Go in alien drag. For activists looking for a new way to highlight racism, it was a brilliant idea. Particularly for an area of consciousness-raising where fresh ideas are in short supply, and liberal maxims such as ‘celebrate diversity’ fall on deaf ears. Portraying minorities and immigrants as extraterrestrials, forced to carry their belongings into exile, works. At least as far as this shot, of a 2010 protest in Paris, is concerned.
This ugliness, as strategically necessary as it is to appropriate, is, unfortunately, how minorities are increasingly viewed in France. Not by would-be critics of intolerance, but by the so-called intolerant, themselves. Those who, in other words, might be characterized as racist, for whom ethnic or religious difference, is a negative. Roma, Muslims, are perceved as outsiders, because their economic and cultural marginality makes it easy to project the experience of loss and displacement at a time of crisis. Considering the country’s mot recent unemployment figures – nearly 4 million – you can understand why.
Few European parties have done a better job of cultivating this kind of resentment than France’s Front National. Led by Marine Le Pen, to two stunning electoral victories in the last two months – first, in local elections, in April, followed by the European Parliament, in May – the leader of the neo-fascist party looks increasingly like head-of-state material. The key is in how the FN links economic enfranchisement to the necessity of discrimination against ‘foreigners’.
Kit Rickard has translated representative portions of the following Le Pen platform pamphlet, to demonstrate how.
SUPPORTING BUSINESS AND TRADE: ECONOMIC PATRIOTISM
Intelligent border protection will be implemented to tackle unfair competition from countries where there is a lower cost of labour.
The state and the government will be obliged to buy from French companies (“Buy French” law).
Small businesses will be defended from large-scale retailers: action will be taken by the state to restore equal purchasing power between independent retailers and supermarkets. Exclusive ties between purchasing bodies and major retailers will be banned.
- Priority will be given to planning policy, rural maintenance and development of small businesses in rural areas.
- An administration dedicated to public work and SMEs will be created to simplify a bureaucratic system which hurts French entrepreneurs.
- Apprenticeships for young people (>14) will be restored.
TURNING BACK THE TIDE!
Legal immigration will be reduced from 200,000 per year to 10,000 by giving preference to talented people that benefit our country and boost innovation.
Any person who enters or remains unlawfully in France will be expelled.
Demonstrations in support of illegal immigrants will be banned. The possibility within French law to regularize illegal immigrants will be removed. Features that encourage illegal immigration will be terminated, such as state medical assistance, which is reserved for illegal immigrants and allows them to receive free treatment in France.
Priority will be given to French people, whatever their origin. Companies will be encouraged to prioritize the employment of French people. Authorities will also respect this principle, and the list of so-called “sovereignty” or state jobs will be increased. Foreigners who work and contribute to pension plans can continue to do so.
- Doing away with jus soli and sweeping reforms to the French nationality Code. One must earn naturalization and therefore it will be subject to strict conditions: a prolonged peaceful stay in France, legal status, mastery of the French language and proof of assimilation. Dual nationality will not be permitted except in cases of dual nationality with another European country.
- Illegal immigrants who are not working will be encouraged to return to their country after a year of inactivity and pension contributions shall be returned in the form of capital. In regards to social housing, preference will be given to people with French nationality in the selection process. Family allowances will be reserved for families with at least one parent from France or Europe.
- Anti-French racism: crimes or offenses motivated by anti-French racism will be considered particularly bad and be subjected to increased punishment.
- Prison sentences for foreigners will be carried out in their home countries through bilateral agreements with countries which feature most in French crime statistics. In all cases, expulsions will be prepared to send foreign criminals to their countries of origin.
A policy of enhanced cooperation will be put in place, especially with African countries. Development aid will be subject to close cooperation with French authorities, depending on immigration and expulsion procedures permitting illegal immigrants to return to their countries of origin.
Translated from the French by Kit Rickard.