Rasputin, The Great Manipulator, The Grey Imminence at the Right Hand of Trump, the Prophet of Economic Nationalism. Steve Bannon has been called many things by his detractors on the left and the right. Outside of Trump, his spectacular rise and fall in a period of 16 months, made him the most consequential political operative in the Cathedral.
After being forced off the National Security Council in April 2017, then dismissed as a sacrificial lamb following the battle Charlottesville, Bannon resigned as Special Counselor to the President on August 18, and returned to Breitbart News as its CEO. In the wake of the revelations in Michael Wolfe's book "Fire and Fury" in which Bannon told the truth about the Tribal Leader, his incompetent daughter and Son-in-Law, and their treasonous collusion with Russia, he was forced out of Breitbart News.
Steve Bannon was the most dangerous conservative Alt-White figure in America. He had broad influence on the right, the Breitbart website with millions of followers, and he had investors with deep pockets, namely Rebecca Mercer. More importantly, Bannon had what no one in Trump's inner circle had, a long term vision and strategy to convert the GOP into a white nativists party. He had the pulse of disaffected White America in his blood, and he had the political instincts to convert that insight into political power.
Predictions of Bannon's demise may be greatly exaggerated. Nevertheless, his political template of America First-Economic Nationalism outlined in his comments are worthy of study.
"I am an economic nationalist. I am an America guy. I have admired nationalist movements throughout the world. Have said repeatedly that strong nations make great neighbors. I have also said repeatedly that the ethno-nationalist movement, prominent in Europe, will change over time. I've never been a supporter of ethno-nationalism."
"The black working and middle class and the Hispanic working and middle class, just like whites, have been severely hurt by the policies of globalization."
"I was the one who said we are going to Flint, Michigan, we are going to black churches in Cleveland, because the thrust of this movement is going to bring capitalism to the inner cities."
“The Republican establishment is trying to nullify the 2016 election. That's a brutal fact we have to face."
“I think Mitch McConnell, and to a degree, Paul Ryan. They do not want Donald Trump's populist, economic nationalist agenda to be implemented. “It's obvious as night follows day is what they're trying to do.”
McConnell, Bannon recalled, told Trump that “I don't want to hear any more of this 'drain the swamp' talk,” a reference to the president’s anti-corruption catchphrase on the campaign trail. “McConnell was, Day One, did not want to go there. Wanted us to back off,”
The three basic “touchstones” of Trump’s movement: 1) stop mass immigration and cut back dramatically on legal immigration; 2) bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States; 3) get us out of these pointless foreign wars.
On the Alt Right
Our definition of the Alt Right is young people who are anti-globalist, very nationalist, terribly anti-establishment.
On Economic Nationalism
“Economic nationalism is what this country was built on. The American system—we look after our own. We look after our citizen, we look after our manufacturing base. And guess what? This country's going to be greater, more united, more powerful than it’s ever been. That's not astrophysics, And by the way, that's every nationality, every race, every religion, every gender preference. As long as you're an American citizen, you're part of this populist, economic nationalist movement.
Building a Populist Economic Nationalist Movement in America
“It is basically the voice of the people of this country saying that there is a corrupt permanent political class in Washington, DC, inextricably linked to the financiers on wall Street and the high-tech community in Silicon Valley and in Hollywood,”
“What Donald Trump was able to galvanize is kinda what I call Jacksonian populism, which is always very concerned about an elite in Washington, DC, with Hamiltonian economic nationalism. The two great forces of 19th century politics have really been combined in this modern movement.”
“Like [Andrew] Jackson’s populism, we’re going to build an entirely new political movement … The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan.”
‘The only question before us: Is it going to be a left-wing populism or a right-wing populism. That is the question that will be answered in 2020.’
“The problem in the Democratic Party? They haven’t had a civil war. They’ll never be competitive” until internal discord is resolved."
THE ALT RIGHT
Since Donald Trump's election, much has been made of the Alt right and his association with it.
Despite an intense period of media scrutiny and high-profile attacks from Democrats during the presidential campaign, the Alt right remains a relatively unknown political quantity. Having emerged from obscurity its public persona is one of rabid white supremacists and a shadowy collection of white storm troopers of the Neo-Nazi persuasion. ATO felt inquiring minds may be better served by reading the words of Alt right activists defining their movement.
Richard Spencer, Director of the National Policy Institute has largely been credited with coining the term "Alt right." But Elizabethtown College Professor Paul Gottfried first used the term in 2008.
Recalling the occasion, Gottfried said, "I was president of the Mencken Club, and in November 2008 gave an inaugural address, in which I called for an “Alternative Right” to combat the high degree of neoconservative control over the intellectual Right."
