French Voters Face Presidential Election Between Xenophobic Candidate & Centrist Investment Banker


AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org,
The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. In France, voters head to the polls Sunday
in a presidential election that pits former investment banker Emmanuel Macron against
far-right politician Marine Le Pen. Macron on Thursday won the support of former
U.S. President Barack Obama, who urged French voters to reject the politics of fear. Le Pen, who has campaigned on an openly xenophobic
and racist platform, faced protests Thursday as she campaigned at a trucking company in
Brittany. Protesters shouted “Out you fascists!” and
threw eggs at Le Pen, hitting her once in the head. Le Pen has called for France to crack down
on immigration and leave the European Union. For more, we go to Paris, where we’re joined
by Yasser Louati, French human rights and civil liberties activist and researcher. It’s good to have you with us, Yasser. Can you talk about the significance of this
runoff election this weekend? YASSER LOUATI: Well, hi, Amy. Hi, everybody. The situation actually illustrates the normalization
of racist rhetoric in France for the past 35 years. You know, in 2002, there was huge demonstrations
against the arrival of Marine Le Pen’s father in a second round of the election. But today, public opinion has been prepared
to see her arrive in the second round, and that’s why you don’t see that many mass
movements against her very presence. But that is not happening out of, you know,
a coincidence. Racism, especially Islamophobia, in France
is a point of convergence from the far left to the far right. So, they can disagree on anything, but when
it comes to stigmatizing, singling out the Muslim population of France, everybody agrees. So, another example is that the three openly
racist candidates—Marine Le Pen, François Fillon and Dupont-Aignan—altogether won
46 percent of the vote during the first round. So, regardless of whether Marine Le Pen makes
it to the Élysée presidential palace, her ideas already won. And a signal was sent to us last summer during
the burkini hysteria, which actually rooted the campaign on identity politics. And if you look at the last presidential debate
that happened two days ago, they spoke about identity politics, but socioeconomic policies
were very vague. Marine Le Pen spoke about shutting borders
and protecting France from Europe, without saying how she will prevent a recession. And Emmanuel Macron said, you know, he wants
to launch a nation of startup companies. And in my humble opinion, that will definitely
decimate the working class behind the cool attitude of startup companies. Why? Because they will be dependent on what I call—or
they will be stuck in what I call a digital proletariat. You will huge corporations online making,
you know, thousands and millions or people sell their labor without much benefits. AMY GOODMAN: You wrote a piece, Yasser Louati,
“French Elections: Marine Le Pen or Emmanuel Macron? Hitler or UBER?” Explain. YASSER LOUATI: Well, it’s, again, the choice
of the lesser of two evils. You saw that in America between Donald Trump
and the highly unpopular Hillary Clinton. And today that’s what is being imposed upon
the French. They have to choose between an openly racist
candidate like Marine Le Pen, who promises the supremacy of whites and Christians, regardless
of our constitution, of our tradition of separation between church and the state, and, on the
other hand, you have Emmanuel Macron, who appears to be this young guy who sends a signal
of, yes, it’s going to be about empowering people through entrepreneurship. The problem is that his version of society
is that you run a country like you run a company. And the problem is that nothing in his program
actually goes alongside the working class. Another point—and that’s a huge trap being
set up by neoliberals all around the world. They come and tap you on the shoulder and
say, “Well, racism is evil.” In our case, in France, “Islamophobia is evil.” The problem is that, what’s the point of
saying Islamophobia is evil, if it is to implement a neoliberal agenda that will actually feed
into racist rhetoric by putting people into more competition? So, right now, the French are being asked
to choose between the lesser of two evils, but either choice won’t make the situation
better. And that’s why my—the analysis that I
see is that the immediate urgency is to block Marine Le Pen from becoming president, but
the very next one is actually to make the country ungovernable for Emmanuel Macron,
because we have the upcoming parliamentarian elections. And given his status and his lack of alliances,
he will depend on the existing MPs in Parliament. And that’s a signal for independent candidates
to rush to the ballot, register as candidates and carry forward with a more progressive
agenda. AMY GOODMAN: Activists with Greenpeace unfurled
a giant banner on the Eiffel Tower in Paris Friday emblazoned with France’s national
motto and the hashtag #RESIST. This is Jean-François Julliard. JEAN-FRANÇOIS JULLIARD: [translated] Today’s
action is this banner deployed behind me under the Eiffel Tower with the values of our national
motto, “Liberty, equality, fraternity.” The idea was to remind people the importance
of these values two days before the presidential election and to say that today the biggest
threat to these values is the potential election of Marine Le Pen and the National Front. AMY GOODMAN: That was Jean-François Julliard. Finally, among the issues that Marine Le Pen
has raised, the far-right xenophobic candidate, was that the French did not round up Jews
in Paris and put them in the stadium. Yasser Louati, you’re an Arab-French human
rights activist. The response to this, the denial of a well-known
fact about the Holocaust? YASSER LOUATI: When I first heard that, I
was—you know, it was beyond words, and it caused deep revulsion. The French police that we have today was born
under the Maréchal Pétain, who collaborated with the Nazis and who sent the kids of France
to the death camps. That same government is the government that
allowed high state officials to carry these policies. And after the collaborationist government
of Maréchal Pétain, who rounded up the Jews, after that government fell, they were not
sent to jail. Actually, they continued with their careers
within the French apparatus. What Marine Le Pen is trying to do is to always
whitewash the crimes of France. As a matter of fact, while white Christian
France was collaborating with the Nazis and selling out to Hitler, blacks and Arabs and
Muslim soldiers were chasing Nazis around and freeing the country, starting from the
island of Corsica all the way up to Paris. But that was also a strong signal to the Zionist
organizations in France, who also made clear that Marine Le Pen was now approachable by
turning away from anti-Semitism and heavily investing into Islamophobia. But she had to make that declaration in order
to reassure her ideological bases by saying that France was not guilty. France was guilty of collaborating with the
Nazis and for sending its own Jewish kids to the death camps. There is no question about it. Historians agree on that. And now Marine Le Pen just tries to minimize
the implications. It’s like the same people who tell you,
“Well, colonization brought some goods into Africa.” No, it did not. As long as you have a domination of one group
over another and you legitimize the killings of innocents because they happen to be from
a different ethnic background or religion, that makes you a criminal. And one last point is that Marine Le Pen herself’s
party is actually the direct inheritance or the direct legacy from the people who rounded
up Jews in the 1940s. AMY GOODMAN: Yasser Louati, I want to thank
you for being with us. We’ll continue to follow what happens over
the weekend. YASSER LOUATI: Thank you for having me. AMY GOODMAN: French human rights and civil
liberties activist and researcher, speaking to us from Paris. This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we’ll be speaking with
the head of the NAACP about what has happened in Louisiana with the killing of Alton Sterling
and the Justice Department closing the case without indicting the police officers. Also, a teenager killed in Dallas, we’ll
get the latest. And we’ll speak with Carol Anderson, who
just won a major literary award. She’s a professor at Emory University. Her book is called White Rage. Stay with us.

