LE PEN AND EUROPE'S FULL CIRCLE
Dateline: 22nd April 2002
The French newspaper Les Echos has compared the success of the National Front in the presidential elections with the France of the 1930s "with half fascinated by Stalin and the other half by Mussolini".
It was Rodney Atkinson's 1996 book Europe's Full Circle that first showed how European countries had reproduced at the supranational level the anti-democratic corporatism of Germany's Weimar Republic and that, as in the 1930s when the "centre parties" offered no alternatives, the electorate would flock to communism and nationalism. Le Pen in France is not a "fascist" but a nationalist, reacting against the corporatist/fascist model which "moderate" European politicians have recreated in the so-called European Union.
It is not Le Pen who is associated with the war time collaborationist Vichy regime but the former President Francois Mitterand (who received Vichy's highest honour) and went on to promote the European Union at the expense of democratic nationhood in France. Lionel Jospin did not "work hard for his country" as one of his socialist apologists has just claimed, but he worked tirelessly for the European superstate at whose behest he and his predecessors introduced a monetary and fiscal regime which has maintained extremely high French unemployment for the last 12 years. Extremely high unemployment in Italy, France and, of all places given its history, Germany, has driven desperate workers to embrace extremist parties. Today communists march on the streets of France against a Le Pen victory. In Berlin in the 1920s and 1930s the masses joined first the Nazis and then the Communists, often demonstrating for one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
Just as their equivalents in the 1930s no group of politicians could have done a better job of destroying jobs, parliaments, nationhood and the social solidarity which is the very foundation of democracy than the new "builders of Europe". So called "left" and "right" parties in Germany, Italy, France and Britain have so uniformly kowtowed to the corporatism of the European superstate that the whole basis of a democratic vote - that we have real alternatives to vote for - has been taken from us.
Now, as in the 1930s, desperate people seek only to awaken a decadent political class, masquerading as the "centre parties". If Le Pen and his equivalent in other European nations represent an extreme alternative then, in extremis millions of people will vote for that alternative - and pray that "moderate" politicians will understand the nature of the protest.
Why must we learn all over again the lessons of history? Democratic nationhood is the only true and moderate expression of that natural social cohesion and common allegiance which can sustain democracy. Those who believed they could build their empires (Napoleonic, Hitlerian) on the suppression of those national allegiances inevitably turned to tyranny, to which millions of dead in the 19th and 20th centuries testify.