So there was no Grand Soir finale. By joining their forces in the two regions that the Front National was about to win, the phony Left and Right ensured that FN got none. The “Fascist Menace” was defeated; Democracy was saved! Everybody can now tune out and get ready for Christmas foie gras, undisturbed by the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.
Ahead in six of the twelve mainland regions after the first round, FN lost everywhere after the second.
Pink: Socialist Party and its allies; blue: “Les Républicains,” Nicolas Sarkozy’s party, and its allies
The same scenario happened last March for the departmental elections (on the difference between the départements and the régions, read this). FN was leading the first round with 43 départements out of 96 in its favor, and finally got none, even in Marion Maréchal Le Pen’s Vaucluse where she lost by a whisker.
The One-Party State
Last week, I warned about a possible “Houellebecquian Moment,” in reference to Michel Houellebecq’s last novel, Submission, in which all parties vote the Muslim Brotherhood into power to avoid Marine Le Pen’s victory at the 2022 presidential election.
But why take a fictional scenario in the future when you just have to look at what’s actually happening in Europe right now?
To prevent the “Swedish Democrats” party from threatening the government’s stability, the mainstream Left and Right formed an alliance by which they ensured that Swedish Democrats will not be allowed to disrupt the majority, whatever the election result might be.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has been in office for more than 10 years now. At first leading a Left-Right coalition, she’s now freewheeling, with few complaining about the absence of alternative.
The situation we’re in now is that of the One-Party State. Even when there is a party outside the mainstream, it is, despite itself, the unifying force of the regime, with the “menace” it represents forcing the other parties to gather and form a permanent, immutable ruling class.
What this means for Donald Trump
It’s important to look at different countries at the same time, because there’s a discernible pattern in all these situations.
In February, the Republican primaries will begin, with a growing gap between the popular support for Donald Trump and the rejection of his candidacy by the Republican establishment.
Trump’s adversaries seem to think that they can tame The Donald and, one way or another, finally defeat him before July, if necessary by having only one last candidate running against the 69-year-old, golden-haired Bruce Wayne.
But what if he gets the nomination anyway? Well, it’s hard to imagine that Jeb, Rubio, Rand et al. will kindly step aside, swallow their pride and all make common cause with Trump to avoid a third Democratic victory in a row. Actually, it’s much easier to think that they will do all they can to sabotage Trump’s campaign, even if it means supporting Hillary.
If he doesn’t get the nomination and decides to go full independent, it is unlikely that he will manage to defeat two adversaries at the same time, despite his Roman centurion allure.
As entertaining as Trump’s campaign has been so far from my side of the pond, I find it unlikely that the establishment will let something as unexpected as that to happen, especially in light of Trump’s recent statements, which Marine Le Pen herself found excessive.
Do elections matter that much anyway?
Yesterday, in a Facebook statement, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen declared that there was no plafond de verre (glass ceiling) and that next time, FN will get the 50 percent + 1 that is necessary.
It’s not as if FN was exactly a new party. It was founded in 1972 by Marion’s grandfather, only one year after the modern Socialist Party, and exactly 30 years before Jacques Chirac’s UMP, which was renamed this year by the man who hijacked it, Sarkozy.
In modern democracy’s history, there is, to my knowledge, no case of a party that finally managed to take over after half a century of repeated failure. It’s like with a girl: if it doesn’t happen reasonably fast, it never will.
Sorry Marion, but there actually is a Glass Ceiling, and it is descending everyday as a result of demographic and cultural change. The more time flies away, the less likely it is that FN will finally step into office, even with a better turnout rate (it was almost 60 percent for this second round, a little less than ten points up from the first round… and still, it was not even close).
The question is: does it really matter?
Last September, I sent Counter Currents’ editor Greg Johnson a 1888 Le Figaro column by French writer Octave Mirbeau. Ann Sterzinger translated it, and it is now available for English-speaking readers (for some reason, Greg didn’t credit me; I have an idea why, but it’s fine, as long as good ideas spread).
The key passage, in my opinion, is this one:
Above all, remember that the fellow who seeks your vote is, by that fact alone, a dishonest man. Because in exchange for the job and the fortune you push him up toward, he promises you a heap of marvelous things that he will never give you, and which aren’t in his power to give you anyway.
The visionary importance of this 127-year-old statement shouldn’t be underestimated.
There is, in most right-wing movements, a naive belief — to be charitable — in representative democracy. As I noted two years ago when criticizing Marine Le Pen’s mainstreaming, I asked:
One can wonder what the next step in this normalization process is before Front National can not only have a candidate in the second round, like Jean-Marie Le Pen in 2002, but in the presidential palace, and whether the party will still be remotely national when it happens (if it does).
That, of course, is if one believes that actual power lies in public office. Ironically, right-wingers seem to be the last democrats. Only on the Right can one still find this naive belief that the President, or Prime Minister, has a kind of control panel in his office where from everything bad in the country can be solved with a simple tap of the finger.
