Translated by Guillaume Durocher
Rivarol: What is your assessment of the second round of the departmental elections for the Front National?
Jean-Marie Le Pen: It was to be expected that the results would not quite live up to our very big success in the first round. The FN, according to the official documents of the Interior Ministry, is indeed the first party of France, having received in the first round over 25% of votes, over 5 million votes. It is ahead of the UMP [conservative party] and the PS [Socialist Party]. I don’t even mention the small quasi-nonexistent organizations like the Greens or Dupont-Aignan’s Arise France. The FN achieved a very fine run in the first round but, there being a two-round first-past-the-post system, we were evidently beaten by the evening of March 29 as we had obtained 62 seats out of 2054.
People are hailing this [defeat] but they do not take into account that the General Councils [who run the departments] are made up of well-known, rooted political personalities, the most often mayors of communes in which they naturally received 60 or 70% of votes, as did incidentally the FN mayors whose management had been criticized by the media and who, on average, united 75% of voters. One must also bear in mind that these General Councils are made up of men and women who have known each other for years and between whom there are well-established ties of friendship, sympathy and complicity. We had one incumbent against 2053 and we nonetheless have sixty-odd seats, which is not nothing. The result is excellent, better even than what we hoped, this type of local election with the two-round first-past-the-post system being certainly the most difficult possible for a movement such as ours which still has but few notables [local public figures].
“I am not a man to crawl”
Rivarol: A new politico-media controversy was sparked following statements you made on BFM-TV in response to Jean-Jacques Bourdin, which repeated those you had already expressed on the gas chambers on September 13, 1987 on RTL, on December 5, 1997 in Germany, in April 2008 in a Breton monthly, and in March 2009 in the European Parliament. The Public Prosecutor has opened a preliminary investigation for denial of crimes against humanity. The ministers of the interior and of education have condemned you, as has the entire political class. Associations (SOS Racisme, UEJF, LICRA . . .) are opening a case against you and even in the Front National the main leaders have solemnly condemned your statements, including the president of the movement and her lieutenants. How do you feel about this?
Le Pen: I am not a man to change his mind, nor to crawl. I have on this question an opinion which I think is justified. Those who cite these kinds of maneuvers to make a judgment are deeply in the wrong. I stopped walking on all fours at the age of 18 months. I am not a homo lie-on-my-stomachus.
Politics, like life, is a struggle. If you don’t want to receive punches, you don’t choose to become a boxer. Because if you choose to be a boxer, you know you can win but that you will receive many punches. The world champion, when he descends from the ring, with his champion’s belt in hand, has a lumpy face. He does not emerge intact. He won as a fighter, by accepting to be injured, sometimes to be disfigured. If one does not want to receive blows, better to stay home or go home, it’s wiser.
“I maintain my candidacy is the PACA region”
Rivarol: Several Front National officials (Secretary-General Nicolas Bay, Vice-President and number two of the movement Florian Philippot, the co-founder of Gay-Lib and President of the Collectif Culture Sébastien Chenu) have told audiovisual media, on Thursday 2 and Friday 3 April, that your candidacy as head of list for the Front National in the PACA region [Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur] could be put into question by the Investiture Committee following your latest statements and replaced by other candidacies than yours because you would have marginalized yourself from the movement and from its current political line. What is your reaction?
Le Pen: I am candidate at the head of the list in order to kick out the Socialo-Communists. I recall that I won in the last European elections, less than a year ago, over 33% of the vote in the PACA region. I am therefore legitimate to lead the list of the Front National in this region where, in addition, I have been a regional councilor and president of the FN group since 1992.
Rivarol: Are you also a candidate to the presidency of the PACA region to replace the Socialist Michel Vauzelle?
Le Pen: I am running for the presidency of the PACA region, by the logic of things.
Rivarol: This emphatic and solemn condemnation by the Front National’s leaders of its Founder and Honorary President [Jean-Marie Le Pen] happened on Holy Thursday (April 2), the day when Jesus was betrayed by Judas who had given him a venomous kiss in the olive garden to deliver him to the Sanhedrin. Is this not a strange coincidence?
