UK – The European Union Referendum and the Parliamentary Dirty Tricks Brigade.

=By= Felicity Arbuthnot

Vote Leave - The European Union and Your Family: The Facts.”

The UK is suffering through its bout of Tea Party equivalent with the current batch of Conservatives. They seem to be as willing to lie and propagandize as their cousins across the pond. While the U.S. and UK have always been close (Revolutionary War aside), shadow boxing politics seems like over doing it a bit. Now they are pushing for the UK to leave the European Union. -rw

The referendum on whether the Britain leaves or stays in the European Union is just eight days away. A glossy leaflet dropped through my letterbox headed: “Vote Leave – The European Union and Your Family: The Facts.”

The Vote Leave campaign (1) has a Board and Committee comprising of – broadly – the sort of far right “Little Englanders” that comedies derive from. There are a handful of Lords, there is Iain Duncan Smith who called for the invasion of Iraq within two months of 11 September 2001, who by November 2001 was holding meetings on the topic with then Vice President Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Condoleeza Rice.

Conservative UK

Conservative politicians supporting the measure

Ironically he also became Conservative Party Leader in September 2001. Announcement of his victory in the leadership contest was delayed until 13th September 2001 due to the World Trade Centre disaster. By 2003 his MPs had passed a vote of no confidence in his leadership forcing his resignation.

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson,

Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson,

Another “Vote Leave” heavyweight (literally) is Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, MP, former Mayor of London and the UK’s Donald Trump (without the orange hue but with the mouth and hair.) Born in New York, educated at the European School in Brussels amongst other educational establishments, with Turkish, French and Swiss forbears and a former Brussels correspondent of the Daily Telegraph, there nevertheless appears to be nothing remotely outward looking or international about him.

In Feb 2015 he stated he was to relinquish his US passport (2) having had residency and dual nationality, either or both of which he seeks to deny Europeans or indeed British wishing to work and live in Europe. He stated that: ‘ … he would approach US ambassador Matthew Barzun about the change. ”It is a laborious business. They don’t make it easy for you,” ‘ he stated.

Cynics speculated that this move was actually due to his having an eye on being Prime Minister in anticipation of questions being raised raised as to his loyalties.

However, according to the Daily Telegraph, aides said his priority was to avoid paying more to the US tax authorities, after he was forced to settle a large US capitol gains bill (see 2.)

Another on the anti-transnational relations, pull up the drawbridge “Vote Leave” wagon is the Minister of State for Employment, Priti Patel. She was born in the UK to parents who were immigrants to Uganda of Gujarati origin who then emigrated to the UK shortly before Idi Amin announced the expulsion of Ugandan Asians in the 1960s. They established a chain of newsagents, founding a thriving business as have so many who have come to the UK. However, Patel is hell bent on stopping others from far closer to home doing the same thing, or again, UK residents who wish to travel the other way.

A Hindu with close ties to Gujarat, in January 2015 she was announced there as being among the celebrated “Jewels of Gujarat – Leading Global Gujarati Personalities.” Double standards abound. Ironically, in 2003 she was quoted as saying that: “racist attitudes do persist within the (Conservative) party.” (3) Look in the mirror Madam.

A small example of the utter hypocrisy of “Vote Leave.”

Then there is the blatant disregard of the truth. This was contained in the delivered leaflet under “The Facts”:

 “ While we’re in the EU, the UK isn’t allowed to negotiate our own trade deals. This means we currently have no trade deal with key allies such as Australia, News Zealand or the USA – or important growing economies like India, China or Brazil …”

On the Australian government’s website is: “Imports from UK A$ 12,559 million. Exports to UK A$ 8,585 million.” (2014 figures.)

The New Zealand government website records: “Imports from United Kingdom – $889 million, up $38 million.” The UK was the in top five exporters to NZ. Exports from New Zealand to the UK totaled 3,128 million NZ $s and was also fifth in the twenty top export markets. (2014 figures.)

As for the USA and China, this from the UK government website:

“The importance of China to the UK economy as a trading partner has increased consistently since 2004, with both imports and exports increasing. Following a growth of imports from £11.4 billion to £37.6 billion in 2014, China has become the UK’s second largest import partner behind America, accounting for 7.0% of UK imports in 2014 compared with 3.3% in 2004 … “

Further, according to the United States Census Bureau (4) US imports from the UK, January to April 2016 were valued 17, 398.2 million US $s, with US exports to the UK worth 18,403.8 million US $s.

For 2015, total exports from the US to the UK were worth 58,114.6 million US $s and imports from the UK to the US 57,962.3 million US $s.

Trade between India and the UK (2014) equaled 4,301.46 million US $s according to UK government websites and regarding Brazil: “400 of the world’s 500 largest companies operate in Brazil. These include many UK companies, such as Rolls Royce, BG Group, Shell, BP, JCB, Rexam and Experian.”

As this is finished I tripped over another “Vote Leave” scam. They have placed an ad on various sidebars on emails and other sites (5.) It asks: “Do you agree with Jeremy Corbyn?” (UK opposition Leader and campaigner for staying in the EU.) There is a “yes” or “no” click on. Click on “yes” and a page opens with a picture of Corbyn and: “If you agree with Jeremy and will vote Leave on 23rd June, sign up below”, with the usual spaces for name, email etc – underneath is “I agree with Jeremy.”

Apart from being clearly legally actionable, “Vote Leave” is trying to sell to the gullible that Corbyn – who has multiplied Labour Party members in order of magnitude since being elected, who listen to his views – is advising them to vote to opt out of the EU.

It can only be hoped that those in the Labour Party Cabinet are reaching for their lawyers. The EU has undoubted imperfections, but is a cosmopolitan, outward looking paradise compared to being left on a small island with a misinformed at best, untruthful at worst, isolationist cabal like “Vote Leave” at the helm.


  1. http://www.voteleavetakecontrol.org/campaign
  2. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/11413801/Boris-Johnson-clears-way-to-Number-10-by-renouncing-US-passport.html
  3. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6206132.stm
  4. https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c4120.html
  5. http://action.voteleavetakecontrol.org/stand_with_corbyn


About the author
felicity_ArbuthnotBW2Senior Contributing Editor FELICITY ARBUTHNOT is an internationally respected expert in Middle East affairs. She has visited Iraq dozens of times.


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Emigre Super Blocs Part I: Inside The Secret Super Majority that Decide Election 2016 & War with Russia

GH Eliason

Slavic evangelicals

Slavic Evangelical Christians at a Thanksgiving service in Oregon (US). They are now the single largest immigrant group in Oregon.

