A Candidate who is Willing to put ‘Pleasure’ at the Center of French Politics
In 1966, Otto Kirchheimer announced that the era of traditional ideological parties has reached an end, and an era of new parties has begun, which he referred to as pervasive parties. Now that five decades have passed since that time, a businessman, Donald Trump, has won the presidential election in America. The comedian Beppe Grillo founded the Five Star Movement in Italy and achieved significant success. But in France, the traditional Socialists and Republicans are still at the center of policy. However, elite corruption and inefficiency has allowed Marine Le Pen from the extreme right to claim unprecedented popularity.
In contrast, there is Cindy Lee, a former stripper, who established Parti du plaisir (Pleasure party) nearly 15 years ago. Her goal was to create the conditions that would ensure enjoyment for all French citizens. In an interview she talked about her beliefs and goals.
Her answers have been translated from the original French.
What was the purpose of establishing Parti du plaisir?
We established the Party in 2002. Establishment of this party was based on the citizens’ requirements at that time and at the moment. Currently, the dissatisfaction with traditional parties has increased. In our opinion, joy can appear in all aspects, and it must be considered in daily life. Therefore, not only I do not defend free sexual desires, but also I know joy as a political project, in which welfare and good life quality must be prior to any other issue. Parti du plaisir defends the concept of freedom against restrictions due to some rules set up by certain elites, which disturb personal satisfaction of the community members. We are also willing to give back people’s authority.
What thinkers have influenced you? It seems that you were influenced by Jeremy Bentham and his utilitarianism.
The pillars of our party are based on the hedonism doctrine, which believes that joy is essential, and one must move towards achieving happiness. Hedonism is the goal of any individual and should be sought in all aspects. It is clear that we might get influenced by liberal philosophers, namely Jeremy Bentham.
The concept of joy can be considered in all aspect of daily life, including sexual relationships, eating and drinking, job, environment, and security. We are willing to have a pacifist society, consisting of people benefiting from the greatest level of joy. A happier society will be more efficient and can be economically productive.
Along the path of hedonism, nobody is allowed to disturb others’ effort for maximum hedonism and must respect their rights in this regard.
Where does Parti du plaisir stand on the European Union?
Currently we have some common grounds with popular parties like the Five Star Movement in Italy on environmental issues and direct democracy. However, we do not see ourselves against Europe, instead, we wish for a stronger and more democratic Europe. This is our priority. We call for transparency of democratic institutions, protection of plant and animal environment, and measures to improve the quality of life.
The principle of secularism is emphasized in Parti du Plaisir. What is your opinion about burqa clothing in public places?
The advent of terrorism has intensified the fear among our people. Today, the principle of secularism is more critical and radical for a large population. As far as I am concerned, I consider secularism as a value.
The conditions change and the rules should be adapted with them. I believe remaining impartial in the public domain is necessary to prevent conflicts, even if it causes some restrictions for individual freedom. In my opinion, burqa clothing not only is considered anti-secular, but also exploitation of the woman wearing it. Women shouldn’t be hidden from men behind a veil because of religious reasons or any other reason. They should represent themselves as a woman and be equal with men in a society.
Do you see any chance for your success?
At first, many people and the media saw my candidacy as something imaginary. Today, after several years of resistance, my presence is more serious, even if I’d be present on the French political horizon as a flying saucer, even if I wouldn’t be able to earn the necessary credit for nomination due to lack of enough support (since the local elected officials might be afraid that their personal and local benefits would be threatened by supporting an unusual candidate) my presence delivers my desired message to people through my behavior and actions.
A presidential election candidate in France must earn the support of 500 selected officials. Therefore, their validation is done by the constitution council, and even some of the supporters do not want their names to be disclosed. This system is, in fact, a hindrance against advancement of candidates independent of traditional parties, like me.
In the American election, some of Trump’s critics said that he is a businessman with no experience in politics. By analogy, someone could argue that you were a stripper and a model without any experience in politics.
