THE FRENCH AND EUROPEAN EXTREME RIGHT AND GLOBALIZATION

Harvey G. Simmons

Department of Political Science

York University

Toronto, CANADA

Although left-wing criticisms of globalization are commonplace, only recently has attention focused on right and especially extreme right critiques. While the left criticizes globalization as contributing to economic, racial and gender inequality, political injustice and oppression and sees globalization as a manifestation of international capitalism; the right attacks international organizations and international capitalism in the name of quite different criteria and sometimes on the basis of a different logic than that employed by the left.

Not only are there differences between left and right anti-globalization arguments, within each camp there are different critiques of globalization. For example, the extreme right French National Front has developed a sophisticated and principled argument against the nature of capitalism itself. By contrast, the anti-globalization critique of Pat Buchanan takes aim at individual capitalists and American business practices, but only because American capitalism has fallen short of the ideal. According to Buchanan, "what is failing the world is not capitalism but globalism. We are reaping the harvest of having tried to weld the world's national economies, in disparate stages of development, into one Global Economy." Behind globalization are the "greedy, global mandarins," who aim at a "world government," a "socialist superstate." And different from the NF and Buchanan critiques, are the critiques of various German extreme right organizations which would like to implement a corporatist style economy to replace various forms of national and international capitalism.

A summary of the anti-globalization arguments of the entire spectrum of extreme right parties and movements, even those limited to western Europe, would be beyond the scope of this paper. I have, therefore, focused on the anti-globalization critique of the largest, most important and arguably the most sophisticated extreme right party in Europe, the French National Front.

II VOCABULARY

The French term for globalization, mondialisation, did not appear in Front literature until 1990. In 1985, for example, the National Front published Pour La France, Programme du Front National, "presented" by Jean-Marie Le Pen. Much of the 1985 program is devoted to domestic policies and particularly to the "problem" of immigration. The word mondialisation never appears. Rather, in the few pages devoted to external relations, the NF uses the term idéologie tiers-mondiste which refers to the attempt by the Soviet Union and by the ex-colonies of the Third World to make the French feel guilty for the failings of their ex-colonies. In the middle 1980s, the NF supported strengthening Europe as a counterweight both to the United States and the Soviet Union. "The European Union will remain utopia as long as the Community doesn't have sufficient resources, a common currency and a political will, which is inseparable from the ability to defend itself."

But it was only with the publication in 1990 of Bruno Mégret's La Flamme les voies de la Renaissance, that the term mondialisation appeared in Front literature and that the sustained campaign against globalization began. By late 1991, Le Pen began to pepper his speeches with references to globalization, as in a November 1991 speech where he referred to l'illusion mondialiste, which would be born from the "establishment of a world government, animated by the rights of man philosophy. We think this is nothing more than a mask to conceal the hegemonic designs of this one or that one, after the dismantling of historic nations and reducing ex-citizens of sovereign states into the soft slavery of robotic producers and consumers."

La Flamme was followed in 1993 by 300 Mesures pour la Renaissance de la France, which remains the most comprehensive statement of the Front's principles and program. Mégret directed the editorial committee that drafted 300 Mesures and his influence was extensive, as reflected in the use of the term "renaissance," in both titles.

In La Flamme, Mégret argued that France was in a perilous situation, poised on the edge of decline, "contaminated with the virus of deracination," and under pressure from four dangerous sources-- globalization, or mondialisme, cosmopolitanism, materialism and hidden totalitarianism. The distinction between cosmopolitanism and mondialisme is often blurred in La Flamme. When, for example, one looks up mondialisme in the index to La Flamme, the entry reads, "Mondialisme (cf. Cosmopolitisme)." Sometimes one is defined in terms of the other as in the following passage, "Cosmopolitanism is a kind of sickness of the intellect which leads one to reject his own identity and consider himself a citizen of the world and to look at the universe as his country. Thus, Monseigner Gaillot, an important mondialiste activist....declares, "I am...attached to the land of the Rights of Man. This attachment allows me to become a citizen of the world." However, just three years after the publication of La Flamme, the term cosmopolitisme in all its variations disappeared from 300 Mesures and was replaced by mondialisme.

There are a number of possible reasons for this. First, the Front leadership wanted to stop using "cosmopolitanism," with its lingering association of anti-Semitism, as demonstrated in a 1993 speech by the former editor of the extreme right newspaper Minute: "There is something foreign here, or to be perfectly clear, cosmopolitan...that's clear, it is the word Jew." Second, inspired by the right wing think-tank the Club de l'Horloge and by Mégret himself, the Front began a "vocabulary battle," trying to substitute terms thought favourable to the extreme right for terms thought favorable to the left. For example, in 1990, the Front's Institute of National Training released a text with proscribed words on one side, and the Front's preferred words on the other. Thus, "universalism" was to be replaced either by "cosmopolitanism," or by mondialisme. Third, cosmopolitan" was increasingly being adopted by left opponents of globalization and used in its denotive sense to mean world-wide, or widely distributed, thus further confusing its meaning for the public. Fourth, by 1992, Front intellectuals were trying to redefine "cosmopolitanism," and mondialisme.

In a 1992 Front-sponsored publication Le Mondialisation, Jacques Robichez, president of the Front's Scientific Council, traces the changing meaning of the term in dictionaries beginning in the late eighteenth century. Noting that the driving force behind mondialisme was the USA which was trying to impose its cultural, economic and political hegemony over the world, Milloz traced the historical roots of mondialisme to the ideology of the rights of man, and to "Freemasonry."

Robichez quotes with approval the author of the 1892 novel Cosmopolis who, "stigmatized the sterile race of evil beneficiaries, consumers of a force which they inherited from others (...) who use up and weaken a benefit which they abuse without adding to it. Cosmopolitanism, therefore, was a doctrine which "accepts without hesitation the presence of other cultures, the mixing of populations, the constitution of melting-pots, where national differences disappear in a process of fusion, giving place to a kind of uniformity." But, Robichez complains, by the 1990s, the terms cosmopolite and cosmopolitan had lost their negative connotations to the point where they signify, "nice things, art, tourism and the picturesque. Who could quarrel with trips and comparative literature!" Luckily, a new term had entered the vocabulary, one which did not necessarily replace cosmopolitanism but rather complemented it while at the same time retaining the negative connotations which cosmopolitanism had lost. "Cosmopolitanism has a certain kind of aimless amiability, while mondialisme takes things seriously and should be taken seriously." According to Robichez, mondialisme should be understood as a "[d]octrine which aimed at the political unity of the world thought of as a unique human community, " or, "[l]ooking at political problems from a world point of view."

Mondialisme was "precise, scientific, it includes a political project, a means for achieving it and its application." It "puts the accent on those things human beings have in common, their humanity, and it.... advocates the elimination of ethnic and cultural differences which divide and sometimes even oppose human beings." Mondialisme is thus linked to universalism because it denies that there are major differences between people and nations that are worth preserving. In the Front's vocabulary, narrowly defined, mondialisme referred to a political project whose ultimate goal was world government, while broadly defined it connoted many of the same things as "cosmopolitanism," that is, the leveling out of different cultures, the obliteration of national frontiers, and people who felt no allegiance to any particular country.

For Pierre Vial, a founding member of GRECE, (Groupement de Recherche et dÉtudes pour la Civilisation Européenne) and a former member of the NF's central committee, the essence of mondialisme lies in the threat it poses to French cultural values. Used as a weapon in the hands of the United States, mondialisme wishes to impose its values of "utilitarianism, happiness and the to consume the maximum of material goods, comfort being the ideal of life of a society where money is king and is the supreme reference, where everything is bought and sold." Mondialisme "refuses to define a human being in terms of blood and soil, that is to say, in terms of his links to a given community and its origins."

By 1993, mondialisme had become a major focus of the National Front's program, 300 Mesures pour la Renaissance de la France. Drafted by a committee headed by Bruno Mégret, the 300 Mesures remains the most extensive statement of the NF's ideas and policies to date. Divided into six sections and 18 chapters, the program ranges over topics as diverse as agriculture, immigration, defense, foreign policy, health, the environment, culture, and others. The terms mondial, mondialiste and mondialisme occur fifteen times in the first nine pages which begin 300 Mesures.

While mondialisme is omnipresent in 300 Mesures, the term "cosmopolitanism" has all but disappeared along with it the distinction drawn by Robichez between cosmopolitanism as referring to a goal, namely the leveling of differences between peoples and nations, and

mondialisme as the political means for achieving this on a global scale. Currently, the Front uses the term mondialisme to express everything formerly implied by cosmopolitanism.

Mondialisme, it turns out, is a major threat to the future of France, and is linked to "the progression of a kind of insidious barbarism," to the establishment of an "all-powerful oligarchy." While Marxism is declining, the ideology of globalization is taking its place and, like Marxism, it preaches a new utopia. But instead of a "red paradise," globalization looks forward to a "society without differences...a café au lait paradise...a melting pot." On the one side is "our national identity...those of our traditions which have made France and fashioned its people," on the other side is the "mondialiste ideology, which encourages massive immigration and wishes to bring about a world government. There are frequent references to an oligarchy, "a dangerous oligarchy," an "oligarchical regime," a mondialiste oligarchy," an "all-powerful oligarchy," which, "for many decades, has been running France." For some years, the Front has put out a dictionary of important terms, including mondialisation which is defined in terms of an "anonymous and conquering minority putting in place institutions and mechanisms which will allow it to generate, without any supervision, the greatest possible profits from which it will take the greatest part of the income deriving from the energy and the sweat from men."

III CONSPIRACY THEORIES

Reading the National Front's attack on globalization provokes a feeling of déja vu and in fact, the National Front's critique contains many features of the anti-Semitic, counter-revolutionary, conspiracy theory which the French extreme right developed and perfected over two centuries.

The first modern and prototypical conspiracy theory was developed by a Jesuit priest, August Barruel (1741-1820) in opposition to and as an explanation of the French Revolution. Barruel argued that the French philosophes, especially Rousseau and Voltaire plotted along with the Freemasons and the Illuminati to destroy the Catholic Church and the monarchy Barruel and other French and German counter-revolutionaries laid the foundations for conspiracy theories whose logic has hardly changed, but whose main actors, in France, included Freemasons, then Jews, and then at the end of the twentieth century, miscellaneous organizations including the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Trade Organization and others.

By the 1880s, conspiracy theorists like Edouard Drumont were linking Freemasons to Jews, "The Jewish origins of Masonry are clear and one certainly can't accuse the Jews of disguising this fact.... It would require all the ingenuity of the Aryans not to understand that in inviting themselves in order to overturn the old society and reconstruct Solomon's Temple, they were invited to ensure the triumph of Israel." And in linking the Protestants to the Jews and Freemasons, Drumont merely prefigured Charles Maurras's famous "four confederated states," the Jews, Protestants, Freemasons and métèques, or "wogs" all of whom undermined and then overthrew the monarchy and then went on to become the main supports of the secular, decadent, anti-Catholic Third and Fourth Republics.

Like the counter-revolutionaries of the eighteenth century, Maurras refused to believe that the French Revolution, the overthrow of the monarchy and the disestablishment of the Catholic Church derived from the free will of the French people. Rather, the explanation could only be framed in terms of a conspiracy led by English and Prussian foreign agents, aided by Freemasons or free-thinking political clubs. In Maurras's scheme, the only reason the Republic survived was thanks to the tight organization of the Freemasons and the economic power of the Jews.

Although Maurras lived until 1952, the Allied victory in World War II and the general disavowal of the extreme right in France meant that his ideas on the "four confederated states," and his conspiracy theory explanations of French politics fell into disfavor except among diehard supporters of Action Française and the remaining tiny groups that composed the extreme right.

After the establishment of the National Front in 1972, party leader Jean-Marie Le Pen rid the party of its most extreme elements grouped around organizations like Order Nouveau, and attempted to present a respectable face to the public by abjuring violent actions. However, three of Maurras's "four confederated states," Jews, Freemasons and métèques, the latter in the guise of les immigrés, again emerged as targets for Front attacks while Maurras's argument about the "decadence" of French society was incorporated into the Front's ideology. When, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Front began to wake up to the dangers of globalization, its anti-globalization critique was tailored to fit neatly into traditional French extreme right conspiracy theories.

IV THE FRONT, GLOBALIZATION AND CONSPIRACY THEORY

Traditional conspiracy theories usually consist of the following elements:

1. Historical events are caused by a small group of people or organizations who try to keep their identities and objectives secret.

2. The conspirator's plan to achieve world domination is organized at the international level.

3. Those whom the public takes to be the political and economic elites are in fact puppets who are manipulated from the shadows by the conspirators.

4. The conspirators oppose the nation-state based on tradition, authority, and faith, especially as embodied in the Church (in the case of France, in the Catholic Church) and wish to substitute a single world-government based on materialistic, rationalist and mechanistic values.

5. There is no theory of the dynamics of power or of politics in conspiracy theory. Events take place behind the scenes in secret and the process of politics is mysterious.

All these elements are present in the Front's anti-globalization theory: the use of terms like "cosmopolitanism" and "oligarchy" to refer to the small group of conspirators; the references to shadowy powers which control French politics from behind the scenes; the notion that globalization is a "plot;" the attack on the "ideology" of the rights of man and the belief in a common human nature as a method to level differences between nations; and the threat of a world government which will impose materialist values on the nations of the world. In the Front's current anti-globalization critique, "cosmopolitanism" is replaced by mondialisme, "international Jewish conspiracy" is replaced by allusions to "Jewish organizations," or "lobbies," while Maurras's confederacy of Jews, Protestants, méteques and Freemasons, is replaced by reference to various "oligarchies."

1. Historical events are caused by a small group of people or organizations who try to keep their identities and objectives secret.

For the Front, the forces behind globalization are simultaneously identifiable and mysterious. On the one hand, the United States is the driving force behind globalization and various international and national organizations assist the Americans in achieving their hegemonic goals. On the other hand, the exact nature of the connections between these organizations, the methods by which they operate and their internal dynamics are never clearly identified.

Who, then, are these mondialistes who are so all-powerful that, against the wishes of the majority of the French, they impose their ideas and their policies? They are a coalition of forces: the "globalizing lobbies," the "politico-media establishment," the "nomenklatura;" in fact, "the technical reality of power is held by a small number of men who, without being elected or supervised by the people, take decisions under the influence of lobbies of all kinds." In the preface to 300 Mesures, NF leader Jean-Marie Le Pen refers to an,"Establishment [which the Front always renders as Éstablissement] composed of politicians" who increasingly, and in a servile fashion, align themselves with foreign powers and domestic lobbies and, with the complicity of the media powers which are under orders, systematically gag those who are trying to make the voice of truth heard."

The French agents of globalization are variously described as "socialo-communists," "the "Establishment," "mondialistes," "mondiocrates," "Freemasons," the "Band of Four (referring to the four major political parties and evoking Maurras's four-headed "confederacy")," the "lobbies," "financial interests,""cosmopolitans," and the B'nai B'rith. According to the Front, these interests work hand in glove with the Americans, and against France.

Because of their historical role at the center of extreme right conspiracy theories, Jewish organizations are often cited as agents of globalization by the Front. In 1989, for example, Le Pen was interviewed by Jean Madiran, editor of the extreme right newspaper Présent. "Many times you have spoken about a mondialiste lobby. What does one know about the people or the groups which compose it and the goals which it pursues?" Le Pen replied:

"I don't need to tell people of your political background about the forces that are aiming to establish an egalitarian, leveling and globalizing ideology. I am thinking about the completely false, misleading and mistaken use that is made of the rights of man by the Freemasons. I believe that the Trilateral [Commission] plays a role. The great internationals, like the Jewish international, play a not negligible role in the creation of this anti-national spirit. I will say that it is almost natural that these forces, which are structurally, fundamentally internationalist, collide with national interests. But it is necessary to be careful when one says that the Freemasons and the Jewish international play a role. That doesn't mean all the Freemasons nor all Jewish organizations, nor all Jews, that is clear. But there are people who speak in the name of these others and act in this fashion."

On March 2, 2000, Le Pen again singled out Jewish organizations as playing a major role in globalization. " It is clear that the mondialists have made the Shoah into a weapon at the service of their ambitions and their tyranny. Jewish organizations such as LICRA (International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism); MRAP (Movement against Racism and for the Friendship of Peoples); CRIF (Representative Council of Jewish institutions in France) and B'nai B'rith have made the Shoah into an instrument of psychological pressure by inculpating non-Jews..."

A year later, in a speech delivered on May 1, 2001 during the Front's annual Joan of Arc parade, Le Pen spoke of a real plot against the nation [which is] the target of powerful financial and ideological lobbies,aided by the "Establishment," and the "socialo-communists." And he accused the "parties of the Band of Four," of having caved into the "orders of the B'nai B'rith in order to gag the National Front ."

The forces of globalization not only have allies at the national level, they have powerful assistance from European organizations including "eurocrates," "Eurofederalists," "the non-elected technocrats of Brussels," "the lobbies," and the Maastricht, Schengen and Amsterdam treaties which have led to the "federalist Europe of Brussels." For Front ideologue Samuel Maréchal, the destiny of France is now decided at the European and international levels, "in Brussels, by GATT, the IMF, Wall Street, the UN or by the Bundesbank." But behind these institutions lurks a more sinister force which holds the real power, namely the "transnational, financial, political or philosophical lobbies." It is they who are preparing to "dismantle our nation and to reduce it to the dimensions of a province of a future United States of Europe." On the other hand, Maréchal suggests that the real master of Europe is Germany: "[S]lowly continental Europe is sliding into the hands of Germany." And compounding the problem is that both the so-called right and left of French politics are pro-European. For Yves Daoudal, writing in National Hebdo, the imposition of sanctions against Austria by fourteen EU members, following the entry of the FPO into government, taught the following lesson: "The first lesson is that the international community continues its totalitarian, globalizing drift: international law can be violated when the masters of the world (for Serbia) or of Europe (for Austria) decide so....."

On the whole, the strings of globalization are controlled at the international level by the United States which is usually behind anything inimical to European or French interests. When, for example, the European Union decided to grant Turkey the status of official candidate for the EU, NF columnist Yves Daoudal observed that, whereas the forces of Islam, led by the Turks, were prevented from destroying Christianity in the seventeenth century, now, "under American orders" sixty million Turks were about to invade Europe. According to this argument, the Turks pose a mortal threat to the Christian heritage of Europe and it is pointless to argue that the criterion for entry into the EU should be the question of democracy. "After all, if political ideology is to be the criterion then, says Le Pen, perhaps Israel might apply for entry and [a]fter Israel Morocco... Tunisia...Algeria... Senegal and the Congo."

