Introducing Post Trump Europe
1. This week has been a turning point not just for the US but for the world at large. Donald Trump has been elected President of the most powerful and influential country on Earth. The news shook many of us up with a sense of shared terror and dread for the future. But here we are and there is work to do if we are going to get through this.
In the aftermath of Brexit, racial crimes increased in the UK with a renewed force and violence. People of Color, always on the receiving end of varying degrees of bigotry found themselves victims of an emboldened voter base that saw their win as a tacit approval of their ideology. Anti Semitism, which Northern Europe had claimed was “a thing of the past” became an acceptable topic of dinner discussions. Your “internet trolls” no longer had to hide in the metaphorical basement. They were out, proud and determined to “take back control”.
The past two days since Trump’s win in the US have been no different. There has been a wave of reports of hate crimes against People of Color and LGBTQ. News reports claim that LGBTQ rights will be rolled back 50 years considering Mike Pence, Trump’s Vice President, is an advocate of conversion therapy and rabidly anti gay. Reproductive rights are at risk. The new President elect is on record about his stances on sexual assault and rape. Yesterday there were reports that Sheriff Clark, who believes that Black Lives Matter and ISIS are ready to form an alliance might be part of Trump’s cabinet.
Meanwhile, and as soon as Trump’s victory was announced early on Wednesday morning, in Europe, the congratulations and ideological alignments started to roll in
Nigel Farage (whose political career was supposed to be over according to many in media), the bigoted ideologue that fanned the flames of anti immigrant and racist hatred in the UK, fancies himself a “go between” for the future Trump administration.
Geert Wilders is already giving interviews to Breitbart News about how much he shares the values of what he is calling “America’s Second Revolution”.
For years, mainstream media has been repeating the myth that “The right is on the rise”. I have compiled 20+ years of headlines repeating this statement ad nauseam. While the media has been treating the right as either a “new phenomenon” or a topic of ethnographic curiosity peddling the myth of the “disenfranchised working class white voter”, they networked. They formed alliances. They grew stronger. They aligned.
2. This is where I get self referential not out of smugness or to spout “I told you so” but because from here on, I want to point out what I have already been writing for the past 10+ years. Too much is at stake to be petty right now.
In 2011, right after Anders Breivik committed his racist mass murders, I wrote this:
Maybe the framework under which we have been analyzing the phenomenon of right wing nationalism is all wrong. This clearly goes beyond local, national borders. Instead, I am unsure what the correct way of framing it would be (it is too new to yet have much we can draw upon), but it has to be tied to globalization and uniformity and, perhaps, with certain forces who would benefit from the creation of a mono culture (one of consumers, maybe, instead of civil subjects?).
I was then alarmed by the fact that he had been exchanging information and tactics with other like minded individuals around Europe. I sensed a new form of ideological alliance forming, one that transcended borders and was informed not by Nationalism but by White Supremacy and a shared hatred of People of Color, sexual minorities and women. In 2012, I followed up with another essay about this phenomenon which I called “Networks of Racist Hatred”.
These alliances are, on the surface, the result of “individual discontent” but one does not need to dig beneath too much to find that we are witnessing a new form of globalized white supremacy that has eschewed local nationalism (while still using it as an excuse) to advance a violent form of bigotry that includes hate for Black and Non Black people of color, LGBTQ and women. Breivik’s manifesto was prophetic in how it outlined who they perceive as the enemy: migrants, women, feminism… but his writing was dismissed by both the mainstream media and mainstream feminism as “the works of a lone madman”. The official narrative became “we are not like him! our right wingers are not that extreme!”. Those ideas are now in power. What now?
3. Last weekend, before the US elections, Huffington Post published an in-depth report about the ideologues behind Trump’s campaign. The report focuses most of its research on two specific men: Matthew Heimbach and Richard Spencer.
Heimbach is described as “a burly, black-bearded 25-year-old who has been referred to as the “next David Duke” and the “future of organized hate.” He has has also “traveled to Europe several times to seek advice from far-right leaders, including politicians from the nationalist Czech Worker’s Party of Social Justice and Golden Dawn in Greece”. He plans to run for State Legislature in 2018 while supporting future candidates for local elections in the US. He has learned his tactics from like minded Europeans and I would be willing to bet this collaboration will continue in the future.
Richard Spencer, the other individual that Huffington Post reported about, stated that “Race is real, race matters, and race is essential to identity.” He also elaborated how “the best ways to secrete a white nationalist idea inside an acceptable shell. For example, he supported giving women paid leave from work so they could have children. Why? Because most of those Lean In women were high-IQ whites”. His modus operandi included using feminism as a Trojan Horse for White Supremacy. Spencer has hosted Geert Wilders at the Republican Convention.
And then there is this
In 2014, Richard Spencer, the now President of the National Policy Institute and Editor of Radix, was imprisoned in Hungary when trying to organize a “pan-European” conference that would bring people together from the U.S. white nationalist movement, the British nationalist community, the French New Right, the Russian Eurasianists and National Bolshevists, and other people who want to “put aside petty nationalisms” and unite along the lines of race.
4. For the next twelve months, Europe is going to face elections in half the continent.
These ideological alliances and power shifts are likely to reflect ongoing exchanges of strategic organizing and shared politics to advance a common cause of hatred. We might as well be on the brink of a new form of globalized bigotry that will have ripple effects for the next decades. I do not have all the answers but I intend to cover it to the best of my abilities. This is just the first post of what is likely to become an ongoing series. I am afraid that the worst is yet to come.
Update November 14th: For the latest news, read the next post in the series “Dispatches from Post Trump Europe”.
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