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Europe's surging, far-right, "anti-establishment" parties: funded by billionaires, voting for billionaire-friendly policies, lining their own pockets

On May 26th, Europeans will vote for the next EU Parliament, and the region's far-right, "nationalist/anti-establishment" parties (AfD Germany, UKIP/Brexit UK, PiS/Poland, etc) are expected make large gains, possibly prompting a realignment of power in the EU; the far-right parties have campaigned as "anti-establishment," tapping into frustration with elites and their corruption.

But careful research from the Corporate Europe Observatory (previously) reveals the massive gap between the far-right parties' rhetoric and their actions.

Even as these parties are campaigning as insurgent anti-establishment forces, they have been largely funded by massive cash infusions, sometimes laundered through financial secrecy havens like Switzerland, sometimes openly attributed to the richest, most powerful people in Europe. What's more, the voting records of these parties reflect their debt to the super-rich, consistently opposing progressive taxation, anti-tax-evasion measures, strong labour laws, social benefits, and other measures that would benefit the voters who have backed these parties.

Predictably, the leadership of the far-right parties have been frequently embroiled in corruption scandals, lining their own pockets with taxpayers' funds, embezzling millions from party coffers, and handing out patronage appointments and lucrative contracts to connected insiders.

Some of these scandals have revealed that Russian billionaires and banks with close ties to the Kremlin are funding these parties, either through cash loans or out-and-out gifts in the millions.

Getting turkeys to vote for Christmas is a time-honoured tradition in right wing circles: convincing working people that they are temporarily embarrassed millionaires who should vote for policies that benefit the rich people they're sure they'll be someday. Read the rest


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