Pieter Stockmans volgt het mondiale optreden van de Europese Unie, het Europese vluchtelingenbeleid, de evoluties in Midden-Europa en de regio ten oosten van de EU.
Trump brings the European New Right into the White House. To be continued in 2017?
Everyone fears Trump will give the European far-right parties a boost. But it is the European New Right that laid the ideological foundations for Trump. Their network has been paving the way since 1968. Half a century later they are in power in the White House and the Kremlin. Next year in Western Europe?
‘Good news!’, Erwan Castel shouted. ‘They will redo the Austrian elections. Norbert Hofer can still become president. He is far-right? The only parties that give Europeans the chance to express patriotism, are far-right. Unfortunately.’ While exclaiming his joy, French ex-soldier Erwan Castel was in Eastern-Ukraine. To support the pro-Russian rebels.
At the frontlines, the French Ukraine fighters could not stop talking about Alain de Benoist. This French philosopher is the founder of the “New Right” in Europe, a conservative trend that started to oppose neoliberal conservatism in the seventies. Their offspring in Belgium was the Vlaams Blok since 1978.
The so called loss of European identity and traditions, the resistance against liberalism and multiculturalism, the full immigration stop, the plea for the Eurasian alliance with Russia, the terms “pensée unique” (French for single thought) and “political correctness”: all concepts launched or reused by West-European New-Right authors.
Together with the far-right Jobbik from Hungary and Aleksander Dugin, a Russian New-Right ideologist, De Benoist participated in conferences of the National Policy Institute. That is the think tank of the American nationalist Richard Spencer.
Spencer preaches white supremacy and imported the ideas of the European New Right into the US. He came up with the term Alternative Right, which became a loose movement of activists on a crusade against the multicultural society and the left-liberal “political correctness”.
Until recently, everything happened more or less in the margins. But then: enter Donald Trump. His campaign manager Steve Bannon popularized the perspectives of the Alternative Right on one of the most visited news sites of the US: Breitbart. In his interventions at conferences, Bannon refers to authors within the European New Right.
Trump, Bannon and the far-right in the US got their inspiration from the European New Right.
When Trump announced his candidature to become president of the United States, he soon gained the support of the Alternative Right. Bannon gave Geert Wilders (PVV) and Nigel Farage (UKIP) a platform on Breitbart and brought them to the Republican Convention in the US to support Trump’s candidature.
After his election victory, Trump appointed Bannon as “chief strategist” in his future cabinet. Bannon will be responsible for communication and strategy. Breitbart will become active in Europe to help Marine Le Pen (FN) and Geert Wilders win the elections in their countries. Now it’s a full circle: the European New Right inspires the American far-right and through media mogul Bannon the trend enters the White House, and now, with renewed strength, they will return to Europe together.
Le Pen and Wilders will learn from Bannon. Less known, is the fact that the conservative revolution is rooted in Europe. Trump, Bannon and the far-right in the US got their inspiration from the European New Right. They in turn have their supporters at the Ukrainian frontlines and they are in touch with ideologists from Putin’s entourage who are black-listed by the US for their role in the annexation of Crimea.
The New Right is a pan-European movement founded by Alain de Benoist in 1968, the year of the progressive revolution in Europe. This French philosopher reverted to the Conservative Revolution, a German movement during the interbellum. The movement turned against the Enlightenment, liberalism and Marxism.
Alternative Right is a loose collection of American hardcore neo-Nazi’s, anti-globalists and young rightwing internet activists. It is not a classic political movement and therefore it is not clear how many supporters they have. The victory of Donald Trump might be a first indicator of how their ideas have resonated with a part of the population, even though only a small minority is a supporter of the ideology.
If this political trend had its own party in the US, it would be far-right. Donald Trump would be its leader. Founder Richard Spencer chose the name Alternative Right to oppose the mainstream conservatives of the Republican Party who according to him failed to contain multiculturalism, globalization and immigration.
The Alternative Right has an ideological foundation. Think tanks develop arguments and concepts which come back in the aggressive attacks by their followers on Twitter.
Alternative Right started as Spencer’s online platform. He himself is an intellectual, his followers are behaving less sophisticated on social media. Like trolls they aggressively stalk leftwing and mainstream conservative journalists, politicians and opinion makers on social media. Trump’s communication style bears the stamp of the Alternative Right internet activists.
Like self-proclaimed knights of freedom of speech and the fight against “political correctness”, they enjoy online provoking and bullying progressives, Jews, Muslims or other vulnerable minorities with the most shocking insults.
