that Europe should focus on the wider arena and use its strength and unity to combat external threats. The fight against ‘external menaces’ has been a constant refrain in FN circles. In the European context, Jean-Marie Le Chevallier’s political statement, Immigration en Europe: attention danger is possibly the most high-profile attempt to draw attention to the dangers facing Europe.223 In the years before the collapse of the USSR, for example, there was a fierce desire to protect the European identity from Communism and all its agencies.224 Throughout FN literature, defence, survival and renaissance are depicted as key concerns. In Militer au front it is argued that: The European nations are menaced in their survival and...must unite themselves to preserve their identity and regain their power. As such, Europe is conceived as a means of defending the independence of the nations of Europe. It implies neither the integration nor the dissolution of nations or national identities.225 Given this position, the FN is extremely fearful of the federal scenario involving the ‘suppression of national frontiers’.226 In the FN’s view, such a situation would increase cross-border migration and the continent would be vulnerable to immigration, AIDS and trans-national drug-trafficking. Party writers have talked of French society disintegrating into ‘a federalist Europe’, and at the same time of a Europe ‘open to immigrant imports from all over the globe’. In the same vein they have spoken of ‘a Europe of drugs’ and described international drug-traffickers as ‘assassins of our youth.’ This rhetoric has been consistent, and when Le Pen visited the prime minister, Edouard Balladur, at the Matignon in 1994 he took with him a list of ‘dangers’: not least Maastricht, the suppression of frontiers, unemployment, insecurity and immigration.227 If the emphasis on threats and vulnerability illustrates the FN’s obsession with notions of decline and weakness, the corollary of this is a passionate plea for renaissance and rejuvenation: The FN affirms the right of European peoples to dispose of themselves, to affirm themselves, and to regain power and influence through loyalty to their roots. The

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 99 FN claims for Europe the same rights as the people of the Maghréb, India, Africa, Israel and elsewhere claim for themselves...Europeans must hold fierce pride in what they are. They who have challenged the universe...and brought economic progress and modern technology to the world, which all countries and peoples benefit from today. Europeans must be proud of their contribution to the world, proud also of their past, of their multimillenia culture, and of their unique historical experience.228 Although Europe’s predicament is naturally overplayed for effect, the message is clear: either decline or renaissance. In addition to the threats of Communism (pre1989) and Third World over-population, party writers have detailed other symptoms of the ever-present European ‘malaise’: division (between eastern and western halves of the continent’s population), decolonisation and, more generally, weakness in the geo-political sphere –encompassing East–West, North–South and Europe–US relationships.229 FN leaders are certain, however, that Europe possesses the means of renaissance, whether these relate to the continent’s economic power, diplomatic location, or history.230 History is especially important to the FN; party writers believe that the notion of a ‘Europe of nations’ is founded upon the reality of past European solidarity. The rationale behind phrases like ‘Europe renovated’ and ‘Europe rediscovered’ is thus clear. In figures such as Charlemagne, FN theorists find a particularly inspiring example: Europe united as a political and religious bloc.231 In this context, Irène de Chaly has focused on the notion that ‘Europe is a past’. Her argument is that the continent’s common ideals of language and intellectual liberty – expressed in Greek tragedy, Celtic poetry, German legend and Roman chronicles – have forged a unified heritage and identity. In terms of historical landmarks, Marathon, Salamine, Lepanto, Vienna and Poitiers are cited as evidence of concerted European action against a common external enemy.232 According to Le Pen, the youth of Europe, faced with what the FN perceives as decline, decadence and despondency in the twentieth century, ‘must be inspired by Europe’s glorious past’; he has also claimed that, ‘Europe exists because it has warred and sacrificed’.233 In his rallying call to FN youth, Carl Lang stated: It is the young Europeans, conscious of their identity and of their community of destiny, who must mobilise themselves to construct a European power capable, through unity, of carrying all its historical, human, geo-political, technological and economic weight in international relations.234

100 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology For the FN, this re-emergence is jeopardised by a plethora of dangers. The party argues that the continent needs its unity and force precisely in order to combat external ‘threats’. In the words of Martine Lehideux, ‘The union of Europe is indispensable because survival, independence, identity and culture are at stake’.235 It is argued by the FN that because of the continent’s history and heritage as the cradle of Christian civilisation, Europe is a land mass waiting, if not yearning, to be re-united around common interests. However, the FN’s conception of Europe is only truly illuminated when it is contrasted with what it claims to be the other – or ‘mistaken’ – view: that of Europe as a predominantly economic, bureaucratic and technocratic entity, an ‘artificial’ construction dreamt up by Brussels and devoid of what the FN would call a real soul or cultural identity. The FN writer Georges-Paul Wagner characterises this distinction as ‘the difference between the European construction of today and the European realities of the past’.236 In this view, Wagner stresses the party’s opposition to ‘constructionism’ in the sense of forcefully-created institutional arrangements. In short the FN is pro-Europe, but anti-EU. It would be fair to say in fact that Le Pen and his colleagues have vilified and exaggerated what they interpret as the alternative conception of Europe, and what one writer called ‘the Eurocratic monster of Brussels’.237 The FN castigates what it sees as the mistaken belief in the possibility, desirability or viability of purely economic union.238 Instead, the party claims that European union should be based on more fundamental grounds than just economic ties, for in the FN view there are more powerful and more specifically European common denominators than the desire for profit: namely, civilisation, religion, history and cultural identity.239 Wagner has insisted: ‘You cannot fall in love with the EEC – it needs a soul’.240 It has also been argued by the FN that, ‘the European Community, as its name indicates, follows economic principles which take no account of human realities’.241 In this context, therefore, the alternative vision of Europe is interpreted as an innately flawed venture: a first step on the road to ‘world homogeneity’, ‘total integration’ and ‘the dissolution of particularisms’242 – scenarios completely anathema to the (defensive) nationalist philosophy of the FN. The party has ridiculed what it sees as the current drift towards uniformity and standardisation. Pierre Milloz, for example, cites the example of a French company which moved its headquarters to Brussels – and then made English its official language.243 This to the FN is evidence of a dangerous phenomenon. Le Pen has summed up his party’s position:

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 101 We know that certain ideologies think that Europe is only a stage on the road to an internationalist future...however, we think that Europe is geographically, historically, culturally and ethnically defined...Europe will be European if there are Europeans conscious of being so.244 The idea that Europe is only a ‘social and economic space’ is forcefully opposed by Le Pen.245 His colleague, Le Gallou, claims that the identification of the market as the sole criterion on which to base unity leads almost inevitably to notions of ‘supranational states’ and ‘world government’, for every nation, it is argued, has the market as an interest.246 The FN view is that if the market is the only common denominator invoked, the resultant union would be worldwide, and not just Europe wide. In 1992, in a fundamental statement of belief, the FN campaigned for a ‘No’ vote in the Maastricht referendum – a stance that fully reflected the party’s fears of full-scale economic union. In the midst of the Maastricht negotiations, FN spokesman JeanClaude Martinez stated in apocalyptic terms: ‘France will die’;247 later, under the heading ‘Europe against nations’, the FN press published a cartoon which depicted a bulldozer ‘rolling over’ France.248 In words, and in images, the FN position was clear: the independence and integrity of the nation was at stake. The Maastricht treaty was variously described as ‘an illegal and illegitimate treaty’ and ‘a technocratic monster’.249 At root, the FN viewed Maastricht as a harbinger of federalism, supra-nationalism and, eventually, of a centralised, ‘internationalist’, Europe. It was viewed as costly and – in typical FN terms – as having an ‘accelerating effect on our decadence’ (whatever that actually meant).250 There was no doubt that, in FN thinking, Maastricht was viewed as antithetical to nationalism. In a similar way the Schengen and GATT agreements were condemned as boding ill for France (and, where the former was concerned, for all sovereign nations). While the GATT ‘pseudo accords’ would have, in the FN view, a massive adverse effect on French industry and agriculture,251 Schengen was even more alarming for the FN, a party for whom frontiers – and their defence – have always been sacrosanct. The party’s language was vivid. The idea of ‘the Schengen space’ was derided; the FN argued that France had a duty to protect its territory ‘reasonably and firmly’ and that its frontier should not be allowed to become ‘an enormous sieve’.252 At times, FN rhetoric became even more emotive. In 1995 the party newsletter announced ‘Our frontiers have disappeared’. It talked about ‘this abandon’, and went on: ‘Our real frontiers will therefore become, to the east, the Oder-Neisse line and to the south, Algeciras. The Schengen convention deprives our country of one of the essential

102 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology aspects of sovereignty: the control of frontiers’. The FN fear, exaggerated for purposes of propaganda, was that Schengen was going to open the door to a ‘Europe of immigration, of drugs and of organised criminality’.253 The Schengen issue is important because it illustrates, very graphically, the FN’s fear of a frontier-less Europe. This fear is significant for a number of reasons, not least because it is a product of the party’s almost paranoid belief in national identity and indicates the extent to which it values, and upholds, the idea of self-definition. The FN’s concept of self-definition is crucial in this area of its discourse, for in the same way as the party likes to emphasise the fundamental difference between ‘France’ and the forces of ‘anti-France’, it also likes to explain its ‘Europeanism’ (as against its ‘internationalism’) by arguing that the European identity can only express itself when contrasted with, or confronted by, non-European identities. It is in this sense that the idea of economic union is opposed precisely because it can be developed, easily and naturally, outside Europe as well; thus – in the FN’s view – destroying Europe’s uniqueness. It is in this light that the party calls for the erection of effective external frontiers between Europe and ‘non-Europe’.254 The idea of lowering internal frontiers – a concept implicit in the ‘economic’ vision of Europe – is also opposed by FN leaders. It is argued that a ‘weak’ and ‘merged’ Europe, ‘without a personality’, is by necessity vulnerable to external threats.255 The FN claims that an alliance of independent nation states is a better counterweight to the influence of the US (and to the former USSR)256 than an overtly federal Europe (although it never satisfactorily explains why a large federal structure cannot be just as strong and influential). By implication, therefore, the current character and political drift of the EU is condemned by the FN as harmful to the true interests of Europe; Brussels is viewed by party leaders as the bureaucratic centre of an artificial Europe: a ‘Europe of Eurocrats’, devoid of a real soul and on the verge of decline.257 It is claimed by the FN that Brussels possesses no notion of a common European identity or civilisation. According to the party leadership, the possible entry of Turkey and Israel into the EU reveals the lack of importance attached to Europe’s geographical identity: the immigration and drugs problem conceals a laxity on border control, while the emphasis on the Single Market and economic liberalism could ultimately mean submergence by non-European goods and people.258 For the FN, these scenarios illuminate the weakness of the Brussels-led Europe. Le Pen claims, emotively, that the EU has ‘broken the dreams’ conceived for it.259 As such, throughout the 1980s and early 1990s the federal vision of Mitterrand was condemned as ‘social democratic, bureaucratic, technocratic, utopian and cosmopolitan’ by the FN, even though the Socialist administration claimed that the concept of federalism respected, and did not

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 103 harm, national identities.260 As part of the FN’s anti-federal campaign, Jean-Claude Martinez denounced ‘the Euro-federalists who seek to make ‘an artificial national insemination’.261 The FN’s confederal Europe would not only have power, but would also respect identities: a fundamental twofold concern for party leaders. When the relationship between ‘Europe’ and ‘nation’ is considered, it is clear that FN theory views the two ideas as complementary. One early FN newspaper stated categorically that, ‘Le Pen’s indestructable attachment to the nation does not preclude having an interest in Europe’.262 It is argued that the key concept of identity is implicit in both ideas, but further, for Le Pen the close relationship is the product of natural hierarchies: ‘I find it easy to reconcile the idea of “a strong country in a strong Europe”, in the same way I sense that I am more Morbihan than Breton, more Breton than French, more French than Atlanticist, more Atlanticist than global’.263 This declaration however gives no real theoretical indications as to how the concepts of France and Europe are equated, for Le Pen is here talking about preference, not interdependence, and if he is trying to say that all entities he mentions are naturally interdependent (perhaps his intention), it would follow that the idea of internationalism (much detested by Le Pen) is also compatible with nationalism and Europeanism (a conclusion he would obviously deny). However, in the interests of self-definition, the nation remains the primary reference point for the FN, a position enhanced by what FN theorists view as the natural, organic and historical growth of France. Whatever the weaknesses of Le Pen’s stance, he is keen to emphasise that loyalties are related, comparative and mutually compatible. Citing the words of Maurras – a clear indication that the pre-war leader of Action française is still regarded as an influential source of theoretical guidance – Le Pen has stated: ‘Today our liberties are linked, our destinies combined, and that which hurts Europe hurts France, that which hurts France hurts Europe’.264 The FN’s general standpoint is based on the view that Europe – the ‘confederal’ Europe depicted in party policy – needs strong, independent nations to solidify it: ‘One cannot construct Europe...detached from the nations’.265 Although the FN’s European vision does legislate for a thin layer of supra-national political and diplomatic activity, the party argues that the sovereignty, identity and independence of component nation states would remain more or less intact. The principal objective at the heart of FN discourse is ‘to make Europe without undoing France’.266 It is difficult, however, to envisage how a France devoid of substantial political and diplomatic initiative could maintain its full national sovereignty; when Le Pen has talked of his desire for balance and equilibrium between European and French ‘powers’, he seemed to be

104 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology acknowledging this point.267 Therefore, it is necessary to interpret FN claims about ‘rejuvenated’ nations at the heart of a ‘Europe of nations’ with a little scepticism. Nevertheless, the FN maintains that it is only through common European linkage that the nations of Europe will blossom – the notion in effect that sovereign nations need Europe just as much as Europe needs sovereign nations. According to FN writer Bruno Viala, the first preoccupation of nationalists must revolve around the preservation of national identities. Viala argues that the European idea could be utilised as just such a formula for ‘waking up national consciences, of motivating nations in the face of aggressions’.268 The underlying logic is that if Europe is based on the foundation stone of civilisation and history, and not the market, the constituent national identities will be in a better position to flourish and regain their power. It has been argued that ‘a Europe of nations is a community of civilisation based on the renewal of European nations....Identity and integrity will be guarded at the heart of the confederal entity’.269 In a National hebdo interview, Mégret remarked upon this mutuality: ‘It is only at the European level that we can regain the necessary power to permit our nation to become the new master of its destiny’.270 The FN goes on to argue that European union – on a political level –brings undisguised advantages for its constituent nation states. For example, it is claimed that a geopolitical union, of the sort the FN has argued for, would actually immunise France, and all the other countries of Europe, from ‘national dissolution’: the inevitable product, the party argues, of economic integration (and also of intra-European and extraEuropean immigration; hence the call for effective internal and external frontier controls).271 By contrast, FN writers claim that the Europe of Brussels is the negation of nations and national identities. For the reasons cited earlier, the party maintains that a purely economic arrangement can only lead to the destruction of nations and an acceleration of decline. Wagner argues that behind successive French governments’ passion for Europe lies a discernible cosmopolitan philosophy: seeking to deny differences and, via the smokescreen of a ‘European construction’, assisting in the destruction of the nation. The FN’s ‘Europe of nations’ is, on the other hand, an ‘instrument of renaissance that assures national survival’.272 Here FN rhetoric has seized upon the idea of Europe ascending to ‘nationhood’ itself. The argument is that Europe, if it wants to flourish, must acquire what the FN perceives to be the hallmarks of a nation. Le Pen made just this point when addressing the European Parliament: The Europe which must construct itself is not only that of a simple place in the international market. It must be another thing as well. It must define itself as a

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 105 new political entity, as a new nation, with its contours, geographical, historical, cultural.... Now Europe will be a defence, an entity...if it is Europe, if it dares to say it, and if it dares to act as a true international power, because this is its vocation and its destiny under pain of disappearance.273 Another Le Pen speech highlighted the central idea of the nation: A nation, it is also a dynamic founded on the project of the future. When they have no more grand designs nations decline. This is why in the century of the major empires it is necessary for us to construct a future...making all the nations (contribute) to what will also be a major influential empire: a Europe of nations.274 Fundamentally, the FN claims that the dangers facing nation states on the one hand, and Europe on the other, are identical: Communism (in the years prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union) and, more potently, Third World immigration in particular. Wagner in fact has argued that Europe was born of the conscience of European peoples and what their nations had in common vis-à-vis foreigners. Here he refers to Charlemagne’s equation of Europe with Christianity, the ongoing battles against Islam, and the Greek cities’ duel with Persia.275 The FN line is that both Europe and France need to acquire similar insulation against weakness and decline; in this context Le Pen has spoken of a Europe in need of sentiment and patriotism, and more emotively, of a Europe searching for ‘soldiers and heroes’. In basic terms he argues that ‘there will be no Europe if there is no vocation to become a nation’.276 It would not be misleading in fact to identify a definite ‘European nationalism’ in some corners of party discourse. For the FN, a ‘European nationalist of France’ believes in a three-tier creation: the regions and provinces of France providing the ‘foundations’ for the European ‘house’; France and the other nations situated on the ‘ground floor’; with the ‘first floor’ a product of political unity.277 It is in this sense, therefore, that the crucial FN concepts of region, nation and Europe are connected within party discourse. National symbolism in FN discourse: ‘Le Peuple’, ‘La Terre’ and Joan of Arc The use of symbols is a significant feature of the FN’s nationalist discourse. At times, however, it could be argued that this strategy – a central part of party propaganda –

106 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology verges on the simplistic and banal. But we should not be surprised by this aspect of FN discourse. Guibernau states that symbols are almost fundamental to nationalism, while Castells claims that myth-making and the depiction of an ‘imaginary collective’ are at the basis of all identity-based theories.278 These thoughts should help us contextualise, and understand, the FN’s own symbol-dominated discourse. The FN employs three main national symbols in its discourse: ‘the people’, ‘the land’ and Joan of Arc. By way of introduction it should be said that while the emphasis on ‘the people’ is somewhat predictable – all political formations have an obvious, vested electoral interest in aligning themselves with the mass of ordinary people279 – the FN’s use of ‘the land’ and Joan of Arc as national images is far more intriguing and, it could be argued, tells us new and interesting things about party discourse. In recent years ‘Le Pen, The People’ has become a well used propaganda slogan. The FN is intent on persuading people that their leader is an ordinary, authentic Frenchman extremely sensitive to the preoccupations of other ordinary French people. As the cliché goes: ‘Le Pen says out loud what other people are secretly thinking’.280 However, the slogan ‘Le Pen, The People’ also gives rise to a plethora of definitional problems. While the FN leader is keen to be seen as a man of the people, and while he has also presented his organisation as a movement of the ‘social, popular and national right’, he and his colleagues at the top of the party do not necessarily like to be brandished as a populist formation. Even less do FN leaders appreciate the ‘nationalpopulism’ label pinned on the party by some commentators.281 That said, as JeanPierre Stirbois has declared, the leadership of the party is determined to eulogise the two notions that underpin the term: namely, nation and people.282 The FN has tried to rationalise the relationship between these two concepts: ‘We are the people because for us national and popular are and must be synonymous....We stand above all for the reconciliation and unity of the French people, of the popular community’.283 As Winock says: ‘Le Pen does not represent the people; he is the people par excellence’.284 The party’s accent on the people is a natural adjunct to emphasis on the nation. One of Le Pen’s stock-in-trade phrases is, ‘We are the people’; in 1993 Mégret adapted this to ‘By the people, for the people’.285 Away from the obvious propaganda value of such claims, these slogans serve to emphasise the FN’s belief that a ‘living people’ equates to a ‘nation’. Here, FN doctrine appears to acknowledge and endorse the ‘ethnic’ conception of the nation: an overtly racial idea, based on the principle that a nation is a homogeneous blood-based entity. By implication, this notion suggests that it is difficult, if not impossible, to be a part of the French nation without being a part of the French people, with ‘people’ defined as an ethnic, racial phenomenon.286 It could also be argued that Le Pen’s attachment to ‘the people’ reflects his Poujadist

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 107 mentality. In the same sense as the Poujadist movement championed ‘the small’ against ‘the big’ in the economic sphere, so Le Pen – a former colleague of Pierre Poujade –portrays himself as the political ‘outsider’, and thrives on the role. He proclaims himself as the man fighting for the real interests of French people against the whole of the French political establishment.287 Having, in its own terms, squared ‘the nation’ with ‘the people’, the FN vindicates its main claims through an uncomplicated analysis of society. Party discourse views the community of French people as an organic entity, with the collective will of paramount importance; individual interests are accredited with only marginal significance. As Stirbois has written: ‘It is by belonging to a group of people that one becomes human, defining oneself concretely and spiritually, and receiving an identity. It is by serving the community that one is given a sense of life’.288 In the economic sphere the FN does promote the individual, but even so, belief in the people is also prominent. The party’s conception of popular capitalism, for instance, is based upon the twin pillars of ownership and freedom – entailing both the democratisation and diffusion of traditional capitalism across and among the whole French people.289 According to the FN, an economy is only truly democratic when people are left alone to assess values and economic wellbeing for themselves.290 For Le Pen, ‘Capitalism is life, yet a new “popular” dimension is needed; it is necessary to take a new direction. To assure the renewal of capitalism it is necessary to associate the people’.291 The popular dimension to the FN’s brand of capitalism is emphasised as unique by party writers. In this area of FN economic doctrine the idea of ‘personalism’ is also important. Personalism relates to ‘people-based economic concepts such as enterprise and private property’. Accordingly, ‘Personalism will be conferred upon the heart of the people by army of owners rising up in the face of the impersonal state’.292 In 1995, the Spring edition of Le Paysan National – the newspaper of the FNsponsored body, le Cercle national des agriculteurs de France (CNAF) – quoted Le Pen on its front cover: ‘Peasants-fishermen: my absolute national priority’. Here it is important to understand that ‘the land’ or, more pertinently, the image of ‘the land’ crystallises a plethora of essential FN interests. At its simplest this term relates to issues of ecology, agriculture and environment, yet beyond the policy matters involved lie significant concerns: identity, rootedness and harmony among others. Party theorists claim that the principle of ‘the land’ is linked intrinsically to that of the nation. In an attempt to justify this link, the CNAF cites Charles Péguy in its official documentation:

108 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology ‘Two thousand years of labour have made this land a reservoir without end for new generations’.293 The section in Militer au front devoted to ‘arguments’ also seeks to highlight this attachment: ‘What is ecology? It is concern for preserving the necessary milieu for the survival and blossoming of living species. Now for a Frenchman, this milieu is France, eternal France...(It) has its roots in tradition, conservation, and the organic vision’.294 As this passage suggests, the issue of ecology is perceived to be a right-wing concern.295 The party pours scorn on the idea of ecology as an ideology in itself, and as a consequence, its discourse is punctuated by references to the conservative, conservationist nature of ecological concern.296 The key undercurrents to this part of FN political discourse are nature, heritage, survival, and the primary importance of traditional values. It is argued by the FN that ‘the land’ – earth and soil – is a component part of national identity. Party ideologues argue that concern for nature, the environment and the country’s agricultural sector is consistent with, if not implicit in, concern for the nation. The central notion here is that of ‘rootedness’. Mégret has elucidated the belief that ‘a nation must be rooted in its soil, in its earth, in its regions, because the rural world is the bearer of traditional values’.297 The term ‘rooted’ is utilised throughout FN discourse to evoke notions of loyalty and fidelity to one’s ‘roots’. This emphasis not only reflects the party’s somewhat insular and defensive brand of nationalism; it also explains the rationale behind the FN’s hostility to what it perceives to be the Socialists’ cosmopolitan ideology – which is branded a doctrine of ‘unrootedness’, ‘internationalism’ and ‘multi-ethnic mixes’.298 In FN discourse it is a short step from ‘rootedness’ to ‘ecology’. As Mégret has explained: Ecology is in effect a preoccupation which inscribes itself in the defence of our identity of which our movement is champion. Wanting the safeguarding of national sites, the preservation of our heritage, the survival of our fauna and flora, the quality of water and air, it is at bottom defending what we are...a nation rooted in territory.299 As part of its ecological platform, the FN has campaigned for the ‘conservation of identity’ via a policy of opposing both rural depopulation and urbanisation.300 Le Pen has actually been described as ‘the only defender of French farmers’; this is significant because, according to Christian Maréchal – a guiding influence behind the party’s Cercle national des élus ruraux – the rural identity of France is seriously threatened. In tandem with the FN leader, his organisation wants to defend this identity:

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 109 (Le Cercle) is before all a body of men, women and elected people who have mobilised because they are aware of the difficulties posed by the population drain from national territory and the disappearance of small rural communes. Indispensable to our society, the rural communes and their elected members represent the real France and its secular traditions. While French and European technocrats work for the agglomeration and dismemberment of them, we believe on the contrary that they constitute an asset for France....Our desire (is) to protect the identity and integrity of rural communes.301 The FN’s attachment to the notion of hierarchy and concentric circles of community underpins Maréchal’s position on rural ‘depopulation’. It is also interesting to note the reference to ‘real France’; an idea that could be equated to the notion of ‘the true nation’.302 Essentially these twin phrases refer to the ‘real’, ‘true’, ‘eternal’ France. Once more the essence of French nationhood and the French identity is being invoked. The rural communes which Maréchal identifies as vulnerable to the technocrats are viewed as intrinsic to the ‘hierarchy of solidarity’ – commune, city, region, nation, Europe – referred to throughout FN doctrine. The fact that the party stresses the interdependence of these rungs of social affiliation implies that each is important regardless of size; hence, the FN’s powerful concern for the future of the smallest type of community: the commune. In his book, Le Livre bleu blanc rouge, Le Gallou also highlights the plight of natural sites. Subtitled ‘For a rooted region’, his statement on the socio-economic position of his native Ile-de-France focuses in Chapter 18 – ‘Protecting our natural and cultural heritage’ – on the development threat to the forest at Fontainebleau: ‘a site considered as a zone of international economic interest’. Le Gallou’s general tirade against urbanisation and modern development projects has a central message: France’s heritage is in danger. He states that current development trends ‘assist the progressive reduction in green open spaces’ and that ‘massive urbanisation threatens the cultural and national heritage of Île-de-France....The extension...of agglomerations progressively menaces the heritage and harmony of the old villages of Île-de-France’. It is unclear, however, whether this FN campaign is based on fact, rhetoric or political expedience. Apart from its obvious reactionary nature, Le Gallou’s opposition to development is significant for one other important reason: the Fointainbleau location was a proposed Euro-Disneyland site. Here, one would imagine that the ‘internationalist’ dimension to this American tourist project has coloured the FN’s attitude.303 A thin line, however, divides the reactionary aspects of FN thinking from the party’s self-proclaimed belief in harmony. This latter concept implies balance and

110 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology appreciation of nature. The FN seeks intellectual legitimisation for its position in the words of Alexis Carrel, a Nobel prize winner in 1912. Claiming that Carrel is the ‘father of modern ecology’, party leaders explain their idea of balance and harmony by recourse to his words on the relationship between man and his natural environment: ‘Culture without comfort, beauty without luxury, the machine without slavery to the factory and science without the cult of matter permit men to develop themselves indefinitely in guarding their intelligence, their moral sense and their virility’.304 The FN’s notion of harmony is in fact closely akin to the idea of equilibrium, already identified as a key concept in other areas of party discourse. Mégret’s statement on agriculture – symbolically entitled ‘Le Pen, The Land’ – casts more light on this principle: The peasant world has an essential role to play in our society tortured by a lack of roots. It is because of it that our people stays in harmony with nature, it is through its real values...its mode of life that it assures our country of its equilibrium. Its survival is thus an essential imperative for the equilibrium of our nation. If it disappears, our country risks wilting like a tree whose roots have been cut off.305 Thus, like Pétainistes and Poujadistes before them, the followers of Le Pen emphasise the contribution of rural life to national balance, but without denying the possibility of ‘calculated and intelligent progress’.306 The FN pressure group, Cercle national pour la défense de la vie, de la nature et de l’animal (CNDVNA), also plays on the concept of harmony. The group’s president, Alike Lindbergh, lectured the 1990 party congress on the ‘touching beauty of our land, the fraternity which links all the living forms in the harmonious combination that assures these miracles: life’. She went on to proclaim: Our land, this inestimable treasure, belongs to each one of us, and not only us, mankind, but also to the animals and vegetables that live with us. We have received it from our ancestors who have conserved it for us since time immemorial, and we must take it to bequeath to our children, as natural law and blood lines would have who are concerned to preserve France, to bequeath it intact and living to your children, are the best placed to hear this adult language.307 In these emotive words Lindbergh revealed several important aspects of the FN’s nationalism: the emphasis on conservation and preservation, the significance of blood

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 111 lines and ancestors, not to mention the central ideas of harmony and equilibrium. In its official literature, the CNDVNA states that it has a twofold objective: ‘Concern for the preservation and restoration of nature (and thus for the living forces that assure its equilibrium)...(and) an ethic that finds its origins in respect and love for other species’.308 The themes identified earlier are all present in this somewhat high-sounding elaboration of the organisation’s rationale. If one all-embracing idea unites all the main facets of FN discourse on ‘the land’, it could be summarised in the following terms: the preeminence of traditional values. At this juncture, however, it must be admitted that the notion of traditional values is extremely difficult to fully assess. In part this is because the principle of traditional or fundamental or eternal values appears only to refer to what FN theorists define as natural aspects of the world. In short the party views as natural anything or everything that it considers politically convenient to categorise as such. In the current area of analysis ‘traditional values’ are viewed by the FN as natural. These values, as defined by the party spokesmen, relate to agriculture and peasant life, and they incorporate ideas of national harmony, national survival and national heritage. By contrast, in a selective fashion, urbanisation, technological advancement and internationalisation are deemed ‘negative’, ‘non-natural’ developments that disrupt the natural state of the world. The emphasis on eternal values is also prominent in the doctrine of the party’s agricultural wing: Agriculteurs pour le Front national (APFN). The body’s promotional literature declares: For the FN and Jean-Marie Le Pen...French agriculture and peasants have an important future. They constitute an asset for our nation. The rural world defends our traditional values. The peasant world has an equilibrium role to play at the heart of our society, which is becoming more and more assures our country of its equilibrium and rootedness. Also the FN counts on the farming world to assure the perenity of our values.309 This attachment to age-old values and the norms of a previous, non-industrialised society places the FN on the nostalgic, reactionary right. Lindbergh makes the link with identity and nationalism: If I believe in you, people of the right, it is because you want to cleanse our society and return to the main eternal values. Now ecology proceeds from this conservationist spirit...I believe this is very different from the internationalist

112 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology spirit, because it can only live efficiently, daily, at the level of each country, each region and even of each individual. The concern for conservation of nature tests our identity, our old civilisation, our French roots.310 Thus, in this niche of FN discourse it is the notions of tradition and nature that are pivotal. Developments that compromise these considerations – urbanisation, modernisation, pollution or even the manufacture of synthetic products311 – are castigated as harmful to the heritage and identity of France. The FN’s idolatry of Joan of Arc is based upon two main sentiments: first, the idea that Joan personifies France and French virtues; and second, the rather presumptuous notion – widely held within the party – that Le Pen and Joan share common philosophical ground, in as much as both in their differing eras have, in their own terms, sought the cleansing and purification of France. According to this line of thought there are marked similarities between Joan’s mission to expel the English from French soil in the fifteenth century, and Le Pen’s contemporary campaign to rid France of its North African immigrant population. In May 1998 Le Pen said that he and Joan shared the same objectives: ‘identity, the rallying of all national forces and vigorous action against the enemy’. Three years earlier, however, he went all shy: ‘I don’t liken myself to Joan of Arc, but I do follow in the continuity of her combat for the liberty of France and the defence of French citizens’.312 Whatever the exact relationship, it is clear that for the FN – as for many other far-right groupings – Joan carries profound significance. As Michel Collinot has stated: ‘Nationalism cannot perpetrate itself without the cult of ancestors...Joan of Arc is the French heroine par excellence’.313 Although in 1996 Le Pen and his colleagues had a temporary ‘affair’ with Clovis – the anniversary of his baptism gave the party a prime opportunity to exploit the religious symbolism associated with this historical figure – they have always been permanently in love with Joan. The awe in which the FN upholds her is undeniable and difficult to overplay. Indeed, Le Pen’s close identification with Joan led one wry political commentator to suggest recently that he had almost ‘privatised’ the memory and heritage of the female saint.314 However, the FN’s interest in the cult of Joan of Arc – indirectly fostered by the ideas of Catholic integrism –only really began in the early 1980s. This new ‘identification with the Christian-national culture...and “France of the cathedrals” ’ brought in its wake a reassessment of Joan’s significance for France, and the gradual incorporation of her into FN discourse. Le Pen’s speech at the Fête Jeanne d’Arc in 1988 reflected this new emphasis: ‘Seven years ago in 1981, a poster announced the Fête Jeanne d’Arc as the first day of the national reaction. During these seven years we have organised the intellectual and moral reaction against

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 113 decline and decadence’.315 These sentiments are shared throughout the party. A poem written by Pierre Dudan, published by RLP hebdo, and dedicated to Joan also highlights the FN’s adulation of the girl warrior. The lyrics include the following: Saint Joan, by the stake, Cleanse us of our sins, Return for us to marvel Saint Joan, return us, Living flame with a name so sweet, France needs you Deliver us from disarray, In the name of Christ, of the holy cross Preserve us always from the invader316 It is a fact that Le Pen has been quick to draw parallels between Joan’s mission to rid France of English invaders in the fifteenth century and his modern-day crusade to expel North African immigrants from France.317 Speaking at the traditional parade in honour of Joan – what the FN leader calls ‘the grand rally of French nationals and patriots’ – Le Pen explained his ‘advanced devotion’ to the teenage warrior: Joan, your work at the time was political, patriotic and spiritual. You forcefully led the redressment of political power; you called the people to stand up to the foreign were at the head of the army, incarnating the popular resistance to foreign occupation, and your word of order...‘kick the English out of France’ one of the phrases which will stay of immense importance in our history books.318 On another occasion Le Pen talked of Joan as the girl who ‘loved France like no-one else’. He glorified Joan’s conviction and faith, and interpreted her ‘eminently apt’ message – that she loved the English in England, and not in France – as a harbinger of his own much-repeated philosophy: namely, that foreigners are acceptable, whether they be Arabs or Africans, but only in the confines of their own country.319 It is not surprising, therefore, that at the 1986 Fête Jeanne d’Arc, the FNJ’s prime message was: ‘Le Pen – Joan of Arc – The Same Battle’.320 In a similar vein, Le Pen argues that France is in need of a ‘miracle’ to drag it away from its ‘unfortunate destiny’, just like it did in the fifteenth century.321

114 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology For the FN, Joan the heroine has several dimensions: shepherdess, general-in-chief, martyr and saint of the country. In each respect she symbolises for FN activists the ‘true France’: the agricultural heritage, the military prowess in the face of foreign enemies, the self-sacrifice in honour of the nation, and the Catholic devotion.322 This line of thinking has definite echoes of earlier political movements. Ever since the Dreyfus case – when both sides held that they alone represented the ‘real’ France and that the other side stood for ‘Anti-France’ – the tendency, especially on the right, has been to lay claim to this ‘authenticity’. Thus, the FN’s glorification of Joan of Arc’s exclusionist philosophy is entirely consistent with its right-wing forbears.323 At the Fête Jeanne d’Arc in 1987, Le Pen reiterated his admiration for the girl, and committed himself to following her example if he was elected President of France the following year. Addressing her memory, he proclaimed: ‘I will meet you here for the national festival next year. Elected President of the Republic, it is to you firstly, symbol and image of the nation, that I will render my main hommage’.324 Le Monde, in satirical terms, explored the similarities between Le Pen and his fifteenth-century idol. It compared Joan, the young shepherdess who became commander-in-chief, to Le Pen, the son of a fisherman who became ‘the admiral of the extreme right’; and, whereas Joan had heard ‘voices’, Le Pen had had defined ‘visions’!325 Le Pen’s selfalignment with Joan – ridiculed by many – does nonetheless have its serious side. The underlying contention is that nationalism in France is a strong and growing force, and that Le Pen and Joan both, in their differing ways, personify this spirit. As Gabriel de Montalivet, a Parisian party official, told me in the early 1990s: ‘Nationalism is the force of the future. Current events in the USSR and Eastern Europe prove that the nationalist tide is strong. The FN’s attachment to the cult of Joan of Arc is another example of this’.326 Some observers, naturally, have questioned the validity – not to mention the historical accuracy – of Le Pen’s explicit self-identification with Joan. As with much of party discourse, the courting of Joan is open to attack. Is the overt symbolism naive, misleading, or just plain propaganda? For Michel Rocard, as for Marina Warner, there is, inherent in Le Pen’s attachment to Joan of Arc, an overt attempt to pervert the real meaning of her mission. Rocard has argued: The history of Joan of Arc is for all the people of France. And it forms a part of our collective identity....This is why we must not permit it to become monopolised by nationalist and partisan minorities. It has been recruited too often to the service of causes which could not be hers....How could she seriously be the

‘The nation’ in FN ideology 115 symbol of a nationalism of exclusion – like that of the extreme right today and yesterday?327 Le Matin reinforced this line of thinking. It claimed that the simplistic FN propaganda machine had latched on to Joan of Arc almost automatically, without much prior thought or analysis. The argument is that Le Pen’s ‘spontaneously-born thought’ sought any national, unifying figure as an icon – and randomly chose Joan, regardless of her suitability or of the doctrinal implications of such a choice. Le Matin commented: ‘In something of a hotch-potch manner, Le Pen has eulogised Charlemagne and Joan of Arc, those admirable-and-courageous-stalwarts-of-the-national-cause’.328 Rocard in fact went further than this. He questioned the basic FN assumption that Joan represents the French nation. Casting serious doubt upon the accuracy of the FN’s historical analysis, he declared: In the epoch of Joan, the word ‘nation’ had no real sense anyway; it was forged essentially by the French Revolution, the will of free citizens to live together. She is even less able to speak for a people or a race, neither for a community welded by language.... What was important for Joan was respect for legitimate government.... In Joan there was nothing exclusive.329 Thus, far from being the symbol of nationalist exclusion, Joan – in Rocard’s opinion – was entirely unaware of national perspectives: a line of thought naturally dismissed by the FN, which advances the view that Joan saw the nation as ‘a spiritual vision’, ‘a living people’.330 Even if Joan did think of France as a nation in the modern sense of the term, the implication of Rocard’s statement is that she conceived of it as an open, allembracing, communal entity – and not a closed, exclusive one. Here we need to be aware that Le Pen has, arguably, moulded the real meaning of Joan to suit his partisan political purposes. This scepticism about Joan’s relevance, and the FN’s doctrinal integrity in general, has been reinforced by others. Patrick Marnham, an authoritative commentator on French affairs, has gone so far as to question Le Pen’s sanity. After witnessing the FN leader’s ‘antics’ at the 1988 Fête Jeanne d’Arc, he argued that Le Pen’s fascination with his heroine was merely a means of ‘living out all his exaggerated fantasies’. In the end though, even Marnham had to conclude: ‘Many of these people are entirely serious. For them, nationalism is the latest thing’.331 A cynical conclusion to this chapter might suggest that the symbolism inherent in the ideas of ‘people’ and ‘land’, and the memory of Jeanne d’Arc, tells us more about the

116 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology essence of FN rhetoric than it does about the contours of the party’s nationalism. There is indeed a real shallowness to party discourse. It could be argued, for example, that the FN’s emphasis on both people and territory is theoretically problematic. Is it possible to base a conception of the nation on attachment to blood and attachment to land (the position, it would appear, of the FN)? Which is the most important factor? Can an immigrant of non-French blood become French by a process of ‘rootedness’ in French soil alone? And similarly, can a French-blooded person rooted in foreign soil and a foreign culture consider himself part of the French nation on account solely of his genes? It also seems that the notions of ‘people’ and ‘land’ are utilised in an overtly pragmatic fashion, employed more for their simplistic, populist appeal than for their intellectual coherence (two terms that also appear powerfully attractive when prefixed by the name ‘Le Pen’). Equally, the FN’s self-identification with Joan of Arc can appear opportunistic. With little or no thought for her true political rationale and significance (a matter of much conjecture and debate), Joan has been courted and accosted by FN notables and been viewed as an indisputably attractive and appealing national symbol. Furthermore, the hijacking of symbols for political ends is profoundly important in the context of the broader discussion about the nature of the FN’s nationalism and its unique nation-centred value-system. The party places considerable emphasis on the nation, and the penchant for explicit national symbolism is a significant indicator of this. We must remember, however, that some commentators are sceptical: on one level about the validity of the symbols employed by the FN, and on another about the whole general thrust of party thinking on the nation. Renouvin is one writer, for example, who argues that the FN’s nationalism is bogus. He asserts that the programme of the FN is actually directed against the nation; in that the party’s belief in an ‘exclusive’ national identity contrasts markedly with the traditional conception of France as an ‘open’ and ‘welcoming’ entity whose nationality legislation is based on ‘the right of soil’. It is for this reason that Renouvin entitles his study, A Very French Tragedy: The Front National Against the Nation.332

Figure 2.1 Français Passionnement. The front cover of a 1995 election flyer, this image incorporates several significant features: the ‘sincere’ and ‘respectable-looking’ FN leader; the juxtaposition of the words ‘LE PEN’ and ‘PRESIDENT’ – a real sign of the movement’s growing confidence – and an overwhelming sense of Frenchness (the tricolore-tick and the simple but powerful opening statement).

Figure 2.2 Le Pen a raison! Chirac c’est l’échec! This simplistic, but entirely typical, FN leaflet appeared in the aftermath of Chirac’s Presidential victory in 1995. The clear message is that the newly-crowned Chirac has not delivered on a whole range of policy issues and that Le Pen holds all the answers. The leaflet contains an array of powerful nationalist slogans, including: ‘Produce French goods with French workers’, ‘Defend France in Europe’, ‘Neither Left nor Right. French’.

3 ‘Threats’ to the nation The fear of French decline

The gravest menace to weigh today on the future of France is internationalism. (Front National 300 Mesures: Pour la Renaissance de la France; Front National Programme de Gouvernement) It is only a dynamic and balanced demography that can permit the harmony of the social body and solidarity between generations. (C. Baeckeroot, Famille: pour une politique familiale) The parties of the ‘band of four’ (UDF, PC, RPR, PS) support the construction of Islamic centres and subsidise them with French money (Lyon, Brest, Tours, Nantes, Clermont-Ferrand, Aix-en-Provence...). Today it is the turn of Marseilles! The Socialist mayor M. Vigouroux, with the benevolent support of the political establishment wants to impose the construction of a ‘mosque-cathedral’ on the people of Marseilles (and make them pay for it). With the Front National, the people of Marseilles will not accept the Islamisation of their town. (FN poster, reprinted in J-Y. Le Gallou and P. Olivier, Immigration: Le Front National fait le point)

We have already touched upon an array of ‘threats’ to the nation, as identified, and exaggerated, by the FN: cosmopolitanism, anti-French racism, lax nationality code legislation, regional separatism, Euro-federalism and a whole range of other developments. Now, however, we come on to what FN leaders view as the two prime dangers for France: population decline and immigration. It is important to note at this preliminary juncture that in FN discourse these two phenomena are inextricably, and fundamentally, linked.

120 ‘Threats’ to the nation Dénatalité as a ‘threat’ to the nation In May 1996 the front cover of Français d’abord displayed the faces of twenty-eight small babies. In the accompanying text the party journal argued that the tax policy of the then prime minister, Alain Juppé, was actually aimed against the family. It stated that the FN refused to accept this ‘fatalism’.1 It is in this chapter the FN’s theorising on the subject of dénatalité (the term denoting ‘population decline’ or ‘too few children’) will be examined within the context of its broader discourse on the nation. The phenomenon of dénatalité is significant for FN doctrine because as a socio-political theme it represents a crucial intersection of party concerns: national identity, immigration, social morality and France’s place and influence in the world. Thus, the subject of population decline forms an ideal perspective from which to view FN discourse: specifically, as it relates to the party’s pivotal conception of the nation. The extreme right’s habitual concern about demography has been given a contemporary twist by Le Pen. The FN leader has highlighted what his party views as the main danger posed by ongoing population decline: it threatens the physical essence of the French nation. Le Pen’s editorial message in the first edition of National hebdo reflects this concern: The future depends a lot more on young girls than boys....One of the most grave menaces facing France and the world is dénatalité...I want to say to the young girls and young women of France that they hold the destiny of the country in their hands.2 This emphasis on dénatalité as a threat to the nation has always been a prominent theme within FN discourse. Taking its lead from the theses of Pierre Chaunu, the party believes that scenarios of over-population and famine, inspired by the convictions of Malthus, are misleading.3 In 1974, for example, two years after forming the FN, Le Pen devoted a press conference to the question of dénatalité. He said that the decline in population between 1973 and 1974 – what the FN labels France’s ‘demographic winter’ – was ‘a warning of exceptional gravity for the country’. Two years later, in a party newspaper editorial headlined, ‘THE PRECIPICE’, Le Pen stated bluntly that the ‘ageing’ of the French population would lead to ‘an eventual loss of national independence, and in the long term, its (France’s) disappearance’.4 Mégret has also acknowledged the threat to the French nation embodied by below-par birth-rates, arguing that: ‘The survival of a people remains the only responsibility of the women

‘Threats’ to the nation 121 who compose it’. This attitude is actually shared by women inside the FN itself. Sigrid Conrad, for instance, works at the FN’s Paris headquarters in the publicity and propaganda department. She told me: ‘Women’s role is to produce babies; not only that, but we are proud to produce them. France as a nation is dying. The babies are not just for ourselves, but for France’. ‘Nation’ and ‘nationality’ are therefore viewed as functions of blood, genes and racial origins. Why otherwise would Michel de Rostolan’s emotive Lettre ouverte à mon peuple qui meurt (An Open Letter to My People who are Dying) be littered with such vivid blood-related imagery?5 The FN’s perspective on the birth-rate issue makes it fearful of a declining national population, but also paranoid about the changing ratio of indigenous French births to immigrant births. Here France is viewed as a microcosm of the world. Inside France, North African immigration is viewed by the FN as a flagrant demographic threat, but on a worldwide scale the rising tide of southern hemisphere demography is viewed as an equally disruptive force for France and the other nations of the north. In both contexts these birth-rate differentials are interpreted by FN theorists as instruments of socio-economic transformation: alarm bells for both France and Europe. A National hebdo commentary made a similar point when it talked about ‘the plague which is threatening France and Europe’. It argued that the consequence of dénatalité was the arrival of a flood of ‘uncontrollable immigrants’.6 The FN, however, remains defiant in its opposition to the use of immigration as a demographic device and it is affirmed that indigenous and foreign births must always be distinguished. The idea that immigration should be used to correct France’s demographic disequilibrium – a notion sponsored by the UDF’s Bernard Stasi and Françoise Gaspard among others – is emphatically dismissed.7 In order to make their point, FN writers have highlighted the differing reproductive mentalities of French and immigrant women. Mégret, for example, claims that Algerian women average 4.3 children each, Tunisians 5.2 each, and Moroccans 5.5 each (these figures are backed up by official APRD statistics cited by the FN in Passeport pour la victoire).8 The FN argument is that the reproductive rate of immigrant women threatens the essence of the French identity. The stark FN message is that ‘the existence of the French at stake’.9 The party constantly alludes to this imbalance. As an apocalyptic passage in Passeport pour la victoire states: ‘If we want to be French in ten years...(we) must launch a massive natalist policy in favour of French families...this is the priority of priorities’.10 The fear elucidated by FN theorists is that the ‘genuine’ or ‘authentic’ French population could soon be condemned to being a minority in its own country, thus losing its own unique culture. This potentially humiliating scenario was described to me in vivid terms by Eric Iorio:

122 ‘Threats’ to the nation The concept of the nation is in danger with immigration at its present rate. Nine million out of 50 million is too much; the truth is that we are not our own masters anymore. Property is very important – we have the right to be masters of our own home.11 The FN has also linked the issue of dénatalité to the issue of Islam. In a lecture entitled ‘Islam et Francité, deux cultures incompatibles’, Jean-Yves Le Gallou argued that demographic expansion among France’s Muslim population was a natural byproduct of Islam: an ‘integrist’ and ‘conquering’ religion that seeks ethnic and ethnocultural power in non-Islamic lands. In short, Le Gallou claimed that Islam was a dynamic and expansionist religion which, through the Koran, distinguished two types of territory: that type under Islamic control and that not populated by Muslims, where war and conquest – via demography if needs be – was legitimate.12 This expansionist dimension to Islam, physically exemplified by mounting birth-rates, is utilised by the FN for propaganda purposes. The message is that immigration does not just affect those French people who live in urban, high-immigration areas; rather, it affects everyone – even French people in low-immigration regions like Brittany and Auvergne – because immigration is not only a reproductive phenomenon but a harbinger of ‘Islamisation’.13 In addition, the FN extends the problem of demography to the wider context of Europe. In many ways the demographic situation in France is viewed as a microcosm of the Europe-wide, or even Western, plight. Indeed, in fighting for the restoration of the French and European identity, the FN sees the demographic predicament of Europe in just as vivid terms as it views the position of France. Given the party’s belief in ‘a strong France in a strong Europe’ and in a ‘Europe of nations’ this parallelism is unsurprising, though France’s condition does elicit more overall attention for obvious reasons. The linkage between common French and European problems was explained by Le Pen in his first set-piece speech to parliament as an FN deputy: Dénatalité threatens not just France, but Europe too...unlike Giscard...I have always pointed out the analogous nature of French and European destinies....Our grandfathers would perhaps have rejoiced that today German mothers are producing only 1.3 babies each....Not us, we judge it as catastrophic...because France cannot be free without a free Germany, a free Italy and a free Spain.14 The assertion that dénatalité poses an acute threat for European civilisation is based on a firm belief in the importance of physical reproduction. Le Pen has written that

‘Threats’ to the nation 123 ‘entire civilisations have disappeared because they have not reproduced the conditions for their survival or because misfortune has brought a predator into the neighbourhood’.15 For the FN this ‘predator’ is demographic decline. The party argues that, while the West’s reproductive capacity has waned, that of the southern hemisphere has risen, if not soared. Mégret blames Malthusian doctrine for somehow legitimating Third World population expansion, while at the same time exaggerating the dangers inherent in Western over-population.16 However, at the same time the FN pours scorn on the notion that immigration is the panacea for the acute problem of population decline. Le Pen, for one, views the idea of a south-north population ‘transplant’ as a false ‘mechanical, internationalist and utopian’ solution: One cannot manipulate people as if they were chromosomes...they are not just interchangeable goes against history and natural behaviour (because there is an) intangible relationship between territory and human beings, based on the elementary sentiment of survival and security....People have an irresistible need to possess a terrestrial homeland...this has been the case in the past and the present...with Israel and the Palestinians for example.17 The FN actually employs a series of official APRD forecasts to demonstrate the potent demographic threat posed by the collective of southern hemisphere countries. The figures indicate that in 1983 there was approximate population parity (169 million/161 million) between the traditional Christian nations of southern Europe (France, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece) and the Muslim countries of North Africa and the Near East (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Turkey). By 2020, however, the cited figures suggest that the combined population of the selected European countries will have fallen to 150 million, while the aggregate population of the Muslim countries will have more than doubled, and reached 348 million.18 Le Pen has argued that the West must be conscious of the Third World ‘demographic explosion’.19 Alfred Sauvy’s exposition on Western demographic decline, L’Europe submergé, can be viewed as an important influence on FN attitudes. His exposé of the risks associated with the demographic disequilibrium between the two banks of the Mediterranean is often cited by party leaders as the classic presentation of the case now pursued by the FN.20 It appears, however, that in reality the party’s anxiety over world population trends had been fuelled decades earlier by Houari Boumedienne, Algerian head of state between 1965 and 1978. He is quoted by one FN publication as saying: ‘One day millions of men will leave the southern parts of the world...(in trying to secure their survival they will cause) an eruption in the relatively accessible parts of

124 ‘Threats’ to the nation the northern hemisphere’.21 Needless to say, Le Pen’s party has thrived on statements like this. A further sentiment harboured by FN theorists is that demographic expansion is Islamic countries – and the exportation of this surplus population to Europe – not only jeopardises the national identity of France, but also threatens to reawaken the age-old strife between the East and the West and between Islam and Christianity. Indeed, FN writers – who have always stressed that history is of vital importance in any assessment of Islam’s potential threat – have traced the friction between the two religions and civilisations back to ancient times. The FN thesis is that social, political and cultural hostility between the two great power blocs today is merely the latest instance of ongoing tension. As Le Pen has written: An Islamic France could exist instead of a French, Christian and Western France....The peace of the world is menaced by the Third World and Islamic demographic explosion...the pro-immigration lobbies collaborating with Islam...(are) destroying our identity....They want to eradicate all that links France to Western, humanist and Christian civilisation...history has shown...(that) pacific coexistence between Europe and Islam is impossible.22 Le Pen, Mégret and Le Gallou have all studied the historical perspective to the relationship. Tracing the inter-civilisation struggle back to the Battle of Poitiers (732), the eleventh-century crusades, the fall of Constantinople (1453) and the Battle of Lepanto (1571), they have based their views of demography and immigration on this historical account. For his part, FN writer Pierre Vial has written: not just divided and underdeveloped....In historical terms it is in perpetual conflict with Europe...between the seventh and nineteenth centuries conflicts (between the two civilisations) never ceased...(Islam’s) new cultural and religious renovation (has been) anti-European...the duty of Islam is to win for Islam all infidels.23 The Islamic threat has been depicted in even blunter terms: ‘(Islam’s) totalitarian totally incompatible with European culture....All over Europe a demographic explosion (has led to) a cultural and religious reawakening, and thus a new danger for Europe’.24 It is in this context, therefore, that Le Pen has discerned the West’s most important mission: to spread its civilisation and values through demographic expansion. He proclaims this undertaking as a ‘vocation to fertilise the world’.25

