Europe’s leading Nazi has been invited to spread her poison at the Oxford Union on Thursday 5 February. She must be stopped.
Marine Le Pen is leader of the fascist Front National (FN) in France. A strong protest against her can boost the movement against racism here—and energise protests against fascists in France.
Des McDermott is chair of the UCU union at Ruskin College in Oxford. He told Socialist Worker, “Le Pen masquerades as a democrat—but she is a fascist.
“We don’t want her in Oxford to stir up racism and division.”
Since taking over the FN leadership from her father Jean-Marie, Marine Le Pen has tried to sanitise its image. But the anti-FN slogan “F for fascist, N for Nazi” remains true.
Photos recently emerged of FN treasurer Axel Loustau doing a Nazi salute in 2011. He was previously a member of a paramilitary group. Frederic Boccaletti, an FN candidate in last year’s elections, was sentenced to 12 months in jail in 2000 for an armed attack on black youths.
Another candidate, Philippe Chapron, was caught with a stash of weapons belonging to the FN’s “security service”.
The FN tried to find candidates to soften its image, but many resigned. One former Tory near Calais was shocked by his new fellow members’ swastika tattoos.
A token Algerian candidate in Toulouse couldn’t bear the constant racism. And a defector from the left in Marseille was horrified at the “brutality” and “rape jokes”. The FN has always pursued a double strategy—using street thuggery and Holocaust denial to harden up core supporters, while outwardly seeking electoral legitimacy.
This can result in tension. While Jean-Marie Le Pen persists in overt Antisemitism, Marine Le Pen sees this as a liability.
She prefers to swim in the mainstream and attack Muslims and migrants. Both sides of the strategy serve one goal—building a movement that can terrorise minorities, smash democracy and liquidate working class organisation.
Even a court ruled last year that French leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon could continue calling Le Pen a fascist. Adolf Hitler stood in elections. The murder of six million Jews, Gypsies, trade unionists, LGBT and disabled people and others was never part of the manifesto.
The organisers of Le Pen’s Oxford speech insist they are promoting free speech. But Le Pen will use it to boost a party that could smash such freedoms for everyone.
“The Front National has a history of preaching race hatred,” said Des. “It takes protest to stop them.”