For a while before he finally appeared, stirring patriotic music played in the hall decked in jingoist splendor, raising the passions of the waiting crowd. Then with anticipation at fever pitch, the Populist strode onto the stage basking in the roars of approval of his supporters. He gave appreciative gestures, soaking in the cheers and applause, taking his position at the podium.
“Tonight the American people are here and tonight from this great audience will be heard the voice of American people telling Washington, telling the elites, telling the Establishment something it is time that they should hear. This is a demonstration of “America First” and, therefore, is a demonstration of what America wants. This, the greatest gathering of Americans under one roof assembled, tells the Establishment and tells the elites: “At last we have had enough.” We are here to tell them there is something for them to do here in the United States, and when they fail to do it, as again and again they have betrayed our people, we, the American people in our movement, will do it for them.
Folks, what does it mean? I want those who are not with us, I want those who come to our cause for the first time, to understand something of what we are up against; to realise, those who oppose us use their power corruptly to forbid speech to their opponents. Well, I take it as a tribute. I have never tried to stop them speaking in our great country or to prevent it in any way. The more they address us, the more they address their fellow countrymen and the more they are seen by audiences of Americans, the more support we get for us.
There is every kind of corruption that their money power can afford, and they will go to any length to forbid us halls in which to speak. And then, when they forbid us halls in which to speak, their media are able to turn round and say: “Of course, they don’t exist. You don’t see them speaking in big halls, you don’t read or hear about them on television or in the newspapers, and, therefore, it’s all imagination that this great movement of the American people is taking place at all.” In fact, my friends, we are faced by a coalition of the money power in the corrupt mainstream media and in government and in the ownership of the great halls of America, who are so mortally afraid of the American people being permitted to hear the truth that to any length they will proceed to forbid even me speaking to them.
Well, fellow Americans, if a movement which has been born and has run for just over a year, a movement started with me and a few others, without newspapers, without Press, without money, and without resources, with nothing in the world except the American spirit alive and flaming in their souls, if in less than a year we have driven the political and media elites together in this corrupt conspiracy to prevent us speaking to the American people, how much longer before we win and they perish?
Now let me ask anyone here, who thinks that we have been unfair when we have attacked the ownership and conduct of the mainstream media of this country, on what grounds do they behave as they have behaved? Do they tell us any longer that there is no news value in this campaign, that the people of the United States have no interest in our campaign? If they say that, let them glance round this great hall tonight and say whether or not the American people are interested in our campaign. And yet my opponent who cannot fill a schoolroom, any little bought and paid for media commentator who bores you on a Sunday evening, any of these little creatures who have been made by the Press of this country, when they fill their little schoolroom, they get a headline in the newspapers the next morning.
We were told there was no news value in our campaign. That excuse cannot hold water any longer. What other excuse then has the Press got for its treatment of our campaign? There is one excuse, and one alone, a reason of which I am proud. The media believes that in our principles and in our persons we are so reprehensible that we are unworthy to be reported. I am glad that they think that of us. But let us examine their position. When they say that an American, when they say that people of whom they do not approve, shall not be reported, what then becomes of the talk of the free Press in America? It vanishes. There is no such thing.
When they say that censorship exists in foreign countries but does not exist here in the United States, we give them the lie direct. We say by their own admission, by their treatment of this campaign, they admit the censorship of money. The only difference between the censorship in America and the censorship in the foreign countries they denounce is this: In foreign countries the people concerned have decided by an enormous majority that their Government shall be vested with power to prevent the publication of lies which destroy the life of their nation. But in the United States we have censorship given not to any Government, censorship in the hands of money and money alone, and censorship used by money, not to suppress anything damaging to the life of the nation, but to promote everything that is damaging to the life of the nation, to sell to the people false news, to sell to the people lies, to push the vested interests, to raise the interest of the faction and the section above those of the people and of the nation. So if we have to choose in the modern world between the right of Government elected by the people to rise above even the power of the corporate media, if we have to choose between that and the right of money to tell Americans what they should know, what they should learn and how they should live, I say: ” Government of the people, by the people, for the people ” every time.
But when they tried these tactics upon us what did it avail them? My friends, it availed them nothing, because the great affairs of this great country are not settled in newsrooms of the New York Times and CNN. We did not go to them to make our appeal; we went to main street America, we went to the homes of the people before they denied us great halls such as this one. We went to the homes and the streets of the people whence we have drawn our strength and whence ever we draw our inspiration. In their masses and in their thousands the people came to us, and the force and the weight and the fury of the people behind us now rocks the corrupt mainstream media on their golden throne. That is why I am proud to have the enmity and the hatred of the Press.
