Marion Maréchal is the grand-daughter of Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the French extreme-right-wing Front National. She wants to implement a political ideology that is soaked in a thick mantle of Catholicism. It is ironic that, in the eyes of many, the return of Catholicism may be the answer to the battle (if battle there is) against uncontrolled Islam, liberalism, and immigration, that France is so scared of losing.
What’s in a name?
Something very strange has happened in French politics. Two public figures, belonging to the same family and, until recently, the same political party, have decided to change names, simultaneously.
Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, grand-daughter of the controversial founder of the Front National, Jean-Marie Le Pen, has dropped the “Le Pen” part of her heritage, to become plain old Marion Maréchal.
At practically the same time, her aunt, Marine Le Pen, who was clobbered by Emmanuel Macron, in last year’s presidential election, has also changed a name – the name of her political party. Instead of being called “Front National”, this far-right party in need of quietude, shall from now on be known as, “Rassemblement National” which, loosely translated, means “a national coming together”. Well, with a name like that, Marine Le Pen cannot possibly lose any more elections…Unless her niece gets in the way, that is. You cannot help but think that there is rivalry between the two, with Marine not willing to be outshone by Marion.
I must admit that Marine Le Pen hasn’t had much luck with her family. Her first misfortune was to have been born in it. It’s not for nothing that, “God gave you your family, thank God you can choose your friends”. Years later, having just got rid of her dementing father, who thought that Auschwitz was just another summer camp, she now finds herself being potentially challenged by her niece, who appeared on a political poster at the age of three, but who isn’t old enough yet, to vote wisely, yet alone run against her in a presidential election. But mark my word, run against her, she will.
Marion Maréchal has been absent from the political scene since she gave up her parliamentary seat after last year’s presidential election. But her present comeback into the public limelight is not about politics. It concerns something much more sinister, and possibly more attractive to hard-line conservatives, who feel what they see as the moral pain of liberalism and progressivism. Marion Maréchal’s re-awakening is all about metapolitics.
Marion Maréchal is going back in time, to the old values that politics is not only about economics, but foremost about culture, and the homogenization of culture. If you condition people to accept that your ideologies are part of their culture, of their identity, they will end up voting for you, and putting you into a position of power, in order to defend their cultural identity. This is what metapolitics is all about.
The origins of metapolitics, in France, can be traced back to the 18th century, and Joseph de Maistres, an anti-revolutionary thinker who believed that politics was not about politicians, but about ideas. In Italy, the philosopher Antonio Gramsci popularised the notion of hegemony, by writing that political battles were won and lost on ideological battlefields. The founder of the Italian communist party believed that economics was not the only thing at stake in politics. Political domination must extend beyond control of a state or a parliament, and must encompass culture and ideas.
Following the incredible rise of Emmanuel Macron, culminating in his presidential victory and overwhelming majority in the Senate, French politics has undergone a seismic change, that may leave its mark for years to come. Macron not only managed to capture centre-ground politics, but also appealed to centre-left and centre-right voters. The traditional socialist party has been decimated, whilst the right-winged republicans – who cannot be compared to the Conservatives in the UK, at the best of times – have not only lost ground, but remain as divided as ever. Whereas, under the influence of Jean-Luc Mélanchon, left-wing opposition to Macron has not completely collapsed, the same cannot be said of the Republicans, who remain bitterly divided and low in the opinion ratings. On the extreme-right, the Front National, new name or not, is stagnating. Its leader, Marine Le Pen, is incapable of winning a presidential election. This was underscored by her very poor performance in the televised debate with Macron, where she just confirmed her lack of policies and unclear vision of the role France is to play in Europe. Marion Maréchal stopped viewing the debate before it was over, and has distanced herself from her aunt, by giving up her seat in the Senate.
