Leverage is emerging in the fractures of polarised political culture. One venture capitalist prospecting in nationalist movements financed far-right agitators who successfully campaigned in UK and US elections, gaining access and influence to barter for favourable tax conditions for the super-rich in upcoming US trade talks.  

Robert Mercer is a tech-billionaire and hedge-fund manager investing heavily in the politics of division. 

Mercer is one of the Republican Party’s biggest contributors, spending $25 million in the 2016 campaign to back Donald Trump, and financing Steve Bannon. 

Steve Bannon is the white-supremacist, ethno-nationalist scumbag and former CEO of right-wing publisher Breitbart. After supporting his presidential campaign, Bannon worked as a special advisor to Donald Trump in the White House. In 2014, Bannon set up Breitbart News in London and remains in contact with President Trump and Prime Minister Boris Johnson while meeting and forming connections between right-wing movements globally. 

As described on Wikipedia: “After leaving the White House, Bannon declared his intention to become ‘the infrastructure, globally, for the global populist movement’. Accordingly, he has supported many national populist conservative political movements around the world. These include France’s National Front (now the National Rally), Hungary’s Fidesz, the Italian League, the Five Star Movement, the Brothers of Italy, Alternative for Germany, the Polish Law and Justice Party, the Sweden Democrats, the Dutch Party for Freedom, the Freedom Party of Austria, the Swiss People’s Party, the UK Independence Party, the Flemish Vlaams Belang, the Belgian People’s Party, Spain’s Vox, the Finns Party, the pan-European identitarian movement, Republika Srpska’s Alliance of Independent Social Democrats, the Brazilian 2018 Jair Bolsonaro presidential campaign, and the Israeli Likud.”

Bannon supported Boris Johnson in his bid to become leader of the Conservative Party, proclaiming in the Sunday Times: “Boris just needs to be Boris – true to his nature and his calling – and I think he has potential to be a great prime minister, not a good one.” As well as more recently, commenting that Johnson had done a “terrific job” and will provide “true leadership”.

Bannon has close ties with Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage and has described far-right provocateur Tommy Robinson as the “backbone” of the UK.

Robert Mercer also finances ‘controversial businessman’ Arron Banks, who donated over £8million to the Leave.EU campaign. Leaked emails revealed that Banks attempted to involve Steve Bannon and data firm Cambridge Analytica in a plan in late 2015 to raise funds in the US for the unofficial Brexit campaign. Testifying before Parliament in June, Banks said he had “initial discussions” with Cambridge Analytica but “did not take up their services.”

As reported in the The New Yorker: “Although the Leave campaign was officially led by Vote Leave, a group whose figureheads included the
cabinet ministers Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, Banks believed that Leave’s victory was in many ways his victory. He had given considerable financial support to Nigel Farage, the sharp-tongued eurosceptic, which had allowed Farage to remain at the center of the Brexit debate. Many experts also believed that the rambunctious Leave. EU campaign – which stoked fears of uncontrolled immigration – had roused voters who had been unmoved by the more technocratic messages of Vote Leave. A typical Leave.EU post on Facebook warned voters that “immigration without assimilation equals invasion.” A post about the dangers of ‘free movement’  within the E.U. was accompanied by a photograph of ticking explosives.

“In [another] post, George Soros was pictured as a puppet-master controlling Tony Blair; echoing a Nazi propaganda poster in which a Jewish man controls Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin with strings.”

Banks also supported Johnson’s premiership bid, even suggesting that Brexit supporters should join the Conservative Party to vote for him.

This week, Conservative MPs have been appealing to Arron Banks to persuade Nigel Farage not to stand Brexit Party candidates against them in leave voting constituencies; in discussions between the Trump administration and Boris Johnson, it was made clear that any post-Brexit free-trade deal between the US and UK would have to include dropping a tax on tech giants that was due to bring in £400m in UK tax revenue. 

Even a fraction of £400m would be a good return on Mercer’s investments. When the ruling class start carving up the world the stakes will be in the trillions of dollars and the cuts will fall on the workers. It will be up to ordinary people to overcome the astroturfed barriers between us. 

The political apparatus of division, mistrust and segregation remain a dangerous tool for the elite and an existential threat to democracy. 

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