The Atlas Network and the Building of Argentina’s Donald Trump

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Original article by Lucas Araldi republished from DeSmog

Javier Milei, a climate change denier widely supported by Atlas Network, a web of free market think tanks, won the necessary votes to run in Argentina’s presidential election in October.

ANALYSIS By Lucas Araldi on Aug 22, 2023 @ 15:15 PDT

Argentine presidential candidate Javier Milei haș been influenced, and boosted, by the Atlas Network. Credit: Todo Noticias (CC BY 3.0)

Ask Argentine politician, economist, and presidential candidate Javier Milei what he thinks of climate change, and he might tell you that it’s “another lie of socialism” and “part of the agenda of Cultural Marxism.” 

The right-wing politician is part of coalition Libertad Avanza and this August won the most votes in Argentina’s primary election, enabling him to run for president on October 23. 

He gained prominence through his talk show appearances, making his debut on the political talk show Animales Sueltos (Stray Animals) in 2016. In addition, he hosted his own radio program called Demoliendo Mitos (Debunking Myths).

In 2021, Milei was elected as a national deputy for Buenos Aires. Prior to this, he had built an extensive career in both the public and private sectors as an economist, even holding the position of Chief Economist at HSBC.

Milei has been compared to right-wing populist leaders Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro due to his direct and aggressive way of speaking and his radical proposals. Milei would likely be flattered by the comparison — he is a huge fan of these right-wing populists that have emerged in recent years.

Milei won 30 percent of the vote in the August primary — nearly 10 percent more than the next-most-popular candidate — with a political platform that combines radical neoliberal policy proposals with a conservative populist moral agenda. His economic proposals include reducing the number of government ministries, cutting public spending, dollarizing the economy, and “exploding” the Central Bank, in Milei’s own words. 

Milei didn’t arrive at these proposals on his own; his views, particularly in regards to the economy, have been shaped by the Atlas Network, a U.S. nonprofit that works to spread free-market think tanks all over the world. 

Based in Washington, D.C., the Atlas Network supports more than 500 free-market organizations. Some of these groups, such as the Heartland Institute, are also involved in climate science denial and in campaigns against legislation to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

Around 100 think tanks in Latin America — 10 of which are in Argentina — are part of Atlas’s web. Between 2010 and 2021, Atlas gave approximately $12 million USD to think tanks in the region, mostly for “economic education,” according to U.S. tax filings analyzed by DeSmog. Across the world, including in Latin America, Atlas think tanks collaborate beyond national borders, sharing strategies and ideology. It is common, for example, for Atlas think tanks to share board members or even create their own networks, such as Red Liberal de America Latina (RELIAL).

Alberto Benegas Lynch, who serves as an adviser for Milei and also is a director at Mont Pelerin Society, is an example of transnational ties within the network. He is part of several Atlas Network groups in Latin America, such as Fundación Federalismo y Libertad and Instituto Libertad y Progreso, both in Argentina, Universidad Francisco Marroquín in Guatemala, and Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo in Uruguay.  

Lynch is also known for making denialist statements about climate change. In an opinion article published in 2018 in the Argentinian online newspaper Infobae, for example, he argued that climate change is a fraud based on distortion of statistics. He built his argument from alleged studies of John ColemanIvar Giaever, and Patrick Moore

The Argentine newspaper La Nación describes the relationship between Milei and Lynch as one of admiration, as Milei frequently cites Lynch. Beyond that, Lynch wrote several times on the Instituto Libertad y Progreso’s website about his relationship with Milei, as well as his proposals, and how Milei means a miracle for Argentine politics.

Milei benefits from the whole infrastructure of ideas boosted by the Atlas Network to project himself as presidential. While the other traditional candidates do not have a platform of think tanks that can help them, Milei manages to move between these institutes and use them as hubs for disseminating his ideas and as a safe arena for advancing the debate on his agenda.

