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Weissman writes: "Trump empowers the alt-right, Ku Kluxers, and others who openly preach White Supremacy, explicit Nazi ideology, and extreme measures against Muslims, Jews, and immigrants."

President-elect Donald Trump. (photo: AP)
President-elect Donald Trump. (photo: AP)

Trump and Le Pen: What Would Hitler Say?

By Steve Weissman, Reader Supported News

16 December 16


onald Trump poses many dangers, high among them the way he plays to the economic rage of workers losing their jobs to globalization and automation, the racial rancor of whites losing their privileged majority status, and the religious resentment of Evangelicals who fear losing their last, best chance to impose their religious views on “a Christian America.”

Trump pushes all their hot buttons. He also empowers the alt-right, Ku Kluxers, and others who openly preach White Supremacy, explicit Nazi ideology, and extreme measures against Muslims, Jews, and immigrants.

Trump and his chief strategist Steve Bannon continue to pander to these nasties on both sides of the Atlantic, nowhere more than in France, where Marine Le Pen has turned her father’s Jew-baiting Front National, or FN, into Europe’s leading anti-Muslim political force. Understanding all this properly offers an insight into where Trump and Bannon are heading.

Are Marine Le Pen and her FN truly neo-fascist, as I have described them over the past several years? A brilliant French academic says I’m dead wrong.

“Referring to fascism or Nazism with regard to the FN, commonplace in some militant circles, can only obscure understanding,” writes Joël Gombin, a 33-year-old political scientist who specializes in French elections and the far right. “The FN, as a party, has nothing to do today with (neo)fascism or (neo)Nazism.”

I disagree. My understanding begins with Marine’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, a former paratrooper and intelligence officer whose unit brutally tortured and killed “Arab terrorists” in Algeria. In the late 1960s, he ran a record company that produced “The Third Reich: Voices and Songs of the German Revolution.” The album included such old favorites as “Vive Hitler” and “The Hymn of the Nazi Party.” On the record jacket, Le Pen characterized Hitler and the National Socialists in their rise to power as “a powerful mass movement, altogether popular and democratic, that triumphed through elections.”

Jean-Marie followed up on this idea in 1972, helping to bring together self-proclaimed fascists, Vichy collaborators, well-known war criminals, ultra-rightwing Catholics, and supporters of Algérie française and the terrorist Secret Army Organization, which had failed in its attempt to keep the French government of Gen. Charles de Gaulle from withdrawing from Algeria. These militants all saw themselves, in Gombin’s perfect phrase, as “the losers of history, the forsaken, those that the account written by the victors ― the Allies, the Gaullists, the communists ― had consigned to the dustbin of history.”

Merging their differences, they formed the Front National, receiving support from the Movimento social Italiano, or MSI, who remained followers of Mussolini.

FN became Jean-Marie’s base as he built a reputation for being soft on Nazi Germany and shamelessly provocative toward Jews. He publicly dismissed the Holocaust as “a mere detail in the history of the Second World War.” He publicly made puns about the Nazi gas ovens. He accused President Jacques Chirac of being “in the pay of Jewish organizations” and argued publicly that the Nazi occupation of France “was not especially inhumane.”

Having forgotten Voltaire’s historic commitment to free speech, French authorities used various laws against hate speech and Holocaust denial to repeatedly prosecute Le Pen, which only increased his popularity among certain sectors of the French population. This led to his greatest success, when in the 2002 presidential election he beat the Socialist Party prime minister Lionel Jospin to win a place in the second round against Chirac, who trounced him with massive support from the left.

Flash forward to 2012, when Marine Le Pen took over as FN’s president, and to 2015, when she expelled her father from the party for continuing to make provocative statements. In those years and down to the present, she has worked hard to “de-demonize” the FN, emphasizing new issues and changing the party in ways that break sharply with its past.