‘Threats’ to the nation 125 The FN’s ‘family preference’ philosophy In 1992 the FN announced its ‘Twelve priorities for the family’. These ‘priorities’ included a maternal income equivalent to the SMIC, tax concessions for families, a family vote and the ‘rigorous application of family preference, in favour of nationals and then Europeans’. This statement illustrated the importance of family policy for the FN.26 At the heart of the FN’s demographic concerns is a firm belief in the family as ‘the base of the nation’. In tones reminiscent of Barrès, the importance of genealogy is proclaimed: ‘France is a line inscribed in history; she is the product of the dead and the living, but also of those yet to be born’.27 Vast significance is assigned to what the FN sees as the family’s declining importance in society. The belief is that if the family unit was strong and concentrated on its primary duty – breeding children and providing a stable and traditional base for children’s lives – the problem of dénatalité would not exist. This belief reflects the FN’s wider loyalty to ‘traditional’ or ‘fundamental’ values. The family is viewed as the most natural of social units, and must therefore be protected, just as tenaciously as the nation – another key rung on the hierarchical ladder – must be guarded from negative external influences.28 The protection and promotion of the family cell is of course an archetypal right-wing concern. Michel de Rostolan, a party theorist with a particular interest in demography, puts its faith exclusively in the old-style ‘patriarchal’ conception of the family, rather than the more modern notion of the ‘conjugal’ family – born of the Civil Code, and still upheld today – which emphasises the importance of the husband and wife, and not the children. He argues that this relatively new concept neglects the traditional duty of the family, namely procreation and reproduction. He says that it is lines of blood alone that form a family, not just marriage on its own. Once more, the three key and interlinked terms are blood, family and nation.29 Moving on, the notion of ‘family preference’ implies that the family unit should benefit from special social and financial advantages not enjoyed by single people or unmarried couples. The argument is that, ‘(the family as) the base of society...must be protected by a new moral environment, and encouraged by appropriate aids...a maternal income, aids for family housing, fiscal justice for married couples, and support for the battle against sterility’; and as Mégret argued in 1996, the principle of family preference should be inscribed in ‘the text of our fundamental law’.30 The main thrust of the party’s family preference platform revolves around the institution of a special income for indigenous French mothers. The FN is proud to stress the continuity implicit in its pro-family policy package and sees itself as putting the finishing touches to an unfinished programme.31 The system of maternal income proposed by the FN would operate on

126 ‘Threats’ to the nation a sliding scale. The salary would increase in proportion to the number of children a mother has, reaching ‘a substantial level’ for families with three or more children. One policy programme stated that this maximum payment would be equivalent to the SMIC, a proposition that has formed part of the FN’s manifesto since 1974. Payment of this maternal salary is based on the natural FN proviso that the mothers are ‘French’.32 The FN heralds the maternal income as a policy of ‘choice’, and not one of compulsion, arguing that women should not be penalised financially for devoting themselves to their family (though it is intriguing to note that the much-castigated Communist system – in East Germany – is the model for the FN’s maternal income idea).33 The chief intention is to give women a choice, without fear of a decline in status or income. Mégret hopes that such institutional change would alter public perceptions of motherhood: ‘A, woman’s mission’, he argues, ‘is essential to the community and to the future...official recognition would mean that the mother of the family was not “without profession”, but in charge of the most noble of tasks’.34 For the FN the idea of a maternal income has many merits: devoted mothers would be contented; jobs would be freed; unemployment would fall; public crèches would not be needed; and the quality of future French citizens would be improved. Objections to such a policy are obvious, but addressed in only an indirect manner by the FN: is it not discriminatory, and even inhumane, to penalise large immigrant families when many of the children would become French at the age of majority? Would infertile couples suffer financially? Would working mothers be viewed as inferior parents? Is the optimum size of family necessarily five-plus? The FN message is simply that France must produce more babies. Thus: ‘The demographic survival of the nation is crucial, and it justifies every sacrifice’.35 The inauguration of a system of maternal revenue is not the only FN pro-family proposition. For mothers who remain in employment, FN spokesmen have detailed a new family allowance scheme to be based – quite predictably – on proportionality. Mégret comments: ‘Family allocations need totally revising...they do not fulfil their role...the desired goal is lost because of the insufficient progressivity of benefits in relation to the number of children’.36 The Socialist government’s even-handed approach to family allowances was viewed by the FN as part of a philosophy of ‘redistribution’ – a war on inequality and difference that had its corollary in the sphere of immigration. The FN would not only reserve these allowances exclusively for indigenous French families, but it would also remove the ceiling on the size of benefit payments. This exemplifies the FN’s belief in the decadent nature of equality and the complementary notion that discrimination is natural, fundamental and desirable.37

‘Threats’ to the nation 127 A third major prong to FN family policy consists of a deep-seated desire to extend the concept of proportionality into the French electoral system. Thus, the FN has reiterated its demand for extra family voting rights. The idea floated by the party is that families should receive supplementary voting rights in proportion to the number of children in the family. Mégret for one talks in positive terms about the merits of a family vote – what he calls ‘integral universal suffrage’. Exemplifying the traditional right-wing desire to inject youthful impetus into the nation’s life, the FN’s proposal is highly significant: the vitality of the young instilled into the political process via mothers and fathers, with the mother acting as proxy for girls, and the father for boys, until the age of majority.38 It is claimed that this concept has not only worked in other countries, but represents an efficient means of integrating citizens into the electoral process from birth. As such, two FN deputies, Yann Piat and Michel de Rostolan, sponsored a proposition of law aimed at instituting this ‘true universal suffrage’ – but failed to convince parliament of its worth.39 Suggesting once again that the blood line linking one generation to another is of crucial importance, Le Pen has argued that the proxy votes of parents would reinforce ‘the direct line that effectively associates them with their...(children’s) destiny’. Within its pro-family policy programme the FN has also argued in favour of financial aid for families in the spheres of accommodation and taxation, with larger families also to benefit from preferential access to privatisation shares.40 Additionally, and in very general terms, the FN glorifies the concept of youth. This accent on the positive virtues of youth underpins a whole segment of FN discourse, connecting the party’s theses on the family, abortion, contraception, and dénatalité. Like many other right-wing groups, the FN has proclaimed youth as a vital social force. As Raymond Ferrand has written: Youth carries the most fascinating seeds; the hope of all living species, of all people... In all animal species...youth is a very rich force...capable of assuring the future of a group, community...(or) society....Naturally the young like danger, experiences...impossible objectives, sacrifices...the young throw everything into big adventures.41 Today, these beliefs have their concrete embodiment in the FNJ. They also signify the party’s positive, pro-life spirit in the face of ‘threats’ to the national identity: We must not let the predators of death ruin our hope and our future....If we are animated by our desire to live and progress, it is necessary for us to continue the

128 ‘Threats’ to the nation battle, reanimate the energy of our élites, believe in our country and remain firm...because the dangers drawing up on our borders are more and more terrible.42 A relationship is, thus, established between the notions of youth, family and national strength. The underlying feeling is that the decline of the family is not only a symptom, but a cause of moral and social decadence. In his eulogy on the family as the cornerstone of society, Mégret writes: ‘Long live the family! A people without descendence condemns itself to death. The family must therefore benefit from a privileged and recognised role in the nation’.43 This accent on the family as a vital social institution is naturally linked to other concerns. As Le Pen has written: Our country lacks 150,000 children each year. There are several reasons for this situation: the encouragement of abortion, the constant degradation of family benefits, fiscal and social penalties for legal couples, a lower rate of weddings and multiple social advantages for non-European foreigners.44 The FN endorses the family as the pre-eminent social unit. Because of this, Le Pen and his colleagues are scathing in their criticism of the factors that have led to the ‘breakup’ of the family. In the main, party theorists blame the ‘individualism’ of modern society for the declining significance of marriage, motherhood and other traditions related to the social institution of the family. This term – ‘individualism’ – implies the manifestation of any untraditional, un-Catholic or unnatural social or moral practices. Politically, individualism relates, in the language of the FN – to the disintegration of natural and organic communities. The party pins the blame for this on the ‘Socialist or social-democratic alchemy’ which leaves individuals isolated and indifferent, bound only by the artificial harmony of public assistance. Le Pen has amplified this point, arguing that the declining European societies of this century have been subject to just such ‘forces of break-up, the confusion of values and ideas, which question structures, hierarchies and models, and the general subversion of spirits and morals’.45 Throughout their analyses FN writers purposefully link the demography issue to the perceived break-up of the family. Here, the chief contention is that if families are financially poor, weak in structure and meagre in number, the effects will be felt primarily in falling birth-rates. There is a particularly strong denunciation of ‘cohabitation’ as an alternative to marriage; FN writers have noted the declining number

‘Threats’ to the nation 129 of marriages and the ‘large demographic consequences’ of ‘increased concubinage and sexual promiscuity’, inferring that cohabiting couples are far less likely to have children than married couples. This feeling is reinforced by an anonymous demographer quoted by the FN: ‘The substitution of cohabitation for marriage is the sign of a new phenomenon...the rejection of descendence’.46 An elementary relationship is therefore established between lax morals – exemplified for Le Pen by couples ‘living together’ and other types of sexual immorality – and demographic decline: a way of thinking that has a long history in France. This is the linkage that underpins many of the FN’s policy statements on the French birth-rate and associated subjects. As such, the main thrust of the party’s policy revolves around strengthening morality. In addition to the pro-family proposals outlined earlier – these plans naturally encourage marriage in themselves – the FN has condemned the fact that in some circumstances cohabitees benefit from tax advantages not enjoyed by married couples. The party’s political programme states: ‘It is a question of creating a judicial and fiscal environment favourable to marriages, implying the revision of all articles in the general tax code, which as they stand create a situation less favourable to legitimate couples than cohabitees’.47 Similarly, FN leaders have condemned the concept and process of divorce. It is clear that for the FN, divorce is viewed as yet another unhealthy symptom of a decadent society; another unnatural, un-Catholic, and immoral device that has an adverse effect on national demography. Jean-Claude Martinez has claimed that the French divorce courts are aiding the destruction of the family, and thus aiding the process of dénatalité. The courts, he argued, should adapt themselves to the right of children to have a settled life instead of emphasising parents’ right of divorce. He stated: ‘We are the only animal species that reverses natural biological law. Society must therefore battle against divorce...for the sake of children, but also as part of the battle against dénatalité. The Giscardian law of 1975, which eased the legal path to divorce, is singled out for criticism as another blatant symptom of ‘decadent individualism’. FN thinkers propose that divorce should be made more difficult, not easier, and have condemned the law of 1975 as ‘a deliberate attempt to destroy the family’.48 The FN’s moralistic crusade against the decline of marriage and the family is taken a step further by party attitudes to abortion – and contraception in general. Both abortion and contraception are viewed by FN theorists as the most blatant instruments of calculated demographic decline, to the extent that Mégret has labelled the notion of family planning ‘an ideology in itself’.49 Furthermore, Le Pen said the FN viewed abortion as a double-edged sword: it was not only morally reprehensible, but demographically disastrous. As such, he proclaimed: ‘The most fundamental duty of

130 ‘Threats’ to the nation the people of France is, without doubt, the passing on of the torch of life’. For his part, Mégret has argued that women should not be given ‘total control over fertility’. He asserts that a woman’s control over her fertility should not be viewed as a freedom; rather, it should be seen as a threat to the ‘demographic equilibrium’ of the nation.50 It is in contexts such as this that the FN’s commitment to liberties should be evaluated: a central FN idea is that the rights of the nation transcend those of the individual.51 The prevailing FN view is, thus, that abortion – and to an extent contraception – sets a precedent. If it is accepted that the natural workings of the human body can be interfered with and altered, what will stop other intrusions and other threats to ‘human equilibrium’? The human organism, it is argued, is just like the social organism, and should not be tampered with. It should be left alone to function in tandem with nature, procreating, and supplying France with its next, vital generations. Likewise, the FN understands its battle against contraception as a conflict between the ‘forces of life’ and ‘the forces of death’. In this context Le Pen perceives abortion to be a direct physical threat to the existence of the French nation, and because FN theorists view ‘France’ as a function of ‘indigenous French people’, abortion is understood to be more than an immoral act. This notion has been simplified by Le Pen: ‘Killing the child is killing France’.52 In almost identical terms, Pierre Bousquet argued that contraception was a crime against the nation: ‘ “The nation in danger” is heard not only when enemies menace the frontiers, but also when the country is threatened internally – in the Palais de Justice, where judges give freedom to criminals, and in the avortoirs where doctors take the lives of children’.53 It is here that the Giscardian law of 1975, which legalised abortion and which was masterminded by the President’s health minister Simone Veil, is stigmatised by the FN as an abominable act of ‘anti-French genocide’. With typical under-statement, Le Pen has commented: ‘I think that the massive assassination of children, from the photographs one has been able to see, effectively corresponds to a form of genocide’. In a similar tone, André Delaporte claimed that FN militants needed to form the backbone of the campaign against the Veil law. In an emotional passage Delaporte claimed that ‘cold and ripe murder’ – according to him, the ultimate by-product of the Veil law – had been responsible ‘for more child deaths than World War One’. Several other FN commentaries in the 1970s took the same line. Dénatalité, it was argued, was not the product of a suicidal will, but of ‘the deliberate intention of assassination...a murder one tries to confuse with suicide’. Once more, the underlying theme was the French identity in peril.54

‘Threats’ to the nation 131 As a riposte, Le Pen calls for firm state action in the sphere of ‘population policy’. In one party message the FN leader said that tough executive policy – the abrogation of the Veil law and a concerted pro-family legislative package – should replace rhetoric and mere philosophising on decadence, reflecting once more the FN leader’s underlying conviction that the State should not rest neutral when the ‘survival’ of the nation is at stake55 (Le Pen has also called for a massive pronataliste public information campaign to counter-balance the right of women to use contraceptive methods).56 The truth is that in FN circles, Giscard’s ‘pro-abortion’ law is regarded as a ‘deliberately-taken immoral act’, instigated by a government not even neutral, but biased against the nation. This view was supplemented by the charge that the post-1981 Socialist administration actively encouraged abortions by subsidising them through the social security system. There is hostility to all ‘abortions of convenience’; one FN writer has stated, ‘the freedom of the suppression pure and simple of children whose presence in the world would embarrass their mothers’. The FN maintains that the State should move towards a ‘pro-life’ policy, implicit in which would be the repeal of the 1975 legislation permitting legal abortions. FN theorists have qualified this position by affirming that abortions would be permissible for medical reasons, or when the life of the mother was at stake.57 Underpinning the FN’s anti-abortion stance is a staunch belief in the genetic profile of the nation. The preservation of life is not merely seen in humanitarian terms. Rather, the party views the abortion issue as an intrinsically nation-related question. Thus, Bousquet wrote: ‘It is necessary to preserve the life of honest people living...(and those) to come...the destiny of France....It is necessary to preserve the life of France today and tomorrow, and thus of France itself’. This statement reflects and illuminates the FN’s conception of the nation, in that the babies of French mothers are viewed as the ultimate personification of ‘France’ and ‘Frenchness’. Nothing, it seems, is said about the ‘will’ or ‘desire’ to live together, only that genes produce a nation.58 For the FN, therefore, abortion and contraception are seen not only as immoral practices in themselves but, ultimately, as a direct threat to France’s national identity. In a similar way, homosexuality is viewed as an obvious symptom of a ‘decadent’ society. Just as Le Pen’s anti-decadence rhetoric favours what is regarded as the ‘good’ over the ‘bad’, the ‘forces of life’ over the ‘forces of death’, the Frenchman over the North African and the healthy over the unhealthy, so it follows that, in an effort to weed out the decadence from French society, the virile heterosexual is favoured over the homosexual.59

132 ‘Threats’ to the nation For Le Pen, homosexuality embodies a twofold threat: it is viewed as unnatural – thereby going against the FN’s belief in ‘fundamental values’ – and it compounds the problem of demographic decline. Le Pen was questioned about the ethics of homosexuality on L’Heure de vérité. Jean-Louis Lescene, one of the panel of questioners, asked him whether he viewed homosexuality as an offence, given his doctrinal emphasis on morality and traditional values. Le Pen’s answer was suitably tactful given the large nationwide audience, yet clear in its underlying message: Homosexuality is not an offence, but it must not be a privileged status either. For all evidence shows that it constitutes, in relative terms, a biological and social anomaly, and in these conditions I believe that it should not occupy the higher moral ground, nor seek converts. I believe that this is not just a question of common sense, but also a question of decent taste.60 Le Figaro, however, quoted Le Pen in much more strident tones. There was no doubt in Le Pen’s mind that the practice of homosexuality would ultimately lead, via demographic regression, to the ‘end of the world’. His argument was that homosexuality could have a devastating effect on Western civilisation, especially when combined with a low Western birth-rate. Pursuing this line further, the FN leader took another swipe at the ‘rights of man’ philosophy embodied by Mitterrand’s post-1981 Socialist administration. Le Pen implied that this Socialist, ‘universalist’ philosophy of neglecting ‘difference’ and ‘exclusion’ – together with the non-utilisation of the state as a moral agency – was encouraging ‘immoral’ practices like homosexuality. Reinforcing the FN – view that homosexuality was not being actively discouraged by the state – Le Pen said: ‘There are more and more homosexuals....The Socialist government, because it integrates this into its discourse, is responsible for this development in France’.61 It is, however, within FN discourse on AIDS (SIDA) that the evils and the effects of homosexuality are discussed most fully. In general terms, the FN’s conviction is that AIDS is an inherently political issue, primarily because it affects the health and wellbeing of French citizens.62 And because the FN equates ‘French people’ to ‘France’ the party interprets the virus as a threat to the French nation. Furthermore, the party’s publicity and propaganda machine has fully exploited the emotive power of the AIDS issue. A 1990 campaign leaflet, for example, utilised the virus as a metaphor for perceived socio-political malaise in just the same manner as Boulanger, Barrès and Pétain played upon the symbolism and significance of syphilis and other germ-based diseases. The FN pamphlet proclaimed:

‘Threats’ to the nation 133 Socialism Immigration Crime Corruption In Politics, In Economics, In Morality Socialism is AIDS!63 At the height of the AIDS controversy in France, Le Pen maintained that the virus was an ‘extraordinary peril’ for France, and the FN’s counter-proposals on the AIDS issue were detailed in a report entitled: ‘Operation truth: France does not want to die of AIDS’. The underlying FN idea, as Hastings argues, is that ‘a healthy society comprises medically-sound if giving blood defines citizenship’. All elements perceived to be weak – and of no use in demographic terms – are excluded in a ‘clinical marginality’, most notably, the homosexual, the immigrant and the ill.64 The FN’s response to AIDS has been based on two central ideas: exclusion and purification. As more than one observer has pointed out, the AIDS victim has been singled out for exclusion. The FN has controversially put forward the idea of ‘sidatoriums’, isolated buildings which would house ‘impure’ victims of the virus. In tandem with this policy of ostracism, the FN also favours a process of purification. On one level this would work through the ‘sidatoriums’, but on another more general plane it would involve a transformation of social morality. Although at times Le Pen has – strangely and rather unnaturally – claimed he has no interest in ‘meddling in the morals of citizens’, it is clear that his belief in ‘fundamental values’ and ‘the natural order of things’ conditions an extremely strict moralistic outlook.65 Here Le Pen and his colleagues have emphasised what they see as the significant role of homosexuals in the spread of AIDS. The FN’s two most contentious assertions are these: first, that homosexual practices are the root cause of 80 per cent of all AIDS cases, and second, that sodomy – as Le Pen prefers to call it – is the only means through which a séropositive AIDS sufferer can transmit the virus to a healthy person. Although the French medical establishment has questioned both assertions – on the first count the general view was that homosexual practices were responsible for only 50–60 per cent of AIDS cases, and on the second, that the FN’s claim was a ‘scientific absurdity’ – it is clear that Le Pen views the homosexual population as a prime enemy.66 The FN’s analysis of the AIDS issue has raised much controversy. The FN is deemed to have overplayed the role of homosexuals in spreading the disease – testimony to the fact that Le Pen has made an overt attempt to shape morality by singling out

134 ‘Threats’ to the nation practising homosexuals as the guilty party. In another sense, it is clear that the AIDS issue is a high symbolic one for the FN. It is not only highly representative of the FN’s anxieties for France, but it also revolves around blood. Blood indeed remains the focalpoint of the party’s neo-deterministic conception of the nation. The FN is fearful of French blood being contaminated; by AIDS victims and homosexuals on the one hand, and by immigrants also on the other. As such, the FN’s battle against dénatalité targets the foreigner, the outsider and the decadent, and ultimately prescribes exclusion as the solution. Exclusion: the threat of ‘the other’ Jenkins and Sofos have argued that for nationalists the paramount question is: how is membership of the nation to be defined? In Chapter 2 we noted that the FN does on occasions talk the language of ‘open’ nationalism, but that, in fundamental terms, it is loyal to a more defensive and ‘closed’ conception of the nation. We can infer from this that FN leaders are determined to ensure that members of the French nation are loyal to the nation and have only one national allegiance. Hence the sensitivity to ‘threatening’, ‘non-pure’ elements and, thus, the emphasis on exclusion. Guibernau, quoting Barth’s approach, helps us to understand this. He says that, ‘groups tend to define themselves not by reference to their own characteristics but by exclusion, that is, by comparison to “strangers” ’.67 In the last section on demography we considered two themes that we will now consider further in this examination of the FN’s exclusionist discourse and the party’s accompanying fear of ‘the other’ or ‘the foreigner’ as a threat to national identity. The preceding analysis revealed first, that immigration is a pivotal party concern – in the FN’s view, aiding and abetting France’s demographic malaise and, as a result, infecting the national identity – and second, that the notion of exclusion is a key pillar of party ideology; note, for example, the concept of excluding non-European nationals from family welfare schemes, and the highly symbolic idea of isolated ‘sidatoriums’ for AIDS victims. Hazareesingh has argued that the nationalist right has always been more conscious of ‘internal’ than ‘external’ threats, and the nature of FN discourse seems to support this: the foreigner is viewed as a threat and as an agent of French national decline, and physical expulsion is viewed as the ultimate panacea.68 Fundamental here is the FN’s hostility to what it understands to be the essence of Socialist doctrine: ‘the rights of man’ and its doctrinal adjuncts, cosmopolitanism and integration. Indeed, it could be argued that the FN’s deeply engrained suspicion and mistrust of the foreigner has reached a peak precisely because what it perceives to be the prevailing Socialist ideology espouses what could be interpreted as powerful

‘Threats’ to the nation 135 ‘counter-values’: belief in equal rights for French and foreign nationals and the desirability of a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious French society. Where Mitterrand and his Socialist-dominated governments sought ‘integration’, the FN has demanded either unqualified assimilation or, at the other extreme, priority rights for French nationals and physical exclusion. We should note, however, that the FN’s fear of the foreigner, often illogical and irrational, is a reflex that has a long history on the nationalist right. In whatever guise – immigrant, Jew, Freemason, revolutionary – the foreigner has been identified as the scapegoat for perceived national decline. For over a century in fact the extreme right has seen ‘the other’, ‘the foreigner’ or simply ‘the unknown’ as a threat to France’s national character. Not unnaturally, the instinctive reaction to this discernible threat has often been, either independently or in some sort of sequence, a call for protection, rejection, exclusion.69 Underpinning the FN’s immigration policy and its hostility to other ‘foreign’ elements within France – the Jew in particular – is a philosophy of exclusion that has its roots in disparate, but related spheres. In truth it would be correct to say that all the FN’s principal ideologues have their own personal and independent theories of exclusion. Each takes a slightly different perspective on the question of society’s composition and intergroup relationships, and each utilises a different theme to express his or her belief. The conclusion, however, is usually a common one: the exclusion of threatening ‘non-French’ elements – in whatever form – is natural, desirable and vital for the overall equilibrium of society. In this sense, therefore, it would be accurate to portray the FN as, at heart, ‘a Front of refusal’.70 Among the different ideas that are employed to convey and justify the notion of exclusion are science, sovereignty, and what is termed ‘common sense’. An examination of these varied ideas will go some way to constructing the theory of exclusion which accompanies the FN’s suspicion of the foreigner: the immigrant and Jew in particular. Furthermore, two conflicting principles appear to stand at the heart of the FN exclusionist perspective: namely, ‘difference’ and ‘superiority’. On the one hand, exclusion is viewed as a natural response to ‘difference’ between human types. On the other hand, there is a discernible tendency for FN theorists to slip into a language of ‘superiority’ and ‘inferiority’: a language, it could be suggested, of racism. Exclusion here is viewed as a necessary, protective policy, guarding the ‘superior’ French nation from external, inferior menaces. A fine line obviously separates the two ideas, and it will become evident that there is a constant tension between the contrasting justifications for exclusion.71 The most definitive exposition of what the FN views as the ‘scientific’ rationale for exclusion comes in Charles Gregor’s essay, ‘Exclusion: a law of nature’, published in the FN’s journal of doctrinal reflection, Identité. Cultivating the biological and medical

136 ‘Threats’ to the nation metaphor that lies at the heart of so much of FN doctrine, Gregor argues that because the notion of exclusion is a scientific truth, it translates itself, naturally, into a social and political reality. Crucial to Gregor’s argument are the biological conclusions of Louis Pasteur; namely, that an organism’s immune system instantly repels the ‘nonself’, whether bacteria or transplants.72 The idea of a medical metaphor justifying or excusing a philosophy or policy of exclusion is clearly a problematic one. For FN theorists, however, the scientific notion of ‘the refusal of foreign bodies’ (in a scientific sense) has an important socio-political equivalent: the rejection of non-French elements by the body politic. Indeed, the colourful rhetoric and ever-present medical imagery of FN leaders has often come close to likening the immigrant population to ‘bacteria’ or ‘transplants’. Alluding to this ongoing analogy – treating immigrants as ‘cells’ – Gregor makes a definite link: Within the organism, each cell must carry its own ‘identity card’ and present it to the immunity barrier: ‘customs’....In general principles the system is simple: the intruders are recognised and rejected...the invading virus will be identified as a ‘foreigner’ and destroyed by the ‘brigades’ of the defensive immune system.73 The metaphor is taken a step further. The biological cells that beat or evade the immune system are likened to illegal immigrants. More specifically, a dental parallel is identified: ‘fraudulent’ parasites and bacteria – presenting ‘false papers’ – form a kind of invading ‘tooth plaque’, with passivity or suicide the organism’s ultimate plight. This style of argument implies that exclusion is a ‘law of nature’, and that life by its very nature demands choice and differentiation, and thus necessitates something, always, being excluded. Gregor argues that exclusion is not a pragmatic response to ‘frustrations or the sordid game of financial interests’, but the natural retort to ‘the reality of the self/non-self and self/foreigner recognition’. The FN’s general perspective values defence and immunity, and upholds Barrès once more, quoting him to the effect that ‘the first concern of all those who want to live is surrounding oneself with high walls’.74 Accompanying the FN’s belief in exclusion and exclusiveness is a firm attachment to the concept of boundaries and barriers. Gregor comments: It is always a matter of differentiating that which belongs to oneself and that which belongs to others...parents will always defend and exclude when their genetic interests are at stake.... All individuals have the tendency to assure the

‘Threats’ to the nation 137 success of their line.... This shows that a frontier is not necessarily an arbitrary line, but that it could reflect a break in genetic gradient.75 This argument serves to underline the demographic outlook of the FN. Earlier, we concluded that the party’s concern about the threat of dénatalité was based on the premise that the ‘French nation’ was synonymous with ‘people of French parentage’. Now we can discern that the immunisation of France would take place along genetic lines; the idea of a ‘homogeneous humanity’ is dismissed as a biological and sociological delusion.76 The FN has also gone on to assert that in human terms the love of one individual for another is exclusion par excellence – the highest state of exclusiveness.77 This is an attempt to justify not only exclusion but the ethics of nationalism en bloc. Gregor states that ‘exclusion is not cruel but natural....He who loves everyone loves no-one’. In a similar style, Megret and Georges-Paul Wagner have suggested that FN philosophy is the exact reversal of the Latin maxim, ‘Nothing is human if not of the foreigner’.78 For the FN, everything apart from the foreigner is human. Exclusion, in all conceivable contexts, is viewed as an elementary and universal scientific law, a basic reflex and an important survival technique that transforms itself naturally into a social and political reality. For Bruno Mégret as well, the notion of exclusion finds part of its raison d’être in the fundamental battle for survival. He quotes Friedrich Hayek on the subject of national existence: ‘For science and anthropology all cultures and morals can be equally good, but our society will remain durable only so long as we treat others as inferior to our own’. Mégret also uses the writings of Claude Lévi-Strauss to reinforce the necessity of exclusion: ‘All creation implies a certain deafness to all other values’.79 If so-called scientific truths are employed by FN theorists to legitimise the principle of exclusion, on the level of practical politics it is the exigencies of national sovereignty which are of importance and which can ‘justify’ rejection. Le Gallou asserts that every nation has the right to exclude unwanted elements as it sees fit. In explaining the concept of a policy of national preference, Le Gallou argues that the principle of sovereignty revolves around two key notions: the citizen submits himself to the rule of the nation, while in return the nation guarantees the security and wellbeing of the citizen. The argument, therefore, is that the nation has the right to exclude all those who do not agree to abide by this unwritten accord. At the same time Le Gallou also talks about the forces of rejection that usually greet the presence of a stranger or foreigner in a small society. He says that all group units – families, for example – reserve the right of entry in some form or another, so preserving, ‘true solidarity for

138 ‘Threats’ to the nation the people closest to them, and opposing general dissolution into a vast ensemble’. Le Gallou’s sovereignty thesis is representative of a form of defensive nationalism which has been identified by Alain Touraine. Touraine’s analysis depicts this insularity as ‘a nationalism of customs officers rather than colonisers’. Le Gallou goes on to emphasise what he sees as the fundamental nature of sovereignty and rejection. He reasons that man and wife, for example, will always ‘confront the hazards of existence together to assure the continuity of their line...(they will) always refuse mixture with other people’. He thus concludes that the prerequisite for communal solidarity is the distinction between the interior and exterior of the group.80 It is important to note that the tension already identified between the rival ‘will’ and ‘blood’ theories of nationhood is again present. While Le Gallou recognises nationhood as ‘the will to want to live together’, he also suggests, playing on the importance of blood and roots, that the member/foreigner distinction is applicable in each of the ‘concentric circles of solidarity’ – in particular, the family and the nation. Echoing Gregor’s scientific theory of exclusion, Le Gallou here claims that the foreign element will always be rejected, whatever the context. For him the heart of the matter lies in the fact that parents will always protect their family line from intruders. The underlying tension within FN thinking is, therefore, evident again, with doctrine based on two contrasting ideas. The crucial point, however, is this: if people are eliminated from the family or nation precisely because they are ‘foreign’, the ability or ‘will’ to live together will never even be tested. This point seems to be overlooked by FN spokesmen, and Le Gallou’s central thesis endures: sovereignty will be alienated if foreigners remain in France, and thus, a policy of discrimination and exclusion – whether of rights (‘national preference’) or of people (social rejection) – is, in the party’s own terms, justified.81 On a more populist level, FN theorists have tried to emphasise the logic or common sense inherent in exclusion. It has been natural for a party whose style of rhetoric is often characterised as simplistic and demagogic to translate its scientific and political justifications of rejection and discrimination into the language of mass appeal. In trying to rationalise and explain an exclusionist attitude towards foreigners that can be, and has been, interpreted as racist, xenophobic and discriminatory, Le Pen, for example, has advanced this celebrated, and often reiterated, apology for exclusion: ‘I prefer my daughter to my niece, my niece to my cousin, my cousin to my neighbour, my neighbour to a stranger, and a French person to a foreigner’. Le Pen’s position conveys the message that he is not hostile to foreigners, but naturally prefers French people.82 Thus, if a policy of exclusion was desired or required – of rights, welfare benefits or people (via physical expulsion) – it would be the non-European foreigner who

‘Threats’ to the nation 139 would suffer the most. However, although Le Pen often explains exclusion in terms of ‘preferring French people to foreigners’ – and also emphasises the fact that he is against what he considers as misconceived immigration policies, rather than immigrants themselves – it would be naive to take his remarks at face value.83 To comprehend the FN’s true attitude, it is sufficient to note its use of the phrase, ‘Anti-France’. National hebdo has invoked this traditional right-wing term to denounce the ‘anti-national’ and ‘anti-identity’ strategy of the PS, in league with the so-called ‘cosmopolitan lobbies’; the party newspaper claimed in a satirical tone that the increasing influence of SOSRacisme, and its leader Harlem Désir, inside the PS actually merited the creation of a new governmental department: ‘an Anti-France ministry’.84 The vocabulary chosen by Le Pen and his party is not just accidental. As we noted earlier, much of the language used by the FN has overt historical overtones, and in this context it could be argued that in utilising the phrase ‘Anti-France’, the party was creating a direct link between its own discourse and that of other ‘closed’ nationalist movements.85 It is clear that the FN would not use such a pejorative and evocative term if it was sensitive in the slightest to the historical lineage of the phrase. In another vivid image, Le Pen has portrayed the immigrant as an unwanted menace: Of course (immigrants are not at home in France)....They are invitees. When we invite our mother-in-law to stay, we are very happy the first week, a little less the second week, even less the third, and at the end of the fourth we say: It is her or me. It is a little similar with immigrants.86 The implication again is that exclusion is a natural and residual prerogative. The assumption is that just as a husband and wife are sovereign in their own home – and have the right to exclude unwanted relatives and friends – a government is sovereign within its own national frontiers. Mégret developed a similar analogy in his IFN lecture, ‘Identity in question’. He castigated the pre-eminent Socialist notion of the ‘refusal of exclusion’ and he drew a parallel in the following sarcastic terms: But let us stop a moment and examine the classic discourse of the immigration lobby. On the theme: ‘Me, I am a foreigner, I am excluded by the French, and it is inadmissible; I claim equality of rights’, the cosmopolitan (or immigration) lobby would say: ‘Me, I am not a member of the Lyon Club, but I simply refuse to be excluded from it and I demand exactly the same advantages enjoyed by those who are members.’ Putting this reasoning into practice would lead to the

140 ‘Threats’ to the nation disappearance of the Lyon Club, and it would be so absurd that it would make everyone laugh. This, however, is the discourse – transposed – of the immigration lobby. With regard to France, it would eventually lead to the dissolution of the nation.87 This hostility towards the ideal and reality of cosmopolitanism is, as we have already noted, a significant pointer to the real nature of FN nationalism. Together, these component elements – straddling the spheres of science, national sovereignty and common sense – comprise what we could label ‘the party’s theory of exclusion’: an aspect of party doctrine that is intended to justify exclusionist tactics being employed against the perceived ‘threats’ to France. It is intended to justify discrimination,88 but at times perhaps, FN discourse has strayed beyond the bounds of mere group rivalry. In general though it could be argued that it has avoided the crude overtones of outright racism – specifically, notions of supremacy and discrimination based on race and colour. That said, Le Pen has suggested that some distinctions between peoples are valid and legitimate – whether of size or capability. He argues that people are equal only before the law, and not in themselves per se: In this world where different races, different ethnicities and different peoples exist, I am aware of this diversity and this variety...I cannot say that Switzerland is as big as the United States. I cannot say that Bantous have the same ethnological aptitudes as Californians because this is simply contrary to reality.89 In comparing the capabilities of the Bantou and American peoples, the FN leader illustrates the idea of difference without making any vulgar points about race or colour. Beyond this language, however, there is a definite belief in Western superiority, exemplified best perhaps by the party’s discourse on Europe and Le Pen’s comments on New Caledonia.90 However, for a meaningful characterisation of FN doctrine, it is certain that the crux of the matter lies elsewhere. Some observers – Daniel Alaphilippe for example – have employed the notion of ‘ethnocentrism’ (group-to-group hostility) rather than ‘racism’ to describe the FN’s ideology. It is clear in fact that FN exclusionist discourse does utilise group-based language to the full, with party theorists adept at singling out specific groups within France; particularly, French people and foreigners, EU nationals and non-European immigrants, Arabs, Muslims and Christians, Jews and Freemasons.91 Here there is a kind of ‘sliding scale’, with French people and Europeans at one end –

‘Threats’ to the nation 141 singled out for sympathetic treatment – and North African Arabs – viewed far less charitably – at the other. In summary, the FN’s belief in exclusion can be characterised as an instinctive desire for protection which thrives on ideas of difference and superiorty. Girardet has elaborated upon this and has talked about the philosophy of ‘exclusion and refusal’ practised by the FN. However, if it is the exclusion of ‘the foreigner’ which is being justified the question is this: why does FN discourse continue to make scapegoats of the Beur population and France’s Jewish community?92 The Beurs of course have French nationality, while the country’s Jewish population must include a majority of people whose families have been French for generations and who may have only distant relatives left in Israel. This is just one of the problems associated with the party’s exclusionist discourse. Immigration as a ‘threat’ to the nation In 1995 La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen published a cartoon of an apple. A worm was wriggling out of the apple and the caption read, ‘France for everyone’. This image, full of cryptic meaning, indicated much about the FN’s negative attitude to immigration. For in fundamental terms, the party of Le Pen is hostile to both the cultural phenomenon of immigration (and its effects) and what is viewed as successive governments’ laxity on the issue. Accompanying this position is the view that ‘national preference’ is natural.93 This perspective has, not unnaturally, provoked significant comment. Bihr, quoting Balibar, argues that the FN is a prime example of a neo-racist movement – a party that has labelled immigrants ‘unassimable’ –while Taguieff has claimed that FN racism is now expressed in a coded language. Renouvin, for his part, says that the perspective of the FN is contrary to the principles of ‘traditional morality’ and also not in accordance with the French traditions that the FN is trying to lay claim to. In Le Monde meanwhile, one writer said that racism – like that embodied by the FN – had to be combated, just like incest.94 This section of the study will examine the background to, and primary influences on, the development of FN discourse on immigration as a threat to the nation and French nationhood. As such, it follows on from our analysis of the party’s theory of exclusion. Having already determined that the FN believes in a policy of exclusion for threatening, ‘foreign’ elements inside the nation, it is the role of this part of the study to analyse the perceived danger of North African, Arab, Islamic immigration in particular. At root, the FN’s perspective on immigration is based on an evaluation of twentiethcentury population trends. In essence, party spokesmen have denied the validity of

142 ‘Threats’ to the nation the ‘establishment’ thesis, arguing that this ‘official discourse’ is wrong to assume that France is the product of different peoples, a nation whose traditional capacities of assimilation are celebrated, and a place where the phenomenon of immigration is a permanent one. The divide between the FN and the political/academic establishment on the subject of France’s immigration mentality can be illustrated in simple terms: whereas Le Pen has proclaimed that ‘France is not a country of immigration’ – even though millions of French people do have foreign descendents – President Mitterrand argued that the humanist and Jacobin conception of France – which sees it as ‘a country of welcome’ – is more appropriate.95 This last quoted phrase is a concise representation of what the FN views as the ‘official discourse’. National hebdo also cites the viewpoint of Françoise Gaspard and Jean Foyer as typical of mainstream thought: It will not be easy to integrate populations in our community and make them French. But history shows it: all the other major peoples are the result of population mixtures – mixtures legally the attribution of citizenship or nationality....It is at the same time an indispensable and extremely difficult enterprise.96 In the introduction to the FN publication, Dossier immigration, it is argued that the preponderance of pro-establishment polemics on the immigration question was the chief factor behind the party’s decision to commission the in-depth work. Thus, the authors of the book claim that it is a response to the ‘pro-immigration’ theses expounded by Françoise Gaspard and Claude Servan-Schreiber in La Fin des immigrés, Bernard Stasi in L’Immigration: une chance pour la France and Alain Griotteray in Les Immigrés: le choc. Stasi’s interpretation of immigration as ‘a chance for France’ has acquired much publicity; he argues France has been ‘enriched’ by immigration. However, as immigration has increased, and changed, even the most pivotal figures within the French establishment have begun to temper their enthusiasm for the ‘official’ perspective. Mitterrand’s premier between 1988 and 1991, Michel Rocard, for example, said in January 1990: ‘France is no more a land of cannot welcome all the misery of the world’. The French press was quick to note the apparent evolution in Rocard’s thinking. Le Figaro pointed out that his view in 1981 was very different, quoting him as saying then: ‘Immigrants are at home in France; they leave only if they want to’. Even Mitterrand adapted his rhetoric: his celebrated phrase, ‘a level of tolerance’, implied that France’s ability to welcome immigrants, and make them feel at

‘Threats’ to the nation 143 home, did have limits (though it was pointed out that the former French President used the term on only one occasion).97 In recent years, the FN has launched a forceful critique of the ‘establishment’ view. This perspective is based on the claim that the complexion of post-war and contemporary French immigration has been radically different from that of the first half of the century. The FN’s thesis is based on the premise that Third World Muslim immigration has superseded migration from European countries, and party writers have claimed not only that North African immigrants find assimilation hard – that is, if they actually want to assimilate – but, as we will see, that France and Islam are fundamentally incompatible.98 Starting from the assumption that the nature of immigration has changed dramatically since the war, the FN’s argument is that in the interwar years and before, France’s immigrant population was predominantly European. Immigration, according to this view, was a political tool, a response to economic and demographic needs.99 According to the FN’s Dossier immigration, industrial development in the first half of the twentieth century made the call for foreign workers inevitable. Moreover, the FN claims that European workers in France – mainly Belgian, Italian, Spanish and Polish – found integration and naturalisation easy. It was in this period, Le Gallou argues, that the ‘official discourse’ on immigration fully emerged, playing on France’s traditional ability to welcome and assimilate new immigrants. As characterised by Le Gallou, this ‘official’ view perceived France to be a natural mixture of Celtic, Germanic and Roman peoples in the Middle Ages, and of diverse European nationalities – Italians, Belgians and Poles, among others – in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, when economic factors were dominant in determining patterns of immigration.100 The FN’s analysis of the early history of immigration claims that Socialist spokesmen implied, mistakenly, that the North African community in France was just as open to assimilation as the European population. Le Gallou argues that the PS document, Vivre ensemble, was wrong not only to assert that there was a strong Arab presence in France in the first years of the century, but also inaccurate in identifying a strong North African element in the French army. Moreover, Le Gallou maintains that this tactic of ‘historical manipulation’ is intentional: in effect, the ‘cosmopolitan’ Socialists attempting to prove the permanent presence of Arabs in modern France by recourse to misleading figures. Le Gallou states that even in 1946 there were only 40,000 North Africans in the total immigrant population of 1,743,000, inferring that it would be false to claim there were even more Arabs in France forty years earlier. Mégret likewise is fully representative of the FN’s viewpoint when he argues that early European immigration was different from the later Third World influx because these ‘fellow’ Europeans were close to French culture and language, and wanted to assimilate.101 The

144 ‘Threats’ to the nation fact that Europeans share France’s predominant religion – Christianity, but more specifically, Catholicism – has also been utilised as a key explanatory factor in the relatively painless assimilation process undergone by European immigrants.102 In this context, the FN would agree that immigration – European immigration alone – is, and has been, a ‘chance for France’ (to coin Stasi’s celebrated phrase). It is true, for example, that EU nationals have always escaped the venomous FN rhetoric reserved for non-European immigrants; in line with the party’s discourse on Europe, community residents have in fact been viewed as ‘honorary Frenchmen’.103 Mégret maintains that the ‘Jacobin’ notion of a France ‘proud of welcoming immigrants’ was a realistic one in the pre-war era but says that it is now outdated: ‘Assimilation is now impossible...for Algerians it is treason, if less so for Moroccans and Tunisians...they want to stay loyal to their difference and stay themselves’. This argument is amplified by the FN paper, Perspectives pour l’Europe des patries, which affirms that the cultural chasm separating France and North Africa make assimilation – in the words of Mégret, ‘the full transformation of immigrants into Frenchmen, with (France’s) national identity preserved’ – unrealistic.104 The journal denied the idea of an open, welcoming geographical space: Third World immigration is the prime determining factor of the second half of the twentieth century...(It) menaces our European identity, that is to say our culture, ways of life, and in a word, our civilisation...the left...just accepts the inevitability of a multi-racial Europe. For our part, we believe that Europe is not just an open void for other peoples. Europe is a territory, but also a history, a culture, a tradition.105 Mégret is just as convinced of the impracticality of Muslim assimilation: ‘The greater the cultural distance (between the country of emigration and the population of welcome) the less is the number of immigrants susceptible to assimilation’.106 Following on from this, the FN is virulent in its condemnation of what it sees as the lax, ill-intentioned immigration policies of successive Fifth Republic governments; it is in this sense that the party portrays itself as ‘anti-immigration’ rather than ‘anti-immigrant’. The FN draws particular attention to the expansion of the North African immigrant community in France. Quoting census statistics for 1962 and 1982, Stirbois and Jalkh highlighted the quantitative progression. Their figures show that in the twenty-year period after 1962, the Algerian population in France increased from 350,481 to 795,920; the immigrant Moroccan community expanded from 33,320 to 431,120; and France’s

‘Threats’ to the nation 145 Tunisian population grew from 26,569 to 189,400. Official figures are also cited by the FN to show that between 1975 and 1982, the Black African population in France almost doubled to 138,080, the Turkish contingent more than doubled in size to 144,531, and the Asian community almost trebled to 293,780.107 Although Le Gallou is aware of the problems caused by what he terms the post1975 ‘planetary wave’ – which for him comprised immigration from sub-Saharan Black Africa and South East Asia – it is the North African community in France which is singled out for specific attention. Unlike earlier European waves – which he argues were generally temporary, short term and related to specific economic requirements – this bout of immigration, it is argued, has been permanent, in the sense that when the economic rationale for migration had disappeared, the immigrants have not returned home; instead, Le Gallou contends, they have capitalised on the ‘better way of life’ found in France, and both the immigrant workers and their governments have seen advantages in an ongoing presence in France. It is claimed, secondly, that ‘family regroupment’ has become a central characteristic of this immigration. For Le Gallou, immigrant workers – brought over in the main for sound economic reasons – have been devoid of the ‘will to return’, and thus he argues, it has been natural for estranged wives and children to be attracted by an ‘improved material and psychological wellbeing’ in France.108 According to this view, the most significant feature of North African immigration is individuals’ refusal to entertain any notion of either ‘return’ or ‘assimilation’. While economic factors have made return an unappealing option, full assimilation for North African Muslims remains not only unnatural but morally dangerous, with the acquisition of French nationality generally viewed as symbolic of renouncement, cowardice and treason.109 It is here that the essence of the FN argument, and its challenge to the Socialist establishment, is apparent. It is not so much that immigration has increased, but that it has changed. France’s immigrants are now, predominantly, North African – from countries that were once French, or under French tutelage – and Muslim. It is this new cultural dimension to immigration that provides one of the most important contexts for the FN’s view of immigration as a threat to national identity. Islam: the political and religious impetus behind contemporary immigration The FN has reinforced its anti-immigration philosophy with a persistent and assiduous appraisal of Islam. The fundamental view is that Islam is an alien culture and religion. Bridget Bardot, one of the FN’s most famous supporters, appeared to sum up the FN

146 ‘Threats’ to the nation position when she stated: ‘The France of my childhood and my education is dead. I have the sense of being an emigré in my own country, which has become a foreign territory. Islam must respect France’.110 There are at least two dimensions to the FN’s critique of Islam. In the broad, external context, the party claims that it is a conquering religion, whose expansionist force threatens the Christian identity of the West; while in the internal and domestic sphere, the FN views Islam as a potent agency of social disorder, incompatible with the chief features of French society.111 As we have already seen, the FN argues that the new Islamic profile of post-war immigration has undermined the validity of the traditional notion of France as a ‘country of welcome’. The accompanying belief is that the ethos of Islam, together with the day to day reality of Muslim life, is hard for French society to accommodate. Thus, the FN highlights what it interprets as the ideology and custom of Islam, as prescribed by the Koran. Following on from the idea that Muslims’ distinctive culture and mentality distinguishes them from previous European immigrants, the notion of Muslim ‘integrism’ is given particular attention. This rather pejorative term is employed to capture the essence of strict, fundamentalist Islam which, for Le Gallou, has a special appeal for ‘the uprooted and destitute (immigrant) population of France’.112 The religious dimension to North African immigration has always had significance for the FN. Whereas the flow of European migrants into France has been condoned on account of cultural proximity, FN theorists have argued that Islam is an intrinsically provocative religion – they cite, for example, the celebrated Muslim prayer rally at the Place de la République – bent on disrupting ‘the fundamentals of...political organisation’, and destroying Western, Christian society. The central concept here is the Muslim notion of ‘Jihad’ or ‘Holy War’. The FN believes that Muslim immigrants in France, and the West in general, act not just as short-term invitees, but agents of Islam with a powerful mission to combat ‘infidels’. Le Pen has claimed that Muslim immigrants are not only promoting Islam in France, but serving Islam versus France. It is clear, however, that the FN makes use of a specific understanding of ‘Jihad’. In literal terms, the Arabic word means ‘persuasion’ and ‘the utmost effort’, but quite predictably, Le Pen’s party has exaggerated the connotations of the term for political ends, exploiting in particular the rhetoric of Islam’s terrorist fringe. Nevertheless, the idea of ‘Jihad’ epitomises what the party sees as the demographic, political and military danger of Islam.113 Pierre Vial’s analysis of the Muslim threat details the double-sided goal of ‘Jihad’: to extend Islam to all the universe, and to homogenise Islamic culture, so aiding

‘Threats’ to the nation 147 the Muslim conquest of France. He argues not only that the Koran justifies Holy War ‘until the final victory of Islam’, but that Mohammed’s life bears witness in Muslim eyes to the validity of armed struggle. As Le Gallou notes in another reference to the Muslim terrorist minority: ‘Their disregard for international law (has been) a constant factor of political instability’.114 Cabantous argues that the notion and practice of tolerance completely foreign to Islam. For Muslims, is he argues, it is an abdication of responsibility to respect another religion. Likewise, in the preface to the Identité dossier, ‘The awakening of Islam’, it is argued that Islam as a religion can be tolerant, but only when it is in a position of force; otherwise, in periods of expansion, it is aggressive and intolerant.115 To emphasise this lack of tolerance, it has been pointed out by several FN writers that Islam has always divided the world into two types of territory: land where Muslim law reigns, and land where people have yet to submit to Islam. For his part, Le Gallou declares: ‘For (the integrists) war has already started, and the West fired the first shot in dissolving their morals and way of life, putting the Muslim identity at stake’.116 In trying to stress the threatening nature of Koranic verse, Cabantous cites the apocalyptic words of the Lebanese Shi’ite leader, Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah: ‘We are planning to establish an Islamic Republic in France where we have four million Muslims...I demand an Islamic Republic not only in Lebanon, but all over the world’. Fouad Ali Saleh, the Tunisian-born terrorist who acquired French nationality, is also quoted extensively by party writers. Vial quotes Saleh, the author of a Le Monde article entitled, ‘Death to the West’, in graphic terms: ‘You will be punished without pity until the extermination of the last white from the planet. You will be without peace’.117 This vividly-expressed antipathy supplies the FN with an emotive base on which to structure its critique of the enemy: Islam. Le Gallou concludes that ‘Jihad’ is a ‘pillar of Islam’, a device that combines the principles of conversion and defence in the internal sphere. Furthermore, the FN views the recent renaissance of Muslim fundamentalism in Algeria as explicit evidence of Islamic expansionism and of the threat of ‘pan-Islam’ and ‘re-Islamisation’.118 Extremely conscious of the Islamic threat – ‘only an hour away from Provence’ in its Algerian guise119 – FN leaders have warned against the possibility of internalised religious warfare. Invoking the example of la Fronde, Le Pen has claimed that the opposition of any two religious beliefs, in a domestic context, risks division and ‘the break-up of nation and state’. Le Pen has written: ‘Richelieu then Louis XIV...were to reduce, in an often cruel manner, the antagonisms that resulted from our wars of religion. We do not have the right to wait a century to act’.120 Here the FN has

