Steve Bannon’s star may well have fallen in recent times, but he remains America’s leading ideologue to this day. After not only losing his position as Strategic Advisor to the Trump Administration, he is no longer the executive chairman of Breitbart News. Bannon currently finds himself ostracised in US conservative circles and the Republican Party.
What happens next with Bannon remains to be seen, but it is undeniable that his influence, whether covert (Cambridge Analytica) or overt (using the platform of the Alt-Right propaganda machine Breitbart) has been astonishing. Bannon remains an influential voice within the Alt-Right, and his revolutionary brand of conservatism remains a powerful influence in hard right conservatism. But when you dig deeper into the beliefs of Bannon, they are, to say the least, disturbing.
Bannon Trump and Brexit:
There is no need to go into more detail with this (included early as a later reference), but Carole Cadwalladr’s excellent investigative journalism into Brexit, Trump, Mercer, Cambridge Analytica can be found here:
Even that simple graphic shows Steve Bannon, sitting like a bloated, alcohol fueled spider at the centre of the web of the greatest political upset the West has experienced in decades.
Bannon and Dugin, Ideological Soul Mates?
Aleksandr Gelyevich Dugin, sometimes called ‘Putin’s Brain’ and inevitably ‘Putin’s Rasputin’ is rightly considered the leading ‘intellectual’ of Russia’s Far Right (Fascist) ideologues. Erstwhile Trump supporter (soured after Trumps intervention in Russia’s proxy war in Syria).
Ra, Ra Rasputin lover of the Trump machine…
Dugin, a mercurial and sometimes, seemingly, hypocritical figure on one hand, insists that “Western civilization is death” mocks Europeans as “Euromonkeys”: “We should throw away the entire West’s racism, we are people of Asia, of Eurasia, we should stop heading towards European culture.”, at the same time champions Trump’s, so-called, insurgency against the “globalist” beltway elites. Considered (and again rightly) the leader of the Eurasian/Traditionalist movement, Dugin likes to call for “destruction” of everybody who did not support traditionalist values. He also mocks, liberalism and supporters of Western human rights. Dugin’s Eurasianism, proclaims that Russia’s destiny is to lead all Slavic and Turkic people in a grand empire to resist corrupt Western values. At it’s heart it is a glorification, and yearning for the lost ‘Russian Empire’ (not to be confused with the USSR).
Dugin’s Neo-Eurasian nationalism is rooted in the political and cultural philosophy of the European New Right. Neo-Eurasianism is based on a quasi-geopolitical theory that juxtaposes the ‘Atlanticist New World Order’ (principally the US and the UK) against the Russia-oriented ‘New Eurasian Order’. According to Dugin, the ‘Atlanticist Order’ is a homogenizing force that dilutes national and cultural diversity that is a core value for Eurasia. Taken for granted, Eurasia is perceived to suffer from a ‘severe ethnic, biological and spiritual’ crisis and is to undergo an ‘organic cultural-ethnic process’ under the leadership of Russia that will secure the preservation of Eurasian nations and their cultural traditions. More than 14 Words, but amounts to the same.
Even though the ideology of Dugin has been examined in the MSM for a number of years now, most people remain oblivious to the man. Everyone needs to be aware, Dugin is dangerous, a mad philosopher who helped redesign much of the current Russian government and Russian people’s mindset. Dugin’s philosophy is a hate-ridden fascist ideology and one he has been exporting into the West for many years.
At the heart of Dugin’s ideology lies his ‘Eurasianism‘. In his book The American Empire Should Be Destroyed”: Alexander Dugin and the Perils of Immanentized Eschatology, James Heiser dissects Dugin’s ideology.