For instance, Milei has connections to other Latin American think tanks in the Atlas Network. He has attended conferences and participated in events promoted by the Fundación Libertad y ProgresoFederalismo y Libertad, and Fundación Atlas, all based in Argentina. He also participated in Instituto de Estudos Empresariais’s Liberty Forum 2022 in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Articles in Fundación Atlas’s blog praise him, with Axel Kaiser, executive director at Fundación para El Progreso in Chile, writing that Milei is helping restore Argentina’s Libertarian legacy by setting up a “cultural and political movement which became the third way.” In 2018, Fundación Atlas awarded Milei the Liberty Prize.

Milei sat on the advisory board of Fundación Libre (FL), an Argentine far-right think tank that was part of Atlas. FL promoted “individual freedom and republicanism” in the face of “hegemonic progressive ideology and the empire of politically correctness.” Although FL did not focus primarily on denying climate change, it did feature climate-related content, like a YouTube video criticizing Greta Thunberg, that has since been removed. 

Milei, however, is known for denying climate change, claiming that the planet’s temperature is currently at its lowest level in the past 15,000 years. His source for this belief is a graph from a 2008 study by the geologist Don J. Easterbrook — who is known for erroneously predicting “global cooling.” However, this graph is based on data only from Greenland and is not a reliable indicator of climate change, according to fact-checking groups in Argentina.

Although Milei uses climate denialism to ignite his followers, climate change was barely discussed in the Argentine primaries, even though the occurrence of extreme weather events has increased twofold since 1980 and could become even worse in the coming decades. Instead, candidates focused on the country’s current food crisis: Argentina faces one of the biggest food inflations in the world and more than 4 million people in the country are food insecure. This scenario also could become worse due to climate change’s impacts on Argentine agriculture. 

Milei’s significant result at the polls shows that the free-market, neoliberal ideals the Atlas Network is promoting have a huge organizational strength in Argentina that can be converted into votes. Even if Milei doesn’t win the October presidential election, his rise to this level of politics means a victory for the Atlas Network.

Original article by Lucas Araldi republished from DeSmog

Continue ReadingThe Atlas Network and the Building of Argentina’s Donald Trump

Labour forces Holocaust survivor out of party with expulsion threat email

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Original article republished from The Skwawkbox for non-Commercial use

Stephen Kapos says he has a duty to teach others about his experience whether Starmer and co like it or not

As Skwawkbox predicted last week, Holocaust survivor Stephen Kapos has been driven out of the Labour party in yet another demonstration of the antisemitism and arrogance of the Labour right.

Kapos, who survived the slaughter of Jewish people as a boy, received an email last week from the party threatening him with expulsion if he spoke about his experience at a Socialist Labour Network event last Friday, which was Holocaust Memorial Day:

Date: 24 January 2023 at 20:09:05 GMT

Subject:FAO: Stephen Kapos

Dear Stephen, 

It has been brought to the attention of the Labour Party that you have been advertised as a speaker for an event entitled ‘Zionism During the Holocaust – Reclaiming the Memory of All Those Who Died’,  hosted by Socialist Labour Network on Friday 27th January 2023.

In line with Labour Party rules, Socialist Labour Network is a group which the NEC of the party has determined is incompatible with Labour Party values. Any support for the organisation would likely be deemed in breach of Party rules and may lead to expulsion. 

Yours sincerely,

London Labour 

But rather than back down to the cowardly threat, to which the party drone who sent it didn’t even dare put his or her name, Kapos – a constituent of party leader Keir Starmer – resigned his membership, saying that his duty to teach people about the terrible slaughter at every opportunity – and to stand up against Israeli apartheid against Palestinians – was too important to bow to petty tyrants and their so-called ‘Labour values’:

Dear London General, 

Thank you for your emailed letter of the 24th of January giving me advance warning that I am likely to be expelled from the Party if I were to speak from the panel as a Holocaust survivor at the SLN (Socialist Labour Network) Webinar on the 27th January — on Holocaust Memorial Day.