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Comments

  1. When will the fascists and Trumpets in the comments here realize that Democracy Now is NOT FOR THEM? It is a progressive left-wing media outlet, not a conspiracy theory peddling cesspool like Breitbart and Infowars. Kindly fuck off back to Alex Jones and Stormfront and take your barely veiled antisemitism, racism and paranoia with you.

  2. 5:43 : "when I first heard that" or something a little, just a little more elaborate, I wasn't even born, since it was Pres. De Gaulle saying it. Then, when I heard Pres. Mitterrand saying it again, I was still a child. But I'm an adult now, and I just heard Yasser Louati compare De Gaulle and Mitterrand to Le Pen's father. Who the f*ck does Yasser Louati think he is ?!

  3. At least France doesn't have worthless third-party candidates, Jille Steinne and Garrie Johnsonne, who they can throw away their vote on and help the fascist get in! (Wink wink…)

  4. It's interesting how a government worker with a degree in philosophy that was never elected to an office and with no business experience is hired by the Rothschild bank, works for them for 4 years, makes millions of dollars, returns to a $70,000 a year job in government and now is referred to as a "banker". He's a "trojan whore" for the financial parasites in Europe. Much like Obama who endorsed him. I wonder how much Obama's foundation or library received to make the endorsement. Macron is for austerity, open borders, tax cuts for the rich and for unaccountable bureaucrats to run the EU.

  5. I encourage anyone here, particularly white people, to visit an Arab suburb in Paris or anywhere in France and tell me how safe and enlightened you feel and how much you'd like to live and raise a family there

  6. why is everything going on the same way everywhere?? Different countries, culture, etc… twilight zone shit!!!

  7. Look I know it is hard France and can be frustrating but do vote for the left wing politician, you do not want a right winger in office. Trust us from America, no good will come from it

  8. Since when is Greenpeace into politics ? One thing is sure they have a lot of money in stocks. Maybe they are afraid of loosing money if Le Pen wins. We should think out of the box and find a better way of democracy, one without leaders that cannot be held responsible.

  9. Viva La Pen! There's nothing wrong with being a French nationalist. Macron is an bubble head, aristocratic tax evading freak, married his high school teacher 25 years his senior.

  10. Paris is so smoggy, not only in climate but also politically, it's getting worse and worse. Both candidates are extremely bad. Too bad the only option for them is to choose the lesser evil!

