It’s eighty years today since the notorious Vichy regime took power in France under Nazi domination. Vichy-style fascism wasn’t simply a German plant on French soil — it drew on powerful reactionary currents in French politics and society.
Jim Wolfreys is the author of Republic of Islamophobia: The Rise of Respectable Racism in France and coauthor of The Politics of Racism in France.
The French media has started lumping far-right leader Marine Le Pen with a host of other “populists,” left and right. But calling Le Pen just another populist helps her detoxify her party — and mainstreams the racist right.
In the new memoir of Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of France’s Front National, the powerful currents of resentment and authoritarianism that animate the far right are well on display.
The FN’s new image doesn’t mean the far-right party had a change of heart — it means the mainstream has accepted its program.