Editor's Note
This article is a the second in the series discussing the impact of immigrant voting blocs on elections and policy in the United States, and in some cases elsewhere. Mr. Eliason argues that these blocs - most particularly the Central and Eastern European (CEE) origin voters. Given that there is a high probability that there may be a low voter turn out in November due to the high levels of distaste for both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, the importance of voting blocs cannot be overstated. While, not all people with their origins in the CEE region will follow direction on these issues, there are "identity" organizations The Central and Eastern European Congress, and UCCA, and World Anti-Communist League (WACL), to name a few, who will push a bloc voting agenda. Part 2 also examines the nationalistic roots of these associations which plays out in their activities here and abroad. -rw

The GOP’s strategy of reducing the electorate goes back at least to Paul Weyrich’s 1980 remarks about the “Goo Goo (Good Government) Syndrome.” Weyrich is one of the fathers of the far right in the U.S. and also the co-founder (with Joseph Coors of Coors beer) of the ultra right Heritage Foundation think tank. Weyrich made a lasting statement in his 1980 presentation to the Religious Roundtable:

So many of our Christians have what I call the goo-goo syndrome: good government. They want everybody to vote. I don’t want everybody to vote. Elections are not won by a majority of people, they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. As a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down.

This quote was actually captured on tape:

Out of this arises the fights over gerrymandering, and the ongoing Republican efforts to reduce the electorate through a number of strategies from purging the voter polls, making voter registration and voting more difficult (and expensive), and fighting against the Voting Rights Act. The fewer people who vote, the more power goes to voting blocs.

Below, Mr. Eliason discusses the power of Eastern European emigres as voting blocs with tremendous power in US elections. He argues that they share an anti-Russian, nationalistic anchor and this will affect not only the election, but is a critical component in the push towards war with Russia and China. -rw

Inside The Secret Super Majority that [May] Decide Election 2016 & War with Russia

GH Eliason

How well the candidate from either party satisfies 7 questions from a particular group of people will determine who the President of the United States will be after this election. The winner will be the one that proves they are the most willing to go to war with Russia and China after they are elected. Will you do your part and vote for them?

The only thing we need to agree on at this point is 1+1=2. It can’t vary. The simple logic doesn’t care how it makes you feel. If the information adds up without any leaps the conclusion presents itself in the simplest form, 1+1 always =2.

The determining factors in the US Presidential election won’t be decided in Kiev if that’s the direction you think I’m going in. Rather, along with the super-delegates, there is a secret super- majority that has existed for the last 40+ years in the USA and this is the most important election they will ever hijack and decide.

The problem with facts is once you know them, you can’t argue with them anymore.

This group has a 50-year history of deciding elections. Included in that history are the deaths of over 100,000 Americans and millions of people in other countries. For them, this is the most important election of all time. This time, they want to bring the war home.

Simple Electoral Mathematics

With over 235 million eligible voters in the US, if you could count on more than 20 million of them to vote en bloc could you win? What if they were concentrated around swing cities in swing states across America? These are the cities with the highest number of electoral delegates. If any candidate could count on more than 15% of ballots cast before counting traditional party voters, could they lose?

In the 2012 election only 54% or 129 million voted out of 235 million eligible voters.

More than 20 million votes gets more mileage with low voter turnout. When you take party affiliation into account it gets even more impressive. According to 2014 data, 39% identify as independents, 32% as Democrats and 23% as Republicans.

This makes it clear that 15% of the electorate beyond your party is not only enough to win a presidential election but supplies a mandate. But whose mandate in 2016?

An easier way to understand this is if your candidate is predicted to win/lose by +-3-5% points in a given state and I can deliver 7%, am I really important to you? Or if I can deliver 5-7 states this way, do you owe me anything?

What if “WE” can deliver 15-18 important states this way in your national election? How about 20 states? Would you go to war for me? Would you sanction my enemies or at the extreme give me diplomatic cover if I commit or support genocide in other countries?

The Primaries- Where 5-15% Can Turn into 80% of the Vote!

The presidential primaries are where it really gets impressive. Why? No one votes. This is why candidates start with radical positions that after the convention “start to drift toward the center.” After all, they need to talk to the rest of us.

When you take the above and apply it to the primaries the math goes on steroids. Only .8% to 5% of eligible voters are needed to win a state. It can translate into 40-80% of the votes cast. Don’t believe me?

Let’s take a look at Iowa. In Iowa, there were 2,403,229 eligible voters for the 2016 primaries. Only 15% of registered voters showed up at the polls. That translates to 357,283 voters. Or just enough to make up a small city.

That figure covers both Democrats and Republicans. For either party that was just a little over 7% of registered voters. Democrats fielded 171109 votes for their candidates. Hilary Clinton won with a margin of .29 percent. With even a small bloc vote the Iowa primary could be turned either way.

The Emigre Super Blocs

The CEEC (Central and East European Coalition) represents a combined group with 22 million bloc voters. As the CEE immigrants came into the US, they were guided to the cities where they were needed to build out the power blocs for their representative groups. Most groups were a government in exile and today are the hand behind their home country’s government. They lobby for the home country’s interests to the US government. They also bring in money from the home countries to influence or outright buy American politicians.

More importantly, as governments in exile, they determined the type of government that would rule their home country. They turned over the reins of power to the new ex-Soviet bloc countries like Ukraine in 1991. They “advise” the home country, especially on Russia policy.

“Seattle is in danger of becoming the Soviet Warsaw or East Berlin of the Pacific Northwest, said angry homeowners who showed up at City Hall last week to holler about minor changes to the rules for new homes in low-rise zones.” (Seattle Times, June 7, 2015)

Their PAC’s come together to work on problems like immigration quotas or visas, relations with the US, and business. When it suits their interests they come together and determine election outcomes and foreign policy.

These groups have changed the outcomes of presidential elections both separately and working together for the past 50 years.

Emigre Effect on The New York Primary

When they are factored into the presidential primaries or general elections in a major state, they determine the outcome. Let’s look at New York where they play a major factor in the vote. It has to be reasonable to assume that in a major emigre city that their candidates (by party) will win by close to the expected margin which is +-15% or more.

The New York primary only had a turnout of 21%. Out of 13,638,079 voters, only 2,892,671 showed up. For Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, this translates into only 2 percentage points difference between the winners as they trounced the other candidates by 16+% and 30+% respectively.

Did the emigre bloc vote play a role? One emigre bloc yielded 113,000 votes. The results weren’t much different in New Jersey which is another Ukrainian emigre hub. Or even Arizona. One plus one.

What the Emigres Want In 2016

Right now the CEEC emigres are working together for the last goal all of them have which is war with Russia and China. Their caucuses are traditionally so strong in Congress, it’s impossible to get elected without CEEC support in major states. And Congress has been pushing their agenda toward war with Russia since the days of Joseph McCarthy. Their influence on eastern European and Russia policy is unchecked. The time has come.

The 9 Questions that will determine 15% of the vote and the outcome of the 2016 US elections

The following 9 questions are what the combined Eastern and Central European emigres are demanding for votes and electoral votes in 2016. Following that, the proofs of how much weight their gerrymandering has gained in American politics since the early 1950s is supplied. Each emigre population listed had fathers and grandfathers that were Waffen SS or supported them in some fashion. Their families emigrated to the United States only understanding Nationalist/Nazi political views. Their politics never changed. They raise their children to be more committed than they were.

