All extreme right movements have common points. The xenophobiathe anti-immigration speechespecially Muslim, the link between citizen insecurity (crimes) and immigrants, nationalism, a constant invocation of feelings of identity, the confrontation with the European institutionsthe demand to recover powers of the European Union for the States, and the affinity with the type of leadership that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin have exercised and exercise.
But in each country, politics presents singularities that respond to the history and characteristics of its society. On the extreme right, too.
The usual thing is that in the creed of the right there is a “liberal” vision of the economy. The discourse against the interference of the State, that it be the market that regulates, that taxpayers’ money is better in their pockets than in the Treasury, that the redistribution of wealth is a Marxist dogma, and that, in short, If things go wrong for you, it’s because you haven’t tried hard enough.
It is the usual, except if that right wants to win the elections in France. In the case of the Presidency of the Republic, 50% +1 of the votes.
In France a society is not conceived in which the State is not there like a lifeboat for citizens and businesses. In each crisis, be it banking, the COVID-19 pandemic, or the price of gas and the effects of the sanctions against Russia, the State immediately appears with checks, subsidies, exemptions or reimbursements. Every time a government tries to apply cuts to public services, France burns. Literally.
These two tables of public spending and deficit in France, comparing them with Germany and the European Union average, are sufficiently illustrative:
In 2007, on the eve of the global financial crisis, France had a public debt of 64.3% of GDP (above the 60% maximum stipulated by the EU), Spain, 35.8%.
In this electoral campaign, Marine Le Pen, in her strategy, successful so far, of capturing the vote of the popular classes who feel abandoned by the left, has become the defender of the purchasing power of citizens. With that argument, and not his affinity with President Putin, opposes most sanctions against Russia. His electoral program is full of “investing” and “reimbursing” in a series of public services such as health and care for dependents, subsidizing companies that hire young people, upward revision of pensions and, scandal of this campaign! , not to mention delaying retirement until age 65 As President Macron has announced, those who have started contributing between the ages of 17 and 20 will be able to retire at 60, and those who have started after 21 at 62.
Socially, Marine Le Pen assumes the rights that most French people take for granted, and there is no question of going back on issues such as abortion (right legalized in 1975 by a minister, Simone Veil, and a center-right president, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing).
About him gay marriage and assisted reproduction for lesbian couples and single women tiptoeso as not to disturb those affected or the most conservative.
He is part of the de-diabolization of the National Front that his father foundedJean-Marie Le Pen, and which she has renamed the National Rassemblement.
Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité and Laïcité
The secularism of institutions and public space is a traditional claim of the left, but in France in this campaign the one who claims it the most is the right and, more so the more to the right.
Why? How can the French extreme right reconcile calling for the most conservative vote, Catholic above all, and being the greatest standard-bearer for secularism? Because in France the Christians, also the Catholics, have assumed that no crucifixes, no prayers, no religious mentions in acts and public speeches. In an interview in The Figaro In February, Marine Le Pen, to disqualify the competition that has come from the right, Éric Zemour, pointed out that in Zemmour’s environment there were certain “chapels” of “traditional Catholics, pagans and Nazis”. Thus, all in the same package. He then rectified: “He had to have said fundamentalists.”
The demand for secularism by the French extreme right It is not addressed to French Catholics, but to French Muslims. When they now claim secularism, they claim that Muslim women in France do not wear a veil in public spaces, that there be no exceptions in their education or social relations due to the fact that they are Muslim, above all, Muslim, that they do not proselytize, nor that public money be allocated to the teaching of Islam. It is not so much a vindication of the Church/Religion-State separation as a way of saying that those who show and use their (Muslim) religious faith are rejecting the culture, society, values of France and, therefore, do not deserve to be Treated as French.