Since Gottfried's call to arms the "Alt right" movement has grown. Many suggest that its power now extends to the White House in the person of Steve Bannon, Special Advisor to the President and former Chairman of Breitbart News. The Alt right has also expanded its ranks--embracing a diverse array of political currents and actors.
ATO has selected a few comments from leading Alt right activists that will shed more light on what defines their emerging political movement.
What is the Alt Right? by Jared Taylor, American Renaissance
A broad, dissident movement that rejects egalitarian orthodoxies that require us to believe that the sexes are equivalent, that race is meaningless, that all cultures and religions are equally valuable, and that any exotic orientation or identification is healthy. These things we deny. The Alt Right is skeptical of mass democracy. It opposes foreign aid and foreign intervention, especially for “nation building.”
Given the loose nature of the movement these are people who consider themselves Alt Right but who disagree on one or more of these points except one. The entire Alt Right is united in its contempt for the idea that race is a social construct. Race is a biological fact.
White Nationalism, the Alt Right and the Alt-Light by Greg Johnson, Counter-Currents Publishing
There is a lot of confusion about the relationship of White Nationalism, the Alt Right, and the so-called Alt Light. The “Alt Right” is a vague category that encompasses different tendencies of thought united by their rejection of mainstream conservatism. White Nationalism is one such tendency, and the Alt Light is another. The Alt Light is defined by civic nationalism as opposed to racial nationalism. Whereas White Nationalists believe that true nationhood is defined by race and ethnicity, civic nationalists believe that a nation can be multiracial and multicultural but unified on the basis of common laws and values. It is, in short, a version of the “proposition nation.”
THE ALT WHITE
For years, Europe's "New Right" and America's "Alt Right" roamed the wilderness of the Western liberal order. Launching fringe parties, reviving Nordic myths, and trolling the internet for converts marked the brio of their youth. But no more. Odin's sons have risen. The convergence of European and American ethno-nationalism has produced a potent new political compound--the Alt White.
As a new global actor, the Alt White navigates a complex political universe. It inherits historical antecedents anchored in European nation-states and civilization. From the Kremlin to Silicon Valley it enjoys the financial largesse of oligarchs and cosmopolitan technology firms.
In presidential palaces and halls of parliament, its supporters tug at the levers of state power. Their philosopher-kings have even crafted a 4th Political Theory to guide their ascent to the gates of "New Valhalla."
The evolving union of Euro-American white nationalists and supremacists is hardly accidental. Just as the interwar years of the 1930's gave rise to fascism in Spain, Germany and Italy, the crisis of globalization has fueled the surge of the Alt White. The circumstances and paths taken by Europe's New Right and America's Alt Right are different, but their point of departure and destination are the same.
Europe's New Right is Odin's eldest son. Called "Nouvelle Droite" or New Right, it emerged as a school of thought in the late 1960's in France. It's guiding star, philosopher Alain de Benoist raised its flagship organization, the Research and Study Group for European Civilization (GRECE). The group promoted scientific racism while opposing multiculturalism and immigration of non-whites from France's former colonies. GRECE also opposed liberal democracy and the more sinister workings of capitalism.
By the late1980's Jean-Marie Le Pen had rekindled GRECE's ideological torch in the form of the National Front party and carried it into electoral arena. Over the next two decades, small far right-wing groups replicated the National Front model. But they remained on the fringe of Europe's political mainstream. That is, until a bombshell exploded on the continent.
Few imagined the breakup of the Soviet Union would open a second front for Western Europe's New Right. The collapse of the Iron Curtain was supposed to usher in the final triumph of liberal democracy over communism, or in Francis Fukayama's words, "the end of history."
Instead, Yeltsin's brief and chaotic experiment with Russian "go-go capitalism" succumbed to a KGB takeover by Vladimir Putin. In the name of "restoring order" Putin cracked down on Russia's democratic leaning capitalists, political parties, and opposition media. He also prosecuted an aggressive foreign policy to re-establish Moscow's sphere of influence in former Soviet Republics, especially Ukraine.
At the same time, a talented apologist, Aleksander Dugin was dusting off an old Russia-centric ideology called Eurasianism that neatly justified Putin's authoritarian
and expansionist designs. It's embrace of rugged nationalism played well to the New Right's hatred of elitism, U.S. led globalization and anti-European Union sentiment.
Eurasianism also called for reviving old traditions, culture and even pagan religion to reclaim nation-state sovereignty from the shackles of globalization. Its traditionalism resonated with the New Right's nativist, racist and anti-immigrant sentiment. It also held that any nation's form of "democracy," no matter how authoritarian, is legitimate provided it mirrors a country's organic development.