The core to Dugin’s Eurasianism ‘is that “liberalism”, the entire belief system underpinning Western Culture:
‘Represents an assault on the traditional hierarchical organization of the world. Repeating the ideas of Nazi theorists Karl Haushofer, Rudolf Hess, Carl Schmitt, and Arthur Moeller van den Bruck, Dugin says that this liberal threat is not new, but is the ideology of the maritime-cosmopolitan power “Atlantis,” which has conspired to subvert more conservative land-based societies since ancient times. Accordingly he has written books in which he has reconstructed the entire history of the world as a continuous battle between these two factions, from Rome vs. Carthage to Russia vs. the Anglo-Saxon “Atlantic Order” today. If it is to win its fight against the subversive oceanic bearers of such “racist” (because foreign imposed) ideas as human rights, Russia must unite around itself all the continental powers, including Germany, Central and Eastern Europe, the former Soviet republics, Turkey, Iran, and Korea, into grand Eurasian Union strong enough to defeat the West’ (more on this here).’
For Dugin, Russia’s opponent
“is not just the United States, but Atlanticism, the axis of cooperation between Europe, US and Canada that crosses the Atlantic Ocean. These maritime, liberal nations value individuality and market forces.” (more)
Whilst Eurasianism has more support among the people of Russia, than (allegedly) within the Kremlin, and Dugin’s level of influence is contested by the Russian Govt, there are disturbing similarities with Putin’s Geopolitical aims and Dugin’s philosophy.
Dugin was advising Russian elites as early as the 1990s that
“It is especially important to introduce geopolitical disorder into internal American activity,”
“Encouraging all kinds of separatism and ethnic, social and racial conflicts, actively supporting all dissident movements – extremist, racist, and sectarian groups, thus destabilizing internal political processes in the US. It would also make sense simultaneously to support isolationist tendencies in American politics …”
And as for Europe Dugin advises that:
“[t]he task of Moscow is to tear Europe away from the control of the U.S. (NATO),”
“In Germany and France,” Dugin advises, “there is a firm anti-Atlanticist tradition …” This tradition is embodied in ethno-nationalist movements like Marine Le Pen’s Front Nationale, whose cause Dugin urges Russia to promote by all means.
‘Do you have Lepenn I need to sign Le Cheque?’
If any of this sounds familiar, it is exactly what Mueller and the FBI are currently investigating in regards to Russian interference in the US election.
In 2015, Dugin was placed on a list of individuals sanctioned by the EU and US for their alleged role in instigating the Ukraine conflict. A one-time adviser to Sergei Naryshkin, a member of Putin’s inner circle and former foreign intelligence chief, Dugin is regarded as a key go-between for the Kremlin and fascists throughout Europe. IB Times.
For an excellent essay on Russia as a Fascist State (bearing in mind the ideological links to Dugin’s phillosophy) read this:
Putin’s Russia: A Moderate Fascist State
Despite their separate, and, seemingly incompatible, nationalisms Bannon and Dugin’s ideologies merge:
‘They both believe global elites have conspired against ordinary people. Their enemies: secularism, multiculturalism, egalitarianism. In both Bannon’s and Dugin’s worldview, the true global ideological struggle is not between Russia and the United States but between culturally homogenous groups founded on Judeo-Christian values practicing humane capitalism on one side and, on the other, an international crony-capitalist network of bankers and big business.‘ – Newsweek
Both Dugin, and Bannon’s Breitbart (and foil hatted, conspiracy theorists) see Liberalism as the ideological movement creating a “One World Government,” led by “Globalist Elites” who are out to deprive people of a sense of identity and to subjugate them to Corporations.
While Bannon may have no, known, direct ties to Dugin (or Putin, a man he has derided as a Kleptocrat), he has shown on a number of occasions that he is aware of his philosophy. Bannon referred to Dugin while answering questions at a talk hosted by the religious right-wing Human Dignity Institute in the summer of 2014.
“When Vladimir Putin, when you really look at some of the underpinnings of some of his beliefs today, a lot of those come from what I call Eurasianism,” said Bannon. “He’s got an adviser [Dugin] 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 (sic) are traditionalists are attracted to that.”
