The Australian Conservative Political Action Conference, an unedifying united front between the old mainstream conservatives, who pose as “Liberals” in Australia, and the alt-right stream, which we witnessed in August in Sydney, put on show, the fears they hold in common.
CPAC is an influential organisation in the USA.
Trump spoke at it this year on his usual themes for two hours.
The head of the NRA spoke in 2017, accusing gun control advocates of hating freedom just days after a Florida high school mass shooting.
Steve Bannon of Breitbart infamy made a speech that same year on dismantling the ‘administrative state’ and of course economic nationalism.
Raheem Kassam spoke at the Sydney event, someone in the words of Shadow Minister Kristina Keneally, who “has an extensive history of vilifying people on the grounds of their race, religion, sexuality and gender.”
Fox News presenter Jeanine Pirro also spoke.
Apparently terrified of Muslims, she questioned whether Ilhan Omar’s wearing of hijab was evidence that she adhered to Sharia law, “which is in itself antithetical to the United States Constitution.”
Nigel Farage, former leader of UKIP gained headlines bringing out his twin fears of “snakes” like PM Turnbull who were not right-wing enough, and Islamism, so valiantly opposed by Pauline Hanson.
The Australian line-up included former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and current Liberal Party elected representatives Craig Kelly and Senator Amanda Stoker.
CPAC host Andrew Cooper has organised several similar events under the name of “Liberty Works.”
Kaz Ross remarks: “In particular, many LibertyFest speakers see dangers in the increasing regulation of the economy and creeping power of the state. They have called for slashing funding to the ABC and other cultural institutions that rely on taxpayer funding. The CPAC event webpage provides a clear list of the other dangers: militant unions, the Greens, socialism and GetUp.” [8 August 2019 The Conversation].
Cooper calls for winding back the welfare state, reducing funding to state schools and tax reduction.
Ross maintains that these extreme right activists believe they are losing the political and culture wars to the left, hence the CPAC Sydney organisers adopted the slogan “Protect the Future-fight on.”
Will Hutton is quite convinced that they are being defeated. “Don’t despair. We may be living through an attempted rightwing revolution, but its foundations are rotten. There may be a counter-revolution, as there is after every revolution, and it will be built on much firmer ground. The charlatans may be in control in both Britain and the US, but their time is limited.” [11 August Guardian].
In contrast, C J Werleman argues that while the global jihadist threat was exaggerated the real threat to the USA is white nationalist terror.
As he says, this “can recruit from hundreds of thousands of right-wing extremists.”
“Right-wing extremists have been responsible for 100% of terrorist attacks on US soil since end of 2017 and 73% of all extremist-related murders during the past decade. “
Although such extremists have long advocated race war, a new element is now involved. The conservative mainstream is being increasingly linked to the fringes, as we saw in the Sydney CPAC.
“…the difference today is that their views have been readily disseminated by the internet and put into the mainstream by Trump and the right-wing media industrial complex, which together validate “white genocide” and “white replacement” conspiracies. [12 August 2019 Byline Times].
That the fears of the right-wing are largely mythical does not make them less lethal, as the rise of white supremacist terror in the USA is revealing.