Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Jean-Marie Le Pen

The dark side of the French psyche. How can a man who wants to pardon the
Nazi Collaborators of WW2, denies the Holocaust and tells the French that things
were'nt so bad under the Germans think he can be president?
He was born in La Trinite-sur-Mer in 1928, the son of a fisherman who was killed
when his boat was blown up by a mine. He was raised by the state and studied law.
He joined a political association, Association corporative des etudiantes en droit, a society of right wing law students and became its president. The main occupation of the association was to engage in street brawls against the "Cocos" (communists).
He was excluded from the organization in 1951 for assaulting an abbot while drunk.
After graduating, he joined the Foreign Legion and went to Indochina where he arrived just as the war ended. Then he went to Suez and arrived after tthe cease fire.
He was then sent to Algeria as an intelligence officer. He was accused of torture and tried to sue, but he lost case as Le Monde was able to produce victims, witnesses and the actual knife he used as evidence during the trial.
He then returned to Paris and studied law. He was married in 1960 and had three daughters. The youngest, Marine, is the public face of the Front National today.
The two other daughters are estranged from him. His marriage broke up rather messily in 1986 and his wife posed nude in Playboy after the divorce to ridicule him.
In 1977, a very wealthy alcoholic royalist scion of the Lambert cement companty died and left Jean-Marie approximately 5 million Euros as well as his castle in Saint Cloud which was once owned by Madame Pompadour. The exact nature of what compelled Lambert to make this donation will never be known. In the early 1980's, his security was assured by the KO International Company, a subsudy of VHP Security Firm and a known front for the SAC, (Civic Action Service) the Gaullist organization in charge of shady actions, which employed many figures from organized crime and the far right movements.
When he was 28 years old, he began his political life with a project to help the victims of the disastrous flood in the Netherlands in 1953. He became popular enough to become the youngest member of the National Assembly as a member of the UDCA.
He was involved in the campaigns of right wing figures through the 50's, engaging in bully tactics of intimidation and attacks. In 1958, he was beaten in a street battle and claimed that he lost his left eye in the beating. One of his victimization lies, he was injured in his right eye and lost the left a few years later to an infection.
In 1965, he was involved in another far right presidential campaign and part of the platform was the rehabilitation of WW2 Collaborationists, because as they put it, "It was too easy for DeGaulle to stay in London and direct the resistance when the collaborationists were in France dealing with the Nazis"
He lost his seat in the assembly because of his far right views and positions in 1961.
He started a music publishing company, SERP which published Trade Union, Front National and Nazi music. The firm was condemned in 1968 for "apology of war crime and complicity" for its diffusion of Third Reich songs.
In 1972, he founded the Front National with an assortment of Vichy nostalgists, Catholic Fundamentalists and neo nazi pagans. He presented himself for president in 1974 for the first time. His flat in Paris was dynamited. He was in his castle at the time.
He never got his 500 signatures in 1981 to run against Mitterand. Since then, he has run in every election and has managed to take advantage of the economy and established a power base in the Provence. He ran and won election to the European Parliament and was stripped of his seat when he physically assaulted a female delegate in 2003. During this period, he has been prosecuted and fined on three separate occasions for making statements that denied the existance of the Holocaust. Last year he shocked France by saying that life under the Germans wasn't that bad.
In the 2002 election he shocked the world by defeating Lionel Jospin in the first round of the election and there was a runoff against Chirac. The refrain was "vote for the crook, not the fascist!"
So after 6 years, he's running again. back in the 80's he was so reviled that he could not travel with out needing police protection. He seems to have been rehabilitated simply by the process of the banalization of celebrity. People vote for him as a protest, out of ignorance and fear. He plays on the fears of the rural and poor urban French and their fear of a country that has a huge Arab population. He persecutes homosexuals and has called for the creation of camps for AIDS victims. He makes promises of self reliance with out ever spelling out programs. He is able to make himself ever the victim. Even now, he does not yet have his 500 mayoral signatures to run and he blames every one for the problem. He was caught bribing a mayor last week. The problem is, Sarkozi thinks he needs him to win. LePen is the wild card as far as numbers go. Will his candidacy hurt Sarkozy or Segolene? It depends on which projections you listen to. Sarkozys' camp seems to think that they need him to diffuse Bayrou, so yesterday, Sarkozi made his mild mannered luguubrious statement that he would help LePen get his signatures for the sake of Frances' healthy democracy.
What utter hypocrisy!
I want to credit, the great cartoonist for the Guardian-Observer, Steve Bell for the cartoon illustration.

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