The appearance of J.M. Le Pen as the alternative to Jacques Chirac in the French presidential elections is a yellow card for the social model created by liberalist capitalist regimes, which sprang up in Europe in the wake of Milton Friedman, epitomised later by Margaret Thatcher.
The fact that Jean-Marie Le Pen is able to dispute the second round of the French presidential elections ahead of Lionel Jospin, tells a sorry tale for the so-called perfect democracies of the liberalist, capitalist models of the west.
Starting with the USA, where less than half the population voted for the man who stands as the country’s president and now with the same process continuing in France, the notions of right and wrong, left and right, acceptable and illusory are now intrinsically mixed up in a political soup, which has mixed so many flavours as to be inedible.
Jean-Marie Le Pen, 74 years of age, thus walks onto the political stage in France. He started his career in the 1950s as a paratrooper in French Indochina and continued as a soldier in Algeria. In 1956, he was elected the youngest Parliamentary Deputy in French history, at 28 years of age. He founded the National Front in 1972 but only ten years later did the party gain any credibility, when it won the Council of Dreux, near Paris, in the municipal elections.
In the European parliamentary elections in 1984, the National Front received 11% of the votes, confirming that Le Pen’s movement was not to be taken lightly. The presidential elections in 1995 saw the party reach the 15% threshold, surpassed again today.
The fact is that Le Pen is not an isolated political cruiser in Europe. Looking around the EU, one sees a cloudy sky of darker political forces. Starting in the Netherlands, Pym Fortuyn is set to gain some 13% of seats in Parliament in the next elections, on 6th May.
In Austria, Jorg Haider had to be muscled out by the EU after his people had given him 27% of the vote in 1999, and six ministries. Only when he resigned as leader of the FPO, to end 7 months of EU sanctions, did the political scene calm down in Austria.
Vlaams Bok in Flanders is the extreme right-wing party in Belgium. In the parliamentary elections of 1999, his party received nearly 10% of the vote and in Antwerp, in the municipal elections of 2000, 33%.
Last November, in Denmark, the right wing received a majority for the first time in 72 years. The right-wing Danish People’s Party received some 12% of the vote.
Silvio Berlusconi’s government in Italy counts of the support of two right-wing organisations, namely the National Alliance, of Gianfranco Fini and the Northern League, led by Umberto Bossi, a political force which supports Le Pen wholeheartedly.
The point is that the neo-liberal capitalist model of political control in the European Union is facing some serious challenges from its historic rivals. While EU models of government are intent upon regarding the bottom line as the modus operandi and while it is easier to fire than to hire a worker, the inexorable march towards the socio-political doldrums is a constant in the equation of this political block.
While firing an employee is considered as more desirable than hiring, while it is a drama to buy a house, get or keep a job, while EU citizens are treated as a factor which affects the bottom line of business, it is natural that society will produce compensation, like Le Pen.
The alternative would be to create a social model based upon social/fiscal justice, giving value to education, housing and guaranteed employment. In short, the system which existed in the Communist era. No wonder so many countries are voting the ex-Communists back into office.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru