The far right in France appear to see recent terrorist attacks as political currency to attack both the government and the EU on immigration.
The Front National has said the attacks on Charlie Hebdo magazine and an assault on a Jewish supermarket are the final proof that open borders and poor efforts to tackle immigration in France have led to an “enemy within”.
Party leader Marine Le Pen described terrorism as a tool of Islamic fundamentalism which had been allowed to develop in France’s cities because people did not want to talk about the issue for fear of being politically incorrect.
To some extent she is right. Fascism – whether it comes in the form of extreme Islamism, or from the Front National or the British National Party – breeds on discontent among worse-off people.
The role we have as socialists is to show the disaffected that their problem lies not with other members of their class, who are also facing deprivation, on the basis of the colour of their skin or their religion.
Instead we must demonstrate that it is only by uniting and taking control of economic life from the wealthy minority that we can break the shackles of capitalism.
Closing the borders also does not solve this problem, but merely criminalises people who want to change where they live in a bid to improve their living and working conditions.
In an interview with the BBC, Le Pen also urged Britain to break from its model of community relations and its difference from the French model of “laicité” which completely removes religion from the state.
The two differing models are certainly worthy of debate. We oppose religious fundamentalism. We also protect the rights of individuals to follow and express their beliefs, and equally to have and to express no religious belief.
And we are not sectarian secularists; anti-religious propaganda is necessary, but should be regulated in style and timing by the priority of workers’ unity.