ECOFASCISM- the roots, the rise and its current context

After a series of headlines from mass shootings are directly linked to ecofascist ideologies, Amadeo Vebjorn and I will be retracing the origins of the history of ecofascism, how it is expanding now as a result of environmental collapse, and touching upon its dangers. Below you can find our podcast, alongside the tweet that we make reference to. Let us know your thoughts, and particularly whether or not it was known to you.

credits: Twitter

4 thoughts on “ECOFASCISM- the roots, the rise and its current context

  1. I really enjoyed listening to this podcast! As I am not very educated about the topic, nor am I very familiar with its history, I found it very informative and insightful.

    Just to further highlight how real, present, terrifying, eco-fascism is, I wanted to share that in Italy, one of the leading parties (Forza Italia, i.e., likely to win next elections…), has been openly (and proudly) making claims (referring to immigration to southern Italian islands from north Africa) such as:

    “In addition to the risk of diseases carried by these people […] now there is also an environmental problem. The small boats spoil fuel in the sea, there are masks used everywhere and at the port, hundreds of boats stacked that are not demolished. You can’t really go on like this.”

    I would like to stress the (semantic?) danger of the simple ending sentence “You can’t really go on like this”, which is a re-occurring pattern in their conversations; this can subtly suggest the immediate need for them (and only them, Forza Italia!) to take over, to radically change the status quo, in order to “save our country”, to “save our planet” – given that the current government is failing to do so. What can directly emerge from this line of thinking is eco-authoritarianism, which, in general, is more effectively implemented, and perhaps less easily detected than eco-fascism. In a way, when it comes to environmental action, eco-authoritarian is a “perfect” fit: if the climate crisis is so overwhelming, large, impactful, “beyond our control”, then should radical solutions “come from above”?

    As a (tragic) example of eco-authoritarianism, consider this case ( https://undark.org/2020/07/29/chennai-river-restoration-impacts-poor/ ), where the Indian government supposedly launched a river biodiversity program, which, in reality, resulted in local communities being displaced and their homes being destroyed – a way of systematically and authoritatively “getting rid of slums”, but hiding it under the mask of environmentalism…?

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  2. I totally agree with the conclusion that scientists should not only stress the significance of the climate and ecological crises, but also make sure it is not interpreted in such a way!

    Ecofascism might be a niche ideology now, but the ideas that underpin it are all around us! If have talked to people who said that the root cause lies in the growing population. Luckily, they were fatalistic about it and not racist, but it shows how prevalant the misconception is that overpopulation is the problem, not overconsumption.

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  3. Thank you for making this podcast! Very interesting and also worrying.

    Hearing about these visions of the future that ecofascist ideology brings up really makes me wonder about how much this is build not only on theory like Malthusianism and Ehrlich´s Population Bomb but also on dystopian science fiction. I am a big fan of that genre and because of movies like Children of Men and Soylent Green I don´t find it difficult to picture the future that ecofascism is talking about. It would be interesting to investigate whether people who follow that ideology are radicalized or feel validated because of such works of fiction. Although I never read any of his work, I know for example that H.P. Lovecraft was strong proponent of white supremacy and included it as a theme in his stories through replacement theory. I wonder if that feeds into the growing support for ecofascism.

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  4. Thank you all for your comments. The trends you point towards are very worrying Alessandra, in what you mention in the case of Italy. I think comments like that absolutely disclose eco-fascistic talking points, although Forza Italia may not see themselves as eco-fascist (at least not overtly). It is a selective focus on minute issues of waste from refugees, as if the amount of oil spill from those boats can compare to the spills in Italian society and transport and by corporations like Eni. I don’t know if we made it clear in the podcast, but eco-fascistic talking points are very much taken up in the mainstream, as Pieter points out, especially by far-right parties, but also at other places on the political spectrum, whether they’re aware that they’re echoing eco-fascist talking point or not.

    The idea of the influence of dystopian fiction is an interesting one, and I’d love to know more about it. I certainly think the case can be made, as I believe works of fiction does much to embed an understanding of what constitutes common sense in our culture. Just look to how much the political right refers to 1984 by the socialist George Orwell as a source of “common sense” to back up their arguments. “Great Replacement” theory features as one of the primary underpinnings of eco-fascistic thought, so if H.P. Lovecraft has done much to popularize this idea, then certainly he is to be implicated in the current rise of eco-fascism.

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