Publication Date

April 2016


Ethan Kleinberg


College of Letters, French Studies


English (United States)


Jean-Marie Le Pen served as president of the Front National (FN) from its founding on October 5 1972, until the succession of his daughter, Marine Le Pen, on January 16 2011. Since stepping down, Jean-Marie Le Pen has continued to publicly express his controversial opinions on a variety of topics concerning municipal, regional, national, and international affairs. Jean-Marie Le Pen’s rabble-rousing rhetoric is not a new phenomenon, but it has begun to clash, especially recently, with Marine Le Pen’s concerted effort to dédiabolise (de-demonize) the FN. Marine Le Pen’s campaign of de-demonization is also a long-standing political tactic of the FN. That is to say, Marine Le Pen’s attempt to distance herself––and the “new FN”––from the views of her father were similarly employed by Jean-Marie Le Pen as a way of presenting the FN as distinct from the extreme-Right: as a break with, rather than a continuation of, French extreme-Right political movements, ideologies, writings, and rhetoric. However, a comprehensive analysis of the rhetoric of Jean-Marie Le Pen viewed in tandem with the writings of two intellectual icons of the historical French extreme-Right, Maurice Barrès and Charles Maurras, reveals that the FN not only stands as a continuation of this ideology, but that it also expands on far-Right themes of martyrdom, sacrifice, blood, soil, rootedness, historical (Greco-Roman) tradition, fatherland, ultra-nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia.



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