Wednesday, 17 October, 2018

Steve Bannon: Wear label of 'racist' as a 'badge of honor'

Steve Bannon: Wear label of 'racist' as a 'badge of honor' Steve Bannon: Wear label of 'racist' as a 'badge of honor'
Charlie Simmons | 11 March, 2018, 01:48

Bannon has already spoken in Zurich, Switzerland at an event organized by a conservative publication, and on Saturday headlined the annual conference for France's National Front.

"You're part of a worldwide movement bigger than France, bigger than Italy", Bannon told the gathering, denouncing central banks, central governments and "crony capitalists".

Former White House strategist Steve Bannon, a champion of Donald Trump's "America First" agenda, will address the National Front's party congress on Saturday, a senior official of the French anti-immigrant party said.

His arrival in Paris comes as the far-right giant of French politics is in a slump.

Macron won with 66% of the vote vs. 34% for Le Pen, who had threatened to curb immigration and pull France out of the European Union, among other measures.

Nine months after Le Pen was defeated by centrist Emmanuel Macron for president in a bruising battle between nationalists and globalists, the FN is struggling to rebound. But the pair had a bitter public falling out and Bannon was sacked by the White House last August, though he continued to speak with Trump and tried to promote the president's agenda. Le Pen said the FN had two central aims: "to defend the identity, culture and security of the French involving the fight against immigration" and defending "France's social model and sovereignty".

Marine Le Pen will try to shore up her damaged leadership of the National Front by relaunching the party under a new, less sulphurous name.

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Bannon spoke only about the 28-year-old neice at the joint news conference with Marechal-Le Pen.

Le Pen defended inviting Bannon to the meeting, saying it was important to listen to the man who was "the architect of Donald Trump's victory" and has written about globalization, protectionism and giving to regular people the power that "has been practically illegally captured by the elite".

Bannon has publicly praised Marechal-Le Pen in the past, and she galvanized the crowd at a recent convention of USA conservatives. The new name, to be announced tomorrow, is meant to distance the party from the toxic aura that it earned under her father, who handed her the leadership in 2011. Jean-Marie Le Pen also is to be scratched from the party's books along with his title of honorary president-for-life.

Marine Le Pen is running unopposed for a third term and her address Sunday will see her try to turn a page on the anti-Semitic, openly racist party of her former paratrooper father.

The outcome of Italy's election last weekend has energized France's far right.

Since taking over the National Front's presidency in 2011, Le Pen has worked to erase the footprint of her father - who has convictions for racism and anti-Semitism - to broaden the party's appeal.

Recent polling showed that 55% of respondents don't want Le Pen to run in the next election. She bowed out of politics after her aunt's presidential defeat, but is expected to come back in a new role.

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