The following article was written in French by Guillaume Faye and has been translated for AltRight.com. The original can be found here: http://www.gfaye.com/euro-revolver-sur-la-tempe-de-marine-le-pen/
The Euro: Marine Le Pen has a gun held to her temple…
…and it is she who has loaded the chamber; her plan to leave the Euro, and consequently return to the French Franc, runs the risk of costing her the second round of the French election as it could put off a decisive number of her potential electors. That being said, the prospect of a victory for Marine Le Pen is certainly not one of impossibility following the deeply damaging revelations regarding centre-Right candidate François Fillon and the salary paid to his wife for an allegedly fictitious employment. This particular episode may well have cracked the ‘glass ceiling’ that currently serves to prevent Le Pen from defying prognostications by winning the second round of the elections.
Marine Le Pen’s fragile asset: the TSM message (‘Tout Sauf Macron’ – anything but Macron)
Should Le Pen find herself up against Fillon in the second round, she would lose. Faced with Macron, she could win despite the mainstream media’s narrative to the contrary (80% of the MSM is pro-Macron). This is because, in the event of a duel between Fillon and Le Pen, the latter would be eliminated as Macron’s electorate, as well as all the voters supporting the other leftist candidates, would follow the old tradition of forming the so called ‘Republican Front’ by block voting for Fillon thus eliminating MLP. On the other hand, a second round featuring Macron and MLP could conclude with MLP as president; a significant portion of Fillon’s electors would not vote for Macron (widely seen as Hollande’s heir). Instead, they would vote for MLP precisely to oppose the scheming Macron who is seen by them as an imposter. In the eyes of this particular set of voters, Macron’s infractions are many: defence of lax pro-immigration and cosmopolitan ideas perceived to be francophobic and snobbish, support for positive discrimination (a euphemism for institutional racism towards the native French population), accusing his own country of ‘crimes against humanity’, remaining silent regarding the genocide of Christians in the East and affirmation of the notion that there is no such thing as ‘French culture’. As a result, Macron could suffer from a move of a number of Fillon’s voters towards MLP. Therefore, despite what the polls with questionable credibility might state, should enough of these pro-Fillon voters who would support ‘anything but Macron’ back Le Pen, she could obtain a score slightly superior to that of Emmanuel Macron, who is effectively a replica of his predecessor, and ascend to the position of president.
It is interesting to note that, at his meetings, Fillon has no trouble getting his audience to boo and hiss when Macron’s name is mentioned, but fails miserably when he attempts to achieve the same reaction when mentioning Le Pen.
However, Le Pen’s historic opportunity of rising to power is encumbered by her strong stance regarding a return to the French Franc which figures within her leftist, ultra-conservative project for France’s economy. Such a project would extend the socialist-statist lethargy previously overseen by Mitterand, Chirac, Sarkozy and Hollande, and has elements in common with the policies advanced by the old-hand Marxists Mélonchon and Hamon. MLP’s electorate is struggling to understand the strategy behind leaving the Euro as this has never been a priority for them…
But before criticising Marine Le Pen, one should criticise the Euro
The Euro was a false good idea. Amalgamating wildly varying and diverging economies into a common currency was not a rational economic decision; rather, it was a political one. The Euro represents the German project of cynical economic domination. France, in her naivety, was driven by Euro-romanticism to back the EU project. The Euro has been, and continues to be, a benefit to and tool for the German economy; the fact that 1€ once equalled 2 DM and that the European Central Bank’s HQ (which manages the Euro) is located in Frankfurt should speak volumes and are certainly not coincidences.
One of the adverse effects of the Euro was that it allowed the lowering of international interest rates linked to lending (thanks to the politics of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt). This encouraged irresponsible indebtedness especially where France and Greece, two of the most pusillanimous and left-wing countries in Europe, were concerned. The Euro should not have been created, but now it is too late; it would be devastating for any country to leave the financial mechanism embodied by the Euro – a veritable monetary monster – in a brutal manner. Unfortunately, we have to work with what we have and reform the Euro progressively. It would be better to modify the Euro from inside the European Union than to return to a monetary cultural artefact such as the ‘new French Franc’.