She tossed out the more radical fringes of the party. She supports gay rights and secularism. She calls herself a Gaullist and “a moderate,” and claims the FN is on neither the right nor the left. She scathingly attacks neoliberal economics and finance-dominated capitalism. She calls for a referendum to take France out of the European Union, or Frexit, as it’s called here. She criticizes Nazi Germany, calls the gas chambers a non-negotiable fact of history, and describes the Holocaust as “the summit of human barbarism.” She roundly condemns anti-Semitism, openly seeks Jewish support, and with her live-in lover Louis Aliot – who boasts of his North African Jewish grandfather ― has even made friends with Israel.

But, for all this, she retains a defining element of her father’s Front National and of Adolph Hitler’s Nazi Germany. She blames a “foreign” group for a large share of France’s problems. Only instead of pointing her finger at “the Jews,” she castigates “the Muslims” and even opposes letting schools provide Muslim students with an alternative to pork.

“It’s the same politics of scapegoating that it always has been,” explains Professor Nonna Mayer, an expert on the French far right at the prestigious Paris Institute for Political Studies, or Sciences Po. For me, this more than justifies calling her and her Front National neo-fascists, and Trump’s “friending” her on the international stage suggests that his anti-Muslim rhetoric will lead in an extremely dangerous direction.

A veteran of the Berkeley Free Speech Movement and the New Left monthly Ramparts, Steve Weissman lived for many years in London, working as a magazine writer and television producer. He now lives and works in France, where he is researching a new book, "Big Money and the Corporate State: How Global Banks, Corporations, and Speculators Rule and How to Nonviolently Break Their Hold."

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


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+17 # Activista 2016-12-16 15:59
Trump’s “friending” her on the international stage suggests that his anti-Muslim rhetoric ...
e Pen says her joining forces with Putin & Trump as France's leader ...
Nov 17, 2016 - Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Front, says that if she wins the presidential elections, the world will become a safer place, as France will cooperate with both US President-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. ...
I am sure that both Putin and Trump are "financing" the French far right extremist.
+25 # jimmyjames 2016-12-16 18:20
What would Hitler say? "Sieg Heil!"
-8 # markovchhaney 2016-12-16 21:24
Hitler wouldn't say much, having been dead for 71 years.
+6 # Bic Parker 2016-12-16 19:04
KGB Putin is playing everyone-includ ing Trump who is playing his voters- and 'so called progressive-pro Trump' supporters!

0 # Blue-Tiger 2017-01-10 02:58
Is it possible that the author here finally figured out who Paul Manafort is? Or perhaps Russian mafia figure and Trump employee Felix Sater? When someone says the left is not at its core anti-fascist... maybe they should actually look at the freedom of religion and honor crimes contradictions in its oppression theory, and for the suppression of speech and the disappearance and torture of Maidan activists in Yanukovich's "duly elected" government?

Time to be dragged kicking and screaming out of CIA conspiracy theories, and post Soviet apology obligations, and realize that you aren't even the non fascist left, you are just the ideology's mixed up cheer leader.
+37 # jwb110 2016-12-16 19:10
I think we should take a look at what is at stake based on the patches that prisoners had to wear. Then we see how pervasive the concept of the "other" can be. We think of Hitler and the Final Solution as a Holocaust designed only for Jews. That couldn't be farther from the truth. The Jews were one of many "others" who would die in concentration camps.
See, as follows:
Red Triangle; political prisoners, social democrats, socialists, trade unionists, Freemasons, communists, anarchists.
Blue Triangle; Professional criminals used as henchmen.
Purple Triangle: Jehovah's Witness (99%) and other minority religious groups.
Pink Triangle; Homosexuals, exclusively men.
Black Triangle; Gypsies, asocial elements, mentally ill, disabled, addicts, vagrants and beggars, Pacifists, prostitutes, Lesbians.
Brown Triangle; Roma males (gypsies)

So you see once these things get intrenched no one is safe from getting their own personal Triangle.
+13 # economagic 2016-12-16 22:59
Yes, as Pastor Niemoeller noted.

Any time "The Problem" is "Them," there is the seed of a bigger problem: Scapegoating has no end point except implosion. Walt Kelly, the great social and political commentator of the mid 20th century who, having honed his craft at the Disney Studios, disguised his profound insights in a comic strip with talking animals in the Okefenokee Swamp that looked as if it was written for kids, nailed it in 1972: "We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us."