148 ‘Threats’ to the nation emphasised the historical tension between Islam and Christianity for contemporary purposes, stressing that the presence of Muslim immigrants in France threatens to prolong what it sees as an almost perpetual inter-religious feud. The FN’s attempt to depict Islam and Christianity as mutually hostile blocs is a tactic designed to bring depth and historical weight to its anti-immigration stance. Such a strategy is intended to complement the scientific justification of exclusion that we considered earlier; it is clear that the party wants both science and history on its side in the battle over the composition of the nation. Le Gallou is again highly representative of the general FN position in his essay, ‘The Menace is to the South’. Here he maintains that between 711 and 1492 there was almost ‘endless conflict’ between Islam and Christianity. He traces this hostility back to Spanish/Turk and Habsburg/Ottoman rivalry, and concludes: ‘It is wise to learn the lessons of pacific coexistence is possible between Muslim and Christian worlds’.121 Mégret, in his eulogy of the European identity, claims likewise that from the Middle Ages through to the nineteenth century, force has been used continually by Europe against the Islamic world – what he calls ‘crystallisation in the face of the foreigner’. It is in this area of FN analysis, however, that an element of ambiguity is revealed: is it France, Europe, the West or Christianity that is threatened by Islam? The best that can be said is that the FN utilises these related, overlapping, yet distinct terms in a casual and convenient manner.122 Although Le Gallou has admitted that, at times, France has found it convenient to forge alliances with Arab and Islamic powers, it is certain that the FN views Christian– Muslim opposition as a constant in world history. Indeed, it appears that Le Gallou and Mégret are telling only half the story when they put a finishing date on this interreligious warfare, for the crux of FN belief is that conflict has never actually ceased.123 Onlookers might suggest that the Muslim threat had been finally countered by the eighteenth century, and Le Pen might at times label modern-day Islam ‘unarmed’, but the nature of the FN position is captured best by Vial: ‘Has the spirit of reconquest returned?’124 On the surface, the FN argument is a simple one: post-war North African immigration is radically different from earlier waves because of its Islamic complexion; this unfamiliar presence, together with the distinct Muslim mentality, has made coexistence impossible; therefore, Islamic immigrants unwilling to integrate into French society should be expelled. It is clear that the raison d’être behind FN analysis of Islam is this need to legitimate exclusion; this in turn helps to explain why the FN so often exaggerates and overplays the Muslim threat. However, although the termination of Islamic immigration and the progressive return of Muslim immigrants remains the

‘Threats’ to the nation 149 focal-point of the FN’s diagnosis, other recommendations have emerged out of party writings on Islam’s relationship with the West – and France in particular. On a global scale, it has been argued that Islam represents a political bloc just like the West and the East and, although the underlying sentiment is that the formation of power blocs is a dangerous international trend, Le Gallou argues that the West should rethink its defence structure. He claims that the Western powers should not yet disarm, even though East–West Cold War rivalry is over. Rather, the view is that they should maintain a robust defence – in the face, this time, of ‘revolutionary’ Islam.125 Likewise, Le Gallou asserts that France needs to improve its frontier control. He talks about ‘the peaceful invasion of nations via national boundaries’, and actually concludes that the guarding of frontiers is as much a vital means of defence as a global strategy centring on the deployment of conventional or nuclear forces.126 In assessing the incompatibility of Islam with the West in international terms, the FN has also argued that a change in North–South commercial arrangements would encourage self-sufficiency and stability – in the Islamic countries as much as in other southern-hemisphere nations. Discerning the problem here as conflict rather than incompatibility per se, Le Gallou implies that economic and financial aid would ease international tension and negate much of the economic rationale that lies behind Islamic immigration to the West.127 In a similar vein, it has been argued by the FN that France should accord priority political and economic advantage to regimes that are fighting against fundamentalist Islam at home or abroad. Although some more neutral observers have suggested that Franco–Islamic relations, and prospects for immigrant integration, would benefit from a ‘cultural interchange’, the general view promoted by FN writers is that Islam is a byword – even a synonym – for terrorism, and thus, must be fought and challenged in every conceivable domain.128 FN analysis emphasises the armed, violent and terroristic dimension to Islamic immigration, but the ‘invasion’ is also sometimes interpreted as a peaceful, pacific and unarmed incursion. Here, the stress is placed on Islam’s social and cultural incompatibility with the West in general – and France in particular. The FN naturally argues that this discord stems at root from the contrast in mentalities. Marie-France Stirbois has highlighted what she sees as the general tension: With each day, Islam inserts itself gradually in our lives, our laws our customs. Soon...Islam will occupy our churches in order to pray to the Prophet. Some months ago in Sudan, the Bishop of Khartoum was assassinated in the name of Islam. In Algeria, the partisans of Islamicisation march in the streets and do not

150 ‘Threats’ to the nation hesitate to attack the courts that want to uphold the lay law. In Egypt...(they) wear the veil, provocative affirmation of their identity.129 It is in other words in the mechanics of daily life that the Islamic threat and Franco– Muslim incompatibility are most vividly apparent. Throughout its examination of France and Islam as ‘two incompatible cultures’, the FN has sought to counter what it sees as the media-inspired view that full integration is a painless and uncomplicated process. Rather, the party has attempted to exploit the vision of the future offered by Jean-Pierre Hollender, author of the political novel, 2004: tous musulmans. In essence, Cabantous argues that Hollender’s depiction of the ‘evil will’ of Allah – ‘a justification for everything’ – is far more realistic than the media’s portrayal of Islam as an accommodating and harmonious socio-religious force.130 The importance attached by the FN to the notion – and what it sees as the reality – of Franco–Muslim incompatibility can best be gleaned from the numerous studies of the subject produced by FN writers. Not only was the Cabantous enquiry into the relationship labelled, ‘Two Incompatible Cultures’, but Le Gallou’s IFN presentation was entitled ‘Islam and Frenchness (francité): Two Incompatible Cultures’.131 Each and every FN study of Islam has focused upon the religion’s all-pervading nature as the prime factor behind its incompatibility with the West. According to the party, Islam’s omnipresence is underlined by its belief that society should submit to a leader with both political and religious authority. Le Gallou has illuminated this ‘pervasive’ nature of Islam extensively; he has spoken of Islam as a huge bloc – ‘from which nothing is excluded’ – dominating religious, judicial and social spheres at the instigation of the Koran, unwilling and unable to separate the temporal from the spiritual plane. Utilising biblical imagery and language, the same writer has claimed that Islam does not know the difference between the ‘sphere of God’ and the ‘sphere of Caesar’.132 In his IFN lecture, Le Gallou amplified this analysis. He said that although Christianity was an essential part of the French identity, the temporal/spiritual divide was ‘a fundamental element of French institutions’: the product, in short, of a long historical struggle between the ‘temporal’ French monarchy and the ‘spiritual’ Papacy.133 Following on from this, Cabantous argues that at heart Islam ignores the European conception of the state – based on tolerance and individual rights – and thus, that Muslim immigration cannot but herald a major clash of belief. Identité is blunt in its prognosis: Islam is not just another religion. It differs on many points from Christianity, which distinguishes the temporal from the spiritual and accommodates itself

‘Threats’ to the nation 151 easily with the political authorities, opening a wide expanse of liberty...Islam’s private and public spheres originate in the religious domain. Of a totalitarian essence, it is thereby perfectly incompatible with European culture.134 In line with this, FN writers have noted the many international examples of troubled Muslim/Christian coexistence in an attempt to illustrate the fundamental dichotomy at the centre of the relationship. Thus, a dozen and more countries and situations are cited by party writers as representative of this inter-religious tension: Lebanon, the former USSR (Azeris and Armenians), Bulgaria (with its minority Turkish population), the former Yugoslavia and Kosova (Muslims and Serbs), Egypt, Sudan, Spain (throughout its modern history), Nigeria, the USA, Gabon, Cameroon, the Philippines, Zaire, Mali and Turkey; not to mention India, Ireland, Cyprus and Burundi (where, the FN claims, there are other types of intra-religious tension).135 This blurring of civil and religious spheres, it is argued, is not only a key feature of Islam but a cause of much Franco–Muslim tension. This friction is exemplified by what are seen as conflicting legal mentalities. Le Pen illustrates this; citing two specific – cases the Ayotollah’s death threat to Salman Rushdie and a Muslim family murder feud in France – the FN leader argues that Islam’s distinct legal mentality is entirely contrary to that of the West. In the case of the Ayotollah’s death threat, Le Pen asserts that Khomeini had no legal right to put Rushdie under penalty of death. The party president maintains that the Ayotollah’s action was ‘a very vulgar act of criminal tyranny’, arguing that Iran and Khomeini ‘should be put into quarantine because of their lack of respect for the rules of the international game’.136 Le Pen claims that the family killings – a Muslim youth killed his sister for dating a non-Muslim man, and then killed his brother and himself – were ‘tragic in the classic sense of the term’ and the product of Islam’s presence in an ‘unfamiliar civilisation’.137 In the attempt to impose Islamic justice, this episode exposed what Le Pen views as the chasm that separates the legal norms of Islam and the West. This position found an echo with the late Catholic leader Mgr Lefebvre, who also argued that Islam’s social and religious persona threatened Western legal principles. At a press conference, he proclaimed: ‘Little by little, Muslims are imposing their laws on us; Christian law cannot accord with Islamic law’.138 Cabantous expands on the difference between the two religions’ legal and moral codes. He quotes the example of a Muslim man accused of raping a 10-year-old girl in 1988. The fact that the defendant’s lawyer claimed that in Koranic law the Muslim had not committed a crime illustrates for Cabantous the distinct and incompatible legal

152 ‘Threats’ to the nation systems upheld by Islam on the one hand, and the West on the other. Cabantous argues, therefore, that violence will always be an obligation for Muslims as long as French law is imposed on them.139 Le Gallou summed up the situation as follows: ‘The application of Islam flows directly from its rules and law. It is therefore totally incompatible with French law; there is a strong contradiction between French and Islamic law’.140 In addition, FN critiques denounce what is interpreted as Islam’s endorsement of social inequalities. The view here is that the ‘liberal’ and ‘democratic’ French Republic cannot easily accommodate Muslim immigrants whose religious creed not only acknowledges, but positively encourages, inequalities in society. The analysis of Cabantous condemns the manner in which Islam ‘humiliates and enchains’ women. Illustrating his argument with examples, he asserts that the Koran was created by men for men. Although the Muslim view is that ‘functional differentiation’ between the sexes is natural, Cabantous maintains that the blatant ‘superiority’ and ‘pre-eminence’ of men in Islamic society is based on both divine and economic factors.141 For Le Gallou, the unequal male–female relationship prescribed by the Koran is symptomatic of Islam’s general ethos. He has argued that under Islam Muslims not only have more rights than non-Muslims, but men have more rights than women. Furthermore, as Cabantous proclaims: ‘The least that one can say is that the conception of relations between men and women, strongly anchored in morality, has little in common with the values and traditions of our society or our civil code’.142 Cabantous’ study of the legal dimension to Franco–Muslim incompatibility emphasises two key elements of FN doctrine in this area. First, in arguing that France’s republican principles apply to all individuals and all communities within society – Muslim immigrants included – he highlights the FN’s republicanism. It is, in effect, the argument that France’s ‘One and Indivisible’ Republic does not distinguish between either people or groups, and thus, that in this case, Muslims cannot expect to be immune from French law. Second, the essay underlines the contradictory nature of FN theory. It is convenient for party theorists to stress the equitable nature of the French Republic in the legal context, yet one of the most fundamental notions at the heart of party doctrine – ‘national preference’ – thrives on the idea of inequality in the sphere of French/immigrant rights, particularly where welfare payments and social benefits are concerned.143 However, in condemning the prejudices and inequalities inherent in Islam – including male superiority, female subservience, Muslims’ legal ethics, and slavery – the FN does not appear to acknowledge the fact that the ideal of inequality is also central, if not pivotal, to its own political philosophy. It would of course be entirely legitimate

‘Threats’ to the nation 153 for the FN to identify, and condemn, Islam’s belief in hierarchy and inequality if, at the same time, it acknowledged, and admitted to, its own attachment to the same concepts. This, however, it fails to do. The fact, in addition, that party theorists momentarily embrace the ‘rights of man’ philosophy – so often pilloried by the FN – in an attempt to prove that ‘egalitarian’ France is unable to accommodate ‘unegalitarian’ Islam only serves to highlight the party’s pragmatic attitudes.144 Another major irony can be located within the FN’s critique of Islam. In its condemnation of Islam’s conception of a ‘subservient’ and ‘unequal’ female sex, the party appears to contradict its own strongly-held assessment of women’s social role. As we noted earlier, FN leaders look upon women primarily as agents of population expansion. The party’s policy programme reflects this idea in the sense that a maternal income is prescribed in an attempt to keep the mother ‘in the home’.145 It would seem slightly hypocritical to say the least for FN writers to castigate Islam on account of its treatment of women, when Le Pen and his party hold not unsimilar views. Other aspects of Islamic law are highlighted by party theorists. First, there is the view advanced by Cabantous – that the Koran discourages what is termed ‘social ascension’. Islam is reproached for its ‘inertia’ and ‘fatalism’. Cabantous argues that the ethos of Islam is anathema to that of Western society which, he infers, rests on notions of class mobility and social interchange.146 Second, the concept of nationality put forward by Islam is in sharp conflict with that upheld by Western democratic societies. As we noted earlier, for Muslims nationality is generally a function of religion rather than national boundaries, and as Jean-Pierre Péroncel-Hugoz, Le Monde’s Islamic specialist, has confirmed, Muslim immigrants are generally discouraged from changing nationality. He cites an influential book written by the Algerian, Mohammed Ben Abdelkrim El Djazaïri, Changing Nationality: Apostasy and Treason, which claims that naturalisation is akin to treason. In a related sense, FN leaders have argued that for those North African Muslims who have already become French, naturalisation appears to signify nothing more than a bureaucratic device designed to conceal true motives and loyalties.147 The FN’s historical analysis conjures up what is viewed as a parallel scenario. In his analysis of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Spain, ‘The Failure of Assimilation: The Moriscos’, Robert Blanc highlights the case of the Morisco (Islamic) community. Heralding it as a ‘historical example to meditate upon’, Blanc argues that the problems posed by the Moriscos in Spain were not dissimilar to those that have been provoked by the North African population in contemporary France. According to Blanc,

154 ‘Threats’ to the nation assimilation failed because the Moriscos guarded their culture and religion fiercely: ‘Resistance to assimilation was based on belief in the final victory of in Europe today, attachment was to the country of origin: Islam’.148 Quite predictably, the resonance of the illustration comes, for the FN, in the fact that the Spanish king, Philip II (1578–1621), instigated a policy of expulsion in 1609. Thus, with the Spanish example in mind, the FN argues in dogmatic fashion that the best approach to France’s ‘unassimable’ Muslim community also revolves around exclusion and expulsion. The FN, therefore, is preoccupied with what it sees as the menace of Islam, leading it at times to exaggerate, overplay and misunderstand the Islamic threat. To fully understand the FN’s critique of immigration, however, it is also necessary to examine the conditioning effect of the Algerian War, the notion of Algérie française, and the aftermath of the decolonisation crisis of the 1950s and 1960s. The argument here is that an underlying bitterness and antipathy, stemming from the colonial conflict in Algeria, has heavily influenced the FN’s view of immigration as a threat to the nation. At the time, the episode spawned many important ideas and movements on the extreme, nationalist right, and, in fundamental terms the granting of independence to Algeria by de Gaulle was viewed as a gross betrayal of national integrity and grandeur. More specifically, the FN is now home to many Algérie française veterans – including Le Pen – and, as we have seen, it is also home to a special organisation for army veterans – a body which still exploits the Algerian experience for purposes of political propaganda. It is clear that support for Le Pen and the FN among ‘pieds noirs’ and former OAS (Organisation de l’Armée Secrète) officials is particularly strong.149 For FN leaders, Algeria was an integral part of the French nation – and should be still. This basic assumption, to be found at the heart of party discourse, makes the issue of Algeria one of vital importance for Le Pen and his party. The FN’s unremitting aversion to any commemoration of Algerian independence is a further indication that the scars of war do remain. In 1990, a full-page advert in a party newsletter referred, dismissively, to the Evian Accords of March 1962 which officially sealed Algerian autonomy. It proclaimed: ‘No to the Celebration of 19 March 1962’. The party’s hostility to celebrating the independence agreement centred on five key points. The statement read: To celebrate on 19 March the memory of soldiers who died in the service of France in North Africa would be harmful and injurious. Imposed by the antinational lobbies, the choice of this unacceptable because it is:

‘Threats’ to the nation 155

SHAMEFUL: celebrating 19 March 1962 would tend to imply that it was a waste for French soldiers to sacrifice their lives defending the integrity of the French nation.

IMMORAL: 19 March 1962 marks the French government’s betrayal of thousands of people, the harkis in particular, who sacrificed their life for their attachment to France. HARMFUL: the choice of this date confirms, whether one likes it or not, the defeat of the law before the forces of subversion, which never hesitate to utilise assassination and blind terrorism to impose their will.

HUMILIATING: 19 March recalls the start of a process of abandon which has had catastrophic moral and material consequences for France, the French of Algeria and French Muslims. DANGEROUS: this choice divides the people of France, in particular ex-soldiers, at a moment when France needs her unity to combat the difficulties of the hour and to safeguard her national identity... With the Front National, say NO to the celebration of 19 March 1962!150

In graphic terms, this advert – which doubled as a petition form – illustrated the party’s attitude towards the Algerian War. For us, it is doubly significant because it seems to reveal the essence of FN thinking; the party’s view of the conflict and its perspective on contemporary Islamic immigration do appear to be linked. The last lines spell out the FN position clearly: the French national identity is in peril and it is unhelpful for France to be reminded of the debâcle of Algerian independence when its own national survival is at stake. Immigration: contemporary perspectives In 1997 the FN’s sole parliamentary deputy, Jean-Marie Le Chevallier, claimed that France as a country was ‘too hospitable’ and that recent government legislation – in particular the Pasqua-Debré law – did not equip the country with sufficient barriers against future immigration. In the same year the FN talked about the ‘suicidal politics’ of the Socialists. The reality of the situation is that present-day immigration is viewed by the FN as not only excessive, but alien. The party’s strict brand of defensive nationalism makes it particularly sensitive to what it views as threats to France. All foreign elements – ‘threatening’ precisely because of their foreign, non-French nature – are therefore treated with caution and suspicion. In one FN document France is

156 ‘Threats’ to the nation described as ‘a disintegrating body’, facing dissolution and dislocation on account of the ‘new culture’ implanted in France. This reveals the FN’s true perspective on immigration and the country’s new immigrant community. In one message to FN members Le Pen made reference to Muslim chants (‘Holy War’ and ‘Death to the West’) recently heard in Paris. He commented: ‘That is enough of French disintegration...we are resolved to change the climate, to restore our country in moral grandeur, purity and secular pride. Urgent work needs doing’.151 The FN holds that all the individual has and loves is conditioned by the nation. In viewing the nation as superior to the individual, the party argues ‘for all that is beneficial to the nation, against all that is harmful to it’. In these terms, immigration is viewed as a serious danger for France. Ever since its formation, the FN has emphasised the vigilance required to defend France from extra-European immigration in particular.152 The idea of ‘legitimate defence’ against foreign, external elements within France and Europe is an integral part of FN doctrine. In a letter sent by Le Pen to President Mitterrand, this sentiment was emphasised: ‘Practically alone, it (the FN) denounces and fights the continual growth of immigration that poses a mortal threat for our nation and our people – immigration that successive governments have neither wanted nor been able to control or reduce’. As far back as 1979, Le Pen was emphasising the potential effects of large-scale immigration. In an interview published in La Droite aujourd’hui, Le Pen stated: ‘Immigration appears to us at the end of the twentieth century as one of the considerable dangers with which we are faced, not only France but the countries of Europe and the West’.153 Unsurprisingly, immigration is identified as another negative symptom of decadence. In 1986 Le Pen argued that the election of a new president was vital because, as he said: ‘France is engaged in a swift and urgent war versus the mortal elements of decadence like immigration....If they are not resolved, these will weigh heavily in an irreversible manner on the future of France’. This passage reveals a vocabulary of combat and confrontation. The reference to a ‘swift and urgent war’ is indicative of the military metaphor. The FN has also labelled the post-war immigrant influx ‘an invasion’.154 In a television interview Le Pen attempted to justify his evocative, populist vocabulary: ‘How else can you describe...(what is) happening to our country, the construction of real “foreign” towns impermeable to authority, tax, police...and this invasion – I do not know how to call it otherwise – does not cease to expand’.155 The FN has gone on to state: We should not be deceived. It is the existence of the French people that is at stake. It was not necessary to mobilise France against Germany in 1914 and 1940 if today we are going to tolerate an invasion – this time peaceful – of our national territory.

‘Threats’ to the nation 157 There is also talk of an ‘occupation’. This term – conjuring up memories of 1940 and the Fall of France – is often used to describe the long-term effect of what the FN regards as the recent mass immigrant inflow. At times also, this inflow has been interpreted as an ‘armed’, ‘military’ occupation.156 The front cover of National hebdo recently pictured a Muslim prayer rally at the Place de la République. The caption read: ‘They are at home here!’ Inside the paper, the report on the event stated in exaggerated fashion: ‘14 million Muslims occupy our is as good as an army of occupation’.157 The feeling that immigrants are the ‘masters of this country’ remains an essential part of FN ideology. The threat is perceived in numerous domains: economic, demographic, social, political, philosophical, spiritual and military. In particular, party leaders are scathing in their condemnation of the ‘no-go’ inner-city areas – areas which, the FN claims, are dominated by immigrants and virtually immune to French law; Mégret calls these areas, ‘zones of non-law’, and Le Gallou describes them as ‘foreign enclaves’. Here, FN writers point to places like la Goutte d’or and la Courneuve in Paris, and paint a picture of a lawless, anarchic land. Once more they play on France’s republican heritage. According to Le Gallou: ‘The state must not permit this situation: the Republic is indivisible, French law must apply to the whole of its territory’.158 For the FN, a threat to national sovereignty is viewed as a threat to the nation. A link is also established between sovereignty and security: the State must have discretionary powers vis-à-vis the foreigner if the security of the nation is to be assured. Le Gallou argues that foreigners, by their very nature, pose a threat to the French nation. He claims that the principle of national sovereignty means that the state has an obligation to either legitimate foreigners’ presence in France or forbid it. Le Gallou writes: ‘The State must control its frontiers and assure itself of the loyalty of foreigners staying in France....Circumspection towards foreigners is not a mark of chauvinism or of xenophobia. It implies no more than prudence’. This idea has been a constant pillar of FN discourse.159 It is clear also that foreigners are viewed as a liability rather than an asset. Accompanying this view is the notion that true social, economic and political equilibrium is jeopardised by a mass immigrant population. The concept of equilibrium is of prime importance here. According to party theorists ‘national equilibrium’ is endangered by immigration, because foreigners want rights, with no duties, and because they seek an improved wellbeing in France without ‘paying their dues’ – in a literal and metaphorical sense. The nation’s immigrant population is therefore viewed by the FN as a net liability. The Socialist governments of the 1980s and 1990s are castigated in turn for increasing the ‘privileges’ accorded to foreigners, without at the same time

158 ‘Threats’ to the nation expanding their social and civic duties. The headline accompanying a National hebdo article on this subject is reflective of the FN’s general instincts: ‘ALL RIGHTS AND NO DUTIES’.160 ‘Insécurité’ and ‘Libanisation’ Insecurity, which in the FN lexicon equates to the fear and social unease engendered by a ‘mass’ foreign population, can be viewed as an important and emotive element of the party’s discourse on modern immigration. As the FN states in categorical terms: ‘The link between immigration and insecurity is incontestable’. In recent years, the term has evolved into a catch-all concept and propaganda tool that is designed to play on people’s fears and uncertainties in changing times. In line with the hard core of FN doctrine, party leaders identify the Mitterrand era as the harbinger of an important social mutation; the view is that the post-1981 period gave rise to an array of harmful socio-economic developments: juvenile delinquency, street crime, unemployment, racial crime, and – in a specific context that is often exploited by party leaders – an atmosphere of tension and terror on the Paris Metro.161 The FN argues that the contribution of immigrants to urban insecurity is substantial and its convictions on the issue are often articulated in aggressive, unconstructive and exaggerated terms. According to the Dossier immigration, ‘the expansion of insecurity finds its root cause, to a large extent, in the growing extra-European population present in France’. Official figures cited by Stirbois and Jalkh show, for example, that immigrant crime increased by 8.99 per cent in one twelve-month period (1982–3) and also that the immigrant prison population in France expanded from 17.6 per cent in 1978 to 26.1 per cent in 1984. Although the authors of the dossier are rigorous in their references and sources for immigrant crime figures, the party is still at liberty to pick and choose its figures in line with the conclusions it desires.162 Even if the percentages are correct, it is another matter entirely to forge, as the party does, a solid link between bare statistics and the almost psychological sensation of insecurity. It is in this sense that Le Pen’s manipulation of myth and emotion is evident. From nothing more than a set of complex official statistics, the FN leader is able to create an ambience of fear and unease. It is also certain, as Monica Charlot has suggested, that the issue of insecurity is an important electoral asset for the FN. Charlot has shown not only that FN voters attach above-average significance to the matter, but that it was a key factor on its own in the electoral ascendancy of the FN. She has argued that ‘the combination of immigration and insecurity facilitated the breakthrough of Le Pen in the big cities, starting with Paris’.163

‘Threats’ to the nation 159 Despite the fact that most channels of FN discourse structure their critiques of modern French society around the facts and figures of insecurity, it is the party’s ability to embroider the raw data that brings the issue alive. In its portrayal of the Paris Metro as the ultimate zone of urban insecurity, the FN illustrates this point superbly; the underground network is depicted as a danger zone – a den of (immigrant) thieves and brigands. National hebdo reported that drug-dealing and underground ethnic battles had provoked a strike on the railway network; it also stated that insecurity was too weak a word to describe the effects of crime on the Metro. In a similar vein, Paris l’éspoir – the news organ of the FN’s Paris section – spoke of ‘organised ethnic bands, living only for hyper-violence’.164 The FN’s obsession with immigrant crime is reflected in the pages of National hebdo. In addition to the usually explosive headline stories and the dramatic photography, the party’s national newspaper has also run a regular feature called ‘Douce France’ (literally, ‘Soft France’), which chronicled all immigrant-inspired crime and the ‘lax’ French justice that accompanied it. One very typical column reported on instances of drug-trafficking, torture, fraud and rape. This feature served as a weekly reminder of, and update on, insecurity; in FN eyes it showed that its anti-immigration vendetta was entirely legitimate.165 We should also be aware of the broader significance of the FN’s discourse on insecurity. It can be argued, for example, that the emphasis on urban insecurity is highly reflective of the FN’s populist style. In its ‘street-level’ mode – denouncing Metro crime, youth violence and drugtrafficking – FN rhetoric hovers extremely close to what it considers to be the real anxieties of ordinary people. So, when a politically-astute Breton family told me that Le Pen’s prime political skill revolved around the ability to say out loud what most people were secretly thinking, they were only re-moulding the media view, that, ‘Le Pen says out loud what other people are saying quietly’. Inside the FN, there is also a feeling that Le Pen’s populist touch is his great strength; Eric Iorio, a party activist, told me that that the predominant factor in the emergence of the FN had been its ability to focus on, and exploit, everyday themes. For Iorio, the role of immigrants in creating insecurity was indisputable. He said: ‘You can see it and you can touch it’.166 Ultimately, the FN’s discourse on immigration raises the spectre of a France riven by civil war. Le Pen has announced: ‘When we speak of civil war, we speak in all seriousness’. The FN’s ability to dramatise its discourse is brilliantly illustrated in this sphere. The emotive term ‘Libanisation’ (literally, ‘Lebanon-isation’) is now

160 ‘Threats’ to the nation employed to convey the gravity of France’s plight: this Lebanon analogy – France as the ‘new Lebanon’ – implies that France is faction-ridden and at war with itself. Here a number of concerns are crystallised: the permanence of conflict between Islam and the West; the social incompatibility of Christians and Muslims; and the significance attached to matters of sovereignty and security. There is also the everpresent military metaphor. As Le Gallou and Jalkh have argued: ‘If we do not take guard, it is not the repetition of the Battle of Poitiers (732) that we risk tomorrow, but (battles) in Paris, Lille, Lyon, Marseille, Strasbourg. France would become another Lebanon’. Taking a different slant on the issue, La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1995 prophesied: ‘The Algerian war, soon in France?’167 The FN’s use of the phrase ‘Libanisation’ signifies its fears for France. The party rejects the notion of France as a ‘welcoming’ country – open to racial fusion – and instead depicts a nation of minorities as a nation where civil conflict and domestic unrest will always rage. After the murder of FN activist François Combier in Avignon, Thibaut de la Tocnaye – a party spokesman – claimed that the France/Lebanon analogy was extremely apt: Avignon, the capital of ‘suffering France’, had suffered just like the ‘martyred’ Beruit; the ‘real’ France had to show determination in adversity just like the Christians in Lebanon; and in both France and Lebanon the mosque had been the centre of propaganda and Islamic intolerance. Jean-Pierre Reveau, a party activist in Lyon, has also reinforced the Lebanon imagery: ‘The population of Lyon finds itself in a situation just like that of Lebanon. There are zones forbidden to the police....For my part I am in solidarity with the combat led by the people of Rhône to conserve their French identity’.168 Although the Lebanon analogy is fundamentally flawed – there is obviously a huge difference between France and Lebanon, and between their respective national histories – the FN continues to use it, if only because it indicates what could, in its view, be the long-term product of a failed pluriethnic, multi-religious society – and the party assumes that the French national mixture will eventually collapse. Le Gallou says that Lebanon was once cited as a model multi-cultural success story, but that the recent conflict between Christians and Muslims, and between Sunnis and Shi’ites, had turned it into a place of violent civil war. His warning to French leaders is this: ‘Accepting on one’s soil the installation of a foreign community is risking internal conflicts and the arbitration of a foreign power; it is renouncing civil peace and putting sovereignty at risk’. By 1998 the colourful imagery had moved on: the FN was now raising the spectre of a French ‘Intifada’.169

‘Threats’ to the nation 161 The ‘foulard’ affair and mosque-building The FN’s discourse on the Islamic veil (known as either ‘foulard’ or tchador) and on the broader subject of secularism, emerged in the late 1980s and early 1990s as a response to specific events. A nationwide controversy had erupted over the wearing of religious veils in schools, and the conviction of FN leaders was that the foulard represented a threat to the French national identity and, in particular, to secularism – he cardinal principle of French republicanism.170 The aim of this analysis is to examine the influence of the foulard episode on FN discourse and to assess how, and in what respects, the controversy helped to define the party’s attitude towards immigration. For FN leaders the foulard affair was full of important political significance. The veil was not only symbolic of the Islamic ‘colonisation’ of France – an ‘alarm bell’ warning of ‘decadence’ and impending ‘danger’ – but it was also a visible sign of what the party saw as Muslims’ ‘proclamation of their difference’. The FN’s approach was summed up by the message inscribed on its propaganda material: ‘No to the tchador, No to the invasion’.171 In party rhetoric, the headscarf worn by Muslim women – a religious obligation prescribed by the Koran – acquired various characterisations: it was ‘the flag of conquering Islam’; ‘a massive symbol of the rerootedness of the Islamic world’; ‘a provocative affirmation of identity’; and, ‘a symbol of the rejection of integration’. The FN asserted that the nationwide dispute – which centred on two Creil teenagers – was the inevitable product of North African immigration. Le Pen stressed this in the early days of the debate: French people need a referendum on the tchador issue...problems would not exist if there was not an excessive current of immigration....When you go into someone else’s home, you conform to their morals – when you are incapable of doing this, you go home. Two days later, the FN leader claimed that the affair was only ‘the tip of the iceberg’. He demanded that French people ‘open their eyes to the reality...(of) colonisation...a cultural and religious colonisation’. Mégret enlarged on the same theme, asserting that Muslims’ campaign to wear the veil was a crucial tactic and part of a process of immigrant ‘colonisation’.172 The national debate about mosques – which occurred almost simultaneously – also exposed significant features of the FN’s anti-immigration discourse. In objecting to the construction of Muslim worship centres throughout France, the FN expounded not

162 ‘Threats’ to the nation only its belief in the ‘threat’ embodied by Islam, but also its conviction that it, alone, represented the true wishes of people in the face of ‘rampant Islamisation’ (a process, it was argued, that had been condoned by the Socialist government). The polemic provoked by the mosque issue was full of imagery. The FN argument was that the traditional Christian landscape of France had been blighted and sabotaged by the appearance of Eastern, Oriental, Islamic architecture: a visible, physical sign of Islam’s ‘permanence’ in France. At the height of the affair the FN declared that, ‘permitting the foulard and the mosque is akin to admitting that France is a land of Islam, which it has never been’.173 Le Gallou’s critique of mosque-building claimed that there were more than 1000 Islamic centres in France, as against only 50 in the early 1970s; this ‘transformation’, he argued, symbolised something new and dangerous: ‘the physical and psychological possession of French soil’. For National hebdo, it was the ‘heart and identity’ of France that ‘Islamisation’, in the form of major mosque-construction projects, placed in jeopardy. Although the related foulard controversy appeared to provoke more newspaper comment, the mosque issue swiftly became as contentious, if not more so. The fact was that FN spokesmen, basing their rhetoric on both the reality of expansion in the number of mosques being built, and on the apparent increase in the role and significance of Islamic centres, were eager to exploit any threat to the nation’s ‘cultural equilibrium’, especially where ‘the immigrant colonisation’ was a factor in the equation.174 The origins of the mosque controversy lay, to a large extent, with Michel Noir, Mayor of Lyon, and Robert Vigouroux, Mayor of Marseille. Independently, the two men had both authorised high-profile mosque-construction projects in their cities. Very quickly, the FN press became a vehicle for the party’s concern: Robert Vigouroux wants to build a mosque as a symbol for the Muslims of Marseille, but he forgets the rules of democracy and the powers of a mayor....Mosques have fallen into the hands of Shi’ites and the Algerian government...they have arranged the assassination of imams and integrist demonstrations against Salman Rushdie. The rise to power of anti-national lobbies has been denounced by Le Pen because of the harm to the French identity and republican values. They are trying to break the last resistance of Western, European culture. Guilty are the Muslim fundamentalist, Daniel Youssouf, who dressed up the Virgin Mary as a Muslim;

‘Threats’ to the nation 163 Michel Noir and Robert Vigouroux, who have authorised major mosque projects in Lyon and Marseille; Bernard Kouchner, the secretary of state, who wants to regularise the situation of all people seeking refugee status....For many French people, these are insupportable claims. A new resistance is needed to stop the rise of these fantasies. The FN must amplify local is necessary to organise a tide of popular resistance.175 For the FN, mosques were not just bricks and mortar, but centres of Islamic propaganda and agencies of ‘anti-French destabilisation’. As the controversy took its course, the FN argued for a referendum on the issue, making this demand the focal-point of its anti-mosque offensive. In stark terms, the FN proclaimed: ‘No to mosques, no to the tchador’.176 Years later, in 1996, Mégret reiterated the FN’s perspective on the matter. He announced that Islam was now the second religion of France and that mosques were a symbol of colonisation and proselytism. They were, in short, a threat to the nation.177 This chapter has focused on two profoundly significant issues for the FN: demography and immigration. At root, the view of the party is that both can play a vital role in defining the nature and personality of the French nation. But the essence of FN discourse is that, at present, both the French birth-rate and immigration levels are not at, what the party would term, optimum levels: too few babies are being born, and too many non-European immigrants are entering France. Because the FN, in very crude, simplistic terms, assigns huge importance to the size and make-up of France’s population – the view is that these two indicators condition, to a very large extent, the contours of nationhood and national strength – there is clearly a particular potency, and danger, in current trends. It is natural, therefore, for Le Pen’s party to campaign in favour of the family, as a vital social unit, and against abortion, contraception and homosexuality. Similarly, the FN’s cultural offensive against immigration – against Islam, the foulard and the construction of mosques – has been as predictable as it has been concerted. The party’s exclusionist rhetoric, meantime, stands as a bridge linking the two issues; the argument is that in the interests of national cohesiveness, ‘impure’ elements – whether AIDS victims or unwelcome North African immigrants – should always be excluded.

Figure 3.1 1991, défendons nos couleurs! This image appeared on an official FN New Year greetings card in 1991. The symbolism is explicit: Tricolored France is in danger...and only a glut of French babies – pure, beautiful and blond – can rescue her from her plight. The phrase ‘Defend our Colours’ obviously relates to the tricolore background, but the words might also have a more sinister meaning.

Figure 3.2 Carte Nationale d’Identité. This is a typical FN gimmick – a mock French identity card. At first glance it looks identical to a real one, but the wording on the front makes it plain that the party leadership is making a point: ‘Socialist Internationalist Republic’, ‘This card can be obtained in six months just by asking for it’. Here we have the FN in its element, lambasting and ridiculing the immigration and nationality policy of the Socialist government of the 1980s and early 1990s.

4 Nationalism in a local context Toulon, Orange, Marignane and Vitrolles

1995, black year. (M. Ferri and R. Turc, Dans l’oeil du FN, Orange) The sea is still flowing in Toulon harbour, aeroplanes continue to land at Marignane and the antique theatre is still standing in Orange. (Le Gallou quoted in M. Soudais, Le Front National en face) Today the Front national controls three large French towns, Vitrolles, Toulon, Orange and Marignane....The vengeful extreme right, enemy of the Republic, is slowly advancing towards the conquest of power: cantonals, regionals, legislatives....A fascist as President of the Republic? Don’t laugh, everything is possible. (R. Gaïa and J. Doménech, Affreux: Le Bêtisier du FN)

In June 1995 the FN shocked the political world with its performance in the Municipal elections. Not only did it score well across the country but in three southern towns, Marignane, Orange and Toulon, it actually captured the town hall.1 The party had its first real taste of power2 and this municipal control would be personified by the three FN mayors: Daniel Simonpieri, the consensus man who embodied ‘light lepenism’, in Marignane; Jacques Bompard, the hardliner, in Orange and Jean-Marie Le Chevallier, the close personal confidante of Le Pen, in Toulon.3 By February 1997 the FN had conquered a fourth major town, Vitrolles, and at the end of a bizarre political saga,4 Catherine Mégret – the wife of Bruno – was installed as mayor. Madame Mégret was not the archetypal FN politician,5 but in her public statements she did reflect the essence of FN philosophy: ‘I am not a political woman. I seek neither power nor publicity. I would simply like to permit my husband to continue his combat. I would like to assure the renaissance of our town’.6 The Vitrolles FN also announced: ‘The difference between the Mégret team and all others is our conception of municipal

Nationalism in a local context 167 management: Serve, not serve oneself’.7 The party was putting down a marker: it claimed that it was different, and its municipal rule would also be different. Taken together, the results of June 1995 and the victory two years later in Vitrolles amounted to a political earthquake; the FN controlled four large towns, and there was now a stigma attached to each one.8 A new industry emerged simultaneously with the FN victories. A plethora of ‘anti-FN’ organisations were born: Ras l’Front, Alerte Orange, Faire face, Rassemblement des citoyens toulonnaise, Alarme citoyens and Carrefour laïque to name but a selection. By August 1997 they had come together to form l’Universite citoyenne: a retort to the FN’s Université d’été, and an association which employed a distinctive and confrontational language. It said that it represented ‘citizens’ in all four towns and talked in general terms about ‘vigilance’.9 The summer event organised by l’Université citoyenne seemed to symbolise the magnitude of the FN’s achievement; the party was now dictating the political agenda and forcing others to position themselves in relation to it. Lionel Jospin was just one mainstream politician who was having to do just this. Three months before being appointed Prime Minister, he had visited Orange. He used the opportunity to launch a blistering attack on the FN, who he accused of having no respect for ‘democratic rules’. He listed the FN’s ‘crimes’: Liberty of expression limited...association life attacked...a campaign of lies, books and newspapers forbidden in libraries. Violence perpetrated through thoughts and words, violence to intimidate, to cause fear, and to bypass all those people who meet and talk on the terrain of reason.10 Jospin’s tirade reflected the position of most mainstream politicians. There was fear and trepidation about what, before June 1995, the FN had planned to do, and what, in power, it was actually doing. In the same month as Jospin visited Vaucluse an anti-FN demonstration in Orange attempted to highlight the gulf between the values incarnated, it was alleged, by Le Pen’s party and by those usually associated with republican democracy. Banners were emblazoned with the following words: ‘Dignity’, ‘Secularism’, ‘Solidarity’, ‘Equality’, ‘Plurality’, ‘Fraternity’, ‘Citizenship’;11 the message seemed to be that, following the FN’s electoral victories, all these values were in jeopardy. During the campaigns in Marignane, Orange, Toulon and Vitrolles, the discourse of the FN had been characterised by bold, but somewhat vague, promise-making. At the national level Carl Lang stated that, in a variety of different spheres, the FN stood for

168 Nationalism in a local context ‘the defence of French people’. If the party got mayors elected they would commit themselves to a ‘war against the effects of insecurity, unemployment, immigration, fiscalism, misery and moral laxism’. This all sounded very healthy and positive, but Le Monde was unenthusiastic in its prognoses: ‘If the FN does win towns, they will become the shopwindow for partisans of “French people first” and “all-security”’.12 At the local level – in the towns that the FN was, actually, to conquer – the promises were, for the most part, bland and unspecific. Le Chevallier in Toulon said that he wanted to ‘save a town that we love and that we don’t want to see go to ruin’; Bompard in Orange declared that he was engaged to: ‘re-establish security, resolve traffic and parking problems, reduce tax pressure, and make the town more attractive’; while one of Catherine Mégret’s ‘populist slogans’, stated her desire to ‘reconcile the people of Vitrolles and to erase the atmosphere of civil war.’13 In many ways, therefore, the FN mayors-to-be advanced the usual, predictable platitudes. One noticeable feature was the emphasis given to the notion of ‘change’. Simonpieri stated: ‘Change, it is possible’; while Bompard advertised his team as, ‘The only real change’. This aspect of the election campaign was significant; the FN, again, posing as the radical alternative.14 In the aftermath of victory the main emphasis of party rhetoric was slightly different. Suddenly the mayors had to convince the electorate, particularly those people who had voted FN, that they, the elected, were trustworthy. Simonpieri, for example, proclaimed: ‘We will hold our promises’. After a short time in power, the Vitrolles council stated simply: ‘Promises held!’ For his part Jacques Bompard said that his political future depended solely on how he acted, and declared: ‘My recipe for staying mayor of Orange is to hold my promises’.15 There was, all the time, a passionate desire to reciprocate trust and to honour commitments. Although the FN councils could not deliver on everything, their emphasis on promises, and more importantly on keeping promises, adds to the impression of a party determined to act in a respectable fashion and to maintain voters’ trust. The discourse of promises was, in time, supplemented by another: one designed to emphasise the legitimacy, and also the plain and unadulterated ‘success’, of FN rule. This discourse was multi-faceted. The first objective of the FN was, seemingly, to show its decency and respectability, and to indicate, quite explicitly, that it was advancing policies of ‘common sense’, not ideology. It emphasised, for instance, its respect for democracy and proper council procedures;16 Bruno Mégret said that it was time for the FN to emerge as a ‘serious’ and ‘credible’ political force, and in his political base, Vitrolles, the municipal newsletter talked about the strong ‘republican values’ embodied by the director of the mayor’s cabinet; and, in a separate

Nationalism in a local context 169 announcement, explained that, in their behaviour, the new intake of councillors were going to set an example.17 The FN also publicised the fact that at a time when some European towns were disengaging from twinning relationships with its newly-won municipalities, others were actually signing them: Cronstadt in Russia with Toulon, and Göd in Hungary with Marignane.18 For the FN there was obvious prestige and respectability in these developments. There was also, second, a clear desire to highlight the achievements of early council initiatives. This was done unashamedly, at regular intervals, and in hyperbolic terms. It was as if FN leaders were waiting anxiously for impressive-sounding statistics to flaunt. In November 1997, for example, the party’s Paris press stated that the tax d’habitation had fallen from 14.17 per cent in 1995 to 12.42 per cent (provisionally) in 1998 and also announced that there had been a significant fall in municipal debt. It was quick to interpret this as a ‘tax revolution’ and declared, in somewhat exaggerated terms, that ‘Marignane had become a small fiscal paradise’. Similarly in February 1998 – one year on from Madame Mégret’s election victory – the claim was that in Vitrolles ‘insecurity’ had fallen by 20 per cent and that in the fiscal sphere the town council was now economising 50 million francs a year; in Toulon meantime the party was convinced that Le Chevallier had been a ‘breath of fresh air for the economy in the Var’.19 Although much of the FN’s ‘propaganda’ was innately flawed – the notion of an umbrella ‘insecurity’ figure, for instance – this kind of self-congratulatory backslapping was common. In addition, the FN councils paraded a fierce local pride and an overwhelming belief in France and the future. In Vitrolles in particular there was a mass of symbolism and sentimental rhetoric. In the immediate aftermath of victory a tricolore was unfurled by the new FN councillors to mark ‘the renaissance of the town.’ Catherine Mégret proclaimed: ‘I want to reanchor Vitrolles in its provençal identity’, and soon the town was to be formally, and symbolically, rechristened ‘Vitrolles-en-Provence’. Furthermore, Madame Mégret explained to local people why the new municipal magazine was going to be entitled Le Rocher (‘The Rock’); her view was that ‘The Rock’ – the historic landmark in ‘old Vitrolles’ – was ‘witness to the deep roots of Vitrolles...the rock is the symbol of our attachment to our region and to our country. Unaffected by changes down the centuries, it is the emblem of loyalty to our roots’. She also stated that the rock was the ‘historic heart of the town and the symbol of the re-rootedness desired by the new municipality’; the town was ‘a harbinger of the new French springtime’ and opened ‘the road to French renaissance’.20 It is significant that Madame Mégret used the words ‘identity’, ‘roots’ and ‘rerootedness’, for all three are used regularly by FN spokesmen at both the national

170 Nationalism in a local context and local level. The argument seems to be that ‘France’ and, in Mégret’s case, ‘Vitrolles’ need, in some undefineable way, to rediscover their identity and become more rooted in culture and tradition. This was a common notion across the FN towns; there was a distinct sense in which the FN prided itself on its unique and direct approach to politics. The party stressed how Bompard in Orange, for example, personified a different type of municipal government. In the spheres of taxation, security, immigration and the environment, he, it was claimed, stood for the ‘national alternative’. He himself stated that even the most innocuous local initiative, like reducing the price of water, was carried out ‘for the good of the people of Orange’.21 In power, the FN councils have not been afraid to act. Not only that, but we can detect huge symbolism in specific policy moves. For instance, only a month after the Municipal elections the FN-led administration in Marignane created two new commissions, to take responsibility for ‘tourism’ and ‘veteran soldiers’. The second of these is worthy of particular note, reflecting as it does the FN’s respect and reverence for all Frenchmen who have fought, and sacrificed themselves, for the nation. In a similar way, the trivial task of re-naming roundabouts has, it could be argued, revealed much about the philosophy of the FN councils. In March 1996 the press revealed that a group of roundabouts on the avenue du 8 mai in Marignane were to be named after four soldiers who had died for France: Pierre Clostermann, General de Monsabert, Marechal Koenig and Raoul Salan. This decision seemed to confirm the council’s desire to honour great national heroes and, in effect, to wear its heart on its sleeve.22 We can see the same desire present in the way that the council in Vitrolles commemorated the end of the Second World War. The municipal magazine reported that veteran soldiers and patriotic associations were to be given a privileged place at the heart of these celebrations. The magazine stated: ‘As to Madam the Mayor, she wants to stress her attachment to the preservation of all traditions which anchor a people in its history and in its values’.23 This illustration and others give a flavour of the FN’s approach to municipal rule. Of course, the councils knew they would have to involve themselves in an array of very low-level community tasks; where possible, however, they have also sought to advance their own value-system. It is on this matter, and others, that the main studies of the FN ‘in power’ have focused. As with most general enquiries into the FN, these works have been polemically charged. In the writings of Ferri and Turc, Samson, Martin, Soudais and Robert there is, beyond the analysis, a serious undercurrent of suspicion and mistrust.