For example, activists sent edited pictures to a Jewish journalist of him being sent to the gas chambers in Auschwitz. When their victims react, they label them as pathetic cry-babies. In this way they tackled mainstream conservatives of the Republican Party. This is the reason why some Republicans feel an aversion of the Alternative Right and people like Steve Bannon.
The insults and persecutions are unsavory and not argued. Yet, concepts and ideas often resurface. The Alternative Right has an ideological foundation that is often overlooked. Think tanks develop arguments and concepts which come back in the aggressive attacks by their followers on Twitter.
Since 2010 the American Alternative Right and the European New Right started to collaborate. The election victory of Donald Trump is the culmination of that cooperation.
The Swedish publishing house Arktos Media translated the books of New-Right authors like Alain de Benoist into English and so, Spencer and other activists of the Alternative Right in the US were exposed to the European New Right.
Since 2009 Arktos became the most important publisher of European New Right author’s books. The publisher played a role in the spread of their ideas in Europe and the United States. ‘The think tank of the New Right is maybe the only milieu where authors have been writing about these problems since fifty years’, said Daniel Friberg, director of Arktos in an interview with Jonas Naeyaert, the former spokesperson of the Flemish People’s Movement, a Flemish nationalist think tank and pressure group.
Since then, De Benoist’s articles appear on English websites of the New Right, like Right On, together with young, rising stars of the New-Right movement in Europe and the Alternative Right in the US.
Spencer wanted to bring back the “original” European identity of the United States and build an American version of the pan-European nationalism.
Richard Spencer introduced the New Right and European identity politics to the nationalists in the US. He wanted to bring back the “original” European identity of the United States and build an American version of the pan-European nationalism. His nationalist think tank National Policy Institute produced papers about identity issues like intellectual differences between races, the link between race and criminality, white supremacy and the Eurasian alliance between Europe and Russia.
In September 2011 the National Policy Institute organized its first conference Towards a New Nationalism. On the list of speakers: leading figures of the European New Right like Tomislav Sunic and Alain de Benoist.
In October 2013 the second conference followed: After the Fall. Sunic and De Benoist were present. Two months later Spencer changed his Alternative Right website into the new magazine Radix Journal. He wrote that he had been reading European New-Right authors for a while: ‘I was disappointed in the name “Alternative Right”. I wanted to rise above the leftwing-rightwing divide and follow the European Identity Movement as a basis of my ideology.’
‘The revival of our European identity has to survive after the Trump-phenomenon, and after my life. The Alternative Right will attract promising young conservatives and expose them to a broad intellectual horizon, from white nationalism, European New Right and the Conservative Revolution, to traditionalism, paganism, anti-feminism and rightwing anti-capitalism.’
The ideological concepts of the New Right became omnipresent in the discourse of the Alternative Right and, later, of Donald Trump.
In October 2014, with the support of Arktos Media, the third conference started in Budapest, Hungary: Identitarian Congress. Among the participants: the far-right Hungarian party Jobbik and the Russian ideologist Aleksander Dugin. The Hungarian government prohibited the conference and expelled Spencer from the country.
The conferences helped Spencer to build networks with the New Right in Europe and Russia. The collaboration produced a cross-pollination of ideas. The ideological concepts of the New Right became omnipresent in the discourse of the Alternative Right and, later, of Donald Trump.
Even before the Dutch, French and German parliamentary elections of 2017, the Austrian presidential elections of December 4 are the first indicator, after Brexit, of the progress of the identity politics of the New Right in Europe.
‘Everywhere the machine creates a pensée unique’, De Benoist wrote in 1993 in his book Survivre à la Pensée Unique. ‘In the West the machine expands its influence in concentric circles. All important newspapers, television channels and political parties have the same program.’
In 2016, after Donald Trump’s victory, De Benoist wrote: ‘For the first time an anti-establishment candidate won the American presidential elections. According to journalists, it was in spite of his excesses, but is was thanks to his excesses. Trump voters are fed up with political correctness.’
“Politically correct” becomes a swear word and a label Alt Right uses to stamp on their leftwing and liberal opponents without having to engage in a debate and without having to worry about the truth. They can even spread lies as truth in this way.
An idea belongs to the single thought or is “politically correct” if it coincides with the socially dominant thinking: an invisible ideological dominance that is expressed in social and political choices and policy presented as the only option. As one of the first New-Right authors Alain de Benoist described this concept in 1993 in his book Pensée Unique. Today it is omnipresent in rightwing and leftwing radical circles.
Rightwing circles launch the accusation of “political correctness” against social-democratic politics: the heritage of the progressive revolution of 1968, liberal values, tolerance and multiculturalism. In recent years the neoliberal politics have also come under attack: the so called There Is No Alternative of Margaret Thatcher.
Rightwing activists and opinion makers on Twitter increasingly use the accusation of “political correctness” as a weapon. Everyone who criticize their opinions is “political correct”. This works as a liberation: people who used to hold back their frustrations about the multicultural society feel no limits anymore.
They can use the concept to openly question the liberal concepts of the rule of law and the fundamental human rights as a part of the political correctness. “Politically correct” becomes a swear word and a label they use to stamp on their leftwing and liberal opponents without having to engage in a debate and without having to worry about the truth. They can even spread lies as truth in this way.
The Alternative Right in the US and far-right in Europe have turned Alain de Benoist’s original meaning around. He wanted to encourage debate around views and invisible ideologies we started to consider as obvious.
A second concept of the New Right that is still relevant today is what Alain de Benoist called metapolitics: ‘The value of an idea is not determined by the label. Ideas have no fixed party-political residency.’
Many people are sick of the labels “leftwing” and “rightwing”. Populist parties have understood this well. They make a hodgepodge of what is popular. New Right calls this Metapolitics.
Populist parties have understood this well. They make a hodgepodge of what is popular, whether it is leftwing or rightwing. Many people are sick of the labels “leftwing” and “rightwing” that cripple open debate. They want to be able to use ideas from all political views.
‘Radical left parties like Podemos and Syriza and some fascists all make correct analyses’, said Erwan Castel. ‘Do we have to throw out the baby with the bathwater? I refer to both Marine Le Pen and the Belgian journalist Michel Collon, supporter of the Parti du Travail de Belgique.’ The result is that a policy can combine leftwing economic elements with rightwing social elements. Like PiS in Poland, Trump in the US and FN in France.
De Benoist is one of the founders of Identity Politics, but he is not an ethnic nationalist like the American activists of the Alternative Right whom he would eventually influence. He is a “ethnic pluralist”, an opponent of racism and white supremacy. From his conviction that no culture is superior to another, and his belief in the uniqueness of each culture, he defends the right of Europeans to protect their identity against the effects of immigration, multiculturalism, globalization, consumerism and capitalism.
His vision is a multipolar world of relatively ethnically pure countries and continents that will develop like equals, rather than mixed continents that are the results of the exploitation of a poor South by a rich North and the migration that is the result of this exploitation. Only by separation, the world cultures can be protected, according to him. From that vision he defends the right of immigrants to retain their own culture in Europe, instead of being assimilated.
New Right defends the right of Europeans to protect their identity against the effects of immigration, multiculturalism, globalization, capitalism.
Richard Spencer wants to apply these ideas on the American society and ends up with apartheid. At the National Policy Institute conference of 2013, where Alain de Benoist was present, he said: ‘To build a white homeland, we can apply peaceful ethnic cleansing. Today, in the public imagination, “ethnic cleansing” has been associated with civil war and mass murder (understandably so). But this need not be the case. 1919 is a real example of successful ethnic redistribution—done by fiat, we should remember, but done peacefully.’
Trump’s extreme proposals to ban Muslims from the US and to deport Mexicans because they would be rapists, resonated with activists of the Alternative Right, who saw the white ethnically pure dawn rise.
Spencer writes: ‘The Trump phenomenon derives from what could be the called The Great Erasure: former White countries being transformed, humiliated, and ultimately invaded and raped. This is what is happening right now, and it might be the most important historical development of the last 500 years. Make America Great Again has thus, amazingly, brought an awareness of The Great Erasure and American Decline into public consciousness. Trump is the return of Grand Politics, politics as the struggle between races and civilizations.’
This is the extreme end of Alain de Benoist’s ideas. According to the Alternative Right, white people form a distinct social group which is suppressed by a left-liberal elite that imposes multiculturalism as political correctness while it is hostile to the “original European” populations of the US. They want to restore the former dominance of white people. That is what they called the American Renaissance. De Benoist recently wrote the Manifesto for a European Renaissance.
European identity, according to Alain de Benoist, consists of traditions, values and norms which he found in the gods and heroes of paganism. As the enemy he identified capitalism, multicultural society and emancipation by individual freedom of expression and human rights as an ideology.
According to the identitarians of the New Right the sexual revolution of 1968 went too far. People feel lost and uprooted from their traditional family values. They are looking to regain a grip on their lives. They are disappointed that patriarchal society and the traditional role pattern has consistently been shown in a negative light since the sixties.