Of course there is always the possibility that a mortal threat -- to a nation or to an individual -- may arise externally. Today such a threat may even arise suddenly. But most external threats arise over time and can be seen coming, and if addressed in a timely manner do not rise to the level of life or death. Keynes was not the only one who realized in 1919 that far from ending what was then called "The Great War," the Treaty of Versailles set the stage for its continuation two decades later.

The fact remains that many bullies are also thieves. Others are so corrupted from an early age that they truly enjoy the suffering of others. But all fail to realize that the object of their fear lies within them, not elsewhere.
+44 # Farafalla 2016-12-16 19:12
The problem with the American "Left" is that it is not, at its core, anti-fascist. The problem with the American "Right" is that, at its core, it has merged with American fascism. Fascism does not always look like stormtroopers and jackboots. In this country the fascists wave the flag and carry bibles and guns.
+12 # librarian1984 2016-12-16 23:12
Why is it not anti-fascist? Is it possible the American "Left" is not Left at all?

I think the labels have become really muddled.
-1 # candida 2016-12-17 02:08
Quoting librarian1984:
Why is it not anti-fascist? Is it possible the American "Left" is not Left at all?

Exactly. Just read the "progressive" pro-Trump posts on this site, yours included. I think there is a Left. It's just not represented very well among commentators on this site.
+5 # Anonymot 2016-12-17 15:18
You confuse opposition to Clinton/Deep State/CIA with pro-Trump. Simple as that. You should have figured it out by now.
+17 # Cassandra2012 2016-12-17 01:43
Quoting Farafalla:
The problem with the American "Left" is that it is not, at its core, anti-fascist. The problem with the American "Right" is that, at its core, it has merged with American fascism. Fascism does not always look like stormtroopers and jackboots. In this country the fascists wave the flag and carry bibles and guns.

When fascism comes to America, it will be waving the flag, and carrying a bible. -- Upton Sinclair
+5 # newell 2016-12-17 15:48
I believe the Native Americans and African slaves thought those flag-wavin, jesus-haters carryin a bible---were here from the beginning.
+24 # Anonymot 2016-12-16 19:51
Yes, the FN is still far right and Marine is not her father. But there's another consideration.

France always had many political parties that have ranged from one extreme to the other. That had functional problems, but gave everyone a voice. As a practical matter, the last 50 years has seen either the moderate right or moderate left really control the government.

However, the resemblance between France and America is less about an extremist neocon government than it is about the collapse of leadership of the left. Hollande and Obama are identical.

America never had a real Left in European terms. FDR and JFK were about as socially liberal as the U.S. ever got which is nowhere near the Marxist or Maoists of France.But, in both countries, their version of the Left is being replaced not because of the right wing's strenth, but because the left has simply collapsed.

Corruption did it in both countries. The public realized that the political leaders had little interest in them. Their interests were in pocketing as much as possible for themselves. Since the Lefts were built on a kind of idealism they suffered most. The Right is theoretically more pragmatic and realistic about the ways of the political world so it's easier for that public to accept the crudities of a Trump or a Le Pen.

Steve you live there. I spent much of the last 50 years there. I toss that out as my idea of what's happening to the Establishments. Both Lefts have collapsed leaving just the Rights.
+2 # economagic 2016-12-16 23:09
When did the American left, such as it was, lose it's compass? To the extent that it ever existed a couple of turning points stand out. Both the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution sought to locate the troubles of a rampant capitalism, by definition the "right wing" of the Industrial and "Post-Industria l" eras, in some external entity, the one clearly right-wing, the other equally authoritarian but pretending to be otherwise, which the capitalists and their propagandists gleefully bought into.
+3 # Anonymot 2016-12-17 15:15
If you will take the time and make the effort to read THE DEVIL'S CHESSBOARD by Talbot you'll have a crystal clear answer to that - and a lot more.
+4 # Radscal 2016-12-17 16:07
Yeah, the trauma of WW II and Vietnam, including the rationalization s necessary to emotionally deal with - or more like block out - the atrocities the US committed certainly muted the Left.