In addition to the United States, the international stage is rife with globalizing organizations which aim, secretly, at destroying the nation-state and bringing about world government. Among the most important are the United Nations, an "annex of Washington and its economic interests," the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, the International Monetary Fund (behind whose director Michel Camdessus was "international finance and the desire for supremacy of the United States,") the Trilateral Commission, the World Trade Organization ("an instrument of domination in the hands of Washington and the multinationals,") Greenpeace (whose main purpose is to prevent France from improving its nuclear deterrent) and shadowy lobbies and financial interests, often identified as working out of New York. Invariably, all serve the interests of the United States. According to Samuel Maréchal, "mondialisme bears another name, less abstract, that is, American financial interests and those of the boards of directors of the trusts and the lobbies. Such a system is absolutely opposed to even the vaguest desire for national independence."

2. The conspirators plan to achieve world domination is organized at the international level.

According to the NF, the mondialistes aim toward a "world government" and they constitute a "dangerous oligarchy" which doesn't hesitate to "manipulate institutional rules" nor to "manipulate public opinion" in order to achieve their goals." Thus, while the French really want the NF's "national preference policy," which would give preference to French citizens in jobs, housing, medical care and welfare, the oligarchie mondialiste thwarts the public will in the name of ideologies such as "the rights of man." Every day, "disinformation spread by order of international capital tries to convince the French people that it isn't a good thing" to love the country, its past and its customs.

When, in 1997, President Chirac decided to provide additional independence to the judiciary, National Hebdo explained it in terms of an internationally coordinated effort of "mondialist inspiration contributing to the dismantling of France." According to the NH real power was being transferred from France to the EU, to the UN, and NATO. "Soon, the government.... will be reduced to a purely managerial role charged with executing directives coming from the EU and the UN." Eventually there will be a "single world system" at the service of "its new master: mondialisme." Thus, international law will supersede national law so that, in principle, "international communism could be part of the texts." Ultimately, all national sovereignties will disappear to be replaced by a universalistic, egalitarian, market-oriented world government dominated by powerful economic, financial, ideological and political lobbies.

The National Front claims that, regardless of whether France is run by the Socialists or the centre-right, the mainstream parties subserve the demands of the New World Order and apply ultra-liberal, globalizing policies in France. These policies take many forms. Thus, Paul Lambert, president of "The Voice of the French," writes in National Hebdo that the United States wishes to transform Europe into a "multi-ethnic ensemble," and, as evidence, he cites David Rockefeller, a member of the Bilderberg group and a founder of the Trilateral Commission, James-Paul Warburg of the Council of Foreign Relations, Jacques Attali, a former Mitterrand adviser and "very close to Lazard Brothers of New York," Edmond de Rothschild, and Nicholas Murray Butler, president of the Council of Foreign Relations all of whom want to "establish a world government directed by bankers and multinationals in order to destroy European nations...and to establish a multi-religious and multi-ethnic Europe under their power. To accomplish this, the surest means is to drown European people under immigration of those of Muslim culture...." And spying on the world thanks to its communications technology, is the, "mondialiste monster....in order to uncover whatever might endanger its subversive enterprise through, for example, the emergence of a strong current which supports the nation and national identity."

Thus, these "masters of the world" aim at world government and the disappearance of the nation-state. The "New World Order" works tenaciously to dismantle nations in order to assure its authority over a world without frontiers, without opposition and without values except those of the "stock market." Moreover, "democracy and globalization" are incompatible. In appearance, world economic summits are a democratic gathering of representatives of all nations, but in fact they are dominated by an oligarchy. "The idea of a 'New World Order' is directly linked to the world hegemonic aspirations of the United States..."

An article in National Hebdo by Pascal Bernardin illustrates the tortured logic that underpins the Front's anti-globalization critique. For Bernardin, government attempts to root out corruption are in fact a subtle maneuver aimed preparing the way for globalization and the new world order. He begins by noting that one can only understand the true purpose of anti-corruption policies by a "deep understanding of the intentions of our adversaries." The struggle against corruption, Bernardin notes, comes from the "highest level of international institutions," and was initiated at the Rio conference where the "mondialistes of all kinds were moved to tears watching Arabs and Jews follow each other to the same podium."

Although the naive observer might think that the anti-corruption policy adopted by 178 governments was a response to pressure from ordinary people, in fact, only "the initiated can understand its real purpose." According to Bernardin, the "totalitarian mondialiste power," following the lessons of Gramsci is trying to create a consensus" which rejects corruption as profoundly unjust. But this movement against corruption has revolutionary aims. In fact, the real goal of the "international mondialiste institutions is to get the elites to march together in order to destroy any opposition powers.... it is necessary to make the elites submit to the law [of the world power] in order to establish a false state of law in each nation and in the entire world." In other words, the real aim of the anti-corruption movement is to implement a single rule of law over the entire world, which can then be manipulated by the globalizers because "corruption prevents the globalizers from totally controlling society." Thus anti-corruption laws will be applied to the elites so that the "world system responds precisely to the directives coming from the top of the pyramid." But, for fear of alienating the public or being forced to use counter-productive measures of force, the law is applied less strictly to ordinary citizens, although the ultimate aim is to inculcate a belief in world law in the public. Once this is done, the globalizers can then achieve their project of world domination.

According to Bernardin, "the struggle against corruption is a globalizing maneuver to affirm the power of international institutions. Society will thus lose the last recourse against a totalitarian power - the corruption of venal bureaucrats. Far from raising the morality of political life, the struggle against corruption will allow the totalitarian globalizing power to re-enforce its hold over society." However, this won't be accomplished without a struggle between the revolutionary globalizers and the globalizing forces of big capital. The first consist of devoted revolutionaries who, having failed to achieve their goals through world communism, have transferred their field of action to the international arena; the second group consists of the globalizers from big capital. The adoption of anti-corruption resolutions therefore marks a victory of the revolutionary globalizers over those from big capital. From this point on, politics will no longer be determined by wealth, rather "law has become the touchstone, a law, of course, dictated by very progressive international organizations." In the end, the "elites and the people are victims of manipulations coming from the top of the pyramid.... And the demand for justice [his italics] is used, but not fulfilled, by the globalizers." In sum, anti-corruption legislation and the rule of law is just a smokescreen for the machinations of revolutionary, that is ex-communist, globalizers intent on imposing a uniform system of law on the world all the better to dominate it.

