[Marxism] Marine Le Pen
lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Apr 15 07:28:45 MDT 2017
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
This applies notably to Marine Le Pen, whose social program was designed
to win working class and youth votes.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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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