On the rise of the French and European Far Right (and the impact of the Ukrainian crisis)

By Dimitris Konstantakopoulos 

Throughout modern European history, France has been usually the best political “laboratory” of the old Continent, where one can discern more clearly the deepest social and pplitical tendencies transforming it.   

Of course, we cannot predict with certainty the result of the French presidential election, but the fact is that the rise of Ms. Le Pen in the polls surprised most observers. The same happened with the recent rise of Jean-Luc Melenchon, although in his case it seems very unlikely that he will finally enter the second round. 

In fact, what should surprise us should not be so much the rise in the rates of Le Pen (and Melenchon), as the surprise of the “observers”. This surprise is due to the systematic underestimation of the deep character of the crisis of Western capitalism, which is also the one that produced the Trump phenomenon in the United States and is now propelling the French Far Right towards the top of the political power.  

To that underestimation, we should add the fact that most of those observers consider as highly effective their campaign against Russia, because it was very succesful in isolating and terrorizing any dissenting voice. They do not realize that its so intense and absolute character create the opposite tendencies in the electorate and the collective subconscious, even if they remain unexpressed. Counsciousness and subconscious are not formed by the impressions of the last month, even if they are very strong. Especially, this is true in a country sealed by its conflicts with the US, from the withdrawal of De Gaulle (of the “Europe from the Atantic to the Urals”) from the military wing of NATO to the Chirac’s and Villepin’s opposition to the invasion of Iraq, in 2003. 

Probably this was also a serious political error of Macron himself, who tried to exploit the impression that Le Pen is pro-Russian (we do have serious reservations about such “affiliations”), in order to incriminate her in the eyes of public opinion. Obviously, it did and it does not occur to him that he was probably making a gift to Le Pen than hurting her (although we may wait to see if this will be confirmed) In Hungary, one of the two reasons why Orban triumphed in the recent elections over a motley coalition of left, right and far right forces, united in reality in a pro-EU, pro-NATO platform, was the distance the Hungarian leader took from NATO’s extremist policy .https://www.defenddemocracy.press/hungary-politics-in-the-trap-of-history/). The second was the completely unserious character of the opposition to him, an invredible “alliance” probably arranged with the help of Brussels – the “Versailles” of modern Europe.  

Incompetent elites 

The “observers” themselves are deeply embedded in an increasingly totalitarian Western establishment, which does not permit any dissent and perceives the challenges to its dominance as inexplicable “diseases” or “accidents.” They interpret what they themselves name “populism” – in a manner contemptuous of the people and, ultimately, of democracy itself – as a sign of backwardness and intellectual immaturity of the lower popular strata. They don’t see in its rise the result and the symptom of the crisis and of the impasse of the system they defend and of which they are a part themselves.  

They now hope that the constant reminder of the real and very serious danger of autoritarianism from the far right, but also other odious aspects of its ideology, will make the French, for the third time in twenty years, vote for the “lesser evil” to defend their rights. But they will find very difficult, for example, to convince the Yellow Vests to vote in favor of their persecutor Macron, who sent the police tearing out their eyes and their hands and who promises them an increase in the retirement age, in order to defend their democratic and social rights from Le Pen! 

Only if there was a very large mass, united front of the left, with more references to social issues and less to the individual and individualistic tastes of the middle classes or those who aspire to make part of them, tastes which one can respect, but with which he cannot replace the  due emphasis to the social rights or the vision of a socialist reorganization of society, a front defending peoples and nations, instead of incriminating them, with a coherent and international political strategy, could effectively confront the French far right. The representatives of a buncrupted regime can hardly do it. 

“Observers” and “analysts” certainly do not want to see or analyze the systemic character of the underlying and multilevel crisis of French and, more broadly, Western capitalism. It is this crisis that inevitably produces perimenent radicalism either going to the left or to the right, just as it did in the interwar period between World War I and World War II (*).  

A rapidly deepening crisis 

This crisis should be expected to have quickly an explosive continuation, given the extent, intensity and consequences of the war that the United States and NATO have now launched against Russia, under the pretext of its intervention in Ukraine. And the popular strata, including those who vote either Le Pen or Melenchon and the rest of the left, sense the earthquake that is coming, with the unparalleled instinct all peoples dispose in such moments, much more a people with the political and cultural history of the French.  

We talked before about a pretext, not because we want to justify Russian intervention in Ukraine. Nor why, the states that launched the unprecedented campaign against Russia, a campaign that rather helps practically the destruction and not the salvation of the Ukrainian people, have themselves intervened and destroyed a number of countries in the last thirty years, taking advantage of the collapse of the USSR, such as Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Iraq and Libya. 

We said this is a pretext, because we consider ridiculous the claim that the sui generis world war against Russia, which has been launched and which itself violates international law, but also the direct intervention of NATO, by sending ever heavier weapons to Ukraine, has anything to do with human rights, international law or the understandable need for support to the Ukrainian people. 

Measures of such magnitude and intensity, bearing in them even the risk of an economic, ecological or nuclear destruction of humanity, could have been taken only because they were deemed necessary by powerful centers within the western system in order to maintain and extend the domination of Western capitalism on the planet. As for the” regime change ” that the West seeks in Russia, we know from the experience of the recent past that it is nothing more than a return to the Banana Republic regime that existed under Yeltsin, to the dismemberment of Russia Brzesinsky called openly for, and to the preparation of the war against China that Trump has already started. 

And, at the same time, by their very nature, these measures complete the subjugation of Europe to the United States in all areas, a central pursuit of Washington since 1917, when it intervened in World War I. 

This sui generis World War has already seriously damaged what is left of democratic rights in the West, establishing a regime of neo-McCarthysim, and it will hurt them even more. It also affects seriously and it will affect much more the living standards of the populations of Western states themselves, probably provoking social explosions. 

This War will threaten the very existence of the “bourgeois democratic” regime Europe is enjoying after WWII, even if authoritarianism and totalitarianism have made enormous progress under a still “democratic” form since 1945.  

Objectively, the war which begun is putting on the agenda both its transformation into a Hot War which will elimate humanity and the possibillity of open forms of Neofascism in the West.

In our next article we will examine how and why the quest for a radical solution to the problems of Western societies has moved between 2005 and 2022.

Published at www.defenddemocracy.press