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The Trump-Breitbart web wouldn’t be complete without discussing the central role of the Mercer family.
Multi-millionaire investor Robert Mercer was a major donor to the Trump campaign through his Make America Number 1 super PAC. His daughter Rebekah Mercer chaired the super PAC, and, according to the New York Times, was one of the most ‘potent forces’ in the Trump campaign.
The ties between the Mercers and Breitbart News appear to be very close. Forbes reports that Robert Mercer invested $10 million in Breitbart in 2011 and likely still has a stake in the company.
Moreover, Rebekah Mercer and Stephen Bannon are tightly connected. Prior to joining the Trump administration, Bannon served on the board of Reclaim New York, for which Rebekah serves as chairman, director, and treasurer. She also served on the board of the Government Accountability Institute (GAI), which Bannon co-founded, and to which the Mercers have been seven-digit donors.
The two also partnered to turn Clinton Cash, written by GAI president Peter Schweizer, into a documentary film, with a premier showing on Robert Mercer’s 203-foot yacht. The New York Times reports that Rebekah Mercer urged Trump to officially bring Bannon into the campaign.
By now, the ties between Stephen Bannon and Donald Trump are well known, as is Bannon’s bigoted, ethno-nationalist worldview that for years drove Breitbart News.
Bannon served as Breitbart News’ executive chair after Andrew Breitbart died in 2012. During this time he oversaw the site’s toxic content and rising influence. He openly viewed Breitbart as the vanguard of the far-right populist movement. ‘We’re the platform for the alt-right,’ he told Mother Jones. Bannon officially resigned from Breitbart after becoming Trump’s chief strategist and senior counsellor.
It’s no secret that Bannon’s sway over Trump has been huge. He even reportedly co-wrote Trump’s inaugural speech, with its apocalyptic undertones clearly rooted in the worldview that Bannon brought to Breitbart.
Donald Trump’s selection of Jeff Sessions for attorney general caps a stunning ascent for the former Alabama senator. Long considered on the far-right fringe, Sessions will now wield tremendous power as head of the nation’s justice department.Many aspects of Sessions chequered past are well known – for example, his history of racism, which denied him a federal judgeship appointment in 1986, or his deep anti-immigrant hostility (the conservative National Review crowned him ‘Amnesty’s Worst Enemy’ in 2014). Indeed, Politico went so far to say that ‘in the Senate, Sessions was often Trump before Trump was Trump’.Less well known is Sessions’ close ties not merely to the far-right but to the worst of its extremist, racist fringe. For years, Sessions has been cozy with Stephen Bannon and Breitbart News. Politico reports that Sessions’ office worked closely with Breitbart News, and that he even attended Friday ‘happy hours’ with Breitbart reporters. Sessions is on record praising the racist, sexist, xenophobic outlet.
Protesters at UC Berkeley rose up to prevent the former Breitbart writer and ‘mouthpiece of the alt-right’ from speaking on campus. In response, Donald Trump tweeted an apparent threat to pull federal funding from the college.
Yiannopoulos has been an open, unapologetic advocate of transphobia and has referred to trans people as ‘mentally ill’. At the 2016 Republican convention, he hosted a ‘Gays for Trump’ party attended by anti-Islam writers Pamela Geller and Geert Wilders, both of whom spoke at the event.
That Trump would align himself with Yiannopoulos – who is so offensive that he was banned from Twitter, which has a notoriously lax policy for policing hate speech – is another disturbing sign about this administration.
Ann Coulter called Stephen Miller the ‘brain trust‘ of Jeff Sessions. And indeed, Miller has been Sessions’ right-hand man when it comes to strengthening his ties to the extremist right.
Miller is now Trump’s senior policy advisor (he co-wrote, with Bannon, Trump’s dark, nativist inaugural address). But his history on the far right goes back further. Miller was an early disciple of the neo-conservative David Horowitz, founder of the left-baiting FrontPage Magazine website. It was Horowitz who, in 2009, recommended Miller as an aide to his old friend Jeff Sessions.
Miller is known for serving as Trump’s hype man on the campaign trail, working crowds into a frenzy by reading passages from Clinton Cash (a Breitbart favorite) before Trump took the stage. But his influence on Trump’s ascendancy and the rise of the ethno-nationalist far right goes much deeper.
