Despite the strength of the far right in France, there has been no in-depth thinking about building a strategy against the forces of the radical right. Because the far right took the form of a political party, the political elite, but also the media and, to a lesser extent, even the NGOs, had an immediate goal, which was to prevent the Front national (FN; in English, National Front) from taking over the local, regional and national government. This strategy, which was built on a wide consensus of rejecting the FN outside of the democratic spectrum, proved effective in the sense that the party declined until it became a marginal force in 2007. But in the meantime, within the broader society as well as within political circles, the ideas of the FN made their way in and left their mark
, so much so that they finally shaped the political agenda and had a lasting influence on the perception of national identity, immigration and the relationship between the people and the government.
The reason is that there has never been a strategy of countering the far right by means other than the purely tactical, such as education, civic awareness and academic research on the radical movements. The emphasis was put, in public action and social mobilization, on phenomena, like racism and anti-Semitism, but not on actors, such as the far right. The main reason is certainly to be found (1) in the non-existence of political extremism as a separate political category in the French constitutional order and (2) in the traditional reluctance of France to admit that it has been, historically, one of the cradles of the extreme right.
Téléchargez l’article Jean-Yves Camus Stratégies contre l’extrême droite France
Première parution : Jean-Yves Camus, « Country report France », Bertelsmann Stiftung (ed): Strategies for combating Right-Wing Extremism in Europe, Verlag Bertelsmann Stiftung, Gutersloh, 2009, pp. 127-178.