Marine Le Pen: Hate speech cloaked in patriotism


One of the front-runners for the French Presidential elections, Marine Le Pen used her latest rally in the last week of the Presidential race to whip France up into a frenzy of hatred against the ‘other’. The leader of the ‘Front National’ acutely knows that unlike the 1930’s, in 2017 a modern country and its politicians cannot refer to some of its citizens people as ‘rats’, or vermin, as Nazi Germany did.

Therefore, to avoid again being prosecuted for in-sighting racial hatred and violence Le Pen masterfully engages in speech craft to let her audience unequivocally know, who in her opinion the good citizens are and who are those who don’t belong.

Take a look at the language used in this speech: “I will protect you”....the others want “savage globalisation”. “I will stop all immigration”. “We will protect our civilisation, the French Civilisation”; “I want France to have its freedom back”. “The choice on Sunday is simple: It is a choice between a France that is rising again and a France that is sinking,”

The ‘savage globalisation’ reference enables Le Pen to say many things. For example, she can’t call immigrants on non white people savages, but by describing an economic phenomena in this way she tells her audience ‘who’s, who’ whilst simultaneously pouring scorn on the EU and globalisation. Le Pen will acutely know that the French are very familiar with the word ‘savage’.

Writers such as Jean Jacque Rousseau popularised the notions of the ‘noble savage’ in the 18th Century. For Western empires people of colour fell into two distinct categories; the savage –close to a wild animal-, and the noble savage –an animal with perhaps a heart and brain.

This ‘savage’ metaphor along with a ‘sinking France’ getting the nation, ‘its freedom back’, and protecting ‘our civilisation’, in many ways this is the language of a nation at war cloaked in patriotism.

Le Pen has never needed much encouragement, but she will have been emboldened by the success of similar language that achieved dramatic results during the Brexit debate and in the recent US elections.

In recent months hatred in Western countries has never been so confident and vociferous. If Marine Le Pen wins in the weeks ahead the world as we know it will be turned upside down. The EU will fall apart, some countries such as France and Hungary will aggressively attack ‘savage globalisation’, and as result millions of people will live in fear, some for their lives.

We here in the UK and only watch and hope that cometh the hour France rejects the hatred of Marine Le Pen.

Simon Woolley