‘’The hour of the grand democratic confrontation between globalists and patriots has arrived.”
Addressing supporters in the northern French city of Lille on Sunday afternoon, Marine LePen announced a ‘‘rendez-vous with history’’, a fast-approaching day of reckoning between patriotism and globalism which would see France join a world-wide revolt against supra-national ‘’oligarchs’’ and their version of the world.
Presenting herself as the anti-system candidate, LePen emerged in striking red to deliver an address scathing of the failed promises of globalism, offering a message of national renewal reminiscent of President Trump’s ‘’Make America Great Again.’’
Acknowledging the important role of the north in her party’s recent successes, LePen opened with a nod to the history and renowned good humor of the region, a former industrial powerhouse and mining center ‘’martyred’’ by a globalization which had caused the closure of its factories and the ruination of once vibrant communities.
In a veritable declaration of war on supra-national government, LePen spoke of the countless families which had suffered because of ‘’market-based redundancies and savage off-shoring of jobs’’.
Globalists were working ‘’against everything that constrains planetary free trade’’, she said, warning of the advent of a post-national world where peoples removed from their national traditions and cultures were enslaved to the law of volatile money markets. Whilst promising the sun, moon and stars, globalism had brought only empty promises and would be rejected for seeking to reduce the individual to an expendable, throwaway product.
In a rally with the production values of a rock concert, including screenings of her widely-viewed campaign videos, a jubilant crowd of almost 5,000 supporters enthusiastically heard LePen’s homage to the French nation and her promise of national revival, rising to their feet at patriotic crescendos to chant familiar refrains of ‘’Marine, Presidente!’’ and ‘’On va gagner!’’ (”We’re going to win!”)
‘’To those that think that France has had its day, I say that the time which is coming is France’s time, the time of its grand return…
We’re here to awaken the national conscience. We’re here to say that we want to renew the grandeur of our country.’’
Like all peoples, the French aspire legitimately ‘’to give a future to their history’’, LePen continued, quoting philosopher Bérénice Levet, and presenting herself as defender of the national tradition against the candidates of the system working for external authorities and monied interests.
Her two leading adversaries, center-right François Fillon and ultra-liberal Emmanuel Macron, were the perfect examples of the globalist oligarchy, LePen explained, their candidatures representing ‘’banks versus insurance companies, insurance companies versus pharmaceuticals’’, essentially ‘’one PR agency against another.’’
‘’My two principal adversaries are the system’’, she said of the two men who have formerly served in government under Presidents Sarkozy and Hollande respectively, accusing them of wanting ‘‘more of the EU and less of France.’’
‘’They have taken us exactly to where we are today!’’, she declared.
Unlike them, she was not beholden to media conglomerates, to the banks, nor to the petroleum monarchies of Qatar and Saudi Arabia;
‘’I am free. Free to defend you.’’
Poking fun at her most likely second-round rival, Macron, LePen described him as the Jean-Claude Van Damme of politics.
‘‘In general, you understand nothing of what he says, of what he wants but when you do understand – it’s quite worrying’’, a reference to Macron’s sometimes rambling statements and unusual declarations such as there being no such thing as French culture, and that he had never seen French art.
On France’s porous borders, LePen reminded voters that as external frontiers had been removed by the EU, they had been replaced inside the national territory by new forms of barriers necessary for personal protection; walls, shutters, security fences, key codes, alarm systems – all to protect against crime and insecurity.
Likewise for the barriers along highways to disguise migrant encampments, the proposed 3meter high glass wall around the Eiffel Tower to protect tourists from thieves – all necessary because of the loss of France’s external borders.
Scoffing at the oft-repeated mantra that France cannot survive without the EU, LePen posed the question ‘’Did we not have our own currency for fifteen centuries? Of course we did! And that money was the instrument of our economic success that made us one of the foremost world powers in history!’’
There was criticism of those ready to confide the ‘’keys of the house’’ of France to external authorities, to ‘’illegitimate commissars unknown to all, to the oligarchs of the world order, who from their glass towers in Brussels administer us as if we were a colony!’’
‘’No, France is our country!’’, LePen exclaimed defiantly, railing against the EU’s say in French budgetary affairs and its ability to impose fines on nation states for decisions normally the prerogative of a sovereign people.
‘’It’s up to us to decide our laws, our administrative arrangements, our systems of social solidarity’’, she insisted, praising France’s envied model of social protection, a legacy of the social doctrine of the Catholic Church.
Although it would not please everybody, LePen continued, it would from her election onwards be for the French people to decide ‘‘who comes and who goes, who settles amongst us and who is not welcome.’’
France did not want the migrants of Madame Merkel, the pronunciation of the German Chancellor’s name taking on the weaponized form of a swinging axe.
Announcing boldly that the EU was about to crumble and that the end of globalization was underway, LePen reminded voters that the decision before the country was a choice of nothing less than two versions of civilization.
‘‘In their world, it would be logical that France should submit to a double submission, a submission from above, to the supra-national institutions of the EU, and a submission from below, imposed by the bands of thugs or Islamists.
With us, the French will not lower their heads before either one!’’
LePen spoke of those living on the front line of industrial decline, dilapidation, the migrant influx, and the loss of identity;
‘’Every day I meet French people who describe what they are seeing with their own eyes; the factory which closes, the wallet that empties, the village that’s dying, the migrants that are arriving, the mosque-cathedral under construction.’
Yet there was a promise of deliverance from the decay, the morass, a seductive message which may prove convincing enough to win her the presidency, a call to emancipation, to liberation and rebellion for patriots to regroup under the flag in order to ”revitalize the national spirit.”
‘’I’m going to transmit a message of hope to you. The hour of the defeat of the globalists has come!’’
Decision making powers would be restored back to the people, she pledged, via referenda, the results of which would be respected. The oligarchs would be put in their place.
The ‘’democratic insurrection of the people’’ was on the march, in the United States, in Great Britain, in Italy, in India, and finally all around the world, the crowd was told.
It was time for France, long since holding liberty as an ideal, to take its place as a driving force in this movement.
‘’We will not shirk away! We have a rendez-vous with history!
By now the crowd in the arena was on its feet again, and the message had been broadcast to television viewers across the country. Those in the arena were convinced that their candidate could change France’s direction but what of the wider French public?
Only time will tell – four weeks now – if LePen’s words resonate with enough of the country’s ordinarily risk-averse voters to secure her victory.
One could place an emphasis on ordinarily. With the election campaign set against a backdrop of myriad crises – economic decay, social unrest, rising Islamism and the unending flow of migrants – these are certainly no ordinary times for France.
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