MLP is definitely right to criticise the catastrophic ‘Europe of Brussels’. She poses good questions, but offers the wrong solutions. Her poorly conceived project to leave the EU worries her electoral base which could cost her some decisive points; points that would otherwise have permitted her to cross the 50% threshold required to arise victorious from the second round. One should not forget that, according to the polls (which are only off by a few points in the worst cases), 72% of the French population really do not want to drop the Euro. Marine Le Pen’s attempt to reverse this opinion trend is a gamble that will not pay off.
The serious inconveniences of dropping the Euro
France’s rejection of the single currency would be a tremendous venture, even if it was negotiated (and such negotiations could only go poorly). The departure from the Euro would entail a 25% devaluation of the ‘New Franc’ by at least 25%. All holders of shares in SMEs would see their savings or capital lose significant value.
Furthermore, such a devaluation of the new currency would generate strong inflation via an increase in the price of imported products and even those manufactured in France as the latter comprise several imported elements. This would translate as a loss of purchasing power for the individual. The leaking of monetary resources and flight of intellectual capital and competences would increase. Exchange rates control would be restored. Holders of life insurance would suffer a limitation on the amount of their withdrawal on top of its downward valuation.
“A project to leave the Euro that is inextricably tied to France defaulting on her debt […] would lead to a sudden rise in homelessness and inflation, as well as a drop of at least 20% in the purchasing power of the French people”, affirms Nicolas Baverez (Le Figaro, 17/04/2017). Of course, such a renowned catastrophist is bound to exaggerate however, one could very well query as to whether or not the economic advisors within the Front National are sufficiently competent.
Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s – two credit rating agencies that one may not necessarily be favourable towards but that have very rarely been mistaken – warn that leaving the Euro and replacing it with a ‘New Franc’ would be tantamount to putting France in a position akin to that of Greece or formerly of Argentina whereby it would be defaulting on debt repayments. This would mean not only that France would no longer be able to meet its obligations to pay interest on its debts, but would also be unable to borrow. It would therefore have to cease paying all of its 6 million civil servants and public officials and the millions of public sector retirees. That’s without even mentioning social welfare (itself up to its neck in debt) which would grind to a halt due to a lack of liquidity.
The country could be forced into bankruptcy. Indeed, it’s quite simple: if you can no longer pay back your creditors, you can no longer continue to borrow from them. No state can force the ‘markets’ to lend to it!
In the event that France does leave the Euro and replaces it with a ‘New Franc’, the first victims would be those belonging to the middle class and the SMEs (and not the rich or the big multinationals) who would see the value of their assets melt away as they are re-appraised using a devalued currency.
The sophism of regaining “monetary sovereignty”
The arguments favouring a return to the Franc put forward the Swiss Franc, the Swedish Krona or British Sterling as examples of functioning sovereign currency, yet the countries to which these belong never adopted the Euro in the first place and have never switched from one currency to another without due consideration. The problem lies in the shifting from the Euro, a large (poorly) pooled monetary currency, to a new resuscitated form of legal tender – the Franc – that would no longer enjoy any international confidence or credibility; the re-kindling of a fire from ashes long since burnt out.
In reinstating the Franc, Marine Le Pen argues that she would be bringing monetary sovereignty back to France. However, nothing could be less certain as a return to the Franc would provoke a stranglehold on the country notably in the form of tutelage under the International Monetary Fund and other creditors due to an explosion in the amount of debt that would ensue (resulting from the devaluation of the Franc and interest rate increases) and the impossibility of reimbursing such debt in Euros, the currency in which it was originally denominated.
A forced return to the Franc (a currency that would subsequently become virtually worthless) would have the exact opposite effect to that of monetary sovereignty: fiscal slavery. Added to this would be the additional humiliation of having to beg the European Central Bank for credit. The reason for this is based in fundamental reality: France is up to its neck in foreign debt – unlike Japan, China and the USA who mainly borrow domestically – and a return to the Franc would entail submission to international tutelage and an objectively socialist economy.
