Right Wing Anti-Globalism

Business nationalists favor protectionist trade policies and oppose international cooperation in foreign policy.  Locked in a power struggle with corporate international interests, business nationalists are using populist rhetoric and anti-elite scapegoating to build a broader base of support in the middle class and working class.

We must be careful to draw a distinction between critiques that promote economic and social justice, and those that claim economic privilege for middle class consumers at the expense of social justice.

In the past, business nationalism has also been the main sector in the US from which union–busting campaigns have emerged. Sectors of business nationalism also have promoted White supremacist segregationism, the Red Scares, anti–immigrant xenophobia, and allegations of Jewish banking conspiracies.

According to progressive scholar Mark Rupert, the right wing antiglobalist worldview (the worldview of business nationalists) “envisions a world in which Americans are uniquely privileged, inheritors of a divinely inspired socio–political order which must at all costs be defended against external intrusions and internal subversion.”  Rupert argues that this reactionary analysis seeks to challenge corporate power without comprehending the nature of “capital concentration and the transnational socialization of production.” The reactionary analysis absent this understanding breeds alienation and intensifies “scapegoating and hostility toward those seen as outside of, different or dissenting from its vision of national identity."

As alienation builds, more overtly fascistic forces will attempt to pull some of these angry people into an ideological framework that further justifies demonization of the chosen "Other."

Consumerist Populism

When populist consumer groups, such as those led by Ralph Nader, forge uncritical alliances with business nationalists to rally against GATT and NAFTA, an opportunity emerges for the anti–elite rhetoric of right wing populism to piggy-back onto a legitimate progressive critique.

Why is this a problem? Business nationalism carries with it its right-wing baggage. Pat Buchanan’s rhetoric is an example of this baggage. His racist, antisemitic and zenophobic inclinations reflect business nationalism’s right-wing national chauvinism.

At the core of right wing populism is the "producerist narrative" where the main scapegoats are people of color, especially Blacks. This narrative diverts attention from the White supremacist subtext. It uses coded language to mobilize resentment against people of color through attacks on issues immediately relevant to them, such as welfare, immigration, tax, or education policies. Women, gay men and lesbians, abortion providers, youth, students, and environmentalists are also frequently scapegoated in this manner.

Global Export of Ideology

The US exports a national security model that argues that it is necessary to trade civil liberties and privacy for protection against crime and terrorism. This US model of national security is rooted in the theory of countersubversion—the idea that dissent is caused by outside agitators and a lunatic fringe of extremists rather than social and economic grievances. Periodic waves of state repression are justified through fabricated claims that networks of subversives are poised to undermine the government.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the US has been exporting its media–centered election model, which favors style over substance, argument over debate, slogans over issues. This election model facilitates the success of not only those politicians that can raise the greatest funds, but also those demagogues willing to use scapegoating as an ideological weapon.

While scapegoating in the US is primarily the territory of the political right, including Republicans, some Democratic Party politicians pander to the tendency and even a few on the left adopt scapegoating out of ignorance, desperation, or an appalling absence of morality.


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