Why is our PPC candidate talking about the Rothschilds?

Melina Mamone is the PPC candidate for Hamilton-Centre. She likes to complain about how she and the PPC have been unfairly maligned by accusations of xenophobia and racism, like those made by NDP Candidate Matthew Green during the recent candidates’ debate. Similar allegations have dogged the party since its inception, prompted by a seemingly unending series of controversies over the statements and histories of candidates and organizers. Hamilton, too, has been struggling with similar themes after months of confrontations between far-right “Yellow Vest” protesters and antifascist counter-demonstrators, as well as troubling incidents like the graffiti at Beth Jacob Synogogue, which have earned our city a reputation as a national hotspot for the politics of hate.

In spite of all this, Melina hasn’t attracted a lot of attention in this race. So, out of curiosity, I decided to take a look at her twitter feed to see if anything stood out.

At first glance, Melina appears to be one of the many relatively “normal” candidates fielded by the party, lacking the colourful history of individuals like Mark Friesen, Salim Mansur or Laura-Lynn Taylor Thompson (though she does engage with all three on twitter). Her feed contains a lot of things which might be alarming for a candidate from another party, but which everyone has come to expect from the PPC – rants about “globalists” and Antifa, trans people and climate denial, etc. Most of it wasn’t terribly noteworthy, until I got to one very long, very interesting thread she retweeted:

Is this what Melina Mamone actually believes?

This 74-tweet megathread was written by Greg Scott (“Greg #PPC2019”), a PPC supporter from Alberta who’s really into conspiracy theories and far-right figures like Tom Quiggan and Faith Goldy. The thread itself is all about that old right-wing conspiracy bugaboo, the “New World Order”, an evil plot for world domination by sinister elites, with a particular focus on their role in the environmental movement. Like most conspiracy narratives, it stitches together a whole host of cliches. The problem is that in this case, a disturbing number of those revolve around Jews.

“We’re witnessing a well orchestrated effort to set up a global authoritarian government. It is being sold to us under the guise of ‘progressive leftism’ and environmentalism. Let’s take a look at what’s really happening. This is a long term plan which has been crafted for generations by a relatively small group of families and people whose ultimate goal is to consolidate power and control. Nearly all aspects of our culture are now dominated and controlled by this group of people near the top of the pyramid. Entertainment, finance, politics, and media are some of the main vehicles of their control.” (tweets 1-3)

Here we have a fairly standard mix of conspiracy tropes: an evil, ancient, global conspiracy to create a one-world government using left-wing politics lead by a small group of wealthy families who control banks, the media, education, governments, NGOs, etc. This notion has a long history of anti-Semitic associations, going back (at least) to the time of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a notorious forgery which many argue served as the prototype for modern conspiracy theories. The Protocols, alleged minutes of a meeting of conspirators, outlined a plan for world domination by corrupting the ideals of gentiles and controlling institutions like the press and economy. The document was later proven to be a forgery perpetrated by agents of the Russia’s Czarist government, where it helped to foster pogroms, and went on to be used as Nazi propaganda. To be fair, though, similar claims are unbelievably common among conspiracy theorists of all kinds.

Yes, that’s the Rothschilds on the bottom left.

Which families is he talking about? Along with the second tweet there is a family tree of European royalty, and a picture of the Rothschild family. They’ve been a historical favourite target of anti-Jewish conspiracy theories since the 1800s when Nathan Rothschild was accused of financial chicanery involving the Battle of Waterloo, a long-debunked lie spread by a notorious anti-Semite that was later made into a Nazi propaganda film in order to demonize the family. This is a bit of a red flag.

Also worth noting, it isn’t exactly unusual to tie the royals into this. Legendary neo-fascist cult leader Lyndon Larouche, one of the founding fathers of modern conspiracy theories, was known for putting a drug-dealing Queen Elizabeth at the head of the alleged Jewish conspiracy.

