Monday, 8 May 2017

A defeat for racists, xenophobes (and brexiteers)

The most progressive US politician of modern times - Bernie Sanders - called it right last night when he reacted to the result of the French Presidential election by tweeting "Congratulations to the people of France who today, by an overwhelming vote, rejected racism and xenophobia".

Make no mistake if the National Front candidate Marine Le Pen had won last night her victory would have been celebrated by the hard right and racists everywhere. As despite her carefully crafted efforts in recent years to distance herself and her party from its unambiguous neo fascist past Le Pen let her mask slip during the presidential campaign on numerous occassions. Most notably wth her efforts to downplay Vichy France's role in the extermination of France's Jews, her promise to withdraw free healthcare and free education from child immigrants and to outlaw same sex marriages and her proposal to halt all immigration to france and to deport hundreds of thousands of people. Certainly the prospect of the power of the French state in the hands of someone like Le Pen is a truly appalling prospect.

And this is why the Greek socialist economist and Syriza luminary Yanis Varoufakis lost no time in taking to task those muddle headed fools on the french left who were going to abstain in the presidential run off between LePen and Macron. Like myself Varoufakis is no admirer of neoliberalism and globalisation - he saw its effects on Greece - but by the same token he rightly observes that when it comes down to a choice between a leader of an avowedly neo fascist party and a centrist like Emmanuel Macron the choice should not be too difficult for anyone holding remotely progressive views

Le Pen's defeat also represents a huge blow to the long term project of neo fascists and the hard right of destroying the EU. A few months ago british brexiteers were all over social media telling us the EU was now 'doomed' and salivating at the prospect of Geert Wilders winning in the Netherlands and Le Pen in France - two politicians whose hatred for immigrants and muslims is matched only by their hatred for the EU. Well now the long held dream of many british brexiteers - and their Alt Right fellow travellers - of the EU falling apart is in tatters.Their chief standard bearer Marine Le Pen was crushed yesterday by an opponent who is an enthusiastic supporter of the EU. And when Le Pen and Wilders German counterparts are routed in this Autumn's elections in Germany the much hyped 'death of the EU' will be seen to have been 'greatly exaggerated' (to paraphrase Mark Twain). 
When Donald Trump won the US presidential election last november (courtesy of a last minute intevention by the FBI) Marine Le Pen was exultant, gleefully tweeting 'their world is crumbling'. Well after the events in France, the Netherlands and the likely events in Germany this Autumn perhaps it is the world of the anti EU hard right which is starting to 'crumble'? (brexiteers take note).

And that such people understand the significance of the defeat they suffered in France yesterday can be seen in the vitriol the likes of Nigel Farage and Katie 'gunboat' Hopkins directed at Emmanuel Macron (and his wife) last night Given Nigel Farage's characteristically crass invocation of the second world war perhaps someone should inform the bigoted dolt that it's Marine Le Pen who is the apologist for Vichy France.

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