  11. Racist? How is defending your culture and identity racist? How is it racist to say Europe should be European, just like Africa should be African. Why is it only white countries that have to be destroyed. This "human rights activist" is a left wing extremist with no logical arguments. Opposing democracy like you do is not "Democracy Now". The left is fascist because you know that your ideology and progressive movement is dying and your trying to stop free speech.

  12. Simple Rule of Manipulation and Control: Divid and Conquer – left vs right, white vs black, rich vs poor etc.

  13. Le Penn killed him in the debate I just saw it on cspan here in the U S If France does not vote her in it's their mistake. FREXIT.

  14. The Europeans are now indoctrinated by their Media to be racist and Islamaphobe daily propagating this nonsense while the Neoliberals with EURO allow free immigration between european countries to drive down wages. Their economic problems lies with lowering wages by allowing east europeans to emigrate to their countries hence always ensuring excess labor.

  15. I'm rooting for ludicrous bigotry because evil banksterism is way more fucked up than old school fascism.

  16. Get your facts straight both of you, it was the Vichy French Government that gave in to the Nazi' and was not representative of the greater France and it's people.

  17. Whether Le Pen wins or not, Macron will quickly show his colors and even his supporters will say that those who voted against him for Le Pen are correct in taking to the streets in protest. One way or another, she can wait 60 months or less to take the crown. And she will.

  18. Why does a publicly funded media have to be 100% leftist ? if they can't do better then this defund and scrap it.

  19. Why do I feel like I want to punch Amy Goodman in the face ?
    Oh yeah ,she's a leftist neo Marxist fascist .

  20. Interesting that they have the same pathetic white dude with dread locks protesting at Berkeley, I'm sure he holds an important job like barista or dish washer. It's also very interesting that any body that doesn't agree with a left wing agenda is labeled a xenophobic raciest…..If you are white, and tired of being discriminated against Richard Spencer has some very interesting ideas that might interest you. He's on YouTube check him out.

  21. LEGITIMATE ETHIC CRITICISM OF MANY TENETS OF THE ISLAMIC IDEOLOGY ARE NOT NECESSARILY RACISM. Le Pen sadly mixes both so she can smuggle the latter with the former. But WE also do that if we fail to face those ideological sources of suffering too. We can be critical with the ideas while we respect and love the actual people.

  22. That funny French where invaded by nazi Germany it seems gonna happen again.

    Remember what happen with Nazi Germany what are nationalist in populist. It didn't go so well.

    Remember what put these countries in the first place rich get Richer leaving they countries in shit in favor of big donors in politics. Then you have some asshole pointing ☝️ to Suppress minorities in the poor immigrants.

    That what happen. When the French had revolution They point at Direct problem. Start eating loaf and treated like shit they getting poor.

    Check what Iceland Government did Scandinavian countries too

  23. So being a nationalist for your country is now xenophobic. Okay tell that to Jamaicans, tell that to mexicans, Palestinians, Dominicans, Japanese for Koreans, because those groups of people are extremely nationalistic for their countries. But for some reason in the western world if you are a nationalist and any of the European countries and sadly America you are now xenophobic? White guilt and political correctness are destroying cultural identity.

  24. Le Pen will win…the rise of populist demagogues will continue for an election cycle or two before burning out. Hopefully we will start to see a wave of populism that actually has the interests of the working class after this wave of strongman/women brought to power by the neoliberals to make you choose between a racist or a Goldman Sachs puppet. I'll take the racist every time.

  25. I really hope francophone Africa can wrestle free from the French franc racket, I only recently found about this scheme and I think it's an absolute disgrace that France continues like this ! It seems to deliberately prevent the African nations from ever developing and France is using African money deposited at their central bank as collateral so they can borrow much cheaper in Europe than otherwise possible. Of course, the media here in West-Europe is as silent as ever about these criminal acts committed by France.

  26. Don't you love have anyone who believes what Hamilton, Henry Clay or Lincoln believed in, the American system or economic nationalism is like Hitler, and as you brilliantly pointed out, Macron, a Rothschild banker, believes in "free trade", which is anything but free! According to former World Bank adviser, Richard Duncan, total world debt is 300 trillion, and according to the US Treasury Debt clock, almost 700 trillion in derivatives? Gee, all those paper assets allocated to banks, 1 quadrillion, gee, who rules the world again?

  27. How dare that racist, xenophobic, Le Pen want to prevent more terrorist attacks. What is she thinking? Doesn't she know it's racist to try and prevent terrorist attacks from people other than whites? The only thing that can save Paris is to let in more Afghans, Sudanese, Pakistani, and Somalian refugees that have been fleeing the war in Syria.

  28. Le Pen racist? She kicked out her own father out of the National Front for making remarks about the Holocaust.

  29. Le Pen will win next time – she is a courageous strong woman who loves her country and wants to keep it safe.

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