Brexit & Frexit: two completely different beasts
Marine Le Pen may well say that she will be well behaved, that she will negotiate, with Brussels, Germany and our other partners, a slow, calm exit from the single currency and a kind of ‘Frexit’, but few will have faith that such a scenario will play out. She chastises the false prophets who predicted a catastrophe in the event of a vote for Brexit. She compares Brexit which hasn’t gone too badly (for now) to a Frexit. But the two have nothing in common! Comapring is not the same as reasoning rationally. Great Britain has never really been a fully-fledged member of the EU. It has never adopted the Euro nor was it ever part of the Schengen agreement and benefits from financial exemption since Margaret Thatcher’s stint as Prime Minister.
If Marine Le Pen is elected, she has little chance of effectuating France’s abandonment of the Euro (especially as she risks not obtaining a parliamentary majority or a popular majority should a referendum on the exit from the Euro and/or the EU be held). However, her becoming president could lead to a wind of panic blowing through the financial markets which could provoke the leaking of capital and a decrease in investments in France (thus supplementing the causes behind the increasing unemployment in the country).
Dropping the Euro: a minor concern for the Front National’s electorate
Despite having a huge opportunity before them by presenting themselves as the only hope against invasion through uncontrolled mass immigration, massive Islamisation, the destruction of national identity, exploding criminality and insecurity, the crumbling of public education and the marginalisation of outer-France, MLP and the FN have instead opted to focus on issues they have poorly grasped such as an exit from the Euro. Such positions worry those belonging to the working class who are anxious that they will lead to forays into uncharted territory and that the Front National, with its anti-euro obsession, is forgetting its core principles.
A majority of French people, including those who feel a certain sense of nostalgia regarding French monetary sovereignty, have a sense of fear vis-á-vis a potential exit from the single currency as they are realistic. Certainly, they are anxious about their savings. Life insurance is seemingly more important than ideology…
The main motivation behind the FN’s vote is immigration, not the Euro!
The FN’s vote from the working class is primarily, but not solely, a silent revolt against invasive immigration and Islamisation with its innumerable consequences which plague the lives of millions of French citizens on modest incomes. Therefore, MLP’s priority of leaving the Euro is a secondary concern for these people and is seen as utopian and as a danger posed to their modest savings. The issue is not that they have a sentimental attachment to the Euro or the EU, quite the opposite; they believe that MLP’s attacks on both stem from an obsession that does not correspond to their main concerns. MLP therefore risks losing thousands of electors (possibly more) who would otherwise have supported her.
Her situation would certainly be made worse by a referendum on France’s currency and membership with the EU; the proposition of such a referendum, framed as somewhat inconsequential, would be suicidal for MLP were she to be elected president of France. This is because a vote to remain in the EU and keep the Euro would leave her without a mandate thus isolating her and forcing her to step-down. Naturally, this would be an absolute embarrassment and could well herald the death of the Front National.
The FN’s confusion regarding its priorities does it a major disservice
The French working class is wary of the ‘social’, collectivist and utopian measures that proliferate in the Front National’s manifesto. They call instead for protection from invasive mass-migration and the endemic insecurity this brings about, as well as from transfers of wealth that adversely affect them and benefit the migrants, because they are on the front-line.
MLP makes Frances’ exit from the Euro a highlight of her campaign whilst it is actually a weak point. She has stuck herself in a position that could see her presiding over the unmanageable scenario of a referendum and subsequent resignation as president should she lose it (this being the likeliest outcome). Nobody understands what’s going on anymore.
Rather than focusing on dropping the Euro, an intelligent ‘Gaullian’ plan to disobey the institutions of the EU (the Comission, the ECJ, the Council, etc) should have been adopted in order to follow the Machiavellian principle of fait accompli.
Marine Le Pen urgently needs to modify her discourse relating to exiting the Euro (but not regarding her criticism of the EU, which she should continue doing) by reassuring an essential part of her electorate. She should also abandon the defeatist mindset that made itself felt in her interview with the French daily morning newspaper the Figaro on 18th April in which she was asked if she would ‘leave’ the presidency if the referendum on the EU and the Euro did not go her way. Her reply was woeful: “I do not consider politics to be some sort of rodeo whereby one must stay on the horse at all times”.
This can be understood as ‘I will fall from my horse if I am dislodged, I will resign without fighting if I lose my referendum. It is all or nothing.’ Not very promising. However, I will still vote for her, but without any illusions.
With thanks to Tristan who proofread my translation.