Nationalism in a local context 171 Robert, for example, talks about the ‘offensives on the ground’ carried out by the FN, as if the party was engaged in some kind of military strategy. Furthermore, in other studies of the FN post-June 1995 there have been specific and important emphases. The study by van Eeuwen is situated in the context of the battle against ‘national populism’ in the Midi and ‘the urgency of understanding’ (to quote the subtitle of the book in which his chapter appears), while the essays on the extreme right collated by Reumaux and Breton are, in part, a response to the FN’s triumph in Vitrolles. Samson, meanwhile, asks whether the FN is an extremist party – or a party ‘just like the others’. It is the intention of this chapter to formulate some kind of answer to this fundamental demand.24 There are also other key questions to pose: to what extent has the FN’s nationalism infiltrated and conditioned the party’s actions in power? Do the FN councils put forward an overtly nationalist agenda – or is ideology irrelevant as, by necessity, they have had to concern themselves with low-level community affairs? In which areas does the party’s nationalism emerge most vividly? This chapter will consider the main spheres of FN municipal rule. It will focus, first, on the two areas in which the FN’s nationalist agenda has been most clearly visible: culture and immigration. It will then move on to a consideration of other policy spheres: security, the environment, social welfare and finance. Here there are important details to be gleaned about the populist nature of FN discourse and ideology.25 In essence, the argument to be put forward is that the nationalism of the FN manifests itself very strongly in the areas of culture and immigration. In other sectors the party’s nationalist agenda is less obvious and its ideological approach almost non-existent. It will be argued, however, that one of the interesting features of the FN at a municipal level is its versatility. In Marignane, Orange, Toulon and Vitrolles the party has had to deal with certain issues, regardless of whether there has been an obvious nationalist ‘angle’ or not; in this sense the FN has realised that it cannot be ideological about everything. Culture: a vital battleground As Ferri and Turc have argued, culture has been the dominant concern of the newlyelected FN mayors.26 This fact may surprise some onlookers. Are there not, after all, more crucial local issues to deal with? And, is it not true anyway that the FN is fundamentally anti-culture? There may indeed be some truth in both of these assertions. In fundamental terms, however, we have to remember that as a fiercely

172 Nationalism in a local context nationalistic party, the FN regards culture as a key determinant of national identity, and thus as a vital battleground zone. At the national level, the party has consistently emphasised the importance of culture, and the way that culture relates to nationhood. Bernard Antony has written: ‘The main battle is a cultural battle. After all, what is the identity of a nation other than its culture, its memories, its history, its values and the way it expresses them?’ This innate concern about culture was reflected in the title of a recent lecture series arranged by the Institut de formation national (IFN), the pseudo-academic arm of the FN: namely, ‘Culture and Nation’. As if to emphasise the main thrust of party thinking, the first session was entitled: ‘National combat, cultural combat’. The FN position was also reiterated in National hebdo: ‘Culture merits a political debate....First, and in particular, it is a question of identity, power and sovereignty’. Months later, the front cover of the same paper showed a bust of Marianne with a revolver pinned to her head. These two illustrations indicate that the FN regards the issue of national culture as important, mainly because, in the view of the party, it is under threat. The FN pinpoints the ‘cosmopolitan and internationalist culture’ associated with Philippe Douste-Blazy and what it interprets as the ‘cosmopolitan positions’ of certain authors, like Marek Halter, as evidence of this threat.27 In Marignane, Orange, Toulon and Vitrolles, it would be true to say that most of the cultural controversies involving the FN have revolved around nation-related issues. The boycott controversy that greeted its poll victories in the summer of 1995 set the tone. On the morrow of the FN’s triumphs in the Midi, the ex-Socialist prime minister Laurent Fabius had demanded a boycott of the three FN-controlled towns. The prospect and possibility of a cultural boycott attracted massive media attention. After the Jewish-French singer Patrick Bruel announced that his conscience would not allow him to perform in Orange, or any FN-controlled town, an array of artists and artistes made public declarations on the subject of the boycott; many followed the lead of Fabius and Bruel, but others like Charles Aznavour and Barbara Hendricks stated that they had no intention of boycotting the towns.28 In a sense the ‘general hubbub’29 over the boycott issue was used by the FN to its advantage. While the Minister of Culture, Philippe Douste-Blazy, talked in slightly pompous terms about the ‘duty of men of culture in the face of the FN’s rise’, Le Pen ridiculed the notion that ‘moral lessons’ could be handed out via boycotts. After poking fun at Bruel’s Jewish origins, the FN leader declared that the boycott would have no effect at all on the three southern towns. He turned from defence to attack, and stressed his party’s nationalistic rationale: ‘The FN will continue its political action in favour of French people who are treated like pariahs in their own country and are on the verge of future victories’.30

Nationalism in a local context 173 Immediately, therefore, the Paris leadership of the FN and the party’s mayors had been confronted by the issue of culture – a political football even in the days and months preceding the first significant acts of Messrs Le Chevallier, Bompard and Simonpieri. Analysing the FN councils’ attitude to the issue of culture, post-June 1995, is thus a challenging task. In this section we will focus, for the main, on two key episodes: first, the polemic surrounding literature and municipal libraries, and second, the controversy that raged over cultural policy; in particular, the attitude of FN mayors to local cultural associations – Châteauvallon in Toulon and les Chorégies and Mosaïques in Orange. On these and other matters the FN’s cultural discourse has emerged as nuanced and distinctive. It should be stated too that the party has not been as blatantly anti-culture as its adversaries have, for the most part, maintained. In Marignane, for example, the FN-led council has granted special subsidies to cultural bodies, it has created a new council commission for the arts, culture and events, and early on in his stewardship the mayor personally guaranteed the future of cinema in the town.31 The FN, therefore, has not been anti-culture as such. It would be more accurate to say that, in its own terms, it has demanded ‘a new cultural policy’32 – designed primarily to place the nation above and beyond everything else. The politics of books The polemic surrounding books was one of the more bizarre features of Midi politics in the first eighteen months of FN rule. In Orange, primarily, but also in Toulon, books became a highly sensitive political issue. In Bompard’s town, the focus of attention was the municipal library. An inspection of the library had been carried out by Denis Pallier, ‘the doyen of l’Inspection générale des bibliothèques’; an event which according to one newspaper had provoked a ‘tempest’ of controversy. The mayor, in short, was accused of censorship; the claim was that, for political reasons, certain books that should have been ordered had not been; and other books, that had appeared on the library shelves, had been ordered for political reasons. Le Figaro talked of a ‘cultural battle’ raging in Orange.33 In Toulon the story was different. The staging of a special book festival in the town gave rise to widespread polemical debate, about which publishers and authors would get special invitations to the event and which would actually boycott it. In the end most controversy surrounded the presence of the rightwing publishers, Editions Présent. Cuverville, the anti-FN journal in Toulon, stated that the council’s decision to allocate a stand to this publishing company was one of its main ‘crimes’ of the twelve months following June 1995.34

174 Nationalism in a local context The minutiae of the two sagas, though fascinating, should not detain us too long. For us the significance of the two episodes comes in the light they shed on FN ideology, on the party’s value-system, and on the nature of party discourse. First and most obviously, the FN’s belief that it, and it alone, stood for ‘openness’, ‘pluralism’ and ‘liberty’ emerges strongly from both episodes. In effect, this position materialised as a response and retort to serious accusations made against the party: in Orange, that the mayor was censoring library books on political grounds, and in Toulon that the council was inviting guests to the prestigious book fayre on a similar basis. In many ways the tone of the FN defence was predictable. Any political party accused of protecting narrow political interests is always going to plead innocence and state the reverse – and this was exactly the case in Orange and Toulon. In Orange the party responded to the censorship allegations in forceful terms, and proclaimed its strongly-held, passionate belief in ‘pluralism’. Essentially, Bompard maintained that all the ‘censored’ books (bar one which had not been ordered for financial reasons) were available in the library. Le Figaro quoted Bompard as saying: ‘The library in Orange is an example of democracy and diversity. All books are acceptable except those that are forbidden by law’.35 And, in the immediate aftermath of the affair Bompard declared: The truth is that the municipality wishes to represent all currents of thinking and opinion....The municipality wants to accept all books that are legal – from the politics of the anarchist left through the RPR to the FN....The mission of the library in Orange is to offer diverse literature and documentation.36 Again in a letter to the Minister of Culture at the height of the affair, Bompard advertised his credentials: ‘I am a fervent partisan of diversity. I want to respect this principle in Orange....Within the allocated budget (I wish to represent) all currents of thought and all artistic domains....The municipality of Orange is engaged to accept all books whatever their ideological or political orientation’.37 In these statements Bompard nailed his colours to the mast, upholding two key ideas: pluralism and diversity. This, for him, meant that shortfalls in any area had to be made good – whether on the right or the left. Significantly, in his letter to Douste-Blazy, Bompard claimed that his library contained only a sparse collection of books on right-wing nationalist thought – a clear indication that the the mayor was sensitive about the political complexion of the book stock. Even more noteworthy was Bompard’s admission to the library

Nationalism in a local context 175 inspector that books which did not respect ‘good morals’ would be removed.38 Clearly, therefore, Bompard believed in some kind of censorship. The principled tone of FN discourse was, and is, suspicious. One could argue that the language of diversity and pluralism concealed the fact that, in reality, Bompard and his colleagues paid lip-service to these concepts. On this question the view of Pallier is particularly interesting. He stated that the process of book-acquisition in Orange seemed to be driven by two main concerns: ‘political balance’ – in effect, ordering the works of right-wing authors to complement existing material written by left-wing writers – and ‘the principle of ethnocentrism’.39 It is this last point which makes the pro-diversity discourse of Bompard sound dubious and unconvincing. There was a similar saga in Marignane, where the FN council got itself into hot water over another library issue: newspaper subscriptions. The claim was that the council, in addition to ordering a series of books published by the FN, had stopped three mainstream papers and instead ordered three far-right journals: Présent, Rivarol and National hebdo. The situation was eventually arbitrated upon by a Marseille tribunal. The council’s position, however, was clear. The deputy mayor responsible, Jean-Claude Tarelli, explained that his administration wanted to ‘respect true pluralism and to reflect electoral shares in Marignane’. He went on to argue that the balance of newspapers (and books) in the library should actually reflect the town’s political make-up (roughly one-third national right, one-third classic right and one-third left). Again, the FN’s approach was slightly holier-than-thou. The party implied that it alone stood for real political pluralism – however much it was condemned for actually attacking the very same concept. As if to sum up the FN attitude, Français d’abord talked in July 1997 about ‘the totalitarian spirit of l’Association des bibliothecaires’.40 In Toulon, controversy arose over the staging of the book festival in the town. To begin with, the FN explained its commitment to the festival in idealistic terms. For Jean-Marie Le Chevallier, the key word was ‘liberty’. He claimed he was not ‘imposing’ right-wing publishers, like Editions Présent, on Toulon. Rather, he stated that an array of publishers had been invited, and were actually coming to the event; publishers who represented different political positions – ‘socialist-communists, anarchists, Charlie Hebdo, Editions Plein Sud’.41 Indeed, the mayor argued that the council had exhibited a liberal attitude; this, according to Le Chevallier, could best be measured by the fact that the publishers Plein-Sud had actually been invited – and were thus free to sell huge quantities of their anti-FN books!42 The FN made much play of the venue for the festival: the Place de la Liberté. National hebdo talked about this ‘symbolic place’, and also emphasised that guests were coming from all over the world – including the

176 Nationalism in a local context DOM-TOM Francophone territories.43 What Le Chevallier claimed he wanted was a totally open event – not the type of restricted, censored event depicted by the media. In December 1995 he told his council colleagues: We have the Place de la Liberté, which carries the name Liberté. By consequence it is normal that editors and libraries who want to advertise themselves and authors who want to come to sign books can do it in all liberty; here is my conception of liberty....Here is the philosophy of our municipality – leave people with the possibility of expressing themselves, writing books, selling them, buying them, reading or not reading them....I believe that next year it will be possible to have a beautiful book festival, to be held at the Place de la Liberté, in all liberty.44 The mayor went even further. He was looking forward to ‘a vast and free festival’ – open to everyone and devoid of ‘ideological quarrels’. In an attempt to depoliticise the issue, he said: ‘Authors do not have to position themselves versus the FN’.45 In retrospect, the party’s Paris press claimed that the event had been a huge success: it had prevailed over the boycott call and had welcomed impressive numbers of visitors and exhibitors. In ringing tones Français d’abord declared: ‘It is the victory of the will to see liberty triumph in Toulon’.46 The party’s rebuttal tactic – which in this case sent out the message that FN-dominated councils stood for openness, not censorship – was complemented by a parallel, and much more aggressive, strategy. The party argued that France was suffering from a malaise, and claimed that the main symptom of this illness was a depressing ‘official culture’: a cocktail of ‘political correctness’ and ‘leftism’.47 In Orange the FN claimed that the campaign against the party on the library issue had been launched by ‘a crypto-intellectual left’.48 In Toulon meanwhile the municipal newsletter claimed that five of the city’s libraries had told the council’s culture spokesman, M. Soccoja, that they wanted some kind of ‘political control’ over the book festival; the newsletter implied that the libraries in question wanted to exclude non-politically correct authors from the festival. In caustic terms, Le Toulonnais pointed out that the libraries’ new charter – which embodied this ‘politically correct’ position – made no mention of the taxpayers who helped finance the library service. The newsletter reminded the libraries that it was not just left-wing taxpayers who financed them.49 Throughout the pre-festival months, FN representatives seemed to be convinced that the city’s libraries had been permeated by what they viewed as this ‘official’

Nationalism in a local context 177 culture. In council speeches in March 1996 M. Soccoja did not so much attack this culture, as brag about how he was confronting it; for the FN it was an easy target. Soccoja said he had entered negotiations with the libraries full of dread: ‘I was all alone against a mass of libraries who were close to eating me alive’. He had, he said, feared a confrontation with ‘official’ culture, but in the end had found the libraries to be far more conciliatory than expected.50 The FN made discernible efforts to counter this ‘official’ culture – promoting its alternative nationalist culture wherever possible. This was done in a variety of ways. For instance, at the book festival a prestigious municipal award was presented to J. Bothorel for Les fleurs d’Ulysse – a book described in the FN press as a ‘hymn to the nation’. The FN also went out of its way to advertise Alaïs, a new ‘anti-conformist’ bookshop that had opened in Toulon. With delight it was stated that this shop specialised in books on military and historical subjects – and would also stock material published by Editions Nationales.51 It is clear that the FN’s attitude to ‘official culture’ in Orange and Toulon has been significant. On the one hand representatives of the party had been outraged and appalled; on the other, they felt slightly fearful and intimidated. Whatever the party’s exact position, the fact that party discourse actually invented the monster of ‘official’ culture – to confront, ridicule and position itself against – is hugely important, and says a lot about the FN’s ability to exaggerate what it sees as real threats, its undoubted paranoia, and its general mentality as a political formation. ‘Cultural war’: Châteauvallon, les Chorégies and Mosaïques The poster bore simple words: ‘THE FN PROSPERS ON NON-CULTURE’.52 At the height of the Châteauvallon ‘affair’, as thousands of protesters gathered in Toulon to condemn the FN’s attitude to the Théâtre national de la danse et de l’image (TNDI), and to support the organisation’s director, Gérard Pacquet, this poster, along with many others, sent out a clear message; the conviction of the demonstrators – many of whom were acclaimed artists and intellectuals – was that the FN council in Toulon was determined to stamp out all types of culture and creativity. This belief had rapidly taken shape and had crystallised in February 1997 when Jean-Marie Le Chevallier, mayor of Toulon, had sacked Pacquet after months of antagonism and confrontation. Opponents of the FN expressed themselves in different ways. B. Tavernier said that he was ‘against fascism which attacks culture’; philosopher J. Villain declared his desire ‘to contribute to cultural life in le Var’; and Pacquet himself proclaimed: ‘The battle has only just begun’. There were other slogans on view at the anti-FN demo:

178 Nationalism in a local context ‘NO FASCISTS!’, ‘CHATEAUVALLON: AN AFFAIR OF STATE’, ‘DEFEND LIBERTY OF EXPRESSION’ and, most chillingly, ‘FASCISM WILL NOT TAKE OVER’.53 The perspective of the demonstrators – the artists and the intellectuals – was straightforward: the local council, led by the ‘fascist’ FN, was attempting to kill local culture and it had to be stopped. The response of the FN and the discourse that it advanced was equally blunt: Pacquet, Châteauvallon and the TNDI were a ‘subversive danger’. The story of Châteauvallon was complex. In the aftermath of Le Chevallier’s electoral triumph the cultural centre announced that it would refuse to accept subsidies from the FN-controlled council. In so doing it positioned itself at the forefront of antiFN resistance. Le Toulonnais saluted Châteavallon’s ‘resistance’ in sarcastic terms; it spoke of ‘this heroic act which permits the town’s council to economise nearly six million francs’.54 Relations between Châteauvallon and the council continued to deteriorate, and on several occasions the two sides ended up in court. While the Minister of Culture, Philippe Douste-Blazy, and many mainstream politicians gave their full support to Pacquet and his cultural project, the FN remained unimpressed. Eventually in February 1997 Pacquet was sacked by Le Chevallier. On Châteauvallon – ‘the real scandal’55 – FN discourse was vehement and hardhitting. The viewpoint of the party’s representatives in Toulon and Paris was that culture in general and Châteauvallon in particular were ‘battlegrounds’. FN spokesmen eulogised the few politicians who supported the council’s anti-Pacquet position – like the Var prefect Jean-Claude Marchiani – and taunted the many figures who they saw as defending Châteauvallon.56 Throughout the saga the FN message was not that it was against culture per se, but that it was offended and affronted by certain types of culture – the TNDI at Châteauvallon being a prime example. But what specific features of Pacquet’s project did the FN object to? And how was this hostility couched and elaborated? In fundamental terms Le Chevallier and the FN in Toulon saw in Châteauvallon a threat to values, and more specifically, to French values. The mayor spoke of the ‘cultural crusade’ required in Toulon. This crusade, it was implied, would rid the town of unwanted and undesirable cultural hallmarks; and in FN eyes there were many such features at Châteauvallon. First and foremost, there was the everexpanding ‘rap’ culture enveloping the centre which, in the opinion of FN leaders, had reached its height with NTM (‘Nique Ta Mère’ – roughly translated as ‘Snub Your Mother’). This group of ‘pseudo-musicians’ became the butt of much FN abuse. In short NTM was condemned for its ‘songs of hatred’ and what Le Chevallier called its ‘insulting, scandalous and aggressive behaviour’.57 NTM was a contemporary rap group, whose ambitious and imaginative material came, in time, to cause massive offence to the FN, and the displeasure of the party was

Nationalism in a local context 179 reflected in both its regional and national press. FN leaders were particularly angered by the group’s ‘scandalous’ songs. They were shocked by the tone of the lyrics: the language of NTM was an ‘apology for violence’ and it encouraged hatred of the family, women, the police, political institutions and, in general, ‘our republican values’. The FN’s paranoid, reactionary attitude was explicit. It even invented the nickname ‘RapTag-Lang’ for NTM – a phrase that incorporated a scathing reference to the former Socialist culture minister, Jack Lang (the man who, in FN eyes, was always at the bottom of subversive modern cultural developments).58 Beyond the rhetoric and the gimmicks, the FN maintained that the war on NTM was a serious ideological confrontation. The FN saw itself as representing the nation, the republic and tradition; it saw NTM as representing anarchy, subversion and, in short, ‘the inversion of values’. The FN press announced that the choice for people was ‘either NTM or Le Pen’.59 In a sense it is irrelevant how wild and inaccurate the party’s assessment of the situation was. In terms of ideology and discourse the FN was revealing itself: Le Toulonnais claimed that NTM songs were trampling ‘on the values that are at the base of our society’.60 In the aftermath of NTM’s eventual exit from Toulon the council stated that culture in the city had ‘refound its rights’; Pacquet, it was argued, had made a grave error in harbouring NTM.61 The FN’s broader criticisms of Châteauvallon were also indicative: culture at the TNDI was deemed ‘elitist’ and the ballets put on, ‘too modern’.62 Reading between the lines, the call, in effect, was for more popular, but more classical productions. This position is very much in line with what we know already about the FN: its antiintellectualism, its overt populism and its great emphasis on tradition and history. Before the 1995 Municipal election in Toulon the FN had actually issued an ultimatum to Châteauvallon’s ballet team. The party’s campaign literature had stated that to conserve their subsidies the organisers at this choreography centre must propose ‘more eclectic events’.63 Châteauvallon was depicted, further, as a cultural centre meddling, dangerously and unnecessarily, in party politics. Le Chevallier and his colleagues were particularly unnerved by the lectures, colloquiums and ‘political meetings’ organised by Pacquet on themes like ‘The emergence of populism’ and ‘The place of the foreigner in a democratic country’. In FN circles the feeling gathered pace that Châteauvallon was a threat. Le Chevallier complained about the centre’s anti-FN ‘proselytism’, while Bruno Mégret – whose intervention demonstrated how the affair had acquired national dimensions – announced that Châteauvallon had been transformed into ‘an instrument launched against the FN’.64 At bottom Châteauvallon was lambasted as ‘a costly cultural centre without a public’. The FN criticisms continued: it was secretive, badly run and financially unstable. Le Chevallier argued that taxpayers’

180 Nationalism in a local context money was being used to finance a shady cultural organisation intent on waging war against the FN and traditional French values. And as Français d’abord summed up, NTM was emblematic of the new cleavages appearing in French society.65 Bompard puts his foot down Tosca...Nabucco...Rigoletto? I’m very sorry Ladies and Gentlemen! The people of France first.66 The council in Orange was, meanwhile, preoccupied with its own cultural problems. The early months of Bompard rule witnessed a widely publicised spat with the cultural centre, Mosaïques. By the spring of 1996 the council had expelled Mosaïques from Orange, repossessed its premises and retrieved all council-owned equipment.67 It had also expressed its wish to ‘install a new cultural service’.68 The Bompard-led administration had earlier explained the rationale behind its decision to withdraw its subsidies and terminate its links with Mosaïques. The majority’s position was expounded as follows: ‘We deplore the grave irregularities in the management methods put in place by the cultural centre which we refuse to sanction....To preserve the general interest it is desirable for the commune to re-take entire control of the cultural policies of the commune’.69 With this statement, as with others emanating from FN councils, it is necessary to be very careful. It is more than likely that the FN’s condemnation of ‘grave irregularities in the management methods’ was a polite way of saying that the new council did not endorse the general approach and cultural philosophy of the centre. The mayor’s spokesman on culture, Gérard Lagier, reinforced this general impression. He in fact was even more crude; he said the association had been ‘created by socialists’ and dominated by the ‘fantasies’ of a small minority. In addition, there was, according to Lagier, a huge financial problem: Mosaïques was ‘too costly for a town of 28,000 inhabitants... impossible for a town like Orange to cushion’.70 Here, away from all the coded official language, the heart of the matter was revealed: Mosaïques was deemed too ideological, too left wing and too expensive. The president of Mosaïques, M. Jeangérard, was, according to Le Provençal, very angry at the ‘coup de force’ masterminded by the council against the association. This and the fact that the organisation was still committed, in June 1996, to ‘the survival of culture in Orange’,71 indicates how, for both sides, the conflict was being seen in ideological terms. The

Nationalism in a local context 181 attitude and actions of the council add to the suspicion that the party was hostile to all forms of culture that it did not itself control. The confrontation with Mosaïques was not, however, the chief cultural conflict of Bompard’s first years as mayor; the main problem was les Chorégies. Here was another cultural organisation, another body famous for its links and associations with the theatre and, in blunt terms, another difficult issue for the FN to grapple with. As it turned out, the FN’s perspective on the affair was highly illuminating. The story of les Chorégies was simple. Local convention said that the mayor of Orange automatically became the president of Chorégies association. However, in the aftermath of Bompard’s municipal triumph convention was broken, and the deputy mayor of nearby Valréas, Thierry Mariani, was elected president. This development, it seems, was viewed by Bompard as a huge slight, and thereafter relations between the council and the association grew fraught. In retaliation, the council swiftly withdrew its subsidy to les Chorégies; at which point the Minister of Culture, Philippe DousteBlazy, intervened and announced that the State would step into the financial void. As polemics raged over Bompard’s attitude to local culture and the state of Orange–Paris relations – Ferri and Turc talk about Bompard’s ‘wrestling match’ with Douste-Blazy – the council announced a new arrangement between itself and les Chorégies. The FNled administration stated that the association would still be able to use the town’s antique theatre – thereby halting the emigration plans of les Chorégies72 –but only on condition that regular payments were made to the council, and that, where concert tickets were concerned, special privileges would be accorded to local people. This, in effect, was the deal which put a temporary end to the affair. Beyond the routine details of this ‘soap opera’, and the council’s predictable platitudes about the ‘undeniable brilliance’ of performances put on by les Chorégies,73 there were significant issues at play and, what is more, important indications about the state of the FN psyche. For a start, there was the rather tetchy, bitter tone to Bompard’s public statements after he had failed in his bid to become president of les Chorégies. His immediate, and exaggerated, reaction was to exclaim: ‘This is a political coup d’état!’74 The mayor said that he had wanted the forces of tradition and continuity to take their course, and to have been elected as president, but admitted that in reality many people who had said they were going to vote for him did not actually do this. The mayor’s anger did prompt the odd bizarre statement. Le Monde reported Bompard’s comment that his non-election as president had put ‘republican legality’ in question.75 Bompard’s fury and annoyance had important spin-offs. First, he announced that his

182 Nationalism in a local context council was not prepared to finance les Chorégies anymore – and immediately cut the one million francs municipal subsidy.76 Second, personal antagonism grew between Bompard and both Mariani and Douste-Blazy. The FN view, paranoid as ever, was that everyone was plotting and conspiring against the party and its representatives. By July 1996 Bompard was saying that if there were to be further negotiations about the future of les Chorégies it would be ‘necessary first for the new president of les Chorégies to stop attacking me’.77 Third, and most profoundly, representatives of the municipality began to intimate that the non-election of Bompard as association president threatened to destroy the relationship between the council and les Chorégies for ever. Lagier announced in cryptic terms that ‘the association had decided to put itself on the margins of the town’; he went on to say that in the future the council would treat les Chorégies as ‘just another commercial society’. Bompard was in addition quoted as saying that the council was ‘not now a part of les Chorégies’.78 As an apocalyptical outcome to the saga came in sight, and then disappeared, the wheeler-dealer negotiations between Messrs Bompard, Marchiani and Douste-Blazy, interspersed by the odd slanging match and the occasional polemical insult, continued apace. Eventually an arrangement of sorts was reached: les Chorégies had to pay the council a set fee for the hire of the town’s open-air theatre.79 However, given our special interest in the thinking and political mentality of the FN, two other aspects of the deal deserve more attention. Throughout the many discussions and bargaining sessions with les Chorégies, Bompard and his colleagues displayed a consistent, and perhaps slightly peculiar, concern about ‘free places’. The mayor’s demand – ultimately met – was for 1500 free places at rehearsals put on by the association, and for the municipality to be able to control the allocation of a proportion of these places.80 This near-obsession with free places comes into sharper focus when it is understood that the FN mayor wanted these places to be reserved solely for the people of Orange. This notion of ‘local preference’, as we discovered in Chapter 1, is a concept crucial to the FN; it is about giving local people priority and about excluding others. An announcement made by the municipality of Orange on 2 July 1996 explained the council position. It stated: The 500 places at the discretion of the mayor have been distributed entirely to the people of Orange. The 1,000 other places are being distributed by the General Council, the Regional Council and by the state, that is by the friends of Monsieur Mariani, mayor of Valréas and Président of the Chorégies. Monsieur Mariani has declared in the press that the people of Orange will be given priority for these

Nationalism in a local context 183 places, thus underlining that they will not be for the people of Orange exclusively. The Orange municipality regrets that all the places have not been allocated, exclusively, to the people of the town... The Mayor 2 July 199681 Here we can see the interplay of many important themes. As well as the habitual politicking and the personal abuse aimed at Monsieur Mariani, there is striking evidence of the FN’s populism and its belief in local preference. M. Bompard is shown to be neither shy nor coy in his efforts to impress and embrace the local population. The mechanics of the free places scheme were, however, complicated – and just a little bit sinister. Le Provençal informed its readers that local people wishing to take advantage of the system had to put together a collection of documents – in effect, to prove that they were inhabitants of Orange. They needed to take all the following to the town hall: 1

A photocopy of an identity card which states the address of the interested person

2 A photocopy of a water, electricity or telephone bill 3 A photocopy of a bill for one of the four local taxes 4

Two photographs signed on the back82

A quaint local idea or a disquieting sign of things to come? The free places scheme was obviously couched in positive terms by the municipality, but there was surely, even to the most objective observer, something slightly unnerving, small-minded and parochial about a scheme that required local inhabitants to prove, by means of four different documents, that they were native and indigenous. There was, however, a serious message behind the initiative. For the FN it was not just a case of freebies and favours. As Français d’abord declared: Thanks to the action of Jacques Bompard they (the residents of Orange) have been invited to rehearsals free of charge. From being costly performances offered by the municipality to the initiated – often strangers from outside the town – les Chorégies have become accessible once more to the people of Orange. The constant will of the FN municipalities is to associate as many of their citizens as possible with cultural events. It is a question of breaking with cultural productions that are reserved for a small circle of initiated people and massively subsidised.83

184 Nationalism in a local context In this passage we see the FN’s populist conception of culture emerge: it must be both accessible and non-elitist.84 The talk of will is significant; it is as if the FN mayors are ready to enforce their conception of culture if circumstances dictate it. The examples of Châteauvallon, Mosaïques and les Chorégies seem to reinforce this point. The FN and culture: tradition, nation and roots The headlines and the controversy surrounding specific high-profile affairs should not obscure the fact that culture has been a persistent concern of the FN mayors. In all the main cultural spheres – heritage, the arts, sport and tourism – there has been substantive municipal activity: from serious policy formation to emotive invective and rhetoric. From this it is possible to put together a detailed and accurate picture of FN ideology, to establish the main contours of the party’s municipal discourse on culture and, at bottom, to unravel and understand the party’s fundamental conception of culture. Here there are important themes to consider: tradition, the nation and local preference. There is no doubt that the FN does possess a cultural vision – a unique cultural vision – and that in Toulon, Orange, Marignane and Vitrolles it has tried to act upon this blueprint. It should really come as no surprise to learn that the idea of tradition has been central to the FN’s cultural manoeuvres in its Midi strongholds. The party’s belief in tradition and traditional values has meant in fact that it has taken a strong line on certain local issues. In the summer of 1997, for example, it railed against a gay film season at a Vitrolles cinema. It spoke of an ‘inversion of values’ and warned against the danger of ‘homosexual proselytising’.85 In a totally different sense, it has also provoked a passionate interest in local heritage. Even before the elections of 1995 Le Chevallier in Toulon was planning ahead. He declared that the restoration of ‘monuments of interest’ was a key FN priority. He listed the monuments that he wanted to restore: ‘the old bishop’s palace, the stock exchange, Sainte-Marie Cathedral...Saint-Louis Church...the monument at la place Louis-Blanc...the Palace of Justice...the tour Royale’. Even then Le Chevallier said: ‘This list is not exhaustive’.86 The mayor stated that he wanted to promote both economic and touristic activity. The FN in fact advanced a powerful pro-tourism message; and this was often linked to the historic splendour of the towns the party had captured. The impetus for restoration was particularly evident in Orange where, quite naturally, the FN-led administration took a keen interest in the town’s famous open-air theatre; by June 1996 the council was seeking state aid to help with substantial building work.87

Nationalism in a local context 185 The FN’s loyalty to the notions of tradition and heritage was particularly reflected in the content of the councils’ municipal newsletters. Here the best example was Toulon, where Le Toulonnais, already under fire for its partisan political stance,88 set aside a page each month to honour and laud local culture. There was a monthly recipe – from the local area of course, like La sorfagnado à la Toulonnaise! – and a feature, each edition, on a particularly engaging aspect of identity or local tradition. Most absorbing though was each month’s personality profile. In this spot the municipal newsletter championed the cause of famous Toulon celebrities. In just the first year it upheld the martial arts star J.-N. Grougnet, the writer F. Amouretti, the politician M. Escartefigue and the soldier J.-M. Curutchet. It was clearly a truly eclectic range of heroes, and in addition to their common local origins, the famous figures seemed to have one key quality or characteristic that appealed to the FN: Curutchet, for example, was portrayed as a hugely impressive Algérie française war hero. The monthly page which incorporated the local recipe, the local tradition and the local hero was, very significantly, entitled ‘Roots’. This title indicates not only the massive, unremitting emphasis that the FN placed on Toulon traditions; for initiated FN-watchers it is also symbolic – it reaffirms the centrality of roots and genealogy in the party’s value system.89 The simplistic form of hero-worship exhibited in ‘Roots’ was reproduced, much more intensively, in the Toulon council’s fervent adulation of the writer Jules Muraire, alias Raimu. The council masterminded a massive celebration of Raimu’s work in 1996 – commemorative events, film-showings and the like. There were several interesting aspects of the project. Samson, for one, has argued that the celebration was one strand of a concerted council effort to increase and improve Toulon’s ‘low’ identity-rating (he claims that another strand was the inception of Le Toulonnais, the council’s in-house newspaper). It was also fascinating to examine the ‘official’ rationale behind the project. Le Chevallier talked about ‘a major artist who superbly represented French culture in its provençal guise’. The mayor also declared that the month-and-a-halflong celebrations – this ‘cultural event’ – was going to ‘salute the memory of an old French cinema artist’. The objective of the FN-led initiative was to ‘encourage the local and national population into love of Raimu’ – this culture which ‘we want to spread’. Raimu was looked upon as a local and national hero, someone who cherished his roots in Provence and who, in his work, uplifted French culture. But this campaign of reverence – Raimu’s name was also attached to a local school – soon ran into difficulties. Gleefully, Madame de March – an opposition member of the municipal council – declared that she did not appreciate ‘the recuperation’ of Raimu because in reality the writer belonged to all of Provence, not just Toulon. Recalling the FN’s

186 Nationalism in a local context attitude to Joan of Arc, we should remember that the party is certainly prone to making mistakes like this. The attitude to Raimu reiterated and reemphasised the party’s local preference stance: he was regarded as a ‘true ambassador of Provence’ and a ‘symbol of cultural rootedness’.90 The FN’s preference was clearly for promoting local artists – in Le Toulonnais again, the municipality announced that the work of local painters and sculptors was going to be shown off in ‘a magnificent exhibition which is the pride of the Mayor of Toulon and the people of Toulon’. FN councils also wished to increase the accessibility of events: Bompard’s newsletter, for instance, was proud to state: ‘Orange presents 14 events, entry to nine of which will be free’.91 ‘Local preference’ was significant in many ways. First and foremost, the question was: did it conflict with the FN councils’ pro-tourism philosophy? Take, for example, the decision made in Orange to charge schoolchildren from outside the town a special increased rate for visiting the open-air theatre. As well as being a clinical measure in discrimination and local preference, would this not affect tourist rates adversely? On the back of local preference, the FN towns were becoming increasingly insular – but they were still touting for tourists.92 Was this situation not contradictory? The FN made a point of contrasting its general philosophy with that of the government in Paris. Inferring that it would always support local or national cultural projects, the party vilified Douste-Blazy and the Ministry of Culture for its part in financing ‘a cosmopolitan and internationalist culture’, and gave numerous examples of undeserving causes that had been supported by Paris, including Châteauvallon.93 Here, there was an acute sense in which the FN viewed its culture as an antidote to PS culture. There were of course limits to what the FN could achieve in the sphere of culture. In addition to the predictable financial constraints, there was the recent past, and more specifically the actions of previous municipal administrations.94 But did the FN possess a cultural vision? And if it did, what did it incorporate? The conclusion must be that there was a distinctive FN vision. The party was certainly not anti-culture, but equally, it did not go along with what it viewed as the ‘cosmopolitan’ culture of Douste-Blazy in Paris. Rather, the FN mayors stressed the themes of tradition, nation and roots. They had their critics – the commentators who said that culture was being killed in the towns – but there was ‘cultural action’ and a real desire to increase variety: hence the initiatives in favour of cinema in Marignane, jazz in Orange and oriental art in Toulon.95 Nevertheless, FN officials did seem sensitive to the criticism they provoked. Le Chevallier stated that culture was about ‘free choice’ and that the authorities ‘must propose culture, without ever imposing it’.96 However, in reality was not Le Chevallier

Nationalism in a local context 187 guilty of just this crime – ‘imposing’ culture? The obsession with Raimu, the bookfayre invitation to Présent, the hostility to modern ‘internationalist’ culture like NTM and Châteauvallon? In Orange Gérard Lagier, the mayor’s spokesman on culture, seemed to echo Le Chevallier’s philosophy: ‘Culture in Orange? Is it not finished? On the contrary....The role of a mayor is to put on for the people cultural events of quality, relatively cheap, educative and amusing’.97 Here indeed is the key to understanding the FN’s municipal discourse: culture had to be popular – not elitist, esoteric or confidential. There were to be no ‘events without a public’. Hence the free places for local people at les Chorégies; the free public event to replace the Inter-Town Games in Marignane; and the popular consultation over a new statue in Toulon.98 In Orange the council – speaking in a sense for all the FN-led administrations – demanded a low-cost, high-quality cultural programme that would ‘satisfy the population of Orange’. This was the core of FN discourse. Putting the case for the FN against its many enemies and detractors, Bompard stated: ‘Culture is not our enemy’. In a similar vein Le Chevallier boasted that Toulon was ‘the indisputable capital of French culture’.99 Immigration: the Islamic ‘threat’ The questionnaire form was simply worded: An Islamic association is at present interested in buying premises in our town in order to open a Koranic school. This association seems to have considerable sums at its disposal since it covets an entire office-block. Twice the municipality has turned down similar requests from these Islamists. The first time it was for premises on l’avenue de l’Arc-de-Triomphe. The second, it was a case, no more no less, of l’Hôtel des Arts, that is to say a place between Clodius, Pourtoules and our Antique Theatre. But the council cannot sell off all the town. Also, before going further, the municipality would like to have the opinion of the people of Orange.100 The form had been printed in the Orange council magazine, and extra copies had been scattered round the Hotel de Ville in the hope that members of the public – who hadn’t seen the published copy – would help themselves to a photocopied version. Local people were asked to record their opinion on a cut-off slip at the bottom of the form:

188 Nationalism in a local context RETURN BY 20 JULY 1996 I AM FAVOURABLE TO THE OPENING OF THIS SCHOOL I AM AGAINST IT I AM INDIFFERENT NAME ............................................. FIRST NAME .......................................... ADDRESS ................................................................................................................. ................................................................................................................................... ONLY FORMS THAT HAVE BEEN TOTALLY FILLED IN (NAME, FIRST NAME) WILL BE VALID. OTHERWISE PEOPLE COULD RESPOND MANY TIMES AND FALSIFY THE RESULT.101 The questionnaire device was viewed by Monsieur Bompard and his colleagues as some kind of municipal referendum; Le Provençal reported that ‘the FN mayor of Orange had innovated in order to discover the opinion of the population on the building of a Koranic school in the town centre’.102 The questionnaire was of course a dubious device – crude, unscientific and comprising loaded information – and the last four feeble lines of text were obviously intended to warn off criticisms of the exercise. At the local level, it was in its attitude to mosques, and to the broader phenomenon of immigration, that the FN’s xenophobic nationalism emerged most graphically. This was, to a very large extent, predictable. Any party upholding a closed conception of the nation, emphasising the importance of race and culture, is bound to look upon a non-Christian religion and a community of non-European immigrants as threatening. The FN’s enemies were in no doubt about the party’s character. The Marseille branch of the PCF labelled it a ‘racist, xenophobic, anti-democratic and fascist party’, while Carrefour laïque dedicated itself to the battle against ‘the rise of xenophobia in the towns of l’Etang de Berre’. Even the ‘neutral’ local press commented, in the wake of Catherine Mégret’s victory in Vitrolles, that the FN was ‘prone to exclusion and rejection of the other’.103 Of course the FN’s crude ideology and controversial value system had been exposed on a number of occasions – not just during the Orange mosque saga. In Toulon Le Chevallier reduced the number of bazaars in the town’s market in an effort to increase

Nationalism in a local context 189 its ‘provençal’ character and reduce its ‘cosmopolitan’ feel; in June 1997 Le Toulonnais poured ridicule on official figures which inferred that the size of the North African community in Provence was actually in decline – the paper claimed that ‘mass naturalisations’ had not been taken into account; and a month earlier, during the Legislative elections, the FN had really pinned its colours to the mast: Bruno Mégret’s campaign had been passionately supported by his wife and, more significantly, had operated under the ultra-nationalist slogan, ‘The people of France first’.104 The mosque episode, however, was supremely important for a number of reasons. First, it exemplified the FN’s negative approach to Muslims in its municipal bastions; and it seemed to matter little that M. Blel, president of the North African cultural association, had strenuously denied any building plans.105 Second, the phraseology of the questionnaire conjured up notions of an Islamic ‘invasion’ – with the landscape and architecture of Orange under threat. The fact that the ‘Islamists’ – many of whom could, quite easily, have been French nationals – were depicted as both wealthy and persistent in their demands added to the apocalyptic scenario being painted by the municipal leaders. Third, there was the cynical populism of the device. The prologue spoke of ‘the opinion of the people of Orange’, of in effect letting the people speak. Fine words of course – but the questionnaire device was so implicitly biased and defective that the exercise was rendered shallow and amateurish. Not surprisingly, the results of the poll were the results desired by the municipality. On 23 July 1996 Le Provençal stated: ‘Yesterday the mayor was congratulating himself on having received 1,408 negative responses, one favourable and one abstention’.106 M. Bompard was, it seems, very happy. ‘National preference’: a practicable municipal policy? The questionnaire episode in Orange was farcical – but it did crystallise issues, and it did reveal the FN’s general stance. Another saga, in Marignane, did likewise. The mayor, Daniel Simonpieri, had caused controversy by deciding that school canteens in the town should put on one single menu and should not go out of their way to put on non-pork meals. This decision, obviously, was going to affect Jews and Muslims primarily.107 The FN, however, dressed up the decision in other wrapping; it was ‘a legitimate decision’ forced on the council by ‘economic concern’ and the ‘need for budgetary rigour’. The party found solace in the judgement of the local administrative tribunal, which stated: ‘The right of pupils to express their beliefs is not without limit’. The caption to one cartoon in the FN press seemed to sum up the party’s position. It read: ‘In Gaule you eat like the people of Gaule’.108 Once more, this

190 Nationalism in a local context episode is easy to ridicule. We should not, however, dismiss it entirely, as it reveals the essence of the FN’s ‘national preference’ philosophy; basically, that France and French institutions (like schools) should not have to kowtow to ‘foreign’ demands and should not be dominated by foreign interests. The party’s flagship idea was ‘national preference’; this, according to Soudais, was the central theme of FN discourse and also, significantly, forbidden by law. The question that mattered most in the early days of FN municipal rule was this: could it be practicable? At the same time a principle and a programme, national preference had been a crucial pillar of FN ideology for more than a decade. In many ways it was viewed as axiomatic by FN spokesmen. The party argued, unconvincingly it must be said, that national preference was the corollary of national independence – and after all, the argument went on, France had been independent for fifteen centuries! The FN also claimed that many other modern-day countries embodied the notion of national preference in their constitutions.109 So why not France? With their victories, the FN mayors had a unique opportunity to turn the theory of national preference into practice, and to turn against what Catherine Mégret called ‘foreign preference’ – a notion which, she implied, had been favoured by all previous municipal regimes.110 National preference was certainly a central tenet of the party’s municipal manifesto. The Orange FN stated: It is necessary to be clear: distinguishing the citizen from the foreigner is not racism, but democracy. Because without citizens there would be no city, no nation and no people. Without citizens there would be no more democracy. In concrete terms national preference must mean the right of a Frenchman to find a job before a foreigner.111 The language used in this passage is fascinating. It is curious to hear a party pigeonholed on the extreme right talking, constantly, in terms of ‘the citizen’, ‘democracy’ and ‘the right to...’. FN discourse on national preference is skilfully crafted, and as in other areas it incorporates words and phrases that have the potential to appeal to people of varying political hues. The theory of ‘national preference’ had many practical applications. Priority rights for French people were demanded by the FN in a whole range of spheres: jobs, civic rights, housing, education and, most poignantly, family allowance payments. On this last issue the FN council in Vitrolles swiftly declared its intentions and in early 1998 it instituted a special 5,000-franc payment to the parents of new-born babies on

Nationalism in a local context 191 condition that they were French or European. In this policy the party saw a ‘patriotic principle’ and an ‘eminently positive message’. The FN’s Paris newsletter declared: ‘The idea of the nation implies, by obligation, the principle of national preference’. This was the basic FN position: a position fully in line with the rest of its exclusive, nation-based ideology – and its strong emphasis on demography – and a position so controversial that it was ultimately challenged by a Marseilles tribunal.112 Not surprisingly, onlookers and opposition politicians have viewed ‘national preference’ – and in particular the family allowance scheme in Vitrolles – as a form of institutionalised racism. The FN has always been sensitive to such criticism, and has invariably tried to counter it. It has talked of ‘anti-French racism’ and has claimed that any government which allows immigration is bound, by its very actions, to stand up for immigrant rights. Although Le Chevallier argued at one point that ‘national preference’ was a relatively minor concern given the other vital tasks that needed attention in a town of 170,000 inhabitants,113 there was no real doubt that the notion of prioritising nationals over and above immigrants was a crucial matter for the FN mayors, and was also becoming a key issue for ordinary people. Days after Simonpieri’s electoral triumph in Marignane Le Nouvel observateur asked: ‘Could the FN apply its doctrine of national preference? The Beurs are already asking themselves with anguish: What is a “national”?’ Later in the same article Simonpieri was quoted as saying: ‘I am a man of dialogue. I have respect for the law. I have no desire in the slightest to start witchhunts.’ But in answer to the key question – what is a citizen of Marignane? – the mayor responded: ‘A Frenchman duly supplied with papers’.114 This snapshot of Marignane post-18 June 1995 is telling: on the one hand the Beurs fearful of their future; on the other the mayor laying down the law on nationality. We should not, however, be deluded into thinking that the FN mayors had significant clout on the immigration issue. One year into FN rule National hebdo argued that on immigration – a problem, the newspaper stated, for the town just like it was for France – the means were limited: the mayor could neither expel illegal immigrants nor prevent polygamy.115 On the whole, the FN position, and party discourse, was ambiguous. In one sense the mayors paid homage to the law. Bompard, for instance, stated clearly that the FN ‘was law-abiding’ and maintained that ‘national preference’ could only be voted in at a national level by a parliamentary majority.116 Le Chevallier for his part struck a similarly law-abiding pose. Just five days after his poll success he was quoted as saying: ‘I will respect the French law: the towns of France are not states within the State. They are tributaries of the common law’. In November 1995, in the midst of an early confrontation with Le Pen over the pace of change in the newly-conquered towns, he aired the same sentiments: the mayor had to act ‘within the law’.117 Simonpieri

192 Nationalism in a local context was also right and proper in his initial attitudes. Le Monde in fact reported that he had declined to apply several key pledges in the sphere of national preference; the newspaper proffered the view that the mayor’s ‘consensual image’ and his general management style could in time ‘displease Le Pen’.118 In another sense, however, top FN spokesmen pushed their argument further and deeper. The hawkish language emanated predominantly from Le Pen, but in weaker moments his town-hall henchmen also seemed in agreement. As FN leader, Le Pen believed passionately that the mayors must respect and implement the programme on which they were elected – even at the price of conflict with the State. This, for Le Pen, was the key point. Le Monde quoted him as saying: ‘We are respectful of the law but we will not submit to an unjust law’.119 The FN’s law-breaking position was based on several key arguments. First, Bompard claimed that ‘national preference’ was, fundamentally, not illegal: it was not contrary to the rights of man (because the 1789 Declaration stated that French nationals alone enjoyed ‘civic rights’) and it was not racist (because, he argued, the principle was ‘applied in dozens of Third World states and also in the USA, Norway and Switzerland’).120 The nature of Bompard’s analysis was highly dubious. His evocation of the 1789 Declaration was particularly odd. The FN has always loathed the principles of 1789; but suddenly it was spuriously claiming that the ‘rights of man’ justified its policy of discrimination. The fact that 200-plus years had elapsed since the framing of the Declaration also seemed to pass Bompard by. The claim that ‘national preference’ was an established principle across the world was also, obviously, very debatable. Second, in a somewhat uneasy accord Le Pen and Le Chevallier claimed that the ‘democratic legitimacy’ of mayors could challenge, and even override, the ‘administrative legitimacy’ of prefects. In this attempt to justify some form of law-breaking the FN leadership cited the example of the mayor of Pierlas in Alpes-Maritimes who had resigned after an argument with his prefect, and had been re-elected in a special plebiscite vote. For Le Pen this seemed to prove that the law could be defied.121 Finally, Le Pen turned his thoughts to the mechanics of law-changing. He argued that the principle of ‘foreign preference’ had dominated governmental policies in the 1990s. He went on to promise that if people voted for the FN in the next elections he and his colleagues would change the existing legislation and institute ‘national preference’. Le Pen implied that voting for the FN, on the ‘superior’ level of a national election, would be the ultimate way to break the law.122 The law-breaking position emerged very uneasily – if in fact it did actually emerge as a solid position at all. The situation was confused by other issues: who controlled the FN towns – Le Pen or the mayors? What was the correct – or ideal – pace of

Nationalism in a local context 193 municipal change? What was the ultimate aim of the FN mayors – preference for French people or local people?123 In FN ranks there seemed to be confusion on all these questions. One problem was Le Pen. He was based in Paris and, early on in particular, he seemed to be blissfully unaware of the practical difficulties involved in the day to day running of three sizeable towns. This led, predictably, to the occasional run-in between party leader and mayors. It also appeared that FN discourse was in danger of contradicting itself: on the one hand a proper, official discourse that upheld the law, and on the other a more off-beat, maverick discourse that wanted to challenge the law and that was, possibly, far more representative of the real FN psyche. The legal question was a crucial high-level conundrum. In Orange Bompard was also interested in the idea of a municipal referendum – to give local legitimacy to ‘national preference’ policies.124 In a sense though most party leaders seemed to put these technical matters to one side; they were more interested in what they saw as the ‘real’ immigrant-related issues. First and foremost there was the question of welfare aid. Le Monde reported that the FN political bureau in Paris viewed the attribution of social aid as the major municipal issue, and that on this question the mayors must ‘walk the same step’; in theory the party demanded ‘verification of the regularity’ of all immigrants seeking social aid. Bompard was quoted as follows: It is clear that we must reserve aid for French people, and then for immigrants in a regular situation. Given the financial situation of the town I cannot see how one could do otherwise. One can only be a resident of Orange when one is in a regular situation.125 The rhetoric was fine, but in power day to day realities had their constraining influence. Sensitive to the legal hotchpotch that the FN found itself in over national preference, Simonpieri for one seemed to renege rapidly on his promise to end ‘all aid to immigrants in an irregular situation’.126 It was in fact quite noticeable that after the halcyon days of late 1995 – when national preference was a live issue, when real debate ensued about policy possibilities on immigration, and when everything in theory seemed possible – FN spokesmen came to accept that they had no real power or authority to institute preference-based policies. This realisation, however, did not put a stop to the forceful rhetoric. Le Chevallier, a beacon of legality in most of his public pronouncements, turned to the issue of association subsidies. He seemed to suggest that because the mayor was unarmed in so many areas, he should explore what was possible in others. The

194 Nationalism in a local context implication of this, he said, was that mayors were free, for example, to ‘play with subsidies given to foreign associations or destined to help foreigners’. This fact was taken on board by the FN and its mayors, but the practical implementation of such a policy was another question.127 Housing and education were other policy issues on which there was tough-sounding FN discourse. Le Pen exemplified this, indicating that the mayors should prioritise in the allocation of housingn – especially in the award of HLM (habitation à loyer modéré – council housing) accommodation. Le Chevallier, however, pointed out that the law did not permit discrimination between French people and immigrants on housing matters.128 Here was the division we referred to earlier: party leader and mayor taking up diametrically-opposed positions. It was no surprise, therefore, that the mayors’ first-year achievements were modest. Français d’abord could state only that ‘demands for accommodation certificates are examined with great vigilance’.129 On education there was very little leeway for the FN mayors, but the language of both Simonpieri and Le Chevallier was forceful: the consensus view was that the children of ‘irregular’ immigrants should not have the right to a place in local schools.130 Overall the dominant impression is that the FN has talked a lot about immigrationrelated matters, but has not had the power to deliver. Its emphasis on ‘preference’ and ‘priority’ has been clear, but for the most part rhetoric has remained rhetoric. Français d’abord almost admitted as much in June 1996: ‘The law does not favour the institution of national preference. However, despite the difficult and media-dominated environment, the FN mayors have obtained noticeable results in the war against immigration and in favour of the French identity of their towns’.131 This realistic assessment, printed under the banner headline ‘END THE FOREIGN PREFERENCE!’, was followed by two boasts: the Toulon council had recently stopped a marriage of convenience between a recently-naturalised male immigrant and a deaf and dumb Tunisian woman who was ‘incapable of understanding her husband’ – and an outdoor market in the same city had been restored to its ‘French and provençal character’.132 This, in essence, had been the sum effect of FN discourse on immigration. The councils did not possess that much real power, but what they could do, they did. On the whole they looked upon national preference as an entirely legitimate principle and policy, if difficult to actually implement. Others, however, viewed it as tantamount to racism. In the run-up to the Vitrolles election, one market trader revealed his thoughts about the Mégrets: ‘I am not scared of them. But I’m North African, and if the Mégrets get in, people like me will lose our trading licences. I don’t see why I should give them a chance to put a face to the race’.133 This was the dominant perception: the FN was racist.

Nationalism in a local context 195 Le social: the politics of municipal subsidies In the arena of state–society relations, and in their interaction with social institutions, the four FN mayors have trod a delicate path. In the funding of civic groups and associations, as well as in other realms, they have sought to favour certain groups; at the same time they have attempted to minimise the fallout from discriminating against others. Commentators have been particularly critical of the FN’s initiatives in the social sphere: Ferri and Turc have identified the way in which the FN has ‘dismantled structures and destabilised personnel’, while Soudais has highlighted Le Pen’s desire, announced in October 1995, to ‘review all subsidies paid to associations’.134 It would be accurate to say that the FN councils have not been interested in society in the abstract, but rather, in their very peculiar vision of French society; in short, a society dominated by groups and institutions with a ‘pro-French’ rationale. At this stage it might be illustrative to cite two cases – cases which can help us understand the reigning philosophy of FN councils. On the one hand, take the Union nationale combattants; for 1996 this Marignane association was granted ‘a special subsidy’ of 400,000 francs. On the other hand, take Eclat, another association based in the town; L’Express claimed that its municipal subsidy had fallen by 75 per cent primarily because it aided North African residents and because it was viewed as ‘too politicised’.135 Here we see the two sides of the crude FN approach: increased financial aid for ‘national’, ‘patriotic’ groups, but financial penalties for associations with other, ‘nonFrench’ priorities. In this section the social discourse and decisions of the FN-led councils will be analysed and evaluated. First, we will consider their instinctive and provocative attitude to local associations; and second, what could be viewed as their ‘moralistic’ approach to societal matters will come under scrutiny. At certain junctures the nationalist rationale behind the councils’ position on social matters has been transparent. At others it has been the case that a variety of motivations, both ideological and non-ideological, have been evident. The Restos de coeur affair The FN councils’ attitude to associations and other civic groups is best illuminated by one episode in the early life of the Simonpieri-led administration in Marignane. Indeed, the saga involving the municipality and Restos du coeur – a kind of French ‘meals on wheels’ – demonstrated, in microcosm, the prevailing attitude of the FN to local associations. Significantly, it also revealed other groups’ perception of the FN’s ideological approach to municipal matters.