Where are the Gramscians?
Since the beginnings of representative democracy, the parties and politicians that stood on the Right won many times, and in some cases managed to retain power for decades.
But in retrospect, this was largely an illusion. In 1789, the Right, in the French Revolutionary Constituent Assembly, consisted of men who wanted to uphold absolute monarchy. In 2015, right-wing politicians and parties simply argue that they would do a better job than the Left at maintaining what yesterday’s Left established.
On the other hand, radical left-wing movements like the Trotskyites and the Maoists never won a single election. But their influence on culture, and as a consequence on politics, has been absolutely tremendous.
Most ideas that are considered self-evident now, including by people who see themselves as die-hard right-wingers, were fringe positions at first, but those who pushed them forward managed to capture the minds and hearts of philosophers, novelists, filmmakers, singers, journalists, advertisement creative directors, until everybody, including right-wing politicians, thought they were as natural as breathing air and drinking fresh water to live.
In the New Right in continental Europe and the Alternative Right in the Anglosphere, there has been much talk on “right-wing Gramscism,” i.e. the need to first wage the metapolitical battle before winning the political war. But these praiseworthy intentions have been muted everytime there was an election around. (And with the perpetual campaign that is modern democracy, that meant most of the time.)
I often compare this cognitive dissonance to the situation of a desperate guy who claims that “he doesn’t care about this girl” but rushes to his phone whenever she sends him a lame SMS (did I hit too close to home?). Laudable statements such as “We’re not going to vote ourselves out of our current predicament” don’t hold long before a call to “get down in the arena” is made.
Meanwhile, the radical Left keeps pushing its pawns on the checkboard, regardless of the elections’ results. The radical Left cares about elections of course, as we should (firstly because it gives more audience to alternative ideas, as Trump’s campaign indicates), but it doesn’t let elections define its agenda.
So it seems that with FN’s latest defeat, and Trump’s likely coming one, it is time to be serious about metapolitics and “Gramscism.” That is, really serious.
Getting the “Culture War” right
Does it mean that we should stop being interested in politics at once and pick up a guitar and a mic to start “nationalist” rock bands? Should we write “traditionalist” novels? Should we sing along the “right-wing” equivalent of “We are the world?”
Well, not quite. Everyone has to do what he’s good at, and stick to it. I’m a journalist and a political analyst, and if I tried to write a novel, there would be embarrassing passages like “While sipping his mocha latte, he was contemplating postmodern decadence.”
When I think of how Alex Kurtagic’s work inspired me, what comes to mind is more his “Masters of the Universe” speech at the NPI 2011 conference than his novel, Mister.
There is actually a misconception in right-wing circles about how culture influences politics. Art and culture are efficient in changing politics when they are pursued for their own sake, and not when they’re political propaganda reframed in an artistic, or more often pseudo-artistic form.
That was the problem pointed in some comments to a Radix piece praising a French all-female band of questionable artistic quality, Les Brigandes.
In a long comment, one of our readers noted:
Some of this is fun, but it’s not art. It’s counter-propaganda. It’s Alt-Right acting like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Moore.
Les Brigandes are okay, but their songs are formulaic.
Btw, we need to remind ourselves that the Libs won the ‘culture war’ not because they were BLATANTLY political. Most people tune out obviously political stuff.
Notice that nearly everyone in communist nations got tired of commie propaganda and were really listening to Western pop and watching Hollywood movies. It’s like even Christians prefer entertainment to church stuff. And in Nazi Germany, most Germans could take only so much of propaganda. Propaganda can be effective but once in a while, not 24/7. Too much makes one bored and even allergic to that stuff. Propaganda gets dull fast.
The reason why Libs were effective in culture was not because they were blatantly PC and propagandist but because they won over the hearts and minds of the most talented writers, film-makers, musicians, etc. Therefore, the fans of such artists came to associate talent with ‘leftism’.
It was by INDIRECT MEANS that so many young people came to lean toward the ‘Left’.
For an intellectual and political movement, the task is neither to get obssessed about elections, nor to create so-called “culture” that anyone outside the movement will instantly reject as propaganda.
It is, rather, to develop an inspiring, positive and forward-looking worldview that will, with time, attract thinkers, artists, scientists, journalists and eventually politicians on our side.
It is this worldview, not electoral cheerleading or half-baked songs, that will bring talent and creativity aboard.
Vote if you feel the need to, write poetry if you’re so inclined, but by all means, have a vision that addresses the six basic questions I asked at NPI’s last conference:
- Who are we?
- What do we want?
- Where are we headed?
- How are we going to attain our goals?
- And when will we be able to attain them?
If you do that, intelligent and creative people will eventually notice, and take interest. They’ll sing your songs and write your novels for you.