“National preference” is the miracle solution put in place as each election approaches. It is at the heart of any far-right manifesto: the key to restoring the country’s former glory, and the solution to everything from unemployment to the public deficit, from substandard housing to the migration crisis, from crime to pensions. .
This concise concept adapts to a variety of contexts without the need for lengthy explanations, playing on the reflexive chauvinism that arises in times of crisis, when resources are scarce.
Social housing? “As the French pay for this, it is reasonable that the French should be given priority in its attribution”, estimates Marine Le Pen, presidential candidate of the National Rally (RN, former National Front, FN) in 2022. Family allowances? “Forty-three percent of CAF beneficiaries – family allowances and housing – were born abroad,” says journalist and presidential candidate Éric Zemmour; he advocates “national preference” to stop what he calls this “French madness”. Works? It is necessary “to make the French work in France to manufacture French products”, says Florian Philippot, former vice-president of the National Front and today leader of the nationalist party of the Patriots.
Nostalgic for “the darkest hours in history”
Because it is simple and flexible, the national preference was easily translated into the campaign slogans of the Front National (and now the Rassemblement National). It was deployed during the presidential elections: “Défendre les Français” (1974); parliamentarians: “French first. A million unemployed is a million immigrants too many ”(1978); the 1992 referendum on the Maastricht Treaty: “Make it French with French Workers” (1992); in the European elections: “Training, work, housing: priority for you at home” (2009); and municipal: ‘The French have first served’ (2010) …
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(1) Agence France-Presse, 23 September 2021.
(2) CNews, October 23, 2020.
(4) Press conference, October 5, 2021.
(6) Claudine Pierre, ‘Les socialistes, les communistes et la protection de la main-d’oeuvre française (1931-1932)’ (The socialists, the communists, and the protection of French labor (1931-32), European review of international migration, vol 15, n ° 3, Poitiers, 1999.
(7) Gérard Noiriel, Immigrants and proletarians: Longwy, 1880-1980 (Immigrants and proletariat: Longwy, 1880-1980), Agone, Marseille, 2019.
(8) See in particular Jean-Yves Le Gallou, European first: Essay on European preference (Europe first: essay on European preference), Via Romana, Versailles, 2018.
(9) Closing remarks at the conference 2016: Face à l’Assaut Migratoire, Le Réveil de la Conscience Européenne (2016: Faced with the migratory assault, the awakening of European consciousness), Iliade – Institut Pour la Longue Mémoire Européenne, Paris, 9 April 2016 .