196 Nationalism in a local context The Restos du coeur ‘affair’ hit the headlines in December 1995. By February 1996 the storm had blown over, but in the intervening period it had become the focus of national and provincial media attention. The story was that the FN mayor had ‘witheld’ the municipal subsidy to Restos, and as a result the future of the charitable organisation had been plunged into doubt. What complicated the matter was that at the same time as he ‘penalised’ Restos, Daniel Simonpieri and his council majority had increased the subsidy paid to the local football team, US Marignane. On 29 December Le Méridional headlined its story ‘MARIGNANE: AID TO RESTOS DU COEUR SUSPENDED’; on the same day Le Provençal stated: ‘THE MAYOR OF MARIGNANE STOPS HIS AID TO “RESTOS DU COEUR” ’ A day later Le Monde reported: ‘THE FN MAYOR OF MARIGNANE DEPRIVES “RESTOS DU COEUR” OF ITS PREMISES’.136 By February 1996, in the aftermath of polemics and petitions, the municipality had offered the organisation new premises on rue Foch in the town centre, and Restos du coeur was functioning again. Beyond the headlines and the emotive media reportage the affair did highlight important aspects of the FN’s attitude to local associations. First and foremost, in justifying its position on the Restos issue, the FN emphasised the urgent need for financial economies. This concern – an ever-present theme in FN discourse – was espoused by the mayor in particular. Le Provençal reported that at the municipal council meeting just before Christmas Simonpieri had stated, in response to demands for financial aid: ‘In the context of our economic policy we cannot accept all these propositions’. Le Monde stated that the mayor’s concern for economies meant that Restos would have to do without its lorry and chauffeur. Le Méridional quoted Simonpieri’s words in a telephone interview: ‘Like all towns Marignane is passing through a difficult period which necessitates a reduction in spending’.137 The FN mayor also consistently stressed the importance of cutting wastage. The message here was that Restos was an inefficient organisation. Simonpieri was quoted as saying: ‘It seems to us that an important part of the foodstuffs distributed was not suitable for those for whom they were destined and were wasted’. This appears to be a reasonable point until one realises that Madame Dunet, one of the Restos workers, stated categorically to one newspaper that there had been ‘no wastage’. However, Madame Dunet went on to say that there had been ‘problems’ with some North Africans who refused chicken meals when the meat had not been cooked in line with Islamic custom.138 It is in this context that suspicions about FN discourse on Restos emerged. The left in particular advanced the view that the FN’s position on Restos was extreme and ideological. Eric Cerato, the PS candidate in the 1995

Nationalism in a local context 197 Municipal elections, claimed that ‘economic motives are only a pretext to justify a political decision. The FN is putting to work its ideological principles’; likewise Roger Leitzelman of Carrefour laïque declared that the council’s attitude to Restos was ‘in the logic of the FN which, with reference to the most deprived and unfavoured, has always been prone to the politics of exclusion’. The contention of the FN’s opponents appeared to be that Restos had been punished for the fact that it did not distinguish between French people and non-French people in the allocation of meals.139 The FN’s economic argument was, however, supplemented by another nuanced point: there had been no suppression – there had just been no increase. This line of thinking was taken up in Marignane aujourd’hui, the municipal newspaper. Here it was officially stated that the council did not, anyway, supply money to Restos – just material aid. It was claimed that the mayor had met officials of the organisation in good faith, and that the Restos story had been blown out of all proportion by uninformed media reports.140 Whatever the exact truth of the council’s claims, it is clear that FN discourse was eager to play up the honourable role of the mayor and, as on other matters, the confusing, unhelpful role of the media. The FN mayor and his majority was also eager to dispel the notion that the resources ‘taken away’ from Restos had in fact been distributed to the town’s football team instead. Once more Simonpieri’s administration talked of ‘media manipulation’. It stated that the council had stepped in to help the debt-ridden local football club, and that there was no relationship at all between the Restos issue and that of US Marignane. In emotive language the council said that it had not ‘abandoned’ the social sphere, and cited the CCAS (welfare) budget of 8 million francs as evidence of this. The fact was, however, that other groups were putting two and two together and condemning the nature and tone of the FN attitude. As Alarme citoyens declared: ‘How can one substantively augment the subsidy of a sporting club and refuse to accord the necessary means to permit the feeding of men, women and children already in great difficulty?’141 There was also, more fundamentally, the view that Simonpieri was gradually losing his ‘moderate’ image. This position was advanced by the left-wing newspaper, Le Marseillaise. It argued that Simonpieri’s brand of politics no longer deserved the epithet ‘light lepenism’ and that it was gradually descending into extremism.142 All in all the popular perception of the FN standpoint was not at all favourable. Once when I raised the issue of the FN councils with my French taxi-driver he immediately mentioned Marignane and the Restos affair. The FN, he said, had showed itself to be ‘nasty’ and ‘stupid’.143

198 Nationalism in a local context Associations: ‘depoliticisation’ or ‘sabotage’? The inherent importance of the Restos episode emerges in the light it sheds on FN attitudes towards local associations. The affair is, in microcosm, an indicator; and on broader questions of social policy the discourse of the FN councils has reflected the stance of Simonpieri and his colleagues on the Restos issue. It should be said straight away that the social perspective of the FN councils has been condemned by opponents. Particularly in their attitude to local associations the councils have been accused of ‘massacre’, ‘sabotage’ and ‘municipalisation’. Even though the FN has viewed itself as pro-association, in power it has had its severe critics.144 The reality, however, is that in Toulon, Orange, Marignane and Vitrolles the discourse of the party has not been as straightforward as either characterisation would have us believe. But, it would be true to say that in its allocation of municipal subsidies each FN-led council has delivered – whether through favouritism or victimisation – significant pointers as to its own general philosophy. There has, first, been a conspicuous desire to depoliticise what FN leaders have viewed as highly politicised, ‘left-wing’ municipal associations. In all four FN towns this has been a constant theme. For instance, in Orange Jacques Bompard, outlining his ‘new social policy’, stated: ‘What we want is to depoliticise the world of associations’. His spokesman on social affairs elaborated on this point, claiming that the life and activity of local associations had become ‘very politicised’. For the FN councils the goal, ultimately, was ‘neutrality’; even if this objective ‘irritated’ the leaders of local associations it would help reassure the taxpayer.145 Not unnaturally the FN position attracted much comment. Le Monde, for example, reported that the council in Orange had been accused by the local population of wanting to ‘purify’ the associations politically. It was clear that certain associations were going to suffer: those that were perceived by the councils to be anti-FN and those that, according to Le Monde, were identified with the left or the Maghrébin community.146 Of course, the FN-led councils were not going to admit that their policy on associations was a product of ideological paranoia or that it amounted to a witch-hunt – a couple of notions that did hold sway with some onlookers. Rather, the party line was to justify the policy on associations; this meant demonising the world of associations, and condemning the attitude and mentality of specific local organisations. Although Bompard in Orange declared that the FN would not ‘attack associations to attack the left’, he was conscious of the approach of Jean Gatel, the mayor’s first spokesman in the previous council. Bompard quoted the ex-official as saying: ‘We will combat the FN through the milieu of associations’.147 The existence of this attitude seemed to give Bompard some leeway, and even though he had said that the FN would

Nationalism in a local context 199 not engage in political warfare at the association level, he went on to state that municipal money would ‘go to unfavoured people, not political people’.148 In Toulon the FN-led council appeared to endorse Bompard’s perspective. In 1996 the municipal magazine announced that the new council had renewed all 700 of the former council’s subsidies – except eight. The magazine explained that the eight organisations to suffer had become ‘too political’ and ‘taken political positions’. Far from depoliticising the issue of association subsidies the FN councils had, according to many commentators, done exactly the opposite.149 Second, in line with the councils’ financial outlook, the FN mayors have consistently emphasised the need for ‘rigour and transparency’ in the management of local associations.150 The demand has been on the one hand for economies, and on the other for honest. This belt-tightening policy has been a predictable one, given the general tenor of FN discourse at all levels. In Orange the council argued that the lowering of association budgets was an entirely reasonable step to take; it was about economising, about stopping wastage and about ending the ‘multiplication of subsidies’ brought about by the ‘multiplication of associations’.151 The new councils have been sensitive, however, to the way in which this stance has been perceived. Le Toulonnais, for instance, stated: ‘Association subsidies have been cut, but it is exaggerating things to say that association life is being killed’.152 Indeed in June of the same year the FN’s Paris press claimed that spending on welfare in Toulon, Orange and Marignane had either been maintained, or had actually been increased, by the new administrations – a strange boast to make given the declared intention to economise.153 More interesting perhaps have been the constant calls for honesty and transparency; the desire, in effect, to end the existence of ‘phantom associations’.154 In Toulon the new FN council signalled its fierce opposition to ‘subsidy abuse’ early on. Reacting to what it viewed as the corruption of the Trucy era, the administration announced that in the future subsidy-seeking associations must present a dossier to the authorities.155 This dossier had to include the following: 1 The statutes of the association 2 Membership lists 3 The number of adherents 4 The minutes of the last meeting 5 Treasury accounts 6 An accounts report 7 The last bank statement 8 A special register156

200 Nationalism in a local context In publicising this new procedure, the council emphasised that experts would decide on the financial situation of local associations. The message was also that association members must ‘stop the manipulation of funds’ and that they must respect the law.157 In consequence, therefore, the discourse of the FN attempted to highlight the corruption of local associations. In Orange this campaign reached fever-pitch: there was talk of ‘embezzlement’ at two welfare organisations; of a two-month phone bill of 10,000 francs at one social centre in the town; and of subsidies to one particular association ending up in the pockets of the organisation’s directors and employees – and not getting to needy pensioners.158 Solidarity and morality In their words and deeds the FN-led councils have, in addition, demonstrated their belief in a quite distinct brand of social ‘solidarity’. In this regard the council in Toulon has made significant pronouncements. For a start, it has talked emotively about a ‘war on exclusion’ and a ‘war on alcoholism’.159 It has, furthermore, been particularly eager to publicise and embroider its own altruistic gestures. In just its first year it announced a new scheme of medical insurance for municipal employees, and proclaimed: ‘In these times of economic recession it appears to us normal and in the interests of solidarity to help communal employees to lower their contribution payments’.160 On the surface this was a minor move, but the FN machine exploited it fully. In a similar way, months before, the council had highlighted the plight of a local coloured girl in need of an organ donation. The municipal journal stated that the council wanted to help, and said that it viewed organ donation as ‘one of the most beautiful gestures of human solidarity’.161 The fact that the council pointed out that the girl was coloured was obviously very significant: the FN trying to counter all the usual accusations of racism made against it. In fact, it is clear from these two very different episodes, and others, that the party has made a definite pitch for the moral high ground in social affairs – most probably as some kind of riposte to critics who, on a whole range of matters, have questioned the party’s understanding and compassion in social and political matters.162 At its most distinct – and controversial – this belief in solidarity has translated itself into the policy of national preference in the social domain.163 It has also underpinned other developments, like for example Fraternité Française – a body sponsored by the FN, which attempts to promote ‘family solidarity’ and which sees itself as supplying a ‘service to French people in misery’. One newspaper described

Nationalism in a local context 201 Fraternité Française as an arm of the ‘extreme right’.164 The self-image of this new organisation is crucially important. In a key sense it conceives of itself as filling a void left by other social organisations – organisations that the FN and FN-led councils have perceived to be either corrupt, expensive or left wing, or all three. The fact that it seeks to help only French people – ‘our compatriots in distress’ – is of course merely a crude reflection of the FN’s national preference philosophy.165 The local Communist party made plain its position. It talked about the organisation’s demagogic masquerades’ and declared: ‘This exploitation of misery and distress for political ends is execrable’.166 In its southern strongholds the FN has also favoured other charitable organisations: ATD Quart monde, Accueil orientation et suivi des jeunes and Les Amis des chats.167 The support of the Toulon council for this last association is particularly interesting. One critic declared that the council’s 100,000 francs subsidy to the body demonstrated that the municipality ‘preferred cats and animals to humans’. The council responded in kind: ‘We recall to this sad sire that the municipal majority believes in national preference. It is also the defender of animals’.168 This minor episode says a lot about the FN’s social perspective: it is defensive, distinctive and also slightly moralistic. This moralistic dimension to FN discourse has been evident on other social matters. In the first six months of FN municipal rule, the national press had already identified two very contrasting exampies. In August 1995 Le Figaro reported on Le Chevallier’s crusade against begging in Toulon – in effect a massive urban ‘clean-up’ policy. The newspaper quoted the FN mayor: ‘I have issued a decree to suppress errant dogs and to put them in kennels and to forbid beggars’.169 It was clear, therefore, that the FN had no sympathy for either stray dogs or town-centre beggars. Four months later Le Monde announced that the mayor in Orange had put a local college ‘under surveillance’ because of its overtly ‘political’ declarations. Bompard was particularly angered at the college’s openly-declared attachment to ‘the rights of man’ and to its belief that the education system should take it upon itself to campaign against ‘exclusion’. The FN mayor claimed that the motions put forward by the college were ‘scandalous’ and ‘ignoble’, and that there was ‘nothing more democratic than national preference’.170 Here was the FN in full flow: sounding righteous and indignant about the political ideals expounded by a local educational institution. If these two episodes give us clues about the nature of FN discourse, the new councils’ approach to family-related issues is also instructive. In all the FN towns since June 1995, there has been a huge emphasis on the family and associated issues. The FN’s philosophy was summarised best by Eliane Guillet de la Brosse, one of the mayor’s assistants in Toulon. She stated: ‘I dream of a solidarity which would render

202 Nationalism in a local context life more beautiful – war against anti-French racism and defence of life’. This statement encapsulated important themes: social solidarity, nationalism, and also the pro-life position, which for the FN means opposition to abortion, contraception, euthanasia – and also homosexuality.171 The corollary of this position was a vehement defence of mothers and motherhood. In one council debate on social and family affairs Madame de la Brosse stated: ‘No-one can replace a mother’.172 This remark epitomised the FN stance – a traditional belief in ‘natural’ family structures. The party has naturally shown itself to be concerned with the elderly – ‘pensioners deserve normal rights’173 – but it has also placed significant emphasis on children and youth. Here there have been several important, symbolic moments: in Orange, when the provision of nurseries was under discussion, the council spoke in terms of the ‘physical and moral security of children’; and in Toulon when Cendrine Le Chevallier announced the inception of the Association jeunesse-enfance toulonnaise, to replace the Centre de loisirs et d’animations scolaires, and argued that this change of name signified a departure from previous policy and marked the onset of ‘new propositions and measures in favour of Toulon youth’.174 The environment, security and the local economy This final section covers three policy areas – the environment, security and the local economy – in which the FN’s discourse has been wide-ranging but also well defined. It would be fair to say, however, that in these areas the party’s nationalist ideology has been slightly obscured. In a sense these policy areas, at a municipal level, do not particularly lend themselves to ideological debate; one could almost argue in fact that ideology is irrelevant to such matters. Notwithstanding this main point though, it would be true to say that one can still detect the traces of the FN’s nationalist perspective in these areas; a point that will become clear as the section progresses. Alongside this, it must also be said that the populism of the FN is evident in the areas of environmental policy, law and order and the local economy. This is significant, as it could be argued that a key aspect of the party’s nationalism is its populist political tone and its strong identification with the people. In this sense perhaps the party has been able to stamp its imprint on these policy areas. The environment As befits a party that has shown much recent interest in ecology, the FN has advanced a serious pro-environment discourse in Toulon, Orange, Marignane and Vitrolles. Although it is difficult to discern the exact effectiveness and success of the party’s

Nationalism in a local context 203 policies in the environmental sphere, it is clear that the FN councils have made positive and constructive statements, and has committed itself, at least in rhetorical terms, to ‘ecological concern’.175 This reflects the FN’s position at a national level; party leaders have emphasised that ecology should be a prime concern of nationalists, and this conviction seems to have been carried over into the municipal sphere. More specifically, it is the notion of protection that explains the equation of nationalism with ecology at the heart of the FN’s value system. At the local level this has meant that the party has committed itself to ideas of conservation, preservation and tradition. We must appreciate, however, that, in power at a local level, the FN has been forced to confront environmental issues and problems. For the most part, these issues and problems have been low-level and minor; only occasionally has one been able to glean a real ideological dimension to the councils’ environmental activity. Nevertheless, the party’s environmental discourse has been, at times, innovative and radical. Eighteen months after the Toulon election victory, the Paris-based FN press reported: ‘Jean-Marie Le Chevallier has made the environment one of his major preoccupations’.176 Here, however, we encounter a problem. Because, intrinsically, environmental concern is viewed as ‘a good thing’, questions are naturally raised: what are the main features of this discourse? How genuine is the FN’s pro-environment discourse? How does the FN’s environmentalism sit with other elements of its value-system? At the municipal level, FN interest in the environment has meant a multitude of concerns: pollution and waste, urbanism, architecture, building renovation, housing, public transport and green spaces. In essence, the twin priorities have been quality of life and eco-protection. Whatever the FN mayors’ more grandiose environmental schemes, they have been forced, by the very nature of municipal politics, to engage in the unglamorous nitty-gritty of low-level environmental debate. If popular perception depicts the FN as an overtly ideological party, the reality of its local environmental discourse gives a lie to this. Here, in contrast to perceived wisdom, we see a party grappling with a panoply of parochial and invariably practical, nonideological issues. Only rarely has the FN been able – or been given the opportunity – to pursue overtly ideological goals. Like many other council authorities, those in Marignane, Orange, Toulon and Vitrolles have been preoccupied with issues of noise and air pollution, of dog dirt and, in Toulon, of beach hygiene.177 However, the councils’ anti-pollution position has not stopped there. In 1997 the Toulon council launched an ‘awareness campaign’ on the issue of satellite dishes. In a sense the increase in satellite dishes in the city was viewed as a type of pollution – a blot on the Toulon landscape. The fact that the

204 Nationalism in a local context dishes also symbolised, in effect, a new ‘internationalist’ culture imposing itself upon France could not have endeared them to the FN council. In this context Le Chevallier and his colleagues announced that they wanted to ‘preserve the historic character of the old town’.178 Graffiti and graffiti artists have, additionally, become an issue and an irritant for party leaders. In Toulon these people were lambasted as ‘disgraceful’; the FN claim was that municipal vehicles had to spend fourteen hours per day trying to stop graffiti pollution.179 For the new FN-led majorities, the issue of urbanism has therefore become salient. Urbanisation – or more specifically, ‘anarchic and unrooted urbanism’180 – has been viewed as an extremely unattractive aspect of modern society and a threat to what the FN sees as the traditional France. The town of Vitrolles was condemned in the FN press as ‘an example of a modern, unrooted town, the product of a constructivist urbanism, hostile to man and the environment’.181 As an antidote to ‘uncontrolled urbanism’, the party has called for ‘renovation’ and ‘rehabilitation’. The underlying assumption has been that such a strategy would enable towns and communities to rediscover themselves and recapture their traditional identity. An illustration from Vitrolles is again pertinent. In calling for the ‘renaissance of the St. Gérard church’, Le Rocher argued that the church had been ‘a symbol for centuries of the Vitrolles identity’.182 The view, in effect, was that the church was the soul of the town. The party’s mayors have emphasised their commitment to development projects by offering financial assistance.183 In October 1995 the Orange council announced that it would provide money for the renewal of housing in the town; a month later it was advertising 50 per cent municipal subsidies for repair work on town-centre facades.184 Likewise the council in Toulon voted unanimously to help fund facade renovations in the St. Jean-du-Var quarter, while in another part of Toulon, la place Béguin, it was hoped that a new market would help re-launch activity.185 In Marignane there was an added twist to renovation plans. Le Méridional stated that Old Marignane was a target site for ‘rehabilitation’; it noted that the area had a predominantly North African population and asked whether the party’s national preference philosophy would also come into play. At times the FN-led councils have moved into the arena of conservation. In Marignane and Toulon – where old town centres stand side by side with more recent architectural developments – this has been particularly marked. For example, only months after coming to power, the Marignane administration began the buyingup of property in order to facilitate the rehabilitation of the old town centre.186 In Toulon the tone was similar: Le Chevallier declared in his election literature that the old town had been ‘left to abandon’; the process of ‘renovation’ had to be accelerated; and the town not only had to put together an overall plan, but had to draw in people

Nationalism in a local context 205 capable of ‘re-dynamising’ its quarters.187 In Orange as well, the impetus for conservation has been present. During his campaign Bompard pledged himself to ‘improve the conservation of the historical and architectural centre of the town’. Two years later National hebdo was congratulating the FN-led regime for renovating the Musée d’Orange: an action, the newspaper argued, that was in the interests of all those people ‘attached to the ancient heritage of the town’.188 So, away from the day-to-day issues of street lighting, pedestrianisation, cemeteries and by-passes, FN discourse on urbanism is the product of two main attitudes: the powerful condemnation of ‘concrete anarchy’ – what in Vitrolles was termed ‘this property jungle’ –and the enthusiastic promotion of traditional architecture.189 In other areas of municipal politics the FN’s eco-concern has been strong. In Orange the FN council deliberated long and hard about the environmental side-effects of SNCF-related geological work.190 Mount Faron in Toulon also became the focus of particular council attention. M. Le Gac, the spokesman responsible, had to deal with a plethora of issues relating to the mountain. In November 1995 he was at the forefront of moves to head off deforestation – a process that ‘intervenes naturally if one does not take guard’. The view put forward was that the Faron forest needed municipal attention; otherwise shrub life might disappear. Months later at an extraordinary municipal council meeting, Le Gac and his council colleagues had to confront other issues; the FN majority stated that urgent work was needed to stop ‘the risk of rock falls’. In the end FN officials congratulated themselves and other council members: they had ‘treated this affair with much diligence’. By 1997 FN rhetoric on Mount Faron was evolving – but environmental concern was still paramount. National hebdo proclaimed that Mount Faron had to be preserved from ‘unscrupulous property promoters and their devastating projects’. It went on: ‘This exceptional site will rediscover its natural equilibrium’.191 The reference to equilibrium is archetypal FNspeak: vague, ambiguous and platitudinous. The FN’s use of the word seems to imply that its policies, and its policies alone, are the right ones. ‘Equilibrium’ is never defined; it is just an innately ‘good’ state, to which all FN policies, by necessity, lead. The FN’s environmental consciousness is also reflected in its attitude to animals. This has been very obvious in Orange, where the municipal council has forged a close relationship with SOS Animaux. Most significantly, the animal-protection agency was put in charge of an errant animal pound; it was to be responsible for ‘the capture, transportation and accommodation of stray animals’.192 The FN’s perspective on SOS Animaux was also influenced by other factors. After switching its municipal subsidy from SPA de Sorgues to the Orange-based SOS Animaux, the municipality argued: ‘Why give subsidies to associations that are not based in Orange?’193 Once

206 Nationalism in a local context more the notion of local preference was central. It was in Toulon, however, that the FN’s animal-protection rhetoric took on a more sinister, ideological twist. In June 1996 Le Chevallier, the mayor, announced his strong opposition to the animalslaughter rituals practised by Muslims in his town.194 Le Chevallier’s attitude here is a crucial indicator of the FN psyche. In terms of ideology and discourse, it also helps to reveal important interconnections. In particular, the link established between environment and immigration is of profound significance. This link implies that immigration is not just a problem in itself, but that its corrosive qualities permeate everywhere. So, in the same way that immigration is often presented by FN leaders as an economic problem and a social problem, Le Chevallier was basing his position on the premise that immigration is an environmental problem and that it has many unwanted environmental side-effects. It is in this sense that FN discourse emerges as both clever and effective. In power, the party has essentially been forced to grapple with environmental issues, and the resulting discourse is broad-ranging and, at times, ambitious. Power has, in a sense, helped the FN in that it has been able to advance concrete policy proposals. It is true that the party’s environmentalism can, on occasions, come across as highsounding and slightly pompous, but the experience of municipal rule has enabled the party to flesh out its ideas and acquire a modicum of ‘green’ credibility. It is also striking how the same main themes are evident throughout the party’s environmental discourse. There is, initially, the almost constant self-congratulatory tone; the belief that the FN, and the FN-led councils, stand alone in their zealous pro-environment position, and also the complementary view that no party initiative on the environment ever fails. Additionally, there is an ever-present sensitivity to budgetary plans and municipal finance. On occasions the FN does advance grandiose plans; but in line with its economic philosophy, policy-execution always remains the ‘art of the possible’. What is not debatable, however, is the core trait of the FN’s municipal environmentalism. In every area of the party’s environmental discourse we have encountered a reflex instinct: protection. Whether it is animals, mountains or towncentre facades, the key theme is protection. As we have seen, FN discourse is dominated by notions of preservation, restoration, conservation and rehabilitation. Perhaps this is not too surprising. But, if we refer back to Chapter 2, the real significance of this position will emerge. The FN, as we have seen, is in the midst of an ideological battle about the true nature of ecology; according to Le Pen and his colleagues, ecology has been ‘stolen’ by the left. For the FN, ecology is about

Nationalism in a local context 207 territory, about the nation, and about protecting France. The party’s environmental discourse reflects this position. The view is that nationalism is not just about flagwaving; it is about protecting the environment as well. Security On matters of law and order FN leaders in Toulon, Orange, Marignane and Vitrolles have talked tough and blown their own trumpet. They have criticised the laxness of former municipal regimes, talked up their own aims and ambitions, and boasted about their achievements. As nationalists, they have viewed local security as a crucial political issue; Soudais argues that the reinforcement of the municipal police has been one of the ‘principal preoccupations’ of the FN councils.195 For them, the nation equates to order; hence, the massive desire for strong laws. The view, in essence, is that inadequate security threatens the fabric of society and, thus, the nation. The fact that, in the FN’s view, crime is invariably associated with immigration adds to the party’s sense of a nation in jeopardy and in need of protection; the view of the FN in Paris was that the mayors were committed to doing the maximum ‘to defend the people of France’.196 The populist nature of the party means, in addition, that security is upheld as an important and immediate political concern. Although French mayors possess only limited powers in the realm of security, the discourse emanating from the FN in the four towns has been bold and grandiose. This is evidenced by the fact that only months into the FN era the council’s security spokesman in Toulon was boasting about his ‘vast programme’ on law and order and the fact that 300 people per day were visiting him to discuss security-related issues.197 In their concerted war on insecurity – and on all its symptoms, whether real or imagined –party leaders have placed particular emphasis on the functions and size of municipal police forces. This has been complemented by a zealous interest in other security matters. It should come as no surprise that Messrs Le Chevallier, Simonpieri and Bompard, together with Madame Mégret, have grasped the issue of law and order so enthusiastically. At a national level the FN has consistently expounded a hardline language on crime – epitomised by the party’s belief in the death penalty – and in its public outpourings it has also endeavoured to forge a link between immigration, unemployment, drugs and crime. In power at a local level the party of Le Pen has shown an equally strong and passionate commitment to law and order. The choice has been simplified: either laxness or FN control.198 The party’s general perspective was expounded in Toulon:

208 Nationalism in a local context The security of persons and goods, desired by all the people of Toulon is, it goes without saying, a priority for the new municipality led by Jean-Marie Le Chevallier. The current municipal team will assume, with determination, its responsibilities and hold all its promises.199 There is of course a strong platitudinous tone to this statement – a statement that perhaps any incoming administration might offer. We must realise, however, that law and order is a profoundly important concern for the FN, and it should not surprise us that this emphasis remains undimmed in the local context. Soon after the FN’s election victory in Toulon, Le Figaro reported that the FN declared that it was going to be loyal to its programme; this in turn meant that security was going to be the ‘priority’. In Marignane the stated FN aim was to create ‘a climate of confidence’.200 Interestingly, at the municipal level the FN’s discourse on security appears to operate on two distinct levels. On the surface its local representatives talk about policy measures and everyday issues: pedestrian patrols, traffic management, transport security, the war against town-centre begging and general surveillance. On another level, however, FN politicians use a different vocabulary – a vocabulary that reveals much about the party, its mentality and its core values. Most obviously, the FN’s post-1995 discourse has centred on police and policing; this emphasis has been strong and unswerving. In essence, the FN view is that the municipal police should act as a complement to the national police.201 In blunt terms FN leaders say that local security deserves more funds and that more money has to be allocated to the municipal police if security is to be maintained and improved. In Vitrolles the new FN council pledged that financial cutbacks would not affect the municipal police; in fact the aim was to actually increase police resources by 50 per cent.202 In Toulon the FN lambasted its predecessors in the town hall; the party claimed that while the ex-leadership had spent 70 million francs on public relations, they had spent only 3 million francs on policing. Le Chevallier and his colleagues promised that they would spend a full 15 million francs per year on police. More specifically, the new regime in Toulon pointed to financial cutbacks in HLM security. It stated that guards and attendants had to be put back in place: France had to have its own serenos.203 The same general position was advanced in Orange where the FN mayor indicated in late 1995 that if his municipal force was to carry out its duties in an effective fashion it would need to solicit ‘a special endowment’ from the national authorities. He told a full council meeting that if increases in crime were to be met head on, and if the actions of his municipal police were to remain complementary to those of the national police

Nationalism in a local context 209 he would have to have extra financial resources. As one observer noted, accompanying the new mayor was a ‘stronger will’ to deal with crime.204 However, there would always be financial constraints on the FN mayors.205 In tandem with the demand for more policing, there has also been a call for different types of policing. In Toulon, for instance, Le Chevallier acted to create a special force of mounted police and ordered special day-long beach patrols at Mourillon beach. As would be expected, the municipal magazine said that this last measure had operated ‘to the great satisfaction of citizens frequenting the beaches’.206 The FN mayor of Toulon was also instrumental in promoting the idea of night patrols in the city centre. Jacques Bompard introduced the same measure in Orange; the town’s police chief revealed that the ‘night brigade’ was put in place ‘at the demand of the mayor’. Indeed, the importance of night work was highlighted by Bompard’s decision in March 1996 to offer special bonuses to police personnel who worked overnight shifts.207 In Orange the FN’s claims were touted by the town’s police chief. In a cleverly stage-managed interview Gabriel Bortoletti declared that crime – in particular thefts, vandalism and physical attacks – had decreased markedly since Bompard had become mayor. ‘Crime’, he said, ‘had emigrated’. In June 1996 the FN’s Paris press contrasted Orange with nearby Avignon and Carpentras. The claim was made that whereas in Orange crime had fallen, in the two other towns crime had increased.208 Naturally though, the FN played up its successes in all three towns ‘conquered’ in 1995. Le Monde, for instance, reported the party’s boast that ‘aggressive begging’ had practically disappeared ‘following arrests and the actions of the mayors’.209 Complementing the FN’s day to day, practical language on crime is a deeper, more powerful vocabulary. Here it is possible to identify a cluster of underlying themes and, overall, a high-sounding moral pitch. The tone is set by the party’s analysis of the pre-1995 period. In their four southern strongholds the FN has consistently berated previous municipal regimes. It was as if June 1995 marked a new dawn; all the failures and inadequacies of the past had been washed away. In their words, and in their general political language, FN spokesmen painted a vivid picture: competence replaced incompetence and security replaced insecurity. Bertrand Badorc, Le Chevallier’s spokesman in Toulon, appeared to set the scene. In Issue 1 of Toulon’s in-house municipal newsletter, Le Toulonnais, he demanded that the Procureur de la République set up an enquiry into ‘the corruption of the previous administration’; Badorc said that he had already discovered ‘an alarming number of incompetences, mistakes and, indeed, offences’. Other FN officials condemned ‘the predecessors who left us a catastrophic financial situation’.210 On a different tack Badorc claimed that the FN’s municipal opponents – particularly the Communists – had purposefully exaggerated

210 Nationalism in a local context the cost of measures designed to reinforce police numbers; he said that the Socialists and Communists had, in effect, a philosophical hostility to ‘more police’. Le Toulonnais also reported that the Communists had sabotaged a council debate on policing in December 1995, and in general had been trying to slow down FN efforts to expand and improve policing.211 It is also clear that hovering beneath the surface of FN discourse on security matters, as on social issues, is a definite moralism. This can be discerned in both general and specific terms. In the aftermath of the June 1995 victories Le Figaro quoted one FN councillor as saying: ‘We want to be judged on our actions and our integrity. Insecurity has become insupportable’.212 More specifically, in the big-city context of Toulon, the municipal majority made great play of the minor moral crusade it intended to launch. Not only would there be a war on drugs and on the sale of illegal drink – two problems linked, in the view of the FN, to the fundamental problem of immigration – but a hygiene check would be imposed on social dropouts and also on any accompanying, non-vaccinated animals. As Le Figaro announced, errant dogs and beggars were to be the target of the campaign. The FN stated that any person who refused ‘reinsertion’ would be dissuaded from staying in Toulon.213 Furthermore, the FN’s security discourse has been characterised by a strong accent on ‘legality’. In a sense it is perhaps not surprising that a party condemned by many on account of its ‘anti-democratic’ leanings should make an extra effort to stress its belief in the law and legality. The comments of the Toulon security chief, M. Lunardelli, can be cited as evidence of this attitude. He proclaimed that the new FN-led municipality pledged itself to work in ‘collaboration with the national police and in respect of laws’. In another comment, about policing urban areas, he said that the task had proved difficult ‘within existing laws’. These statements beg the question: why does the FN have to be so pronounced in its utterances? The suspicion is either that it feels it has something to prove, or even that its ultimate aim is to break, and then change, French law.214 Finally, it is salient to note the attitude of M. Bompard towards a fairly minor aspect of insecurity – namely, parking and traffic offences. In June 1996, in the context of municipal debate, the FN mayor made an astonishing and intriguing call for ‘civic spirit’. In essence he argued that the ordinary people of Orange should participate in the education of ‘certain drivers’ by reporting any ‘anomalies’ or ‘offences’ to the relevant authorities. Le Provençal headlined its report: ‘THE PEOPLE OF ORANGE INVITED TO DENOUNCE ALL OFFENDERS’.215 Although some legal experts poured scorn on Bompard’s idea, he maintained that the people of the town could help

Nationalism in a local context 211 the police. But what exactly does this episode reveal about the FN’s approach to local politics? First, it is essential to note the innovative dimension to FN policy-making. Second, however, Bompard’s use of the term ‘civic spirit’ is a fascinating indicator. It says, in effect, that the party is interested in fostering a sense of ‘public-spiritedness’ in its municipalities – perhaps for outside consumption and perhaps to counter the negative publicity that some aspects of its municipal rule have provoked.216 In overall terms, therefore, the FN’s discourse on security has been hard-hitting. A heavy emphasis on police and policing has been complemented by strong words on the failings of previous regimes. There have also been rash claims about how effective FN rule has been; Bompard, for instance, claimed that ‘insecurity’ had been cut by 14 per cent in his first year as mayor (although it is obviously difficult to comprehend how he could come up with such an umbrella figure).217 Essentially though, the FN mayors have been constrained by their lack of real power. At times their rhetoric has scaled the heights, but in the end the main issues have been minor ones: beggars, beaches and non-vaccinated animals. This fact, however, should not obscure the potency and poignancy of FN leaders’ language: the moralism, the emphasis on ‘legality’ and the notions of ‘public-spiritedness’ and legitimate security ‘rights’. The local economy In the realm of finance and local economic development the FN councils have been committed to sound finance; in particular to low taxation and low municipal expenditure. As Jacques Bompard stated: ‘Eliminate the superfluous, avoid wastage, and get rid of the parasites’. The FN mayors have not always been able to achieve their aims, but in as much as they have explained their set objectives they have aligned themselves with a type of ‘new right’ populism. Where there has been success – or what the FN-led councils have interpreted as success – there has been little or no modesty. As National hebdo declared in May 1998, tax-reduction in the four FN towns has been a ‘reality’.218 Since June 1995 the FN mayors have had to make important budgetary decisions in Toulon, Orange and Marignane, and since February 1997 in Vitrolles. In so doing they have put a significant emphasis on audits, they have exhibited a hardline attitude towards tax, spending and debt and, on the economy, they have advanced a proinvestment, pro-development discourse. There are no obvious nationalist connotations here – just a very strong commitment to ‘the people’. In this sense the FN-led councils have added a non-nationalist discourse to the avowedly nationalist discourse expounded in the realms of culture and immigration.

212 Nationalism in a local context Initially it is important to explore the FN councils’ attitude towards preceding municipal administrations. As one would expect, the FN was not complimentary in its view of the pre-1995 council majorities in Toulon, Orange, Marignane and Vitrolles. On financial matters FN leaders were scathing in their language. In Toulon Le Chevallier talked about the ‘delicate’ legacy of the Trucy years, the ‘disastrous management’ of the former administration and claimed that he had inherited ‘a lamentable financial situation’. The mayor’s vocabulary became more and more colourful: Toulon was ‘a town suffering badly from Trucydose’; the poor financial situation was the former mayor’s ‘goodbye present’ to the people of the town.219 When the FN mayors arrived in power their natural, common reflex was to demand a full-scale review of municipal accounts. The recommendation of Le Pen in Paris was blunt: an audit to ‘break the secrecy’.220 The belief in the value of a financial audit was particularly strong in Vitrolles and Toulon. In Vitrolles the promise was to carry out ‘an audit of the Anglade regime’. In Toulon prior to the June 1995 election, FN literature had been promoting the idea of ‘a complete financial audit’ in vigorous terms.221 After the poll the new FN-led administration declared that the audit would be both ‘retrospective and prospective’ and that ‘opening up the financial situation of the town’ would remain an important element of the 1996 “Programme of Renewal”.222 The fundamental FN view was that ‘thirty-six years of arreckxo-trucisme have gravely affected the finances of our town’; the same literature stated that the first concern of an FN mayor would be to ‘examine the real financial situation’. The call was for ‘healthy arrangements’: all contracts were to be ‘examined and renegotiated’, all abuses ‘sanctioned’ and all anomalies ‘denounced’. As Le Chevallier told the last council meeting of 1995: ‘You know that “openness” is our watchword’. The FN’s Paris press announced that the Vitrolles audit had revealed the ‘irresponsible management’ of the previous administration.223 It was the same conclusion across the FN towns, and it was clear that Le Chevallier and his FN associates were exploiting the audit issue to the full. Not only did the notion, and apparent necessity, of an audit cast unflattering light on the FN’s political enemies, but it also enabled party leaders to pose as guarantors of ‘openness’ and, in Le Chevallier’s words, ‘transparency’. The council leadership seemed to acquire even more mileage out of the fact that the results of its audit initiative would be unveiled to municipal councillors, journalists and the public at large. In rather pompous terms Le Chevallier told his council colleagues: ‘The audit will be made public in its totality’.224 In early 1997 the municipal newspaper in Marignane published a one-off supplement: ‘TAXATION SPECIAL’. On the front page, adjacent to two striking headlines –

Nationalism in a local context 213 ‘THEY HAVE SAID “IT’S IMPOSSIBLE”... MARIGNANE HAS DONE IT’ and ‘MARIGNANE – THE ONLY TOWN IN FRANCE TO REDUCE ITS TAXES’ – there was a bizarre image incorporating two pictures of Daniel Simonpieri. One showed the FN mayor looking up at a massive red ‘arrow’, on which was printed the words ‘AVERAGE FOR FRENCH TOWNS +7.4%’; the other depicted Simonpieri clasping another ‘arrow’ on which was printed the message ‘MARIGNANE -3%’.225 This somewhat surreal front-page imagery said everything about the FN councils’ attitude to taxation which was viewed as a profoundly important local issue. In this particular case Simonpieri was flaunting the fact that taxation had been reduced in Marignane, but across all the FN towns there was a similarly massive emphasis placed on the issue. Indeed it would not be inaccurate to assert that since June 1995 taxation has been a primary concern of the FN-led councils. It has been a flagship issue for the party – one, significantly, that has dominated the party’s discourse in Toulon, Orange, Marignane and Vitrolles. It is too simple though to say that taxation alone has preoccupied the FN: it has also been acutely concerned about related financial variables – in particular, municipal expenditure and debt. There is no obvious nationalist agenda here – finance is another sphere of municipal action in which the FN councils have had to engage themselves. Of course there is a populist dimension to the FN’s approach – ‘liberating’ individuals from excessive taxation – but in financial affairs it is new right economic philosophy, rather than nationalism of any variety, which is dominant. Debt is the emotive issue which links taxation and expenditure. The FN has viewed the rate of debt as an economic index, as a kind of barometer of a commune’s financial health. Prior to the 1995 elections the FN had claimed that Toulon was one of the most debt-ridden towns in France.226 On taking power the tone of FN discourse did not change. M. Nachin, adjoint for finances, talked in March 1996 about ‘the debt of the town having reached an excessive level’ and declared that the new FN-dominated administration was engaged in ‘a policy of reducing the town’s debt’. A ‘plan for redressment’ was launched and the FN council publicised its aim to cut the town’s debt by 28 per cent.227 In Marignane the FN administration condemned the ‘excessive’ debts of the previous council, and declared that this debt affected the council’s capacity to invest.228 In its crusade against financial disequilibrium at the municipal level, the FN has focused in particular on the figure for debt ‘per inhabitant’. Although this index is often used by politicians, journalists and commentators alike, it has particularly suited the FN to stress the incompetence and inadequacy of previous municipal rule by emphasising a comprehensible statistic that actually takes as its reference point the

214 Nationalism in a local context ordinary inhabitant of a commune. For the FN there seems to be something especially potent about debt figures calculated on a ‘per inhabitant’ basis.229 For the FN this data illuminated an acute debt problem; the comparative figures for national and regional debt made the point that the three towns won in 1995 had suffered particularly, and thus that a dynamic economic recovery, under FN leadership, was urgently required. Opposition politicians, however, remained unconvinced by the statistics advanced by the council leaderships and, more importantly, by the policies of the FN. By March 1996 right-wing councillors in Orange were proclaiming that the town was ‘sinking’ under FN control.230 On fiscal matters the FN councils have exhibited a zealous commitment to tax reductions, to easing what one party official described as the ‘stifling fiscal pressure’.231 It is important here to realise that French mayors set the rate for four separate local taxes – le taxe d’habitation, le taxe professionelle, le taxe foncier, le taxe non-foncier – and that the councils controlled by the FN have made tax policy the cornerstone of their financial programmes. A cartoon in the Orange municipal magazine highlighted the objective of Bompard’s FN-led council. The cartoon depicted a coastal scene, with three waves representing different taxes; instead of battering the coast, the waves were calm and under control. The caption read: ‘The fiscal tide does not sweep into Orange anymore’.232 The image captured the essence of the FN’s vision of local finance – the desire for equilibrium and an end to high taxation rates and debt. Although the FN-led administrations have not always been able to carry through their ideas, and have in no sense been able to pursue identical policies, the ideological pledge to cut local taxation has remained a crucial and high-profile aspect of the party’s municipal manifesto. In a sense this ‘will to diminish fiscal pressure’ should not surprise us: as we have seen, in its national programme and in its general philosophical profile the FN has always advertised its allegiance to new right economics.233 The FN’s discourse on taxation has rested on two main pillars. First, it has attacked the tax policy of previous administrations. This offensive has been based primarily on statistics; in Marignane, for example, the new FN council claimed that local taxes had increased by 96 per cent between 1986 and 1994.234 In Toulon the first edition of the municipal magazine reminded readers that the previous council administration had set tax rates at an above-average level. It cited the following figures: Taxe d’habitation

20.50 per cent (Toulon) 12.47 per cent (National average)

Taxe professionelle 26.54 per cent (Toulon) 13.96 per cent (National average)235

Nationalism in a local context 215 The message implicit in the statistics was that Toulon and its taxpayers had suffered under the former council majority; on a national scale it was the ‘poor relation’. The FN also made significant policy promises and publicised its commitment to reducing local tax rates; so much so in fact that at times since June 1995 it has demanded an increase in non-fiscal income to make up for a probable shortfall in income generated by taxation.236 Where the FN has managed to reduce local tax rates, party officials have celebrated the achievement in extremely emotive language. Daniel Simonpieri, for example, declared that his proudest moment as mayor of Marignane came when he was able to announce the lowering of the local tax rate. He stated: ‘This gave hope to people who thought that an increase in taxes was inevitable. The electors have dreamt it, the FN has done it. The previous mayor put taxes up by 96% – we have reversed this trend’.237 Another distinctive feature of FN discourse has been its idolisation of the taxpayer. In Marignane the council spoke of its respect for the taxpayer, for his ‘work and fatigue’ and in Paris the party press announced that FN municipal rule meant ‘firstly the defence of taxpayers’. This glorification of ordinary, hardworking citizens is significant for a number of reasons. First, the language used is very reminiscent of that employed by Alain, Poujadism and other elements within the French anti-tax tradition.238 Second, it seems to highlight the FN’s populism; the party is always keen to align itself with ‘the people’ in whatever context and in the broadest sense possible. Third, it emphasises once more the FN’s alignment with the politics of the new right and its populist tax-cutting agenda. There has, at times, been a pioneering, almost missionary tone to FN discourse on tax. Simonpieri’s municipal newspaper asked: ‘Will the department and region follow Marignane’s lead in reducing their tax share?’ This high moral tone suggested that the Marignane council in particular saw itself as ‘setting the pace’, and then somehow expecting everyone else to follow.239 But, the FN’s ideological commitment to cutting taxes has meant that the party has also had to emphasise the necessity of cutting municipal expenditure. National hebdo explained that on financial matters the principle upheld by the FN was that ‘the loans of today are the taxes of tomorrow’.240 Hence on the issue of council spending the FN councils have consistently stressed the need for economies and financial restraint, thus opening the door to the possibility of tax cuts. Le Chevallier insisted to council colleagues in Toulon that it was impossible to increase spending and decrease taxes at the same time.241 The FN’s philosophy has been unambiguous; it has committed itself to ‘austerity and rigour’, to a war on ‘unrealistic and unconsidered spending’ and to ‘the end of

216 Nationalism in a local context wastage’.242 Even the FN’s enemies acknowledged the party’s policy emphasis: ‘I am making economies’ is how the RPR in Orange curtly summed up the totality of the new mayor’s political philosophy.243 Le Chevallier in Toulon announced his intention to achieve ‘drastic economies in spending on personnel and communication’. The word ‘drastic’ in fact became a commonplace in FN strictures on spending – in short ‘drastic’ efforts to make ‘drastic’ economies.244 The language of the FN seemed to imply that Toulon, Orange, Marignane and Vitrolles were on the verge of financial apocalypse. One journalist in Orange was heard to remark: ‘Bompard? He is obsessed by the economy’.245 The FN’s rhetoric on financial wastage has also incorporated an offensive against corruption and certain types of expenditure. Le Chevallier in Toulon railed against ‘the squanderings of the previous administration’. His council announced that it needed to make a saving of 50 million francs in the financial year 1995–6.246 In Orange the municipal magazine demanded ‘a halt to illegal spending’ and ‘an end to foolish projects’. It declared that it was necessary to find 21 million francs: ‘We must make economies so as not to have to increase taxes!’ The main thrust of FN discourse was that previous council administrations had ‘lived beyond their means’.247 In the sphere of economic development the FN mayors have had, relatively speaking, very little real power. That said, the four councils controlled by the FN have expounded a solidly pro-enterprise discourse.248 They have, additionally stressed what they have seen as the key links between other areas of policy and economic development. They have argued, for example, that the ‘improved security’ in FN communes has helped attract businesses; the view has also been put forward that the FN councils’ tax policy has favoured new commercial activity.249 In essence though the FN’s economic discourse has been based on two main pillars: a genuine belief in the merits and benefits of business enterprise and a strong commitment to urban regeneration. It has tried to encourage enterprise and business activity and, for external consumption as much as for anything else, it has emphasised its willingness to listen to, and liaise with, local businesses.250 The philosophy of FN council leaders has been simple: the local economy has the potential to be able to act as the motor of a commune, and economic development can ultimately bring widespread prosperity.251 This approach was articulated in Toulon, where the FN has continually stressed its interest in the local economy. In the coastal town the council has shown particular concern for what it has viewed as the ‘agony’ of traditional commerce and the ‘death of small businesses’; in near-apocalyptical terms the party claimed that ‘exotic boutiques’ were replacing small local shops, and that Toulon was losing its ‘provençal, even its French

Nationalism in a local context 217 character’.252 Here there is typical FN hyperbole. For propaganda purposes it seems that the FN is always prepared to exaggerate the prevailing economic situation; the party also appears to be able to detect threats to the nation and national integrity in even the most innocuous local developments. More evidence of the FN’s approach to economic affairs has come in Marignane. In Spring 1996 the municipal newspaper stated: ‘For a long time the town of Marignane has refused to welcome businesses. This was the fault of will and a lack of awareness of economic realities....We want to reverse this trend’. Once again it is obvious that FN discourse thrives on condemning and undermining previous municipal policy. Marignane aujourd’hui went on to say that for his part the FN mayor was determined to emphasise the ‘extraordinary’ location and potential of the commune: close to l’Etang de Berre, motorways and an international airport. Clearly, Simonpieri’s view was that Marignane had massive economic potential. As if to emphasise this, the Marignane council outlined a special ‘action plan’ – with three main strands. The plan sought to: supply businesses with more information about Marignane; offer a new and improved ‘welcome’ package; and counsel all prospective investors.253 Symbolically, the FN mayor also signed a ‘Charter for Employment’ with the Bouchesdu-Rhône department.254 It is clear, therefore, that out of the FN’s post-1995 municipal rule has emerged a dynamic and distinctive discourse. It is a discourse that, for the most part, has been contentious and highly controversial; and for this reason, it has provoked substantial interest in the towns which, in Balibar’s phrase, have lived ‘under the Front national’.255 In some areas, it is true that the FN councils have had to involve themselves in lowlevel community matters ‘through a more active engagement on the ground’.256 Here there has been very little room for ideology and a specifically nationalist approach; the councils’ emphasis on the people, and placating the people, is the only real sign of their nation-related approach. However, in the realms of culture and immigration the FN has worn its heart on its sleeve. In these spheres the discourse of party representatives has been overwhelmingly ideological and, often, confrontational. It has been argued by van Eeuwen that the FN has thrived in the towns of the Midi because ‘the collective identity (of the towns) had broken’;257 there was thus a fear and unease and, consequently, a search for scapegoats, with immigrants, and ‘foreigners’ in a more general sense, bearing the brunt of FN rhetoric. The FN argument has been that previous administrations have ‘privileged foreigners’, and therefore, the new councils have sought to impose a pro-French policy agenda, often in the crudest of terms (like,

218 Nationalism in a local context for example, changing the names of roads: from Avenue Mitterrand to Avenue Marseille and from Place Nelson Mandela to Place de Provence).258 There have also been other, more subtle signals: the celebrations in Toulon to mark the thirty-fifth anniversary of the pieds noirs landings, Bompard’s visit to SacréCoeur to ‘consecrate’ his town, the honouring of the French language at a special festival in Toulon, Catherine Mégret’s desire to ‘avenge’ Joan of Arc and the protest at the profanation of two French flags in Vitrolles. Here is significant evidence – pertinent indicators of the state of the FN psyche. In fact, there seems to be an almost spiritual dimension to the FN’s municipal nationalism – an emotive cri de coeur in favour of the history and identity of the nation and, in a very simplistic way, in favour of France and Frenchness. Here the perspective of Français d’abord in the aftermath of the Châteauvallon saga was illustrative: ‘The symbol of triumphant cosmopolitanism is no more’.259 But this pro-nation agenda has, quite predictably, crystallised opposition to the FN councils. As we have noted already, a plethora of anti-FN groups have emerged across the four conquered towns. In addition, an array of anti-FN demonstrations have been staged and among the many bizarre snubs aimed at the new administrations, the children of Monsieur and Madame Le Chevallier were refused admittance to a Catholic school. This embryonic form of ‘apartheid’ was the ultimate riposte to FN rule and, more significantly perhaps, to the council’s value system. As Pacquet, the ‘demon’ of Châteauvallon, has said: ‘It is Toulon which is rebelling, which does not want to enter the twenty-first century’.260 That said, it is noticeable how each council has developed its own distinct personality. Clearly, as Soudais argues, the character of each mayor and the specific circumstances present in each of the three towns has had a significant influence on the nature of FN rule; thus, while in Toulon and Marignane – on the whole – the FN-led councils have tried to steer a moderate path, the administration led by Bompard in Orange has, in the words of Soudais, borne the hallmark of ‘radicalisation’. Whatever the precise verdict, it is obvious that, in the words of Catherine Mégret, the FN councils have been fighting for ‘the defence of our values’.261 At the onset of this chapter the words of Jean-Yves Le Gallou suggested that FN rule was not a revolutionary change and that life would go on as normal. Maybe so, but in many ways the party, spurred on by Le Pen, has used the conquered towns as laboratories in which to experiment and, as we have seen, the results have often been unpredictable and controversial.

Figure 4.1 Mieux Vivre à Toulon. In Toulon the FN fought the 1995 Municipal elections on the basis of this programme: ‘Live Better in Toulon’. The idyllic harbour scene can be seen as emblematic of the FN’s vision for the south-coast city – but Jean-Marie Le Chevallier’s reign as mayor has been characterised more by controversy than anything else.

Figure 4.2 Le Bon Sens. Within FN discourse there is an ever-present emphasis on simple rules and traditional values – often summed up in the phrase ‘le bon sens’ (‘common sense’). The FN is intensely proud of the ‘concrete’ values it upholds and likes to think of itself as overtly unideological (ideology, in the FN’s way of thinking, is connected to the ‘scientific’ socialistcommunist left). Here, Jacques Bompard, FN mayor of Orange, appeals to voters in the 1997 Legislative elections.


