Populism of the 1%: Why The Same Billionaires are Behind Trump and Brexit

Top-down Populism

The common perception is that Trump and Brexit are a dual reaction to the failures of neoliberal globalization, carried out by a white working class that feels forgotten by late era capitalism and is now seeking to overthrow the establishment. But this narrative overlooks an important point: recent populism has not emerged of its own accord.

How the 1% Backed Climate Denial and Racist Populism

The point is, Brexit and Trump’s electoral success didn’t happen in a vacuum. A barrage of political forces laid the groundwork, pushing anti-immigrant sentiment and outright racism. And the extent to which the corporate media has shifted toward the far right should be acknowledged. Just one example was an article in the British Sun tabloid, published in 2015, which called refugees “cockroaches” — language that the UN High Commission for Human Rights condemned for its historic link to genocide.

Political Incorrectness Gone Mad

Alongside corporate media and right-wing think tanks, two-party political bodies have pushed the populist surge in the U.S. and U.K. In America, it’s the Tea Party. In Britain, it’s the UK Independence Party. Earlier this year, UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage claimed that Prime Minister Theresa May had stolen UKIPs “words and phrases” Still, he celebrated that Brexit had made the party’s ideas “mainstream”.

Desmoging the Connections

As observers piece together the nexus of corporate interests that is fertilizing the populist shift, greater clarity is being found in the connections among the 1% and who they are explicitly supporting.



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Steve Rushton

Steve Rushton

Freelance journalist focused on political alternatives, universal rights and ecological survival