Bernardin's article is a breathtaking example of the extent to which an argument can be stretched to fit the framework of conspiracy theory. The seemingly innocent and laudable adoption of an anti-corruption policy is interpreted in functionalist terms as serving the interests of a mysterious group of international revolutionary conspirators who have shifted their operations from the former Soviet Union to the world stage. Without providing a shred of evidence, Bernardin asserts that this putative group intends to impose on the world a uniform law in order to bring about a totalitarian world state.

Typical of all conspiracy theories, ideas like socialism, communism, globalization appear out of nowhere, float across the political landscape supported by nothing and subject to no apparent rules. Nowhere is there any explanation of why some ideas triumph over others, as for example, in Bernardin's assertion that the ideas of the revolutionary globalizers have won out over the opposition of big capital. Instead of providing explanations in terms of historical, sociological or other more or less tangible factors, conspiracy theorists explain social change in terms of "manipulation."

Why is it, for example, that the public supports anti-corruption measures when, as Bernardin has explained, their real purpose is to serve the mondialistes ? The answer is that, somehow, the mondialistes are able to "manipulate the media, ethics, laws and rules in terms of their own interests." Thus, as in most conspiracy theories, Bernardin uncovers a secret and malign purpose behind apparently innocent phenomena.

3. Those whom the public takes to be the political and economic elites are in fact puppets who are manipulated from the shadows by the conspirators.

The Front asserts that behind the apparent political leaders and political institutions of France stand another group of powerful states and institutions, all working together to undermine national sovereignty and to bring about a world state. Sometimes the puppeteer is the United States, sometimes it is Europe and, in echoes of historical conspiracy theories, it is sometimes the Freemasons and/or the Jews.

According to Samuel Maréchal, the politicians who claim to rule are manipulated by powerful international organizations which pull the strings--organizations which exist in the shadows and are unknown to the majority of people, but which intend to undermine the nation-state and bring about a world state,

Le Pen likes to argue this case by using the example of the Trojan Horse. Jacques Chirac is "a Trojan Horse...who demonstrates every day that he is the best agent of socialism and the best ally of all anti-national policies." Le Pen insists that he had more respect for Socialist Lionel Jospin than for President Chirac because whereas Chirac "hides" his European and socialist sympathies, Jospin does not. But "federal Europe" is also a "Trojan Horse" for the forces of globalization, which mean the death of France. According to Le Pen, the leaders of France have decided in "semi-secrecy and above all using lies" to involve France in a process of political, economic and diplomatic integration. "Decisions are no longer taken at the Matignon [prime minister's residence] nor at the Palais-Bourbon [home of the National Assembly], nor the Élysée [presidential palace] but at the G7 summits, in Brussels, in Geneva and especially in Washington." The U.S. "superpower" imposes its "vision of the world on French leaders who follow it to the letter. Over the past few years we have become the back-up troops for the American army and their eager followers of the new world order."

In the Front's view, the globalizers are the true power holders in the international arena. It is the "Eurofederalists" who have maneuvered France into accepting Europe and globalization. "Our political system is already powerless within the national framework and it has surrendered whatever power it has in its hands to the forces of Euromondialisme and the New World Order." According to NH columnist Yves Daoudal, the French are permanently deceived into thinking that "the President of France and the French government determine the direction the country takes, whereas it is européo-mondialisme which is in charge. For Daoudal, the French are doubly and even triply deceived: they think the French political leadership is in charge, but it is not; they think that Pascal Lamy from the EU is in charge, but he is not; they think that perhaps Romano Prodi, the president of the European Union is in charge, but he is not. In the Front's view political authority and political power are portrayed as in a hall of mirrors, where those who hold high political office have phantom authority but no power, while those who hold real power are only faintly glimpsed amidst the infinite reflections of the plots hatched behind the scenes.

Above all stands the most powerful and sinister figure of all, that of the United States, the ultimate wire-puller, "inspiration and guarantor of the new world order. According to a columnist in National Hebdo, Le Pen stated that "behind the mask of international institutions such as the World Trade Organization, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, it is the United States and those who instigate it who are at the controls." Do the forces of globalization move forward behind a mask, asks Le Pen? The answer is, clearly, "Yes."

Until he resigned from National Hebdo in 1999 during the controversy that led to Mégret's departure from the Front, columnist François Brigneau was a leading representative of the anti-Semitic current within the National Front. Almost every week Brigneau attacked Jews or Jewish organizations, or drew attention to the Jewish origins of leading French figures, often within the context of a conspiracy against France. Just before the June 1997 legislative elections Brigneau wrote that the problem with France was "cosmopolitan imperialism," whose goal was to destroy France through "invasion and dilution." Moreover, "It should be understood that the system is only a façade, it only gives the illusion of power... From one Republic to another the state has become a rotting conglomeration of lobbies, pressure and interest groups. Democracy is not really the government of the people, it's the government of foreigners. Maurras saw this accurately and it's even more true today." And, Brigneau asked, "What would Europe be worth if the nations which compose it are all afflicted with globalism?"

 

In the same issue of National Hebdo, the president of the Friends of National Hebdo, Jean-François Galvaire, wrote, "For more than fifty years, our country, freed from foreign occupation, is now under the thumb of different internationals, those whose source is a capitalism that has no country (capitalisme apatride) or soviet Marxism. These forces, often in the shadows, on occasion insolently declaring themselves, always powerful and scornful, have struck at the pillars of the house of France: the army, the country, the family, education and religion have collapsed.... That which used to be part of the national fabric, our unity, our specificity has become a patchwork rag with the colors of globalism."

In the context of French history, and from the pens of Brigneau and Galvaire, terms such as "cosmopolitan," or apatride, or "internationals," are clearly codewords for Jews or Jewish organizations.

Even apparently harmless organizations like environmental groups turn out, in the Front's analysis, to be smokescreens for the activities of the globalizers. Thus, the true aims of Greenpeace are not to protect the environment, but rather to prevent France from perfecting its nuclear deterrent. Even the greenhouse effect turns out, according to National Hebdo, upon examination of UN texts on "sustainable development" to be part of an attempt to bring about world government and to submit everything to a pensée unique. In this way the ecological pretext is used...to limit the sovereignty of the nation-state."