Moving on, the fifth tweet includes a number of images of books about the New World Order. The third, “New World Order, A Strategy of Imperialism” is an academic work by Sean Stone, son of famed director and conspiracy theorist Oliver Stone. Sean has co-hosted the final season of “Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura” and now co-hosts “Watching the Hawks” with his son, Tyrel Ventura, on RT America. Known for some fairly out-there views involving aliens and mysticism, Stone has interviewed and promoted the infamous David Icke, who argues a version of the Jewish conspiracy (Protocols and all) in which the masterminds are all actually shape-shifting alien reptiles (and also muses that maybe the Holocaust didn’t happen). At one point, these views got him barred from Australia. On more down-to-earth political issues, Sean Stone also went on Piers Morgan Tonight and The O’Reilly Factor to defend Mahmoud Ahmedinejad when he came under fire for denying the Holocaust and promotes the (debunked) claim that Freemason leaders planned the world wars in the 1800s advance in order to create the state of Israel.

The fourth image, though, is where things get really bizarre and twisted. “Rise of the New World Order: The Culling of Man” by J. Micha-el Thomas Hays is a little-known, rambling, 400+ page tome about the “Great Plan”, an ancient, supernatural, “Luciferian” plot by with roots in biblical times who now have links to every conspiracy you’ve ever heard of (aspertame, GMOs, the EU, 9/11 etc). The villains it presents are a group of Jews, Masons and Roman Catholics going back to King Nimrod. One of the first sections deals explicitly with Judaism. Here Hays states the that it isn’t a specifically Jewish conspiracy but that it involves many prominent Jews, then goes on into a whole mess of statements like this:

It is so important for us to comprehend this that Jesus Christ tells us the exact same thing twice in order to drive home the point, and that is to beware the fake Jews who are doing the work of Satan, alongside the fake Christians, etc. These are the Synagogue of Satan “Jews” who follow King Nimrod’s Babylonian Mystery Religion, which is the Great Plan. It is this group of fake “Jews” who control a large part of world finance, but certainly not all of it, and they are today the main driving force of the Great Plan due to a single family of Synagogue of Satan “Jews” named the Rothschilds, more on them in a little while.” (page 36)

Or this:

The #1 harbinger of the prophesized Luciferian one world government and the End Times to follow was the resurrection of Israel in 1948—this is clearly stated in the Bible. Israel had to be resurrected for the rest of the End Times prophecies to fall into place. Israel was in fact resurrected by the actions of the Rothschilds to initiate the End Times” (page 36)

And of course:

Spearheading the plan to keep a lid on the facts of what is happening is the ADL, or Anti-Defamation League. The ADL was founded in 1913 by the proponents of the Great Plan. This is the same year the Federal Reserve was set up and that was not a coincidence by a long shot. It was founded not to protect the Jews, but to shield the Synagogue of Satan and the financial Ponzi scheme they were setting up via the Federal Reserve. The main purpose of the ADL is to shout down anybody, by screaming “anti-Semitism”,who would question the existence and the legality of the Federal Reserve. The Fed is primarily owned and controlled by Synagogue of Satan “Jews”. The central banking system is the engine of the Great Plan.” (page 36)

These are quotes from a single page of the book, which goes on for another four hundred pages. It’s all online but I’m not going to link to it here. There is no word on whether Gregg Scott has read these books or simply wanted stock photos, but if so, this was a very poor choice. As red flags go, this one is big enough to show up in a North Korean stadium.

Continuing through the thread, there’s a large section on climate denial, “Agenda 21” and the environmental movement, particularly focused on Greta Thunberg. Tweet 33 links to a thread about her by a QAnon follower featuring a picture of Greta with the words “Cabal Puppet” written over it. This section also includes a few links to and endorsement of James Corbett of the Youtube conspiracy show The Corbett Report (tweets 23-25), a guy who once made a video about his belief that “Hitler was a Rothschild”.

From there the thread goes on to mention the most popular wealthy Jewish boogeyman of the 21st Century, George Soros (tweet 43) by linking to a thread which claims he’s behind everything from pipeline protests and “the climate hoax” to “journalists” and “mass migration”. George Soros is a particular favourite of contemporary right-wing and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories, who today has in many ways replaced the Rothschilds’ role in these fables.