It is right that I should be hated by the enemies of the people, because throughout this whole campaign I have only stood for the people’s cause, and in their cause I challenge the money power. The media are right to hate us, but we reply to them: “We are glad we are not among those little politicians whom the media has made. This campaign not been made by the dishonest media; we have made ourselves.” Because we had within us the truth, and because we had within us a love of America, our land and her people, our fellow countrymen, our American men and women have come to us in such thousands today that we can say that this movement is established and no power of media elites or of money, no material force this world has ever seen, shall hold us down or stop us winning. And what have they got? — what have they got except money? What else? We have got the men and women; we have got the thousands of men and women who support us. What have they got on their side except the money bags and the media? Why, if you changed these things over tomorrow and we got their money and their media, the battle would be over — it would not exist.
They talk of the coming election — a fight between two candidates for the presidency. Nothing of the kind — a fight between the American people and a special interest donor candidate. That and nothing else. The battle is between the American people and a big money candidate who spend millions of dollars or more on everywhere they fight. So when they speak of Democracy they do not mean government by the people or of the people; they mean financial Democracy in which money counts, and nothing but money.
I ask this audience tonight whether or not we are going to give everything we have within us, not only material resources, our moral and spiritual being, our very life and our very soul. In dedication to our United States that she shall not perish, but shall live in greatness. We are going, if the power lies within us and it lies within us because within us is the spirit of the American people to say that our generation and our children shall not die like rats. They shall not die but they shall live to breathe the good American air, to see above them the American sky, to feel beneath their feet the American soil.
This heritage of these United States of America, by our struggle and our sacrifice, again we shall give to our children. And, with that sacred gift, we tell them that they come from that stock of men who went out from a small island in frail craft across storm-tossed seas to take in their brave hands the greatest country that man has ever seen; in which tomorrow our people shall create the highest civilisation that man has ever known. Remember, we say to our children, those who have gone before you. Remember those who through the centuries have died that America might live in greatness, in beauty and in splendour. Remember too that, in the spiritual values that our creed brings back to earth, these mighty spirits march beside you and you must be worthy of their company.
Our campaign is powered by the love of our country and the love of our fellow citizens. It is a campaign about rejecting the cynicism and elitism of our failed political system. On election day the arrogance of Washington DC will come face to face with the righteous verdict of the American people and we will get our country back again. Imagine what we could do as one American people, under one God and one American flag?
Once again we’ll have a government of, for and by the people. You will have a President and country you can be proud of of again. We will make America wealthy again. We will make America strong again. We will make America safe again. And we will make America great America again.”
This is in fact the bare bones of a speech made by British Union of Fascists leader Oswald Mosley in July 1939 with some words changed and…modern political language added at the end. It’s been compressed for brevity, but is instructive in the basic, recognisable themes of the right wing populist. The movement is presented as pure of motive and made up of the “real people” and the only ones with the interests of the country and the people at heart. Their opponents are presented as corrupt, dishonest and self serving betrayers who are actually damaging the country and the people and controlled by the rich and powerful.
The Populist picks up on grievances and seeks to exploit them:
I have shown you in innumerable speeches how the power of money has reached out all over the world; how it has taken British credit, British resources and British wealth built up by generations of effort on the part of hard-working simple British folk; how it has lent or given our resources all over the world; how it has equipped our competitors against us; how the cotton mills of India, the cotton mills of Japan and the cotton mills of China have been created by British money for the destruction of Lancashire and Yorkshire.
A conspiracy of a corrupt and dishonest political class and media is presented as a being against the Populist, his movement and more over the people he claims to speak for:
So every one of you tonight in this great hall is just dreaming that you are here, and when you wake up in the morning you will learn the truth in your precious National Press. You will learn you were not here tonight. You will learn that there was not such a meeting, or if there was, of course nobody at all bothered to go. My friends, what does it mean? I want those who are not with us in British Union, I want those who come to our creed and our cause for the first time, to understand something of what we are up against….we are faced by a coalition of the money power in Press and in Parliament and in the ownership of the great halls of Britain, who are so mortally afraid of the British people being permitted to hear the truth that to any length they will proceed to forbid even me speaking to them.
The snarling contempt Mosley has for the press is apparent by the number of mentions it has in its speech, with his negative media coverage deliberately conflated with censorship and all of it claimed to be part of an overall nefarious agenda the media has for the country. The Populist, the movement, the nation and the people are one so if the Populist sees the media as his enemy it is also the country’s enemy. The Populist’s political and media enemies are therefore working against the interests of the country.
Unlike the mainstream politician, the Populist doesn’t merely suggest his loss will result in taxes going up and the country being worse off. Instead, he lays out an apocalyptic vision of the very fate of the nation and civilisation as we know it being at risk. Should he lose, outsiders like ISIS will take over the country or it will become a one party state through the mass immigration the Populist’s opponent will allow. The Populist is presented as a historic, messiah figure whose fate is inextricably tied to that of the country.
What stands out most about the Populist is his fundamentally anti democratic character, his instinctive enmity for a free press and his inability to work with existing political structures. He has a need to drive a wedge between the people and the media and democratic institutions which he darkly speculates is corrupt and compromised and working against their interests. The Populist presents himself as their voice standing up to these treacherous forces. Ultimately this what makes the appearance of such populists so concerning.
Rorschach AKA Mr Cloud ©