A Dutch artist and “propaganda expert” says that Steve Bannon’s independent filmmaking career led directly to Donald Trump’s historic rise to the Presidency.
“I don’t want to give him too much credit, because the idea that he’s a successful propagandist is, of course, all part of his propaganda,” said artist Jonas Staal, who obsessively compiled Bannon’s films into an art exhibition in Rotterdam. “But it’s true that he has succeeded, like few others over the past 15 years, in turning an artistic representation of his ideas into political reality.”
Bannon made nine films between 2004-2016 that Staal claims are the “script” of “Trumpism,” written by Bannon over a period of 12 years. Bannon, he claims, wrote these films with the explicit idea that one day Americans would use the ideas in his movies as a playbook for a nationalist uprising, and that Bannon, like an evil genius, would be looking on from afar in satisfaction as his plan for America was implemented.
Bannon’s film Clinton Cash, based on reporting by Peter Schweizer and made with his longtime film collaborator Dan Fluette, became a viral hit during the 2016 election.
Bannon and Fluette also produced a more avant-garde film, screened at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, starring Duck Dynasty hero Phil Robertson called Torchbearer, which provided a historical look at the Christian faith.
“Our reality has been co-authored by Steve Bannon,” said Staal in an interview with The Guardian. “His core ideas have become the contemporary paradigms we are living with today.”
According to The Guardian, the films portray an “apocalyptic world view.”
“Western society, Christianity and freedom are under attack, not just from evil foreigners but establishment insiders: corrupt government, big banks, a cosmopolitan elite,” the piece says. “Illegal immigration, crony capitalism and progressive liberalism are threatening the country; only economic nationalism, hardcore conservatism and a crushing victory in the coming clash of civilisations will save it.”
“There’s always, too, a search for leadership,” said Staal of Bannon’s films, “the need for leaders who can carry the message of white Christian, free-market nationalism. Bannon builds a narrative around these characters.”
Just to be sure that we are on the same page – because this is far out stuff – Staal’s essential claim is that Bannon making films with white, Christian American protagonists is actually a conspiracy, and that Bannon was planning the Trump movement through this filmmaking. One must wonder if Trump himself was privy to the scheme.
Staal says that his art exhibit is a “visual and ideological architecture of the alt-right” for “open[ing] up spaces and opportunities for critique – and resistance”.
“Every society needs a narrative – where we come from, who we are, where we are going,” Staal said. “The problem is that the alt-right gives us a very clear story, that ‘we’ are a predominantly white, predominantly Christian society that is under attack and needs defending. It’s the root of the present-day culture wars: they have effectively defined ‘us’ and ‘them’.”
Never mind that America is a predominantly white, Christian society. Bannon created these films to rip our society apart! Can’t you see that you’re just a pawn in Bannon’s cinematographic game?
“We need to define an ‘us’ that is a much more pluralistic reality, Staal said. “This has to be the task of progressive art and politics today: to tell a more inclusive story of who we are, and who we can still become.”
One can only hope that renowned soothsayer Steve Bannon is producing another one of his prescient films, this time making himself the protagonist who will succeed Trump in 2024.