Why Is The National Front A Racist

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The aim of this essay is to explore the idea of whether the National Front in France is a racist party. The French National Front or the Front National (FN) was founded in 1972 and is a nationalist, socially conservative and economically protectionist party. The party was led by Jean-Marie Le Pen until his resignation in 2011 and is now under the leadership of his daughter Marine Le Pen. Traditionally, the National Front has been seen by many in France as the only legitimate alternative to the established but corrupt mainstream political parties (Girling, 1998: 168). For this reason, it tends to attract protest voters, fed-up traditionalists and the socially and economically deprived (Girling, 1998: 168). Whilst the National Front attracts a variety of supporters, it has been argued that racism fuels a great deal of the party’s political policies and stance. Racism ‘provides the sharpest focus for popular fear and anger’ through blaming France’s minority Muslim Arab and black African populations for the current crisis in civil society (Girling, 1998: 168). These prejudices have been exacerbated by fears and anxiety over immigration, traditionalism and a resentment of foreigners. As is the case in many European nations, it is felt that immigrants to France are ‘taking away our jobs’ and ‘living at the expense of the French’ (Girling, 1998: 168). However, the National Front has gone under something of an image overhaul in recent years since the appointment of Marine Le Pen as leader in 2011. This ‘de-demonization’ strategy, which has served to increase the party’s popularity through softening its image and making its policies on immigration and so forth appear more acceptable to the mainstream (Mayer, 2013: 160). For these reasons, ...

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...itism and attempting to appeal to ultra-nationalist sensibilities there is a definite racist element to their discourse. Such racism is evident in the National Front’s stance against immigration where they argue that Arab Islamic immigrants are unlikely to assimilate on the basis of the alien nature of their culture and in the idea that immigration should be banned and the rights of French citizens be made a national priority. Whilst attempts have been made to make this stance appear more moderate and in line with popular discourse in recent years, such as by aligning anti-immigration with cultural incompatibility these arguments simply attempt to mask the true nature of the National Front’s policies. Despite attempts to focus on other elements of party policy it is clear that underneath the rhetoric of Marine Le Pen the National Front is inherently a racist party.
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