The police spend little of their time making arrests, and most crimes are not solved, writes Alex Vitale – their real purpose is social control
Many important things happened on conference floor, reports Alex Nunns – but you wouldn’t know it from reading the newspapers
Radhika Desai says Capital by Karl Marx is still an essential read on the 150th anniversary of its publication
The Spanish state is seizing ballot papers and raiding meetings, write Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte – but it is being met with united resistance
The crunch executive meeting ahead of Labour conference agreed some welcome changes, writes Michael Calderbank, but there is still much further to go
Dipesh Pandya speaks to documentary film-maker Sanjay Kak, who for 30 years has been working outside the mainstream to tell a story rooted in the struggles of those excluded by India’s militarism and its narrative of neoliberal growth
Jeremy Gilbert on how radical Labour politics can be inspired by the utopianism of the counterculture
Disasters have unequal impacts – it's the poor and marginalised who suffer most. David Harvey writes on Hurricane Harvey
#MeToo is necessary – but I’m sick of having to prove my humanity
Women are expected to reveal personal trauma to be taken seriously, writes Eleanor Penny
Universal credit isn’t about saving money – it’s about disciplining unemployed people
The scheme has cost a fortune and done nothing but cause suffering. So why does it exist at all? Tom Walker digs into universal credit’s origins in Tory ideology
Meet the digital feminists
We're building new online tools to create a new feminist community and tackle sexism wherever we find it, writes Franziska Grobke
The Marikana women’s fight for justice, five years on
Marienna Pope-Weidemann meets Sikhala Sonke, a grassroots social justice group led by the women of Marikana
Forget ‘Columbus Day’ – this is the Day of Indigenous Resistance
By Leyli Horna, Marcela Terán and Sebastián Ordonez for Wretched of the Earth
Uber and the corporate capture of e-petitions
Steve Andrews looks at a profit-making petition platform's questionable relationship with the cab company
You might be a centrist if…
What does 'centrist' mean? Tom Walker identifies the key markers to help you spot centrism in the wild
Black Journalism Fund Open Editorial Meeting in Leeds
Friday 13th October, 5pm to 7pm, meeting inside the Laidlaw Library, Leeds University
This leadership contest can transform Scottish Labour
Martyn Cook argues that with a new left-wing leader the Scottish Labour Party can make a comeback
Review: No Is Not Enough
Samir Dathi reviews No Is Not Enough: Defeating the New Shock Politics, by Naomi Klein
Building Corbyn’s Labour from the ground up: How ‘the left’ won in Hackney South
Heather Mendick has gone from phone-banker at Corbyn for Leader to Hackney Momentum organiser to secretary of her local party. Here, she shares her top tips on transforming Labour from the bottom up
Five things to know about the independence movement in Catalonia
James O'Nions looks at the underlying dynamics of the Catalan independence movement
‘This building will be a library!’ From referendum to general strike in Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte report from the Catalan general strike, as the movements prepare to build a new republic
Chlorine chickens are just the start: Liam Fox’s Brexit trade free-for-all
A hard-right free marketer is now in charge of our trade policy. We urgently need to develop an alternative vision, writes Nick Dearden
There is no ‘cult of Corbyn’ – this is a movement preparing for power
The pundits still don’t understand that Labour’s new energy is about ‘we’ not ‘me’, writes Hilary Wainwright
Debt relief for the hurricane-hit islands is the least we should do
As the devastation from recent hurricanes in the Caribbean becomes clearer, the calls for debt relief for affected countries grow stronger, writes Tim Jones
‘Your credit score is not sufficient to enter this location’: the risks of the ‘smart city’
Jathan Sadowski explains techno-political trends of exclusion and enforcement in our cities, and how to overcome this new type of digital oppression
Why I’m standing with pregnant women and resisting NHS passport checks
Dr Joanna Dobbin says the government is making migrant women afraid to seek healthcare, increasing their chances of complications or even death
‘Committees in Defence of the Referendum’: update from Catalonia
Ignasi Bernat and David Whyte on developments as the Catalan people resist the Spanish state's crackdown on their independence referendum
The rights and safety of LGBTQ+ people are not guaranteed – we must continue to fight for them
Kennedy Walker looks at the growth in hate attacks at a time when the Tory government is being propped up by homophobes
Naomi Klein: the Corbyn movement is part of a global phenomenon
What radical writer Naomi Klein said in her guest speech to Labour Party conference
Waiting for the future to begin: refugees’ everyday lives in Greece
Solidarity volunteer Karolina Partyga on what she has learned from refugees in Thessaloniki
Don’t let Uber take you for a ride
Uber is no friend of passengers or workers, writes Lewis Norton – the firm has put riders at risk and exploited its drivers
Acid Corbynism’s next steps: building a socialist dance culture
Matt Phull and Will Stronge share more thoughts about the postcapitalist potential of the Acid Corbynist project
Flooding the cradle of civilisation: A 12,000 year old town in Kurdistan battles for survival
It’s one of the oldest continually inhabited places on earth, but a new dam has put Hasankeyf under threat, write Eliza Egret and Tom Anderson
New model activism: Putting Labour in office and the people in power
Hilary Wainwright examines how the ‘new politics’ needs to be about both winning electoral power and building transformative power
What is ‘free movement plus’?
A new report proposes an approach that can push back against the tide of anti-immigrant sentiment. Luke Cooper explains
The World Transformed: Red Pepper’s pick of the festival
Red Pepper is proud to be part of organising The World Transformed, in Brighton from 23-26 September. Here are our highlights from the programme
Working class theatre: Save Our Steel takes the stage
A new play inspired by Port Talbot’s ‘Save Our Steel’ campaign asks questions about the working class leaders of today. Adam Johannes talks to co-director Rhiannon White about the project, the people and the politics behind it
The dawn of commons politics
As supporters of the new 'commons politics' win office in a variety of European cities, Stacco Troncoso and Ann Marie Utratel chart where this movement came from – and where it may be going