[Marxism] Marine Le Pen

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Apr 15 07:28:45 MDT 2017


Diana Johnstone:
If “the right” is defined first of all by subservience to finance 
capital, then aside from Sarkozy, Bayrou and perhaps Joly, all the other 
candidates were basically on the left.  And all of them except Sarkozy 
would be considered far to the left of any leading politician in the 
United States.

This applies notably to Marine Le Pen, whose social program was designed 
to win working class and youth votes.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/04/24/disillusion-with-the-euro-and-europe/

---

NY TImes, April 15, 2017
Le Pen’s Inner Circle Fuels Doubt About Bid to ‘Un-Demonize’ Her Party
By ADAM NOSSITER

PARIS — Little more than a week before France’s presidential election, 
Marine Le Pen remains a front-runner after working hard to sanitize the 
image of her party, the National Front, and to distance it from the 
uglier associations of Europe’s far right.

But descriptions of the inner workings of her party by present and 
former close Le Pen associates, as well as court documents, raise fresh 
doubts about the success and sincerity of those efforts.

Even before Ms. Le Pen’s remarks this week denying France’s culpability 
in a notorious wartime roundup of Jews, recent revelations in the French 
news media, including a well-documented new book, revived nagging 
concerns about the sympathies of the woman who would be France’s next 
president.

Two men in her innermost circle — Frédéric Chatillon and Axel Loustau — 
are well-known former members of a violent, far-right student union that 
fought pitched battles with leftists and took a turn toward Hitler 
nostalgia in the mid-1990s.

Ms. Le Pen with Frédéric Chatillon, right, and Axel Loustau, second from 
right, at the start of the National Front’s campaign for local elections 
in 2013. Credit Julien Muguet/Hanslucas
They have been associates of Ms. Le Pen since her days in law school in 
the 1980s and remain among her closest friends, according to numerous 
accounts.

French television recently broadcast video from the 1990s of Mr. Loustau 
visiting an aging prominent former SS member, Léon Degrelle, a decorated 
warrior for Hitler and the founder of the Belgian Rex party, a prewar 
fascist movement.

Other video showed Mr. Chatillon speaking warmly of his own visit with 
Mr. Degrelle, who was a patron saint of Europe’s far-right youths until 
his death in 1994.

Some in the National Front flatly deny Mr. Chatillon and Mr. Loustau are 
either anti-Semitic or nostalgic for the Third Reich, while others make 
no secret of avoiding them, precisely because of their taint.

But their lingering presence in Ms. Le Pen’s inner circle has called 
into question the sincerity of her strategy to “un-demonize” her party 
and renounce its heritage of deep-rooted anti-Semitism since she took 
over from her father, Jean-Marie, in 2011.

“By the evidence,” said the historian Nicolas Lebourg, a leading 
National Front specialist at the University of Montpellier, “she 
considers it’s not something very important.”

The two trusted men continue to work closely with the party’s top 
leadership, including Ms. Le Pen. They have been charged by French 
prosecutors in an elaborate campaign-finance scheme that has been 
crucial to keeping the National Front afloat for years.

The financial scandals have not dented Ms. Le Pen in the polls before 
the first round of voting on April 23. Potentially more damaging may be 
the recent revelations about the people she has surrounded herself with, 
in particular Mr. Chatillon and Mr. Loustau.

“They have remained National Socialist,” said Aymeric Chauprade, once 
Ms. Le Pen’s principal adviser on foreign affairs until a falling out, 
partly over his pro-Israel stance.

“They are anti-Semites, nostalgic for the Third Reich, violently 
anticapitalist, with a hatred for democracy,” he added in an interview. 
“People think they’re marginal. But in fact, I discovered, she protects 
them. She supports them. They are at the heart of everything.”

Mr. Chauprade recalled a dinner with Mr. Chatillon and others in the 
spring of 2014 that was “full of anti-Semitic jokes.” But he added: 
“They are not joking. They are real Nazis.”

In court documents and in interviews, the two men are depicted as 
unreformed Nazi sympathizers. And a new book, “Marine Knows Everything,” 
by two investigative journalists, Marine Turchi and Mathias Destal, 
includes a photo of Mr. Chatillon, fist raised, at a 1994 rally for a 
far-right student movement called G.U.D., or Groupe Union Défense.

Separately, an affidavit filed in a 2014 defamation lawsuit (later 
dropped) offers a fuller portrait of Mr. Chatillon’s extremist views 
from that era.

In the affidavit, Denis Le Moal, once a member of G.U.D., described Mr. 
Chatillon’s nostalgia for the Third Reich and his closeness to Holocaust 
deniers.

Mr. Le Moal told of a 1993 rally Mr. Chatillon organized for the student 
group in Paris that resounded with “Sieg Heils” and Nazi salutes.

“During that period, every year, Frédéric Chatillon organized a dinner 
on the birthday of the ‘fuhrer,’ April 20, to pay homage to ‘this great 
man,’” the affidavit states.

It goes on to describe a gathering in a Paris restaurant when Mr. 
Chatillon brought a painted portrait of Hitler — “a portrait Chatillon 
showed us during the dinner, saying, ‘My beloved fuhrer, he is 
magnificent,’ and kissing the picture.”

It says he also organized “striped-pajama” parties as a student, an 
allusion to the clothing Jews wore in death camps and concentration camps.

“The only debatable point, in the use of the term ‘neo-Nazi,’ is the 
wrongful qualifier ‘neo,’” the affidavit states.

Requests to arrange interviews with Mr. Chatillon and Mr. Loustau 
through associates of theirs were unsuccessful. The men have made no 
secret of their disdain for journalists.

“To hell with Hitler and the Third Reich!” Mr. Chatillon wrote in a 
recent Facebook posting. “But to hell also with these ‘journalists’ who 
write whatever the hell they want.”

On Twitter, Mr. Loustau denounced “these activists hiding behind a press 
card, benefiting from all the means of state television to try to 
destroy us.”

The National Front’s treasurer, Wallerand de Saint-Just, defended the 
men. “In no sense are they nostalgic for the Third Reich,” he said.

“They were turbulent boys, but they have become true professionals,” Mr. 
Saint-Just said. “They work closely with us and we have confidence in 
them, in the conception, printing and delivery of campaign materials.”

That role has been at the center of a campaign finance scandal that has 
haunted the National Front for years.

Mr. Chatillon’s company, Riwal, served as the exclusive supplier of 
campaign materials to the National Front in elections from 2012 to 2015. 
Prosecutors suspect it of systematically overcharging for posters, 
fliers and the like sold in campaign “kits” — and then, milking giant 
reimbursements from the state.

Under French law, the state reimburses the campaign expenses of 
candidates who earn more than 5 percent of votes. Mr. Chatillon had 
refined the system to an art, according to a high-ranking French 
campaign finance official and Mr. Chauprade, as well as two new books 
that closely examine the National Front’s finances.

The official and one of those books, “Le Procès Interdit de Marine Le 
Pen,” or “Marine Le Pen’s Forbidden Trial,” by Laurent Fargues, 
describes how that system worked.

A printer would charge Riwal, say, 180 to 220 euros, or $191 to $233, 
for 400 posters; Riwal would then charge a small front party affiliated 
with the National Front, called Jeanne, €500 for the posters. Jeanne, in 
turn, would charge the candidates the inflated price.

After the election, the candidates would claim reimbursement from the 
state for the inflated amount, and that reimbursement would be turned 
over to Jeanne.

At least some of that money would wind up in the coffers of the National 
Front, according to the French campaign finance official, who requested 
anonymity because of the continuing presidential campaign.

“They’ve constructed an economy out of reimbursements from the state,” 
said Mr. Chauprade, who has been interviewed by prosecutors about the 
party’s financial affairs.

Mr. Chauprade said he had been pressured by Ms. Le Pen herself to buy a 
kit, but refused, to the fury of party officials.

The system operated through a number of recent election cycles — 
regional, municipal, legislative — from 2012 on. And most National Front 
candidates went along with it, the official said.

Once the government oversight agency began to see a pattern of excessive 
amounts benefiting the National Front, it began to challenge them — 
knocking off more than €1 million in just one campaign, the official said.

The National Front treasurer, Mr. Saint-Just, who has himself been 
charged with embezzlement in the scandal, said, “We don’t think we’ve 
done anything wrong, and we think they will be acquitted.”

As for Mr. Chauprade, “He’s a profound traitor,” Mr. Saint-Just said. 
“He’s trying to avenge himself.”

The historian, Mr. Lebourg, cast no doubt on the recent revelations 
about the party, but agreed that Mr. Chauprade was “not exactly the 
Virgin Mary.”

Mr. Chauprade was elected in 2014 as a National Front deputy in the 
European Parliament. There he was pursued by human rights groups for 
hate speech for issuing an anti-Islamist diatribe after the Charlie 
Hebdo attacks in Paris in early 2015.

Now on the outside, he has been willing to say aloud what many critics 
have long suspected about the National Front.

“It is a mafia-like system,” Mr. Chauprade told the newspaper Le Monde 
last month. “You stick an arm into it, you are stuck yourself.”

He has also spoken to the police about a phony National Front jobs 
scheme at the European Parliament, which gives deputies expense money 
that can be used to pay support staff members.

The European Parliament is now demanding that more than €1 million be 
returned from six people, including Ms. Le Pen, who are associated with 
the party. Ms. Le Pen, a European Parliament member, has invoked her 
parliamentary immunity, although French prosecutors said on Friday that 
investigators had asked the European Parliament to lift it.

All of that money could be applied to National Front operations in 
France, giving Ms. Le Pen’s party yet another boost. “Her system was 
illegal,” Mr. Chauprade said.

Philippe Péninque, a leader of the student movement G.U.D. in the 1970s 
who remains close to Ms. Le Pen, said he was confident the National 
Front would be vindicated in its financial scandals.


Mr. Chauprade is not so sure. “She sacrificed her father, and yet they 
are much more radical,” he said of her inner circle, making a comparison 
to President Trump’s senior adviser, Stephen K. Bannon.

“If she enters the Elysée” — the French presidential palace — “they will 
enter as surely as Bannon has entered the Oval Office,” he said.



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