In a 1997 article in National Hebdo, Pascal Bernardin claimed that the Trilateral Commission wants Europe to officially become a "terre d'immigration." And he believes that the Trilateral wants to give people the illusion that they can control immigration, whereas in fact this is an illusion. As proof he evidences the appointment of "the Trilateralist" Simone Veil to the High Council on Integration. "The Trilateral recommends, and the government rolls over." He calls this a "globalist policy in trompe-loeil imposed by the Trilateral on a willing government..."

Another favorite target of those opposed to globalization is the Bilderberg group. Roger Holeindre, a member of the National Front's central committee quotes, without evidence, the "declaration of Mr. Rockefeller on 18 June 1991" at a Bilderberg conference, that, "The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite of world bankers is surely preferable to the national self-determination that has been practiced over the past centuries."

And, for the anti-Semites in the Front, the figure of the Jew can always be seen masterminding the forces of globalization. Thus, fulminating against the Papon trial in France in 1997, National Hebdo editor Martin Peltier asked whether, "globalizing policies are the work of organized political Judaism (which Peltier referred to as "Judapo") or rather, should one ask whether there are powers which politically exploit Judaism? Because Israel has used the Shoah as absolution for its actions, while the Russians and Anglo-Americans hide Dresden, Hiroshima and Katyn in the shadow of Auschwitz."

4. The conspirators oppose the nation-state based on tradition, authority, and faith, especially as embodied in the Church (in the case of France, in the Catholic Church) and wish to substitute a single world-government based on materialistic, rationalist and mechanistic values.

While the role of the conspirators has changed over time, with Maurras's four-fold "confederation" of Protestants, Jews, métèques and Freemasons being replaced by a broader but more diffuse list including Jewish "lobbies," the Freemasons, the "Establishment," and assorted French, European and international organizations, their objective remains constant - to get rid of the French nation-state and the traditional values it represents and replace it with a world government based on the principles of market liberalism.

For the National Front, therefore, globalization represents the triumph of the free market, of "ultra-liberalism" and "ultra-free exchangism;'" of "universalism;" of "homogenizing American values based on materialism" and the "virtues of mass consumption;" of the triumph of economics over politics; of a "massive foreign immigration...in the name of Europeanism and globalization;" of "cosmopolitanism" where everything, "economies, nations, civilizations, cultures, races, even religions...will be mixed into an immense planetary melting-pot."

On the other side, the French extreme right defends values arising from an organic, nationalistic, and traditionalist conception of society. The basic building block of society is the family, "the family cell must be respected as an essential institution for our civilization;" "the base and foundation of all civilized societies." Next comes the nation, "[m]emory and source of life, it results from a long history of love of a people for its land. Not without misfortune, in blood, sweat and tears, but also with heart and with genius, the people made the earth fertile and the earth fashioned the people." The nation is more than the political system or the state; for the extreme right it is a metaphysical entity, a civilization composed of the history, culture, religion and shared experiences of a people. The pre-eminent role of the state is to preserve these vital elements of the nation against the looming threat of globalization, but it is dangerously threatened by globalizing forces working at the national, European and international level to destroy nation-states and bring about a new world order.

Moreover, the FN is not "ultra-liberal," and in fact Le Pen supports "Rhenish capitalism which tries to reconcile a certain level of economic performance with an acceptable level of social well-being." The problem is that a world market "without barriers, frontiers or controls" leads to impoverishment. It's the job of the state to step in to restore an "equilibrium" between the investor, the enterprise, and the consumer.

5. There is no theory of the dynamics of power or of politics in conspiracy theory. Events take place behind the scenes in secret and the process of politics is mysterious.

Any theory of politics must say something about the nature, source and distribution of power. A liberal theory of politics, for example, talks about the sovereignty of the people, of the nature of the consent of the governed, and of the various institutions, groups and organizations amongst which power is distributed and used. Socialism or communism talks about power deriving from class position and about the uneven distribution of power amongst classes and how the ruling class is able to retain a near monopoly on power.

It is the unique feature of conspiracy theory, however, that everything about power is mysterious. Take, for example, the source of power. In the National Front's theory of politics, power seems to come from everywhere and nowhere. There is no notion of power deriving from the people, however defined, or from interest groups or from class position. Rather, at any point in time power might be exercised by the United States, or Europe, or "lobbies," or international organizations associated with mondialisme. Exactly why one or the other might exercise power is completely unclear, the historical, political, sociological or cultural context is never mentioned.

Nor is there any hierarchy of power. In liberal theory the government is at the apex of the power pyramid, interest groups and political parties are in the middle while the people are at the bottom. In communist theory, the ruling class is at the top of the pyramid, supported by the bourgeoisie and aided by government, interest groups and political parties all of which reflect the values and interest of the dominant class. In the National Front's conspiracy theory, however, power may be exercised by a small group like the B'nai B'rith which somehow passes on "orders" to the President of France; or "international Jewish organizations," which are behind the mondialistes; or the International Monetary Fund, or the Trilateral or any number of international organizations any or all of which manipulate national governments from time to time in the name of globalization.

Moreover, it is never made clear what the currency of power is nor exactly how the controlling groups or organizations exert their power. In liberal theory, government derives its authority, from the votes cast by the electorate. In communist theory, it is dominance over the levers of the economic system which bestows power on the bourgeoisie and the ruling class. In the National Front's conspiracy theory, however, a peculiar process of "naming" occurs; that is, merely naming or identifying a group or an organization is sufficient to describe its source of power. Thus, the fact that powerful individuals, a member of the Rockefeller family, for example, may belong to an organization such as the Trilateral Commission is seen as sufficient proof of its power. Certainly, the mere mention of the name "Rockefeller" leads one to conclude that money plays a big role in the exercise of power, but evidence for the use of money, or any of the traditional sources of power, is always absent. For example, in alluding to the enormous power exercised by the B'nai B'rith, Le Pen never states exactly what the currency of Jewish political power consists of. Certainly it cannot be the votes of the Jewish community which represents only about 700,000 people in a population of about sixty million. Can it be "Jewish money"? Everything is left up to the imagination of the reader or the listener.

