France’s far-left takeover should serve as a warning

France’s far-left takeover should serve as a warning

In an effort to save himself, French President Emmanuel Macron appears to have sacrificed France. What was intended to be an election offering “clarification” for French voters has instead cast the nation into political turmoil reminiscent of the postwar Fourth Republic. France now finds itself ungovernable, with a far-left coalition resolute on “applying nothing but its program,” as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of the New Popular Front’s largest party, said.

That program includes a reduced retirement age, reinstatement of the wealth tax, housing benefits, raises in public sector wages, and, on the foreign policy front, swift recognition of the “state” of Palestine. Should it have its way, too, the New Popular Front, a coalition of socialists, greens, and Mélenchon’s far-left Marxist France Unbowed party, will push France further along the path of cultural transformation on which the nation teeters.

Today, foreigners make up about 10% of the French population. Half a century ago, most hailed from southern Europe, but the majority now arrive from North and sub-Saharan Africa. Ten percent of France’s population is Muslim, making Islam the second-most popular religion in the country, behind the 25% who identify as Catholic. If current trends persist, Muslims could comprise 17% of French society by 2050.

In France, “Islamists have won the battle of ideas,” Hakim El Karoui, an informal adviser to Macron, said in 2018. Though the conclusion is far from foregone, El Karoui’s claim could yet be a sign of things to come. At France Unbowed headquarters, more Palestinian than French flags were flown to celebrate its win. The party especially courted France’s migrant population. It made the Palestinian cause central to its campaign.

Mélenchon and France Unbowed have declined to condemn the Oct. 7, 2023, attack in Israel. Borrowing Hamas’s language, the party’s statement on the attack called it “an armed offensive by Palestinian forces.” Mélenchon has refused to label Hamas a terrorist group. He has, however, described French Jews as “an arrogant minority that lectures to the rest.” France’s Muslims appear to agree, with more than half claiming to “hate” Jews.

In some Christian churches across France, the Muslim call to prayer is now sung. Dalil Boubakeur, the mufti of Paris’s Grand Mosque, has suggested that abandoned churches be turned into mosques to accommodate France’s growing Muslim community. Given Mélenchon’s view of religion as “the opium of the people,” it is likely he would not object.

The rise of France’s far Left has exacerbated the nation’s brewing civilizational challenge.

Such an assertion is undoubtedly controversial, especially in this era of woke, diversity, equity, and inclusion politics that aim to upend the status quo and deconstruct Western civilization from within. Yet if we are to contend with the challenges before us, we must be able to identify them clearly — and the arrival in France and across Europe of those who disdain Western civilization and are intent on upending it is one. Most French seem to realize this.

Sadly, foreigners in France are behind much of the rapes, street crimes, and thefts that now plague the nation. Marine Le Pen has described this as the ensauvagement, or savagery, of society. Macron, too, speaks of France’s décivilisation. And so, despite having finished third in the second round of the polls, Le Pen’s National Rally secured 37% of the vote. This compares to 17% in 2022, 9% in 2017, and 4% in 2012.

Among her voters, some 79% identified migration as a core issue, as did 43% of all French. It seems that concern for the social fabric of one’s nation might not be so “far-right” after all.

But for now, chaos rules. The New Popular Front could yet enter into a cohabitation with Macron, who hasn’t dismissed the prospect of such a deal. Mélenchon is demanding to be named prime minister. While Macron cannot allow for this, he might have to find some space to give.

Should the far Left not get what it wants, it could incite more violence. Indeed, France is left with no good options — and with a resurgent Marxist far Left propelled by newly emboldened anti-French and anti-Western elements. Regardless of what form the government now takes, the country’s extant cultural war has likely entered a new and more dangerous phase.

The trajectory of Le Pen’s votes also suggests a more emboldened right.

Matters will likely get worse before, and if, they get better. The challenge facing the West is, indeed, a civilizational one — “a battle of ideas.” This is what was on the ballot in France, along with issues such as benefits and taxes.

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This is, in part, what will be on the ballot in America, too. Are we content with the ensauvagement of our societies? Are we prepared to relinquish our distinct culture and values?

As the French have discovered, this is what is at stake.

Aleksandra Gadzala Tirziu (@awgadzala) is the founder of the geopolitical risk firm Magpie Advisory, a visiting fellow at Independent Women’s Forum, a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, and a contributing editor with the New York Sun.

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