And even though the two never have, as yet, met, Dugin told The Daily Beast,
“I connect with Bannon’s focus of the entire presidential campaign: the denial of globalism, rejection of America’s hegemony, the return of religious and national interests, his criticism of liberals and respect for traditional values,” Dugin said. “Bannon is a bright personality, his team published my books in the United States, including The Fourth Political Theory.”
As with Bannon, Dugin, believed (he’s not so keen on Trump now, but still a fan of Bannon)Trump’s victory ‘is a monumental strike against the “globalists”, whose candidate was Hillary Clinton’ and as noted by Big Think:
‘the (is) same language that you can easily find peppering conservative American websites like Breitbart News, Drudge Report and conspiracy king Alex Jones (a particular favorite of Dugin’s). He thinks Trump’s victory was a kind of “revolution” started by American people and should lead to worldwide defeats of the globalist agenda, draining the proverbial “swamp” the world over.’
As for Bannon, Dugin’s Eurasianism/traditionalism is seen as one that can be used as a bulwark against what he believes to be America’s greatest threats — liberalism and “radical Islam.”,
‘You know, Putin’s been quite an interesting character. He’s also very, very, very intelligent. I can see this in the United States where he’s playing very strongly to social conservatives about his message about more traditional values, so I think it’s something that we have to be very much on guard of. Because at the end of the day, I think that Putin and his cronies are really a kleptocracy, that are really an imperialist power that want to expand. However, I really believe that in this current environment, where you’re facing a potential new caliphate that is very aggressive that is really a situation — I’m not saying we can put it on a back burner — but I think we have to deal with first things first.’
As can be seen, both Dugin and Bannon share much the same apocalyptic, nationalist ideology. Diverging on many issues, but a the very core they remain very much the same. As the Economist reported, “whatever the differences [between Dugin, Putin, and Bannon, they] do want to be in vanguard of a fight against certain common enemies, including secularism, multiculturalism, egalitarianism and modernity.”. Which brings us to…
Dugin, Bannon, Breitbart and the Far Right:
Of all parts of Dugin’s philosophy, his two tenets of Traditionalism and cultural purity are those that have most infiltrated white nationalist and far right groups in the USA and Europe. Both Dugin and Bannon’s traditionalist view of identity lie at the heart of not only the rebranding of White Supremacy as White Identity but also Nationalism (Fascism) as Neo-Nationalism, Alt Right.
As Think Progress have noted:
‘One of Dugin’s biggest fans is Richard Spencer, the head of the racist National Policy Institute (NPI) and the man who popularized the term “alt-right.” Dugin’s work has been published on Spencer’s former website Alternate Right. And Spencer’s wife, Nina Spencer (who also goes by the aliases Nina Kouprianova, or Byzantina) has regularly translated Dugin’s work into English on her blog (though the blog gives the disclaimer saying that translated words are not necessarily the views of the translator).’
And of course it is a pure coincidence that, so many online pro-Trump supporters also posts pro-Putin/Dugin messages. According to the Sydney Morning Herald. American white supremacist and Alt-right leaders in the Charlottesville rally, Jared Taylor and Preston Wiginton, also promote the same ideology as Dugin and Bannon, as do so many others.
Bannon famously described Richard Spencer, as one of the leading “intellectuals” of the alt-right movement in an article in Breitbart .
As for Bannon and Breitbart, it too used the very same, slightly diluted rhetoric, to aid Trump’s ascension into the White House:
‘Where did the ideas that animated the candidate’s packed rallies — and juiced voter turnout in Rust Belt states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Ohio — come from? “Build the wall!”? “Drain the swamp!”? “Crooked Hillary!”? “Deep state!”? Defining immigrants as violent gangs or murderous thugs? Painting American’s urban neighborhoods as crime-infested ratholes.