Le Pen: One is only ever betrayed by one’s own.
Vulnerability of the new generations to the vulgate
Rivarol: Following your controversial comments, Florian Philippot explained that the FN had to deal with the day-to-day problems of the French – unemployment, purchasing power, crime, Islamism – and that the movement’s message should not be undermined by untimely and provocative statements on the Second World War. But this forgets that France’s problems are in large part linked to the taboos on its past and that of Europe. Because in the name of the Shoah we are not allowed to control immigration or reverse migratory flows, because, we are told, this would be deporting immigrants like the Jews were; we cannot defend the family and traditional values because that’s Pétainism; we cannot criticize the influence of freemasonry and other “powerful and harmful” lobbies in political life because that would be Vichyism; we cannot oppose Chirac’s condemnation of France at the Vel d’Hiv in 1995 because that would be disrespecting the “victims of the Shoah”; we cannot denounce the role of anonymous and nomadic international finance because that would be suspected of anti-Semitism.
Is it not then incorrect to think that we can completely avoid talking about the past so long as the media and public education bring it up endlessly and that journalists regularly ask questions on these topics? Is this not a weakness, a lack of intellectual and doctrinal education, and also no doubt a lack of courage, for most right-wing national and populist groups in Europe to surrender to media pressure, admittedly very strong, on these questions, as Gianfranco Fini once unfortunately did in Italy?
Le Pen: The younger generations who have not experienced the war are more vulnerable than the older ones to the prevailing media discourse and to a Manichaen view of history, as François Mitterrand told Georges-Marc Benamou: “Young man, you do not know what you are talking about.” Incidentally, in France, we are in an constant electoral campaign because there are one or more elections practically ever year. The Front National is therefore naturally engaged in electoral problems. It’s at once its strength and its weakness.
Its strength because it allows it to appear, to be present in public life, to make known its proposals and its strong opposition to the current policies. Finding candidates and training them in electoral techniques absorbs a great part of the Front National’s activity, and not just physical and civic activity, but also intellectual and conceptual. Its weakness because the time it takes to prepare elections, to find candidates (almost 8,000 in the last departmental elections, no less!), which is a necessity, is inevitably made to the detriment of doctrinal training.
Pétainists are Frenchmen like everyone else
Rivarol: The FN’s leaders have strongly disputed your assertion that there are also “ardent Pétainists” in the Front National.
Le Pen: I have always worked for the reconciliation of the French. As President Georges Pompidou said with great dignity, when asked at a press conference regarding the partial pardon he had granted to Paul Touvier [a wartime collaborator]: “Are we going to forever keep our wounds bloody by our national disputes, has the time not come to cast a veil over, to forget these times when the French did not like themselves, tore each other apart and even killed each other?”
For my part, as I have already said, I have never considered Marshal Pétain to be a traitor. We were very harsh with him at the Liberation. And I have never considered those who still have respect for the Marshal to be bad Frenchmen or pariahs. They have in my opinion a place in the Front National as do the defenders of French Algeria, as do the Gaullists, the former communists, and all patriots who have France in their hearts.
Rivarol: Do you support retirement at 60 as does the current leadership of the FN?
Le Pen: I tried to explain to Marine Le Pen and to her advisers that this was a mistake. It’s ridiculous to ask for retirement at 60 when I, as the FN’s leader, for decades, asked for 65! I was ahead of my time, although the Germans are today at 67! The disastrous demographic balance of Boreal Europe, that is to say from Brest to Vladivostok, is suicidal and entails a constant pushing back of the legal retirement age. In politics one must never resort to easy ways out or to demagogy. We must not fall into the absurdity of appearing to defend a system of retirement at 60 years because even if we add certain concessions [amodiations] (such as 40 years of annuities), these will not be politically audible. Why cling to this? I told them: “Get it right.” In vain for now.
Rivarol: How do Marine Le Pen or Florian Philippot respond to you on the topic?