The notion that Soros or other wealthy Jews and political allies are behind “mass migration” deserves some special attention, as it’s at the core of one of the newer and more popular tropes today: “the Great Replacement,” which gained notoriety when white nationalists marched through Charlottesville chanting “Jews will not replace us”. This theory suggests that the Jewish conspiracy is orchestrating waves of immigration to subvert and undermine white nations, and is used to demonize both Jews and (usually Muslim) immigrants.

To conclude, the thread links to another of Scott’s threads which talks about “swamp creatures” (wealthy and powerful Canadians) and contains one link (tweet 27) suggesting that Jeffery Epstein was working for the Mossad (Israel’s intelligence service).

At this point, I’d like to remind everyone that this thread is being promoted by a candidate for federal office from a national political party. To be clear, none of this actually names “the Jews”, but in a lot of ways it doesn’t have to.

I’m sure people will write this off as partisan slander or malicious nitipicking and claim that she didn’t know or wasn’t paying attention to what she was re-tweeting. If it were one or two of these tropes, I might agree, but once you’re talking about Rothschilds and Soros, using words like “globalist” and “cabal”, promoting individuals like Stone and Corbett with revisionist ideas about WWII and books that talk about the “Synagogue of Satan”, it becomes hard to pretend that your conspiracy theory isn’t that kind of conspiracy theory, at least in part. At the very least, it signals a dire need to be talking about the baggage these references bring with them.

I’m not writing this to damn Melina Mamone or Greg Scott as individuals, but to illustrate how these ideas attempt to worm their way back into fashion, and how successful they’ve been in the political sphere around the PPC. More often than not, this is what anti-Semitism looks like in the modern age. Since the fall of Hitler, most anti-Semites have understood that it’s not wise to raise “the Jewish Question” directly. Instead, they maintain it’s not technically a “Jewish” conspiracy, just one which involves a lot of Jews and includes every element of the classic Jewish conspiracy. They will insist, as have David Icke and Lyndon Larouche, that not all Jews are a part of the conspiracy, and/or that not every conspirator is a Jew, but it’s still the same fairy tale. Hitler included many gentiles in his Jewish conspiracy narratives, too, and it’s no surprise that many of the same ones (especially communists, Roman Catholics and Freemasons) still tend to feature today.

I have no doubt that many will point out that these themes and arguments are very, very common in conspiracy theories of every kind. One could doubtless find at least a few similar examples in any other 70+ tweet conspiracy thread, even from people who would never consider themselves anti-Jewish. This is true, but it isn’t exactly comforting. In all honesty, it isn’t easy to draw clear lines between anti-Semitism and the broader world of right-wing conspiracy theories like Qanon and Pizzagate. Even when Jews aren’t the (main) villains, the narrative tends to be the same – a big, evil conspiracy that unites every group of people they don’t like and justifies extreme measures against them.

Even if one ignores all the anti-Semitic dog-whistles, this is still a dangerous worldview. Not only is it totally detached from reality, but it chooses to construct simplistic fantasies in which all political opponents are linked by the kind of evil plots usually seen in cartoons and comic books. It presents an existential threat that justifies anything in order to stop the bad guys, and history has shown where that kind of irrational rage can lead.

In conclusion, while I want to stress that this is a single re-tweeted thread that the candidate may not have entirely read, I also have to emphasize that it is far from exceptional. Melina Mamone is not the only one in Canadian politics promoting these views. Thanks to politicians like Trump and Bernier, conspiracy theories are playing a growing role in our mainstream political discourse, and that’s why it’s so crucially important that we understand their history and connotations.

[Note: In case it gets taken down, here are screenshots of the thread in its entirety. 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, 16-20, 21-25, 26-30, 31-35, 36-40, 41-45, 46-50, 51-55, 56-60, 61-65, 66-70 and 71-73 (additional note: there are two tweets numbered 72).]