But earlier, the Left had been targeted for severe and often brutal suppression. From the union-busting in the later 19th century through the Palmer Raids that first unleashed J. Edgar Hoover through the well-publicized arrests and even executions of prominent Leftists (including anti-WW I dissenters), the PTB made it clear how we would be treated.

Then, the trauma of the Great Depression sucked the life out of some, while energizing and strengthening the Socialist Movement This was one of those "apertures" where outside conditions combined with greater awareness could have resulted in a real, Leftist revolution.

But FDR brilliantly "saved Capitalism" by providing sufficient bandaids to overcome much of the trauma. In classic Stockholm Syndrome, the Left came to worship the man who saved Capitalism (from the Left).

And ever since, most of the energy of the Left has been towards salvaging (let alone expanding) the Socialist policies co-opted into the New Deal.

That's how I see it anyway. There has always been a minority of more ideological Leftists, and occasionally our voices are heard by the wider left-leaning population, but the Masters of the Universe have become very skilled at manipulating the emotions and therefore the thoughts and actions of the masses.
+23 # Shorey13 2016-12-16 20:42
We are living through the last days of Western Civilization. The last few centuries have seen the rise and fall of numerous reactionary revolutions, with catastrophic results for millions of innocent people. As always, those who "know better" are incapable of doing what is necessary to stop this: stand up and say "No more!", and back it up with real, serious consequences. Not words, not demonstrations, and, obviously not voting, which clearly is irrelevant. Consequences. Severe consequences are the only thing that can stop cowardly reactionaries from creating repressive regimes to protect them from their imagined enemies..

"Liberals" are just too damned nice, too mannerly, too reserved. And, Trump is just the beginning, I assure you.
0 # Old School Conservative 2016-12-17 11:55
So what are you suggesting?
+1 # angelfish 2016-12-16 22:12
If the Electoral College doesn't step up to the plate and RID us of this Moron, the resultant chaos will be laid at their door and theirs ALONE! Any fool who has been listening to his Bull-Puckey for the last year KNOWS what a Disaster he will be in the White House. I suspect that the Majority of them FEAR the repercussions from him and his Whack-O supporters! i'd like to remind them that the Dog and Pony Show that ensues will effect EVERY man, woman and child in America. Ponder this Fact, THINK about it, then, DO the right thing and SAVE this country and US from ruination!
+4 # Patriot 2016-12-18 06:41
We brought the ruination upon ourselves by putting up with the bad candidates of the last several election cycles--and no one, not Sanders, not the EC--can save us from the consequences.

Just as one cannot "cure" a spoiled brat at the age of 25 of all the deficiencies of his character caused by a quarter-century of parental indulgence and the neglect of parental duty, so no one person or group can cure the US of decades of the public's neglect of their DUTY as citizens to become and remain informed, active supervisors of their government. We have, collectively, failed in that duty, and in our duty to insist that the press, the schools, and individuals work together toward creating and being an informed, vigilant, actively INVOLVED citizenry.

A democratic republic such as ours depends for its survival upon an educational system that teaches history and government, law and science, logic and ethics to all of its citizens, not just a select few; an educated, discerning, committed citizenry willing to fight to defend its liberties every day, not only on those days when some external enemy has attacked our shores; and a free and vigilant, honest, objective press that conscientiously strives to monitor the government and question its every policy, and to inform the ublic of every act of government, good or bad--not to hide, misrepresent, excuse, or defend its every act of duplicity, self-aggrandize ment, greed, and corruption.
+3 # Patriot 2016-12-18 06:42
But we have allowed our educational system to diminish to rote learning, to eschew controversy or logic or ethics, and insisted that it pamper our children's egos, instead of building their characters by setting standards and demanding that those standards be met. We've allowed our press to become subordinated to the will of only SIX individuals, and so to become mere mouthpieces for those who seek to enslave us intellectually, financially, and legally. And we, ourselves, have become jaded, disinterested, uninvolved, uninformed residents--no longer citizens at all. We now spit upon and burn our flag, denigrate our national anthem, and deride our Consititution and our very ideals--because we have stood silently by while the avaricious and evil have degraded everything we should have valued, cherished, honored, and striven to protect--and taught our children to treasure and guard.