Le Pen: We have very few political meetings because the political bureau and the executive bureau are often busy with debriefings of the missions of the secretary-general or of other national officers, and unfortunately we do not cover strictly political problems much.
Chevènementism is pernicious
Rivarol: Many are worried about the number and the influence of activist homosexuals in the Front National. Our colleagues in Minute [a far-right magazine] have repeatedly covered a “gay lobby” within the party, and Roger Holeindre states he left the Front in 2011 in large party because of the growing number of pederasts around Marine Le Pen. Some say this rainbow lobby, deeming its influence to be negative, is responsible for the somewhat ambiguous positions of the movements’ leaders on gay “marriage” and on the president’s [Marine Le Pen] refusal to participate in the mass demonstrations against the Taubira Law [legalizing gay marriage]. What is your position on the subject?
Le Pen: One must not exaggerate and find there the overarching explanation. This particularity of private life does not explain everything. It so happens that there are indeed a fairly large number of homosexuals in the Front National, as is also the case in the other parties, and this for a fairly simple reason: These people have much more free time than others. In general they don’t have family responsibilities. And therefore they are much more available. As in addition they have the feeling of being a bit on the margins of society, they have a tendency to gather together, even if they hate each other. They form a community. In my opinion it’s not as important in the Front National as people say but it’s not completely negligible either, it’s true. You’d have to show in addition that this particularity of private life has a direct political consequence on the Front’s political line and doctrine.
I think the political origin of certain current leaders of the Front is more important than their personal behavior. I think of the harmful influence of a man who I find for my part perfectly detestable: Jean-Pierre Chevènement. He looks like a patriot but deep down he’s a Marxist. The chevènementist influence, if it continues, is harmful. This way of thinking is completely alien to me. [Jean-Pierre Chevènement is an anti-FN, euroskeptic socialist, for whom Florian Philippot briefly worked for.]
“Valls has been French for 30 years, I have been for a thousand years”
Rivarol: What do you think of Manuel Valls?
Le Pen: In 60 years of political life I have never seen a Prime Minister behave in this hateful and hysterical way, censuring a young woman, a parliamentarian (Marion Maréchal-Le Pen), who has twice as much support in the country, and who treats her in such an odious manner, telling her with disdain: “You are not the Republic, you are not France.” And you, Monsieur Valls, who are you?
We are governed by immigrants and children of immigrants at all levels. Estrosi and Ciotti in Nice, Mariani, these people whose parents were Italian. I have nothing against Italians or Spanish. I have nothing against the fact that Valls has the same civic rights as myself but this does not give him the right to lecture me or to scold me on the issue of civic virtue.
Vall has been French for 30 years, me, I have been French for a thousand years. What is Valls’ real attachment to France? Has this immigrant completely changed? What has he done for our country? I admire Spain a lot, it’s a great country. Unfortunately Manuel Valls does not give us of Spanish civilization that which it has of most remarkable, which is its spirit of chivalry. Valls is not a caballero, he’s a very small monsieur.
France, contrary to what Monsieur Valls thinks, is not merely an administrative space which gives out ID cards and passports. France has existed for centuries. This was at a heavy cost for those who have preceded us. They went through hell for it, whether it was in the fields scratching the soil or wielding the bayonet to defend the country.
And then Valls’ unending references to the Republic! He’s starting to annoy me with the Republic! I am not a royalist but this reference is obviously used to overshadow the reference to the nation.
We need to save the white world
Rivarol: What are France and Europe’s chances of resisting decadence and submersion?
Le Pen: The numbers are terrifying. On one side, 735 million Europeans. Average age: 45 years. Fertility rate: 1.4 children per woman. Facing them are 6 billion individuals. Average age 20 years, fertility rate: 4 to 5 children per woman. The problem is geopolitical. If we do not break the pipes in half, if we do not eliminate the suction pumps of immigration, if we do not reverse the torrent of immigration, we are beaten without there even being need for a revolution or a war. We will be beaten by the ballot box. This is a mathematically unavoidable reality. We will then have the government foreseen by Houellebecq, sharia.
