Corporations far right machine is busy

Jun 10, 2024
Political Dimensions, Right- and left-wing political parties, two choices right or left,3d rendering. Image:iStock/Oselote

The radicalised right has been very active in Australia and internationally recently. With corporate money backing the movement at every turn, the networking is amplifying. If democratic projects can be made more illiberal, and international bodies crippled, the liberal tradition can be replaced with an authoritarian reimposition of “order” and corporations will have an easier route to profit.

The Centre for Independent Studies, an Atlas Network partner, is hosting a series of online events using experts’ reputations to dignify its unscholarly “CIS Energy Program,” an outgrowth dedicated to promoting the unworkable nuclear option which actually functions to delay transition.

The Atlas Network’s Australian partners joined with their Perth sibling, Mannkal, to host the American Atlas Society in “Australia: the Road Ahead” on the 17th of April. The day was designed to celebrate the Atlas Society, an Ayn Rand-devoted institution, presenting its lifetime achievement award to Gina Rinehart. Her acceptance speech celebrated the courage of convicted felon Donald Trump, concluding that Australia needs more politicians like him.

The rest of the day was dedicated to culture war talking points. The war on “woke,” bemoaning the supposed death of Western Civilisation, and antagonism to renewable energy. It supported “family values,” the rationale for opposing feminism and harming Queer people.

Janet Albrechtsen brought Bruce Lehrmann’s lawyer, Steven Whybrow, on to share her speaking slot. She contradicted herself on “judicial activism,” praising “conservative intellectual gladiator” Justice Scalia’s impact on America’s Supreme Court, but decrying it when judgments do not comply with “conservative” goals. She also deplored media activism over MeToo, while failing to mention the lengthy record of her own surreptitious media activism as documented by Acting Justice Kaye in the Drumgold judgment.

Koch-funded Briton Brendan O’Neill disdained the gross distortions of “woke” views he manufactured, culminating in accusing the bourgeoisie of pushing its children into the arms of barbarians by its loathing of its own grand heritage. As usual in this sphere, rallying for peace is depicted as fighting for Hamas.

The Alliance for Responsible Citizenship (ARC) held its inaugural event in London at Halloween. It promoted National Conservative (NatCon) values – largely religio-ethnonationalist, with ultra reactionary social positions. It was also a climate denial event.

In an Atlas-partner event in Brisbane, Campbell Newman promised passionately to bring ARC’s ethos to Australia. Somebody has done so. Marcus Foord has been named the convenor of the “Australian Chapter of the Alliance for Responsible Citizenship.” Reports assert that two fundraising events were held in Melbourne and Sydney in April. One of the founders, junktank alumni, Baroness Philippa Stroud is rumoured to have been in Australia to attend. Membership-recruiting emails have been circulating.

Foord previously worked for Senator Sarah Henderson who has been seen at events of the right wing insurgent movement within the Victorian Liberal Party.

Another founder of ARC is former Deputy PM, John Anderson. He is also Chair of the Page Research Centre, a “think” tank affiliated with the National Party, which has funnelled tax-deductible donations to it. Amongst its goals is fighting energy transition. The new CEO of Page is Gerard Holland who worked for Stroud’s old Brexiteer junktank, the Legatum Institute, and as a “researcher” for Stroud at ARC. Page emails promote energy talking points from the Mannkal event in Perth.

Tony Abbott’s April speaking tour with Danube Institute (DI) events in Sydney and Budapest was another feature. DI is part of Viktor Orbán’s operation, funnelling Putin’s fossil fuel messaging as well as their shared ultra reactionary social ideology. The Sydney event was co-hosted by Quadrant which staged an Orbán circle event in Australia as early as 2016. Orbán’s DI is also officially in partnership with the Atlas Network’s Heritage Foundation. Heritage is the organisation driving Project 2025, which aims to turn a Trump victory into a fossil fuel-driven theocracy.

Abbott then spoke at CPAC Hungary. The American CPAC coordinators, the Schlapps, and Israeli Minister for Diaspora Affairs, Amichai Chikli, travelled from the Budapest event to a gathering of far-right politicians at Europa Viva 24 in Madrid. Also present in Madrid was Roger Severino, vice-president of Heritage.

The core of the event was Latin politicians from the Madrid Forum, a neofrancoist movement across the global north and south. Also in attendance were France’s Marine Le Pen and Argentinian President Javier Milei, with video contributions from Orbán and Italy’s Giorgia Meloni. They were all campaigning to make sure that European populism is fomented to strengthen their far right parties ahead of elections. The leader of Spain’s Vox Party, hosts of the event, called for a “global alliance” to defeat the shared threat of “globalism and its socialist soul.” The “Judeo-Bolshevik” conspiracy lives on.

Key enemies are denoted by the catch-all “woke,” but that “threat” was most manifest in the EU and the UN. Both were depicted as child-perverting and socialist threats to “sovereignty.” “Sovereignty,” like “woke,” is meat for the base.

The far-right parties, while sanctifying their borders, are eager to hand their country’s welfare to international corporations. Britain under the Tories is giving ever more of its infrastructure to the private sector, and the Tories are now campaigning to instigate freeports where corporations face virtually no constraints. This does not stop the Tories campaigning against the European Convention on Human Rights under the guise of “sovereignty”: they present this obligation as preventing them from treating asylum seekers with cruelty.

In fact the convention protects Britons too, but that is a fact the Tories’ corporate masters do not want the public understanding.

There is good reason that Atlas Network partners – as corporations’ architecture of influence – are intertwined with the far-right parties of Europe. The corporations also donate to these bodies directly. Authoritarian governments are delighted to streamline matters for corporations which make the leaders rich. They are also adept at suppressing democratic protest movements that might become an impediment to profit.

By contrast the EU and UN aim to impose some constraints. British five year olds are now shorter than European five year olds, because of relative malnutrition. Breaking the EU will allow so much more opportunity to replicate this human experiment.

A parliamentary inquiry has recommended that Australia crafts an Australian Human Rights Act. It will be instructive to see how hard the operatives of the right work to fight that proposal.

We must watch the networking and recruitment of the right. They do not believe in a marketplace of ideas where the stronger argument or majority position holds sway any longer. Now they will force us to comply with their values, even if it means destroying all the institutions their forerunners fought to create and conserve.

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