But the niece of her aunt, and the grand-child of her grand-father, is coming back with a vengeance. It is a clever vengeance, and that is precisely what worries me. The fact is, Marion Maréchal is more astute that her grand-father ever was, and more clever and intellectual than her aunt – a dangerous combination. Added to this, she is surrounding herself by the right advisors, who represent a large proportion of the French electorate who, over the years, has been either forgotten, or snubbed, and maybe both. I’m referring to hard-line Catholic conservatives. Whether she succeeds in her aspirations to unite and transform the more conservative Republicans with hard-line conservative values, remains to be seen.
Next September, a new institute will be opened, in Lyon – The Institute of Social, Economic, and Political Science (ISSEP). Its aim is to provide, “the intellectual, cultural, legal, technical and media skills to our young people who will allow them to perform as well as possible in both the business and political arena”. Although it is still not clear how the institute will be funded, who will teach there, and the validity of the diplomas, the truth is that Marion Maréchal is trying to put together a political machine to take over a radical right, independent from the Front National. She wants to attract those who believe in her ideology – a hard-line Catholic conservatism that is, in many respects, more extreme than Marine Le Pen’s Front National.
“The ideology of race-mixing has only one effect: to camouflage the extinction of the diversity of human societies.”
Well, has my marriage with a Peruvian threatened human society, in such a way? From what I can see, my son is as Dutch as my blond next-door neighbour, crying each time “Oranje” lose a football match.
It’s not a coincidence that Marion Maréchal is seen in America, marketing her ideologies and, more importantly, her new school. Whereas her aunt looked for, and found, money in the vicinity of the Kremlin, Marion Maréchal is busy with Tea Party politics, with the hope that US dollars will help her finance ISSEP, and pull France to the right.
In her recent speech given at the Conservative Political Action Conference, an annual political conference hosted by the American Conservative Union, Marion Maréchal made a dangerous amalgamation of Brexit, Donald Trump, and the anti-gay demonstrations in France (Manif Pour Tous). She proclaimed that, “when the people have the opportunity to take their country back, they seize it”, a dangerous suggestion that if the French get rid of all homosexuals, they will get their country back. This can almost be considered as inciting violence against minorities, and has no place in public debate. Is this what is going to be taught at ISSEP? She also claimed that the EU is responsible for 80% of France’s laws, which would mean that all the EU-member states have, more or less, the same mode of functioning. This is far from being the case, and she has also got her facts wrong. On the contrary, it is because individual member states are so different from each other, with their own political specificities and characteristics, that European federalism is impossible to implement, even if it were a good idea.
National parliaments can formally express their reservations if they feel that it would be better to deal with an issue at national rather than EU level. – EU website
Even with a change of name, Marion Maréchal remains faithful to her family traditions. It is a family that has always fascinated the French, and is practically synonymous with the Fifth Republic. Just maybe, it serves its purpose by reminding us all of how fragile a democracy can be.
France is in process of passing from the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church to the little niece of Islam, the terrorism is only the tip of the iceberg . . . Marion Maréchal, 2018
Marion Maréchal seems to think that the offensive of Islam is due to the weakening of Western culture. She is forgetting that many of the religious extremists who go on to perpetrate acts of terror, are individuals whose lives have no meaning, and are prepared to kill and die, in order to achieve martyrdom. They are born in the hopeless ghettos that surround most French cities. It is these ghettos that must be changed, if we are not to promote home-grown terrorists.
“Fillon, a so-called conservative, doesn’t even want to go back on gay marriage.”
Clearly, Marion Maréchal wants to follow her ideology to its logical conclusion and, in her case, the ideology is soaked in a thick mantle of Catholicism. It is ironic that, in the eyes of many, the return of Catholicism may be the answer to the battle (if battle there is) against uncontrolled Islam, liberalism, and immigration, that France is so scared of losing. She believes that being tough like Nicholas Sarkozy tried to be, in 2007, serves no purpose if you give in to the ideas of May 1968, which led to acknowledging women’s rights concerning abortion and, albeit later, to the legalization of gay marriage.
In the absence of the “clash of civilizations”, a “clash of cultures” might be just the thing Marion Maréchal needs to invent, in order to give her political career a much-needed boost. Let us just hope that the French do not listen. But for that, Emmanuel Macron must get his act right. Dare I say – extremely right.