‘The core messages of the president’s underlying xenophobia and racism that animated his base didn’t emerge from the mind of “very stable genius” Trump (despite a long life of troubling racial attitudes). Instead, the nonstop undercurrent of hate toward The Other in American life was focus-grouped, computer-coded, deliberately amplified by a new ultra-right-wing media echo chamber (Breitbart) and then targeted with cruise-missile precision at the handful of states that Trump won by roughly 100,000 votes to grab the Electoral College.’ (more on this here).
Of course, it was not only Trump, Breitbart that ruthlessly promoted ‘the Other’ as a national threat, enter stage far right, Nigel Farage and Brexit.
Don’t say you did Nazi that coming…
And the official Vote Leave Campaign, getting in on the act…
Brexit and Farage of course promoted by Breitbart, indeed even the Fuhrage himself proclaimed that Brexit would not have happened without Breitbart’s help. And Bannon Agrees:
‘Bannon made clear he didn’t believe Brexit would have happened without the British Breitbart bureau. Explaining that:
“Britain and Brexit loom large in Bannon’s revolutionary vision”, The Spectator quotes Bannon’s remarks: “Brexit would not have happened if Breitbart London had not started… We were the platform for Ukip ideas, particularly immigration.”’.
It seems that Breitbart are desperate to get that video removed. This was sent to a Blogger on Twitter for posting it, the video had had over 100,000 views by then.
Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore, it has been revealed had multiple contacts with Russian officials before the Brexit referendum:
• Multiple meetings between the leaders of Leave.EU and high-ranking Russian officials, from November 2015 to 2017.
• Two meetings in the week Leave.EU launched its official campaign.
• An introduction to a Russian businessman, by the Russian ambassador, the day after Leave.EU launched its campaign, who reportedly offered Banks a multibillion dollar opportunity to buy Russian goldmines.
• A trip to Moscow in February 2016 to meet key partners and financiers behind a gold project, including a Russian bank.
• Continued extensive contact in the run-up to the US election when Banks, his business partner and Leave.EU spokesman Andy Wigmore, and Nigel Farage campaigned in the US to support Donald Trump’s candidacy.
Source, The Observer.
And it is not just with Brexit and the US Far-Right. There is also Dugin’s ‘Russian Conservative Forum’ (for conservative insert the word fascist).
In March 2015, a group of fringe political activists from around the globe met in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The prelude to what is now the rapidly growing World National-Conservative Movement. The WNCM’s specific goal is to support (both financially and through aggressive social media campaigning) radical far-right or far-left activist groups or individuals from around the world.
Of course our very own British Fash were there:
It’s been a hard days knight…
Dowson and Griffin, through their larping division of Britain First being some of the biggest social media promoters of Dugin’s Eurasianism (more akin to Bannon’s vision of it than Dugin’s), Putin supporters, Brexit supporters, and, of course Trump supporters. Even the New York Times acknowleges them: How a Putin Fan Overseas Pushed Pro-Trump Propaganda to Americans:
‘Mr. Dowson explained how his decision to establish an American social media presence was similar to the move into European markets by Breitbart News, the conservative provocateur media operation run by Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist.
“Simple truth is that after 40 years of the right having no voice because the media was owned by the enemy, we were FORCED to become incredibly good at alternative media in a way the left simply can’t grasp or handle,” Mr. Dowson said. “Bottom line is: BREXIT, TRUMP and much more to follow.”
‘Some analysts see danger signs in the nexus of Russian interests and far-right agitators in Europe and the United States. Social media can amplify even the most obscure voices, giving them a stage from which to broadcast a distorted message to credulous audiences.
“These messages seep into the mainstream,” said Alina Polyakova, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, a nonpartisan international affairs institute in Washington. “They may have been extreme or fringe at one point in time, but they have been incredibly influential in shaping people’s views about key geopolitical events in a very specific direction.”
Dugin and a lead figure in Hungary’s Jobbick.