Now, here we are, at the eleventh hour, watching our nation disintegrate and our planet die because we STILL cannot be bothered to fight for either, ourselves, but stand mute, waiting for some OTHER to rescue us from the fruits of our own failure to protect and defend what should have been infinitely precious to us.
+3 # Patriot 2016-12-18 06:42
We didn't study history, and so are doomed to repeat it. We didn't strengthen our characters, and so expect someone ELSE to fight our fight. We didn't CONTROL our government, and now are abjectly in its control. We failed to protect our beautiful earth, and so are now watching it struggle and suffer and die.

We still can fight to save ourselves, our ideals, our government, and our planet. But we will have to do it OURSELVES. No one is going to do it for us. And, if we don't start speaking and acting like citizens of both our nation and the world, the rest of the peoples of this world not only will not come to our rescue, but are quite likely to hasten our demise, in order to eliminate the threat they surely must realize we have become to them, as well as to ourselves.

It is not too late to reverse the situation. What will YOU do? And WHEN will you start doing it?
+2 # librarian1984 2016-12-18 09:39
Beautifully said, Patriot.
+2 # Radscal 2016-12-18 23:25
Full agreement on nearly everything you wrote, Patriot.

Our education system was hijacked long ago. It's goal is to create workers just educated enough to fulfill their role in the machine, but not so well educated to realize it.

And our various media are the most effective propaganda apparatus ever imagined by the likes of Bernays and Goebbels.

I agree that we are "25 year old spoiled brats" and also see that even such people are able to "see the light" and take action. But they have to want to do it themselves (ourselves).

It appears to me that the targeted mass strikes and boycotts, combined with mass protests that Chris Hedges has been calling for could both hit our enemies where they hurt, and awaken more people to the struggle, and need to struggle.

As MLK said, "I might not get there with you," but I dearly hope people are taking action to open new forms of communication, because I see the Golden Age of the Internet and wireless communications is already being shut down, and a movement that is deaf and blind to others is really just a bunch of ticked off loners.
+3 # Kropotkinesque 2016-12-16 22:21
A new level (or depth) of risible: RSN publishes a piece set on the premise that Trump equals Hitler.

Do I recall incorrectly the existence of a pseudo-rule that when an argument-party resorts to comparing someone to Hitler, that party automatically loses, or loses face, or begs derision?

A "Trump = Hitler" argument fails much as "Trump = fascist" fails — quite because (a) Hitler was not a fascist (Mussolini was) and (b) Trump’s policies and inclinations do not match or parallel either Hitler’s or those of fascism, which is NOT what many, many too many idiots think it is. [Try studying accurate histories of Mussolini’s political philosophy, programs, policies, and major executive actions.]
-3 # jsluka 2016-12-17 15:28
Hitler was "not a fascist." That one made me laugh out loud. It is at best pedantry to make such a stupid statement.The most common definition of fascism is "a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition." Pretty much fits Hitler's Nazism or "national socialism" to a T.
+1 # Kropotkinesque 2016-12-17 21:34
jsluka 2016-12-17 15:28

You do not know the meaning of "fascist."
0 # kyzipster 2016-12-19 09:48
This discussion on fascism was interesting.

"if you watch the rallies, if you go to the rallies and listen to the rallies, there are some patterns which are quite familiar to those of us who have watched the films or read the transcripts of rallies from the 1920s and 1930s. The first is the total hostility to facts, right?"