They even advertise their pride in their own Waffen SS soldiers that when combined took part in the murder of more than 2 million people. When each of their respective countries was freed, these same governments in exile and ethnic groups delivered the same ultra-nationalist government models their grandparents had in WWII as Axis countries or pre-WWII as Prometheans Group members. And no one ever had to answer for this.

1. [From the CEEC] “As President, what would your strategy be to deal with Russian aggression in Ukraine and threats in Central and Eastern Europe? ”

2. [From the CEEC] What options would you employ to achieve Russia?s withdrawal from lands it unlawfully controls, such as Crimea, eastern Ukraine, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria?

3. What is your position on the current sanctions against Russia? 

4. How do you view NATO?s role in countering Russian aggression?

5. What is your position on maintaining U.S. /NATO equipment and troops permanently in the CEE region? Please provide specifics.

6. Do you favor NATO enlargement to include countries such as Georgia and Ukraine? 

7. What is your position on the Visa Waiver Program?s possible expansion to include other CEE countries, such as Poland?

8. What is your position on U.S. assistance to ensure energy security in the CEE region?

9. What is your position on the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)?


Ultimately this is about one thing, starting war with Russia and China. For the last 50 years, the one demand all the emigre populations have is the destruction of Russia.

According to the Independent “Nato risks a nuclear war with Russia within a year if it does not increase its defence capabilities in the Baltic states, one of the alliance’s most senior retired generals has said.”

Disputin’ Putin

[dropcap]B[/dropcap]efore going on, one point needs to be established. Is Russia a threat to its neighbors? If everyone is screaming about an imminent invasion of Poland, Estonia or Latvia has anyone asked why Russia would bother? Do they need the land? Is any of these countries a threat to Russia? Do they hold material or cultural treasures that Russia desperately needs even a little bit? Perhaps a recipe? Are they really being threatened?

Simple questions deserve simple answers.

Russia has no interest in attacking any of these countries. This Harvard University article puts the nails in that coffin. Russia really isn’t interested and you don’t have to take my word for it. If no one in these countries is worried about a Russian invasion, why go to war with Russia or risk nuclear war just because a few whiny nationalists want it? According to the corresponding monograph from the US Army War College, “It was the unanimous view [of academics] that overt military action by Russia against the Baltic States…is unlikely in the extreme.” Sorry Gen. Breedlove, check and mate. Your own military researchers think your credibility is a little light these days.

If Russia isn’t a real threat why do all these countries hate Russia so much?

First and foremost is understanding where the CEE countries are coming from politically. Each country is a new country that came out of the Habsburg “Spring of Nations” and are Wilson Doctrine countries. All of these countries were bordering, or close to bordering, Imperial Russia, later the Soviet Union, and today the Russian Federation.

The governments were designed to be two-tier ultra-nationalist which means they bowed to a greater nationalist country – picture Nazi Galicia under Nazi Germany. You can see that in their attitudes and actions from the run-up to WWII and onward. All of them sided with the more successful German Nationalists and most of the CEE country emigres in the US and Canada are Nazi Waffen SS families.

Nationalism and Fascism were set up as a prophylactic against Russian or Soviet influence inside each country and the corresponding Diasporas. If you ask why they hate Russia, you are more than likely going to get an unintelligible rant instead of a reason. They simply don’t know and don’t care to look at the history.

The problem in Donbass is the lack of a concrete Russian military response foiled any aggressive response from NATO and the west toward Russia.

The sagging impotence of the Ukrainian nationalist government in Kiev has produced a nation that failed nations like Somalia look down on. Poroshenko has successfully destroyed a country that was richer than Russia in 1991. Poroshenko’s government has shown the world how rich white Ukrainians can steal billions of dollars and be cheered on by the IMF, US Congress, US State Dept, and the US President. The price for their enrichment has been close to 50,000 dead in Ukraine.

Because Russia hasn’t dutifully played ball and attacked Ukraine, they are evil and deserve to be attacked by NATO.

Colonia & The Polish American Congress

Polish-Americans in the United States comprise a voting bloc sought after by both the Democratic and Republican parties. Polish Americans comprise 3.2% of the United States population but were estimated at nearly 10% of the overall electorate as of 2012. The Polish-American population is concentrated in several swing states that make issues important to Polish-Americans more likely to be heard by presidential candidates. According to John Kromkowski, a Catholic University professor of political science, Polish-Americans make up an “almost archetypical swing vote.”

If you look at Presidential election results from 1916 to 2012 the Polish community was only distracted twice. Their choice of candidate won every other election. They are an archetypical swing vote. They have been described since the 1950’s as the one emigre group that could determine a national race on their own. Every candidate has paid real attention to this trying to gain their bloc vote. As early as 1960 this included JFK.

The Polish-American community is a tightly knit nationalist enclave and the only way for Kennedy to beat Nixon was to get the Polish vote and win it in the electoral count.

But what about today? The Irish named Senator from Connecticut, Chris Murphy, is connecting with his Polish roots through the Polish-American Congress in an effort to be ready for a future presidential run. Senator Murphy has started the long neglected “Polish Caucus” to better gain support and contributions later on.

Democrat Senator Chris Murphy obviously doesn’t trust the average American voter. But by making his appeal to this particular super majority he’s almost a shoo-in when he runs after this election cycle. Murphy gained notoriety by fully supporting the Ukrainian coup and weapons purchases for neo-nazi and Ukrainian nationalist groups killing civilians in Donbass. While I don’t think Mr. Murphy is politically developed enough yet to call him a Polish nazi, the alternative classification is sad. It makes him a Pole-Lackey.

What do the Poles want? War with RussiaThis is especially clear because Poland is pushing to make sure it happens. Bill Clinton won the Polish-American vote for helping Poland enter NATO in 1996. He recently gave his assessment of Polish nationalist politics.

Is Bill Clinton correct saying that the Hungarians, the Poles and by extension the Polish-American community that gave them their nationalism are looking for their own authoritarian leader and reject democracy? Yes, he is. While we think of the Poles as victims in WWII, along with the Ukrainians they were the first ultra-nationalistsIt wasn’t Adolf Hitler and the 3rd Reich. They hate Russia and love nationalism.

They counted on the fact that their nationalism would keep Germany friendly toward them. The Polish nationalists should have thought about that before taking German and Soviet territory prior to the Great war. “Poland was accused of being an accomplice of Nazi Germany – a charge that Warsaw was hard put to deny.”

The Pole is not free to Americanize because wherever he is – he has a mission to fulfill” has been the rallying cry of Polish nationalists in America all these years.

To make the point clear, the family of Jack Warner of Warner Bros. Pictures immigrated from Poland in 1888 to escape Polish nationalism/Nazism that was the fallout from the Spring of Nations of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Like Ukraine before WWI, Poland did not exist except in the minds of ultra-nationalists and as an experimental model of nationalist government designed by the Habsburgs.

What was the Polish American Congress reaction to Bill Clinton‘s statement? “The Polish American Congress threatens to undermine Clinton campaign.It’s therefore, no surprise the Polish American Congress has protested, announcing it may throw its weight in the election behind anybody not named Clinton.” Polish Americans are thick on the ground in several states Hillary Clinton will need to win in November if she plans to be our next president—including Pennsylvania, Illinois, Michigan, New York and New Jersey.”

Does this sound like a super bloc vote to you? The last time a candidate insulted the Polish-Americans, it was the gaff prone Gerald Ford. Ford, until that moment, had their vote and the election against Jimmy Carter was almost wrapped up. Despite the fact that the president of the Polish-American Congress was friends with Ford, the damage was done too close to the election. The Polish-American bloc went with Carter.

Is this good for Donald Trump? Not quite. Polonia is divided on this issue because Clinton represents the best candidate for longer range goals. November is a long way off. Full Polish support and war is only a half-hearted apology away.

Just ask Anne Applebaum, wife of former Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski a staunch Polish Nationalist about how hypocritical we are to call a democracy, nationalism. “People close to the couple say she inspires his foreign policy plans and strategiesand “Europe’s history, he warned before anyone else, would be decided in Ukraine.”

In the United States, we dislike the word “nationalism” and so, hypocritically, we call it other things: American exceptionalism,” for example, or a “belief in American greatness.” We also argue about it as if it were something rational—Mitt Romney wrote a book that put forth the “case for American greatness”—rather than acknowledging that nationalism is fundamentally emotional. In truth, you can’t really make “the case” for nationalism; you can only inculcate it, teach it to children, cultivate it at public events.” – Anne Applebaum

This article is the first in a series opening up the subject of election manipulation and how people with stronger ties to foreign countries than to the US are putting up the candidates we vote for and controlling foreign policy. Both are bad ideas.

Part 2 shows clearly and horrifically just how far the support has gone from “our” democratically elected presidents to these constituents regardless of what US laws are.

The breathtaking record of perfidy is so mutated in the public mind, wrote the late Harold Pinter, that it “never happened …Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. It didn’t matter …” -Harold Pinter

Another way of putting this is 1+1=2. Do the math.

Part 1 (this article): Inside The Secret Super Majority that Decide Election 2016 & War with Russia

Part 2: The 2016 Super Bloc Vote Part II  Unleashing David vs the Russian Goliath

Part 3: Election 2016 Emigre Super Blocs Part III – How the Emigres Function

Part 4: The 2016 Super Bloc Vote Part IV:Emigre Super Bloc – Clinton’s Jihadis

Part 5: Emigre Super Bloc Part V: The Failed Turkish Coup – An Exploded View.

Part 6 (this post): Emigre Super Bloc Part VI: “Gulen-Gate” Islamic Terrorists Descend on the Democratic National Convention


GH Eliason  lives in Ukraine. He writes content and optimizes web based businesses across the globe for organic search results, technical issues, and design strategies to grow their business. He used to be a large project construction specialist. However, when Fukushima happened it became known that I was a locked high rad specialist and a penchant for climbing. He was paid to climb a reactor at a sister plant to Fukushima 3 because of a 1 million dollar mistake. His work since then has essentially been in  project safety.


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To stop the far right we must oppose the EU

=By= Ken Ovenden


Kevin Ovenden argues for an internationalist approach to the European crisis in the second half of a two-part series on the European question

Don’t blame the Easterners

It is now fashionable in Brussels to talk of an “illiberal bloc”, comprising mainly Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Even some commentators on the left have given credence to that idea.

While there are some regional variations and affinities in the emergence of far right and fascist forces in Europe – the four so called Visegrad countries mentioned above and the “Peoples Parties” in Scandinavia, for example – they do not fit into a neat pattern. Certainly not one of the advanced and liberal West versus the backward and authoritarian East. Nor into creditor North versus debtor South.

The Front National began its advance in France in 1983, when the Iron Curtain still divided Europe. Gert Wilders’ far right party is topping the polls in the thoroughly modern European country of the Netherlands. The far right has advanced strongly in Croatia, but not in Serbia. Golden Dawn broke through in Greece, but there is no equivalent in Spain, Portugal or Ireland.

As if to underline that the radicalising right cannot be consigned as an Eastern European problem, Switzerland, which is not in the EU but where the anti-Muslim and anti-migrant People’s Party is the largest in the federal parliament, a few days after the result in neighbouring Austria lifted the ban on the Hitler salute; so long as it is used as a matter of “personal expression”, you understand.

As for the idea that it is a quartet of Eastern European states that is preventing the EU from taking a firm line in defence of democratic freedoms you have only to look at how Brussels responded to the emergence of the first authoritarian government of that supposed bloc, Victor Orban’s in Hungary, to see that the claim is a smokescreen.

Hungary and Vickto Orban

Hungary and Vickto Orban

Orban leads a hard right party in government. It has similarities with the Austrian FPO. But in Hungary the outright fascist forces are organised separately in the Jobbik Party, very similar to Golden Dawn and, with 21 percent, the third party in parliament.

On taking office a second time in 2010 Orban began a serious clampdown on press freedom, civil liberties and human rights. There were detailed reports from organisations such as Amnesty International. The EU made some noises. Nothing was done.

The only time it seriously threatened action was when Orban looked like he was going to defy the EU’s Fiscal and Stability Pact rules on government spending and when he flirted with forging a closer relationship with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Brussels stirred. Orban backed down. The EU slumped back to inaction.

Poland's Law and Justice Party

Poland’s Law and Justice Party

Now the same officials in Brussels say that it is the threat of a Hungarian veto that is preventing them from moving beyond a ponderous investigation into the flagrant breaches of judicial independence, women’s rights and the rule of law by the hard right Law and Justice Party that was recently elected in Poland.

Compare all that with Greece and the treatment of its left wing anti-austerity government last year. Within days of Syriza being elected, the EU had moved to throttle Greece’s financial lifeline and to lead the member states in a concerted effort to crush the government in Athens and the popular resistance in Greece to austerity.

The Europe question and the left

From Big Pharma, the Nazis and the Origins of the EU...[Paul Anthony Taylor] New Horizons 2014 - Paul Anthony Taylor

From Big Pharma, the Nazis and the Origins of the EU…[Paul Anthony Taylor] New Horizons 2014 – Paul Anthony Taylor

Far from countering the far right and authoritarian tendencies, the EU – with its austerity, Fortress Europe, anti-democratic diktats and endemic national antagonisms – is generating those reactionary features: and not only on the far right.

The EU is fully behind the French government of Francois Hollande. It has suspended basic freedoms under an eight-month old state of emergency and is using the militarised police to batter through new austerity measures passed not by parliament, but by executive decree.

If the EU will not willingly put up opposition to the far right, then perhaps it might find itself becoming some line of defence, if only because the far right will clash with it by threatening to break with the EU, or with the Eurozone, or with their rules?

That appears to be the hope of those on the European left who on the one hand say that they are fully aware of how undemocratic and reactionary the EU is, but on the other maintain that it is nevertheless an obstacle to racism, fascism and war, and that it must be defended against all the pressures to break it up. And then reformed.

This hope rests on a number of confusions. I will focus on just two. The first is that it accepts the now mainstream liberal-capitalist view that the future of Europe is either preserving the EU and its further centralisation (with reforms – all the leaders talk of those) or its breakup into reactionary national states with resurgent fascism and war. Or, as it is often put, the choice is between rational politics of the centre or “populism” of the “extremes”.

Many commentators, far from the left, now invoke as a parallel a dubious reading of the history of the 1930s in which a breakdown of trade and the global market led almost directly to the Second World War and the Holocaust.

Let us put to one side that peculiar and tendentious history of the 1930s, informed as it is by an ideological commitment to free market capitalism, which makes it all the more surprising that it is endorsed by the Keynesian economist Yanis Varoufakis.

The problem is that it is the very mechanisms of the EU itself, particularly in response to the succession of crises – the banks, the austerity, the refugees… – which are generating reactionary trends such as racism, chauvinism and authoritarian rule.

The far right and fascists give those a particularly dangerous and virulent form. But it was not the far right who did a deal with Turkey to keep out the refugees. Doing that creates the conditions for and necessitates widespread anti-refugee racism to justify the policy. That was the work of Angela Merkel, at the head of the pack of mainstream governments, including Francois Hollande, David Cameron and Alexis Tsipras.

Strengthening the EU does not mean less reaction. It means more, and out of it the potential further growth of the fascist right.

The future prospect is not the EU versus reactionary disintegration. It is an EU of crisis, constantly breeding reactionary forces even as it centralises in order to deal with renewing pressures to pull it apart.

And – the second confusion – it is not the case that the only anti-EU forces looking to break the bosses’ club up are reactionary ones. Nor is it true that the assorted far right and fascist groups in different European countries constitute a single block, each with the same policy of pursuing a national break from the EU.

The spectrum of radical right wing forces varies from racist and chauvinist populists such as UKIP in Britain through to out and out fascists, such as Golden Dawn in Greece.

Racism and Islamophobia are central to all of them. Here is not the place to analyse the structural and other differences between them, nor the specific nature of those that pursue a fascist, militarist strategy. But one difference that is relevant here is their diverse political positions in relation to the EU.

Four examples illustrate that. UKIP is for Britain leaving the EU. The fascists of Golden Dawn are for Greece staying in the EU – with all sorts of demands for further reactionary policies, for sure: but staying nonetheless.

The Law and Justice Party in Poland is firmly committed to the EU and to its twin, Nato. It is for more aggressive action by both of them against Russia. Its supposedly “Eurosceptic” rhetoric is directed against liberal values and against the Polish left, which it accuses of not being really Polish. On occasion it may sound off against German domination of Europe. But it is not for a rupture with the EU itself.

The Austrian FPO has the position outlined above of staying in the EU, violently opposing Turkish membership, and taking a hard economic line against the debtor countries of the European South (maybe kicking Greece out) and the “backward” countries of the East.

Other far right and fascist forces show similar variations. The fundamental reason for that is that the disparate far right in Europe is not the radicalisation – the taking to extreme – of some kind of “Eurosceptic feeling”, which is sort of floating around the continent.

The term “Eurosceptic” is, in fact, pretty useless for socialists. It was coined to describe British Tory MPs who rebelled against the Maastricht Treaty in parliament in 1992.

Since then it has been a catchall of the pro-capitalist media applied both to the French radical farmer Jose Bove, who attacked a branch of McDonalds to protest against corporate capitalism, and to the veteran French fascist, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who called the Holocaust a “minor detail of history”.

The raw material the far right are scooping up and radicalising is not the poorly constructed journalistic term: “Euroscepticism”. It is from the swamp of right wing and reactionary trends within each of the far right’s own nation-states and national political realities.

The far right and fascist parties are a radicalisation of the right wing of politics, and ultimately of the elites, in each of their respective countries.

That is why they do not have a common line on the EU and other questions relating to the divergent national and imperialist interests of their “homelands”.

So UKIP grew out of, and has radicalised, the anti-EU position of the right wing of the British Tory Party. All right wing forces in Greece – along with the whole of the Greek state and ruling class – are in favour of staying in the EU and euro. So, therefore, is Golden Dawn, despite rhetorical sallies against “German domination” of Europe.

The hard right Polish government’s position favouring Nato expansion against Russia and staying in the EU is a radicalised version of the policy of the mainstream Polish right and is the historical position of most of Polish big business. Apart from anything else, the EU subsidies to Poland’s elites, in order to build it up as a state on the frontier of a new Cold War with Russia, have been huge.

The FPO may try to channel the resentment at the base of Austrian society at the way the corrupt political system has further depleted democracy since joining the EU in 1995. But its position on EU membership is not fundamentally different from many on the right of the centre-right OVP.

This does not mean that the radicalising right is simply and directly an expression of the interests and policies of their respective capitalist classes. That is clearly not the case. Three-quarters of British big business are for staying in the EU on essentially the same terms as now. UKIP is definitely not.

But the main political instruments of big business that are meant to represent those interests – parties such as the Tory party in Britain – face a crisis everywhere in Europe. One side of it is in failing to come up with policies to escape the multiple crises: economic, social and political. The other is in their declining social and electoral support.

The bloodletting in the Tory Party over Europe is one extreme example of the consequences. They are not unique to the British centre right: Angela Merkel’s CDU is bitterly divided; the leader of the centre right in Greece recently expelled the entire youth section.

This is the context in which all sorts of far right forces are seeking to radicalise politics found on their mainstream, national right wings – and to grow. They, and the fascist formations especially, pose a particular danger.

They are political actors in their own right. Their demagogic rhetoric against “elites” and “the establishment” can give them inroads into unemployed and working class layers that the crisis-ridden centre-right parties struggle to penetrate.

But however much they portray themselves as independent from the wealthy elites, they require the support of at least a substantial layer of the capitalist class and of its state to advance seriously and to come to power.

So they constantly seek to offer a programme, however utopian and lacking in coherence, that may ultimately win the elites’ political support. They belong to the crisis of the political system and of capitalism’s strategies to pursue its interests. They are independent from neither.

The far right can be stopped

The far right is not the only political expression of European crisis. So too is the radical left.

The run-off round of the Austrian presidential election took place five weeks before the second general election in the Spanish state, after the earlier one six months before failed to deliver a government, even a grand coalition.

As Austria voted, Spanish polling showed that the radical left alliance of Podemos and the United Left held second place on about 24 percent. Whatever the poll movements up to 26 June, there is no far right party arising from the crisis of the Spanish political system.

Portugal is similar, as is Ireland, where the anti-capitalist and radical left broke through in recent elections, north and south.

It is hardly a sufficient answer, however, to the shocking near victory of a fascist in Austria to point to the electoral successes of the left in the Iberian Peninsula, Dublin, Belfast and elsewhere.

And in Germany, where the radical left Die Linke has existed for a decade, the far right AfD, founded only three years ago, has made serious advances. The radical left is on about 9 percent in the opinion polls. The AfD is on 14 percent – with the general election due in September next year.

The mere existence of a radical left party, even where it has parliamentary representation, as Die Linke does, is not in itself an answer to the far right threat. It is critical for the radical and anti-capitalist left to be at the centre of two other, related things.

The first is a mass and militant movement against fascism and the far right, but also fighting against the wider racist climate created by European institutions and governments. For it is that racism which is paving the way for the far right’s advance.

The launch two months ago of the Aufstehen Gegen Racismus (Stand Up Against Racism) initiative directed against the AfD and against the wider racist politics in Germany will, we must hope, encourage those in Austria who organised the magnificent solidarity with the refugees last summer in their efforts to create something similar to confront the FPO.

The second is to seek to situate the fighting left in, and to develop, the manifold struggles against austerity – from strikes and community revolts, to all manner of social movements.

Increasingly, that requires a preparedness to confront head on the forces of austerity, no matter who is in government, and to offer anti-capitalist answers when the movement runs up against the argument that there is no alternative in Europe as it stands.

Nowhere more demonstrates the potential power of the working class and allied movements to marginalise even a powerful and established fascist force than the current revolt in France.

There is very much more to be said about both of those crucial roles of the left. And it is a success of the anti-capitalist and radical left activists in Greece that despite the Syriza capitulation the drawing together of the struggles both against austerity and for the refugees is a major reason why the fascist right has been penned back over the last year.

There is 27 percent unemployment in Greece and there are 50,000 refugees stranded by the EU-Turkey deal. Yet a survey a month ago found that 85 percent of people say, “Greece must help the refugees.” That ought to be impossible according to much fashionable thinking. It was made possible by the movements at the base of Greek society and the initiatives taken there by the fighting left – often taken when they were not in fashion at all.

There is one final point. Austerity Europe and Fortress Europe are two faces of the EU and of the response of the European elites to the crisis.

The struggles against austerity capitalism and against racism are unfolding in each national context. They mean confrontation with governments of the member states of each of the 28 EU countries.

But the semi-organisation of those states and their capitalist interests into the cartel of the EU means that everywhere that cartel is throwing its weight against opposition movements, behind the governments imposing vicious measures and alongside the employers who are demanding more.

That means that for the radical left and for the movements the struggles need to be directed against the EU cartel as well as against the domestic national government.

Failure to do that leaves the space wide open for the far right parties to exploit the bitterness at Europe’s undemocratic and anti-working class institutions and to frame it with their brand of radicalised right wing politics, based on the national antagonisms and reactionary forces the EU produces. The ultimate aim is to serve the respective national elites.

A recent statement from three left wing unions – the RMT, ASLEF and BFAWU  – in Britain arguing for a left wing Leave vote in the referendum put it very well: “We are against a fortress Britain, so we are against a fortress Europe.”

That points to a unifying and fighting position for the left and labour movements across the continent: against the EU of austerity, racism and war. That means breaking it up, and building instead solidarity on an internationalist and anti-capitalist basis.

That perspective can help to develop the struggles against austerity and racism, and to overcome the efforts to blunt them by the failed establishment politicians who tell us to put faith in them and in their club in Brussels – and who wave as a stick to threaten us the very far right forces which the establishments, national and European, are producing and cooperating with as this crisis grinds on, and on.


Kevin Ovenden is the author of Syriza Inside the Labyrinth, which is being published this autumn by Pluto Press. Kevin is a longstanding socialist activist and writer in Britain who has closely followed Greek politics, society and culture for over twenty-five years. He was for many years a member of the Socialist Workers Party in Britain and then a leading figure in the Respect Party. He writes particularly on racism, the politics of the Middle East and the crisis of the Eurozone for a range of outlets.

Source: Counterfire


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Why Are Liberal Commentators Acting as Apologists for Trump’s Racism?

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=By= Henry A. Giroux

Donald Trump Holds Campaign Rally In Warren, Michigan

Image from Getty Images via Scott Olson

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he lynch-mob mentality that permeates Donald Trump campaign rallies was made visible once again this month at a rally in Fayetteville, North Carolina, when Rakeem Jones, a 26-year-old Black protester, was sucker punched by a white Trump supporter. A video of the incident documents how, after Jones was punched, the audience cheered and the police threw Jones to the ground and handcuffed him. John McGraw, the man who admitted on camera that he had punched Jones, was later arrested. When asked why he did it, McGraw, 78, not only admitted to having committed the assault, but said he “liked it, clocking the hell out of that big mouth,” whom he said he thought might be a member of ISIS. He then added, “Yes, he deserved it. We don’t know who he is, but we know he’s not acting like an American … the next time we see him, we might have to kill him.”

Of course, this incident was not out of the ordinary. Trump supporters have a consistent history of attacking those protesting Trump’s policies. When an activist named Mercutio Southall Jr. started shouting “Black Lives Matter!” at a Trump rally in Birmingham, Alabama, on November 21, 2015, some Trump supporters punched and choked him. Dara Lind observes that the Southall Jr. attack “isn’t an isolated incident. Trump supporters have gotten physical with protesters at several other events throughout his candidacy. A protester was dragged out of a Trump rally in Miami. A Trump supporter ripped up a protester’s sign. A Trump bodyguard was filmed sucker-punching a protester outside Trump Tower in early September. And at a rally in DC, photographers captured a Trump supporter pulling a protester’s hair.” Meanwhile, last week, after a March 11 rally was cancelled in Chicago, a number of skirmishes and fistfights broke out between Trump supporters and protesters. Many commentators noted that the rally offered a signpost of the escalating violence that has taken place at Trump’s rallies.

Trump has repeatedly indicated his support for such actions by saying he “would like to punch a protester in the face” and labeling protesters as “bad Americans.” He also incited this violence through his response to the November incident that occurred in Alabama, when Trump supporters punched and choked Southall Jr., who started shouting “Black Lives Matter!” as Trump started to speak. When asked about the incident, Trump responded in a Fox News interview with the remark: “Maybe he should have been roughed up.”

Such comments make clear that at their core, Trump’s politics and appeal are built around violence. Trump’s encouragement of violence can be seen very starkly in his decision to look into paying for McGraw’s legal fees. In defense of such actions, Trump told “Meet the Press” that McGraw “obviously loves his country,” and that he might “have gotten carried away.” Meanwhile, some Trump supporters have reportedly expressed interest in forming a makeshift militia called the Lion’s Guard to oppose “far-left agitators.”

One would think that these incidents would be enough to convince liberals that Trump’s popularity is deeply tied to his open advocacy of racist violence, but a disconcerting number of liberal commentators have sought to downplay Trump’s racist and fascist tendencies.