Other numbers on which we must mediate: China has 1 billion 400 million inhabitants, India has 1 billion 500 million. If China abandons as is likely its unjust one-child policy, one can fear that demographically the backlash could lead to big families because it had been forbidden up to then. Such that we could have a China of three or four billion inhabitants! This can seem like a “view from space” but that’s the level at which we need to observe the future of the world. There are one million Chinese in France. They are intelligent, active, discrete, but nonetheless powerful and redoubtable. As we are attempting to sell our skins, the family silver to those who have the means of buying it, it’s a real concern!
This is why we imperatively need to get along with Russia to save Boreal Europe and the white world. Boreal Europe includes the Slavs but also Siberia, which I fear the Russians cannot protect alone.
Kiev-Moscow: A family affair
Rivarol: Indeed, what do you think of the current tensions between Ukraine and Russia?
Le Pen: I am of those who think that the situation has been worsened by the intervention of the Western powers, and notably of the United States. To be clear: Ukraine is ruined, whether it is the Ukraine of Poroshenko or that of the Donbass. I believe that this is a family affair which needs to be sorted out between Ukrainians and Russians. We must not forget that Russia was born in Kiev. There are then much more than geographical and political interests at stake in this business. We need to find men in these countries who have a great understanding of the political and human problems, which would become unsolvable if the situation took a turn for the worse.
I admire President Putin because he is a responsible man with a lot of self-control; I hope that the tensions provoked and worsened in Ukraine will diminish between these first cousins, to not say brothers.
Syria: Assad’s artificial demonization
Rivarol: What is your assessment of the devastating conflict in Syria?
Le Pen: Assad’s demonization is completely artificial. Bashar al-Assad was not intended to become leader of Syria; his brother had been intended. I think these patchwork countries, who have no knowledge of the democratic system, who know only authoritarian systems, find their equilibrium when the government stems from a minority. Because if it stems from the majority, it rules by totalitarianism. In contrast, if it stems from a minority as was the case in Iraq where Saddam Hussein was Sunni in a majority-Shia country, and as is the case in Syria where the supporters of Bashar al-Assad are Alawite, and therefore a majority relative to the Sunnis, we reach a certain equilibrium. And to have wanted to disrupt it in the name of formal democracy is a veritable crime against thought. What was the goal, what is still the goal, of American foreign policy in aggravating the chaos which has emerged in the Middle East? I lose myself in speculations.
When one considers the balance sheet of the civil war in Syria, one must not forget who are the aggressors and who are the attacked. The duty of a state, any state, is obviously to defend itself. Bashar al-Assad and the legal government of Syria are entirely blamed. This is a scandalous position on the part of observers and suggests the conflict is provoked from outside. [President François] Hollande’s miserable defense of the [supposed] democratic Syrian resistance is a sham. He’s taking us for fools or else he understands nothing. There are clearly two forces present: There will either be the victory of Syria over Jihadism, or vice versa.
Juppé and Sarkozy are responsible for Jihadism in Libya
Rivarol: And the same in Libya?
Le Pen: We were the tools of the United States, in particular Sarko the America [nickname of President Nicolas Sarkozy], in spreading disorder. Certainly, the order of Monsieur Gaddafi, in the eyes of the City or even of Saint-Germain-des-Prés [a Parisian neighborhood famous for its “intellectuals”], could be dubious. But then he should not have been received with the red carpet as he was. He was a tyrant who was rather benevolent because on social issues he redistributed a certain amount of oil wealth, which is no longer done. I recall that it was French bombers who paralyzed Gaddafi’s armored assault on Benghazi, even though it was considered to be Jihadism’s central nest. It is then the French, Sarkozy, [Prime Minister Alain] Juppé evoking, with a sobbing voice, the rivers of bloods, even though as mayor of Bordeaux he has never seen any but in the history books, who are responsible for this situation. In this country there had been an authoritarian order, probably quite far from what we in the West would dream of, but it was order. And order, however unjust it may be, is always superior to disorder.
