The arrest in late February of a white supremacist Coast Guard lieutenant who planned to attack media personalities, Democratic elected officials and “leftists in general” is just the latest in a string of examples of far-right extremism in the Trump era. But the rise of extremist ideologies, leaders and governments isn’t just gaining steam in the U.S.—it’s happening in Europe and around the world.
In the March 1 episode of “The Progressive Happy Hour,” cohost Drew Courtney and guest host Diallo Brooks talk to PFAW Right Wing Watch Research Director Addie Stan about what’s driving the transnational rise of the far Right and the alarming consequences to our democracy if these trends continue.
Addie explained, “The dynamics of economic change always set the stage for the rise of authoritarian movements… There will always be a subset of people who are willing to sign onto an extreme program that confirms all of their prejudices and biases … As our politics became more ‘Trumpified,’” Addie continued, “we really see a [transnational] coalescence. [Steve] Bannon [has been] setting up shop in Europe organizing around all of these nationalist parties and … dispensing data, knowledge and messaging expertise to these figures.”
Despite any differences between individual far-right leaders, Addie said, “all of these biases and prejudices come together to form an authoritarian model … [Their goal is] to bust up the post-World War II world order, to bust up the EU and NATO.”
Addie noted that “it’s very difficult to convince Americans of the relevance of what’s happening in other countries to our own wellbeing. … [But] these forces want to disaggregate to set the stage for war or [global political] realignment … What is that going to mean for the United States? Can it hurt us? … We tend to run away from stoking fear, but we may need to stoke fear … into Americans to bring the point home.”
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