Because the Front advances no serious theory of politics or of power, history is described as a battle between the forces of darkness and the forces of light. Describing the origin of globalization in a 1997 speech, Le Pen said, "The same egoistic interests of anonymous and vagabond capital which often, in the nineteenth century made a virtual hell of mines or factories, and which today, are reducing tens of millions of Third World children to slavery or to poverty; these big speculative interests, big multinationals which aim to accumulate an unlimited and therefore illegal profit, have, as the inescapable result of a plot, put in place and imposed mondialisme on people's minds. Mondialisme presents itself as the natural consequence of scientific and technical progress, and the globalization of the exchange system makes international commerce into a religion and "exportism" into a dogma."

In this world drama, the Front is portrayed as resisting valiantly against the forces of globalization. According to Le Pen, the globalizers see the Front as "the only serious obstacle to their unique hegemonic ambitions because we are the only ones to defend the structure they want to dismantle the Nation."

In order to resist globalization and protect the nation-state against the depredations of the United States and international organizations, Jean-Marie Le Pen and other European extreme right leaders have proposed the establishment of a Europe-wide international organization. Thus far, however, the history of such attempts is not promising.

V THE EXTREME RIGHT INTERNATIONAL

After 1945, the remnants of European fascism and Nazism tried to re-organize on a pan-European level. In France, Germany and Italy, ex-soldiers, intellectuals and publicists held a first meeting in Rome in 1950, where they proposed that Europe establish itself as a Third Force between the two superpowers. Only a united Europe under a central government, they argued, could protect European interests and negotiate, amongst other things, the reunification of a divided Germany. But there was more to the extreme right's aspirations than the desire to restore the geopolitical balance in Europe. Above all, the extreme right was united by what it rejected: the official atheism, the philosophical materialism and the class--based logic of Soviet-style Marxism. And while it abhorred American-style liberal capitalism, it also rejected the Soviet Union's command economy system. At the same time, the extreme right opposed American individualist democracy, materialism, egalitarianism, racial mixing and its commitment to the ideology of the rights of man. These twin refusals of the dominant postwar ideologies and the search for an alternative "third force" or "third way" alternative to Soviet Marxism and American capitalism helped propel the extreme right toward supporting some form of European unification. The trouble was that, although the extreme right generally agreed on what it rejected, it found it more difficult to reach agreement on what a new Europe would look like.

In Mälmo, Sweden in 1950, and then in Rome in October 1950, the Italian MSI (Movimento Sociale Italiano) right established the European Social Movement (Europäische Soziale Bewegung - ESB ). At the head of the organization was the Swedish Fascist Per Engdahl and the French Fascist Maurice Bardèche. Having emerged as the dominant fascist party of the postwar years, the MSI dominated the first few meetings of the ESB, proposing that, "The Constitution of the Nation Europe has a hierarchical structure. It is the organic expression of the European soul...." A corporatist political-economic system was also proposed as well as "cooperation" with others "on the basis of the undeniable traditional and cultural superiority of Europe." At Mälmo, the participants unanimously accepted a report which rejected democracy and called for a "united and independent Europe," but only after "each country will have carried out its social and national revolution."

But cracks within the extreme right movement soon appeared. The French extreme right author René Binet insisted that racial purity be a keystone of the new movement. Otto Strasser, formerly a leader of the left-wing faction of the NDSAP (Nationalsozialistichen Deutschen Arbeiterpartei) argued against a central government in favor of a European confederation. Further difficulties arose when one faction of the movement advocated alliances with the Arab world against American imperialism, while the French were opposed, citing their interests in North Africa. Some of the German members thought that Europe should be placed under German leadership. On the other hand, Sir Oswald Mosley, who helped organize the first series of meetings in the 1950s, was not particularly interested in racism but rather in a united Europe as a bulwark against communism. In 1948, he had proposed electing a European parliament by universal suffrage with all Europeans having the right to vote. But this was to be a Europe that would undertake as one of its tasks the development of an African empire which would be assisted by expert help from Europe and that would, in turn, provide Europe with raw material and room for further colonization.

In 1951, a number of extreme right leaders, including Binet, broke with the ESB and founded the New European Order (Neue Europäische Ordnung "with delegates from France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland. Later meetings of the NEO included representatives from Belgium, Austria , Spain and even Turkey. But both the ESB and the NEO were wracked by quarrels concerning the status of disputed territories such as South Tyrol, the Saar and French North Africa. In 1962, extreme right leaders including Jean Thiriart from Belgium, Mosley, and representatives from Italy and Belgium called an international meeting in Venice. Although attendance was poor the conference agreed on establishing a common government for West Europe with jurisdiction over foreign policy, defense, economic policy, finance and scientific development. Free trade would also be implemented. A European parliament would be elected at four year intervals. The goal was to create a Europe so prosperous that strikes and joint ownership of property would be unnecessary. Although Mosley hoped that the Venice conference would create the basis for a European-wide organization, further efforts at establishing a permanent international organization failed.

Over the next two decades, informal contacts took place between members of the extreme right, especially when domestic leaders invited foreign representatives to attend party congresses, but there was no generally accepted international structure. When, however, in the 1984 European elections, the National Front elected ten, the MSI, five and the Greek National Political Union one Member of the European Parliament (MEP), the three extreme right wing parties formed a parliamentary group. A member of the Ulster Unionist party joined subsequently. At this time, Le Pen, who had headed the successful NF list for the European elections, focused attention on the threat to Europe posed by the Soviet Union and by immigration from the Third World. Not only did the Soviet Union threaten Europe because of its nuclear arsenal and conventional weapons, it was, according to Le Pen and the Group of the European Right, behind much of the terrorism in Europe. Le Pen therefore called on the separate states of Europe to increase defense spending, to organize a Europe-wide nuclear strategy and, in response to terrorism, to institute the death penalty and to establish a European anti-terrorism agency. He also noted that Europe had the population, the skill and the resources necessary to assure its own defense against the Soviet Union. With regard to economic policy, the NF propounded the notion that, "Eurafrica,an economic and geo-political unit which complement each other, should be the slogan for tomorrow."

The idea was that Europe, but in particular, the European states bordering the Mediterranean, should establish a powerful naval force in the area, complemented by increased economic cooperation and aid between the southern European states and the African states bordering the Mediterranean Sea, particularly the ex-French colonies of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. This proposal seemed to have been inspired by the notion that only if Europe could carve out its own sphere of influence, separate from that of both the United States and the Soviet Union, could it lay claim to being a major world power. In addition, this new-found economic and military force could then be exercised to restrain immigration from North Africa to Europe.