Putin genius was marrying Eurasian's worldview with financial contributions to Europe's New Right parties. He placed at their disposal Russia's FSB intelligence units. They planted fake news stories and conducted cyber-warfare against the New Right's electoral opponents.
With Russian support and their own fanatical persistence, Europe's Alt right parties have now taken power in Hungary and narrowly lost in Austria's 2016 elections.
In the United States the Alt-Right (AR) has traveled a very different path. For most Americans, the Alt Right is a frightening, if barely understood quantity. It conjures visions of violent low-information Neo-Nazis, eccentric white supremists in button-down suits, and a disheveled looking fellow named Steve Bannon. Before his August 18 resignation, he was the grey eminence sitting at Trump's right hand who masterminded his unlikely victory.
The Alt Right surfaced with the mystique of a newly discovered virus threatening a pandemic. It survived as a newborn, by cutting the umbilical cord tethering it to the Bush-led Republican Party and the neo-cons who vacated the White House in disgrace. It was in 2008 that the term "Alternative Right" was first uttered by Elizabethtown College Professor Paul Gottfried.
"At a speech to the Mencken Club, Gottfried called for an “Alternative Right” to combat the high degree of neoconservative control over the intellectual Right." They were spoiling for a fight with mainstream conservatism and the Republican Party establishment.
The Alt Right didn't just oppose the mantra that America's strength lay in its diversity, they sought to extol the virtues of a superior white race. They didn't oppose illegal immigration because it was an unfair burden on tax U.S. tax payers and took jobs away from Americans. AR viewed Latinos overrunning the borders as an existential threat to perpetuating a pure white race. An America enamored with the social utopia of diversity and inclusion, could only lead to white bloodlines being reduced to that of Mongrels by miscegenation.
AR ventured beyond challenging feminism to fashioning a new vision of masculine domination and men's rights dubbed the "manosphere." They brazenly attacked every sacred cow of society, seeking to replace democracy with medieval visions of enlightened monarchy. Many in its ideologically diverse ranks condemned globalization before the leftist "Occupy Wall Street" pitched tents in lower Manhattan. And finally, the Alt Right reigned fire and brimstone on Bush and the neocons imperial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to remake the Middle East in America's image.
For the last eight years AR intellectuals, penned polemics, circulated "white" papers, argued on message boards, started publishing houses and created their own news satellites, all largely out of the view of the public's eye. At the same time a new political undercurrent was afoot; the Tea Party. Conceived in reaction to Barak Obama's election, and in time dedicated to Trump's proposition that Obama was a foreign-born Muslim, the root and branch of a white nationalist political movement was born.
When Donald Trump arrived on the GOP presidential scene in 2015, calling Mexican undocumented workers murderers and rapists, the boil of white nationalism burst onto America's political landscape full bloom.
Trump's nativists appeal was layered with a populism that was ready to blow up the GOP and the Washington establishment. His anti-globalist, anti-Wall Street, anti-free trade and anti-elitist message was all tailored to white sensibilities of a forgotten people.
On election day Trump's "White Lives Matter" election strategy was vindicated. With white voters making up 70% of the total vote, Trump routed Clinton by a 58% to 37% margin, winning majorities of white men, white women, lesser educated whites and even white youth between the ages of 18 and 29.
On November 8, with Trump's stunning victory, America's Alt White was born. Suddenly, Alt Right intellectuals and their internet-based movement with no mass support, had a white nationalist sympathizer as president and a fired up white nationalists leaning electorate. The voting bloc that catapulted Trump to power included, moderates, independents, Democrats, hawks, isolationists, well and less educated voters
In one election cycle, America's Alt Right achieved what Europe's New Right has been unable to accomplish in three decades. A political novice captured the nomination of a mainstream party, articulated an Alt Right agenda, rallied a electoral majority to win the presidency, and invited the Alt Right into the halls of power.
For the Alt White, there appear to be two challenges on their short-term agenda. First, a movement is afoot to continue the Civil War against the establishment leaders in the GOP. Now that Steve Bannon has resigned his position as Special Councilor to the President and returned to Breitbart News, he is heading up the campaign to get all Anti-Trump congressional and senatorial incumbents voted out of office. Should more radical right-wing and Al-Rightish candidates gain control of the Republican Party the Alt-White will have taken a huge step in becoming an institutional fixture in America's political mainstream.
The second challenge that is currently under debate is how to move to start transferring the All-White movement from its internet base to the streets. How to do actual political work to cultivate ties and build broad organizational strength with the white masses is the challenge of moving to the next level.