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Why Marine Le Pen (still) matters
Regaining democratic economic control of our societies means turning to conservative nationalists such as Le Pen. Whatever faults they may have, they are the only game in town.
Marine Le Pen may have lost the recent French presidential election, but the centrifugal momentum that propelled her forward will not disappear. The re-elected incumbent, Emmanuel Macron, is the quintessential globalist, a water boy for financial elites hell-bent on establishing a single world government, controlled by them, unencumbered by electoral mandates, given complete rein to manage the global economy by technocratic control. For the globalist, the modern nation-state, forged through the centuries by a society’s culture, is the one remaining obstacle, beholden vestiges of democratic accountability. Macron’s goal is to crush French cultural identity and the French nation-state; there is no such thing as French identity, he has said, only European.
Le Pen of course is diametrically opposed to this. Like Hungary’s Victor Orbán, she's portrayed in the mainstream liberal media as a dangerous extremist, a far-right demagogue, denigrated as a “right populist”.
In reality Le Pen and Orbán are fundamentally conservative nationalists, a movement is hardly extremist. Macron is presented as the moderate centrist, but how moderate is a project the goal of which is crush French identity and usher in technocratic government? In fact, Macron is the true extremist.
Right-wing populists, such as Le Pen, Orbán, Trump, arguably Neil Farage in the UK as well, understand the importance of national sovereignty and cultural identity. It would be nice if the Left did as well, but our leftwing comrades have been out to lunch on the national question at least going back to the Second International and the misteps made in the leadup to WWI. Lenin said that nationalism and internationalism are dialetically intertwined, but that advise has been sadly ignored. Hence the bizarre world in which we live where the Left (especially the Greens) is vociferously in favor “more Europe”, a profoundly neoliberal project. For the contemporary Left, nationalism is solely the province of knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing White Nationalists and xenophobes.
The primary contradition of our age is that between anti-democratic globalists and what we might call economic soverentists. We need new language for this debate; time-honored notions of “Left” and “Right” have become irrelevant.