close
Advertisement
Can't connect right now! retry

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

add The News to homescreen

tap to bring up your browser menu and select 'Add to homescreen' to pin the The News web app

Got it!

May 4, 2019

Right of the rich

Opinion

May 4, 2019

Billionaires and working people have one thing in common: they hate the government. But they hate the government for different reasons. For working people, government is too right-wing on some issues: it allows transnational capital to undermine jobs and wages. On other issues, many working people see government as too left-wing, allowing what they see (incorrectly) as excessive immigration. Billionaires hate government because government is sometimes forced to respond to grassroots pressure, which can mean introducing financial regulation, unionization, and other profit-harming policies.

In the absence of staging outright fascist coups, elements of the ruling class engineer social unrest to compel government to support policies that are against the interests of working people.

Today, a handful of billionaires fund far-right, anti-Islamic, anti-immigrant, and/or ultra-nationalist political figures, movements, and alternative media personalities. Their aim is to push mainstream politics further to the right, as mainstream politicians fear losing voters to the new extreme parties. But how can elites get working people to support policies that are against their own interests? The answer is to divert them from the real causes of their misery – austerity, privatization, economic deregulation, and disinvestment, ie, the very policies supported by billionaires – and, instead, play on their anger over immigrants and Islam.

In the US, concerns have been raised about President Trump’s affiliations with far-right hate groups and the political support he receives from those groups. Robert Mercer is a billionaire hedge fund manager and CEO of Renaissance Technologies. A Trump donor, Mercer worked with Trump’s short-lived strategist, Steve Bannon, to make Breitbart News a platform for the so-called alternative right, or “alt-right.” The term alt-right was coined by Richard Spencer, a white supremacist and Trump-supporter who is himself funded by the multimillionaire, William Regnery II, via the National Policy Institute. Regnery has published a series of anti-Islamic, anti-left books by, among others David Horowtiz, director of the eponymous Freedom Center. Having helped to get Trump elected, Mercer then dissociated himself from Bannon, Breitbart, and the alt-right. Job done.

Another Bannon-Mercer venture was Cambridge Analytica, a company set up in the UK as a subsidiary of SCL, a group known for its involvement in elections abroad, including its providing of consultancy services for Iraq’s first “democratic” elections while the nation was still under illegal US-British occupation. Cambridge Analytica supported the Leave campaign in the run-up to Britain’s 2016 referendum on whether or not to remain in the European Union. Indeed, the pro-Brexit faction of the Conservative Party consists of billionaire hedge funders and asset managers who want to leave the EU to avoid its financial regulations. They include: Crispin Odey, Michael Hintze, and Peter Hargreaves. Another pro-Brexiter hedge funder is Arron Banks. It is alleged that, as Home Secretary, Britain’s PM Theresa May personally intervened to prevent a police investigation into Banks’s alleged financing of the Leave.EU campaign, which used Cambridge Analytica to market anti-EU, anti-immigrant messages to social media users.

Using Facebook, Cambridge Analytica also worked with employees of Palantir, a data-mapping company set up with CIA money and owned by a billionaire tech entrepreneur, the PayPal co-founder, Peter Thiel. Thiel has openly stated that democracy is incompatible with capitalism. Thiel was a big investor in Facebook and Reddit, the latter being a message board that worked “meme magic” to help boost Trump’s profile on social media. The near-billionaire founder of Oculus VR, Palmer Luckey, bragged about being a member of the upper 0.0001% and using his internet skills to generate online, pro-Trump activism via Reddit.

As well as donating to Leave.EU, Banks is a big donor to the UK Independence Party (UKIP); the hard-right, anti-immigration, Eurosceptic party formerly headed by ex-banker, Nigel Farage. Recently, several Conservative Party MPs quit to form an independent group (now called Change UK), claiming that their party had been infiltrated by UKIP-supports encouraged by Banks, some allege, to push it further to the right.

Excerpted from: 'The Billionaires Behind the Far-Right'. Courtesy: Counterpunch.org

Topstory minus plus

Opinion minus plus

Newspost minus plus

Editorial minus plus

National minus plus

World minus plus

Sports minus plus

Business minus plus

Karachi minus plus

Lahore minus plus

Islamabad minus plus

Peshawar minus plus