December 15, 1997 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on December 15, 1997.
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From email@example.com Mon Dec 15 14:44:55 1997
on "The Front National", at
-- a selective and partially - annotated Bibliography / Resource List, hopefully of use to anyone interested in the Front National, French politics, France, political extremism, and perhaps even the organization of any information in a "digital" age.
From the Main Index page you can go to the following lists, each of which contains as many attractive and interesting images -- and live links -- as can be provided in the space and time available:
Suggestions from any source -- Front National pro-ponents as well as opponents and others -- as to materials which might be added to these files will be very welcome via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Comment: n.b. In case anyone would like to know which side I am on:
"La culte des belles lettres est en décadence et même il se meurt dans les villes de Gaule. Aussi tandis que de bonnes et mauvaises actions s'accomplissaient, que la barbarie des peuples se déchaînait, que les violences des rois redoublaient..."
-- Gregory of Tours, describing France in c.594 A.D.
-- apocryphal (Gregory again?)
"The world is going to hell: children no longer obey their parents, and everyone is writing a book..."
-- attributed to Cicero
"The sky is falling..."
-- Chicken Little
-- any of which could apply to my personal opinion of the views of either the FN or its more virulent detractors, I suppose -- in my own case they are what I think of the FN's supposed "positions", which I regard as being merely incidental to their overall political aim of power gratia power.
The necessity of expressing this personal opinion, in a "professional" exercise such as this Resource List, is of greater interest than the opinion itself though, I believe.
The presentation of the FN's views online could be seen as helping either the FN or their opponents: their opponents, in that increased publicity for what appear to be ridiculous ideas will assist those who seek to ridicule them -- the FN itself, in that this site increases publicity for FN propaganda. There will be those who will say that "objectivity" would be a better posture to adopt -- that it would be best simply to offer what the FN and its critics say and do, and let the facts and opinions "speak for themselves".
I was trained, however, by a generation which had lost faith in an ideal of "objectivity" derived from a hundred years -- some would say several hundred -- of confidence in notions of "science" and "progress". People questioned these notions, during the 1960's and 1950's, because such unmitigated disasters had been produced by them during the 1940's and 1930's and really during the entire first half of this century. One of my teachers, Harold Lasswell, used to urge students, including scientific researchers and so - called professionals, to "clarify your observational standpoint": he had lived at the center of the 1930's / 1940's maelstrom, and he had learned that you are a participant, no matter how removed you think you are or wish to be.
So in this "Front National" Resource List, rather than do what most researchers and historians and librarians traditionally have done, I declare my personal biases very frankly to be against the FN and to be in favor of spreading their propaganda only so as to expose them to the ridicule which their supposed ideas deserve -- and to consign their sheer and cynical political opportunism and growing political power to the historical garbage heap.
This is a naive American strategy, I know, one which ultimately relies upon an idealistic faith in the wisdom of the majority and the functioning of democracy: in places where democracy does not work so well and majorities are not so wise, a better strategy for dealing with the FN might be to "sweep them under the rug" and ignore them.
But now that the FN has polled 15% of the national vote in France -- and they poll well over the majority in several regions and major cities of that large and significant Western European country -- the FN no longer can be ignored. The Nazis polled under 3% nationally in Germany in 1928.
The current strategy in France is to go to the other extreme and "diabolize" the FN, giving them a following which their simplistic and superficial ideas do not deserve: read their Bruno Megret's book online in fulltext, cited and linked in the Resource List. My own publication of FN ideas here may help them even further. My hope -- naive and American though it might be, or be seen to be -- is that others, and they the majority, hereby will see how ridiculous and dangerous those ideas and this party are. If the result is the opposite, well, I would not want a world ruled by oligarchies, no matter how much more enlightened than the rest they might be.
The presentation of the FN in this Resource List is being made not to victimize France or the French: their "Front National" is a social illness which any of us could have -- most of us do, in one form or another, although the infection is perhaps not so virulent elsewhere as it is in France today. The purpose of the presentation is more to suggest one way in which the "new media" can be used for social action -- the FN themselves already do this, very well -- and to attack the idea that the useful but also professional presentation of extremist viewpoints must or even can be "objective".
There were entirely too many "objective" social scientists and other professionals analyzing events in Germany and the Nazi party there, during the 1930's...
Christmas is a good time to forget about things. But it comes right before the New Year, which is a good time to re - dedicate energies and enthusiasms. I hope that some -- much -- will go into whatever it takes in France to deal with their "Front National" problem next year: the rest of us will work on our own local variations as well, and perhaps 1998 will be an even better year for everyone.
Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year.
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 e - mail --------- address and, b) it isn't going to make them money: if // \\ 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 are at http://infolib.berkeley.edu (search fyifrance), or http://email@example.com/ (BIBLIO-FR econference archive), or at http://www.fyifrance.com , or at http://listserv.uh.edu/archives/pacs-l.html . Suggestions, reactions, criticisms, praise, and poison-pen letters all will be gratefully received at firstname.lastname@example.org . Copyright 1992- by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved.