France for the French: The Rise of the Right Wing Amongst Youth Voters in France

Millennials are scared. It’s fairly placed – the environment is collapsing, the economy is unsupportive of stable employment or real estate purchase, wages have stagnated but the cost of living has increased, school fees are exorbitant, and that’s only the bare bones menu of youth based issues. Political representation is what a generation of new voters is seeking and craving to combat these anxieties. We look to see ourselves and familiarities in our elected assemblies. Traditionally, the youth vote swings to the left, however France is acting in contradiction to these historical trends. Young European voters have become increasingly disenfranchised with leftist policy of which they do not consider themselves to be beneficiaries and are beginning to lean right.

Reactionary to the 2008 – 2009 economic crisis and the 2015 – 2016 migrant spike, it’s the young politicians within the French National Rally since the 2017 rebrand that have attracted attention and youth votes. Jordan Bardella, an anti-immigration politician (and son of an Italian immigrant), is only 23 and on the campaign trail with Le Pen. Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, niece of Marine Le Pen, is the youngest elected official ever at 29. Youth who buy into scapegoat rhetoric have flocked right where they feel their needs are being advocated for and represented. Currently, one third of young French voters identify as right of centre, countering global numbers of youth voters fuelled by disenfranchisement and “France for the French discourse. This comforts youth who feel that their safety is under attack, despite disregarding the reality that France accepts fewer migrants per capita than other Western European nations. Regardless, Le Pen has fear-mongered and rallied youth into agreeing with the fallacy that immigration and Islam are synonymous with job loss and youth are believing it as a consequence of their increasingly fragile world.

The right wing engages with appealing tactics for new tech-savvy voters. Political figures emerge online, speaking on topical issues with right-wing fervor. Muslims an Zionists are now to blame for unemployment, costs of living that are too high, a 26% unemployment rate, and terrorist attacks across France. Speaking to these themes and promoting the idea that France is a white, secular, Christian state that needs to be fought to protect, dominant pundit (it is debatable whether or not “pundit” is an accurate term for a political figure who is essentially a vlogger with a dedicated following) François Desouche averages triple the engagement than left-wing news sources. Génération Identitaire, another online platform, uses shock media to get attention in the war on perceived Muslim imperialism who uses their platform to promote France a secular liberal democracy. These modern outreach tactics are displaying an incredibly aptitude for adaption. The comparatively peaceful, if not explicitly racist, demonstrations posted on their platforms display a far cry from the stereotype of violent skinheads and neo-Nazis. This is beginning to change the perception by youth of the right-wing. When originally neo-Nazis and skinheads would march around in uniform inflicting physical violence, they now rely on pamphlets, fliers, and intimidation when in public. The dichotomy of racaille (dark skinned criminals) and Islamists who are allegedly ruining the national French identity are being posted, shared, retweeted, and broadcast by these groups on their platforms. The youth no longer see the right as this exclusively violent and hateful group. The renaissance of populism in France is relatively new and now the youth see themselves in the right, not hate and divisive sentiment.

The youngest generation of French voters did not live through Jean-Marie Le Pen and do not have firsthand experience with the political climate throughout the 20th century. The ideologies that concern older voters do not pique the interest of the young. Millennials are justified in their anxiety about the future and state of the world. The need for community, representation, and the promises of solutions to unemployment and housing has been received well by a fearful generation. However, the right has cast the physical representation of anxieties as migrants and Muslims, capitalizing on xenophobia and racism and utilizing fear to unify voters. Unemployment, cost of living, and violence are all very legitimate issues that require modern capabilities to combat them, however the divide between older and younger voters speaks to how France is prioritized individually. No longer does group thought reign supreme. The youth of France are pulled to the right to retain an identity of France as this secular white utopia that has the interests of its youth at heart that may not have ever even existed in the first place.

Complete Works Cited

Astier, Henri. “French Election: Young Alt-Right Making Waves.” BBC News, BBC, 5 Apr. 2017,

Bock, Pauline, et al. “The Rise of France’s New Young Conservatives.” The Rise of France’s New Young Conservatives, 11 June 2019,

“Children of the Fatherland: The Rise of the Extreme Right in France, Part 1 | CBC Radio.” CBCnews, CBC/Radio Canada, 21 Apr. 2017,

“Europe and Right-Wing Nationalism: A Country-by-Country Guide.” BBC News, BBC, 13 Nov. 2019,

Holleran, Max. “The Opportunistic Rise of Europe’s Far Right.” The New Republic, 16 Feb. 2018,

Joseph de Weck, Niall Ferguson. “European Millennials Are Not Like Their American Counterparts.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 1 Oct. 2019,

Posted 11th April 2017 & filed under Blog, Elections. “Why Are France’s Young Supporting the Far Right?” Intergenerational Foundation, 11 Apr. 2017,

Reungoat, Emmanuelle, and Colin Kinniburgh. “The Roots of the French Far Right’s Rise.” Dissent Magazine, 4 June 2019,

Sandberg, Britta. “Jordan Bardella’s Rise: The Fresh Young Face of France’s Populist Right – SPIEGEL ONLINE – International.” SPIEGEL ONLINE, SPIEGEL ONLINE, 19 Apr. 2019,

Witte, Griff, and James McAuley. “For French Millennials, Election Spawns Dreams of a Far-Right Revolution.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 19 Apr. 2017,

Anti-Migrant Rhetoric in Europe

The pendulum of sociopolitical change reaches extremes in order to reach progress. Across Europe as a pancontinental hole, while scholarship is adamant in its refusal to accept homogeneity, the political structure has been composed to reflect and adhere to common issues. A pervasive issue of contemporary Europe that is fed by systemic discord is that of the rise of extreme politics.

Across Europe (some of the most concerning examples being in Austria, Hungary, France, Cyprus, Greece, and to a certain extent the Netherlands) far right parties and their support has ballooned as a secondary characteristic from far right hegemonies grasping political discourse and thought. The core ideology of the radical right, as Mudde attests to, is in three prongs of thought: nativism, authoritarianism, and populism. As defined by Mudde, nativism is a xenophobic genre of nationalism and the belief in homogeneity (in the context of religion and race). Authoritarianism is a strictly ordered society with severe punishments for deviance. Populism is a society constructed into two factions: a corrupt elite and a “pure” civilian base. The European radical right has employed an amalgamation of these ideological concepts and have begun to grow both their platforms and voter bases. During the Austrian election, as Mudde cites, the far right Freedom Party was within one percentage point of winning the federal election.

The discourse perpetuated by the radical right uses similar tactics to more classical examples of the far right, and even more radically fascist governments (although Mudde does state that contemporary far right parties distance themselves from the “heritage of fascism”). The dissonance between core far right parties of Western and Eastern Europe is cemented in discourse. Focusing on the East, radicalism stems from a communist history and a drastic revolution in 1989, relative isolation from immigration and those outside of majority groups (save for the Roma), higher levels of political incorrectness (one can refer to Viktor Orbán and rhetoric from his politics or the three neo-Nazi parties in Slovakia, Greece, and Cyprus), and general anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. The rise of radicalism spiked concurrently to worsening conditions across the Mediterranean and irregular immigration in 2015.

The plight of progress is brutal and does not come without a cost. The pendulum of progress will continue to teeter back and forth trying to maintain tethers to tradition, however unrealistic tradition is in the face of globalization. The radical right is attempting to present itself as an answer to globalization, despite the solution needing to come from holistic and altruistic methods.

A Secular Europe

Usually during writing responses, I refrain from using first person pronouns, but I will reverse my stance for this week for the issues I had with this reading. Colloquial radical terrorism can find 9/11 at its nucleus. I argue that these violent acts do not “decentre” the West as most academia and media not only suggests but is obsessive and compulsive with perpetuating. 9/11 as a contemporary focal point was a product of systemic conflict within a Western conflict (consider the Soviet-Afghan proxy war) and less so a product of religion. While acts of violence in the name of Islam are conclusively indefensible, the framework of this article considers Islam to be part of a destabilizing force of Western, and in this context European, structures.

We can observe a divide from a series of pivotal events: pre- and post-WWII, pre and post-the collapse of the Soviet Union and the destruction of the Berlin Wall, and pre- and post-9/11. The focus on the collapse of the Berlin Wall is cited as symbolic for radical European change. From indiscriminate indiscrimination to collective unity (negative to positive groupism) in the face of public political unrest on massive scales, the use of Berlin Wall to mobilize a collective force was a revolution that, at the time, was unparalleled. However, the author uses the fall of the wall to both literally and figuratively break the levee between a homogenous Judeo-Christian European religious structure to a more inclusive and intersectional landscape. Quite obviously, two dominant faiths does not equate to coexisting. The author uses terminology that in a post-Holocaust society insinuates that pre- and post-Nazis was overwhelmingly and unflinchingly Christian-Catholic. The breaking levee and subsequent introduction of Islam through immigration had the author states that “Europe is a notion elaborated via the power of modernity and colonialism; in the present it also refers to a project of union that is being implemented by Europeans themselves.” This is somewhat implicit that Islam is being viewed as a colonial force, which is unfair – European powers dismantled and imposed by force religious and cultural values. The employment of the phrase “anachronism” places Islam into a primitive or antiquated context. The general practical application of scripture versus the ignorant notion that all billion Muslims are out for violence and radicalism. This is inherently problematic and blatantly false. The author presents the idea of integration is what is destabilizing Europe and its social, political, and economic structures.

If I am writing this both with my opinion and with my truth, I could not understand why the author, only 10 pages in, was contextualized to suggest that Islam is a threat. Europe has also been presented as the centre. Eurocentric ideology is equally as problematic as the purview that Islam is evil. Europe has been centralized through systematic campaigns of violence and oppression on a global scale across the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Americas. Europe has in itself decentralized the world – how can the overarching dichotomy of Islam in scholarship consistently revert back to how this and more broadly speaking other minority groups be an intervening malicious force? Göle is correct in suggesting that “we need to renew our ways of thinking and change our perspective on Europe, seeing it not as an autonomous and self-centered entity …” however their assertion that Islam exists to decentralize a current world order implies that the current world order promotes a utopia, which, when observing the systemic European sociopolitical structure is definitively not.

Op-Ed 1: The Repression of Catalonia

As Spanish democracy is grappling with its fourth election in four years, a new wave of civil unrest has brought the successionist struggles of Catalonia back into international discourse. Successionist and populist movements are creating conflict between the autonomous Catalonian state and the federal government of Madrid. The current bout of civil unrest has hinged on political differences and economic greed. Ignited in September 2012, pro-separatist protests attracted 1,000,000 demonstrators who arrived at Barcelona’s doorstep with demands of succession. These resulted in the revocation of Catalonian autonomy in 2017 by the Spanish government, a decision which was not reversed until June 2018. The ongoing clash between federal and regional politicians has evolved into its current adversarial form; as recently as October 14, 2019, 13 high level Catalonian politicians were charged with sedition and misuse of funds, inflaming the discord and domestic Spanish political discourse and policy making.

Separatists argue that the actions of the Spanish government are repressive and punitive. International law agrees with this. The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has declared that the detention of the officials imprisoned is in violation of international law. Further, the impact is spreading beyond Spanish borders. The Spanish example as a former hegemonic state and European power is encouraging and enabling dangerous conduct by other officials. Most recently, the Turkish home affairs minister cited the relationship between Spain and Catalonia as justification to persecute Kurdish officials. By undermining their own domestic law (specifically, the apparent fluidity of Catalonian autonomy), they are putting themselves in a state of subversion. The political strategies being used are inherently harmful and are negatively changing the overall Spanish political climate. Many separatist advocates and officials have opted to flee from Spain and seek refuge abroad in countries where extradition requests by Barcelona have been routinely denied.

Economic struggles have always underpinned Catalan calls for independence. The most obvious rationale for Spain to maintain control over the Catalonian region is overarchingly economic. For the same fiscal reasons Spain wants to retain Catalonia, Catalonia should have the ability to leave. By losing Catalonia, Spain loses 19% of the GDP, 20% of foreign investment, 25% of exports, and 16% of the total population. This is no small loss. Catalonia is uniquely positioned as it is simultaneously economically important while remaining a linguistic and cultural minority with its own unique history; characteristics that are usually cited for independence. It does not help the federal government that when under Franco, a physical and cultural genocide was undertaken, yet in 2019, their jurisdiction permitted a neo-Francoist party to take an active role in legal proceedings against Catalan officials. The obvious bias on federal and judiciary levels in the inclusion of neo-Francoist participation and suspension of autonomy is revealing concerning the dissonance between law and application in the Catalonian context.

The cultural, linguistic, and ethic differences unique to Catalonia that would encourage its statehood are subverted by Spain for the purpose of fiscal gain. This has been repeatedly evidenced by the actions of the Spanish government and their subversion of international and domestic laws. There are few legitimate reasons for the Spanish government to maintain their retention of Catalonia. Similar to a wide array of contemporary issues, the root causes are money and greed, which overpower the voices of the public.

Works Cited

Bearak, Max. “Analysis | Catalonia Has Always Been Distinct. Why Is It Part of Spain?” The Washington Post, WP Company, 25 Feb. 2018,

“Catalonia Crisis in 300 Words.” BBC News, BBC, 14 Oct. 2019,

Cuadras-Motaró, Xavier. “Catalonia: A New Independent State in Europe.” Europa Country Perspectives, Ebook Central,

Guàrdia, Arnau Busquets. “What Spain Has to Lose from Catalan Independence.” POLITICO, POLITICO, 17 Apr. 2018,

Jones, Sam. “What Is the Story of Catalan Independence – and What Happens next?” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 14 Oct. 2019,

Minder, Raphael. “With Catalan Fury Inflamed Anew, What Comes Next for Spain?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 16 Oct. 2019,

Puigdemont, Carles. “Spain’s Imprisonment of Catalan Leaders Is a Desperate Move That Will Backfire | Carles Puigdemont.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 14 Oct. 2019,

“Violent Clashes Erupt as Spanish Court Jails Catalonia Leaders.” BBC News, BBC, 14 Oct. 2019,


The Existence of the LGBTQ+ Community Within Nazi Ideology

The Holocaust is perceived as indiscriminate in its systematic persecution against members of minority groups. Millions of fatalities of innocent civilians across Nazi conquest territory of WWII alludes to its unwavering hatred of those that did not fit social norms of that era. However, modern intersectionality has caused dissonance within the public and scholarly reaction to the LGBTQ+ population in relation to sociocultural values of the Nazi era. A German mural paying homage to the deaths of gay men has been criticized for its exclusion of lesbian women, who faced violence from the Nazi party. Academia is divided – many scholars suggest that Nazis had far stricter laws for gay men than lesbian women and therefore they should be excluded as their plight was far less brutal. Other academics find it absurd that they are excluded, for they faced persecuted as a full stop. These scholars choose to not look at persecution as a gradient or by levels, but by acknowledging that persecution is unsavoury regardless of the volume.

For this response, the language used is now observed to be obviously incorrect and offensive. With ease, this response denounces the derogatory connotations used, especially concerning “transvestite” and “masculine presenting women.”

The author focuses on one particular case study of Ilse Totzke, a German lesbian woman. Not only was she a more “masculine” presenting woman, but scrutinized for her fraternization with Jewish people. This one facet of her life is drawn upon immensely – the author suggests that because she was a “masculine” female, she was already under scrutiny but it was her willingness to interact with Jews that solidified suspicion. The position the author takes on this matter is that while lesbianism was illegal, it was not as rigorously enforced under the stipulation that the lesbian person in question was not deviating away from other norms. The dichotomy of what constituted a “proper” German during the Holocaust is rife with dissonance, especially towards members of the LGBTQ+ community. Being a gay man was unchallengedly illegal, however lesbian women and “transvestites (those who presented as male but were female)” had fewer systematic barriers and law. For this reason, the author suggests Totzke could have lived a quite existence during the Holocaust even though she was in the company of Jewish peoples assuming she did not present physically how she did. The author continued passed the Totzke case study to examine the flippant laws between countries under the same jurisdiction – Austria had specific anti-lesbian laws, however Germany did not; “moral endangerment” of a minor under 16 was illegal as well as being “asocial (however there is no rigorous definition of asocial that the author provides).” The Gestapo could put anyone under protective custody en route to a concentration camp for seemingly no proper reason. The Nazi regime operated, seemingly, under arbitrary law that suited particular cases instead of particular people.

The author makes compelling arguments, however, employs few statistics but opts more for anecdotes and witness testimony. While these insights are valuable in formulating a robust understanding of the moral hierarchy and dichotomy of the Nazi era, it does not provide an entire scope about lesbianism and perception of lesbian women of this time.

Exporting Fascism

Nation-states are in a constant competition to elevate their economy above that of every other economy to have a monopoly and hegemony on innovation. 20th century Spain followed these highly competitive attempts at innovation using tourism. Tourism did not act solely to render Spain as an economic beneficiary – Mediterranean scenery and culture speak to their own prowess –  but also acted as a soft power that included civilians and government. Crumbaugh focuses on the relationship between the business of tourism and fascism. Not only does it discuss the ability to maintain fascism through enterprise and the socioeconomic changes that ensue.

The changes of an economic landscape originated to solidify the Spanish dictatorship with this new impressive wave of revenue that was unparalleled by anything else observed in Europe at the time. The unrest of the 1960s on a global scale had Spain projecting its economic insecurities into a new format. A combination of leftist resistance movements, nationalist movements in Catalonia and the Basque regions, and student protests caused an uneasy government to embark on tourism. The introduction of tourism correlated with a massive economic increase and per capita income increase from $300 to $1500 in only a decade. Spanish civilians used this opportunity methodically – the new ability to accrue vast sums of wealth had a massive labour shift. Fishermen began to abandon their fishing rods and use their boats to ferry tourists around scenic coasts. The new economic freedoms under a once stringent regime simultaneously advanced Spain’s economy and removed previous barriers. Spaniards could now travel in and out of Spain, experience new cultures, and were subsequently exposed to new ideology through travel. The government had intended tourism to be methodical to export Spain’s brand of dictatorship. Similarly to not being able to avert one’s eyes from a car crash, being able to experience a totalitarian regime in real time has the same affect. Spain may be the propagator of dictator tourism, especially in its ability to expose on a civilian level political abilities, but this concept has transcended borders and boundaries. The Spanish model of economic advancements highlight a positive correlation between thriving industry and overall freedom. As Cumbaugh suggests, the acceleration of money and freedom of jobs translated into freedom of movement which gave civil society unpredicted access to overall advancements and led to the decline of the regime.

Contemporary Spain is no longer a dictatorship. Cumbagh accurately suggests that tourism simultaneously propelled Spanish freedoms while undermining the government that introduced them, however he fails to address the overall citizen opinion.

A Response to the Specter Haunting Europe

Anti-Semitism is not a new trend, nor is it particularly unique to any location. Any minority group that can challenge a perceived social order is immediately categorized as villainy and treated by the public at large as such. The European relationship to its Jewish community has participated in extreme measures to discredit and to undermine this religious group through multiple campaigns of violence. A Specter Haunting Europe examines the Soviet relationship with the concurrent rises of anti-Semitism and Communism and how a changing political order can lead to extreme violence and prejudice.

The division between pre- and post-WWII explains the foundation for the explosion of anti-Semitism. The Nazi propaganda campaigns espoused and validated a dangerous rhetoric that while had existed for centuries prior (one can refer to the Spanish Inquisition as a classical example), however the rise of Communism was seen as a global threat and the scapegoat for this threat was redirected not to the politicians at work who solidified these regime changes, but a conspiracy theory convinced that the Jewish European populations placed their unwavering support behind communism. Even prior to the aforementioned Nazi campaign, series of pogroms across Russia amounted to 250,000 Jewish deaths. Referred to as “Judeo-Bolshevism,” this myth has decided through a series of convoluted and misguided attempts at understanding a rapidly changing world order that Jewish people created Communism for world domination. Christianity acts as a vessel of paranoia – seemingly, since the Roman era when Christianity was illegal, every other group acts as an existential threat for the purpose of dismantling Christianity at its core. The introduction of Communism as its group state removed the foundation for individualism and subsequently raised the question concerning the ability for Christianity to continue. The Soviet Union became symbolic of something that Germany could “fix” for the purpose of maintaining the status quo and restoring order.

Fears of change are often misguided albeit legitimate. People grow used to a series of social norms and when a way of life is threatened, regress into violence for maintenance. This article addresses how these fears were met (callous and xenophobic violence), however there are questions to be asked about how these systemic notions of the Jewish conspiracy and their role in contemporary European politics.

Vox and Fascism

For the first time in recent memory, the world’s hegemony is located in North America instead of in Europe or Asia. The shift in contemporary politics has encompassed sociopolitical issues that were meant to have been issues of the past. This is the rise of contemporary fascism.

The question does remain if the concern of rising global fascism is legitimate. Scholars in political science academia are grappling with the post-Trump victory in 2016 to determine whether or not classical fascism, defined by Griffin as “… a genus of political ideology whose mythic core in its various permutations is a palingenetic form of populist ultra-nationalism,” has reared its ugly head in the world’s hegemonic state of America and has created a trickle affect globally. Consulting fascist experts, Dylan Matthews has compiled a detailed overview of whether or not fascism is what Trump embodies in “I Asked 5 Fascism Experts Whether Donald Trump Is a Fascist. Here’s what they said.”  The consensus is no. While Trump does have some elements, the fundamental ingredients to have a fascist government are absent in his governing bodies. Despite recent social media postings touting “Trump 2024” allude to the fascist fallacy (or at the very least a grotesquely uninformed stance on American democracy) and a swath of events inspired by Trump rhetoric, the academic consensus is that Trump, at his core, is not a fascist.

Fascism in academia is conclusive on its fundamental attributes: fascism calls for a violence renaissance of a nation, systemic revolution, groupism before individualism, and is not economically focused as a central point. Conflating Trump’s history since inauguration with these focal points does not conclusively suggest a fascism, however it does translate into a right-wing populism. Trump masquerades himself as “for the people,” but exclusively travels on private jet. He does call for “rebirth” of a nation through his MAGA campaign, but fascism calls for a violence-based approach instead of policy based, which is what Trump is embarking on in his regressive legislature tendencies. Trump is an economic machine first, and an individualist second. These and fascism do not correlate for their fundamental characteristics of groupism and nationalism over individualism and economics.

Matthews employs a contemporary analysis of the American hegemonic impact on a broader political scale. The rise of right wing movements in Europe as a continental whole are not a new concept as evidenced by a series of systemic violent movements throughout the 19th and 20th centuries. What is new is what appears to be its renaissance, and the timing of recognized fascist political movements (especially those in France and Greece) have had a much more dramatic rise post-2016 which can be attributed to the hegemonic rhetoric espoused in accessible platforms. “Fascist” may not be the most accurate moniker for the Trump era on a federal and personal level for “the Donald,” but those who espouse his ideologies and commit violent acts in the name of revolution certainly continue the debate over if neo-fascism can be transferred from government to individual levels.

Some questions not answered by this article revolve around the author’s absolutist position on that the Trump regime is not fascist. While there is an acknowledgement of his extreme right wing stances, Matthews does not elaborate on the spectrum and gradients of a fascist or quasi-fascist political organization.