Rivarol: How do you assess American policy in Europe and the Middle East?
Le Pen: The problem of immigration is made more complicated by the fact that a large part of this immigration is Muslim and that the Muslim world is largely influenced by extremist ideas, warlike interpretations of the Koran. Yet we have to observe that concerning Europe, the Americans have taken the side of the Muslims, of Bosniaks and Kosovars against Christian Orthodox Serbs. They are pushing incidentally for Turkey, 95% Muslim, to enter the European Union. There are political ulterior motives whose results, I am forced to observe, are hostile to the survival of Europe.
Is this deliberate on the part of certain American circles, who eliminate thus a dangerous rival, or is it short-sightedness? I do not know, not knowing their hearts and minds. But I see that even President Obama is starting to hesitate on the choices that have been made. The operations undertaken in the Middle East have been disastrous, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Syria. The higher interests of Israel, to which the United States is very close, have certainly played an important role in the decisions that were taken. That Israel struggles for its survival and power, that’s to be expected. It is therefore in its interests for the Arab countries to be split. For Tel Aviv, three Iraqs are preferable to one! Or three Syrias rather than one! All the same American policing of the region has been disastrous.
The life-instinct of the French people!
Rivarol: Are there reasons for hope?
Le Pen: Despite its modest means (it doesn’t even have a newspaper, and has neither a radio nor a television station), the Front National was first in the European and departmental elections. It is a current which is moving up the hill. It’s the first time in geography that we see such a phenomenon: A river flowing upwards!
We represent a force which shaped itself against everything and against all over the years and which corresponds to a translation of the French’s life-instinct. Those French who do not want to die fight at our side. Life is struggle, unless one accepts to be a voyeur of history who watches events go buy along tracks set by others, as cows watch trains go by. If one has the feeling of playing for one’s life, for those of one’s loved ones, because everyone has responsibilities towards those around him, his children, his neighbors, his fellow citizens, then one wants to resist with all one’s strength to an enterprise of destruction, of disintegration which aims, without knowing it, nothingness. Because if one nihilates all problems, there are no more problems, there is nothing left and God himself forfeits his rights!
One of the main merits of the Front National, like Rivarol, is to have endured, despite the challenges, the crossings of the desert, the general adversity and to not have been taken down, like so many others, by financial failure, by fatigue, by discouragement. I strongly believe in this paratroopers’ moto: “To be and to last.” Without lasting effort, there is no impact. It takes time to become known, respected and inspire the support of the public.
Indulgence for our comrades
Rivarol: Several dozen Front National candidates have been punished for having made statements deemed to be politically incorrect by the movement’s leadership. Aren’t they being too tough on them and giving the unfortunate impression of giving way to media pressure, SOS Racisme and the UEJF having declared cases against these FN candidates?
Le Pen: One understands very well that the FN is forced in its general approach to defend its image when it is threatened by the weaknesses and carelessness of a few of its members or candidates. That is the primacy of that which is public. Nonetheless, I stress a great deal that this be done in the strict respect of our statutes, which has not always been the case.
When someone violates a general rule of our movement, he needs to be suspended and brought before the Disputes Board, which will then investigate the case, find information, find out what’s the matter, let the defense speak, take account of both prosecution and defense, and take a decision. In this kind of case the leader of the movement fears, in my opinion excessively, the ill will of our opponents. Because I am of those who believe that ill will is also one of our strengths. Those who hate and despise the people who attack us, hate and despise them all the more in that they attack us unjustly.
