"Healthy and just" to hate journalists, says French politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon

In the context of a Europe in which the continent is ”no longer a sanctuary”, and in which press freedom is deteriorating, according to a report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the words of French left-wing politician and former Member of the European Parliament Jean-Luc Mélenchon are chilling indeed.

Moroccan born to Spanish parents, the former Trotskyite and student activist Mélenchon, who likes to quote Maximilian Robespierre and Victor Hugo, casts himself as a hero of the people. However, he is not just any old run of the mill hater of tradition: he stands accused of seeking to plumb the depths, sparing no-one from his bitterness and bile, especially his fellow Europeans. 

His vehicle for this is the somewhat dubious political party France Unbowed, which he founded in February 2016, but which has yet to achieve anything other than  negligible results in French elections, failing even to stand candidates in Senate elections.

The party enjoys the support of such luminaries as the French Communist Party, and the Pole of Communist Revival in France. Those who fail to support the party are portrayed by Mélenchon as being part of a conspiracy that goes all the way to the top of the French state.

Europe, the continent that nurtured and educated him, is dismissed by Mélenchon as a hotbed of “anti-Russian and pro-NATO hysteria”. Mélenchon himself is shameless about his support for the Putin regime, stating that he considers accusations of being a Russian agent to be “an honour”

Hatred of journalists has degenerated into violence, contributing to an increase in fear…The decline in press freedom in Europe has gone hand in hand with an erosion of the region’s institutions by increasingly authoritarian governments.

Reporters Without Borders

As well as the Cardinal of the Kremlin, he also professes to admire the late Venezuelan communist dictator Hugo Chavez and Chinese chairman Mao Zedong, whilst seeming to be highly critical of those post-soviet leaders, particularly in Central Asia, who have successfully shaken off the Soviet yoke and moved on to a new and more dynamic future as pro-active members of the mainstream democratic global community.

In this, he appears to echo the sentiments of fugitive oligarch Mukhtar Ablyazov, convicted of the embezzlement of some $7.6 billion from Kazakhstan's BTA bank, as well as the murder of his predecessor, and his apologists Open Dialog Foundation, recently exposed in the Sunday Times for their involvement in Ablyazov's money laundering activities. Ablyazov, from his distant exile in France, seeks to interfere in the democratic processes of Central Asia, Mélenchon appears to share the same ambitions. 

A source close to Mélenchon has stated to EU Today in the last week that the politician has met with Ablyazov, and that there is some collaboration between the two.

Like his political rival Marine Le Pen, Mélenchon is hostile to the European Union, which he describes as an “open-air prison”. He has also, like Le Pen, postulated on the possibility of “Frexit”, French withdrawal from the bloc. He is also a supporter of Rattachisme which seeks the separation of the French speaking Wallonia from the state of Belgium, another policy area in which he shares common ground with the facist Marine Le Pen.

Also, it is interesting to note that both Le Pen and Mélenchon, ostensibly for different reasons, lauded the 2018 Swedish election which showed increased support for both the far-left and far-right at the expense of established democratic parties. Politico shed a light on Mélenchon’s motivations when they wrote “French leaders on the far right and far left weighed in on the result of Sweden's parliamentary election, applauding the disruption of mainstream parties — albeit for different reasons.”

No clearer illustration of the way in which Russian President Vladimir Putin seeks to undermine European cohesion by creating discord, backing both left and right whilst fanning the flames with wads of cash could be found. Lenin’s “useful idiots” are evidently still with us, they just have a different paymaster now.

Like many socialists who have had a taste of power - he was a minister in Francois Hollande’s government - Mélenchon appears to have fallen for the allure of money. 

On October 16th 2018 the Paris home and the offices of Mélenchon were raided by magistrates investigating suspected campaign finance fraud in his 2017 bid for president.

According to the politician himself, police also raided the home of his party's secretary-general, as well as the homes of the party's previous assistants at the European Parliament, and the Party’s headquarters.

In the European Parliament there appears to be a tradition of MEPs using parliamentary allowances - in particular the parliamentary assistance allowed and the information and communication budget - to illegals divert resources to their parties and to domestic election campaigns.

According to Le Figaro, investigators examined whether a PR firm run by head of alternative media outlet Le Média, launched by Mélenchon’s backers, Sophia Chikirou overcharged  his party in order to inflate public reimbursements to the campaign. Contracts reportedly included subtitling videos for €200 per minute, a service that normally costs €15.

A French socialist MEP speaking to EU Today on strict conditions of anonymity stated that “He (Mélenchon) is a fly by night, a chancer. He has a chip on his shoulder. He is nothing more, why are we even talking about him?”

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Phillipe Jeune

Phillipe Jeune

Phillipe Jeune is a Paris-based freelance journalist, and an occasional contributor to EU Today. He has a background in intelligence gathering, and he specialises in business and political matters, with a particular interest in Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Americas.

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