Liberal Apologists for Trump

[dropcap]S[/dropcap]ome conservatives, such as Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, predictably downplay the racist and fascist undertones of Trump’s candidacy, arguing that Trump is simply a symptom of massive disillusionment among Americans who are exhibiting a profound disdain, if not hatred, for the political and economic mainstream elites. Disappointingly, however, this argument is also often bolstered by liberals who go too far in their efforts to prove that criticism of Trump’s bigotry and racism cannot fully account for Trump’s political appeal.

For instance, historian Thomas Frank (also a former Wall Street Journal columnist) observes that Trump actually embraces a number of left-leaning liberal positions that make him popular with working-class white people with lower education levels. He cites Trump’s criticism of free trade agreements, his call for competitive bidding with the drug industry, his critique of the military-industrial complex and its wasteful spending, and his condemnation of companies that displace American workers by closing factories in the United States and opening them in much poorer countries such as Mexico in order to save on labor costs.

Purveyors of this view present the working class as a noble representative of a legitimate populist backlash against neoliberalism and appear to deem irrelevant the question of whether or not this backlash embraces an American form of fascism. Frank, however, has a long history of ignoring cultural issues, ideologies and values that do not simply mimic the economic system. As Ellen Willis has pointed out in her brilliant critique of Frank’s work, Frank makes the mistake of imagining popular and media culture, or what I call the educative nature of culture and politics, as simply “a pure reflection of the corporate class that produces it.” Hence, the racism, ultra-nationalism, bigotry, religious fundamentalism and other anti-democratic factors get downplayed in Frank’s analysis of Trump’s rise to power.

Journalist John Judis, a senior writer at The National Journal, extends this argument by comparing Trump with Bernie Sanders, claiming that they are both populists and outsiders while suggesting that Trump occupies a legitimate outsider status. Judis argues that Trump raises a number of criticisms regarding domestic policies for which he should be taken seriously by the American people and not simply dismissed as a racist, clown or pompous showman. In a piece for Vox, he writes:

Sanders and Trump differ dramatically on many issues — from immigration to climate change — but both are critical of how wealthy donors and lobbyists dominate the political process, and both favor some form of campaign finance reform. Both decry corporations moving overseas for cheap wages and to avoid American taxes. Both reject trade treaties that favor multinational corporations over workers. And both want government more, rather than less, involved in the economy…. Both men are foes of what they describe as their party’s establishment. And both campaigns are also fundamentally about rejecting the way economic policy has been talked about in American presidential politics for decades.

Some liberals such as scholar and blogger Arthur Goldhammer go so far as to suggest that Trump’s appeal is largely an extension of the “cult of celebrity” and his attentiveness to “a very rational and reasonable set of business practices” and to the anger of a disregarded element of the working class. Goldhammer asserts without irony that Trump “is not an authoritarian but a celebrity,” as if one cancels out the other. While celebrity culture confers authority in a society utterly devoted to consumerism, it also represents less a mode of false identification than a manufactured spectacle that cheapens serious and thoughtful discourse, and puts into play a focus on lifestyles and personalities. This has given rise to mainstream media that devalue politics, treat politicians as celebrities, refuse to give politicians a serious hearing and are unwilling to raise tough questions. This occurs because the media assume that celebrities are incapable of answering difficult questions and that the public is more concerned about their personalities than anything else.

Celebrity culture is not simply a mode of entertainment; it is a form of public pedagogy central to creating a formative culture that views thinking as a nuisance at best or dangerous at worse. Treated seriously, celebrity culture provides the architectural framing for an authoritarian culture by celebrating a deadening form of self-interest, narcissism and civic illiteracy. As the historian of Germany Fritz Stern has argued, the dark side of celebrity culture can be understood by the fact that it gave rise to Trump and represents the merger of financial power and a culture of thoughtlessness.

Roger Berkowitz, the director of the Hannah Arendt Center, takes Goldhammer’s argument further and claims that Trump is a celebrity who knows how to work the “art of the deal” (a reference to the title of Trump’s well-known neoliberal manifesto). That is, he suggests that Trump’s appeal rests on his role as a celebrity with real business acumen and substance. In particular, Berkowitz argues that Trump’s appeal is due, in part, to his image as a smart and successful businessman who gets things done. Berkowitz goes into overdrive in his claim that Trump is not Hitler, as if that means he is not a demagogue unique to the American context.

Without irony, Berkowitz goes so far as to write that “it is important to recognize that Trump’s focus on illegal immigrants, protectionism, the wall on the Mexican border, and the terrorist danger posed by Muslims transcends race.” I am assuming Berkowitz means that Trump’s racist ideology, policies and rhetoric can be separated from the hateful policies for which he argues (such as torture, which is a war crime) and the violence he legitimates at his rallies. Indeed, Berkowitz implies that these policies and practices derive not from a fundamentally racist and xenophobic orientation but rather are rooted in Trump’s sound understanding of economic issues related to his business practices.

The sound business practices that Berkowitz finds admirable have a name: neoliberal capitalism. This neoliberal capitalist system has produced an untold degree of human misery, political corruption and inequality throughout the world. It has given us a social and political formation that promotes militarization, attacks the welfare state, aligns itself slavishly with corporate power and corrupts politics. Moreover this system seeks to justify the disproportionate police violence directed toward Black communities by referring to Black people as “criminals” and “thugs.” Proponents of this political and economic system may not constitute a fascist party in the strict sense of the word, but they certainly embrace toxic elements of a new style of American authoritarianism.

In declaring that Trump isn’t being racist and in claiming that the difference between Trump and Sanders is one of attitude and not policy, Berkowitz reveals the extent to which his eagerness to defend neoliberal capitalism requires him to overlook Trump’s racism. Berkowitz even goes so far as to downplay the differences between Trump and Sanders on racism by arguing that they have both “pushed the limits of racial propriety.” This statement whitewashes Trump’s overt racism and appears to suggest that both candidates share similar ideological positions toward people of color and inhabit the same racist landscape, truly a claim that borders on the absurd and represents an intellectual deceit in its claims to legitimate a false equivalency. Of course, if Berkowitz had used the word “racism” instead of “racial propriety,” the latter claim would not make sense given Sanders’ long history of fighting racial injustices.

I strongly doubt that Trump’s call to ban Muslims from entering the United States, his call to expel 11 million undocumented immigrants, his appeal to white nationalism, his intention to kill terrorists and their families as well, or his support for state-sponsored torture, among other egregious policy practices, constitute simply different attitudes between him and Bernie Sanders.

Trump attempts to generate intolerance out of misfortune while Sanders goes to the political, economic and social roots of the problems that cause it. Trump promotes an intense culture of fear that cannot be excused by appealing to his alleged good business practices or for that matter to his criticism of some of the Republican Party’s more regressive domestic and foreign policy endeavors. On the contrary, Trump’s appeal to fear, aggression and violence makes people, especially those who have been politically victimized, more vulnerable to authoritarianism.

The Downplaying of Trump’s Racism

[dropcap]B[/dropcap]erkowitz’s argument is more than apologetic; it is a species of postracial discourse that became commonplace during the Obama years. It is also disingenuous and nonsensical. It is hard to make up such apologetic reasoning at a time in which racist invective and actions are more visible than ever: Police brutality against Black people is widespread; racist comments against Obama proliferate without apology; Black congregants are killed while praying in their church; white supremacists target immigrants, Muslims and Planned Parenthood with repeated acts of violence; and all the while the racially coded prison system is bursting at its seams. We also live at a time when a dangerous resurgence of racism, Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiment is on the rise. Against the reality of a society immersed if not saturated in racial violence, Berkowitz’s postracial and market-drenched discourse mimics a naive form of liberalism, if not a species of right-wing ideology too afraid to name itself, and too unwilling to address Trump’s authoritarian and myopic drive for power.

Critical race theorist David Theo Goldberg is right in arguing that this line of argument is a form of “postraciality [that] heightens the mode of racial dismissal” and “renders opaque the structures making possible and silently perpetuating racially ordered power and privilege” (see Goldberg’s book Are We All Postracial Yet?). Trump’s followers cannot be defined simply by an anger that is associated with oppressive economic institutions, policies and structures. They are also defined by an anti-democratic politics that embraces the long legacy of racialized human trafficking and enslavement, a hatred of immigrants and an embrace of the ethos of privatization.

The positions that many liberals such as Thomas Frank, Arthur Goldhammer and Roger Berkowitz have taken on Trump often sound like apologies for Trump’s reactionary utterances. Moreover, they tend to downplay his toxic racism, nativism, class bullying, demagogic policies and chilling embrace of violence. In focusing on Trump’s populism alone, these analyses ignore David Neiwert’s insight that Trump’s updated neo-fascist rhetoric is “designed to demonize an entire class of people by reducing them to objects fit only for elimination.”

What is disturbing about accounts that celebrate, however cautiously, Trump’s more liberal tendencies is that, in the words of sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, “they give racist contempt the impeccable alibi of ethical and secular legitimacy.” This type of restricted discourse runs the risk of absolving the Republican Party and Trump and his followers of some of their most vile, right-wing, nativist legacies. These liberal cover-ups do more than underplay Trump’s fascist tendencies; they also overlook a moment in which political authoritarianism is on the rise and in which the very fate of humanity and the planet are at risk. As Los Angeles Times reporters Don Lee and Kurtis Lee observe:

If Donald Trump were president, [he would end abortion rights, repeal Obamacare,] put U.S. ground troops in Iraq to fight Islamic extremists, rescind President Obama’s executive orders that protect millions of immigrants from deportation, eliminate American citizenship for U.S.-born children whose parents are in the country illegally and “police” but not necessarily revoke the nuclear pact with Iran. Trump wants to deport all immigrants in the U.S. illegally — an estimated 11 million people — but says he wouldn’t break up families because their families would be deported too. “We’re going to keep the families together … but they have to go,” he said in a wide-ranging interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “We have to make a whole new set of standards. And when people come in, they have to come in legally.” Deportees who qualify could return, he said. Trump would end Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows young people brought to the country illegally as children to work and attend college without facing deportation.

Trump’s toxic racism and discourse has been leading to violence for some time. According to an August 2015 article in Rolling Stone by Matt Taibbi, when two brothers from South Boston urinated on and severely beat with a metallic pipe a Latino man, “one of the brothers reportedly told police that ‘Donald Trump was right, all of these illegals need to be deported.'”

Taibbi adds:

When reporters confronted Trump, he hadn’t yet heard about the incident. At first, he said, “That would be a shame.” But right after, he went on: “I will say, the people that are following me are very passionate. They love this country. They want this country to be great again. But they are very passionate. I will say that.”

Trump later modified his response, one that both appeared to condone and legitimate the violence done in his name, but the fact remains that he is disseminating hate and creating the conditions for dangerous ideas to mobilize real-life violence in a society seething with a toxic disdain for immigrants. In what can only be interpreted as an openly racist justification for such violence — reminiscent of similar attacks against Jews in Nazi Germany — Trump’s initial response truly reflects the degree to which right-wing extremism has become an acceptable register of US politics.

The authoritarian tendencies of Trump’s followers cannot be explained through economic analyses alone. Denying the importance of racism, xenophobia, corporate-driven public pedagogies and a culture shaped by the financial elite greatly ignores modes of domination that go far beyond economic discontents and are produced and legitimated daily in mainstream cultural apparatuses. As Ellen Willis has pointed out, domination is not simply structural — it takes shape through beliefs, persuasion, rhetoric and the pedagogical dimensions of politics. What Trump has tapped into is not simply economic resentment but also decades of a formative culture that is as divisive as it is anti-democratic. Violence is ubiquitous in US society and has become normalized, furthering a politics of anxiety, uncertainty and bigotry.

Trump has taken advantage of a proliferating culture of fear to create what Susan Sontag has described as a mimicry of fascinating fascism that trades in a carnival of violence and hatred. This spectacle furthers a politics of nihilism and brings many Americans closer to the abyss of proto-fascism. Under such circumstances, it is fair to argue that many of Trump’s supporters have embraced the core elements of totalitarian politics. In this instance, politics has become a staged event, a spectacle that both normalizes violence and makes it a source of pleasure.

Trump echoes a fascist script that has been updated to address the fears and anxieties of people who feel betrayed by mainstream politics and channel their anger toward immigrants, Black people and anyone they deem un-American. Given the way in which racism mixes with the growing fear and anger over economic precariousness of working-class white people in this country, is it any wonder, that Trump presents himself as the strong leader, the mythic strongman offering redemption, revenge and a revitalized white Christian United States? Trump is not only the new face of proto-fascism, but also the logical end result of neoliberal capitalism’s numerous assaults on democracy itself.

Henry A. Giroux

Henry A. Giroux

Contributing Editor Henry A. Giroux currently holds the Global TV Network Chair Professorship at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University. His books include: Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism (Peter Land 2011), On Critical Pedagogy (Continuum, 2011), Twilight of the Social: Resurgent Publics in the Age of Disposability (Paradigm 2012), Disposable Youth: Racialized Memories and the Culture of Cruelty (Routledge 2012), Youth in Revolt: Reclaiming a Democratic Future (Paradigm 2013). Giroux’s most recent books are America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth (Monthly Review Press, 2013), are Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education, America’s Disimagination Machine (City Lights) and Higher Education After Neoliberalism (Haymarket) will be published in 2014). He is also a Contributing Editor of Cyrano’s Journal Today / The Greanville Post, and member of Truthout’s Board of Directors and has his own page The Public Intellectual. His web site is www.henryagiroux.com.

To read more articles by Henry A. Giroux and other authors in TruthOuts  Public Intellectual Project, click here.


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