France’s neo-fascist National Rally endorses NATO war against Russia

France’s neo-fascist National Rally (Rassemblement National-RN) is aligning itself with NATO’s war escalation against nuclear-armed Russia. It is abandoning its ambiguous tactical criticisms of Macron’s military policies and its campaign promise to withdraw France from NATO.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen speaks as Jordan Bardella, president of the French far-right National Rally, listens at the party election night headquarters. [AP Photo/Lewis Joly]

After coming first in the European elections, RN leads in upcoming snap legislative elections President Emmanuel Macron scheduled for June 30 and July 7 after dissolving the National Assembly. Macron’s Renaissance party faced a humiliating defeat in the European elections. Should it form a government, the RN will recklessly wage war while carrying out savage assaults against the working class at home.

On Wednesday, RN President Jordan Bardella made clear that his party would not jeopardize NATO’s well-advanced preparation of direct military intervention against Russia. At the Eurosatory defence exhibition in Villepinte, a suburb of Paris, Bardella said he has no intention of “calling into question France’s international defence commitments” if he comes to power. “There is a question of credibility vis-à-vis our European partners and our NATO allies,” said Bardella.

Backing NATO’s arming of Ukraine’s far-right puppet regime against Russia, Bardella said he “would like Ukraine to have all the ammunition and equipment [it] needs to hold the line.” He stressed the “extremely serious international context,” with the war in Ukraine “on Europe’s doorstep.”

He echoed NATO’s earlier promises, since broken, not to let Ukraine use weapons it provided against Russian targets, as that could lead to direct war with Russia. In June 2022, Macron declared, “We will not go to war with Russia; therefore, it was agreed not to supply certain weapons—in particular, attack aircraft or tanks.”

Bardella claimed his “red line will not change,” as he opposes “sending equipment that could have escalating consequences in Eastern Europe.” He added, “I do not intend to deliver, in particular, long-range missiles or weapons that could enable Ukraine to strike Russian territory.”

These are simply political lies. The NATO powers have violated every promise, crossed every “red line” they drew, just as Bardella now is abandoning his rhetoric against war and NATO. Indeed, Macron and NATO are planning to deploy troops in Ukraine after recently authorising the far-right Ukrainian regime to use US-NATO long-range missiles against Russian targets.

Bardella also pledged to massively accelerate Macron’s “war economy” measures, which divert money from social spending to build a massive war machine. This took the most blatant form of Macron’s pension cuts last year, which he imposed with the assistance of the union bureaucracies to divert money from pensions to military spending.

Bardella said, “the war economy that has been implemented by Emmanuel Macron has been very light for two years now. I intend to continue this effort to rearm the country, both in our defence capabilities, in the increase in the army’s budget, in the budgetary efforts that have been made in recent years and that we have supported.”

These remarks must be taken as a warning that an RN government would be a violently reactionary fascistic regime mounting massive social attacks on the working class. While implementing ruthless police state attacks against immigrants and social protests, it would intensify wars against Russia and France’s former African colonies.

RN is aligning with Macron’s war as NATO prepares direct military intervention against Russia in response to the NATO-backed Ukrainian regime’s military collapse. It is ever clearer that Macron dissolved the National Assembly and called new elections to carry out a far-right restructuring of the entire capitalist political establishment, from the RN to the pseudo-left parties coalescing in the New Popular Front (NPF). All of these forces are being groomed to participate in US-NATO wars targeting Russia, Iran and ultimately China.

Macron’s decision comes after British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak called snap elections for July 4. New governments will be formed ahead of the upcoming July 9-11 NATO summit in Washington, which will discuss plans to escalate the war against Russia.

The RN is, however, falling into line with NATO, abandoning its earlier nationalist rhetoric calling for a more independent French foreign policy and withdrawal from NATO’s military command. During the 2022 presidential election campaign, RN leader Marine Le Pen pledged to “leave the integrated command” of NATO to preserve France’s “independence.”

But with two weeks to go before the snap legislative elections, and with a growing possibility that it might form a government, the RN is busily reassuring the French capitalist class that it will aggressively wage a NATO war with Russia.

Speaking in Paris to Politico and the Europa Nova think tank, Bardella said he opposes leaving NATO’s integrated command while the war in Ukraine “is still going on.” He said, “You don’t change treaties in a time of war.” Asked about Le Pen’s April 2022 remarks, two months after the Russia-Ukraine war began, Bardella retorted that they “did not not take the war into account.”

Bardella’s pro-war remarks reveal the reactionary and false character of earlier attempts by the New Popular Front to attack the RN as a pro-Russian party. The RN was, of course, capable of flirting with the reactionary post-Soviet capitalist regime led by President Vladimir Putin to present itself as less militaristic than Macron. However, it remained fundamentally a political instrument of French imperialism and its policy of wars of plunder abroad and class war at home.

In the now-emerging world war, the RN is building on the tradition of its forebears in the Nazi-collaborationist Vichy regime during World War II. Indeed, Vichy sent French volunteers to join the Waffen-SS Charlemagne division to wage the Nazis’ war of extermination against the Soviet Union. They fought alongside the Ukrainian Nazi-collaborationist forces led by Stepan Bandera who are now worshipped by officials of the NATO-led puppet regime in Kiev.

The RN’s sudden rallying to NATO’s war with Russia again exposes how its growth has depended critically on the political bankruptcy of the forces the capitalist media present as the “left.” A key RN voting base is workers in former industrial regions of northern and eastern France deindustrialized by successive Socialist Party (PS) governments. The PS is now at the center of the New Popular Front alliance cobbled together by Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s France Unbowed (LFI).

The New Popular Front will not attack the RN for its fascistic calls for war with Russia because it also aggressively supports NATO’s war on Russia. Its election programme calls for “delivery of appropriate weapons” and the “sending of peacekeepers” to Ukraine “to defeat the war of aggression of Vladimir Putin.”

An international, socialist anti-war movement must be built in the working class. Workers and youth can fight the NATO war escalation against Russia and the resulting social attacks, however, only by opposing both the RN and the NPF. This requires building support in the working class internationally for the socialist revolutionary perspective advanced by the International Committee of the Fourth International and its French section, the Parti de l’égalité socialiste.