(This article is published in AlterNet.)
Steve Bannon, President Trump’s chief strategist, keeps on favorably citing fascists and white supremacists. He just can’t help himself.
An investigation by The Huffington Post exposed how Bannon has frequently cited The Camp of the Saints, a pro-genocide, white supremacist book that portrays a race war between the “civilized” white West and the evil brown hordes of the so-called East.
The Post highlighted several interviews in 2015 and 2016 in which Bannon compared global politics and the refugee crisis today to the plot of fictional book, which has been compared to Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf.
The Camp of the Saints, which takes its title from the Bible, was was written by racist, ultra-reactionary French author Jean Raspail. Raspail openly describes himself as a “royalist” who wants to restore the Catholic monarchy. In the book, he describes hordes of Indians trying to conquer white Western Christendom as “thousands of wretched creatures” and “turd-eaters.”
The Huffington Post described the novel Bannon admires as “nothing less than a call to arms for the white Christian West, to revive the spirit of the Crusades and steel itself for bloody conflict against the poor black and brown world without and the traitors within.”
Yet Bannon’s admiration of The Camp of the Saints is by no means an isolated example of his extreme far-right politics. The New York Times likewise pointed out that Trump’s right-hand man previously cited Nazi-affiliated Italian philosopher Julius Evola, in a 2014 speech at a Christian conference.
Benito Mussolini, the founder of Italian Fascism, greatly admired Evola. The Italian leader of the extreme right-wing Traditionalist movement wrote for Fascist publications and journals and espoused openly anti-democratic and anti-egalitarian ideas. Evola was virulently racist and anti-Semitic and openly claimed that non-European races were inferior. He also condoned patriarchal domination of women and advocated rape.
A big fan of Nazi leader Heinrich Himmler and the Nazi military the SS, Evola spent years in Nazi Germany, where he gave lectures. He personally welcomed Mussolini to the Wolf’s Lair, Hitler’s military headquarters.
In a post-war trial in 1951, Evola denied being part of Mussolini’s Fascist movement, which was not good enough for him; he instead proudly declared himself to be a “superfascist.”
Neofascist leader Richard Spencer told the Times he was excited that Bannon knew of Evola. “It means a tremendous amount,” Spencer said, adding that Trump’s chief strategist “is at least open to them.”
I myself have also reported on this 2014 speech, in which Bannon detailed his view of the world as an intractable violent conflict between the “enlightened” Christian West and the forces of Islam, secularism, and socialism.
“We’re at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict,” Bannon warned. “We are in an outright war against jihadists, Islam, Islamic fascism.” He condemned “the immense secularization of the West” and the increasing secularism among millennials, and insisted that Christians must “bind together and really form what I feel is an aspect of the Church militant, to really be able to not just stand with our beliefs but to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity.”
Hardline right-wing pundit Glenn Beck went to far as to compare Bannon to the Nazi propagandist Joseph Goebbels, and called him “quite possibly the most dangerous guy in all of American politics.”
The Huffington Post created a video compiling Bannon’s references to these far-right, fascist, white supremacist thinkers and views. You can watch it below:
Fascist forces in the West are not the only ones who feel a kindred spirit with Bannon, nevertheless. Bannon’s mortal enemy, Islamist extremists, share Bannon’s eschatological “clash of civilizations” worldview — albeit from the opposite side. In fact, al-Qaeda identifies so much with Bannon’s ideas, it put him on the front page of an affiliated newspaper, al-Masra.
The genocidal Islamic State has made it clear that its goal is to destroy the so-called Grayzone, or space within which Muslims are accepted in Western countries. Far-right leaders like Trump and Bannon — along with their extreme, anti-Muslim counterparts Marine Le Pen in France, Geert Wilders in the Netherlands, and beyond — help extremist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda fulfill their missions.
ISIS has rejoiced at Trump’s presidential victory. An ISIS-affiliated media network said, in a translation quoted by The Washington Post, “Trump’s win of the American presidency will bring hostility of Muslims against America as a result of his reckless actions, which show the overt and hidden hatred against them.”
Before becoming Trump’s right-hand man in the Oval Office, and CEO of the far-right president’s campaign before that, Bannon was previously chair of the far-right website Breitbart News, for which he was a founding board member.
Bannon proudly described Breitbart as “the platform for the alt-right,” using a euphemism for the neo-fascist, white supremacist movement led by neofascists like Richard Spencer.
Spencer, who adores Trump, is an avowed white supremacist who coined the term alt-right and edits a website sharing the same name, at which he published an article justifying “black genocide” and pondering “the best and easiest way to dispose” of “the Black race.”
At a fascist conference in Washington, D.C. in November, Spencer was caught on camera shouting “Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!”, in reference to the Nazi slogan “Sieg Heil.”