The NF's idea of establishing a European sphere of influence in the Mediterranean was abandoned after 1989 with the collapse of Communism. By now, the threat of globalization had made its appearance, as illustrated by a January 1989 speech by Le Pen before the European Parliament where he warned against a "drift toward globalization.... a globalized future." By the early 1990s, therefore, globalization, with its implied threat of American cultural, economic and political hegemony, and Third World immigration replaced the Soviet menace in the bestiary of the National Front.

Still, no solid ground for cooperation between the parties could be found and preliminary soundings about a common election program for the extreme right for the 1989 European elections led nowhere. In the 1989 European election, the National Front won ten seats, the MSI won four seats, the Republikaner won six seats and the Vlaams Blok won one seat.

Initially, Le Pen wanted to form a parliamentary group that would include the Republicans, the MSI and Karl Dillen from the Belgian VB. However, the Republicans were divided; one objected because he thought an alliance would hurt the Republican's election chances; another objected to any alliance that would include the MSI because the latter insisted that South Tyrol belonged to Italy rather than to Austria. Republican leader Franz Schönhuber personally favored an alliance with both the NF and the MSI. In the end, however, the MSI refused to ally itself with the NF and Le Pen was forced to form a group called the Technical Group of the European Right that included the Republicans and Dillen from the VB. But, when in 1993, Gianfranco Fini led the MSI to renounce its fascist past and to reform under the National Alliance label, the National Front lost another potential ally in the effort to establish an extreme-right international.

Continuing friction on the extreme right in the European Parliament led Schönhuber to conclude that Le Pen's idea of uniting the right on the basis of nationalism and the irreducible nature of the nation-state would be very difficult to achieve. According to Schönhuber, "the left has fewer problems here because their notions of international cooperation and solidarity bridge different peoples." Moreover, Schönhuber asked, in a future, enlarged Europe, what possible grounds for cooperation on the right could there be with a right-wing member from Turkey, or with a right-wing Greek on the question of Cyprus, or with Zhirinovsky from Russia, or with the Slovak or Czech right which fight like "cats and dogs." According to Schönhuber's analysis, although the European right should behave like "nationals," not like "nationalists," the fact was that nationalism always seemed to win out.

Moreover, there were important substantive differences on the extreme right that undermined any attempt at long-term cooperation. Schönhuber himself observed that his program was fiftty percent different from that of Le Pen, noting that, unlike the NF, he was opposed to capital punishment and for the right to asylum. "Jean-Marie is farther to the right than I am," he declared. And, in fact, the unity of the European extreme-right group was shaken 1990 when Schönhuber excluded Harald Neubauer and Johanna Grund from the Republikaner because of their anti-Semitic and racist beliefs. But Le Pen refused to throw them out of the far right parliamentary group, further exacerbating relations between the NF and the Republikaner. After the 1999 European election the formation of the Europe of Nations group, (Groupe Union pour l'Europe des Nations), attracted the support of Fini's National Alliance as well as Charles Pasqua's Rassemblement pour la France, the Portugese Partido Popular and the Danish People's Party represented by Pia Kjaersgaard. The National Front, whose representation had dropped to five seats, then established a parliamentary group which included members from the Vlaams Blok, and Emma Bonino from the left-wing Italian Radical Party. But because the alliance was purely opportunistic, the group was forced to dissolve by the European Parliament.

Over the past few years Le Pen has talked about establishing what he calls, a "Euronat," or an international organization of European "nationalist" parties. But despite occasional contacts between Le Pen and extreme right leaders in East Europe and with Franz Schönhuber of the German Republicans, little progress has been made in that direction. Even within the European parliament, where NF representatives rub shoulders with extreme right politicians from Denmark, Austria, Italy and Belgium, divisions between the parties undermined attempts to form a political group which would have official standing and thereby provided some advantages in terms of speaking time and infrastructure.

Moreover, the Front's attempt to woo other extreme right parties have not always been successful. In 1997, both the leaders of Denmark's anti-immigrant Peoples Party, Pia Kjaersgaard and the leader of the Norwegian Progress Party, Carl Hagen rejected comparisons with the National Front. Kjaersgaard preferred to compare her party to Margaret Thatcher's Euroskeptic Conservatives, while, after his election success, Hansen angrily refused Le Pen's congratulations, calling Le Pen a "loathsome racist."

Jörg Haider's FPO has been particularly resistant to any alliance with the National Front. In 1997, for example, Peter Sichrovsky, the FPO MEP supported banning Le Pen from the European Parliament after his remark that the gas chambers were just a "detail of history." Haider himself has always tried to distance himself from the National Front and from Le Pen. In a 2002 interview with the German newspaper Profil he stated, "Le Pen and Haider are quite different from each other.... Le Pen has positions which one cannot support. He has racist positions in his program which seem not to have changed at all in the modern world. But I don't want to be condemn him in advance because I don't know him personally."

Relations with Gianfranco Fini's National Alliance are hardly better. In a 1994 interview with Le Monde, Fini was asked about his relations with Le Pen. "It's easy, we don't have them any more. ... During the time of Euro-communism with Marchais, Berlinguer and Carillo we tried to establish a European right as a counterbalance and after the 1984 European elections we were in the same parliamentary group in the European Parliament." But, Fini continued, when the National Front reached an agreement with the German extreme right Republican Party, Fini wanted nothing to do with them. The Republicans "don't believe in Europe and they dont even know what it means to have respect for foreigners." Morever, Fini stated, during the Euro-communist period...we tried to establish a Euro-right to counter-balance it, and after the 1984 European elections we were in the same parliamentary group in the European Parliament." But when Le Pen established relations with the German Republicans in 1989, Fini decided he didn't want anything to do with them because "they didn't believe in Europe and they didn't even know what it meant to have respect for foreigners."

In 2003, therefore, prospects for unity on the European extreme right look dim. The various parties and movements are divided over program, leadership, and history. Moreover, the highly nationalistic nature of the extreme right, its devotion to the nation-state and its opposition to international or European institutions compose substantial obstacles to the establishment of a Euro-right. However, the extreme right has been trying to establish some basis of cooperation since the 1930s, and one should not, therefore, rule out the possibility that the Euro-right might agree on a common minimum program of opposition to globalization and on a workable formula for creating an international of the far right.



Theories Of The Right