Russia is particularly adept at playing this game, Ms. Polyakova said. “Moscow specifically encourages and facilitates” the spreading of propaganda through proxies, she said, as well as through events like the Russian conservative forum, which showcases views and narratives favored by the Putin government.’
Putin’s aim is to sway EU countries “through coercion and corruption” away from Europe and towards Russia.
“Since the 2008 economic crisis, which provoked mistrust in the Western economic model, the Kremlin saw an opportunity to step up its influence operations in Europe’s three great powers – France, Germany, and the UK. Russia has developed well-documented relationships with anti-EU, far-right political parties and leaders. Russia seeks to infiltrate politics, influence policy, and inculcate an alternative, pro-Russian view of the international order.”
For Timothy Snyder, a Yale historian and prolific writer on central Europe, his book, “The Road to Unfreedom” documents a determined effort by Vladimir Putin’s Russia to undermine liberal, law-based democracy.
Mr Snyder also traces the,
Kremlin’s efforts to undermine the European Union by fostering Eurosceptic parties on the extreme right and left, as well as its drive to weaken America’s body politic. He believes that the election of Donald Trump, and the discrediting of Hillary Clinton, were with good reason seen in Moscow as a sweet success, achieved above all with the manipulation of electronic messages. In his view, this mood of triumph was felt not so much because of the policies that Mr Trump would follow, but because his cavalier attitude to the rules of the political game was subverting the American system. As Mr Snyder sees it, Russia finds flawed democracies easier to live with than healthy ones.
He also argues that:
‘getting into the heads of Americans and Europeans has become easier than it was during the cold war. The Soviet Union had to offer physical evidence that it was achieving more, scientifically and materially, than the West. But when voters spend hours a day in front of electronic screens, much can be achieved simply by a deft use of the messages flashing in front of them.’
More on this Here:
There is nothing new about this obviously. Andrew Foxall, director of the Russian Studies Centre at think tank The Henry Jackson Society, told IBTimes UK that the Kremlin had long nurtured the connections.
“Russia has been cultivating contacts with the UK far right for well over a decade. Since at least 2011, the Kremlin has invited members of the far right to monitor elections in Russia, speak at conferences there, and otherwise undertake friendly diplomatic initiatives,” he said.
The Kremlin has been accused of waging an information warfare campaign in Europe, sponsoring extremists groups, spreading fake news, and engaging in cyber attacks in an attempt to undermine European institutions.MI6 chief Alex Younger has warned that “hybrid warfare” campaigns of the type waged by Russia poses a threat to democracy.
According to a 2015 study by Foxall, ties between Kremlin-linked nationalists and British extremists extend back to 2005, when Kremlin ally and nationalist ideologue Alexander Dugin was invited to speak at a meeting of the British New Right group by Troy Southgate and Jonathan Bowden, both former senior BNP members. More on this Here:
More on Dowson/Griffin and their attempts to infiltrate the US Far Right market here:
Dowson and Griffin, of course, not being the only British, far right fan of Putin, enter Mr Farage…again
Mr Farage of course, famously linked to whom many believe to be a Kremlin asset, Julian Assange (WikiLeaks servers now hosted in Russia).
“WikiLeaks has been accused by Mrs Clinton of acting as a “fully owned subsidiary of Russian intelligence” after it published damaging emails, allegedly stolen by Russian operatives, during the 2016 presidential election campaign.
In June last year, Mr Farage dismissed a report that he was a “person of interest” in the FBI’s investigation into possible collusion between Mr Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia.”
Indeed, Nigel Farage is alleged to have slipped a USB stick containing data to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during a secret trip to the Ecuadorian embassy.
And Farage’s ideology?
Sound familier yet?
Bannon, Mercer, Brexit and Trump:
And so we return back to the original premise of this blog, Bannon, Mercer, Brexit and Trump and the dangerous Fascist ideology that underpins all of this.
