The ‘Alt Right’ are on the move. They found each other in the electric interweb and liked each others’ “we poor derprived white male workers should come first” rhetoric for covering their inherent racism and all the other nasty -isms they have. At last many little xenophonic nazionalists had a voice. But that is only because the media wanted to give them one.
Let us be clear here, Populism just isn’t very popular. Marie Le Pen fielded votes at just over 20%, sneeking ahead of the communist party candidate. Geert de Wilders fielded about the same, and none of the other parties will let him into government. Austrians right wing presidential candidate was beaten by a Green, and after the re-run he will not persue an EU busting, Putin Friendly agenda. HUngary in truth, has always had a rather dark, isolationist view of the world reflected in the post communist democracy swinging to the right.
No the real story here is that there IS a story. The media were getting very bored with the centre consensus where the Neo Liberal, globalisation model was adopted by all the major parties. If you look back into the electoral registers and hustings’ rhetoric of 1970s britain, I am sure you could find that a fith of the vote in some constituences went to the british national party. But the first past the post system kept them out of parliament and therefore out of the day to day media gaze.
Here we come of course to Trump, the great white hope of the Alt Right, who already is being reeled in by the realities of international diplomacy and the need to position and pose your super power so as not to seem weak in the media. He is even on the edge of chossing Putin as a new enemy rather than a potential nationalist ally. Trump though is exactly the way you need to look at what is happening in politics. He was elected not for his mexican, muslim bashing speeches, but because of the ‘economy, stupid!’.
The centre consensus had gone wrong, especially after the left had embraced Neo Liberalist economics of globalisations and courting the corporate might gently and compliantly to boost job creation. The malaise of the last decade in the western countries which most embraced a post industrial, neo liberalist stance is caused not by the creation of ‘free market economics’ but by their destruction. Mega Corporates can launder their profits abroad, while internal start up competition on the ground gets hounded by the tax man at federal and local level. THey lack the might of lawyers, tax accountants and most of all lobbyists in owning politicians and commanding that ‘job creator’ angel like status. Clearly they do not deserve this because they are largely in the rentier area, living off our existences in housing and consumption, and creating a part time, temporary work life for millions of people. In the US and UK in particular, living standards in terms of ‘discretionary’ income, the cash we like to splash once all the bills are paid, is eroded down to actually just being access to credit card ceilings and a life in debt to support the cosey extras we really want out of life. All part of the plan – more money is taken out of the take home pay packet via housing, transport and fuel costs in the fully privatised economy, than is put back in via wage rises and investment in productivity.
The back drop of this is importation from the greatest socialist Keynsian experiment the planet will ever see, China, and the virtual enslavement of workers in the developing and third world, locked as we are into a cash economy where making ends meet is designed to be near impossible. Chinese central banks underwrite the credit worthiness of their banks and control the cash supply, which Trump rigthfully accuses of being currency manipulation by proxy. They are building a mega efficient infrastructure in a decade which western countries have not equalled in sixty years of post war regeneration and public investment.
The left had been to some extent forced into accepting the Neo Liberal economic philosophy because of the lobbying power of Corporate proponents and because the Media had drifted into buying all the ‘market mechanism’ as sensible means to run society, The left were fooled into thinking that laisez faire , ie give power to the corporates and the super rich establishment, meant that the economy would grow and productivitiy would be a focus of investment, thus workers would benefit through higher rates of employment, upskilling opportunities a plenty and their central governments would recieve burdgeoning tax revenues in return.
The reverse has been true. Wages have stagnated for average workers and monthly take home pay has fallen for many, and far more are reliant on top up benefits to put bread on the table. The educated middle class ‘yuppies’ and technocrats are faced with huge student debt and eye splittingly high mortgages per square meter in the valleys and cities where there is work. My generation and those younger, have to basically rent their lives and many just don’t make ends meet without money from mum and dad or extensive use of credit. Only if you come from a wealthy, entitled family can you keep your head above water. We down a triple hopped IPA and vegan bruschetta and try to get on with life.
Blue collar workers in the EU fair better than their US counterparts, where trade unionism is about as persecuted as democracy and religious freedom was under Stalin. Wages have often fallen due to deunionisatoin, even in super profitable industries like oil. Jobs have indeed been moved out to low cost land, even when US companies were making profits from US factories, the allure of 5% more bottom line is just too great for the corporate accountants and super powerful stock investors.
Enter Trump. He offered something different, hope via market mechanisms, all be those procetionist, America could be offered to be great again, not just corporate on the republican side, or minority lifting on the democrat’s side. He reached out to a lot of non voters in the blue collar belt, and appealed via his anti intellectual, anti elite stand point. Like the golden edifices of Trump Towers in Manhattan amongst the tasteful, neo gothic and art deco neigbouring billionaire’s buildings, he is more down to earth, more real in fact. He does not dress himself up in sheeps clothing, or use ambiguous platitudes to sooth both sides of the debate. He annoys and challenges everyone in power, all establishments, all percieved knowledge and yet delights many american blue collar voters and small business owners.
Trump is not there because he is a racist, in fact it is a very, very long time ago when he went along with the rather nasty economic tactic of the time, to keep appartment prices up, you appeased racist white collar americans in New York by keeping afro-americans out of their blocks. He is a maverick de luxe though, and not afraid to sweep in a very odd bunch of right wing christians and his own family to his inner circle. These are people to whom he is the prince-maker, and from whom he expects obedience in reward for airing their own views. Trump wants to be King.
All this is a wonder to the media. Finally news so exciting people will perhaps follow the news channels rather than Facebook and Instagram at 6pm each night. They didn’t really put Trump there though, he could buy his platform and be completely unavoidable to the media and the public. However the rest of the Alt Right, the one in five small minded racists with their simplistic solutions did get a voice in the media. The rid us of islam, rid us of immigrants, defend christian values by being un-christian to refugees.
So we have a social media meeting place and then a consolidation into ‘movements’ the “firsts” and so on, and of course Scottish Independence gains greatly through social media connectivity fighting the multi million pound No campaign at the grass roots. However the media have chosen to have attention grabbing, worry making stories about the far right, rather than listen to the centre majority and centre debate, which had become dull and consensual around Neo Liberal globalisation and the move to a completely tertiray economy in the UK bar oil and shale gas.
This is the same media attention grabbing by shifting the debate to unsavoury, minority areas as has happened with climate change, or rather man-created-global-warming as it is to put it in your face. The media like to give air time to the deniers, because that would seem to be a balanced and fair debate, and their PR companies prime that side for well crafted argumentation. The actual debat is between those who say we will have 10 m sea rise by 2050 and catastrophical destruction of marine life, desertification of today’s semi arrid areas and more mass migration of people, or a more moderate set of effects from global warming which can be alleviated by progressive policy and technology. But that would be giving in to a one sided argument you see.
The trad’ Media, news at ten, etc is failing to attract the attention of younger generations and to appear ‘relevant’ it is biasing the reporting to dialectic – the debating of heated, highly opposed and often reactionary arguments. In the polarised debates they present willingly to capture viewers and appear exciting and relevant, they actually are suceeding in making radical right wing agendas centre stage, and disappearing in their own dark place by allowing freedom of speech and ‘real’ debate they will create less freedom of speech.