They are proud to bring back traditional values and don’t accept any longer that leftist and liberal progressives present them as retarded in public debates.
Each and every one of the French Ukraine fighters explained that they still found traditional values in the Russian world. ‘At least women still look like women here. And I feel more at home in a world where community values are still important, then in a hyper individualistic and materialistic West’, said Erwan Castel.
Steve Bannon made Breitbart News the voice of the conservative movement which acts against abortion and in favor of traditional marriage. He would agree with Jaroslaw Kaczinsky, chairman of the Polish nationalist governing Law and Justice party. Kaczinsky has sneeringly called feminism and sexual freedom “genderism”. His government wanted to make the strict abortion laws even stricter, but they were met with strong resistance.
The IS-attacks of March 22 were an opportunity for Génération Identitaire, a French movement of far-right youth inspired by the New Right, to come from the margins into the mainstream.
‘I don’t believe in politically correct ideas about the equality between races and sexes’, said Richard Spencer. ‘There is a hyper feminism in the West. All those liberal ideas work together to establish dominance.’
Individual human rights as an international ideology are a part of the single thought, according to De Benoist. A secular religion, disconnected from cultural uniqueness, that is being forced upon people worldwide to establish Western political and economic dominance. ‘In Ukraine, Europe and the US supported the uprising against a corrupt president, not because they wanted the Ukrainian people to be free, but to bring them into their own sphere of influence’, said Erwan Castel.
De Benoist is not against human rights, but according to him human rights should not become a new dictate raised above debate. It should be the result of a negotiation and integration process into the local contexts. That nuance is lost in translation, as authoritarian movements use this philosophy to eliminate the idea of human rights itself.
A second enemy: capitalism and materialism. The overwhelming urge of popular culture that erases cultural uniqueness. Steve Bannon does not only oppose crony capitalism that enriches a small group of people, but also the neoliberal capitalism that turns people into objects of commerce.
Islam is the third enemy. It is such a powerful enemy that some New-Right conservatives even became progressives, to oppose conservative Muslims. They embraced the most hated left-liberal values of “hyper feminism”, sexual freedom and gay marriage.
Alain de Benoist however, is consistent: ‘Until today, Muslims nourish the traditional values we once upheld as well. But I consider myself as an heir of a European culture older than monotheism. I don’t care where my Islamic, Christian or Jewish compatriots come from. I do care about what they think. And then we can surely find common ground. We can develop a common project, provided that we write a new page in history.’
The IS-attacks of March 22 in Brussels were an opportunity for Génération Identitaire, a French movement of far-right youth inspired by the New Right, to come from the margins into the mainstream. ‘They as well should be able to express their grief’, was the reaction. When they announced a march through the Molenbeek quarter of Brussels, there was a risk of escalation.
Alain de Benoist called them “the useful idiots of the radical Islam”: ‘The IS-attacks are carried out for this reason: to stimulate an Islamophobia that the jihadists consider as a privileged ‘vector of radicalisation’. Islamist terrorists adore Islamophobes. They wish there were always more.’
Richard Spencer wants to bring identitarian politics and the traditionalism of the New Right to the US, even though the US is in essence an anti-traditional country because there is not one tradition. There is however a dominant tradition, namely what Spencer calls the white, European tradition.
But the cultural uniqueness of the US is immigration, a result of all traditions together. It is an immigration-nation. The Russian New Right ideologist Aleksander Dugin therefore called the US “anti-natural”. He wants Europe and Russia to unite in a Eurasian alliance against the US. ‘The USA is a transplanted culture which does not have sacral state traditions and cultural soil, but, nevertheless, tries to force upon the other continents its anti-ethnic, anti-traditional model’, he writes.
‘Putin takes a stand for traditions. He’s got an adviser who harkens back to the traditionalist movement and philosophers of Italian fascism. We must reconnect to the traditions of the Judeo-Christian West.’ Steve Bannon
Donald Trump’s adviser Steve Bannon referred to Aleksander Dugin in a positive way: ‘Putin is a kleptocrat, but at least he’s taking a stand for traditions and nationalism. A lot of the underpinnings of Vladimir Putin’s beliefs today, come from what I call Eurasianism; he’s got an adviser who harkens back to Julius Evola and different writers of the early 20th century who are really the supporters of what’s called the traditionalist movement, which really eventually metastasized into Italian fascism. A lot of people that are traditionalists are attracted to that.’
