UKIP and Bannon forge alliance for alt-right movement in Europe
Categories: Latest News
Tuesday July 31 2018
Last week, we reported that Steve Bannon, founder of Breitbart News and former advisor to Donald Trump, had explicitly expressed support for the “Free Tommy Robinson” campaign, a movement of right-wing activists who are demanding the release of the English Defence League founder from prison.
Today, we learn that Bannon has a direct stake in fomenting the far-right movement in Europe. As reported by The Observer, Bannon is forging a new European “alt-right movement” with the aim of taking down the EU and fuelling populism across the continent. Bannon’s new foundation – called “The Movement” – will fund and bolster Euro-sceptic parties across Europe, bringing extreme far-right MEPs (Members of European Parliament) into Brussels’ palace of power.
According to Nigel Farage, whose former party will join forces with Bannon, The Movement “could secure between 176 and 235 seats in the European parliament elections next May”, and will aggressively campaign until the European elections next spring to create the biggest anti-EU faction in the European parliament.
Speaking to The Observer, Farage also added: “The mood for change is very strong. Even though Britain is floundering with Brexit, across the rest of Europe, the Eurosceptics are on the march. Euro-critical and Eurosceptic movements are advancing at a very rapid pace everywhere.”
Meanwhile, Bannon is reportedly keeping a place for Tommy Robinson, who “might be offered a leading role in [The Movement’s] UK wing” as soon as he leaves prison, thus further unveiling the profound connection between the two men, and between the US and UK alt-right movement.
On a more positive note, it is unlikely that Bannon will manage to bring together all European far-right groups. Indeed, according to Professor Robert Ford of the University of Manchester, “Shares in Bannon are overvalued. This idea that he’s going to become this pan-national Dr Evil figure producing this big radical right alignment … there are some big barriers to entry. Influence in the US doesn’t really translate to influence in Europe.”
Even so, the news is concerning for the Muslim communities across Europe. In the UK, Muslims, have experienced a dramatic increase in Islamophobic hate crimes against the backdrop of the Brexit vote, and have been the target of incessant abuse by groups such as the EDL, Britain First, the Football Lads Alliance, and UKIP. Indeed, it would seem that groups such as these are openly Islamophobic, and place the fight against an alleged Islamicisation of Britain at the top of their agenda.
As such, although UKIP won’t be able to have MEPs in Brussels because of Brexit, the “unholy alliance” – as some have called it – will certainly have a strong impact in Britain as well, with The Movement providing the funds and logistics to attack British Muslims and Muslims across Europe. Indeed, if the same anti-EU and anti-Muslim propaganda that pro-Leave demagogues used for Brexit should be used to influence the next elections in Brussels, we should reasonably expect another increase in Islamophobic incidents all over Europe.
If you experience an Islamophobic hate crime, contact MEND’s Islamophobia Response Unit (IRU) here, where we endeavour to provide free emotional and legal support, advice, and referral services.