In the recent municipal elections in France, the Front National or FN have won eleven mayoralties, while the other several hundred remain under the control of one of the two major parties, the ‘center-right’ UMP and the ‘center-left’ Socialist Party. But even eleven FN mayors are enough to warrant fear and disgust on the part of progressives. Though small in number, these mayors are making modest moves that are nonetheless ‘controversial’, according to France 24:
In the southwestern city of Béziers, Robert Ménard has established a curfew for minors under 13, who will need to be accompanied by an adult if they wish to be out from 11pm to 6am during the weekends and school holidays of the summer months (June 15 – September 15).
Wanting young kids to be safe at night—surely the mark of a vile bigot.
In the northern city of Villers-Cotterêts, meanwhile, one of Franck Briffaut’s first decisions was to cancel a planned commemoration of the abolition of slavery on May 10. It will be the first time since 2007 that the ceremony will not take place in the town, where the biracial General Dumas (the father of Alexandre Dumas, famous author of “The Three Musketeers”) – born a slave in the former French colony of Saint-Domingue – died in 1806.
Briffaut told the news agency Agence France-Presse that he saw the commemoration as “part of a permanent and systematic process of making France feel guilty, while slavery still exists elsewhere in the world, unfortunately”.
And can Briffault be anything but correct? Slavery still exists in Africa—and if we include modern human trafficking, it’s global—but Westerners need to remind ourselves regularly of the slavery we forcefully abolished over six generations ago? It’s more than obvious why such an issue would be continually resurrected.
Elsewhere in northern France, in the city of Hénin-Beaumont, the administration of newly elected mayor Steeve Briois cut a 300-euro annual subsidy for the Human Rights League, a French NGO dedicated to the defence of civil rights throughout France. Briois has also declared that the group will no longer be able to occupy their local headquarters rent-free, as was the case before. The organisation had openly opposed Briois’s candidacy, but the mayor has said his decision was made because the benefits afforded the Human Rights League in Hénin-Beaumont were “illegal”.
A look at cases like those of Rhodesia and Georgia tells us that NGOs, ‘non-governmental organizations’, are the furthest thing from non-governmental; and that ‘human rights’ and ‘civil rights’ are progressive buzzwords that mean what those in power want them to mean. Such an organization may as well be called the Class Struggle League.
The association’s branch in Mantes-la-Ville, in north-central France, may also see a reduction in municipal subsidies. The town’s mayor, Cyril Nauth, has also opposed the construction of a new prayer room for Muslims, which had been planned last autumn by the formerly Socialist mayor. Nauth has called the initial plan for a new prayer room a ploy to win the “Muslim vote”.
Note the scare quotes—because there is apparently no Muslim vote in France.
The new mayor of the southern city of Fréjus, David Rachline, also opposed plans to build a new mosque when he was campaigning, and has promised a referendum on the matter. In keeping with the generally anti-EU views of his party, Rachline has also removed the European Union flag from the front of the city hall building.
In other words, Fréjus now looks a little bit more like France used to look until about twenty years ago—the horror! French people caring more about their own country than about Muslims or the EU? Witches, the whole lot, clearly!
The majority of the new far-right French mayors have decided to increase their own salaries, as well as those of their deputies. The move is controversial, given the widespread budgetary difficulties many French cities are facing.
But Philippe de la Grange, mayor of the southeastern city of Luc, defended the decision, telling reporters: “The deputies still earn less than a foreigner who comes to retire in France without ever having worked there.”
Could de la Grange be telling the truth? Could it be that the reason such a small party has made such gains is because the people actually want it? It’s hard to argue that these FN mayors are simply power-hungry—if they were, why did they join the FN and not one of the two major parties? The UMP and the Socialist Party are where the bulk of the power is, so why would such comparatively minor moves by only eleven mayors be so threatening? Perhaps for the same reason François Hollande used “Niggas in Paris” in a campaign video—because the elite in France want a different population to govern. Any gains made by the FN will undermine the idea that the current ruling class in the West maintain their power through democracy. If the UMP and the Socialist Party can no longer confidently say that they represent the will of the French people, they’ve lost a key component of their political formula, their justification for power. Hence Brecht’s solution: abolish the people who won’t vote for you and elect another who will.
The FN, on the other hand, are simply doing what would occur naturally to any French political party in the absence of progressive orthodoxy: appealing to French people on the basis of being French.
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