During the nineties Dugin was a member of a nazi-like party in Russia for five years. In 2000 he became the chairman of the geopolitical section of the Russian parliament’s Advisory Council on National Security.
The French Ukraine fighter Erwan Castel said the same thing: ‘Putin is creating a proud Russian identity from the heritage of imperial Russia and the Soviet Union. That is a strong, rare intelligent leader who understands his people.’
Steve Bannon wants to reconnect to the traditions of the so-called Judeo-Christian West: ‘In the defense of the Judeo-Christian West, often times, particularly when you deal with the elites, you’re looked at as someone who is quite odd. I certainly think secularism has sapped the strength of the Judeo-Christian West to defend its ideals.’
The extreme end of this thinking was the Norwegian activist Anders Breivik, who in name of the Judeo-Christian West committed a terrorist attack against “politically correct activists” of the leftwing.
‘At this frontline in Eastern-Ukraine I am fighting against the American occupation of Europe in the shape of NATO’, said Erwan Castel. ‘Europe should take its fate into its own hands. Here rages a war for an independent Europe, and thus for an independent France.’
Castel also referred to the Belgian Robert Steuckers, a New-Right thinker who was a member of Vlaams Blok and sees salvation in a Euro-Russian or Eurasian alliance against the US. Steuckers wrote for the think tank of the New Right. Thus, the efforts of a far-right Belgian eventually find their way to the White House.
Since the nineties, Steuckers was in touch with Aleksander Dugin, the Russian ideologist who developed Eurasianism as an ideology, as a counterbalance against American dominance. Foreign Policy called Dugin, with some sense of exaggeration, Putin’s brain.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, the European New Right developed contacts with Russian intellectuals like Dugin who considered the fall of the Soviet Union to be a plot of the Western “new world order”. In the same period Robert Steuckers started the Belgian department of the New-Right. At that time he was already a member of Vlaams Blok and its French counterpart. Until today rightwing intellectuals, politicians and activists regularly appear on the Russian and even Syrian television.
To build Eurasia, Russia should get rid of the American influence in Europe. This will only be possible if the liberal order falls. No wonder Dugin was euphoric at Trumps victory.
Dugin sees the US as a landmark of liberalism. To build Eurasia, Russia should, according to him, get rid of the American influence in Europe. This will only be possible if the liberal order falls, if there is a conservative revolution. No wonder Dugin was euphoric at Trumps victory.
It is no wonder either that Marion Maréchal-Le Pen of the FN was in Moscow last week. A Russian member of parliament, not too important a figure Russia’s politics, will show Le Pen around in the illegally annexed Crimea of Ukraine. She said that she is working on a “common project that symbolizes the friendship between Russia and France”.
Does she mean the French recognition of Russia’s annexation of Crimea if Marine Le Pen becomes president of France? Matteo Salvini, leader of the Italian Lega Nord, had a conversation with Dugin on Tsargrad TV, the television channel of the Russian nationalist Konstantin Malofeev.
Richard spencer’s Radix Journal translated the books of Dugin into English and published them in the US. The American identitarians want to join the Eurasian club as Americans, with its so-called superior European identity. Therefore they changed the concept of Eurasia into alliance of the white race from the US, over Europe, to Russia.
‘The twentieth century was the century of fratricide’, wrote Spencer. ‘Trump and Putin will lead the two big power blocks of the white race, North-America and Russia, towards an understanding, towards a cancellation of the 20th century. A sign of hope that Europeans can finally stop fighting each other.’ Whereby he defines himself as a European.
All of this happened more or less in the margins, but how did all those ideas end up in the American mainstream? One word: Breitbart, a fast news site focusing on sensation and clicks. After the death of its founder Andrew Breitbart, a famous American conservative activist and journalist, Steve Bannon became CEO of Breitbart.
Under Bannon, Breitbart became a platform for ideological concepts of the Alternative right and the European New right. Until then they always stayed in the margins, now they got a popular media platform with a bigger online reach than Fox News.
‘We are the platform of the Alternative Right’, Steve Bannon said himself to the American journalist Sarah Posner at the Republican National Convention in July. Richard Spencer said about Bannon’s Breitbart: ‘Breitbart has elective affinities with the Alternative Right, and the Alternative Right has clearly influenced Breitbart. In this way, Breitbart has acted as a “gateway” to Alternative Right ideas and writers.’
Bannon gave Alternative Right and the New Right the platform of a medium with a greater online reach than Fox News.