The final piece to the puzzle – Robert Mercer. The money behind Cambridge Analytica, Breitbart, and heavens knows what else. Disaster Capitalist, the reclusive Long Island hedge-fund manager, the major force behind the Trump Presidency. The man the Evening Standard dubbed the ‘Most Powerful Influencer You Have Never Heard Of‘:
If Robert Mercer’s plan was to loom like a Bond villain over the political stage, then he has pulled it off to staggering effect. Giant mansion? Tick. 203ft yacht? Tick. Financial and technological genius enabling his companies to yank the hidden strings of elections to devastating effect? Tick. All that’s missing from the picture we have of this elusive American billionaire is the purring white cat.
According to the New Yorker:
‘During the past decade, Mercer, who is seventy, has funded an array of political projects that helped pave the way for Trump’s rise. Among these efforts was public-opinion research, conducted by Caddell, showing that political conditions in America were increasingly ripe for an outsider candidate to take the White House. Caddell told me that Mercer “is a libertarian—he despises the Republican establishment,” and added, “He thinks that the leaders are corrupt crooks, and that they’ve ruined the country.”’
The Mercers noticed Bannon’s when he took over Breitbart in 2012.
‘The Mercers recognized Bannon as an ideological ally. They also appreciated how quickly he improved the website’s finances.’: ‘Bannon was respectful around Robert, says this person, but with Rebekah he was more apt to say precisely what he thought: “He worked for Bob; he worked with Rebekah.”’ (more Here) Indeed, it was Rebekah Mercer that persuaded Trump that he should put Bannon in charge of the campaign and hire the pollster Kellyanne Conway. It is difficult to ascertain just what the Mercers ideology really is, although the Atlantic cites sources that state:
“I don’t think [the Mercers are] as nationalistic as Steve,” said a Republican operative who has worked for the Mercers. “Steve is an unapologetic nationalist. I don’t think the Mercers are as much.” But “they share a real disdain for elitism. That’s what sort of binds them together.”
Another of the Republican operatives described Bannon as the “Obi-Wan Kenobi” to Rebekah Mercer, and a third was even more pointed: “Svengali.” Bannon is “really, really, really influential” with Mercer, said the former Breitbart employee. The Mercer’s, the former employee said, made their wishes known through Bannon, who would sometimes cite the company’s financial backers as a reason for Breitbart not to do a story.’.
And with Mercer/Trump/Russia links?
As Vanity Fair noted in 2017:
‘A day after Facebook disclosed that ads purchased by Russia before and after the 2016 election may have reached as many as 10 million people (now estimated at over 80 Million) in the United States, a clearer picture of the Kremlin’s micro-targeting operation has emerged. Sources tell CNN that Russia took aim at two swing states that ultimately proved critical for Trump’s victory in the 2016 election: Michigan and Wisconsin, states where Trump beat Hillary Clinton by just over 33,000 votes in total. The ads, which CNN reports were “highly sophisticated” in their targeting of key demographic groups, are the first indication of what parts of the country Russian operatives may have tried to sway during the election and raises new questions about whether they had any help.
This new evidence could be critical as Justice Department special counsel Robert Mueller and congressional investigators continue their probe into Russian interference in the election. It could bring new scrutiny to the election data operation run by Jared Kushner, which used Cambridge Analytica, the data-mining firm funded by Trump backer Robert Mercer, to place ads on Facebook. Both the firm and Kushner have denied any collusion with foreign agents, but some members of Congress have openly wondered whether Russians somehow accessed their data. “I think the Russians had help,” said Congresswoman Jackie Speier, a California Democrat and a member of the House Intelligence Committee. “I’ve always wondered if Cambridge Analytica was part of that.”
Of course, Mercer has a long history of funding far right groups. Robert Mercer, whose family has reportedly donated $36.6m to Republican candidates since 2010, reportedly gave the money to Secure America Now, an organisation that produced several video advertisements apparently designed to promote anti-Muslim sentiment.