'Ultra-nationalist' Steve Bannon wants to organize a 'new fascist apparatus': historians

'Ultra-nationalist' Steve Bannon wants to organize a 'new fascist apparatus': historians

Steve Bannon, former White House chief strategist under President Donald Trump and one of the most prominent agitators in the MAGA movement, is still refusing to testify before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's select committee on the January 6 insurrection. He claims through his attorneys that he cannot do so because Trump still enjoyed executive privilege during his final weeks in office. But in an article published by the conservative website The Bulwark this week, historians Thomas Lecaque and J.L. Tomlins stress that even without testimony, there will be plentiful evidence of Bannon's anti-democracy agenda.

Lecaque is a history professor at Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa, while Tomlins teaches history at the University of North Texas. And the historians explain why Pelosi's select committee is so interested in talking to Bannon: the Trump ally "was involved in the 'Stop the Steal' efforts during the post-election period," and "remarks on his podcasts on January 5 suggest possible foreknowledge of the next day's disruptions."

On his January 5 podcast, Bannon told listeners, "You made this happen, and tomorrow, it's game day. So, strap in. Let's get ready. All hell is going to break loose tomorrow. It's all converging, and now, we're on the point of attack tomorrow."

Bannon, the historians note, was heavily involved in the Trump campaign's attempted coup and efforts to overturn the 2020 election results.

"Bannon's troubling activities did not stop after January 6," Lecaque and Tomlins write. "Far from it. He is still out in the streets, at rallies, on conference calls, and on his podcast trumpeting it to the heavens: The insurrection isn't over, it's only just begun."

The historians note that Bannon calls himself a "Leninist." That doesn't mean that he actually embraces communist or Marxist-Leninist beliefs; Bannon is on the far right, not the far left. Rather, when Bannon calls himself a "Leninist," that's his rhetorical way of saying that he wants to totally obliterate the old GOP establishment and purge the GOP of all non-MAGA conservatives. Soviet Union dictator Vladimir Lenin famously believed that it's necessary to destroy in order to build and create; similarly, Bannon wants to burn the remnants of the old pre-MAGA Republican Party to the ground.

"On his podcast, in his speeches, and in his interviews, Steve Bannon combines anti-democratic claims: the election was stolen, the insurrection was peaceful, we will build a centennial dynasty that cannot be shaken," Lecaque and Tomlins explain. "This fascistic message is not new: Bannon has had a clear mission for years, both before, during and after his time working with Trump. His vision is ultra-nationalist, deeply racist and aggressively linked to far-right Christian ideologies."

The historians continue, "Bannon has called himself a Leninist, specifically in his desire to destroy the state, and we should take him at his word. He was apparently one of the architects of the January 6 coup attempt, and he remains a continuing threat to our democracy. If the 2020 election and the January 6 insurrection are becoming the 'new lost cause' of the GOP, Bannon wants to organize its new fascist apparatus."

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