Bannon: 'Let them call you racists'

Violet Powell
March 11, 2018

Let them call you xenophobes. "Let them call you nativists", he said. "Wear it as a badge of honor".

Le Pen, who lost the presidential race to Emmanuel Macron last spring, said on March 9 that the FN, which was founded by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen in 1971, had grown up and it was time to change the branding and the name of the party. The showing of the League, a National Front ally, "is a new step in the awakening of the people", Le Pen tweeted.

Dressed in his trademark disheveled canvas coat and several layers of dark clothing, Bannon denounced central banks, central governments and "crony capitalists", the Associated Press reported.

"History is on our side", Bannon said to hearty cheers.

But in general, the meeting between Bannon and the party of Marine Le Pen came a particularly fraught moment for them both, with one and the other trying to remain relevant in an unforgiving political environment.

The European tour comes as Bannon's role in American politics is uncertain.

Despite being ousted from his White House post past year and feuding with Trump in recent months, Bannon praised the president's "economic nationalism" that he said "does not care about your race, your religion, your ethnicity".

The bombshell was announced by the partner of Marine Le Pen and Front National politician, Louis Aliot on Twitter Friday.

Her party - widely seen as the alternative to Macron during the election - then fared poorly in France's legislative elections: in a parliament of 577 seats, the National Front now holds only eight.

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Bannon, a surprise speaker at the event, has been touring European cities to meet with right-wing party members.

Bannon also used his visit to call Le Pen's niece Marion Marechal-Le Pen one of most important people in the world, according to French media. A new leadership structure and new bylaws are also being unveiled at the two-day congress.

Le Pen, running as the only candidate for National Front president, said the changes amount to a "cultural revolution" so the reshaped party can "implant itself, create alliances and govern".

"Our dear President Trump said: 'We've had enough of globalists, '" he said.

Le Pen defended inviting Bannon, saying party members should listen to "the architect of Donald Trump's victory" in 2016.

In the presidential election, it appeared this strategy paid off, as Le Pen gained more than 10 million votes (33.9 per cent) in the final round, despite her freaky and catastrophic performance in a debate with Macron, which cost her support.

As FN president, she said she would propose a new name for the party at its conference on Sunday.

An election next year for members of the European Union's lawmaking arm will be the National Front's first chance to test its rebranding strategy.

The outcome of Italy's election last weekend has energized France's far right.

Other reports by PlayStation Move reviews

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