In my opinion, Charlie Roach and Horace Campbell are not extremists but Marine Le Pen certainly is.
Who is Marine Le Pen and why do I take the time to discuss her politics after her highly unsuccessful visit to Quebec earlier this month?
Le Pen is the leader of Front National (the National Front), the far-right, anti-immigrant, ultra-conservative, nativist and nationalist party of which her politically estranged father Jean-Marie Le Pen was the previous torch-bearer.
Her political values are so repugnantly extreme that, when her party topped the other major French political parties in the first round of the elections for the European Parliament last December (2015), all those disparate political forces had to call on their supporters to hold their noses and vote strategically against Le Pen’s Front National in the second round to cut off that party’s chances of a landmark victory.
The most glaring outcome of Ms. Le Pen’s experiences in our belle province is the confirmation that even Quebec’s nationalist party (Action Democratique du Quebec) and its formerly pro-independence political parties (le Parti Quebecois and le Bloc Quebecois) have shown that they dare not publicly embrace the extremist positions espoused by Le Pen.
In fact no official representatives of any of the main political parties in Quebec accepted to speak or meet with her.
Furthermore there was no evidence anywhere in our country of any positive response to her criticisms of Canada and of our current federal government. Neither our politicians nor our media spoke favourably of her condemnation and warnings about our new government’s immigration policies, our acceptance of 25,000 Syrian refugees and our commitment to multiculturalism.
So, there we are: Marine Le Pen, a white person and a leading politician in European circles with what one may call impeccably extremist political views.
What are the source and the logic of her politics? How could she and her party become major players in French and European politics? How does Europe explain the increasing rise of right-wing extremist parties in regional, national and European Union elections? How do European countries succeed in escaping from a conscious awareness of the ongoing consequences of their centuries of colonization and exploitation of the natural and human resources of Africa, Asia, the Pacific region and Latin America and the Caribbean?
The world has been continuously flooded with tidal waves and milder but equally toxic flows of “information”, communication, “education” and religious instruction that associate extremism and extremists with societies, cultures, values, religions and ethnic / racial groups that are different from those of West-European, European and, by extension, “white” North American origin.
As we consider that conscious and sub-conscious messaging, more questions arise.
What do persons have in their minds when they say or think that they are white? Is their idea of whiteness simply an ethnic and racial concept and nothing more?
What are the implications of being described and defined as non-white? What are the implications of persons being described and defined as belonging to “visible minorities” in a multi-cultural society like Canada?
These questions require frank answers that call a spade a spade: we live in a world in which the dominant value system starts off with the premise that the international norm is whiteness. All other human realities, be they peoples, cultures or religions are described and defined by the extent to which they conform or do not conform to that standard.
By that very “logic”, the values, ethnicity and culture of that dominant international norm are not just a standard. They are the standard by which all other value systems, cultures and religions are judged, rated and categorized.
As a consequence of that centuries-old process of judging, rating and categorizing, the countries of Western Europe, plus some other countries in Europe and “white” North America have seen themselves as the headquarters of civilization, freedom and democracy.
In that warped worldview, they see themselves, their values, cultures and governance structures as superior to those of the so-called “Third World” countries, often their former colonies.
Canadians and the Canadian media by and large treated the white extremist Le Pen with relative indifference. A few protesters openly rejected her offerings.
What do you think would have been Canadians’ reaction if those same ultra-Conservative political offerings were brought to Canada by Ben Carson, the only Black candidate (until he withdrew) for the Republican Party’s nomination in this year’s U.S. presidential elections?