Timothy Snyder author of “Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning”
+8 # Lloyd Wagner 2016-12-16 23:05
Trump's own son-in-law and daughter are Jewish, and one of the first things he did after the so-called "election" was to invite Netanyahu to Washington.
The right wing in Israel are more than happy he was "elected".
He chose David Friedman, a hard-core pro (illegal) settler lawyer to be our ambassador in Israel, and he has even said he will fly in the face of international opinion, and move the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
No, Donald Trump is not anti-Jewish, he is every bit as sold-out to AIPAC and Israel as every other so-called "American" leader has been, for decades.
So is EVERY person who refuses to address Israeli involvement in and profiting from 9/11 -- and that of course includes Steve Weissman (and RSN).
-3 # Salburger 2016-12-17 07:09
Anyone promoting the myth that Israel was responsible for 9-11 is presumptively a fascist Antisemite.
+6 # Anonymot 2016-12-17 14:54
I think you need to clarify your last sentence. If you don't, won't or can't then we'd like to know that, too.
+3 # Radscal 2016-12-17 20:29
Bibi Netanyahu said 9/11 was good for Israel. Guess he'd know.

Interestingly, when I did a web search to cite, I came across this from the Israeli liberal newspaper, Haaratz:

"Report: Netanyahu says 9/11 terror attacks good for Israel ...

"We would like to show you a description here but the site won't allow us."

And the link is now dead. If it looks like censorship....
0 # kyzipster 2016-12-19 10:21
There's a bit of a difference between benefiting from 9-11 and 'involvement in' 9-11.
+20 # janie1893 2016-12-17 02:41
Israel is a country.
A Semite is a person born in the middle east.
Zionism is a political ideal.
Judaism is a religious idea.
Not all Zionists are Jewish.
Not all Jews are Zionists.
If we kept the labels straight, I think there would be a lot less confusion when making and understanding comments.
-9 # Salburger 2016-12-17 07:13
A "Semite" would be anyone whose native language is Semitic--includ ing Hebrew, Aramaic and Arabic. Antisemitism is hatred of Jews and has nothing to do with actual "Semites." Zionism may be a political ideal, but these days anti-Zionism means the elimination of Israel-- which in practice would mean the deaths of hundreds of thousands or millions of Jews which means that its advocates are objectively Antisemitic even if they are Jews themselves and dont't think they hate Jews.
+8 # Anonymot 2016-12-17 15:06
"...these days anti-Zionism means the elimination of Israel-- "

That' is somewhat beyond stupid. Either you are expressing yourself very badly or you have a poor grasp about what anti-Zionism is. Zionism is a political position. One can be absolutely opposed to the politics of Netanyahu's neofascist government without even thinking of eliminating Israel. Unless you, like him, think everyone who opposes him and what he and his kind keep repeating - everyone who isn't with him is antiSemitic, anti-Zionist, and a terrorist. Hitler did it better when he was blowing his little movement into the monster called Naziism.

I am very anti-Netanyahu as you can see. But I'm neither anti-Semitic, anti-Jewish, nor anti-Zionist. I'm also opposed to the rabble-rouser Trump just named to be the Israel Ambassador. I just have trouble agreeing with those who smell of fascism.
+8 # RLF 2016-12-17 07:11
"Trump pushes all their hot buttons. He also empowers the alt-right, Ku Kluxers, and others who openly preach White Supremacy, explicit Nazi ideology, and extreme measures against Muslims, Jews, and immigrants."

And then puts a super Zionist as ambassador to Israel! Confusion?
+2 # Salburger 2016-12-17 07:16
I don't think Steve's history of the FN, its xenophobic rhetoric, and its pro-Nazi roots is a sufficient reason to conclude that the FN currently meets a reasonable definition of fascism rather than xenophobic authoritarianis m.
+5 # futhark 2016-12-17 13:07
The key comparison between Adolf Hitler and his Nazi cohorts and Donald Trump and his recent appointees is that both cases are examples of amateurs basing policy decisions on self-interest, prejudice, and disinformation rather than humane principles, sound reasoning, and reliable scientific data. When a group whose world view is not connected with objective reality is placed in a position of political power, the results are bound to be disastrous for all parties. Do we have to learn this lesson the way the Germans did in 1945?
+5 # newell 2016-12-17 16:08
The German people figured out they supported the wrong man in 1938 but by then it was too late. How many will be killed by Trump's climate change policy before his supporters figure it out. I never thought I would say this about for any president (except Jackson, being the "injun-lover" I am), but HE IS NOT MY PRESIDENT.

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