Journalists have tried several times to “trap” me on these affairs; many of these comrades have indeed been imprudent. They do not yet have the sense of responsibility on the Internet, wrongly believe that they can say what they want on the Web, that it’s a space of freedom. You can indeed write what you like at your own peril when you has no political responsibilities. But when you are part of a movement, when you have the honor of carrying the electoral banner, you have to be careful what you say, to try to not harm your cause. Sometimes the penalties can be harsh, but they in any case need to be counterbalanced by the spirit of comradeship. For example, I did not think the picture of [Justice Minister] Madame [Christianne] Taubira and a monkey was very subtle or of the best taste, but I still have high consideration for Madame Lerclère, scandalously condemned to nine months of prison. When Charlie Hebdouses caricatures, no one is shocked, when we are presented in bestial or fecal forms, everyone considers it very funny. In contrast, when we do a quarter of one hundredth of that, we are pilloried.
Rivarol: Do you understand those who are anti-democrats?
Le Pen: I completely understand that one questions democracy, that one fights it, that’s not the problem. But often anti-democrats and monarchists do not understand that we are de facto in a democratic system with rules in place. We are a fighting in a given area, that we do not choose, that’s the way it is. When seamen fight on land, they become field marines and they are soldiers. When soldiers embark on a boat, they become soldiers at sea. The terrain determines the mission and the behavior. If one does not understand this, then one understands nothing to politics.
It matters little whether they talk about us positively or negatively. What’s important is that we are talked about! One needs to exist politically. Those who do not take this into account do not understand anything. They could have the best ideas in the world, if they share it with their cousin or their brother, that would mean three votes. In a democratic system it’s non-existent.
Working towards French Easters!
Rivarol: In conclusion, what do you want to say to the readers of Rivarol?
Le Pen: The Front National’s role is to present itself before elections, but we do not rule over philosophy, history. Everyone has to fight on their ground with an elementary objective: to live, and if one is threatened, to survive. Well, we are threatened. And there is nothing graver for an organism, a man, a state, than to be threatened without realizing it.
I a proud of having rung the alarm, to have for decades engaged in an analysis of the geopolitical development of our time and to have described the problems which we would face. This is so true that the first FN poster 43 years ago said: “With us, before it is too late.” We then already had the sense of urgency of the reforms to be undertaken and of the remedies to be used against a decadence which became faintly apparent at the end of the Trentes glorieuses. Decadence which went to the heart of French society, of its morality, of its psychology, of its conception of the world, already swept away by a global torrent, having not physically recovered from the two world wars, the first in which she had lost many of her young men, a great deal of French blood, and the second which had been very ambiguous, very complex, very contradictory, very demoralizing.
I am proud too of having restored the honor of being of the right. For a long time the Gaullists did not want to be associated with the right. They despised the term. One of the FN’s first books, which is not known well enough and which I will republish, is called The Right and Economic Democracy. A book which is the eulogy of free enterprise as the economic and political means of balance within the nation. We demanded this label of “right” which they did not grant. Even though there was no right, we were already termed “far-right.” But this semantic choice is not innocent. Because “far-left” evokes “leftist,” but “far-right” does not evoke “rightist” but “extremist of the right.” It’s very subtle but very vicious at the same time. Semantics is also a battleground which we should never ignore.
More than ever today we need to be conscious that the future of our country, of our people, of each of our individual lives and of our descendants is at stake. Do France and even Europe still have the ability and the will to exist in the world even though they formed the civilizational framework for 2,000 years? Will the global demographic torrent combined with the deliberate will of our elites to not ensure the reproduction of our families in the name of an individualism and of a hedonism which would be the paragons of modern virtue, lead to suicide of our nation, of our continent, of our civilization? We want to believe that the life-instinct will be stronger than the deathly forces. On paper it’s indeed a challenge as incredible as David and Goliath. And yet in the end David won. We need then to be very deft in the choice of our weapon and its wielding.
When we compare the forces at play and we observe their imbalance, there’s enough to be terrified. But we must believe in our ability to win and survive because in the long history of our country there were moments comparable to this one, where it seemed that there were no more chances for France. And thanks to the action of Providence, and of a fistful of resolute and courageous men, France back on the move.
During these Easter celebrations, where life triumphs over death, hope over despair, we must more than ever believe in French Easters, true as it is that it is at night that it is beautiful to believe in light.
Interviewed by Robert Spieler and French version edited by Jérôme Bourbon.