Nationality, immigration: THE POLITICIANS ARE SELLING OFF FRANCE. (Front-page headline, Français d’abord, Dec 1997) The French people must remain a generous people if it wants to stay united and capable of prolonging into the next millennium the dazzling line which our fathers have traced over centuries and centuries. (Jean-Marie Le Pen, 1997 speech) I love an open France – not the France of Jean-Marie Le Pen. (Gérard Pacquet, Combattre le Front National)

The contention of many writers – including Perrineau, Martinet, Bihr and Hazereesingh – is that the rise of the FN and its political ideas can be linked in some general way to a ‘crisis of the nation’; and that in some quite sinister fashion the party of Jean-Marie Le Pen represents a rather dark and unpleasant brand of populist nationalism.1 This may or may not be the case, but the fact is that after fifteen years of steady electoral consolidation – and political controversy – the discourse and ideology of the FN cannot now be ignored. This study has not been an examination of the FN’s political emergence or a consideration of the party’s policy perspective. Rather it has introduced the nationalist ideology of the FN and sought to analyse the framework of political ideas around which it is based. Discourse and ideas naturally evolve into doctrine and policy, and although some areas of policy have been considered, where appropriate, the focus has remained the structure of party discourse: the emphasis on the nation and on the threats that, in the FN’s view, jeopardise national integrity. Although the FN is a



relatively new political formation, its discourse is neither monolithic nor uniform. Indeed, it is a product of a variety of sources – of Paris and the regional federations, of a multitude of party factions, but also of different writers, theorists and eras – and thus it is hardly surprising that it lacks cogency in certain areas. It is perhaps kinder to talk in terms of the ‘pluralism’ and ‘plurality’ of the FN’s discourse and ideology.2 The nationalism of the FN is an instinct. For Martinet there are four key undercurrents: an overwhelming hostility to immigration and to national ‘decadence’ and a powerful belief in tradition and the notion of ‘France for the French’.3 In this study, however, we have seen how the party’s ideology translates into different attitudes – patriotism, xenophobia, racism, protection, preference. At times it is best understood through the icons it chooses to uphold: ‘the people’ (of France), ‘the territory’ (of France) and ‘the heroes’ (of France). At others, as Cambadélis and Osmond make plain, it is helpful to view the party as the heir to previous extreme rights.4 It is clear that the aim of party discourse is, first and foremost, to emphasise the importance of the nation. It is impossible to understand or explain the doctrine and policy of the FN without first acknowledging and comprehending this concentration on the nation. It shapes and conditions all the important features of the party’s doctrinal outlook. This it does by recourse to the concept of identity; in effect, the passionate need to define oneself in relation to what one is and is not. Here, the philosophy espoused by the FN is founded on the distinction between ‘the self’ and ‘the other’. The instinct of exclusion embodied by FN discourse correlates exactly with these terms: le moi, or the nation, repelling ‘the other’ or the foreigner. Moreover, the protection of ‘the self’ gives rise directly to notions of ‘national resistance’, ‘national preference’, ‘national fraternity’, and ultimately, the ‘national question’. It is clear that when Michel Winock’s framework of nationalism is adopted, the FN sits alongside Maurice Barrés, Charles Maurras and Vichy in its ‘closed’ nationalist outlook. There are some spasmodic indications to the contrary – the party’s strong republicanism and its reliance on Ernest Renan, the epitome of ‘open’ nationalism, in official literature – but FN discourse remains bound to patterns of national defence, preservation and survival. These instincts are particularly obvious in the realm of discourse on the French regions and Europe. Even though the FN is content to endorse both, the argument of Le Pen and his colleagues is that the nation should still hold pre-eminence over the regions and the particular European structure the party promotes. Le Pen proclaims himself a regionalist, proud of his Breton heritage, and also a European, loyal to the vision of a ‘Europe of nations’, but these attachments are dependent on, and subservient

Conclusion 223 to, belief in the French nation as the primary point of reference for nationalists. Thus, the nation’s integrity has to be protected from what the FN views as misplaced conceptions of regionalism and Europeanism. The party opposes separatism, autonomism and secessionism precisely because these ‘perversions’ of regionalism bring the dismemberment of the nation in their wake. Similarly, the FN is hostile to any European construction that waters down or negates the substance of nationhood. The party’s conception of a ‘Europe of nations’ is therefore designed to bolster the continent’s political influence with no loss of national identity for component states. In its depiction of nationhood and in its vision of France, FN discourse plays heavily on symbolism. It is significant that the party lays strong emphasis on the images of ‘the people’ and ‘the land’, important dimensions of the national idea that play an important role in defining and explaining what, in the FN’s view, it means to be French. The FN’s adulation of Joan of Arc can also be interpreted as an attempt, albeit simplistic and problematic, to identify the nation with one person, one image and one myth. It is clear that a thin line separates the use of symbolism from propaganda, a divide that is breached by the extreme glorification that accompanies the FN’s interest in Joan. The contemporary debate between those who believe in an ‘open’ nation and those who believe that France should be ‘closed’ to outside elements – in essence a confrontation between left-wing and right-wing brands of nationalism5 – has given the FN a prime opportunity to develop its ideas on national preference and exclusion. In particular, the issue of the nationality code has emphasised the divide between the FN, which argues that national belonging should be based primarily on blood, and other political groupings to the left, who have championed a more liberal interpretation of nationality. Although the FN’s justification of exclusion as a philosophy and as a specific policy stance has its contradictions and incoherencies, it is obvious that party writers have aimed to provide the FN with a logical rationale for its exclusionist rhetoric and for its belief in what one observer has called, a ‘fictive French ethnicity’.6 For instance, the party’s attitude towards France’s North African immigrant population is based on a vehement critique of Islam. It is viewed as an expansionist and threatening religion, incompatible with the norms of French society. Party polemics have discerned the threat of North African, Arab, Muslim immigration in many areas; the inner-city, education and in the construction of mosques. This immigrant ‘threat’ is made all the more potent, so FN leaders argue, because of the dramatic French/immigrant birth-rate differential. As with much extreme-right discourse earlier this century, the dangers inherent in population stagnation are dramatically exposed. This leads on, naturally, to a call for a return to traditional values. For the FN, women should be consigned to



the home and paid a salary for staying there. Their job, it is argued, is the most noble one: securing the future of France by having lots of children. The argument here is that without French babies there is no France – an unequivocal endorsement of determinism. Too often, it could be argued, the political doctrine of the FN has been dismissed as simplistic and crude, as either racist, neo-fascist or anti-Semitic, as uncoordinated and anti-intellectual. As this study has suggested in places, there are grounds for many, if not all, of these accusations. However, if there is one important conclusion to emerge from this study it is that FN discourse revolves around several important political ideas and a discernible internal logic, albeit unpolished. Nation and identity are of course the most obvious and important political ideas embraced by the FN, but underpinning these are other concepts: exclusion, hierarchy, inequality and equilibrium. There is also a reliance on nature, on what is perceived by the FN to be ‘natural’ – a highly subjective and unsophisticated platform on which to base an ideology and a discourse. Clearly, party discourse contains its irrational features, hypocrisies and contradictions, but it also incorporates a clear, if simple, rationale. At its most basic this logic says that everything within the nation is good and beneficial, and everything that is without the nation is harmful and threatening. Here it is easy to understand the party’s claim that it has a doctrine – based on a set of guideline principles – rather than an ideology; there is no attempt at a scientific elaboration of political belief – just a constant emphasis on the eternal relevance of important socio-political realities like the nation and the family. FN discourse therefore concentrates on demarcating the good from the bad. Ecology, for example, is a positive and wholesome political concern because the land that surrounds the people of France is not just soil and earth but the fibre of national life. According to this logic: if the countryside is harmed, it is the nation of France that is harmed too. By contrast immigration is viewed as a negative, threatening political phenomenon because it bestows on France people and ways of life that are not compatible with those of the French nation. Here, the concept of ‘the self’ rejecting ‘the other’ is crucial. It is hard also to ignore the fact that the discourse of the FN thrives on the power of simplistic rhetoric and propaganda. It is right, as we have done, to acknowledge the simple logic at the heart of FN nationalism, but it should also be said that there is a high propaganda content in party strictures, and as such the propaganda office at party headquarters is appropriately named. Indeed, publicity, advertising and propaganda are important concerns for the FN – a political formation devoid of favourable media coverage and thus forced to rely on posters, slogans and roadside political meetings. Elementary and uncomplicated sloganising has become a hallmark of the FN’s political activity, a fact illustrated best perhaps by the controversial poster that proclaimed:

Conclusion 225 ‘Three million unemployed is three million immigrants too many! France and the people of France first!’ This type of tactic is an omnipresent facet of party discourse – as important in many ways as some of the key theoretical undercurrents.7 It is the appearance of catchy political gimmicks and the emergence of a personality cult around Le Pen that give credence to some of the more outrageous accusations thrust at the FN and its leader. Thus, by its very appearance, this book is testimony to the fact that the extreme right in contemporary France exists and is a major political force. It has emerged as an important political grouping because it has acquired a consistent level of electoral support – at regional, national and European level – but also, more importantly, because of the discourse it has expounded. This discourse is significant for a number of reasons. In an intellectual sense, the political ideas embraced by the FN present a fascinating area for analysis. In addition to the debate surrounding ‘closed’ and ‘open’ nationalism – there are important references to Renan, Barrès and Maurras throughout FN writings – a number of historical parallels are on offer. Winock for example, in his depiction of the ideology of national populism, likens the doctrine of Lepenism to that of Boulangism. The crude, street-level populism of the FN could be likened equally to that of the inter-war leagues, and in a different sense to the ‘anti-system’ mentality of the Poujadists in the 1950s. Comparative analysis is of course problematic, but significant echoes and links can be identified. In its traditionalist philosophy – the attitude shown towards women and the yearning for a more rural, agricultural society in particular – the FN emerges also, partly, as the heir to Vichy and the National Revolution. The idea of a continuity here is reinforced by the FN’s self-proclaimed adhesion to the political values embodied by the Vichy government of Marshal Pétain: ‘Work, Family, Country’. The FN is unambiguous in its attachment to these ‘concrete realities’, and equally unflinching in its hostility to the ‘abstract’ values, ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’, proclaimed two centuries ago by the revolutionaries and now, the party argues, by the PS and recent Socialist administrations. We should also remember that FN discourse is the product of many significant factors. It has evolved gradually, and discernibly, over the last three decades, and at various junctures it has been moulded and shaped by a combination of events, personalities, and political developments (both inside and outside France). It has also been subject to other influences: most notably, the pressure and political zeal of factions and constituencies within the FN coalition and the local agenda-setting of the regional federations. These are all important variables and in certain contexts they can have a considerable impact on the discourse of the FN, and its policy-making.



Since June 1995 we have also had the evidence of the FN ‘in power’. As a political development, this has not only been of profound importance but, in equal measure, it has fascinated and intrigued onlookers and bystanders. And, not unnaturally, a new discourse has emerged in the four Midi towns with FN mayors. The stress has been on new and interesting themes: on ‘common sense’, on respect for council procedures, and on local and national ‘preference’. While in some spheres the FN-led administrations have had to grapple with the predictable diet of low-level community issues – on which it has been difficult or impossible to impose an ideology – it has also been the case that in others, most notably culture and immigration, the new mayors have had the necessary leeway and have, as a consequence, paraded a fierce nationalism. While the concept of national preference has been central to this ideology and value system, there has also been a strong emphasis on roots, traditionalism, and local and national pride. In a political context the influence of FN discourse has also been substantial. Most obviously, the FN has attracted widespread electoral support for its ideas and policies. In particular its stance on the immigration issue has found significant popular backing. Indeed, even though the party’s broad electoral support on a national scale has never really gone beyond 10–15 per cent, on the narrow issue of immigration policy its popularity is supplemented by an ability to appeal to voters beyond its natural ‘extreme right’ constituency. An opinion survey published by Le Figaro in 1990 reflected this point: 31 per cent of all voters indicated that they were in accord with the FN on the immigration issue, while 18 per cent said that if Le Pen entered a rightwing government he should be given the immigration portfolio.8 As a consequence of such sentiments, it has been a natural step for the other political parties in France to look rightwards for more votes. In practice this has meant that the mainstream right has undergone a process of policy radicalisation – a vain but not altogether unsuccessful attempt at imitating the FN in order to attract voters away from it. This political phenomenon – the rightward shift of the whole political spectrum – is perhaps the best indicator of the influence of FN discourse and doctrine. At the junctures when this process has been most marked, Le Pen has proclaimed that the people of France ‘prefer the original to the copy’. At such times the FN leader must be angry, but also flattered that his policies are being aped – to a large extent by the RPR/UDF coalition and to a small, but no less significant, degree by the PS. The policies on immigration and nationality promoted, but not necessarily executed, by the Cohabitation government of Jacques Chirac (1986– 8) are important in this context, as are the changes proposed by right-wing governments since 1993.9

Conclusion 227 The FN’s influence on the chemistry of contemporary French politics has been immense. From our perspective, however, the significance and most enduring legacy of the FN revolves around the issues and political ideas that now dominate political debate. There is one view, for example, which suggests that the nation stands at the focal-point of this debate. In this context, the role of the FN has been substantial. In helping push issues like immigration, nationality code reform and Europe to the top of the political agenda, the party has given itself a stage on which to develop its discourse and to influence the policy process. In each area the nation – and more specifically, the profile of the French nation – has been the battleground and the paramount concern. The issue of immigration, for instance, is bound up implicitly with fundamental questions concerning the nation and national identity. As Le Quotidien de Paris has argued, ‘Immigration, in posing the problem of identity, crystallises all the preoccupations of the people of France...things that touch the heart of the nation: history, secularism, bioethics and ecology’.10 The debate has been fought out between those who believe that welcoming foreigners enriches the French nation – much in line with the ideals of ‘open’ nationalism – and those, like the FN, who argue that immigrant communities in France bring with them insoluble social, political and economic problems. According to Le Quotidien: ‘The national question now pits those who defend a certain reality of France (like Le Pen) with those who want to found it upon a certain idea of the world (the cosmopolitans)’.11 The FN position on ‘the national question’ is based on defence, preservation and exclusion, and in accordance with the key pillars of ‘closed’ nationalism, FN discourse seeks to control the make-up of the French nation – ensuring what it describes as national equilibrium. The FN is completely hostile to the concept of integration – foreign cultures enriching French culture by modifying it – because such a policy seeks an artificial solution to the immigration problem. Instead it argues that the integrity of the nation can only be safeguarded by a policy of assimilation; if immigrants are to be allowed access into France, they must, in the FN’s view, agree to give up their native culture and assimilate themselves into the French nation. Otherwise, they must be excluded. Le Gallou has summed up the matter as follows: ‘Assimilation is belonging like the other in the others’ home. Insertion (or integration) is living like yourself in the others’ home’.12 The subject of nationality legislation reform – a constant feature of political debate in the 1980s and the 1990s – also hinges on the fundamental question of what is a nation. More specifically, this controversy revolves around how nationality is to be determined: blood or soil? While the mainstream view states that anyone born in France should be given the opportunity to acquire French nationality, the perspective of the FN (and of some other sections of the right) is that only those born of French



parents should be granted this privilege. Here, the debate surrounding the nation is put into clear focus: the French nation as one large family, exclusive, and based on a blood line, or France as an open, welcoming and undemarcated entity? In a different sense the contemporary debate over Europe also centres on issues of nationhood. The referendum on Maastricht revealed the FN to be the most vigorous and most effective anti-Socialist, anti-Maastricht force. In campaigning for a ‘No’ vote, Le Pen and his party argued that a federal Europe would negate national identities.13 For the FN a Europe based on common economic interests would be the first step on the road to world homogeneity, with this economics-based unity gradually dissolving sovereign nations and watering down national particularities. The Maastricht debate gave the FN a superb chance to promote its own view of a confederal Europe, ‘a Europe of nations’ – a new geo-political bloc, respectful of individual national identities and founded upon the idea of a common European civilisation. The main issues and controversies in contemporary French politics are therefore enveloped, to a considerable degree, by the concepts of nation, nationhood and nationality. Two centuries on from the French Revolution, the pre-eminent political debate still centres on the nation and what exactly constitutes it. The question today does not revolve around the King, the aristocracy and the Third Estate, nor directly around issues of representation and enfranchisement. Instead it revolves around the contours of Frenchness or ‘francité’ – what it is, and what it means to be French. The FN, it should be made clear, has acted as an important catalyst in this process. Its zealous but unsophisticated emphasis on the nation has played a significant part in hoisting issues of nationhood and nationality to the summit of the political agenda. For Le Pen and his party the crux of the matter is simple. Without French babies, without a defined heritage and without a barrier excluding the non-French, the nation is nothing. The view is that France is not just a geographical space open to anyone, but a family line with a specific identity. The words of Eric Iorio encapsulate the quintessence of FN discourse: France is a product of its history and its past, but France is changing – there are more immigrants, Muslims and mosques. In short, it is not the same France as before. Of 50 million people half will soon be Catholics and half Muslims, with possibly 50 per cent immigrants. Yes, you can still call it France, but it is another France.14


Introduction 1.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

7. 8.

9. 10.

La France blafarde (J.-C. Cambadélis and E. Osmond, Paris, Plon, 1998), Le Spectre de l’extrême droite (A. Bihr, Paris, l’Atelier, 1998), Une Tragédie bien française (B. Renouvin, Paris, Ramsay, 1997) and Hitler Le Pen Mégret (R. Castells, Paris, Castells, 1998). See opinion polls quoted in Français d’abord, Sep 1997 (1st fortnight) and Dec 1997 (2nd fortnight). See Renouvin, op. cit., p.11 and M. Samson, Le Front National aux Affaires, Paris, Calmann-Lévy, 1997, p.11. S. Hazareesingh, Political Traditions in Modern France, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1994, p.124. But Le Pen’s role as leader of the party is now under threat from Bruno Mégret, his deputy. See The European, 1–7 Jan 1998. See Les dossiers tricolores de National hebdo, no.3 and Militer au front, Paris, Editions Nationales, 1991, pp.13–18 (and Français Passionnement! La Vie de Jean-Marie Le Pen en bande dessinée, Supplement to La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Mar 1995 [no.213]) for the FN’s depiction of its own rise; for more on the significance of the 1995 Presidential poll, see P. Perrineau, ‘Le FN 95: une question de droite posée à la gauche’ in J. Viard, Aux sources du populisme nationaliste, Saint Etienne, Editions de l’Aube, 1996, pp.67–75. See also M. Winock, Histoire de l’extrême droite, Paris, Seuil, 1994, pp.243–99; and Chapter 4 of this book for more on the FN’s municipal bastions. See Le Monde, 27, 28 and 29 May 1997 and also 21 Mar 1998. See Le Monde International, 26 Mar 1998, 4 Apr 1998 and 25 Apr 1998; see also Français d’abord, Mar 1998 (no.275). This phrase was originally used in the FN programme, Pour la France (PLF), Paris, Albatros, 1985, pp.18–21; see also Bruno Gollnisch in National hebdo, 4–10 Apr 1996 (no.611) – the established parties are viewed as ‘les collabos de la decadence’ – and ‘SOS-Hystérie: Les Anti-Le Pen’, Les Tribunes Libres de National hebdo. See Identité, May–Jun 1989 (no.1). Barrès and Maurras are still honoured; see La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 1 Oct 1990 (no.122), Perspectives pour l’Europe des patries, Winter/Dec 1989 (supplement de liaison FNJ-Paris). Additionally, in a more general sense, the FN





14. 15. 16. 17.

18. 19.


21. 22. 23.


25. 26. 27.

Notes exhibits a reverence for other significant historical and literary figures, as elucidated in the ‘Que lire’ feature in National hebdo. George Sorel, Henri Vaugeois, Jean Follain and Camille Jullian have all been featured recently. See 300 Mesures pour la Renaissance de la France: Front National Programme de Gouvernement, Paris, Editions Nationales, 1993; see also ‘Notre vocation à gouverner’, Français d’abord, Apr 1997 (no.255) and A la rencontre du Front National: Pour une alternative nationale (FN brochure, c.1997); see also Français d’abord, Jun 1997 (no.260), Nov 1997 (2nd fortnight), Le Monde International, 4 Oct 1997. See Hazareesingh, op. cit., pp.138–49. See also FN election leaflet, 20 and 27 Mar 1994, J.-Y. Le Gallou, L’Inéluctable échec de Balladur, Paris, Editions Nationales, 1993 and Un an de Gouvernement RPR–UDF: Mais où est le changement? (FN brochure c.1994). One graph in the FN press illustrated the rise in French unemployment (from 1.4 per cent in 1960 to 12.6 per cent in 1996); the view is that France’s experience has been very different from that of the Western World as a whole, and this is blamed on Chirac; see National hebdo, 10–16 Oct 1996 (no.638), La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Feb 1995 (no.211) and Français d’abord, Mar 1996 (no.232). ‘Oui, ils sont nécessaires’ in Français d’abord, Oct 1995 (no.223); see also interview with Cyril de Beketch (Sep 1995). FN publicity material c.1997. Français d’abord, Jun 1997 (no.260). National hebdo, 29 Nov–5 Dec 1990 (no.332); as if to emphasise this general issue, the FN produced a publicity leaflet, ‘Mains propres et tête haute...’ (Legislative elections, 1993). Le contrat pour la France avec les français, 1995 campaign brochure, p.5; see also La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Oct 1994 (no.204). See Français d’abord, May 1996 (no.236), La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Jul 1994 (no.200) and also Les priorités sociales du Front national (emploi, famille, protection sociale) published by Carl Lang, head of the FN list in the Nord, 1998 Regional elections. Fraternité française has an overtly national agenda e.g. ‘les français aident les français’; see La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Jul 1994 (no.200) – ‘luttons contre le chomage des français’ – and Jul 1993 (no.179); note also the tone of the FN poster: ‘faillite de l’education nationale’. See 300 Mesures, pp.24–50 & pp.276–98 and Français d’abord, Mar 1997 (no.253). See Français d’abord, Oct 1996 (no.244). See P. Jouve and A. Magoudi, Les Dits et les non-dits de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Paris, Editions la découverte, 1988, pp.145–53 and pp.165–72; Le Mode selection hebdomadaire, 13 Dec 1997. Catherine Mégret was given a three-month suspended prison sentence and a 50,000 franc fine for her ‘racist’ comments, while Le Chevallier was invalidated as the parliamentary representative for Toulon. Editions Nationales, 1995–6 catalogue; the FN’s Internet address is The World Cup publicity stickers were issued in the summer of 1998. E. Roussel, Le Cas Le Pen, Paris, Lattès, 1985; A. Rollat, Les Hommes de l’extrême droite, Paris, Caiman Lévy, 1985, A. Tristan, Au Front, Paris, Gallimard, 1987.

Notes 231 28. 29.

30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35.

36. 37.

38. 39. 40.

41. 42.

43. 44.

N. Mayer and P. Perrineau, Le Front National à découvert, Paris, Presses de la Fondation Nationales des Sciences Politiques, 1989. P. Perrineau, ‘Le Front national: 1972–1994’ in M. Winock, Histoire de l’extrême droite, Paris, Seuil, 1994; see also M. Winock, Nationalisme, antisémitisme et fascisme en France, Paris, Editions du Seuil, 1990. G. Birenbaum, Le Front National en politique, Paris, Editions Balland, 1992; C. Bourseiller, Extrême Droite, Paris, Bourin, 1991. J.F. Sirinelli, Histoire des droites en France, Paris, Gallimard, 1992. R. Monzat, Enquêtes sur la droite extrême, Paris, Le Monde-Editions, 1992. E. Plenel and A. Rollat, La République menacée: dix ans de l’effet Le Pen, Paris, Le Monde-Editions, 1992. P. Birnbaum, ‘La France aux Français’: histoire des haines nationalistes, Paris, Seuil, 1993, pp.320–3. H.-G. Betz, Radical Right-Wing Populism in Western Europe, New York, St. Martin’s Press, 1994, pp.128–9; see also M. Soudais, Le Front National en face, Paris, Flammarion, 1996. P. Perrineau, Le Symptôme Le Pen, Paris, Fayard, 1997. See J. Marcus, The National Front and French Politics: The Resistible Rise of JeanMarie Le Pen, London, Macmillan, 1995, pp.172–5 and H. Simmons, The French National Front: The Extremist Challenge to Democracy, Oxford, Westview, 1996, pp.217–18. M. Robert, Petit manuel anti-FN, Paris, Golias, 1998; N. Gauthier, L’extrême droite, Paris, Casterman, 1998. D. Martin-Castelnau (ed.), Combattre le Front National, Paris, Vinci, 1995. Nouvel observateur, La France qui dit Non, Paris, Maisonneuve and Larose, 1997; see also P.-A. Taguieff, Les fins de l’antiracisme, Paris, Michalon, 1995 and La Couleur et le sang, Paris, Mille et une nuits, 1998. B. Reumaux and P. Breton, L’appel de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, La Nuée Bleue, 1997. See Castells, op. cit.; see also C. Fourest and F. Venner, Le Guide des Sponsors du Front National, Paris, Castells, 1998 and C. Clamecy, Lettre à un ami qui part pour le Front, Paris, Arléa, 1998. For more on these important subjects, see Perrineau, op. cit., Plenel and Rollat, op. cit and Birenbaum, op. cit. A. Touraine, Le Monde, 13 Mar 1990.

1 The contours of FN nationalism: influences and emphases 1.

2. 3. 4.

J.B. Thompson, Studies in the Theory of Ideology, Cambridge, Polity, 1984, p.4. See also the following for other interesting perspectives on political ideology: R. Eatwell and A. Wright (eds), Contemporary Political Ideologies, London, Pinter, 1993 and M. Seliger, Ideology and Politics, London, Allen and Unwin, 1976. Militer au front, op. cit., p.12. Ibid., p.12; see J. Madiran, Extrême droite? Ah non, assez!, Paris, Présent, 1993; see also Bihr, op. cit., p.178 and Cambadélis and Osmond, op. cit., p.476. For more on the different dimensions to discourse see, for example, R. Fowler, Literary Criticism, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1986 and J. Joseph and T. Taylor (eds), Ideologies of Language, London, Routledge, 1990; on ideology see T. Eagleton, Ideology, London, Verso, 1991, p.201.

232 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

13. 14.

15. 16. 17. 18. 19.

20. 21. 22.

23. 24.

25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30.

Notes Simmons, op. cit., p.217; see also M. Souchard et al., Le Pen Les mots, Paris, Le Monde, 1997, p.120. Bihr, op. cit., p.141. See, for example, Perrineau, op. cit. and Mayer and Perrineau, op. cit. See R. Girardet, Nationalismes et Nation, Paris, Complexe, 1996, p.49 and Perrineau, op. cit., p.62. Le Monde, 27 Apr 1988 (reprinted in Plenel and Rollat, op. cit.). SOFRES Opinion Publique 1985, Paris, SOFRES, 1986. See Winock (1994), op. cit., Birenbaum, op. cit., and Monzat, op. cit. Birenbaum, op. cit., p.68; this trend has continued – Editions Nationales is now almost an industry in itself and there has been a discernible move towards more professional marketing; see also J. Shields, ‘Campaigning from the fringe’, in J. Gaffney (ed.), The French Presidential Elections of 1988, Aldershot, Dartmouth, c.1989, p.144. Birenbaum, op. cit., p.67; see also J. Hayward et al., Developments in French Politics, London, Macmillan, 1990, pp.26–7 and Shields, op. cit., p.151. B. Jenkins and S. Sofos, Nation and Identity in Contemporary Europe, London, Routledge, 1996, p.1; see also Bourseiller, op. cit., p.83, Soudais, op. cit., p.282–3 and Birenbaum, op. cit., p.68. Winock (1994), op. cit., pp.244–5; see also Simmons, op.cit., p.216 and Birenbaum, op. cit., p.63. Soudais, op. cit., pp.117–20; see also La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Sep 1995 (no.222). J.-M. Le Pen quoted in the Front National Passeport pour la victoire (PV), Paris, Supplement to La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Mar 1988 (no.70), p.80. Roussel, op.cit., p.75. See Birenbaum, op. cit., p.63 and Simmons, op. cit., pp.61–3; refer also to ‘Are you a democrat?’ in J.-M. Le Pen, Les Français d’abord, Paris, Editions CarrereMichel Lafon, 1984, pp.177–8, and note also the FN’s language in the 1995 Presidential election campaign e.g. ‘Tournons la page en avant pour la 6é Rep’. Shields, op. cit., p.148. Volontaire, Nov 1983 (no.6). All the key people at the top of the FN have their own personal preferences; Madame Stirbois, for example, told me she preferred the ideas of Barrès and Maurras to Renan (interview, 18 Sep 1991). See Chapter 2; see also Bourseiller, op. cit., pp.88–9. See PV, op. cit., pp.24–5. Even though les harkis are native Algerian Arabs, they fought for the French forces between 1954 and 1962; their cause is still championed by the FN today. See later in this chapter for more on les anciens combattants. See The Times, 16 Apr 1996. See Militant, Feb 1977 (no.86), p.10–11; Le National, May–Jun 1979 (no.8) and Le National Sep–Oct 1980 (no.14). See Chapter 2. Simmons, op. cit., p.144 and p.159 and Marcus, op. cit., p.19. See Winock (1994), op. cit., p.246; it was in the period 1978–81 that the FN outlined what it saw as the relationship between immigration and insecurity. S. Mitra, ‘The National Front – a Single-Issue Movement?’, in K. Von Beyme (ed.), Right-wing Extremism in Western Europe, London, Cass, 1988.

Notes 233 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36.



39. 40.


42. 43. 44.

45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56.

Marcus, op. cit., p.104; this is reinforced by Shields, op. cit., pp.143–4 and Birenbaum, op. cit., p.68. See Militant, Jan 1978 (no.93); Militant spoke on behalf of the FN until 1981; see also Le National, Feb 1980 (no.12). See Marcus, op. cit., p.21; this poster was extremely controversial and became the subject of legal action. See Hayward et al., op. cit., p.27 and p.267. Simmons, op. cit., p.211; for more on GRECE see Monzat op. cit. See Birenbaum, op. cit., pp.64–5 and Simmons, op. cit., pp.216–24; Gregor’s exposition of the FN’s exclusionist philosophy is good evidence of this (see Chapter 3; see also Shields, op. cit. See Milza, op. cit., pp.424–9, Winock (1994), op.cit., pp.262–70 and Jouve and Magoudi, op. cit.; for more on Madame Mégret, see Libération, 1 Jul 1997 and Le Monde, 26 Apr 1997. Le Pen reiterated his views about the Holocaust in 1998; for more on the FN’s attitude towards the Jews, see Jouve and Magoudi, op. cit., pp.145–53 and pp.165– 72. It would be fair to say that the FN’s anti-semitism has evolved from crude, biological hostility to a more coded antipathy. See Militer au front, op. cit., pp.8–9. This change was heralded, and symbolised, by the publication of, S. Maréchal, Ni droite, ni gauche...Français: contre la pensée unique: l’autre politique; FN leaflets (entitled ‘Entrez au coeur du vrai débat’ c.1997) and publicity stickers also bore the same slogan. See Birenbaum, op. cit., p.67 and Simmons, op. cit., pp.223–4; J.-M. Le Gallou’s book, La Préférence nationale – published in association with the Club de l’Horloge (Paris, Editions Albin Michel, 1985) – is of profound importance in this respect. See also J.-C. Martinez, Cent Discours Pour la France: Le Front National à Strasbourg (Tome 1), Paris, Lettres du Monde, 1994, pp.151–262; see Tome 2, pp.229–336. See Militant, Mar–Apr 1975 (no.73) and Jul–Aug 1978 (no.98); for the FN l’Occident stood for christianity and latinity. PV, op. cit., p.59. J.-C. Martinez, Maastricht: le ‘Non’ de tous les miens, Paris, Lettres du monde, 1992, p.205; see also Les Priorités de Jean-Marie Le Pen (Presidential election brochure, 1995) and J.-M. Brissaud, La France en danger: Non à l’Europe de Maastricht, Limoges, Editions Nationales, 1994. Le National, Jan 1979 (no.7). See Jean-Marie Le Pen/Le Pen La France (Presidential election brochure, 1995). P. Bérard, Identité européene (IFN presentation), 14 Jun 1989, p.15. See Les Priorités de Jean-Marie Le Pen (Presidential election brochure). 1972–92: Le Front National à 20 ans (FN brochure, 1992). Ibid. Marcus, op. cit., quoted in pp108–9. See Marcus, op. cit., p.19. Winock (1994), op. cit., p.246. See Simmons, op. cit., p.215 and Droite et démocratie économique (Paris, Supplement to National hebdo, Oct 1984). Marcus, op. cit., p.109. S. Bastow, ‘Front National economic policy: from neo-liberalism to protectionism?’, Modern and Contemporary France, Vol. 5, No.1, Feb 1997, p.63.

234 57. 58.

59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76.

77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82.

83. 84.

85. 86. 87.


Notes Marcus, op. cit., pp.110–11. Bastow, op. cit.; for the FN’s up-to-date thinking on the economy, see the party programme entitled, Pour un Nouveau Protectionisme, Paris, Editions Nationales, c.1996. B. Mégret, La Trosième Voie, Paris, Editions Nationales, 1997, p.138. See Militant, Jul 1973 (no.56) and Le National, Feb–Mar 1978 (no.2); see also Le National, May 1981. Le Quotidien de Paris, 31 Mar–1 Apr 1990; see Bourseiller, op. cit., p.87. Simmons, op. cit., p.216. Pour la France (PLF), op. cit., pp.125–39. Bourseiller, op. cit., p.85. Militer au front, op. cit., p.126; see also Le National, Jun 1980. PV, op. cit., p.50. Le National, Feb–Mar 1978 (no.2). PLF, op. cit., pp.143–4. PV, op. cit., p.50. Militer au front, op. cit., p.109. Ibid., p.100 and pp.110–11. See Birenbaum, op. cit., pp.195–286 and Soudais, op. cit., pp.215–47; Bihr op.cit., pp.178–80. See Bourseiller, op. cit., pp.78–83; Monzat, op. cit., pp.292–8; and Soudais, op. cit., pp.184–7. Birenbaum, op. cit., pp.82–4. See Simmons, op. cit., pp.198–202; Birenbaum, op. cit., pp.209–10 and Bourseiller, op. cit., pp.78–83. Monzat op. cit., pp.292–8; on the potential for intra-movement tension see Soudais, op. cit., pp.186–94; see also Birenbaum, op. cit., pp.344–55 and Militer au front, op. cit., pp.32–5. Birenbaum, op. cit., p.210. Birenbaum, op. cit., pp.63–5. See Simmons, op. cit., pp.199–201, Bourseiller, op. cit., p.81 and pp.149–53 and Birenbaum, op. cit. p.153. Birenbaum, op. cit., p.247. See Birenbaum, op. cit., pp.346–8; LAGRIF equates to ‘la Lettre de l’Alliance générale contre le racisme et pour le respect de l’identité française et chrétienne’. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Nov 1993 (no.185); Birenbaum, op. cit., p.246; see also National hebdo, 17–23 Aug 1989 (no.265), 27 Sep–3 Oct 1990 (no.323) and 12–18 Sep 1996 (no.634). See Chapter 3 and National hebdo, 24 Oct 1985 (no.66). 15 Août 1989 (FN brochure, supplement to National hebdo, no.268); see also National hebdo, 10–16 Aug 1989 (no.264) and Bourseiller, op. cit., pp.80–1 (‘traditional catholics use the FN to distil a clearly anti-democratic message’). Bourseiller, op. cit., pp.80–1. Bourseiller, op. cit., pp.214–15; see also National hebdo, 13–19 Jul 1989 (no.260). See ‘Pour le Liban...pour la France’, National hebdo, 13–19 Apr 1989 (no.247); see also Les Tribunes Libre de National hebdo, Eglise de France: la Discorde, c.1990. National hebdo, 6–12 Apr 1989 (no.246); see also Birenbaum, op. cit., p.353 (c.85 per cent of FN delegates to the 1990 Nice party conference were Catholic; only 21 per cent were ‘very regular’ in their religious practice).

Notes 235 89. The FN only receives moderately strong support from Catholics at elections. For example, 8 per cent of practising Catholics voted for Le Pen in the Presidential elections of 1995 (see Le Monde, 25 Apr 1995); see also Marcus, op. cit., p.56 and Birenbaum, op. cit., p.353. 90. Soudais, op. cit., p.189 see also Birenbaum, op. cit., p.344–7; Arrighi, FredericDupont, Comte Porteu de la Morandiere and Holeindre are the more high-profile veterans; Le Pen is very proud of his service in Algeria (see Français Passionnement! La Vie de Jean-Marie Le Pen en bande dessinée, Supplement to La Lettre de JeanMarie Le Pen, Mar 1995 [no.213]) and has argued in favour of imperialism; see Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.240 and J.-M. Le Pen, L’Espoir, Paris, Editions Albatros, 1989, pp.38–9. 91. Birenbaum, op. cit., pp.227–34; see also Journal du Cercle National des Combattants, 1995, p.1. 92. See Birenbaum, op. cit., pp.232. 93. FN Anti-Joxe rally, Jan 1991; see also La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Jan 1992 (no. 149), Marcus, op. cit., p.57 (Carmoux in the Bouches-du-Rhône boasts the highest percentage of pieds noirs in its population; here 32.8 per cent of people voted FN). 94. See Chapter 3. 95. Mégret has called this ‘colonisation in reverse’; see Chapter 3. 96. Milza, op. cit., pp.400–11; see also Simmons, op. cit., p.36. 97. Birenbaum, op. cit., p.355. 98. See PLF, op. cit., pp.18–23. 99. Marcus, op. cit., p.110. 100. See Commercants, artisans, PME...Il faut réagir (FN leaflet c.1996–7). 101. See La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Oct 1993 (no.184) and Jun 1994 (no.198), Français d’abord, April 1996 (no.235), National hebdo, 8–14 Aug 1996 (no.629) and supplement to Français d’abord, Oct 1996 (no.244). 102. Commercants, artisans, PME...Il faut réagir (FN leaflet c.1996–7). 103. See the following leaflets: Cercle des Citoyens Contribuables – La Réforme Fiscale contre le Chomage (ASIREF/FIREF), La Lettre au Contribuable, Sep 1995 (no.59), Feb/Mar 1996 (no.63) and May 1996 (no.65). 104. Simmons, op. cit., p.201 and pp.211–15, Birenbaum, op. cit., p.103, pp.344–8 and p.355 (35.4 per cent of FN delegates with a political past have been involved in the RPR, UDF, UDR (Union des Démocratie pour la République), UNR (Union pour la Nouvelle République), or RPF (Rassemblement du peuple français), Milza, op.cit., Chapter 7, Monzat, op. cit., p.216, and Soudais, op.cit., p.194; see A.-M. DurantonCrabol, Visages de la Nouvelle Droite: le GRECE et son histoire, Paris, Pressses de la Fondation des Sciences Politique, 1988. 105. Monzat, op. cit., p.226. 106. Bourseiller, op. cit., p.84. 107. Marcus, op. cit., p.109. 108. Monzat, op. cit., p.226; Milza, op. cit., pp.411–12, Rollat and Plenel, op. cit., pp.235–41, Bourseiller, op. cit., pp.32–6, Simmons, op. cit., pp.201–2, Soudais, op. cit., p.189 and Birenbaum, op. cit., p.345. 109. Soudais, op. cit., pp.193–5. 110. National hebdo, 31 Oct–6 Nov 1996 (no. 641); see also Bourseiller, op. cit., p.97; Birenbaum, op. cit., p.67, and Le Gallou (1985), op. cit. 111. Wagner, a lawyer, ex-député and former editor of Présent, defended the FN over the



113. 114. 115. 116. 117. 118. 119. 120. 121.

122. 123.

124. 125.

126. 127. 128. 129. 130. 131. 132. 133. 134. 135. 136. 137. 138. 139. 140. 141. 142.

Notes poster, ‘Immigration: ouvrez les yeux’; see La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Feb 1990 (no. 109); see also Bourseiller, op. cit., p.141. Bourseiller, op. cit., pp.81–2: FN Catholics are ‘royalistes, intégristes de la foi’; one of Jean-Marie Le Chevallier’s political aides in Toulon told me, in all seriousness, that his political life was ‘guided by St Louis’. See National hebdo, 15–21 Jun 1989 (no.256), 13–19 Jul 1989 (no.260), 20–6 Jul 1989 (no.261) and 17–23 Aug 1989 (no.265). 15 Août 1989 (FN brochure, supplement to National hebdo, no.268). La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 April 1992 (no.155). Ibid., May 1995 (no.216). Take, for example, Alain Jamet in National hebdo, 20–6 Jun 1996 (no.622). Birenbaum, op. cit., p.65. Militer au front, op. cit., p.29. Marcus, op. cit., pp.39–41. As reflected in la Fête Bleu Blanc Rouge; see La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Oct 1994 (no.204) and Le Pen’s brochure, Tour de France en 42 jours (supplement to La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, July 1995 [no.219]). Birenbaum, op. cit., pp.69–70; see also Simmons, op. cit., p.190 and 191. Militer au front, op. cit., p.31 (for a special ‘Enquête dans les régions’ see La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Jun 1992 (no.159); see also La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Dec 1991 (no.148), 15 Jan 1992 (no.149), 1 Feb 1992 (no.150) and May 1995 (no.216); refer also to the regular ‘Nouvelles du Front’ feature; see also Militer au front, op. cit., p.31 and Birenbaum, op. cit., p.207. Marcus, op. cit., p.51. Birenbaum, op. cit., p.63; see also Les Dossiers Tricolores de National Hebdo, Le Guide du Militant, no.3 and Français fraternellement: FN Guide de l’Adhérent (Bienvenue au Front national), FN brochure c.1997. Simmons, op. cit., p.189. Marcus, op. cit., p.41, p.47 and p.51. Birenbaum, op. cit., p.65. Marcus, op. cit., p.51. Birenbaum, op. cit., pp.205–7. Marcus, op. cit., p.51. Birenbaum, op. cit., p.166. Marcus, op. cit., p.40. See Birenbaum, op. cit., p.162 and p.164. Soudais, op. cit., p.200. This is a cross-section of titles; these titles have all appeared in some shape or form since 1989. Le Rempart actually depicts a castle fortress on its front cover; see Chapters 2 and 3 for a discussion of possible dangers for France. This figure could in fact be higher; the reproduction quality of some front-page graphics is not very good. Vigilance: see for example, Jan/Feb 1992 (no.15); National 60: see, for example, 1994, no.6. Obviously, one has to guard against reading too much into these small images, but there is surely some symbolic importance in them. This is a cross-section of list titles taken from the period 1989–98. Liste de rassemblement national (Mar 1986), Pyrenées-Atlantique.

Notes 237 143. See Brest & les brestois d’abord, Municipal election list, 1989. 144. La Lettre de Pierre Descaves, no.13, no.15 and no.20; see also Français d’abord, Jul 1996 (no.240) and Jan 1997 (no.250). 145. La Lettre du Front, Feb 1995 (no.54). 146. See Chapter 3. 147. La Lettre de Pierre Descaves, no.11. See Chapter 4; in 1995 a similar-style referendum was organised by the FN council in Orange; see Allez Vitrolles, Mar 1996. 148. L’Hermine, Jun 1996 (no.65). 149. See Chapter 2. 150. Vouloir, April 1991 (no.5). 151. Front Nord, no.2. 152. La Lettre du Front, Municipals 1995. 153. Fédération de Loire-Atlantique ‘communique de presse’, 22 May 1996; see also Français d’abord, Nov 1996 (no.246). 154. La Lettre Nationale du Loir-et-Cher, Mar–Apr 1996; see also Le Porte-voix, no.4. 155. La Lettre Nationale du Vendômois et du Perche, Dec 1995 (no.1). 156. See cartoon in Brest et les brestois d’abord: a white lady is seen queueing for ‘aide sociale’ in a long line of coloured people. She exclaims: ‘J’ai souvent l’impression d’être de trop dans ce pays’; see also Vouloir, Nov 1990 (no.4). 157. Allez Vitrolles, no.7. 158. Le Léopard, Oct 1995 (no.2). 159. Vouloir, Jun 1992 (no.10). 160. Picardie en Tricolore, 1995 brochure. 161. National 60, no.6. 162. National 44, Apr 1996 (no.90); L’Hermine, Jun 1996 (no.65). 163. Le Léopard, Oct 1995 (no.2). 164. National 44, Apr 1996 (no.90). 165. L’Hermine, Jun 1996 (no.65); see also leaflet produced by the Nantes FN c.1995: Ne laissons pas brader notre industrie de défense. 166. Allez Vitrolles, no.9. 167. See Nantes FN leaflet c.1995: La perte de notre independence et de notre souveraineté nationale. 168. In the 1997 Legislative elections, for example, Bruno Mégret stood under the slogan, ‘Le Grand Changement’. 169. Birenbaum, op. cit., p.166. 170. This is a cross-section of regional slogans c.1989–97. The theme of ‘change’ tends to dominate FN rhetoric and discourse as a whole. This point emerged graphically from an independent study project undertaken by one of my undergraduate students at the University of Huddersfield, Amanda Ord. 171. This too is a cross-section of slogans c.1989–97. 172. Mégret in La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Jul 1994 (no.200). 173. Strasbourg FN, Note no.3, 7 Jun 1995 and Note no.1, 7 Jun 1995. 174. L’Hermine, the newsletter of the Brest federation, also gives the impression that it believes in some kind of bilingualism. Its sub-title is, ‘Kentoc’h mervel eget bout kousiet’. 175. See Chapter 2. 176. See Chapter 2. 177. National hebdo, 19–25 Jun 1997 (no.674). 178. See Chapters 2 and 3.



179. Liste Pierre Sirgue (11–18 Jun 1995); Strasbourg FN, Note no.3, 7 Jun 1995. 180. One lecture session put on by the FN’s Institut de formation national (IFN) was entitled: ‘Islam et françité: deux cultures incompatibles’. 181. Lyon fait Front: Programme des listes municipales de Lyon (1995), p.58 and 60; see also ‘cheque no.19’ in Bruno Gollnisch: Lyon fait Front (1995). 182. Boulogne passionnement: Un programme pour les français d’abord (Jun 1995 Municipal elections); see also Paul Courtin leaflet (Cantonal elections, Mar 1994). 183. Lyon fait Front: Programme des listes municipales de Lyon (1995). 184. Strasbourg FN, Note no.3, 7 Jun 1995. 185. Strasbourg FN, Note no.3, 7 Jun 1995. 186. Raynald Brasseur leaflet (Amiens-ouest), Cantonal elections, 20 Mar 1994. 187. Pour la Lorraine! list, 1992, p.2. 188. Municipal elections, St. Brieuc, 1995; Liste d’union nationale: ‘Strasbourg aux Strasbourgeois’ (Jun 1995); Defendre Nancy (1995); Boulogne passionnement (Jun 1995); Liste Pierre Sirgue (11–18 Jun 1995). 189. See Chapters 2 and 3; see also Liste Pierre Sirgue (11–18 Jun 1995); Amiens fait Front (1995); Defendre Nancy (1995), Prenez les clés de la ville: Neuilly (Jun 1995); Strasbourg FN, Note no.3, 7 Jun 1995; ‘Cheque no.14’ in Bruno Gollnisch: Lyon fait Front (1995); L’Hermine, Spécial municipales (1989) St. Brieuc, 1995. 190. Bompard Orange Espoir: Une Equipe au service d’Orange, election leaflet (1995), p.4. 191. See Allez Vitrolles and Pont-de-Metz d’Abord. 192. ‘Cheque no.18’ in Bruno Gollnisch: Lyon fait Front (1995); the italics are mine; see also Chapter 4. 193. Strasbourg FN, Note no. 3, 7 Jun 1995. 194. See P. Milloz, Le Rapport Milloz, Paris, Editions du centre d’Etudes et Argumentaires, 1990. 195. Lyon fait Front: Programme des listes municipales de Lyon (1995). 196. Liste Pierre Sirgue (11–18 Jun 1995). 197. Strasbourg FN, Note no.3, 7 Jun 1995. 198. Lyon fait Front: Programme des listes municipales de Lyon (1995). 199. See Amiens fait Front (1995); Raynald Brasseur leaflet (Amiens-ouest), Cantonal elections, 20 Mar 1994; Liste Pierre Sirgue (11–18 Jun 1995); 3000 Francs de prime pour les familles françaises (leaflet produced by the Vitrolles FN, 1995); Lyon fait Front: Programme des listes municipales de Lyon (1995); Strasbourg FN, Note no.2, 7 Jun 1995. 200. Lyon fait Front: Programme des listes municipales de Lyon (1995). 201. Prenez les clés de la ville: Neuilly (Jun 1995, Municipal elections). In the 1995 Municipal elections it was emphasised across the country that elected FN councils would reserve municipal aid for ‘French families alone’. In Vitrolles, moreover, the FN stated that it wanted ‘to privilege the French families of Vitrolles in assuring them of priority in social aid and access to municipal institutions and facilities’. See 3000 Francs de prime pour les familles françaises (1995, leaflet produced by the Vitrolles FN). 202. This is another aspect of the FN’s tax-cutting platform; see Amiens fait Front (1995) and Liste Pierre Sirgue (11–18 Jun 1995). 203. 3000 Francs de prime pour les familles françaises (FN leaflet, 1995). 204. Liste Pierre Sirgue (11–18 Jun 1995). 205. La liste Bompard Orange Epoir (1995). 206. Lyon fait Front: Programme des listes municipales de Lyon (1995). 207. La liste Bompard Orange Epoir (1995).

Notes 239 208. Amiens fait Front (1995). 209. Bien chez nous en Languedoc Roussillon avec Jean-Claude Martinez (leaflet, 1992); see also Liste Pierre Sirgue (11–18 Jun 1995) and Lyon fait Front: Programme des listes municipales de Lyon (1995). 210. Lyon fait Front: Programme des listes municipales de Lyon (1995). 211. Liste Pierre Sirgue (11–18 Jun 1995); see also poster published by the Comité de soutien jeunes à P. Sirgue: ‘Revenu minimum étudiant à 3000f avec Sirgue’. 212. Nancy D’Abord, election leaflet (1989). 2 ‘The nation’ in FN ideology: ‘France for the French’ 1. 2.

3. 4.

5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

Girardet in Martin-Castelnau op. cit., p.49; see also J.-P. Stirbois, L’Avenir nous appartient, Paris, Editions National hebdo, 1988, p.217. J.-M. Le Pen, Conference inauguarale (Presentation for the Institut de formation nationale [IFN]), 25 Jan 1989, p.4; see also B. Mégret, L’Alternative nationale, pp.79–98, (1990), op. cit., pp.191–209 and J.-C. Martinez (1994 Tome 2), op. cit., pp.105–28. National hebdo poster, c.1992–3; see Soudais, op. cit., Chapter 4. Jenkins and Sofos, op. cit., p.11; see B. Mégret and G.-P. Wagner, L’Identite en question (Presentation for the IFN), 11 Jan 1989, p.9; see also Le Club de l’horloge, L’Identité de la France, Paris, Albin Michel, 1995. National hebdo, 17–23 Oct 1996 (no.639). See Jenkins and Solos, op. cit., pp.119–20 and Souchard et al., op. cit., pp.118–20; see also National hebdo, 2–8 Feb 1989 (no.237). See 300 Mesures, op. cit., pp.24–123; Le Pen’s quote is taken from an Identité promotional leaflet. National hebdo, 7–13 Dec 1989 (no.281). A la rencontre du Front National: Pour une alternative nationale (FN brochure c.1997), p.3. National hebdo, 17–23 April 1986 (no.91). I interviewed Le Roy and six of his colleagues at the Paris HQ of the FNJ, close to the Place du Rome, on 28 March 1990. Interview with Martial Bild, 29 March 1990. See Guibernau, op. cit., p.56; National hebdo, 30 May–5 Jun 1996 (no.619); Journée Culturelle leaflet (FNJ). National hebdo, 17–23 Oct 1996 (no.639). Agir, supplement to Français d’abord, Feb 1996 (no.230). FN brochure c.1995–6. DOM-TOM brochure c.1995–6. CFRE brochure c.1995–6. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Sep 1994 (no.203), and Jul 1994 (no.200); see also Français d’abord, Sep 1995 (no.222). La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Jun 1994 (no.198). Fraternité française leaflet; La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Jun 1992 (no.159). National hebdo, 27 Mar-2 Apr 1997 (no.662). Interview, 28 Mar 1990. Interview, 29 Mar 1990. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Feb 1995 (no.211). Interview, 28 Mar 1990.

240 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61.

62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68.

Notes Nouvelles de France (CFRE), Mar 1996 (no.75); see also National hebdo, 8–14 Jun 1989 (no.255). B. Mégret, ‘Le nouveau clivage’, Identité, Nov–Dec 1989 (no.4). La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Feb 1993 (no.171). See, for example, Français d’abord, Nov 1995 (no.226). This feature appeared in editions during the period, July–August 1996. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Feb 1993 (no.171). J.-Y. Le Gallou, ‘Les cosmopolites contre le peuple’, Le Monde, 7 Jan 1989. B. Mégret, La Flamme, Paris, Editions Robert Laffont, 1990, pp.25–6. Interview, 23 Mar 1990. Alain Touraine, ‘La question nationale et la politique français’, Le Monde, 13 Mar 1990. Mégret, ‘Le nouveau clivage’, op. cit. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 1 Mar 1990 (no.110); Mégret, ‘Le nouveau clivage’, op. cit. See Le Gallou, Le Racisme antifrançais, Paris, Le Club de l’horloge, 1988, pp.21– 2 and Le Gallou, ‘Les cosmopolites contre le peuple’, op. cit. Français d’abord, Jul 1995 (no.240); see also Le Gallou (1988), op. cit, pp.21–2. Mégret, ‘Le nouveau clivage’, op. cit.; Le Pen (1984) op. cit., p.185. Interview, 29 Mar 1990. Mégret (1990), op. cit., p.19. Ibid., p.20. Ibid. p.43. Le Gallou (1988), op. cit., pp.7–9. Ibid., p.7. J. Aubanel, Militant, Jan 1976 (no.78). Interview with M.-F. Stirbois, 18 Sep 1991; interview with B. Racouchot, 9 Sep 1991. Mégret (1990), op. cit., p.26. Le National, Oct 1975 (no.17). Mégret (1990), op. cit., pp.30–3. Identité, May–Jun 1989 (no.1). Le National, Sep 1978 (no.5). Le Gallou (1988), op. cit., pp.7–9. Interview, 9 Sep 1991; see also Mégret (1990), op. cit., Chapter 2. Le Gallou (1985), op. cit. J.-C. Bardet, in Identité, May–Jun 1989 (no.1). Mégret (1990), op. cit., pp.28–31. Ibid., p.28. Le National, May–Jun 1979 (no.8); Le Chevallier has talked about ‘le consensus anti-national’, op. cit., pp.25–40; see also L’Affaire Van Dorpe: le montage ‘antiraciste’ de Gennervilliers (Fédération des Hauts-de-Seine du FN), c.1989–90. See Le Pen (1984), op. cit., pp.167–70 and pp.221–2; see also Le Gallou (1988), op. cit., pp.5–16. Le Quotidien de Paris, 26 Nov 1984; see LAGRIF leaflet. Le Gallou (1988), op. cit., pp.21–2. Ibid., pp.13–14. Français d’abord (no.245), Oct 1996. Le Quotidien de Paris, 31 Mar–1 Apr 1990. Le Gallou (1988), op. cit., p.10; see also Le Quotidien de Paris, 22 Sep 1989.

Notes 241 69. 70. 71. 72.

73. 74. 75. 76. 77.

78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84.

85. 86. 87.


89. 90.