The Holocaust is the most important single example of genocide, which at its worst descended into an industrial process of mass murder of millions.

As a child survivor and one of the fewer and fewer still living direct witnesses to the Holocaust I feel a compelling duty to bear witness and speak out about it at any platform that would invite me and to any audience ready to listen.

I am an activist for Palestinian human rights and an active member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign in its Camden Branch. The defence of Palestinians living under a brutal occupation is very important to me, particularly as a Holocaust survivor. Palestinians live under a system of apartheid as recognised by Amnesty International and other major human-rights organisations. Those are my political beliefs which I claim are protected characteristics under the Equalities Act 2010.

I am not a member of SLN nor have I been following its activities, but via the book to be discussed on the 27th I have a general understanding of SLN’s views on present-day Zionism (as a political movement ) and on some of the actions of the Zionist movement during the Holocaust and WWII.  I am in sympathy with some of those views on the grounds of my political beliefs mentioned above. I have personal experience of the Kastner project in Hungary which was driven by Zionist ideology.

Email and letter details courtesy of Tony Greenstein

Left-wing Jewish activist Tony Greenstein, one of the first to be expelled during Labour’s mass purge of Jews who stand up for Palestinian human rights, published the video of Kapos speaking at the event about what he saw and suffered:

The real and naked antisemitism of the Labour right has somehow failed to feature in the supposed ‘mainstream’ media discourse, despite being far more widespread and concrete than the grossly-exaggerated and often fictional ‘left antisemitism’ that even the Starmer-commissioned Forde Inquiry had to admit was weaponised against the left and Jeremy Corbyn, despite the revelations of the leaked Labour report and Al Jazeera’s ‘Labour Files’ documentary series.

The right’s racism and abuse has also been directed at blackMuslim and Roma Gypsy members with impunity from the party leadership – on the contrary, some culprits have been protected while others have been promoted, while Starmer himself has been accused of covering up for ‘criminal’ abusers of domestic violence victims and for alleged sex pests in his shadow cabinet.

Solidarity with Stephen Kapos and all those targeted by the Labour right’s regime.

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Original article republished from The Skwawkbox for non-Commercial use

Continue ReadingLabour forces Holocaust survivor out of party with expulsion threat email

The NHS is ours. The NHS is what makes us special. We care for people.

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ed: I’ve amended this post. The title originally had ‘ That’s what Socialism is ‘ at the end. I’m not sure that it is appropriate. While I accept that Socialists certainly do care about people, I don’t consider that it is correct to associate the NHS so clearly (tightly) with Socialism. Although – of course – that is exactly the reality.

later ed: It’s yours and mine?

The NHS is so important. It is ours and it’s important. It cares for people when they’re sick  and vulnerable.

Do you ever get that feeling that as your write it’s not so much that you’re writing on a tractor as your flicking a doganoo!

Let that be a lesson to you!

Continue ReadingThe NHS is ours. The NHS is what makes us special. We care for people.

Hey, you people in the states don’t even know what Socialism is

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So I had better explain it as well as I can

Basically, there is the system that you live under which is all about money. That’s the Capitalist system.

You have rich people who are fantastically, ridiculously, outrageously rich. That’s Capitalism. They have loads of money for some reason they think that they deserve. They claim that they earned it but really their families are fantastically rich. What happens is that rich families are rich and the police and everyone else that protect that richness. Everything is about rich people and nothing else matters. That’s the society you live in.

Then there are poorer people. Nobody cares about them cos they’re not rich. Nobody cares for you. You’re poor.

Oh, I was supposed to mention Socialism. Socialism doesn’t really exist nowadays. The UK Labour Party are Neo_Liberal scum, (but) there is a Socialist Party

Socialists care about those people who are not fantastically rich. They care about normal people who need housing, medical care and benefits. That’s what Socialists are about.

To be continued. I’ll elaborate on this

Continue ReadingHey, you people in the states don’t even know what Socialism is