Are 18% of French People Racist?

The Economist, April 24, 2012

Some readers have been asking why Marine Le Pen did so well in the first round of voting on Sunday. Is it really because 18% of French people are anti-immigrant xenophobes, with a particular line in Islamophobia?

There is no doubt that, at times during this campaign, Ms Le Pen has sounded a note dangerously close to that of her father and predecessor as leader of the National Front, Jean-Marie. This was particularly true after Mohamed Merah shot dead seven people in and around Toulouse, after which she bellowed: “How many Mohamed Merahs in the boats, the aeroplanes, that arrive each day in France?”

But, in general, Ms Le Pen’s success over the past year or so has been to shift the party away from her father’s crude and nasty emphasis on immigration and anti-Semitism (with shades of neo-Nazism), towards more subtle concerns with what she calls “Islamification.” She objects not to mosque-building, but to allowing Muslim prayers to take over the streets or to the spread of Salafism in France. She has called for immigration to be controlled, not stopped altogether.

At the same time, she has developed other themes in order to broaden her appeal. One pet favourite is the domination of “internationalist” thinking. Ms Le Pen is against open borders, open markets, open trade, and the euro. Such policies appeal in particular to industrial workers in large chunks of northern and eastern France who have been battered by job losses. Many come from families that traditionally voted Communist.

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Break down Sunday’s voting geographically, and you find some striking results. Ms Le Pen came top in Hénin-Beaumont, with 35%, ahead of both François Hollande on 27% and Mr Sarkozy on 16%. She now plans to run for a parliamentary seat there in June’s election, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she wins her first National Assembly seat.

All this to say that it is too simplistic to see Ms Le Pen’s score as a mere manifestation of French racism. Nor is it simply a protest against the system. People like her, and are not afraid to say so, in a way that few were about her father. Her electoral success reflects, rather, a mix of disappointment with Mr Sarkozy, despair at the level of joblessness, bewilderment in the face of globalisation, frustration at the impotence of Europe, and disillusion with the political class.

{snip}

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  • This rag wants to blame MLP’s 18.6% of the vote on her “softer” image relative to her father.  But her father drew 16.9% in the opening round in 2002.  This means that she improved on her father’s high water mark by only ten percent of the existing voter base.

  • Francis Galton

    Are 18% of the French racist?  I sure hope not.  I hope 100% of them are, if only for their own sakes. 

  • Dear Economist,

    I would like your little editorial round table to go hang out with the Diversity in the ghetto-suburbs of France.  Or while you are at it, come hang out in South-Central LA.  I would love to see how you would “bellow” as the lot of you are pistol-whipped and robbed.

    “There is no doubt that, at times during this campaign, Ms Le Pen has
    sounded a note dangerously close to that of her father and predecessor
    as leader of the National Front, Jean-Marie. This was particularly true
    after Mohamed Merah shot dead seven people in and around Toulouse, after
    which she bellowed: “How many Mohamed Merahs in the boats, the aeroplanes, that arrive each day in France?””

    If Ms. Le Pen is so “dangerously close”, how about you lot show how you are comfortable living in undesirable areas with the rest of the peons.  Come on down from your castle built on financial sand and chill a little bit with the Magical Brown People.

  • kjh64

    Notice how this article calls people who oppose immigration as “xenophobic” which is nonsense. The French or people in any nation have every right to be opposed to immigration for any reason. Immigration is NOT a right and White people are under NO obligation whatsoever to allow people who messed up their own countries to come in and share their living space.  The fact is that it is common sense for the French or anyone else to not want people pouring into their country. Multiculturalism does not work and 3rd world/muslim immigration just brings much more discord, crime and balkenization. Muslims and others do not allow immigration into their countries and Whites should do the same.

  • diversity_is_a_hate_crime

    18% is far too low to make a difference. At 30% can come real power to make a difference and force other parties to moderate.

    • Hirschibold

       I don’t know. In Mao’s Principles he stated that in order for a revolution to succeed, roughly 10% of the population has to be sympathetic. No, that is not an endorsement of Mao, but he did lead a successful revolution which had ramifications for generations to come. 18% is a hell of a lot, in my opinion. But I agree that 30% sounds even better.

  • The Economist is quite absurd.

    It attempts to explain away Le Pen’s victory by claiming that somehow she reduced her emphasis on immigration.

    What nonsense.

  • anarchyst

    Wait for a certain element (a certain 2% minority) to get involved in destroying Ms. Le Pen’s political aspirations just as this same group of outsiders got involved in Austrian Kurt Waldheim’s political campaign in order to destroy his political future.  This same “group” is active here in America as well . . .
    You know who I am talking about . . .

  • The__Bobster

    This was particularly true after Mohamed Merah shot dead seven people in and around Toulouse, after which she bellowed: “How many Mohamed Merahs in the boats, the aeroplanes, that arrive each day in France?”
    ____________

    Days earlier, before the racial identity of the terrorist was known, the lefist media blamed the killings on intolerant right-wing xenophobes.

  • ageofknowledge

    I like many of The Economist’s stories; however, they are a free trade publication unfortunately (and we all know how that worked out for us) and this article missed the point.

  • KenelmDigby

    ‘The Economist’ magazine is invariably absolutely and completely wrong on everything it pompously pontificates about – from the Euro to the ERM to globalislation, rely on it to be a talisman of error and falsehood.
    If The Economist takes a position on anything you can bet your house on the opposite position being true.In fact none of the oracles that the gods handed down to mankind, from the Sybilline books, to the I Ching, to the great oracle at Delphi are more reliable than taking the contra-position of The Economist.
     The great tragedy of the world is that so many dumb members of the political elite take the error and falsehood of The Economist seriously and base policy on their lies.

  • Kurt Plummer

    >>
    Some readers have been asking why Marine Le Pen did so well in the first round of voting on Sunday. Is it really because 18% of French people are anti-immigrant xenophobes, with a particular line in Islamophobia?
    >>

    Yes.  And until we have the courage to _Say Yes_, and force others to define us by ‘racist’ terms which we can FIGHT OPENLY with numbers, we will forever be whipped dogs.

    >>
    Many come from families that traditionally voted Communist.
    >>

    Which is why Marine will never be anything but a sideshow attraction, used perhaps to stalking horse spoil the vote of ‘controversial’ issues.  Or to prove that ‘the centre’ can at least speak to the extremes (because she’s a /girrrrrl/).  But nothing more.

    Hitler did not make the same mistake.  Hitler dealt with the industrialists who made him rich and gave him the election that brought an -immensely- profitable, unifying (one superpower down, two to go) war.

    >>
    rather, a mix of disappointment with Mr Sarkozy, despair at the level of joblessness, bewilderment in the face of globalisation, frustration at the impotence of Europe, and disillusion with the political class.
    >>

    Which is why the globalists are no longer supporting any individual solution but rather letting ‘le grape’ rot on le vine.  In destroying the perception of masculine power system to control and enable society, the king will die and the king will not live long after.  As the shift to corporate socialism takes away national control over political self determinancy altogether.

    This is not the functioning of the system to weed out the weaklings.  It is the death and replacement of it, altogether.  By an external, commercial, entity.

  • SintiriNikos

    There’s hope for France yet!