Bannonism: An Irish-American Story
So much of the rich history of the Irish people is ingrained in stories of emigration to foreign lands, in the hope of a better life. The American dream in particular, breathed hope into generations of our countrymen. One of the Irish American families that left in search of greener pastures were the Bannons of Richmond, Virginia.
The story of how this Irish Catholic family of self confessed ‘Kennedy nuts’ produced Stephen K. Bannon, is one of the most surprisingly endearing and transformative stories in explaining the nationalist populist agenda as opposed to the bille attributed to it from global elites and mainstream media narratives.
The salt of the earth, lower middle class heroes that Bannon aspired to in his youth were influential in his modern-day passionate defense of this section of society through the theory of ‘economic nationalism’ he espouses. To paraphrase the man himself, economic nationalism does not care about your race, your gender, your sexual preference, your religion or your ethnicity. The only thing that it strives to protect is the freedom of people through citizenship of their country.
This comes through the enacting of three central tenets of policymaking. Firstly, end illegal immigration and greatly reduce legal immigration. Secondly, lowering taxation for the middle/lower class workers. And thirdly, Getting out of pointless foreign conflicts designed only to enrich and empower the globalist donors and international organisations.
The story of Bannon’s vagabond-like rise through a variety of different life experiences has meant he has shaped his worldview in a series of random career fluctuations. His youth was filled with fond memories of family life. Bannon’s mother was a strong, stay at home mom who took care of 5 kids, while his father was a construction worker and later, a construction foreman. Both parents were strong proponents of civil rights.
The family stayed in inner city richmond during the desegregation of the area as many urban based, white, working class families moved to the suburbs. Bannon himself was a bookish, if unremarkable student who ran paper routes for some extra cash in his youth. He has often reflected on his childhood as being remarkable in its apparent normality, while many of his detractors have pointed out that his whole political philosophy is a throwback to 1950’s America itself.
Bannon has led a muddled life. His college education ranged from Virginia Tech to the hallowed halls of Harvard Business school. Bannon’s naval career is often cited as a seminal moment in his life as he saw the military crumbling under a flawed commander in chief, in the form of President Carter. This left Bannon disenfranchised with the Democratic party from this point in his life onwards. Upon his return to the States, Bannon worked in the pentagon before becoming restless with his career progression being stunted at every turn.
A chance meeting with some well connected employees led to an unlikely hiring at the mergers and acquisitions department of Goldman Sachs. He moved to Los Angeles in 1987, to help expand the company’s influence in the entertainment industry, before eventually being backed by Goldman Sachs to head up ‘Bannon & Co.’ which was media investment oriented. This eventually gave Bannon the financial clout to pursue his interests such as filmmaking and politics.
Michael Wolff, perhaps best described him at this point in his life as “ever striving, ever disappointed.” However, by 2004 with his friend the great Andrew Breitbart proclaiming him as the Leni Riefenstahl of the Tea Party movement in typically provocative fashion, Bannon seemed to have found his voice. Or at least an outlet, by which he could make a difference.
In the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash the Tea Party had really taken off. This was as a result of ordinary people (much like Bannon’s father who lost his entire retirement stocks), beginning to understand that the game was rigged. Corporatism had distorted the American dream that Bannon’s Irish-American relations had initially embraced, only for today’s immigration to be exploited for lower wages causing a saturation of working class jobs in the age of globalism.
Bannon illuminated this in his film Generation Zero. By 2012, he was appointed executive chair at Breitbart News, which essentially gave him editorial control. Under Bannon, Breitbart News went from culture oriented to focusing more on Washington politics in particular. He led the fight, along with then Senator Jeff Sessions, on the national-populist issues of the day such as curtailing illegal immigration.
Bannon and Breitbart News’ support of Tea Party harbingers Michelle Bachmann and Sarah Palin, had led many to expect a Palin presidential run in 2012 against President Obama. Bannon even produced a film on Palin, ‘The Undefeated.’ The proposed presidential run never materialised and Breitbart continued to beat the drum of national-populism.
This was until Donald J. Trump famously descended the golden escalator at Trump tower and went on to endear himself to the Republican base with his straight talking style. Midway through the presidential primaries, Breitbart news went all in on Trump, essentially becoming the media arm of the campaign. Indeed, Bannon was then transplanted into the floundering campaign by Trump donors the Mercers, when it was at a low ebb of 12- 15 points behind Clinton.
His role as Executive Chairman drew the ire of Hillary Clinton as she went on the attack, in her ‘alt-right’ speech, defaming Bannon and Breitbart as racist, and anti-semitic. Bannon would later smirk as he recounted watching the speech in his war room, proclaiming that he knew if all she could muster was to cry “racist” – that they had her on substantive issues like globalism.
There were more challenging times to come as ‘Billy Bush Weekend’ seemed to spell the end of the Trump campaign. When all the donors, establishment republicans and even family members running for cover, Bannon told Trump that if he focused on the three core issues (immigration, trade and no more pointless wars) he would win “with 100% metaphysical certitude.” He rallied against the politically correct establishment, famously bringing Bill Clinton’s accusers to the second presidential debate as a counter to the Billy Bush tape.
Today, Bannon is still at war. His short term white house stint as chief strategist was fraught with battling globalists within the administration, such as Gary Cohn, Dina Powell and Jared Kushner. His ousting at Breitbart news after further enraging the president over the Mueller probe and his son’s ill advised meeting with Kremlin linked lawyers during the campaign, meant that he again had to rebuild. With one crucial difference; Bannon himself is now a brand.
His media interviews have become increased in their volume, he has engaged in a new project of anti-EU federalism, called ‘The movement,’ which aims to help nationalist parties across Europe in the European elections of 2019. He has highlighted George Soros as displaying the political interference of the globalists. He has been aiding the Trump presidency with a foundation designed to help republican campaigns both in the midterms and in 2020.
The Trump presidency has made gains on Bannon’s agenda in terms of decreasing immigration, lower taxes (although he argued against Cohn on the highest wage bracket getting a deduction, instead wanting a rise in order to fully help the middle to lower class), renegotiation of trade deals, leaving the Paris Climate Accords, and a trade war with China. His influence is there for all to see.
The Tea Party emerged when the Republicans and Democrats had become too centrist and refused to represent their base. In Ireland today Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have gone down the same route of sanitised, politically correct photo opportunities over substantive governance. The political elitism that the Tea Party despised is alive and well in Ireland today. They are the same entrenched political class who have become closely allied with business elites against the ordinary working people.
The financial crash in 2008, which was met in Ireland with no political alternatives, meant that Fianna Fáil as globalist proxies simply allowed the ECB to flood the zone with liquidity, leading to 0% interest rates, a housing collapse, and massive European bank debt being imposed on the Irish economy. These are all similar problems to those encountered in America as the Tea Party, Breitbart and Bannon all rose to prominence.
The most interesting thing will be what comes next. According to Bannon the youth will eventually become the backbone of this national-populist movement worldwide. This is becoming true on the continent at the moment, but in Ireland the education system has continued to churn out homogenous liberal graduates.
However, with mountains of student debt, a debilitating housing crisis and the most academically qualified generation in the history of the western world are, in all likelihood, going to be 20% down in real earnings from previous generations as a result of the ineptitude of the political class. How do progressive young liberals end up as far-right nationalist you might ask?
Steve Bannon is living proof, he rages against the system he was a product of for one simple reason. He believes that your country is sacred, and when the rich and powerful debase it by importing cheap labour, they chip away at the heart of Irishness, and the heart of the American dream that the Bannons and so many others sought.
Originally Published at: The Burkean