The fascist Front National (FN) won a by-election last week in Brignoles, southern France. It took more than 40 percent in the first round vote and 54 percent in the second.
It also leads the most recent polls for next year’s elections to the European parliament.
The Communist Party, which dominates the left wing Front de Gauche, made a pact with the Labour-type Socialist Party of president Francois Hollande.
Its candidate came third with a dismal 15 percent in round one.
Voters punished the left for backing the unpopular Socialist Party government. The low vote also reflected the left’s failure to confront the racism that the FN feeds upon.
Hollande has called for opposing “extremism” and “populism” by defending the European Union—including its ability to “protect from immigration”.
He also blamed “relations with Islam” for the FN’s rise.
But for opposition to fascism to be effective it must be independent of the austerity that has made Hollande and the EU so unpopular.
And it must expose racist myths rather than pandering to them.