The multiple crises since 2008 – the financial crisis, the terror attacks by IS and the refugee crisis – offered opportunities to apply the New-Right concepts to the current affairs and to weave these concepts into the stories and articles of Breitbart. As a loyal customer of IS-propaganda, Breitbart liked to publish the horror videos of IS.
Steve Bannon used to be an investment banker at Goldman Sachs. In the nineties he invested in media companies. Later he became a movie producer in Hollywood. He produced documentaries about Ronald Reagan and Sarah Palin during the advance of the Tea Party movement, a conservative and libertarian movement during the presidency of Barack Obama to pressure the Republican Party not to accept any agreement on the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”.
Breitbart’s pirates became the megaphones of the Tea Party and their aggressive attacks on mainstream conservatives of the Republican Party. In this way they played a big role in the end of bipartisanship and in the Republican strategy to block everything the Democrats suggested.
How did these ideas end up in the White House? After the dismissal of Paul Manafort as CEO of the presidential campaign of Donald Trump, Steve Bannon took up the torch on August 17, 2016. It was pure logic: on DonaldJTrump.com, the website of Trump’s campaign, Breitbart was by then already the most cited news source.
Bannon was the right person at the right moment. Donald Trump’s advisers who wanted to undermine the Republican establishment knew that in recent years Bannon developed an extensive expertise to develop anti-establishment communication and to unmask the “political correctness”. And at the same time to undermine left anti-establishment movements like Occupy Wall Street and the campaign of Bernie Sanders.
In 2012 Bannon had produced the sensational documentary Occupy Unmasked, where he tried to undermine the credibility of the whole movement by zooming in on extremist and violent elements within the movement. A classical, but effective method of attack-propaganda.
Occupy Wall Street was the popular movement behind Sanders, the Tea Party the movement behind Trump. And to emphasize that Occupy was a threat to morals and law and order, Bannon wanted to make a distinction between the revolution of the Tea Party, Alternative Right and Trump on the one hand and Occupy Wall Street and Sanders on the other hand.
The identity Movements in Europe aren’t about race, but about identity. They carry racists as luggage, but in time racism will disappear.’
But the most powerful weapon in Bannon’s hands was the strategy to undermine the credibility of Hillary Clinton. As a board member of the Government Accountability Institute, a research journalism organization investigating crony capitalism, misuse of tax money and other government corruption, Bannon had contributed to the book Clinton Cash of Peter Schweitzer.
Clinton Cash had exposed corruption scandals at the Clinton Foundation. Bannon had contributed to strategies to translate the book from dry research into a lively political drama and soundbites which could go viral immediately. Everything Trump said about this during his campaign came from Bannon.
Bannon used the popular Breitbart to encourage their own followers, and the factual Government Accountability Institute to inject the broader public and the liberal media with fury against Clinton. Both strategies were equally indispensable.
Schweitzer himself is not a politically biased journalist. He wrote a similar book about corruption by Jeb Bush. After the victory of Donald Trump he told CNN that the same crony capitalism can now start with Trump. Trump himself is a rich business man who, as president of the USA, can now get contracts for his company through privileged contacts with governments worldwide. The same book that cost Clinton and got Trump the presidency, can now be written about Trump himself.
Bannon will not contribute to such a book. The invisible spin doctor behind Trump left anonymity on November 13: Trump appointed him Counselor to the President.
The question everyone is asking himself now: ‘Will a racist be whispering in the ear of the president?’ Whether Bannon himself is a follower of far-right and racist ideas does not matter. The fact that he brought these ideas into the mainstream and into the White House through his media and campaign for Trump, does matter.
He himself said the following about it, an insight into how Bannon learned from the identitarian trend of the European New Right: ‘If you look at the identity movements over there in Europe, their focus is really “Polish identity” or “German identity”, not racial identity. This movement carries racists like luggage, but in time it will change into a centre-right popular movement and racism will disappear.’
We see Trump as some kind of Roman Emperor. Trumpian Populism is the victory of identity politics, the growing awareness of white Americans
Or it stays in the mainstream from now on and racist murders will be the result, like Dylann Roof who shot black churchgoers in Charleston in 2015. After the murders, the New York Times contacted Richard Spencer. In a manifest Roof mentioned ideas pronounced at conferences Spencer organized.
‘Nobody is talking about crimes committed by blacks against white people’, Spencer said suspiciously, because he, like the German Pegida movement, considers the mainstream media to be a “lying press”, or “Lügenpresse”. ‘#BlackLivesMatter is a political correct weapon to suppress white America. Trump is the defense weapon.’
