The controversial right-wing nationalist activist told the Daily Beast that he plans to set up a foundation, called “The Movement,” that will help the continent’s disparate far-right movements band together in the common cause of banishing European integration to the past.
Some of the services provided will include think-tank research, voter targeting expertise, polling and other political support services, as well as access to funding.
Bannon said he envisions The Movement as a direct opponent to Hungarian-American billionaire George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, which has donated some $32 billion to liberal democratic causes.
The former White House strategist and Breitbart News executive said he has already held talks with some of Europe’s leading far-right political figures, including former U.K. Independence Party (UKIP) leader and Brexit pioneer Nigel Farage and members of French far-right politician Marine Le Pen’s Reassamblement National party (formerly known as Front National).
Le Pen previously invited Bannon to her party’s congress in March; he told her supporters that “history is on our side,” and assured them that they were part of a worldwide movement that transcended French politics.
With European Parliament elections scheduled for 2019, Bannon says he and his allies want to set up a coalition of right-wing parties to push the populist movement to the next level.
He tabbed Farage and Le Pen to spearhead the creation of the right-wing European Parliament bloc, that would include parties not just from traditional Western European powers but also from Eastern Bloc nations like Poland and Hungary.
“Right-wing populist nationalism is what will happen. That’s what will govern,” Bannon told The Daily Beast. “You’re going to have individual nation states with their own identities, their own borders.”
The 64-year-old said he was inspired by the result of the Brexit referendum, given that the “Vote Leave” campaign had to make do with a campaign spending cap of £7 million (C$12.1 million).
“When they told me the spending cap was £7 million, I go, ‘You mean £70 million? What the f***?!’” Bannon told The Daily Beast. “Dude! You just took the fifth largest economy in the world out of the EU for £7 million!”
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He also pointed to the success of Italy’s anti-immigrant Five Star Movement and Northern League parties, whose unprecedented success in general elections earlier this year led them to eventually band together to form the coalition that now governs the country.
“They used their own credit cards,” Bannon told The Daily Beast. “They took control of the seventh largest economy in the world—on their credit cards! It’s insane.”
The Movement is set to be headquartered in Belgian capital Brussels, which also happens to be the city where all the main European Union institutions that Bannon so heavily opposes are headquartered.
A handful of full-time staff are set to be hired in the coming months, Bannon told The Daily Beast, although more will be hired after the 2019 European Parliament elections.
In addition to empowering right-wing populist parties in Europe, The Movement will also serve as a conduit between the European right and the U.S. House Freedom Caucus, which counts some of the Republican Party’s most conservative lawmakers among its members.
Bannon served as White House Chief Strategist for seven months before joining the long line of former Trump allies who ended up being fired by the president.
He promptly returned to his previous role as executive chairman of right-wing media outlet Breitbart News, telling the Weekly Standard that he would use Breitbart to “crush” his political opponents.
But he stepped down from his position at Breitbart only five months later following a very public falling-out with Trump, the flames of which were fanned by Michael Wolff’s tell-all book Fire and Fury — Inside the Trump White House, in which Bannon was quoted making disparaging remarks about Trump and his staff, including Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump Jr.
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Trump lashed out at Bannon on Twitter, calling him “Sloppy Steve” and saying he was “dumped like a dog.” But Bannon still maintained his support for Trump, saying he would “remain ready to stand in the breech for this president’s efforts to make America great again.”
While Bannon’s stock may have fallen in the U.S., he told the Daily Beast that he was resolute in his desire to haul Europe to the political right.
“I want to win and then I want to effectuate change.”
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