As we brace ourselves for the possible odious outcome of tomorrow’s first round presidential battle, and the prospect of an initial victory by the National Front’s female president, Marine Le Pen, I‘m sharing a short excerpt below, culled from the epilogue of my 90s memoir, The Pox Lover: An Activist’s Decade in New York and Paris [due out in June from the University of Wisconsin Press]. I began tracking Le Pen's ascent then, asking the question on many lips tomorrow: Will France elect a fascist?
‘…That takes me to the bigger questions of crime and justice I was asking myself in 1992. Today, Jean-Marie Le Pen is out of power, sidelined, having ceded power to his lawyer daughter, Marine. She and her niece Marion Maréchal-Le Pen lead the strongwomen of the National Front; followed by ever-fashionable Catherine Mégret. They’re poised to do well, if the current political tide holds. We’re now close to the end of 2016. By the time my book is published next spring, Marine may be in power. So too, may the euroskeptic Alliance for Democracy in Germany, closely allied with PEGIDA, a newish neo-Nazi, anti-Muslim front. Against the odds, a new crop of fascists advance.
They’re getting help and money from Russia’s Vladimir Putin, the emerging power-broker of the world. His regime is enjoying a new empire moment, using the fight against Islam and illegal immigration to gain political hegemony, to reshape Europe. Over the past three years, a human tide of suffering has crossed into Europe from Syria and Iraq, fleeing religious and civil wars, fleeing ISIS and the butcher of Syria, Assad. We’ve witnessed horrific attacks by Jihadist terrorists in Paris, in Lyon, in Nice; bombings in Brussels; bombings in Berlin – the latest this past week. We’ve witnessed Jihadist attacks here in the United States, too, as at the Boston Marathon. With every explosion, the alt-right, as the US white fascists have sought to rebrand their cause and appear more mainstream (the word is less scary then neo-Nazi Jew hater) has benefited. The ordinary citizens are afraid. Here and in Europe, we’re witnessing a true spasm of political xenophobia. Fear is driving the global body politic.
The wolves are uniting, then, as they did before. That was Sel muttering, but it came out of my mouth. They’re out in the daylight now, more emerging daily, and pushing forward their snarling young….’