Think tanks develop rational concepts. Media platforms popularize them. Campaign leaders and spin doctors translate them into political positions and communication style. Voters circulate them faster than ever on social media.
Trump’s campaign message against global free trade and his shameless “don’t give a shit say-anything” approach towards terrorism, crimes committed by migrants, law and order, unmistakably bear the mark of Bannon, the Alternative Right and the identitary trend within the New Right. Hillary Clinton called the Alternative Right “the deplorables”, and did not understand that by spreading Trump’s sexist and racist words as a scandal, she actually promoted the Alternative Right and Trump’s image of a bulldozer.
Spencer could not be more happy. ‘We project on Trump our hopes and dreams’, he wrote. ‘We Photoshop Trump as what he could or should be, as a Roman, an imperial general or great conqueror. We are the vanguard. The Alternative Right is deeply connected to Trumpian populism. Trump’s victory was, at its root, a victory of identity politics. You can only understand the Trump-phenomenon as an expression of the growing awareness of white Americans that they are being suppressed and that their influence, power and security decrease.’
Now it’s a full cirlce: from the New Right, through the Alternative Right, via Bannon, towards Donald Trump, who will help his natural allies in Europe to win the elections of 2017. These allies are not the establishment-politicians who are in power at the moment, but nationalist populists like Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen. The New Right is coming home, after a detour in the US. The natural contact point in the European Union of the future president of the United States are the politicians who wants to take down the EU.
Until recently it was only Breitbart working with parties like UKIP, FN and PVV. Now Trump has the power of the White House to strengthen them. And he did not lose any time. Even before the British prime minister Theresa May could go on an official state visit, UKIP-leader and Brexit-architect Nigel Farage, with his team of advisers, visited President-elect Trump in the Trump Tower.
May seemed to be an irrelevant leader, just like the German Chancellor Angela Merkel when she received the outgoing American president Barack Obama in Berlin: both leaders seemed to be the leaders of a bygone era.
On August 24, Farage held a speech at one of Trump’s rallies in Mississippi. He talked about the Brexit as an example for Trump. Steve Bannon showed him around CPAC, the mainstream conservative political conference.
Because Bannon considered the Brexit-campaign a “business opportunity”, Breitbart opened a department in London. The kind of xenophobic populism that became widespread during the Brexit-campaign, was a fruitful environment for Breitbart. Bannon appointed Raheem Kassam, a young British conservative activist of Indian origin to lead the news site. The gamble paid off: on June 23, the day of the Brexit-referendum, the news site received the highest number of visitors ever.
Breitbart London’s chief editor Kassam began working as an adviser for Farage and Farage himself had been writing for Breitbart quite a while. So closely intertwined were the business and political interests of Breitbart London. Kassam was present as an adviser at Farage’s visit to Trump Tower, barely a few days after the American presidential elections.
WILDERS AND DE WINTER
After Trump’s victory, also the Dutch PVV-leader was overcome with joy. ‘We will make the Netherlands great again’ and ‘I will give the Netherlands back to the Dutch people, because the Netherlands is our country’, he wrote on Twitter, referring to Trump and the radical identitarian trend within the New Right.
Geert Wilders benefits from the Brexit- and Trump waves and called them the “patriotic spring” in one of his articles on Breitbart. The Belgian Trump-supporters of Vlaams Belang started using the term as well.
In May, Vlaams Belang-member of parliament Filip De Winter attended the American Renaissance-conference Islamization of Europe, an extremist white nationalist organization in the US. And last week he visited the Greek neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn. ‘When it is about refusing entry to Islamic immigrants we support Trump and Trump supports us’, he said during a speech.
De Winter was also positive about the appointment of Jeff Sessions, a hardline supporter of identitarian politics, as minister of Justice in Trump’s administration. Sessions was the first senator to support Trump in his proposal to stop the immigration of Muslims.
Geert Wilders visited the Republican Convention in August and was one of the speakers at Gays for Trump, an evening party of Milo Yiannopoulos, one of Breitbart’s most extreme editors who came out as gay. The speeches of Wilders and Yiannopoulos were full of anti-Islam rhetoric.
Of all European nationalist populists the rhetoric of Wilders and De Winter is closest to Trump. Banning Islam by law, is similar to the unheard and unrealistic proposals of Trump to ban all Muslims or to create a “Muslim register”.
Such proposals are so extreme that one can only think of what happened during the thirties. The reaction of nationalist populists is, as expected, that the “politically correct leftist church” is avoiding the debate and does not dare to name the problems.
