Yesterday provided further proof that Trump and Bannon represent an existential threat to Western liberal democracies. Trump’s transparent effort to divert attention from the collusion of his aides with Russian operatives by accusing Obama, without evidence, of wire tapping and McCarthyism was incredible in itself. I will come back to it. What I found most disturbing was an article in The Huffington Post, “This Stunningly Racist French Novel Is How Steve Bannon Explains The World” by Paul Blumenthal and JM Rieger, concerning Steve Bannon and the Alt-Right’s fascination with The Camp of the Saints, an 1973 novel by French author Jean Respail.
Here’s how Blumenthal and Rieger begin:
“Stephen Bannon, President Donald Trump’s chief strategist and the driving force behind the administration’s controversial ban on travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries, has a favorite metaphor he uses to describe the largest refugee crisis in human history.
‘It’s been almost a Camp of the Saints-type invasion into Central and then Western and Northern Europe,’ he said in October 2015.
‘The whole thing in Europe is all about immigration,’ he said in January 2016. ‘It’s a global issue today — this kind of global Camp of the Saints.’
‘It’s not a migration,’ he said later that January. ‘It’s really an invasion. I call it the Camp of the Saints.’
‘When we first started talking about this a year ago,’ he said in April 2016, ‘we called it the Camp of the Saints. … I mean, this is Camp of the Saints, isn’t it?'”
I previously discussed Bannon’s penchant for the dark side in my blog “Darth Bannon” where I note Bannon’s fascination with Italian proto-fascist thinker and philosopher Julius Evola. Evola provided the template for Mussolini and Hitler and has since become popular in the Alt-Right circles. The racist Camp of the Saints is more of the same. Again from the article:
“The book is a cult favorite on the far right, yet it’s never found a wider audience. There’s a good reason for that: It’s breathtakingly racist.
‘[This book is] racist in the literal sense of the term. It uses race as the main characterization of characters,’ said Cécile Alduy, professor of French at Stanford University and an expert on the contemporary French far right. ‘It describes the takeover of Europe by waves of immigrants that wash ashore like the plague.’
The book, she said, ‘reframes everything as the fight to death between races.’
And further on: “The Camp of the Saints — which draws its title from Revelation 20:9 — is 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.”
Enough. The article merits reading in full. But keep in mind that Steve Bannon, chief aide to Mr. Trump, and the ideologue behind Trump’s ban on Muslim immigration, wakes up in the morning and frames his agenda in a world dominated by fascism and racism. It is no coincidence that Muslim radicals are now reportedly using Bannon’s image as a recruiting tool.
Back to Trump’s diversionary tactic of accusing Obama of McCarthyism. I’m not the first to suggest that many of Trump’s accusations and smears are projections of his own twisted psyche. But the irony in this case is too great not to mention. Donald Trump and Joe McCarthy himself are directly connected as friends and employers of the infamous red-baiting lawyer Roy Cohn. See Sidney Blumenthal’s “A Short History of the Trump Family“. Cohn has been cited as the intellect behind McCarthy, he is famed for frequently whispering in McCarthy’s ear during the McCarthy hearings, and is credited by Blumenthal and others with teaching Trump everything he knows. Which, for the record, is not a compliment but a reference to tactics of lying, intimidation, bullying, and manipulation of the media and the judiciary. So, for Trump, at 5:30 in the morning, to be tweeting, without evidence, about Obama’s resort to McCarthyism is mindblowing.
Dan Rather traces his journalistic chops back to the CBS of Ed Murrow, the man who took McCarthy down. Earlier this week, Rather suggested that the perjury of Jeff Sessions during his confirmation hearing was the lighting of the fuse to the Russian scandal. See Rather’s post. It is difficult to understand what Sessions was doing, lying directly to Senator Franken’s explicit question, unless Sessions had something to hide. I assume that it was the revealing of this perjury that frightened Trump into his effort to divert attention by smearing Obama. Isn’t that how he sees the world?