91. 92. 93. 94. 95. 96.

Le National, Aug–Sep 1977 (no.32). See for example A. Renault, ‘Nous ne sommes plus en France’, Le National, Feb 1980 (no.12); Le Gallou (1988), op.cit., p.14. The Independent, 11 May 1988. For example the Debré law (Nov 1996); see Le Monde 16 Dec 1996, 30 Apr 1997 and 13 May 1997. See also National hebdo, 4–10 Dec 1997 and Le Monde sélection hebdomadaire 25 Oct 1997 and 6 Dec 1997. See B. Mégret, ‘Les Socialistes sont fous!’ in La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 1 May 1991 (no.135); see also Le Monde, 19 Nov 1991. Ibid. Mock FN passport, c.1990. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Apr 1993 (no.174). Le Gallou and J.-F. Jalkh, Etre Français cela se mérite, Paris, Editions Albatros, 1987, p.14 and p.22; see also Le Monde, 3 Apr 1987 and Figaro-Magazine, 21 Sep 1991; see also Le Club de l’horloge, La Réforme du code de la nationalité (policy document, May 1989). Le Gallou and Jalkh, op. cit., p.14. Interview, 18 Sep 1991. PV, op. cit., p.81. Le Gallou and Jalkh, op. cit., p.14. Le Monde, 3 and 4 Apr 1987; see also PV, op. cit., p.81; see also Renouvin, op. cit., pp.100–1 and Castells, op. cit., p.29. J.-P. Stirbois, op. cit., p.140; Le Monde, 3 Apr 1987. Le Gallou and J.-F. Jalkh, op. cit., p.15; see also J.-P. Stirbois, op. cit., p.140 and National hebdo, 19–25 Sep 1996 (no.635): the FN claimed that the US Republicans’ opposition to le droit du sol justified its own position. See Libération, 21 Nov 1991; the description of the FN’s naturalisation policy – in the brackets – is mine. J.-P. Stirbois, op. cit., p.140; see also Le Gallou and Jalkh, op. cit., pp.25–35. Winock (1990), op. cit., pp.152–3; see also Le Monde, 3 Apr 1987 and J.-P. Stirbois, op. cit., p.146; some Beurs are French in French law and Algerian in Algerian law. Beurs are second generation Algerians living in France, i.e. the children of Algerian immigrants who came to France while Algeria was still an intrinsic part of Metropolitan France, before 1962; see Le Monde, 4 Apr 1987. Le Gallou and Jalkh, op. cit., pp.15–16. Le Gallou and Jalkh, op. cit., pp.37–58; Stirbois, op. cit, p.140; Le Gallou, Etre Français cela se mérite, op. cit., p.15. The FN is also keen to justify its guiding principles by recourse to the nationality policies employed by other nations. Le Quotidien de Paris, 2 Apr 1987. PV, op. cit., p.81. J.-P. Stirbois, op. cit., p.146. Mégret (1986), op. cit., p.74. Le Monde, 4 Apr 1987. Refer to: Immigration: 50 mesures concrètes (policy document, 1991); also J.-Y. Le Gallou and P. Olivier, Immigration: le Front national fait le point Paris, Editions Nationales, 1992, pp.84–5; J.-P. Stirbois and J.-F. Jalkh, Dossier immigration, Paris, supplement to National hebdo, 19 Sep 1985, pp.211–20; and also Le Monde, 3 Apr 1987.



97. See Figaro-Magazine, 21 Sep 1991 and 5 Nov 1991 and also Le Gallou and Jalkh, op. cit., p.18. 98. PLF, op. cit., p.118; see also Le Gallou and Jalkh, op. cit., p.7. 99. PLF, op. cit., p.118. 100. Le Gallou and Jalkh, op. cit., p.26. 101. National hebdo, 8–14 Feb 1990 (no.290). 102. See Le Monde, 19 Apr 1986 and Le Figaro, 18 Apr 1996. 103. See PV, op. cit., p.33 and PLF, p.118. 104. See A. Hargreaves, Immigration in Post-War France, London, Methuen, 1987, p.118 and also Le Figaro, 20 Nov 1991 and Le Monde, 19 Nov 1991. 105. J.-p Stirbois, op. cit., pp.141–2 and Le Gallou and Olivier, op. cit., p.84. 106. J.-P Stirbois, op. cit., p.141. 107. Le Figaro, 20 Nov 1991. 108. See Stirbois, op. cit., p.142 and Le Gallou and Jalkh, op. cit., pp.19–20. 109. See Winock’s framework, (1990) op. cit., pp.11–40. For more on the writings of Barrès, Péguy, Maurras and Renan, see J. Touchard, Histoire des idées politiques (Tome 2), Paris, PUF, 1958; see also de Meuse, Identité, Jun–Aug 1991 (no.13); refer also to the ideas at play in the Corsica debate (see later this chapter) and to Militant, Jun–Jul 1976 (no.81). 110. Gulf War speech, 16 Jan 1991. 111. FN theorists quote from Renan’s Qu’est-ce qu’une nation? (1882); see, for example, Le Pen quoted in PV, op. cit., p.80 and Le Gallou (1988) op. cit.; see also Le Chevallier, op. cit., p.65 and Martinez, (Tome 1) op. cit., pp.51–98. 112. PLF, op. cit., pp.29–30. 113. DOM-TOM brochure c.1995–6. 114. PLF, op. cit., pp.29–30; Mayer and Perrineau, op. cit., p.214, quote Le Pen in Le Vraie opposition; see also R. Girardet, Le Nationalisme français, Paris, Armand Colin, 1966 for selected passages illustrating the nationalism of Barrès. 115. PV, op. cit., p.81. 116. See A. Renault, ‘Nous ne sommes plus en France’, Le National, Feb 1980 (no.12). 117. See Jenkins and Solos, op. cit., p.15 and Hazareesingh, op. cit., pp.124–31; see also G. Martinet, Le Réveil des Nationalismes Français, Paris Seuil, 1994, p.13 and p.84 and M. Guibernau, Nationalisms, Cambridge, Polity, 1996, p.56. 118. Wagner (National hebdo, 3–9 Mar 1988 [no.711]), M.-F. Stirbois (interview, 18 Sep 1991) and F. Le Roy (interview, 11 Jan 1991) have all expressed their preferences; all three have expressed admiration for both Barrès and Maurras; Jenkins and Sofos, op. cit. 119. See Français d’abord, May 1996 (no.237); ever since the Gulf War Le Pen has posed as a pro-Iraq, anti-‘New World Order’ spokesman; see also National hebdo, 30 May–5 Jun 1996 (no.619); a follow-up organisation – SOS enfants d’Iraq – was created and Le Pen’s wife, Jani, made several ‘humanitarian’ visits to Iraq; see also Le Monde, 28 Aug 1990. 120. Les tribunes libres de National hebdo (Gulf War edition) c.1991. 121. Les tribunes libres de National hebdo (Gulf War edition) c.1991. 122. Speech, 16 Jan 1991, pp.2–3; see also National hebdo, 4–10 Jan 1991 (no.337). 123. Les tribunes libres de National hebdo (Gulf War edition) c.1991. 124. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Mar 1991 (no.132); see also National hebdo, 13–19 Sep 1990 (no.321) and Martinez (Tome 2), op. cit., pp.10–26.

Notes 243 125. See La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Jul 1991 (no.140), 1 Sep 1991 (no.141) and Sep 1992 (no.161), National hebdo, 31 Oct–6 Nov 1996 (no.641) and Français d’abord, Nov 1996 (no.246); the ‘nationalist’ struggles in Rumania, Hungary and Lithuania have attracted particular FN attention. 126. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Dec 1990 (no.127). 127. The rassemblement of the FN’s Comite Anti-Joxe was staged at Le Palais de la Mutualité, Paris, 19 Sep 1991. 128. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 1 Mar 1990 (no.110), p.XVIII; see also National hebdo, 11–17 Jan 1990 (no.286) and Europe et patries, Dec 1989 (no.23). 129. Le Choc du mois, Feb 1992 (no.49), pp.29–32. 130. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Jan 1992 (no.149). 131. Anti-Joxe rally, 19 Sep 1991; see also Français d’abord, May 1997 (no.257); the FN was even aware of the nationalists’ ‘rise’ in Britain: ‘Ecosse, Pays de Galles, Irlande du Nord: Les nationalistes renforcés’. This is obviously slightly exaggerated; the party’s press is always looking for comforting signs from other countries. 132. See National hebdo, 28 Dec 1989–3 Jan 1990 (no.284) and 4–10 Jan 1990 (no.285); Français d’abord, May 1997 (no.257). 133. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Jun 1991 (no.138). 134. Lang in La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 1 Sep 1991 (no.141) and 15 Sep 1991 (no.142). 135. ‘Pro-Lithuania’ rally, 23 Mar 1990; see La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Jun 1991 (no.138). 136. See Winock (1990), op.cit., pp.50–81; refer also to D. Lacorne et al. (eds), The Rise and Fall of Anti-Americanism, Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1990. 137. Mégret (1990), op.cit., p.47; National hebdo, 18–24 Dec 1997 (no.700). 138. Le Monde, 27 May 1987; see also Mégret (1990) op. cit., p.49. 139. Mégret (1990), op. cit., p.50; see also La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Apr 1992 (no.155). 140. Mégret (1990), op. cit., p.50. 141. See Identité, Jul–Aug–Sep 1996 (no.23): ‘L’Amérique: Adversaire des peuples’: the US is viewed as a symbol of mondialisme and the ‘New World Order’. 142. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Oct 1994 (no.204). 143. See Français d’abord, May 1997 (no.257). 144. See PV, op. cit.; see also Les Dossiers de National hebdo, Winter 1990–1 (no.3), pp.56–7. 145. See Le Monde, 4 Apr 1987 and National hebdo, 16–22 Nov 1989 (no.278). 146. See National hebdo, 16–22 Nov 1989 (no.278). 147. Agir, supplement to Français d’abord, Jul 1995 (no.220). 148. National hebdo, 16–22 Nov 1989 (no.278) and 30 Nov–6 Dec 1989 (no.280). 149. Ibid., 16–22 Nov 1989 (no.278). 150. B. Mégret, ‘Enracinement et régions’, La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Feb 1991 (no.130). 151. Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.194. One FN journal claimed that ‘particularism is not secessionism’ (RLP Hebdo, 30 Mar–6 Apr 1984). 152. See Chapter 1. 153. Le National, Nov 1977 (no.33). 154. Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.194. 155. Mégret, ‘Enracinement et régions’, op. cit. 156. Ibid. This is a phrase of Arnold Gehlen cited by Mégret.

244 157. 158. 159. 160. 161. 162. 163. 164.

165. 166. 167. 168. 169. 170. 171. 172. 173. 174. 175. 176. 177. 178. 179. 180. 181. 182. 183. 184. 185.

186. 187.

188. 189. 190. 191.

Notes Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.194. Mégret, ‘Enracinement et régions’, op. cit. Ibid. Mégret, ‘La France et son peuple’, La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Dec 1990 (no.127), p.3; see also Le Pen (1984), op. cit., pp.193–4. Mégret, ‘La France et son peuple’, op. cit. Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.194. RLP Hebdo, 23–30 Mar 1984. National hebdo, 11–17 May 1989 (no.251); Roger Holeindre and others tend to speak about Corsica and New Caledonia in the same breath, but they do condone separatism when it suits them e.g. Quebec (see La Lettre Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Sep 1991 [no.142]). See RLP hebdo, 30 Mar–6 Apr 1984 (no.148) and Le Monde, 22 Nov 1990 and 4 Jan 1991. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Mar 1994. National hebdo, 6–12 Dec 1990 (no.333). See Le Monde, 2 Nov 1990, for example. See National hebdo, 10–16 Jan 1991 (no.337) and 27 Apr–1 May 1989 (no.249). Le Monde, 27 Oct 1990. See National hebdo, 2–8 Nov 1989 (no.276) and 6–12 Apr 1989 (no.246). Intervention of M.-F. Stirbois in the Assemblée nationale, 3 Apr 1991; see also National hebdo, 6–12 Apr 1989 (no.246). Mégret, ‘La France et son peuple’, op. cit. Ibid. National hebdo, 11–17 Jul 1996 (no.625). Intervention of M.-F. Stirbois in the Assemblée nationale, 3 Apr 1991. J.-Y. Le Gallou, Islam et françité: deux cultures incompatibles (IFN presentation), 15 Jan 1991. Anti-Joxe rally, 19 Sep 1991. Mégret, ‘La France et son peuple’, op. cit. Le National, Oct 1975 (no.17). National hebdo, 12 Jul 1984 (no.10). RLP hebdo, 30 Mar–6 Apr 1984 (no.148). RLP hebdo, 13–20 Jan 1984 (no.140). Intervention of M.-F. Stirbois in the Assemblée nationale, 3 Apr 1991. Le Monde, 3 Nov 1990 and 12 Dec 1990. The island was bought by France in 1768, but the long-held FN fear is that Corsica might become an ‘Arab’ island. See also National hebdo, 12–18 Feb 1998 (no.708). Français d’abord, Jul 1998 (no.282). See Le Monde, 28 Jun 1988, 2 Jul 1988, 1 Nov 1988 and 5 Nov 1988 for the key landmarks in the New Caledonia referendum campaign. Français d’abord, Oct 1996 (no.244). Ibid., Mar 1995 (no.232). Ibid. (no.240). This in effect is the FN’s position, but as a position it is fraught with problems. Are strong ‘regional’ and ‘national’ identities totally compatible? Along with French Polynesia, Southern and Antarctic Lands and the Wallis and Fotuna Islands, New Caledonia is officially categorised as a ‘Territoire Outre-Mer’ (TOM).

Notes 245 192. 193. 194. 195. 196. 197. 198. 199. 200. 201. 202. 203. 204. 205. 206. 207. 208. 209. 210. 211.

212. 213. 214. 215.

216. 217. 218. 219. 220. 221. 222. 223. 224.

225. 226.

Le Monde, 28 and 29 Oct 1988; Rocard called Le Pen’s comments ‘despicable’. See Le Monde, 28 Oct 1988 and Le Pen (1984), op. cit., pp.167–70. National hebdo, 6 Sep 1985 (no.59). J.-P. Stirbois, op. cit., p.96. Le Monde, 5 Apr 1988, 21 Oct 1988 and 1 Nov 1988. J.-M. Le Pen, La France est de retour, Paris, Carrere Michel Lafon, 1985, p.61. J.-P. Stirbois, op. cit., p.95. Le Pen (1985), op. cit., p.66. Le Monde, 1 Nov 1988 and 28 Oct 1988; see also Le Pen (1985), op. cit., p.66. Le Monde, 28 May 1988, 28 Jun 1988 and 7 Jul 1988; also Français d’abord Nov 97. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Jul 1993 (no.179). Mégret, ‘Enracinement et régions’, op. cit. Ibid. Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.194. Mégret, ‘Enracinement et régions’, op. cit. Ibid. Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.194. Mégret, ‘Enracinement et régions’, op. cit. See Français d’abord, Apr 1998 (nos.276 and 277). National hebdo, 13–19 Apr 1989 (no.247); see J.-M. Brissaud, Argumentaire sur l’Europe, Droites Européennes au Parlement Européen, Autumn 1994 (supplement to Europe et patries, Jul–Aug 1994, no.61). Magazine hebdo, 30 Mar 1984. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Oct 1993 (no.183); see also J.-Y. Le Gallou, ‘Les deux conceptions de l’Europe’, Identité, May–Jun 1989 (no.1). Refer to Chapter 3. See Le Gallou, ‘Les deux conceptions de l’Europe’, op. cit.; see also Le Pen, Europe: discours et interventions 1984–9, Paris, GDE, 1989, pp.11–102, Le Pen (1989), op. cit., pp.89–90 and Identité, May–Jun 1989 (no.1). Le Pen (1989), op. cit., p.91; see also National hebdo, 15–21 May 1997 (no.669) and Europe et patries, Autumn 1989 (no.22). Mégret (speech to Assemblée nationale), 20 Nov 1986 (quoted in PV, op. cit., p.59). Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.154. Le Pen (GDE, 1989), op. cit., p.144. Ibid., p.143. See Militer au front, op. cit., p.115, Le Pen (GDE, 1989), op. cit., p.143, Nouvelles d’Europe, 15 May 1991 and Perspectives pour l’Europe des patries, May 1989. Le Pen (GDE, 1989), op. cit., p.144. Published by the GDE in Jan 1989. See Le Pen (GDE, 1989), pp13–14, pp.34–36, pp.135–136 and J.-M. Le Chevallier, Immigration en Europe: attention danger (Paris, GDE, 1989; supplement to Europe et patries, Jan 1989). Militer au front, op. cit., p.115. Note the essence of Madame Stirbois’ intervention in the Assemblée nationale on the application of the Schengen agreement, 3 Jun 1991.



227. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Nov 1993 (no.185) and May 1994 (no.196) and July 1994 (1st fortnight); see also Chapter 3. 228. PLF, op. cit., pp.189–90. 229. Mégret (1986), op. cit., p.127; see also Le Pen (GDE, 1989), op. cit., p.112 and PLF, op. cit., p.187. 230. Le Pen (GDE, 1989), op. cit., pp.126–7. 231. Perspectives pour l’Europe des patries, Jun 1989 (no.5); see also Identité, May–Jun 1989 (no.1). 232. See Le Pen (GDE, 1989), op. cit., p.110, National hebdo, 20–6 Apr 1989, and Perspectives pour l’Europe des patries, Jun 1989 (no.5); hence the FN’s interest in the Mediterranean. 233. National hebdo, 6–12 Apr 1989 (no.246); this quote comes from a speech made by Le Pen to the Assemblée nationale, 26 Jul 1984. 234. Perspectives pour l’Europe des patries, Feb 1989 (no.2). 235. Ibid., Feb 1989 (no.2) and Jun 1989 (no.5). 236. Wagner, ‘Europe et nation’, Identité, May–Jun 1989 (no.1). 237. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Feb 1994 (no.190). 238. Le Pen (1989), op. cit. p.91; Le Pen has on occasions countenanced a common currency and European bank. See also Mégret (speech to the Assemblée nationale), 20 Nov 1986 (quoted in PV, op. cit., p.59). The FN view is that Brussels is costly and increases unemployment; see National hebdo, 24–30 Oct 1996 (no.640) and 11–17 Apr 1996 (no.612). 239. This was the primary message of Pierre Bérard’s IFN presentation, Identité européene (14 Jun 1989). 240. Wagner, ‘Europe et nation’, op. cit. 241. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Oct 1994 (no.204). 242. Le Gallou, ‘Les deux conceptions de l’Europe’, op. cit.; see also Militer au front, op. cit., p.115. 243. P. Milloz, ‘Les pieges de l’harmonisation européene’, Identité, May–Jun 1989 (no.1). 244. Perspectives pour l’Europe des patries, Feb 1989 (no.2). 245. Le Pen (1989), op. cit., p.87. 246. Le Gallou, ‘Les deux conceptions de l’Europe’, op. cit. 247. See J.-C. Martinez, Maastricht: le ‘Non’ de tous les miens, Paris, Editions Lettre du Monde, 1992; see also La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Sep 1992 (no.161), Sep 1992 (no.162) and Le Nouvel observateur, 16–22 Apr 1992; and also Français d’abord, Apr 1996 (1st fortnight) for the FN’s hostility to ‘Maastricht 2’ (the Turin agreement). 248. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Jul 1995 (no.219). 249. Ibid., Sep 1992 (no.162) and Sep 1993 (no.181). 250. Ibid., Sep 1992 (no.162), Sep 1993 (no.181), Nov 1993 (no.185) and Jul 1995 (no.219); see J.-M. Brissaud, La France en danger: Non à l’Europe de Maastricht, Limoges, Editions Nationales, 1994 and Martinez (Tome 2) op. cit., pp.205–12. 251. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Oct 1993 (no.183). 252. Ibid., Jul 1995 (no.219); also La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Jul 1995 (1st fortnight, no.219). 253. Ibid., Nov 1993 (no.185), Apr 1995 (no.214); see also Europe et patries, Dec 1989 (no.23) and Mar 1990 (no.27). 254. Le Pen (GDE, 1989), op. cit., p.143.

Notes 247 255. Europe et patries, Dec 1988 (no.16); see Le Chevallier op. cit., pp.73–125. 256. See Présent, Le Pen 90: analyses et propositions, Maule, Editions de Présent, 1991, pp.104–5; see also Mégret (1986), op. cit., pp.136–8 and J.-M. Brissaud, L’Europe face à Gorbatchev: une stratégie impériale contre l’impérialisme, Paris, GDE, 1989. 257. See Militer au front, op. cit., p.116 and Mégret (1986), op. cit., pp.136–8. 258. Militer au front, op. cit., pp.116–17; see also Bérard, op. cit., p.5. 259. See Le Pen 90, op. cit., p.62. 260. Madame Guigou quoted in The Independent, 29 Nov 1991. 261. Le Monde, 30 Nov 1990. 262. RLP hebdo, 13–20 Jan 1984 (no.140). 263. Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.164. 264. Ibid. 265. Ibid. 266. RLP hebdo, 13–20 Jan 1984 (no.140). 267. See Le Pen (1989), op. cit., p.93 and p.103. 268. Militant, Oct 1980 (no.114). 269. Militer au front, op. cit., p.116. 270. National hebdo, 6–12 Apr 1989 (no.246). 271. See Nouvelles d’Europe, 15 May 1991 and Militer au front, op. cit., p.116. 272. Wagner, ‘Europe et nation’, op. cit.; see also Militer au front, op. cit., p.115. 273. Le Pen (GDE, 1989), op. cit., p.134. 274. Quoted in Mégret, ‘L’Europe: identité et puissance’, Identité, May–Jun 1989 (no.1). 275. Wagner, ‘Europe et nation’, op. cit. 276. Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.163. 277. P. Pauty, Militant, Oct 1978 (no.100). 278. Guibernau, op. cit., pp46–7; Castells op. cit., p.14. 279. Guibernau, op. cit., p.55. 280. These words dominated an FN poster in the early 1990s; Le Pen was pictured against the background of a mass of people; in the 1995 campaign leaflet, ‘Français Passionnement’, Le Pen proclaimed himself ‘Homme du Peuple, Homme de l’Etat’. The leaflet stated, unambiguously, ‘Le Pen, La France’; the FN also tried to identify itself with the people in a special opinion poll it organised: ‘Les Français ont la parole: Sondage de Pré-référendum national: 5 millions d’exemplaires diffusés’, 1995; see also A la rencontre du Front National: Pour une alternative nationale (FN publicity brochure, c.1997); this has become a well-worn cliché in modern-day France; also Martinet, op. cit., 1994, pp. 88–9. 281. J.-P. Stirbois., op. cit., pp.215–16; see also Winock (1990), op. cit. and Le Monde, 12 Jun 1987. 282. J.-P. Stirbois, op. cit., pp.215–16. 283. Ibid., p.222. 284. Winock (1990), op. cit., p.47; in Le FN c’est vous! Le Pen proclaims himself, ‘Un homme du peuple’ (p.14). 285. J.-P. Stirbois, op. cit., p.222; La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Feb 1993 (no.171); see also Milza, op. cit., p.416. 286. However, Madame Stirbois argues that if one ‘believes in France – i.e. if one sheds blood for France – one can also enter la patrie (interview, 18 Sep 1991).



287. This is a constant theme in FN discourse; see Militer au front, op. cit., pp.124–5 and Le Gallou, Le Livre bleu blanc rouge; plaidoyer pour une région enracinée, Paris, Editions Nationales, 1991. 288. J.-P. Stirbois, op. cit., p.224. 289. In the social sphere the FN is highly suspicious of individualism, but in the economic sphere the individual is assigned particular importance. 290. DDE (Droite et democratie économique), op. cit., p.1; see also Militer au front, op. cit., pp.133–5. 291. Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.132–3. 292. DDE, op. cit., pp.47–8. 293. See Le Paysan National, Printemps 1995; see also CNAF 1990–91 policy leaflet and Martinez (Tome 1), op. cit, pp.221–52: ‘Discours pour les terres de France’. 294. Militer au front, op. cit., p.113. 295. Ibid., p.113; see also Le Pen (1989), op. cit, p.136. 296. Le Pen (1989), op. cit., p.137. 297. Le Monde, 30 Nov 1990. 298. See earlier in this chapter. 299. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 1 Mar 1990 (no.110). 300. Militer au front, op. cit., p.114. 301. See Le Paysan National, Printemps 1995, La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Mar 1991 (no. 132) and National hebdo, 4–10 Oct 1990 (no.324). 302. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Mar 1991 (no.132). 303. Le Gallou (1991), op. cit., p.172. 304. Militer au front, op. cit., p.115. 305. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Mar 1991 (no.132). 306. Le Pen (1989), op. cit., p.137; see also 300 Mesures, op. cit., pp.104–25 and pp.193–213; see also S. Maréchal, Ecologie: Depolluons les esprits and Defendre la faune et la flore c’est défendre la vie, Paris: FNJ, CNDVNA (Cercle national pour la défense de la vie, de la nature et de l’animal) leaflet 1997–8. 307. CNDVNA brochure, p.11. 308. CNDVNA policy leaflet (1990–1). 309. APFN policy leaflet (1990–1); Français d’abord, Sep 1997, 2nd fortnight, no.264. 310. CNDVNA brochure, p.13. 311. Militer au front, op. cit., p.112; see also Le Gallou (1991), op. cit., pp.34–5. 312. See Français d’abord, May 1998 (no.278) and La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Mar 1995 (no.212). 313. National hebdo, 8–14 May 1986 (no.94). 314. For more on the FN’s attachment to Clovis, see Le Monde, 19 Feb 1996 and 14 Sep 1996. On Joan, see Le Monde, 12 May 1987 and 19 Mar 1988; in La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 May 1991 (no.136), it is claimed that Joan is an ‘ideal female and human model’. 315. See Mayer and Perrineau, op. cit, p.32; also National hebdo, 5–11 May 1989 (no.198) and 2–8 May 1996 (no.615). 316. RLP hebdo, 10–17 Feb 1984 (no.143). 317. Le Monde, 12 May 1987. 318. Ibid., 13 May 1986. 319. Ibid., 12 May 1987. 320. Libération, 12 May 1986. 321. Le Figaro, 11 May 1987.

Notes 249 322. Libération, 12 May 1986. 323. See M. Warner, Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism, London, Penguin, 1987, F. Gies, Joan of Arc: The Legend and the Reality, London, Harper & Row, 1981 and also Milza, op. cit. and Anderson, op. cit. 324. Le Figaro, 11 May 1987. 325. Le Monde, 12 May 1987. 326. Interview, 23 Mar 1990. 327. Le Monde, 10 May 1990. 328. Le Matin, 14 Jun 1984. 329. Le Monde, 10 May 1990. 330. National hebdo, 15–21 1986 (no.95). 331. The Independent, 11 May 1988. 332. Renouvin, op. cit. 3 ‘Threats’ to the nation: the fear of French decline 1. 2. 3.


5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

Français d’abord, May 1996 (no.237). National hebdo, 11 May 1984 (no.1). See Mégret (1986), op. cit., pp.54–5, M. de Rostolan, Lettre ouverte à mon peuple qui meurt, Paris, Editions Fernand Lanore, 1987, Le National, May–Jun 1979 (no.8) and Feb 1980 (no.12). PLF, op. cit., p.125; see also Le Monde, 20 Oct 1974 and 16 May 1990 and Le National, Apr 1976 (no.22); see Le Chevallier, op. cit., pp.15–24 and C. Baeckeroot, Famille, Paris, Editions Nationales, 1992, pp.13–16. Mégret (1986), op. cit., p.61; interview with Sigrid Conrad, 11 Jan 1991; De Rostolan, op. cit. National hebdo, 12 Oct 1984 (no.18); see also Le Monde, 27 Jun 1990. PLF op. cit., p.126. PV, op. cit., p.43; see also PLF, op. cit., and Le Monde, 27 Jun 1990. PLF, op. cit., p.113; see also Winock (1990), op. cit., p.38. PV, op. cit., p.43; see also PLF op. cit., p.112. Interview with Eric Iorio, 8 Jan 1991; see also PLF, op. cit., pp.112–14. Le Gallou, Islam et francité, op. cit. PLF, op. cit., p.113. National hebdo, 17–23 Apr 1986 (no.91). Le Pen (1989), op. cit., p.12. Mégret (1986), op. cit., p.60. Le Pen (1989), op. cit., pp.21–2. PV, op. cit., p.44. National hebdo, 17–23 Apr 1986 (no.91). Identité, May–Jun 1989 (no.1). Quoted in PV, op. cit., p.44. Le Pen writing in Identité, Mar–Apr 1990 (no.6); refer also to Le Gallou, Islam et françité, op. cit. See Identité, Mar–Apr 1990 (no.6); also Le Gallou, Islam et francité, op. cit. Identité, Mar–Apr 1990 (no.6). Le Pen (1989), op. cit., p.11. Baeckeroot, op. cit., p.81 and pp.47–8; see also 300 Mesures, op. cit., pp.51–5 and Cercle national femmes d’Europe (CNFE), Un pays qui abandonne sa famille se condamne définitivement (pamphlet, no date).

250 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38.

39. 40. 41. 42.

43. 44. 45. 46. 47. 48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57.

58. 59.


Notes See PLF, op. cit., pp.125–39. Ibid. p.129; see Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.168 and pp.176–7 and also Militer au front, op. cit., pp.126–9 and Baeckeroot, op. cit., pp.67–72. Rostolan, op. cit., pp.20–1. PV, op. cit., p.60; see also Mégret (1997), op. cit., p. 111. PLF, op. cit., p.127. Le FN c’est vous!, op. cit., p.9; see also Mégret (1986), op. cit., p.69 and Militant, May 1974 (no.65). Le Pen (1989), op. cit., pp.20–1; see also Mégret (1990), op. cit., p.278. Mégret (1990), op. cit., p.278. See PLF, op. cit., p.137 and Mégret (1986), op. cit., p.69, (1990), op. cit., p.279 and Le Pen (1989), op. cit., p.19. Mégret (1986), op. cit., p.69. See Apparu (ed.), La Droite aujourd’hui, Paris, Editions Albin Michel, 1979, p.179. Mégret (1990), op. cit., p.279; see also Le FN c’est vous!, p.9 and R. Tomlinson et al., ‘ “France in Peril”: The French Fear of Dénatalité’, History Today, Apr 1985, p.26. See PV, op. cit., p.60 and Le Pen (1989), op. cit., p.17. See PLF, op. cit., pp.136–7 and Le Pen (1989), op. cit., p.17. R. Ferrand, ‘Les jeunes ont la parole’, Militant, Jan 1974 (no.62); see also Le Pen (1985), pp.159–74. Militant, Jan 1974 (no.62); the party views its youth movement, the FNJ, as a body whose ‘vocation is to group together all young people between the ages of 16 and 24...and spread the ideas of the FN within schools and colleges’ (see Le FN c’est vous!, p.18). Mégret (1986), op. cit., p.70. Quoted in PV, op. cit., p.80 (Le Pen in La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 1 Jul 1987). Le Pen (1989), op. cit., p.12; see also Le Monde, 6 Sep 1984. PLF, op. cit., p.126–30; see also Le Pen (1989), op. cit., pp.14–15. PLF, op. cit., p.132; see also Tomlinson et al., op. cit., p.25. Rostolan, op. cit., p.23; see also National hebdo, 15–21 May 1986 (no.95). Mégret (1986), op. cit., p.62. See Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.211–46 and Mégret (1986), op. cit., pp.61–2; see also CNFE pamphlet, op. cit. See Chapter 2 of this book; see also Mégret (1986), op. cit., p.61 and Le Pen (1984), op. cit., pp.195–7. Front National, Nov 1974 (no.8); see also Le Pen (1989), op. cit., p.15. Le National, May–Jun 1979 (no.8). See Le National, May–Jun 1979 (no.8); see also Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.222. PLF, op. cit., p.129; see also Le National, Oct–Nov 1979 (no.11). PLF, op. cit., pp.239–40; see also Le Pen (1984), op. cit., pp.211–46. See P. Bousquet in Le National, May–Jun 1979 (no.8); see also Le FN c’est vous!, p.9, Rostolan, op. cit., pp.65–7, Le Pen (1989), op. cit., p.15 and Le Monde, 2 Jun 1990. P. Bousquet in Le National, May–Jun 1979 (no.8). See Hastings, ‘La rhétorique hygiéniste de Jean-Marie Le Pen’, Revue Politique et Parlementaire, Jan–Feb 1988 (no.933), p.57; see also Winock, (1990), op. cit., p.108. PLF, op. cit., p.244.

Notes 251 61. 62. 63.

64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69.

70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83.

84. 85.

86. 87. 88.

89. 90.

Le Figaro, 12 Jun 1984. Hastings, op. cit. This tasteless poster (publication c.1991) marked the 10th anniversary of the Socialists in power; for more on the FN’s attitude to AIDS, see Le Quotidien de Paris, 9 May 1987, Le Monde, 16 May 1997 and Libération, 7 May 1987; see also Mégret (1990), op. cit., pp.42–3. Hastings, op. cit, pp.56–8; see also Le Matin, 8 May 1987. Libération, 7 May 1987; see also Le Monde 15 May 1987. Le Monde, 12 May 1987; see also Libération, 15 May 1987; see Martinez (Tome II), op. cit., pp.277–9 and pp.337–86. Jenkins and Sofos, op. cit., p.28; see also Guibernau, op. cit., p.49. This position has aroused much controversy; see J.-F. Kahn in Le Quotidien de Paris, 15 Jun 1984; see Hazareesingh, op. cit., pp.124–49. See Chapter 2 of this book; see also J. Maury and G. Jacques in Le Monde, 16 May 1990 and P. Millan et le Club de l’horloge, Le Refus de l’exclusion: nouvelle expression de l’utopie égalitaire, Paris, Lettres du Monde, 1995; there has also been a concerted war on freemasons and freemasonry; see National hebdo, 22–9 Nov 1985 (no.278), 3–9 April 1986 (no.89) and 15–21 May 1986 (no.95). M. Pelletier, Le Monde, 12 Feb 1984. Later analysis will show that the FN’s exclusionist philosophy is based, in general terms, on group-to-group relations rather than individual antagonisms. C. Gregor, ‘L’Exclusion: une loi de la nature’, Identité, Sep–Oct 1990 (no.9). Ibid. Gregor, op. cit.; for more on the FN’s admiration for Barrèsian ideas, see Identité, Mar–Apr 1990 (no.6); see also P. Sanmarco in Le Monde, 9 Jul 1987. Gregor, op. cit. Ibid. Ibid. Mégret and Wagner, op. cit., p.20; see also Gregor, op. cit. Mégret and Wagner, op. cit., p.11; see also Mégret (1986), op. cit., p.95. Le Gallou (1985), op. cit., pp.60–1; see also A. Touraine in Le Monde, op. cit. Le Gallou (1985), op. cit., pp.60–1. National hebdo, 19 Jul 1984. This is one of Le Pen’s recurrent claims. True or not, it does suggest that there is more mileage in utilising the term ‘ethnocentrisme’ than ‘racisme’ in trying to describe and explain the ideology of the FN. See National hebdo, 16–22 Nov 1989 (no.278); see also Le Gallou and Jalkh, op. cit., pp.87–96. The FN also uses other historically sensitive vocabulary e.g. ‘occupation’ (of immigrants), ‘colonisation’ (by immigrants), ‘resistance’ (of true French people against immigration). Le Quotidien de Paris, 13 Jan 1986. Mégret and Wagner, L’identité en question (IFN presentation), 11 Jan 1989, p.8. This is the essence of Le Gallou’s message ([1985], op. cit.) For more on the FN’s attitude to inequality and hierarchy, see Le Pen (1984), op. cit., pp.167–70 and pp.183–4 and Le Pen quoted in Apparu, op. cit., p.179. Le Pen (1984), op. cit., pp.167–77. See Chapter 2.



91. See D. Alaphilippe, ‘Ethnocentrisme plutôt que racisme’, Le Monde, 7 Jan 1984. 92. See PV, p.26 and p.75, see also Girardet (1996), op. cit., p.51. 93. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, May 1995 (no.216), Français d’abord, Feb 1997 (no.251), Sep 1997 and Dec 1997 (no.269). 94. Bihr, op. cit., pp.140–1, Taguieff in La France qui dit Non, op. cit., pp.98–9, Renouvin, op. cit., pp.200–1 and Le Monde International, 20 Dec 1997. 95. Le Gallou (1985), op. cit., p.17; see also 300 Mesures, op. cit., pp.24–50 and Le Gallou and Olivier, op. cit.; Le Point, 28 May 1990; see also Le Monde International, 29 Mar–4 Apr 1990. 96. National hebdo, 7 Jun 1984 (no.5). 97. G. Noiriel, Le Creuset français, Paris, Editions de Seuil, 1988, p.7; see also Stirbois and Jalkh, op. cit., pp.xii–xv; Le Point, 28 May 1990 and 16 Apr 1990; see also Maury and Jacques op. cit. and Le Figaro, 28 Mar 1990. 98. See the analyses of Le Gallou, Mégret et al. later in this chapter. 99. Stirbois and Jalkh, op. cit., pp.1–6. 100. Le Gallou (1985), op. cit., p.17; see also Stirbois and Jalkh, op. cit., pp.1–6. 101. Mégret (1986), op. cit., p.79 and (1990), op. cit., p.55; see also Le Gallou (1985), pp.17–18. 102. This was a key point made to me by Eric Iorio (interview: 8 Jan 1991). 103. See Mégret (1990), op. cit., p.55 and Le Gallou (1985), op. cit., p.18. 104. Mégret (1990), op. cit., pp.29–30 and p.56; see also Perspectives pour l’Europe des patries, May 1989 (no.4) and J. Voisard and C. Ducastelle, La question immigrée, Paris, Calmann-Lévy, 1990. 105. Perspectives pour l’Europe des patries, May 1989 (no.4). 106. Mégret (1990), op. cit., p.56. 107. Stirbois and Jalkh, op. cit., p.152 and pp.7–147; see also PLF, op. cit., pp.114–16. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Dec 1990 (no.15), Le Matin, 19–20 Nov 1983 and Voisard and Ducastelle, op. cit. 108. Le Gallou (1985), op. cit., pp.19–23; see also Voisard and Ducastelle, op. cit., p.26. 109. Le Gallou (1985), op. cit., p.21. 110. Français d’abord, Oct 1995 (no.224) and Mar 1998 (no.274). 111. See N. Kettane, Le Monde, 16 Dec 1989. 112. Le Gallou, Islam et francité, op. cit., see also A. Merad, Témoignage chrétien, Fourth Quarter, 1990. 113. J.-Y. Le Gallou, Identité, Mar–Apr 1990 (no.6); see also Le Pen (1989), op. cit., p.27 and interview with E. Iorio, 8 Jan 1991; see also Le Pen, ‘Le cri du muezzin’, Identité, Mar–Apr 1990 (no.6) and M. Cabantous, Identité, Mar–Apr 1990 (no.6). 114. See Le Gallou, ‘Le menace est au sud’, op. cit. and P. Vial, ‘l’Islam contre l’Europe’, Identité, Mar–Apr 1990 (no.6). 115. See preface to Identité, Mar–Apr 1990 (no.6) and Cabantous, op. cit. 116. Le Gallou (1985), op. cit., p.37; see also Cabantous op. cit. 117. Vial, op. cit., Cabantous, op. cit. 118. See Le Gallou, Islam et francité, op. cit., (1985), op. cit., p.86 and ‘Le menace est au sud’, op. cit. 119. See Identité, Mar–Apr 1990 (no.6) and Sep–Oct 1990 (no.9). 120. Le Pen, ‘Le cri du muezzin’, op. cit. 121. Le Gallou, ‘Le menace est su sud’, op. cit.

Notes 253 122. See Mégret, ‘L’Europe: identité et puissance’, Identité, May–Jun 1989 (no.1), op. cit. 123. See Le Gallou, Islam et francité, op. cit. 124. Vial, op. cit., Le Pen, ‘Le cri de muezzin’, op. cit. 125. Le Gallou, ‘Le menace est au sud’, op. cit and Islam et francité, op. cit. 126. Le Gallou, Islam et francité, op. cit. 127. Ibid. 128. Le Gallou, ‘Le menace est su sud’, op. cit; see also Identité, Mar–Apr 1990 (no.6). 129. M.-F. Stirbois, ‘Le grand défi au Communisme’, Les Dossiers tricolores du National hebdo, Summer 1990 (no.2), pp.58–9. 130. Cabantous, op. cit. 131. Le Gallou, Islam et francité, op. cit., Cabantous op. cit. 132. Le Gallou, ‘Le menace est au sud’, op. cit., Islam et francité, op. cit. and (1995), op. cit., pp.31–2. 133. Le Gallou, Islam et francité, op. cit. 134. Identité, Mar–Apr 1990 (no.6); Cabantous, op. cit. 135. Refer to the analyses of Le Gallou (Islam et francité, op. cit.), and J.-P. PéroncelHugoz, Identité, Mar–Apr 1990 (no.6). 136. Le Pen (1989), op. cit., pp.25–6. 137. Ibid. 138. Le Monde, 16 Nov 1989; see also National hebdo, 23–9 Nov 1989 (no.279). 139. Cabantous, op. cit. 140. Le Gallou, Islam et francité, op. cit. 141. Cabantous, op. cit. 142. See Cabantous, op. cit and Le Gallou, Islam et francité, op. cit. 143. See Le Gallou (1985), op. cit., pp.99–108 and Chapter 7. 144. Cabantous op. cit.; see also Le Pen (1984), op. cit., pp.179–97 and Apparu, op. cit., pp.173–81. 145. Refer back to Chapter 2. 146. Cabantous, op. cit. 147. Le Gallou and Jalkh, op. cit., p.106; see also Péroncel-Hugoz op. cit. 148. R. Blanc, ‘L’assimilation en échec: les Morisques’, Identité, Nov–Dec 1990 (no.10). 149. See E. Plenel and A. Rollat, L’Effet Le Pen, Paris, La Découverte, 1984 and J.-C. Petitfils, L’Extrême Droite en France, Paris, Presses universitaires, 1988. 150. See La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Mar 1990 (no.111); see also Militant, Nov– Dec 1974 (no.71). 151. Français d’abord, Mar 1997 (no.253) and Dec 1997 (no.272); see also La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, 15 Feb 1990 and PLF, op. cit., p.26. 152. Quoted in Mayer and Perrineau, p.214. This is, overall, a very Maurrasian idea. 153. See Apparu, op. cit., p.178 and Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.205. 154. See Le Quotidien de Paris, 6 Jan 1986. 155. Le Pen (1984), op. cit., p.228. 156. See PLF, op. cit., p.113 and L’Express, 8 Dec 1989. 157. National hebdo, 2–8 Mar 1989 (no.241). 158. See Le Gallou (1985), op. cit., p.100 and Mégret (1986), op. cit., p.83. 159. See Le Gallou (1985), op. cit., pp.99–100; on the relationship between immigration and unemployment, see P. Descaves, Pour en finir avec le chômage: les chiffres, les causes, les solutions, Paris, Coordination des Cercles Nationaux, c.1993, pp.22–3.



160. National hebdo, 15–21 Feb 1990 (no.291). 161. PLF, op. cit., p.111; see also Chapter 2 and 300 Mesures, op. cit., pp.33–5. 162. Stirbois and Jalkh, op. cit., Chapter 2 and pp.160–4; see also Le Monde, 9 Jul 1987. 163. M. Chariot, ‘L’émergence du Front national’, Revue Française de Science Politique, vol. 36, no.1, Feb 1986. 164. See Paris l’éspoir, Dec 1990 (no.2) and National hebdo, 23–9 Nov 1989 (no.279). An FN meeting in Dec 1989 was subtitled: ‘No to the Invasion!’ (8 Dec, Place St. Augustin). 165. See National hebdo, 26 Oct–1 Nov 1989 (no.275); see also Paris l’éspoir, Dec 1990 (no.2) and L’Express, 22 Nov 1990. 166. Interview: Sep 1989. 167. Stirbois and Jalkh, op. cit., p.198; see also National hebdo, 23–9 Nov 1989 (no.279) and La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Mar 1995 (no.212). 168. National hebdo, 13–19 Mar 1986 (no.86) and 16–22 Nov 1989 (no.278); see also Le Gallou (1985), op. cit., p.44. 169. Le Gallou (1985), op. cit., pp.46–7; also Français d’abord, Jan 1998 (no.271). 170. See Voisard and Ducastelle, op. cit., pp.95–6; for details of the affair consult Le Monde throughout Oct and Nov 1989. 171. National hebdo, 26 Oct–1 Nov 1989 (no.275), 9–15 Nov 1989 (no.277), 16–22 Nov 1989 (no.278) and 23–9 Nov 1989 (no.279); see also Le Monde, 28 Oct 1989. 172. Mégret (1990), op. cit., p.57; see also Le Monde, 26 and 28 Oct 1989, National hebdo, 26 Oct–1 Nov 1989 (no.275), Identité, Mar–Apr 1990 (no.6) and M.-F. Stirbois, ‘Le grand défi au Communisme’, op. cit. 173. See Le Monde, 14 Nov 1989 and National hebdo, 26 Oct–1 Nov 1989 (no.275). 174. Mégret (1990), op. cit., p.57; see also Militant, Jun 1973 (no.55), National hebdo, 26 Oct–1 Nov 1989 (no.275) and Le Monde, 5 Oct 1989/Voisard and Ducastelle, op. cit. 175. National hebdo, 9–15 Nov 1989 (no.277) and 16–22 Nov 1989 (no.278). 176. See L’Express, 8 Dec 1989, Le Monde, 12 Oct 1989 and National hebdo, 26 Oct– 1 Nov 1989 (no.275); the FN’s plans for dealing with the unwanted immigrant community are outlined in Le Pen (1985), op. cit., Chapters 2 and 3 and also in Le Gallou and Olivier, op. cit., pp.33–41; see also National hebdo, 11–17 Dec 1997 (no.669). 177. Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (1st fortnight). 4 Nationalism in a local context: Toulon, Orange, Marignane and Vitrolles 1.


See D. van Eeuwen, ‘Toulon, Orange, Marignane, le Front national au pouvoir: un maléfice méridional?’, in J. Viard (ed.), Aux sources du populisme nationaliste, St. Etienne, Editions de l’Aube, 1996, pp.97–131. We should be aware, however, that prior to June 1995 the FN had held power in several small villages. The FN prepared a handbook for all its municipal candidates and councillors, Audit politique des communes de France, Paris, Editions Nationales, 1995. See also van Eeuwen, op. cit.

Notes 255 3.

4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9.

10. 11. 12.



15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

21. 22.

Simonpieri’s moderate image has been commented upon by many onlookers – see Le Monde, 20 and 21 Sep 1995 – but Alain Biot of Alarme citoyens has said basically that this is a false image (see Libération, 10 Feb 1997). See also Libération, 13 Jun 1996, France-Soir, 10 Feb 1997 and National hebdo, 27 Feb–5 Mar 1997 (no.658). In 1997 Bruno Mégret and Simonpieri stood together in the Vitrolles parliamentary constituency. See also Le Grand Changement: Et si on essayait le Front National? (FN manifesto, 1997) and Français d’abord, Sep 1997 (no.264) and Oct 1997 (no.265). See C. Mégret, V comme Vitrolles, Paris, Editions Nationales, 1997. Ibid. Allez Vitrolles, Dec 1996 (no.19); for general profiles of Vitrolles see Le Monde, 18 and 19 Mar 1997. See C. Mégret, op. cit. Allez Vitrolles, Dec 1996 (no.19). See Le Provençal, 1 Feb 1997; see also Ferri and Turc, op. cit., p.7. Université citoyenne d’Orange leaflet, 29–30 Aug 1997; see also Alerte Orange letter, 25 Jun 1997; political parties also launched anti-FN strategies, see Le Monde, 15 Feb 1997 and Ferri and Turc, op. cit., pp.91–8. Le Provençal, 28 Feb 1997. Le Provençal, 2 Feb 1997. See La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Jun 1995 (no.217) and Le Monde, 18–19 Jun 1995. The election of Catherine Mégret in Vitrolles gave rise to more negative reaction against the FN; see Le Provençal, 6 Feb 1997 and Le Monde, 15 Feb 1997. Mieux vivre Toulon (June 1995 FN programme), p.3; see also campaign leaflet, Bompard Orange Espoir (June 1995) and Catherine Mégret’s message in FranceSoir, 10 Feb 1997. See Chapter 1 of this book (section on the FN’s regional discourse) and also Les Marignanais d’abord election list (June 1995) and campaign leaflet, Bompard Orange Espoir (June 1995). Le Méridional, 12 Jul 1995; see also Le Rocher, May 1997 and National hebdo, 5– 12 Sep 1996 (no.633). Français d’abord, Feb 1997 (no.252); Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 14 Mar 1996, p.2 Le Rocher, May 1997; see also Soudais, op. cit., p.17. Le Toulonnais, 23 Jun 1997 (no.28); see also Conseil municipal du 17 Apr 1997 (Marignane) Compte Rendu, p.2; see also Français d’abord, Jul 1997 (no.262). Français d’abord, Nov 1997 (1st fortnight), La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Feb 1998 (no.273), National hebdo, 29 Jan–4 Feb (no.706). See Français d’abord, Feb 1997 (no.252) and Mar 1997 (no.253); National hebdo, 6–12 Mar 1997 (no.659); Le Rocher, Mar 1997; and C. Mégret, Lettre ouverte aux Vitrollais (May 1997); see C. Mégret, op. cit., pp.115–18. Français d’abord, Sep 1996 (no.242); Le Provençal, 5 Sep 1996; see also 300 Mesures, op. cit., pp.87–103. Le Provençal/Le Méridional, 12 Jul 1995; see Chapter 1 of this book for more on the influence of the ancien combattants constituency within the FN. On many occasions the FN councils have named roads in a fairly standard manner; after nonFrench figures (like Pythagoras and Archimedes) and political figures with no real heroic or nationalist significance (like de Tocqueville). See Conseil municipal du 1er Oct 1996 Compte Rendu (Marignane), p.2 and Le Provençal/Le Méridional, 27 Mar 1996.

256 23. 24.

25. 26. 27.

28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39.


41. 42. 43. 44. 45. 46. 47.

48. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55.

Notes Le Rocher, May 1997. Ferri and Turc, op. cit.; Samson, op. cit.; V. Martin, Toulon la noire, Paris, Denoël, 1996; Soudais, op. cit.; Robert, op. cit.; van Eeuwen, op. cit; and Reumaux and Breton, op. cit. C. Mégret, op. cit., pp.29–30. Ferri and Turc, op. cit., pp.62–70. National hebdo, 11–17 Jul 1996 (no.625); see also Institut de formation national (IFN) leaflet, 1990–91 cycle and National hebdo, 5–12 Sep 1996 and 5–11 Dec 1996, Français d’abord, Feb 1997 (1st fortnight) and Nov 1996 (no.246). Le Figaro, 23 Jun 1995. Two years on Le Chevallier in Toulon was still having to deal with the issue; see National hebdo 27 Mar–2 Apr 1997 (no.662). Le Figaro, 23 Jun 1995. Le Figaro, 22 Jun 1995. See Conseil municipal du 1er Oct 1996 Compte Rendu, p.5 and Conseil municipal du 9 Dec 1996, p.5; see also Le Provençal, 6 Jul 1995. Français d’abord (no.242). Le Figaro, 22 Jul 1996, Le Provençal, 12 Jul 1996. See Cuverville, no.5. See Le Provençal, 12 Jul 1996 and Le Figaro, 22 Jul 1996. Poster on display outside the hôtel de ville, Orange (22 Jul 1996). J. Bompard, letter to the Minister of Culture (on display outside the hôtel de ville, Orange [22 Jul 1996]). Le Provençal, 12 Jul 1996. Français d’abord, Sep 1996 (no.242); see also Le Provençal, 12 Jul 1996; Alerte Orange actually offered to donate a selection of books to the library (see Le Provençal, 29 Jan 1997); see also Alerte Orange: le journal, Jul–Aug 1997 (no.9). See Le Provençal, 20 Dec 1996, 18 Jan 1997, 1 Apr 1997 and 14 May 1997. There was extensive polemical debate in the pages of National hebdo, particularly in the period Dec 1996–Mar 1997; see also Français d’abord, Jul 1997 (1st fortnight). Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 22 Mar 1996, pp.169–85; Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 21 Dec 1995, pp.166–7. Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 22 Mars 1996, p.176. National hebdo (no.662). Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 21 Dec 1995, pp.166–7. Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 22 Mars 1996, pp176–7. Français d’abord, Dec 1996 (no.248 and no.249); see also Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 21 Dec 1995, pp.159–174. As part of its condemnation of ‘official culture’, the FN press ridiculed the ‘leftwing’ gathering at La Garde; it poured scorn on the idea of a Communist municipality defending liberty of expression and pluralism when, at the same time, it was showing ‘hate’ towards the FN (see Français d’abord, Dec 1996 [no.248]). Le Figaro, 22 Jul 1996. Le Toulonnais, 13 Jan 1996 (no.3). Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 22 Mar 1996, p.174. See Français d’abord, Dec 1996 (no.249). Le Monde, 15 Feb 1997. See Le Figaro, 14 Feb 1997, Le Monde, 15 Feb 1997 and France-Soir, 14 Feb 1997. Le Toulonnais, 13 Jan 1996 (no.3). Français d’abord, Nov 1996 (no.247).

