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World Steve Bannon about to make waves in Europe with speech on populism

00:01  05 march  2018
00:01  05 march  2018 Source:   usatoday.com

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Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon is on a tour through Central Europe , defending populism and nationalism on the continent. … READ MORE

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GENEVA — Steve Bannon, the contentious conservative and former chief strategist for President Trump, will give his first speech in Europe this week to discuss the global implications of populism.

His speech set for Tuesday in Zurich has already sold out and has drawn criticism from some groups.

Bannon, who resigned in January as executive chairman of the far right Breitbart News, was invited here by the weekly Swiss magazine Die Weltwoche, whose editor-in-chief, Roger Koeppel, is a conservative member of the parliament.

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GENEVA — Giving his first speech in Europe , Steve Bannon , former chief strategist for President Trump, praised the They accused him of racism and sexism, carrying signs saying he should leave Switzerland. More: Steve Bannon about to make waves in Europe with speech on populism .

Attempts by former White House adviser Steve Bannon to export President Donald Trump's brand of populism to Europe are on the rocks, according to several of his current and former political partners in Italy and Belgium. After Bannon was charged with fraud for his role in an effort to raise money.

Bannon "played a crucial role in getting one of the most unconventional U.S. presidents in history elected,” Koeppel said, explaining why Bannon was invited.

“People are curious,” Koeppel said. “Probably not the hardcore left wing, but interest is huge from a broad variety of people, including the business community. And just the other day a group of surgeons also asked to attend.”

Koeppel said that even though Bannon was “demonized” in the media, “people want to form their own judgment on this controversial personality.” 

He did not disclose how much Bannon is being paid for his appearance. 

Bannon, who lost his White House job in August, gave explosive comments about the Trump administration to author Michael Wolff in the book Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. Bannon's provocative statements in the book prompted a public scolding by the president. 

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His speech about populism will be closely watched as anti-immigration and Euro-skeptic viewpoints gain strength across Europe. Populism has been a major factor in recent political events and elections in Poland, Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic, as well as Sunday's parliamentary vote in Italy. 

Not everyone here is happy about the event. Tamara Funicello, president of the leftist group Socialist Youth, complained to the daily newspaper 20 Minuten that “Bannon is racist and sexist.”

“Freedom of speech is important, but we can’t give a person like Bannon a forum to express his ideas,” she said.

BFS, a group that promotes social equality, is urging members to demonstrate outside the event. “Bannon, get lost. You are not welcome in Zurich,” the group posted on its website.

Damien Favre, 45, an IT worker in Geneva, wanted to hear the speech but couldn’t get a ticket. “I am not a fan of Bannon’s philosophy, but in a free nation we can’t refuse to provide a platform for those who think differently,” he said.

A group of nearly 300 American expatriates, called Action Together: Zurich, is using this event to raise money for gun control in the United States.

“Mr. Bannon used his position within the Trump administration and at Brietbart to peddle an ideology which included extremist positions on guns,” said group member Erin Zimmerman, a former police officer from Lakewood, Colo.

The group’s goal is to use Bannon’s visit to raise nearly $9,000, “which represents just $1 for every person killed or injured by gun violence in the U.S. in 2018,” she said, using a figure from the Gun Violence Archive, a non-profit group that catalogs U.S. gun violence.  

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