by Jack Kessler, firstname.lastname@example.org
November 15, 2013 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on November 15, 2013 -- and, a little later, on http://fyifrance.blogspot.com/, and at Facebook-Jack Kessler's Notes
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"Le Pen Sees Once-Outcast Party Ruling France in 10 Years"
By Gregory Viscusi & Mark Deen - Nov 13, 2013 11:51 PM PT
>Marine Le Pen, on the threshold of leading her anti-immigrant, anti-European Union National Front party to its biggest triumph ever, says she may be just one electoral cycle from becoming president of France.
>Seven months before European Parliament elections, polls show the National Front as the country's most popular party. With Socialist President Francois Hollande failing to reverse the economic slump that began under Nicolas Sarkozy, Le Pen says disillusionment is driving public opinion her way.
>Her message: too many foreigners, excessive forbearance of Muslims, EU austerity, an overvalued euro, free trade and a lenient penal system are ruining France..."
So, to the books:
For the history of the delicate minuet France long has conducted, with this latest flowering of some of her oldest worst-tendencies, see,
12.70 FYI France Resource List: "The Front National"
-- the citations listed above will be added there soon.
And now, a Note:
The Front National is not a pretty history, but there is much bravery in it : bravery in their own speaking out against the majority -- also bravery in their opponents, those intrepid souls among us who personally face-down some angry & hysterical militant group -- but bravery alone, as no French expression I know of puts it better, does not win ball games...
Both the Front National and the Tea Party address and represent fundamental fears in their respective societies. Their respective societies need to do something about each: something not repressive but effective.
The Front pulls at fears which have long histories in France -- not just fears from the Terrible Twentieth Century's 1940's and nearly-worse 1930's -- their 19th c too was plagued with repression and revolution and extremism -- as was their 18th, and their 17th -- since at least their 16th the French have feared foreigners, at times with good reason but very often not --
-- for that matter a French peasant cowering in his hovel in the paroisse d'Ainay of l'an mille, 1000AD, facing threats from many directions, had good reason to fear many things and to fear them well, as the heavy fortifications of that tiny Lyonnais Romanesque church eloquently attest across the ages.
The US too, though: the Tea Party's reactionary populism emerges now but at the tip of a long-surviving and very strong strand in American culture -- self-reliance, independence, frontier-spirit, citizen-soldier -- nothing new -- from States Rights to McCarthyism, Billy Coughlin to Reconstruction, Shay's Rebellion to our very Revolution against those practitioners of l'anglais, and our Minutemen, and our City on a Hill...
There is nothing fundamentally new, in our US Tea Party, then, either -- that's why they call themselves The Tea Party, that was 1773 -- our foreign friends, distressed about our recent political antics, should remember that the most fractious year in American politics was 1800, not 2013.
So the question is not how to eliminate our extremists -- in France or in the US -- we always have had some, in both places, and their very existence even can be celebrated, as evidence of the toleration and the democracy in both societies. "Show me an efficient government and I'll show you a dictatorship!", one US president famously intoned.
We need to address their causes, not them. Both the Front and the Tea Party espouse much that is spurious, in their so-called and forever & opportunistically - meandering "programs". But that just means it is up to the rest of us to parse their rhetoric, find what is real in their underlying discontents, address & resolve that, so citizens no longer may be tempted to join them.
For example, unemployment: Bob Dylan's take on the new, higher, "natural rate of unemployment" idea (Milton Friedman 1968), is,
"The buyin' power of the proletariat's gone down,
Money's gettin' shallow and weak"
-- if that unemployment increase is "structural", as some say, then we need to revise some of our societal structures -- Dylan understands the rage better than Friedman ever did or cared to -- in France as in the US the extremists are marching largely, now, because they can't get a job.
And there are other valid underlying causes, of the Front National and the Tea Party, which we can isolate and do something about. Leave both extremist parties small, then, but heed their voices, watch them for Early Warning Signs -- as-such they can be very valuable, in fact, and they must be studied.
Not-so-happy reading, then, but an absolute necessity.
FYI France (sm)(tm) e-journal ISSN 1071-5916 * | FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic | journal published since 1992 as a small-scale, | personal experiment, in the creation of large- | scale "information overload", by Jack Kessler. / \ Any material written by me which appears in ----- FYI France may be copied and used by anyone for // \\ any good purpose, so long as, a) they give me --------- credit and show my email address, and, b) it // \\ isn't going to make them money: if it is going to make them money, they must get my permission in advance, and share some of the money which they get with me. Use of material written by others requires their permission. FYI France archives may be found at http://listserv.uh.edu/archives/pacs-l.html (PACS-L archive), or http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/Collections/FYIFrance/ or http://www.fyifrance.com -- also now at http://www.facebook.com ("Jack Kessler" My Notes), and at http://fyifrance.blogspot.com/. Suggestions, reactions, criticisms, praise, and poison-pen letters all gratefully received at email@example.com . Copyright 1992- , by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved except as indicated above.
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