As a counselor to president Trump, Steve Bannon will follow the Dutch and French parliamentary elections closely. He called Marion Maréchal-Le Pen the rising star of French politics.
Since the beginning of 2015, Breitbart published 75 articles about the Le Pens. Breitbart also wants to open a department in France and Germany. ‘We want to report on the elections, they will be historic’, said Bannon. ‘The goal is to attract a new European audience and at the same time to promote American interest in the European elections.
In her youthful enthusiasm Marion Le Pen tweeted that she accepted ‘the offer of Bannon to cooperate.’
Breitbart wants to help PVV, FN and AfD to win the elections in 2017. For Breitbart it is of course about the money as well: the anti-refugee feelings and anti-Islam sentiments are business opportunities. After 2015, the year of fear, fear sells better than ever.
A few hours after the election results in the US had become known, the slogan Make Germany Great Again circulated on twitter channels of members of Alternative Für Deutschland (AfD).
The German city of Dresden is the cradle of the anti-Islam movement Pegida, of whom the rhetoric connects with the most extreme version of New-Right identitarian concepts which are the foundation of Frauke Petry’s Alternative Für Deutschland.
Steve Bannon is keeping an eye on them. ‘There is a new Tea Party in Germany’, he said. ‘The topic is the same everywhere: middle class and working class are working too hard and seeing corrupt people calling themselves conservatives embrace capitalism.’ And Muslims who steal their jobs and rape their women, he forgot to add. Because Germany is also the country of the “politically correct multicul” of Angela Merkel’s refugee policy – Wir Schaffen Das – and of the sexual incidents in Cologne on New Year’s Eve of 2015.
Speeches of Steve Bannon and the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban are remarkably alike. Just like Flemish nationalist Bart De Wever (N-VA) referred to heroic battles between the “civilized” Rome and the “Barbarians” of Carthage in his reaction to terrorist attacks in France and Tunisia, neither do Bannon and Orban shun apocalyptical language about Islam.
‘We’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict against Islamic fascism’, said Steve Bannon. ‘If we do not bind together and form a militant Christian activism, everything we developed the past 2500 years will be destroyed. ‘We have to stand with our beliefs, and fight for them against this new barbarity.’
In his speech of March 15, 2016, a week before the IS-attacks in Brussels, the Hungarian prime minister prepared his population for WWIII: ‘Today Europe is weak, like a flower being eaten by a worm. The future of Europe is at stake. This time it will be a different kind of war: mass-migration that erodes our shores.’
The attack on politically correct thinking had to be there as well, to nourish the anger of the people, to accuse the elites of hiding the truth and to present himself as an honest leader: ‘Today you cannot say these things in Europe. It is prohibited to say that immigration brings crime and terror to Europe, that tens of millions of people from different civilizations threaten our way of living and our Christian traditions, that immigrant ghetto’s in European metropoles disrupt the old social structures.’
‘It is forbidden to say that this is part of a planned operation. Brussels wants to place foreigners among us to change the religious, cultural and ethnic landscape. But the peoples of Europe will wake up slowly and organize themselves.’
The speeches bear the mark of New-Right identitarian concepts, also in Hungary. The extremely aggressive anti-migrant campaign for the referendum of October 2, 2016 in Hungary had the same limitless approach of Trump and Wilders: if we do not stop the left-liberals, Europe will be destroyed.
Is it a coincidence? Arpad Habony, the spin doctor of Orban’s campaigns, used to work together with Arthur Finkelstein, the campaign advisor of Ronald Reagan who turned “liberal” into a swear word and who specialized in attack-propaganda. Nowadays, Finkelstein has a polling company that collaborated with Trump and Bannon.
The Hungarian press reported about the fact that Arpad Habony also advised Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign to be presidential candidate in France. A possible indication that the centre-right is not just taking the identitarian politics but also the communication style of the far-right?
With its attacks in Paris and Brussels, IS wanted to export its identitarian politics – in other words: sectarianism – to Europe. In Iraq they committed terror attacks against Shias in the years 2000 to provoke the hate of the Shias against the Sunnis, so that they in turn could present themselves as the protector of the Sunnis.
In Europe they committed terror attacks to provoke the hate of non-Muslims against Muslims, so that they in turn could present themselves as the protector of the Muslims. In the Middle-East you are first Muslim, Sunni, Shia, Christian and only then Syrian, Iraqi or Lebanese. Superpowers and militias mobilize citizens based on their identity, to be foot soldiers in a cruel war. There you can see to what atrocities identity politics can lead.
Translation: Hanne Van Regemortel.