Notes 257 56. 57. 58. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67. 68. 69. 70. 71. 72. 73. 74. 75. 76. 77. 78. 79. 80. 81. 82. 83. 84. 85. 86. 87. 88. 89. 90.

Français d’abord, Nov 1996 (no.247), Le Toulonnais, 8–31 Jul 1996 (no.9). See Le Toulonnais, 8–31 Jul 1996 (no.9) and Français d’abord, Nov 1996 (no.247). Français d’abord, Nov 1996 (no.247); see also Français d’abord, (no.241) and Le Toulonnais, 8–31 Jul 1996 (no.9) and Mieux vivre Toulon, pp.33–4. Français d’abord, Nov 1996 (no.247). Le Toulonnais, 8–31 Jul 1996 (no.9); Français d’abord, Nov 1996 (no.247). Le Toulonnais, 8–31 Jul 1996 (no.9). See Français d’abord, (no.253) and Mieux vivre Toulon, p.34. Mieux vivre Toulon, p.34. National hebdo (no.621); Français d’abord (no.242); Le Monde, 15 Feb 1996. See Français d’abord, Nov 1996 (no.247) and (no.253) and Le Monde, 4 Jul 1997. Français d’abord (no.242). Ferri and Turc, op. cit., p.67; see Bompard, op. cit., pp.89–92 and Ferri and Turc, op. cit., pp.68–70. Le Provençal, 29 Mar 1996. Mairie d’orange, Recueil des actes administratifs, 3 Sep 1996. Orange vérités, no.1. Dauphin de Vaucluse, 6 Jun 1996. Le Provençal, 13 Oct 1995; see also Français d’abord, Dec 1997 (no.269) and Ferri and Turc, op. cit., pp.62–70. Ibid., 8 Jul 1996; Orange vérités, no.1; see also Bompard, op. cit., pp.83–8 and Ferri and Turc, op. cit., pp.62–7. Le Monde, 31 Jul 1995. Ibid. Orange vérités, no.1 and Le Monde, 31 Jul 1995 and 10 Oct 1995. Le Monde, 31 Jul 1995. See Dauphin de Vaucluse, 9 Jul 1996, Orange vérités, no.1 and Le Monde, 31 Jul 1995. Le Provençal, 13 Oct 1995. Mairie d’Orange, Avis aux orangeois, 2 Jul 1996; see also Le Monde, 10 Oct 1995 and 8 Dec 1995. Mairie d’Orange, Avis aux Orangeois, 2 Jul 1996. Le Provençal, 1 Jun 1996. Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (no.239). Le Monde, 23 Nov 1995; Bompard described les Chorégies as ‘ruineuse et elitiste’. Français d’abord, Jul 1997 (no.262). Mieux vivre Toulon, p.24. Mairie d’Orange, Recueil des actes administratifs, 2ème Trimestre 1996, p.49; see also Orange vérités, no.3. Cuverville, the anti-FN journal in Toulon, constantly argued that Le Toulonnais was an instrument of municipal propaganda. See Le Toulonnais, 1–15 Dec 1995 (no.1); 13 Jan 1996 (no.3) and 25 Mar–10 Apr (no.6). Samson, op. cit., p.84; see also Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 3 Mai, p.6 and p.101, Le Toulonnais, 13 Jan 1996 (no.3), 24 Apr–10 May 1996 (no.7) and 8–25 Jun (no.8); Samson, op. cit., p.81; see also Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (1st fortnight).



91. Lagier in Orange vérités, no.1; see also Orange vérités, no.4 and Le Toulonnais, 5 Aug 1996 (no.10). 92. Mairie d’Orange, Recueil des actes administratifs, 4ème Trimestre 1995, pp.46– 52. 93. Français d’abord, Feb 1996 (1st fortnight). 94. Orange vérités, no.14; see also Le Provençal, 19 and 20 Apr 1996. 95. Orange vérités, no.2; see also Mairie d’Orange, Recueil des actes administratifs, 4ème Trimestre 1995, Marignane aujourd’hui, Apr–May 1996 (no.2), Le Provençal, 6 Jul 1995, Compte Rendu, Conseil municipal, Seance du 18 Sep 1995 (Marignane); Le Provençal, 27 Apr 1996 and Le Toulonnais, 19 Feb–4 Mar (no.4). 96. Le Toulonnais, 19 Feb–4 Mar (no.4). 97. Orange vérités, no.1. 98. Lagier in Orange vérités, no.1; Conseil municipal, Seance du 10 Jul 1995 Compte Rendu, p.6 (Marignane); Le Toulonnais, 5 Aug 1996 (no.10). 99. Mairie d’Orange, Recueil des actes administratifs, 1er Trimestre; see also J. Bompard, Le maire au créneau, Paris, Editions Nationales, 1996, p.92; see also Français d’abord, Nov 1997 (1st fortnight) and Le Toulonnais, 10 Oct 1997 (no.33). 100. Mosque questionnaire, July 1996. 101. Ibid. 102. Le Provençal, 23 Jul 1996. 103. See Le Provençal, 20 Nov 1995, Le Marseillaise, 13 Nov 1995 and Le Provençal, 4 and 8 Feb 1997. 104. Le Provençal, 13 Aug 1996 and 19 Dec 1996. See also Le Monde, 23 Nov 1996, Français d’abord, Feb 1997 (no.251), Le Toulonnais, 23 Jun 1997 (no.28) and Allez Vitrolles, May 1997. 105. Le Provençal, 1 Jun 1996. 106. Ibid., 23 Jul 1996. 107. The issue was taken to the tribunal by eight Muslim and Jewish families; see Le Méridional, 13 Nov 1996. The council decided, additionally, to make school meals available only to children with two working parents; see Le Provençal, 28 Nov 1996. 108. Français d’abord, Dec 1996 (no.249) and Mar 1996 (no.232); see also Le Provençal, 28 Nov 1996 and Français d’abord, Dec 1996 (no.249). 109. Soudais, op. cit., p.48; see also Le Gallou (1985) op. cit. The same could also be asked of ‘local preference’ (in Français d’abord, May 1996 [no.237] Tarelli, adjoint in Marignane, said that it was unacceptable for occupied municipal posts to be held by ‘non-originaires’); see Le Figaro, 23 Jun 1995. 110. See Madame Mégret’s attack on Anglade: National hebdo, 6–12 Mar 1997 (no.659). 111. National Provence, no.2. 112. Français d’abord, Sep 1997 (no.264) and Feb 1998 (no.272), National hebdo, 29 Jan–4 Feb 1998 (no.706) and Le Monde sélection hebodomadaire, 31 Jan 1998 and 25 Apr 1998. 113. Le Monde sélection hebdomadaire, 31 Jan 1998; also Le Figaro, 23 Jun 1995 and National Provence, no.2. 114. Nouvel observateur, 24–8 Jun 1995; see E. Balibar, ‘De la “préférence nationale” à l’invention de la politique: comment lutter contre le néofascisme?’, in Viard (ed.), op. cit. 115. National hebdo (no.621). 116. National Provence, Numéro spécial rentrée 1995. 117. Le Figaro, 23 Jun 1995; Le Monde, 1 Nov 1995.

Notes 259 118. 119. 120. 121. 122. 123. 124. 125. 126. 127. 128. 129. 130. 131. 132. 133. 134. 135. 136. 137. 138. 139. 140. 141. 142. 143. 144.


146. 147. 148. 149. 150. 151.


Le Monde, 31 Oct 1995. See Le Monde, 31 Oct 1995 and Le Monde, 1 Nov 1995. National Provence, Numéro spécial rentrée 1995. See Le Figaro, 23 Jun 1995 and Le Monde, 31 Oct 1995. See Le Monde, 1 Nov 1995 and Le Provençal, 31 Oct 1995. Le Figaro, 23 Jun 1995 and Le Monde, 1 Nov 1995. Le Monde, 4 Nov 1995. Ibid., 1 Nov 1995 and 4 Nov 1995. Ibid., 31 Oct 1995. See Le Figaro, 23 Jun 1995 and Le Monde, 31 Oct 1995 and 1 Nov 1995. Le Figaro, 20 Jun 1995; some Arabs feared that ghettoes would be the end-product of FN policy (Le Figaro, 23 Jun 1995, Le Monde, 31 Oct 1995). Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (no.239). See Le Figaro, 23 Jun 1995 and Le Monde, 31 Oct 1995. Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (no.239). Ibid. The Observer, 9 Feb 1997; see also National hebdo, 6–12 Mar 1997. Ferri and Turc, op. cit., p.75; Soudais, op. cit., p.51. Ville de Marignane, Subventions 1996 (Chapitre 940); see also L’Express, 17 Apr 1996. Le Monde, 30 Dec 1995, Le Méridional, 29 Dec 1995 and Le Provençal, 29 Dec 1995. Le Méridional, 29 Dec 1995, Le Provençal, 29 Dec 1995; Le Monde, 30 Dec 1995 and Le Provençal/Le Méridional, 3 Feb 1996. Le Méridional, 30 Dec 1995. Le Marseillaise, 31 Dec 1995. Marignane aujourd’hui, Apr–May 1996 (no.2). Ibid.; see also Le Provençal, 29 Dec 1995. See Le Monde, 30 Dec 1995 and Le Marseillaise, 30 Dec 1995. The taxi driver in question was driving me to the train station at La Ciotat, July 1996. Take, for example, comment on the ‘coup de force’ launched by the Marignane council against the local football team, US Marignane (see Le Provençal, 19 and 30 Jun 1996); Français d’abord, Sep 1996 (no.242); and Libération, 10 Feb 1997; Mairie d’Orange, Recueil des actes administratifs, 2ème Trimestre 1996 (16 May 1996); Le Toulonnais, 8–31 Jul 1996 (no.9); see Ferri and Turc, op. cit., pp.41–53. La Nouvelle Politique Sociale de la Ville (statement published by la Mairie, Summer 1996); Orange vérités, no.2; Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (no.239); see Bompard, op. cit., pp.57–63. Le Monde, 23 Nov 1995; Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (no.239); see Ferri and Turc, op. cit., pp.75–80. See La Nouvelle Politique Sociale de la Ville (statement published by la Mairie, Summer 1996); see also Orange vérités, no.2. See Orange vérités, no.2. Le Toulonnais, 8–31 Jul 1996 (no.9); see also Le Provençal, 11 Jun 1996. Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (no.239). Orange vérités, no.2; see also newspaper reports on Vitrolles, 12 Apr 1997: ‘Vitrolles: le maire réduit les services sociaux’ and ‘Le FN mutile les services sociaux’ (Le Marseillaise). Le Toulonnais, 24 Apr–10 May 1996 (no.7).

260 153. 154. 155. 156. 157. 158. 159. 160. 161. 162.


164. 165. 166. 167.

168. 169. 170. 171. 172. 173. 174. 175. 176. 177. 178. 179. 180. 181. 182. 183. 184. 185. 186. 187. 188. 189.

Notes Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (no.239). National hebdo, 20–6 Feb 1997 (no.657). See Le Toulonnais, 15–31 Dec 1995 (no.2) and 24 Apr–10 May 1996 (no.7). Le Toulonnais, 15–31 Dec 1995 (no.2). Ibid. Orange vérités, no.4; Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (no.239). Le Toulonnais, 13 Jan 1996 (no.3). Ibid., 24 Apr–10 May 1996 (no.7). Ibid., 19 Feb–4 Mar 1996 (no.4). Compte-Rendu, Conseil municipal du 25 Nov 1996, p.2: premises were allocated to the Association droits et devoirs des positifs et victimes du virus du SIDA; see also Conseil municipal du 24 Juin 1996, p.6. Mieux vivre à Toulon, p.23; see also Le Provençal, 4 Apr 1996: Le Pen exhibits his belief in national preference, though he argues he is neither racist nor xenophobic (see Chapters 2 and 3 of this book). See Le Provençal, 4 Apr 1996 and 19 Apr 1996 and Marignane aujourd’hui, Mar 1996 (no.1). Libération, 10 Feb 1997; Le Rocher, Mar 1997; Le Monde, 23 Nov 1995. Le Marseillaise, 5 Apr 1996. See Mairie d’Orange, Recueil des actes administratifs, 3ème Trimestre 1995 (3 Sep) and Conseil municipal, Seance do 10 Jul 1995, Compte-Rendu (Marignane); and Le Toulonnais, 24 Apr–10 May 1996 (no.7). Le Toulonnais, 24 Apr–10 May 1996 (no.7). Le Figaro, 5–6 Aug 1995. Le Monde 25 Dec 1995 and Le Marseillaise, 25 Dec 1995. Le Toulonnais, 13 Jan 1996 (no.3); Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 21 Dec, pp.144–58. Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 21 Dec, p.153. Le Toulonnais, 13 Jan 1996 (no.3). Mairie d’Orange, Recueil des actes administratifs, 4ème Trimestre 1995, 20 Dec 1995; Français d’abord, Mar 1996 (no.232). Orange vérités, no.3. Français d’abord, Feb 1997 (no.252). Ibid. Le Toulonnais, 23 Jun 1997 (no.28). See Le Toulonnais, 24 Apr–10 May 1996 (no.7). C. Mégret, op. cit., p.28. Allez Vitrolles programme, p.12. Le Rocher, May 1997. Le Toulonnais, 25 Mar–10 Apr 1996 (no.6). Mairie d’Orange, Recueil des actes administratifs, 4ème Trimestre 1995, p.16. See Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 21 Dec 1995; Le Toulonnais, 6–20 Mar 1996 (no.5), Apr–10 May (no.7) and 31 Jul 1997 (no.30). Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 28 Jul 1995; Compte Rendu Conseil municipal Seance du 18 Sep 1995; Le Méridional, 25 Jun 1995. Mieux vivre à Toulon, p.5/6. Election leaflet, Bompard Orange Espoir, no.2 (1995); National hebdo, 27 Mar 1997. Le Rocher, May 1997.

Notes 261 190. Mairie d’Orange, Recueil des actes administratifs, 4ème Trimestre 1995, p.43; see also Mairie d’Orange, Recueil des actes administratifs, 1er Trimestre 1996, p.38. 191. Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 17 Nov 1995, p.154; Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 14 Mar 1996; National hebdo, 27 Mar 1997. 192. Mairie d’Orange, Recueil des actes administratifs, 2ére Trimestre 1995, p.68; Mairie d’Orange, Recueil des actes administratifs, 1ére Trimestre 1996, p.37. 193. Orange vérités, no.3. 194. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Jun 1996 (no.239). 195. See National hebdo, 4–10 Sep 1997 (no.685) and 28 Aug–3 Sep 1997 (no.684), Français d’abord, May 1997 (no.257), Sep 1997 (1st fortnight) and Feb 1998 (no.272); see also Soudais, op. cit., p.43. 196. Soudais, op. cit., p.17. 197. Le Toulonnais, 15 Dec 1995 (no.1). 198. Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (no.239). 199. Le Toulonnais, 24 Apr–10 May 1996 (no.7). 200. Le Figaro, 9 Aug 1995; Marignane aujourd’hui, Apr–May 1996 (no.2). 201. Mieux vivre Toulon, p.17. 202. Le Rocher, Mar 1997. 203. Mieux vivre Toulon, pp.17–19. 204. See Mairie d’Orange, Recueil des actes administratifs, 4ème Trimestre 1995, p.21 and Orange vérités, no.1. 205. See later section on the FN’s policy on municipal expenditure. 206. Le Toulonnais, 24 Apr–10 May 1996 (no.7). 207. Orange vérités, no.1; see also Le Provençal, 1 Mar 1996. 208. Orange vérités, no.1; see also Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (no.239). 209. Le Monde, 1 Nov 1995. 210. Le Toulonnais, 15 Dec 1995 (no.1) and 8–25 Jun 1995 (no.8). 211. Le Toulonnais, 15 Dec 1995 (no.1), 13 Jan 1996 (no.3) and 8–25 Jun 1996 (no.8). 212. Le Figaro, 9 Aug 1995. 213. Le Toulonnais, 8–25 Jun (no.8); see also Mieux vivre Toulon, pp.17–19 and Le Figaro, 5–6 Aug 1995. 214. Le Toulonnais, 8–25 Jun 1995 (no.8). 215. Le Provençal, 11 Jun 1996. 216. Most accounts of the FN in power – like those of Soudais, Ferri and Turc and Samson – do tend to be highly subjective and loaded against the FN; the prevailing view seems to be that the FN mayors have brought a particularly sinister edge to local politics. 217. Bompard election leaflet, May 1997. 218. Bompard, op. cit., p.45; see also National hebdo, 14–20 May 1998 (no.721). 219. Le Toulonnais, 15 Dec 1995 (no.1), 15–31 Dec (no.2) and 6–20 Mar 1996 (no.5). 220. Français d’abord, Mar 1997 (no.253), Le Provençal/Le Mériodional, 21 Jun 1995. 221. Mieux vivre à Toulon, p.13; see also Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 28 Jul 1995 and 29 Sep 1995. 222. Le Toulonnais, 24 Apr–10 May 1996 (no.7); Mieux vivre Toulon, p.13. 223. Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 21 Dec 1995; see also Le Toulonnais, no.4, p.8 and Français d’abord, Mar 1997 (no.254). 224. Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 28 Jul 1995. 225. Supplement to Marignane aujourd’hui, 1997. 226. Mieux vivre à Toulon, pp.6–7.



227. Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 22 Mar 1996; see also National hebdo (no.621). 228. Marignane aujourd’hui, Apr–May 1996 (no.2). 229. In a sense this kind of statistic makes the issue more accessible for ordinary people; for the FN this is vital if it is to get its message across. 230. Le Provençal, 19 Mar 1996. 231. Le Provençal/Le Meridional, 21 Jun 1995. 232. Orange vérités, no.3. 233. Le Chevallier, Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 22 Mar 1996, p.127; Marignane aujourd’hui, Apr–May 1996 (no.2). 234. National hebdo (no.621). 235. Le Toulonnais, 1–15 Dec 1995 (no.1). 236. Marignane aujourd’hui, Apr–May 1996 (no.2) and Orange vérités, no.1; see also Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 29 Sep 1995. 237. National hebdo (no.621); in Marignane the professional tax had been reduced from 19.04 per cent to 17.26 per cent; Libération (10 Feb 1997) declared that tax had been cut by 3 per cent in Marignane – but also said spending was up; Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (no.239), Nov 1997 (no.268) and Le Toulonnais, 24 Oct 1997 (no.34). 238. See Français d’abord, Nov 1996 (no.247); also Marignane aujourd’hui, Apr–May 1996 (no.2) and Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (no.239). 239. See Marignane aujourd’hui, Apr–May 1996 (no.2) and Orange vérités, no.3. 240. National hebdo (no.621). 241. Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 22 Mar 1996; see also Le Provençal, 6 Mar 1997 and Le Monde, 13 Apr 1997 for reports on the tax and spending plans of the Vitrolles council. 242. See Marignane aujourd’hui, Apr–May 1996 (no.2) and Orange vérités, no.3. 243. Soudais, op. cit., p.38; see Le Provençal, 3 Apr 1997 for details of the FN’s costcutting plans in Vitrolles. 244. Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 22 Mar 1996, p.99; Le Chevallier, also played on this theme at other council meetings: see Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 21 Dec 1995. 245. Orange vérités, no.1; see Bompard, op. cit., pp.45–52. 246. See National hebdo, 5–11 Dec 1996 (no.646) against SEMTAD-orientated corruption and Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 21 Dec 1995. 247. National hebdo, 29 Sep 1995 (no.621); see also Ville de Toulon, Conseil municipal du 29 Sep 1995; Orange vérités, no.1 and no.3. 248. See, for example, Le Rocher, Mar 1997. 249. Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (no.239). 250. Marignane aujourd’hui, Mar 1996 (no.1); with regard to Orange see Le Provençal, 21 May 1996. 251. Le Toulonnais, 8–25 Jun 1996 (no.8). 252. Mieux vivre à Toulon, p.21. 253. Marignane aujourd’hui, Spring 1997 (no.6). 254. Français d’abord, Jun 1996 (no.239). 255. Soudais, op. cit., p.42; see also Balibar, op. cit. 256. Soudais, op. cit., p.45. 257. Van Eeuwen, op. cit., p.98. 258. See Français d’abord, Nov 1997 (no.267).

Notes 263 259. Le Toulonnais, 25 Sep 1997 (no.32); Français d’abord, Mar 1997 (no.253), Sep 1997 (1st fortnight), Nov 1997 (2nd fortnight), Mar 1998 (no.275) and Oct 1998. 260. Français d’abord, Mar 1997 (no.253); see also Samson, op. cit., p.80. 261. Soudais, op. cit., pp.58–9; C. Mégret, op. cit., p.16. Conclusion 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Perrineau in Martin-Castelnau, op. cit., p.55; Martinet, op. cit., pp.88–9; Bihr, op. cit., p.247; Hazareesingh, op. cit., pp.146–7. See Souchard et al., op. cit., pp.24–5 and Cambadélis and Osmond, op. cit., pp. 474– 6. Martinet, op. cit., pp.89–90. Cambadélis and Osmond, op. cit., pp.473–6. Bihr, op. cit., p.247. Hazareesingh, op. cit., pp.146–8. See the extremely crude and simplistic graphs that often appear in FN publications; for example, Le FN c’est vous! Le Figaro, 28 Mar 1990. See Le Monde, 2 and 3 June 1993. Le Quotidien de Paris, 31 Mar–1 Apr 1990. Ibid. Le Gallou (1985) op. cit., p.28. See Martinez, op. cit.

14. Interview, 8 January 1991.


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266 Bibliography Gaffney, J. The French Presidential Elections of 1988, Aldershot, Dartmouth, c.1989. Gaffney, J. and Kolinsky, E. (eds) Political Culture in France and Germany, London, Routledge, 1991. Gaïa, R. and Doménech, J. Affreux: Le Bêtisier du FN, Toulon, Plein Sud, 1996. Gaspard, F. and Khosrokhavar, F. Le foulard et la République, Paris, La Découverte 1995. Gauthier, N. L’extrême droite: un danger pour la démocratie?, Paris, Casterman, 1998. Gellner, E. Nations and Nationalism, Oxford, Blackwell, 1990. Gies, F. Joan of Arc: The Legend and the Reality, London, Harper & Row, 1981. Girardet, R. Le Nationalisme français 1871–1914, Paris, Armand Colin, 1966. —— Nationalismes et Nation, Paris, Complexe, 1996. Guelfi, J. Jeanne d’Arc ou le patriotisme français, Boulogne, Axis, 1991. Guibernau, M. Nationalisms, Cambridge, Polity, 1996. Guiomar, J.-Y L’Idéologie nationale, Paris, Lebovici, 1974. Hargreaves, A. Immigration in Post-War France, London, Methuen, 1987. Harris, G. The Dark Side of Europe: The Extreme Right Today, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 1994. Hayward, J., Hall, P. and Machin, H. Developments in French Politics, London, Macmillan, 1990. Hazareesingh, S. Political Traditions in Modern France, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1994. Hoffman, S. Le Mouvement Poujade, Paris, Colin, 1956. Hollifield, J.F. and Ross, G. (eds) Searching for the New France, London, Routledge, 1991. Hyman, F. From Dreyfus to Vichy, New York, Columbia University Press, 1979. Jackson, J. Charles de Gaulle, London, Cardinal, 1990. Jenkins, B. and Sofos, S. (eds) Nation & Identity in Contemporary Europe, London, Routledge, 1996. Joseph, J. and Taylor, T. (eds) Ideologies of Language, London, Routledge, 1990. Jouve, P. and Magoudi, A. Les Dits et les non-dits de Jean-Marie Le Pen, Paris, Editions la Découverte, 1988. Kergoat, J. La France du Front Populaire, Paris, Editions la Découverte, 1986. Kingston, P. Anti-Semitism in France during the 1930s, Hull, University of Hull Press, 1983. Kristeva, J. Nations without Nationalism, New York, Columbia University Press, 1993. Lacorne, D., Rupnik, J. and Toinet, M.-F. (eds) The Rise and Fall of Anti-Americanism, Basingstoke, Macmillan, 1990. Lancelot, A. Les Elections sous la Ve République, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1983. Le Chevallier, J.-M. Immigration en Europe: attention danger, Paris, GDE, 1989. Le Gallou, J.-Y. La Préférence National, Paris, Editions Albin Michel, 1985. —— Le Racisme antifrançais, Paris, Le Club de l’horloge (paper presented 23–24 Jan 1988), 1988. —— Le Livre bleu blanc rouge: plaidoyer pour une région enracinée, Paris, Editions Nationales, Centre d’Etudes et d’Argumentaires, 1991. —— L’inéluctable échec de Balladur, Paris, Editions Nationales, 1993.

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268 Bibliography Paxton, R.O. Vichy France, London, Barrie and Jenkins, 1972. Perrineau, P. L’Engagement politique: Déclin ou mutation?, Paris, Presses de la fondation nationale, 1994. —— Le Symptôme Le Pen, Paris, Fayard, 1997. Petitfils, J.-C. L’Extrême Droite en France, Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1988. Plenel, E. and Rollat, A. L’Effet Le Pen, Paris, Editions la Découverte, 1984. —— La République menacée: dix ans d’effet Le Pen, Paris, Le Monde-Editions, 1992. Présent Le Pen 90: analyses et propositions, Maule, Editions de Présent, 1991. Raymond, G. (ed.) France During the Socialist Years, Aldershot, Dartmouth, 1994. Rémond, R. The Right-Wing in France, Philadelphia, University of Philadelphia Press, 1969. —— Notre siècle, Evreux, Fayard, 1988. Rémond, R. and Bourdin, J. (eds) Edouard Daladier: Chef de gouvernement, Paris, Presses de la fondation nationale des sciences politiques, 1977. Renan, E. Oeuvres complètes de Ernest Renan: Tome I, Paris, Calmann-Lévy, 1947. Renouvin, B. Une Tragédie Bien Française, Paris, Ramsay, 1997. Reumaux, B. and Breton, P. L’appel de Strasbourg, Strasbourg, La Nuée Bleue, 1997. Ringrose, M. and Lerner, A. Reimagining the Nation, Buckingham, OUP, 1993. Robert, M. Petit manuel anti-FN, Paris, Golias, 1998. Robichez, J. Santé & Démographie, Paris, Editions Nationales, 1996. Rollat, A. Les Hommes de l’extrême droite, Paris, Calmann-Lévy, 1985. Rostolan, M. de Lettre ouverte à mon peuple qui meurt, Paris, Editions Fernand Lanore, 1987. Roussel, E. Le Cas Le Pen: Les Nouvelles droites en France, Paris, Lattès, 1985. Routhier, P. Contrepoisons, Paris, Editions Nationales, no date. Saint Affrique, L. de and Fredet, J.-G. Dans l’ombre de Le Pen, Paris, Hachettes, 1998. Samson, M. Le Front National aux Affaires, Paris, Calmann-Lévy, 1997. Schernardi, J.-P. and Liparoti, J.-P. Pour un Urbanisme Français, Paris, Editions Nationales, no date. Seliger, M. Ideology and Politics, London, Allen & Unwin, 1976. Sermoise, P. de Joan of Arc and her Secret Missions, London, Robert Hale, 1973. Simmons, H. The French National Front: The Extremist Challenge to Democracy, Oxford, Westview, 1996. Sirinelli, J.-F. (ed.) Histoire des droites en France, Paris, Gallimard, 1992. SOFRES Opinion Publique 1985, Paris, SOFRES, 1986. Souchard, M., Wahnich, S.L Cuminal I.., and Wathier, V. Le Pen Les mots, Paris, Le Monde, 1997. Soudais, M. Le Front National en face, Paris, Flammarion, 1996. Sternhell, Z. Neither Right Nor Left: Fascist Ideology in France, California, University of California Press, 1979. Stirbois, J.-P. L’Avenir nous appartient, Paris, Editions National hebdo, 1988. Stirbois, J.-P. and Jalkh, J.-F. Dossier immigration, Archives ouvertes de National hebdo (supplement to National hebdo, 19 Sep, no.61, 1985. Taguieff, P.-A. La Force du préjugé: Essai sur le racisme et ses doubles, Paris, La Découverte, 1988. —— Les fins de l’antiracisme, Paris, Michalon, 1995.

Bibliography 269 —— La République menacée, Paris, Textuel, 1996. —— Le Racisme, Paris, Flammarion, 1997. —— La Couleur et le sang, Paris, Mille et une nuits, 1998. Thiollet, J.-P. Le Chevallier à découvert, Paris, Laurens, 1998. Thompson, J.B. Studies in the Theory of Ideology, Cambridge, Polity, 1984. Todd, E. La Nouvelle France, Paris, Seuil. Todorov, T. On Human Diversity: Nationalism, Racism and Exoticism in French Thought, London, Harvard University Press, 1993. Tombs, R. (ed) Nationhood and Nationalism from Boulangism to the Great War 1889– 1918, London, Harper Collins, 1991. Touchard, J. Histoire des idées politiques (Tome 2), Paris, Presses universitaires de France, 1958. Tristan, A. Au Front, Paris, Gallimard, 1987. Verdier, J. du Rapport du Verdier: Eléments de réflexion sur la Défense de la France, Paris, Editions Nationales, 1991. Viard, J. (ed.) Aux sources du populisme nationaliste, St. Etienne, Editions de l’Aube, 1996. Voisard, J. and Ducastelle, C. La Question immigrée, Paris, Calmann-Lévy/Seuil, 1990. Von Beyne, K. (ed.) Right-wing Extremism in Western Europe, London, Cass, 1988. Warner, M. Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism, London, Penguin, 1987. Weber, E. Action Française: Royalism and Reaction in Twentieth-Century France, Stanford, Stanford University Press, 1962. Werth, A. France 1940–1955, London, Robert Hale, 1957. Winock, M. Nationalisme, antisémitisme et fascisme en France, Paris, Seuil, 1990. —— (ed.) Histoire de l’extrême droite en France, Paris, Seuil, 1994. Wistrich, R.S. Anti-Semitism: The Longest Hatred, London, Mandarin, 1992. Journal articles Bastow, S. ‘Front National economic policy: from neo-liberalism to protectionism?’, Modern and Contemporary France, Vol. 5, No.1, Feb 1997. Body-Gendrot, S., D’Hellencourt, B. and Rancoule, M. ‘Entrée Interdite: la Legislation sur L’Immigration en France, au Royaume-Uni et aux Etats-Unis’, Revue Française de Science Politique, vol.39, no.1, Feb 1989. Charlot, M. ‘L’Emergence du Front national’, Revue Française de Science Politique, vol.36, no.1, Feb 1986. Fysh, P. ‘Government Policy and the Challenge of the National – Front the First Twelve Months’, Modern and Contemporary France, no.31, Oct 1987. Hastings, M. ‘La rhétorique hygiéniste de Jean-Marie Le Pen’, Revue Politique et Parlementaire, no.933, Jan–Feb 1988. Jennings, J. ‘Liberalism, Nationalism and the Excluded’, History of European Ideas, vol.15, 1992. Perrineau, P. ‘Le Front National, un electorat autoritaire’, Revue Politique et Parlementaire, no.918, Jul–Aug 1985.

270 Bibliography Putnam, G.F. ‘The meaning of Barrèsisme’, Western Political Quarterly, vol.vii, Jun 1954. Schain, M. ‘Party Politics, the National Front and the Construction of Political Legitimacy’, West European Politics, vol.10, no.2, Apr 1987. Soucy, R. ‘Fascism in France’, Journal of Contemporary History, vol.1, no.1, 1966. Tomlinson, R., Huss, M.-M. and Ogden, P.E. ‘ “France in Peril”: The French Fear of Dénatalité’, History Today, Apr 1985. Tucker, W.R. ‘The Legacy of Charles Maurras’, Journal of Politics, vol.xviii, Nov 1955. —— ‘The New Look of the Extreme Right in France’, Western Political Quarterly, Mar 1968. Wieviorka, M. ‘Les Bases du national-populisme’, Le Débat, no.61, Sep–Oct 1990. Yonnet, P. ‘La Machine Carpentras’, Le Débat, no.61, Sep–Oct 1990. FN publications (Paris) A–Z des idées. APFN policy leaflet. CNDVNA brochure. CNDVNA policy leaflet. Les Dossiers de l’histoire. Les Dossiers tricolores du National hebdo. ‘Eglise de France’, Les Tribunes Libres de National Hebdo. Election documents 1989–1997. Europe et patries. FN spécial région Parisienne. Français d’abord. Front National. Identité. Immigration: 50 mesures concrètes. La Lettre de Jean-Marie Le Pen Le FN c’est vous! Le National. Le Racisme antifrançais. Magazine hebdo. Militant. National hebdo. Nouvelles d’Europe. Paris l’éspoir. Perspectives pour L’Europe des patries. RLP hebdo. ‘SOS Hystérie: les Anti-Le Pen’, Les Tribunes Libres de National Hebdo. Volontaire.

Bibliography 271 FN publications (regional) Allez Vitrolles. Bruno Gollnisch: Lyon fait Front. Conseil Municipal, Compte-Rendu de Séance, 1995–7 (Toulon). Compte Rendu, Conseil Municipal, 1995–7 (Marignane). Compte Rendu, Sommaire de la Séance 1997 (Vitrolles). FN Council Documentation. Front Nord. La Lettre de Pierre Descaves. La Lettre du Front. La Lettre Nationale du Loir-et-Cher. La Lettre Nationale du Vendômois et du Perche. L’Hermine. Le Léopard. Le Rempart. Lyon fait Front: Programme des listes municipales de Lyon. Marignane Aujourd’hui. Mieux Vivre à Toulon. National 44. National 60. National Provence. Orange Vérités. Recueil des Actes Administratifs, 1995–7 (Orange). Le Rocher. Le Toulonnais. Vigilance. Vouloir. Election lists and documentation. IFN lecture presentations Berard, P. ‘Identité européene’, 14 Jun 1989. Le Gallou, J.-Y. ‘Islam et francité: deux cultures incompatibles’, 15 Jan 1991. Le Pen, J.-M. ‘Conférence inaugurale’, 25 Jan 1989. Mégret, B. and Wagner, G.-P. ‘L’Identité en question’, 11 Jan 1989. Rousseau, C. ‘Déclin et crise d’identité’, 8 Feb 1989. Wagner, G.-P. ‘Droit et identité’, 10 May 1989. Newspapers and magazines L’Arch. Le Cercle national des agriculteurs de France. Le Choc du mois. L’Express.

272 Bibliography L’Evénèment du jeudi. The European. Le Figaro. Figaro-Magazine. The Guardian. The Independent. The Independent Magazine. Libération. Le Matin. Le Monde. Le Monde International. La Nouvelle observateur. Le Parisien. Le Paysan National. Le Point. Présent. Le Quotidien de Paris. Témoignage chrétien. The Times Other media Antenne 2. BBC Radio 4. FN Web site. FN campaign video (Presidential elections, 1995).


abortion 74, 129–31, 202 abstractionism 72–3 agenda-setting 1 agriculture 25, 47–8, 108, 111 AIDS 26–7, 132–4 Alaphilippe, D. 140 Algerian War 154–5 Algérie française veterans 30–1, 154 Alsace-Lorraine 83 Americanisation 20, 85–6 Amis des chats 201 animal protection 201, 205–6 Anti 89, crusade 35 Antony, B. 29, 172 APFN (Agriculteurs pour le Front national) 111 armament industries 48–9 armed services 48–9 assimilation, policy of 135, 227 association subsidies 193–4, 195–200 autonomy, regional 65, 223 Aznavour, C. 172 Badorc, B. 209 Baeckerfoot, C. 119 Balibar, E. 141, 217 Balladur, E. 4 Bardet, J.-C. 84 Bardot, B. 145–6 Barrès, M 4, 82, 136, 222 Bastow, S. 24 Bérard, P. 23 Betz, H.-G. 7–8 Beur population 141 Biaggi, J.-B. 91 Bihr, A. 13–14, 15, 141 Bild, M. 70, 72 bilingualism 52–3 Birenbaum, G. 7, 17, 28, 31, 32, 34, 37, 38

Birnbaum, P. 7 birth-rates 11, 82, see also demographic decline Blanc, R. 153–4 Blel, M. 189 blood and blood rights 77, 78, 82, 134, 223 Blot, Y. 52, 54, 85 Bompard, J. 56–7, 166, 168, 170, 174–5, 180–3, passim, 187, 188, 191, 192, 193, 198–9, 205, 210-11, 218 books, politics of 173–7 Bortoletti, G. 209 Bothorel, J. 177 Boumedienne, H. 123–4 Bourhis, S. 53 Bourseiller, C. 7, 17, 25, 27–8, 29, 34 Bousquet, P. 130, 131 Brasseur, R. 55 Breton, P. 171 Bricour, J. 55 Brigneau, F. 29 Brissaud, J.-M. 65 Bruel, P. 172 Cabantous, M. 147, 150–2, 153 Cambadélis, J.-C. 13, 14, 222 capitalism, popular 107 Carpentras 49 Carrel, A. 110 Castells, R. 9, 77–8, 106 Catholic integrists 28–30, 112 censorship 173, 174–5 centralisation 36–8 Cerato, E. 197 Chaly, I. de 99 change, belief in 50–1 Chariot, M. 158–9 Châteauvallon 177–80 Chaunu, P. 120



‘cheque-education’ 61 Chirac, J 4 les Chorégies 181–3 Clamecy, C. 9–10 Clovis 19, 112 Club de l’Horloge 24, 33–4 CNAF (Cercle national des agriculteurs de la France) 107, 108 CNC (Cercle national des combattants) 31 CNDVNA (Cercle national pour la défense de la vie) 110, 111 CNR (Cercle national des rpatries) 31 cohabitation 128, 129 Collinot, M. 112 Combier, F. 160 Comité pour la défense de la France d’outremer 94 comités Chrétiente-Solidarité 29 common sense and exclusion policy 138–9 Communism 98, 105; end of 17 confederation 23, 103, 228 Conrad, S. 120–1 Conseil scientifique du Front national 12 contraception 129, 130, 131, 202 corporatism 24 Corsica 89, 90–2, 94 cosmopolitanism 20, 22, 65, 71–6, 108, 134, 140 crime 45–6, 158, 159, 207–11 cultural policy 53–4, 66, 171–87, 217 Curutchet, J.-M. 185 debt 213–14 defence 48–9, 70, 97, 98 Delaporte, A. 130 Délégation générale 12 demographic decline (dénatalité) 11, 20, 119–34, 137, 163, 223 Désiré H. 139 difference 21, 135, 140, 141 disabled people 60 divorce 129 El Djazaïri, Mohammed Ben Abdelkrim 153 DOM-TOM (Départements d’outre-mer, Territoires Franais d’outre-mer) 68, 81 Domage, J.-M. 47–8 Doménech, J. 30, 166 Douste-Blazy, P. 172, 178, 181, 182, 186 drugs 98, 102, 159, 207 Duchemin, J. 48 Dudan, P. 113 Dupont-Tingaud, C. 44 duty 74 Eagleton, T. 14

Eastern Europe 84–5, 98 Eclat 195 ecology/environment 25, 52–3, 66, 108–12, 202–7, 24 economic development 216–17 economic and monetary union 97, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104 economic policy 7–8, 12, 23–5, 32–3, 107; local 202, 211–17 education 5, 26, 52, 61, 66, 194 Eeuwen, D. van 171, 217 elderly people 60–1 election performance 3, 226 electorate 15–16 employment 34 enracinement 88–9 enrichment theory 73 environment see ecology/environment equality/egalitarianism 70 equilibrium, FN notion of 110, 111, 157, 224 ethnic diversity 73 ethnocentrism 140 Etienne, B. 9 Euro-Disneyland 86, 110 Euro-federalism 20, 23, 65, 98, 102, 103, 228 Europe 22–3, 96–105, 222, 223; and demographic decline 122–3 European elections 3, 16 European Union 96, 98, 100, 102–3 exclusion, policy of 21, 26–7, 134–41, 163, 223, 224 Fabius, L. 172 factions 27–35 Fadlallah, Mohammed Hussein 147 family 42, 52, 58–60, 66, 74, 190, 201–2 family allowance scheme 126–7, 190 family preference 25–6, 125–34 family vote 127 fascism 7 federalism, Euro- 20, 23, 65, 98, 102, 103, 228 federations, regional 35–62 Ferrand, R. 127 Ferri, M. 166, 170, 171, 181, 195 Fifth Republic 5, 15, 86 fishing industry 48 foreign policy 97 ‘foulard’ affair 161, 162 Fourest, C. 9 Fourny, J. 54 Foyer, J. 142 Fraternité française 69, 200–1 French Empire, nostalgia for 30–1

Index 275 French language 53 French Revolution 29 frontiers, defence of 98, 101–2 fundamentalists 29 Gaïa, R. 166 Galvaire, J.F. 91 Gaspard, F. 121, 142 Gatel, J. 198 GATT 23, 24, 101 Gauthier, N. 8 German reunification 84 Girardet, R. 9, 15, 66, 141 Giscard d’Estaing, V. 93 globalisation 17 Gobard, H. 86 GRECE (Groupe de recherche et d’étude pour la civilisation européene) 21, 33–4 Gregor, C. 135–7 Griotteray, A. 142 Guibernau, M. 83, 106, 134 Guillet de la Brosse, E. 201–2 Gulf War 83–4 Halter, M. 172 handicapped people 60 harmony, FN notion of 110–11 Hastings, M. 133 Hayek, F. 137 Hayward, J. 17 Hazareesingh, S. 2, 4, 82, 134 Hendricks, B. 172 Holeindre, R. 30, 31, 84, 92 Hollender, J.-P. 150 Holocaust 5, 22 homosexuality 131–2, 133, 134, 202 housing policy 194 humanist values 54–5 identity 10, 18, 20, 22, 23, 65, 66–80, 103, 222, 227; European 97, 102–3; rural 108–9 immigration 1, 4, 5, 16, 20–2, 26, 31, 52, 55–8, 66, 71, 98, 102, 105, 134, 135, 141–63, 187–94, 217, 224, 226, 227; as an environmental problem 206; and Islamisation 43–4, 143, 145–55, 161–3, 187–9, 223; and law and order 45–6, 159, 207; and population decline 119, 121–2, 123 individualism 128 inequality 152–3, 224 ‘insecurity’ see security integration of immigrants 134, 135, 227

integrist Catholics 28–30, 112 internationalisation 23, 111 internationalism 22, 72, 73–4, 103 Iorio, E. 121–2, 159, 228 Islam/Islamisation 29, 30, 43–4, 122, 124, 143, 145–55, 160, 161–3, 187–9, 223 Israel 102 Jalkh, J.-F. 144, 158, 160 Jeangérard, M. 180 Jenkins, B. 17, 66, 82, 83, 134 Jews 20, 21–2, 135, 141 ‘Jihad’ 146–7 Joan of Arc 19, 106, 112–16, 223 Jospin, L. 4, 5, 167 Joxe plan 90, 91 Juppé, A. 5 Kahn, J.-F. 9 Khomeini, Ayotollah 151 Kouchner, B. 162–3 Kuwait 83 Lagier, G. 180, 182, 187 LAGRIF 29, 75 the land, as national symbol 106, 107–12, 116 Lang, C. 30, 35–6, 38, 45, 68, 70, 100, 168 Lang, J. 179 language 52–3 law: FN and the 192, 210; Islamic 151–2 law and order 5, 45–6, 158–60, 202, 207–11, see also police and policing Le Chevallier, J.-M. 38, 98, 155, 166, 168, 175–80 passim, 184, 185, 186–7, 188, 91, 93, 194, 201, 212, 215, 216 Le Gallou, J.-Y. 33, 34, 35, 38, 80, 81, 143, 149, 166; on cosmopolitanism versus national identity 71, 72, 73, 75, 77; on European union 97, 101; on immigration 71, 73, 75, 77, 145, 146, 157, 227; on Islam 122, 147, 148, 150, 152, 160, 162; on national preference policy 137–8; on the regional FN 35, 38; on urbanisation and modern development 109–10 Le Pen, J.-M. 1, 3, 5, 14, 18, 29, 30, 38, 50, 75, 76, 77, 82, 92, 93, 140, 147, 151, 172, 192, 193, 226; on Eastern European nationalisms 84–5; on Europe 96, 97, 99–100, 101, 103, 104, 105; on exclusion 138, 139; on family voting rights 127; on homosexuality 132; on



immigration 78–9, 124, 56, 161; and Joan of Arc 112, 113–15; on the nation 67, 68–9, 81; on patriotism 87; on population decline 120, 122–3, 124–5, 128, 130, 131; on regional separatism 88, 89, 94 Le Roy, F. 67, 70, 73–4 leadership 27 Lebanon 30, 159–60 Lefebvre, Mgr 30, 151 legislative elections 3 Lehideux, M. 84, 85, 100 Leitzelman, R. 197 Lescene, J.-L. 132 Lévi-Strauss, C. 137 Libanisation 159–60 libraries 173–5, 176–7 LICRA (Ligue contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme) 75 Lindbergh, A. 110–12 local politics see municipal rule local preference 56–7, 182–3, 186, 226 logos 39, 40–1 loyalty 74; party 16; regional 89 Maastricht 23, 24, 101, 228 Marchiani, J.-C. 178 Marcus, J. 8, 20, 32, 33, 36, 37 Maréchal, C. 109 Maréchal, S. 68 Mariani, T. 181, 182 Marie, R. 29 Marignane 2, 166, 167, 169, 170, 204, 208, 218; and association subsidies 195–7; cultural policy 72, 173, 175; economic policy 213, 214, 215, 217; and national preference policy 189–90 Marnham, P. 115–16 marriage 129 Martin, V. 170 Martin-Castelnau, D. 9 Martinet, G. 82, 222 Martinez, J.-C. 26, 101, 103, 129 maternal income 58–9, 125, 126 Maurras, C 4, 103, 222 Mayer, N. 6 Mégret, B. 14, 34, 49, 60, 71, 72, 84, 89, 91, 95, 106, 120, 123, 125, 137, 157, 179; on Americanisation 85, 86; on cosmopolitanism 72, 139–40; on the economy 24–5; on Europe 23, 104; on the family 74, 125, 126, 127, 128; on immigration 46–7, 139–40, 143–4; on Islam 148, 161; on nation and identity

13, 66, 68, 72, 74, 108; on nationality legislation 76, 79, 80; on women 120, 126, 130 Mégret, C. 21, 166, 168, 169–70, 190, 218 membership 27–35 military power 97 military values 41–2 Milloz, P. 100 Milza, P. 7 Mitra, S. 20 Mitterrand, F. 142 monarchists 34–5 Montalivet, G. de 71, 114 Monzat, R. 7, 27, 28, 33 moralism 201–2, 210 Moriscos 153–4 Mosaïques 180–1 mosque-building 161–3, 189 multi-culturalism 4, 135 Municipal elections 3 municipal rule 2, 11, 166–218, 226 Muraire, J. 185–6 Nachin, M. 213 nation 222, 227–8; and Europe 96–105; in FN ideology 18–20, 22, 25, 39–41, 65–116; ‘open’ and ‘closed’ conceptions of 4, 80–7; region and 88–95; threats to the 119–63 national interest 84 national preference 5, 7, 22, 24, 25, 34, 55, 56, 57, 74, 137, 138, 141, 152, 189–94, 200–1, 223, 226 nationality, Muslim 153 nationality legislation 76–80, 82, 223, 227–8 nationhood 19, 68, 223, 228 naturalisation 77, 78, 79, 80, 153 New Caledonia 89, 92–5 Noir, M. 162 North African community 21, 143, 144–5, 146, 148, 153, 223 NTM (Nique Ta Mère) 178–9, 180 nuclear testing policy 4 OAS (Organisation de l’Armée Secrète) 154 Orange 2, 56–7, 166, 167, 168, 170, 190, 198–9, 200, 202, 216; cultural policy 172, 173, 174–5, 176, 180–4; environmental concerns 204, 205–6; and the Islamic ‘threat’ 187–8, 189; law and order concerns 208–9, 210–11 Osmond, E. 13, 14, 222 Pacquet, G. 177, 178, 179, 218, 221

Index 277 Pallier, D. 173, 175 party loyalty 16 Pasteur, L. 136 patriotism 40, 87 Payet, L. 55 PCF (Parti Communiste Franais) 4 Péguy, C. 108 the people, as national symbol 106–7, 116 Péroncel-Hugoz, J.-P. 153 Perrineau, P. 6–7, 8, 9, 15 personalism 107 Pétain, P, Marshal 225 Peyrecave, M. de 46 Piat, Y. 94, 127 Plenel, E. 7 pluralism 174, 175 police and policing 52, 208–9, 210 population decline (dénatalité) 11, 20, 119–34, 137, 163, 223 populism 52, 106, 159, 183, 184, 202, 225 Poujade, P. 31–2 Poujadists 31–3, 107, 225 Présent 29, 33 press, regional 39–42 protectionism, economic 24 protest, FN as vehicle for 15, 16 PS (Parti Socialiste) 4, 10, 71, 72, 139 publicity 6, 224 Quebec 85 racism 21–2; anti-French 22, 74–6, 80, 191 Racouchot, B. 73 Raimu 185–6 reciprocity 74 referenda, municipal 52 refugees, intellectual 47 regional autonomy 65, 223 Regional elections 3 regional federations 35–62, 222–3 regional separatism 20, 53, 88–95, 223 religion 28–30, see also Islam/Islamisation Rémond, R. 21 Renan, E. 81, 222 Renouvin, B. 2, 77, 116, 141 republican nationalism 82, 86–7, 222 Restos de coeur affair 195–7 Reumaux, B. 171 Reveau, J.-P. 160 rights 73–4; of man 73, 74; right of blood 77, 78, 82, 223; right of soil 77, 78 Robert, M. 8, 170, 171 Rocard, M. 114–15, 142 Rollat, A. 6, 7

rootedness 88–9, 108, 185–6 Rostolan, M. de 121, 125, 127 Roussel, E. 6 RPR (Rassemblement pour la République) 4 rural identity 108–9 Rushdie, S. 151 sacrifice 19 Saleh, Fouad Ali 147 Samson, M. 2, 170, 171, 185 Sauvy, A. 123 Schengen agreement 101–2 scientific theory of exclusion 135–7, 138 secularism 161 security/insecurity 45–6, 158–60, 202, 207–11 self-definition 102, 103 separatism, regional 20, 53, 88–95, 223 Servan-Schreiber, C. 142 Shields, J. 17, 18, 21 Sidos, F.-X. 68 Simmons, H. 8, 20, 21, 27, 37 Simonpieri, D. 166, 168, 189, 191–2, 193, 194, 196, 197, 215 Sirenelli, J.-F. 7 small business sector 24, 32 Soccoja, M. 176–7 social discourse 195–202, see also education; family; family preference; law and order; social welfare social welfare 5, 25–6, 58–61, 193 Sofos, S. 17, 66, 82, 83, 134 solidarity, social 200–2 SOS Animaux 205–6 Souchard, M. 14, 66 Soudais, M. 8, 17, 27, 28, 38, 166, 170, 190, 95, 207, 218 sovereignty, national 137–8, 157 Stasi, B. 121, 142 Stirbois, J.-P. 66, 78, 79, 80, 93, 94, 106, 107, 144, 158 Stirbois, M.-F. 73, 77, 81, 84, 87, 90–1, 149–50 subsidies, municipal 193–4, 195–200 superiority 135, 140, 141 symbols and slogans 39, 40–1, 50–1, 106–16, 223, 224–5 Taguieff, P.-A. 9, 66, 141 Tarelli, J.-C. 175 Tavernier, B. 177 taxation 32, 33, 60, 169, 211, 213, 214–15 Théàtre national de la danse et de l’image (TNDI) 177, 178, 179



Thompson, J.B. 13 Tocnaye, T. de la 160 Toulon 2, 166, 167, 168, 169, 188–9, 194, 199, 200, 201, 218; cultural policy 172, 173, 175–80, passim, 184, 185; economic policy 212, 213, 214–15, 216, 216–17; environmental concerns 203–5, 206; law and order concerns 29–10, 207–8, 210 Touraine, A. 71–2, 138 tourism 186 traditionalism 66, 111, 112, 184–5, 223–4, 225 transport 52 Tristan, A. 6 Turc, R. 166, 170, 171, 181, 195 Turkey 97, 102 UDF (Union pour la Démocratie Français) 4 Union nationale combattants 195 universalism 22, 73 Université citoyenne 167 urbanisation 109–10, 111, 204–5 van Eeuwen, D. 171, 217

Vassilikos, V. 9 veil, Islamic 161, 162 Veil, S. 16, 130 Venner, F. 9 veteran soldiers 170 Vial, P. 124, 147, 148 Viala, B. 104 Vichy 222, 225 Vigouroux, R. 162 Villain, J. 177 Vitrolles 2, 166–7, 168–70, 172, 184, 190, 204, 205, 208, 212 voting patterns 15–16 voting rights, family 127 Wagner, G.-P. 34, 66, 100, 104, 105, 137 Wieviorka, M. 9 Winock, M. 6, 24, 80–1, 106, 222, 225 women 130; in Islamic society 152, 153; role of 120, 126, 153, 223–4 Youssouf, D. 162 youth 127–8