After negligence and abuse of many governments, people demand some changes. Advent of populism provides an evidence in this regard. Politics has long been the profession of the politicians in France, but they only wished to extend their mission duration and their main job was corruption and abusing power. Therefore, I believe that people should be judged based on their real motivation and politic project. People with no experience in politics can accomplish huge works. Because of my job in the art scene, I do not fear criticism.
Why do you use nudity in your political campaign?
I have used organized actions of nudity since 2001 to challenge the media, aiming to increase public awareness on various topics, namely environmental protection, social welfare, economic crisis, corruption, etc.
The Parti du Plaisir supports brothels, while the feminists call it exploitation of women. How do you guarantee that your program won’t result in the exploitation of women?
The Parti du Plaisir agrees with all free sexual desires and believes that the citizens should have access to all joys of life. We are an advocate of freedom. We are in favor of a free society. How can you have a peaceful community when you leave people alone with their desires, sexual needs, and disappointment? I defend the freedom of action of the brothels as they satisfy the community’s social needs and might be useful since they can reduce the rape and sexual violence imposed on women.
In my opinion, France should learn from its European neighbors. The have comprehended the sexual demands. We also should look at this concept with a more open mind. The current socialist government in France imposes a repressive policy, punishes the brothel customers, and justifies all of these under the banner of “moral order.” I do not know that prostitution is equal to women exploitation. Prostitution has long existed, exists now, and will exist in the future. Today, about 40,000 women in France do prostitution via internet or by distributing declarations on dating sites and social media, an action which is not monitored and is not void of risks. If a woman voluntarily decides to work with her own body, she must be at least given the chance to benefit from legal rights, social status, and secure and healthy conditions. From legal perspective, I consider prostitution to be an official job and have a liberal attitude in this regard. The institutions providing private sexual services must obtain legal permission, and the police should monitor them with video surveillance through CCTV.
Why are you an advocate for specifying certain quotas for allowing immigrants and asylum seekers to enter France?
In the context of policy-making regarding immigration by the Parti du Plaisir, I believe a largely populated community can hardly achieve welfare and there should be, at least, temporary measures to set a quotas for assimilation of the immigrants. Today, France cannot offer asylum anymore as it is experiencing economic and social crisis. So, we have to find temporary solutions in order to limit too many immigrants. In case of winning the election, first, I propose to hold a national referendum about this issue. The measures we take to limit immigration, a proposal to modify the constitution, is to determine a certain limit for accepting the legal immigrants each year according to the economic status of the country and France requirements. This quota will first include the immigrants who are asylum workforces. We will also increase the tax on French companies or employers who hire an immigrant. Finally, we will reinforce the Immigration Charter, stating that the immigrants are required to master the French language and respect secularism principles, and will be expelled in case of any violation.
What is your opinion about French National Front and Marine Le Pen? Do you think she has a great chance of winning the presidential election?
The French National Front conveys nationalist and too conservative ideals. This group has always been considered dangerous in France. However, there are new components today which have resulted in greater appreciation of the French National Front, and it seems that the majority of the votes for the candidate of this Front will be negative votes to oppose other groups. There are people who will vote for the National Front in opposition to the traditional parties. Factors such as political corruption of the elites, risks caused by terrorism, increased unemployment, and people’s dissatisfaction with policies of previous years are all in favor of the French National Front, and they even might allow Marine Le Pen to enter Elysée, unless the citizens support another candidate as a mass mobilization in order to defeat the French National Front.
What is your opinion about Trump?
In my opinion, Trump’s decisions and actions are taken too hastily and without thinking. He dismissed the rules set by the former president as soon as he came into power, without considering this might have serious consequences. I do not confirm the Unites States policy. In my view, Trump’s policies are too radical and isolationist. Trump’s economic policy is only based on profit-making. This will ultimately be a detriment to planet Earth. I also think he is too rigorous regarding immigration policies.