Fascism and climate crisis

“In the twenty-first century, all politics will, in one way or another, be climate politics,” write Sam Moore and Alex Roberts, hosts of 12 Rules for WHAT, a podcast examining the far right, and authors of the previous primer Post-internet Far Right.

This article first appeared in the Resurgence & Ecologist magazine, out now

In the years when the issue of climate breakdown wandered in the wilderness, struggling to gain any purchase on the political agenda, such a statement would have been unambiguously welcome.

Read an extract from the book: Ecofascism and Indian nationalism.

But as our world warms, as climate systems fracture, it is not only the political centre that will be forced to engage with climate change. People may seek “more drastic solutions”.

Power

Denialism may be fading as both the science and the weather become ever more alarming, but denialism will not be the far right’s last word on the environment. It is in times of crisis that fascism finds a foothold.

There has long been a vein of far-right ideology running through the politics of nature. It is found in Thomas Malthus’s early-19th-century racist warnings of an overpopulated future; in the colonial mindset of the degeneracy of the tropics and its people; in the dispossession of Indigenous lands to clear the way for the first national parks in the US.

The Nazis conflated nature and eugenics with their slogan “blood and soil”, a phrase recently repurposed by white supremacists in the US. Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists envisioned a healthy countryside and organic food as synonymous with a racially pure people.

Moore and Roberts, the authors of The Rise of Ecofascism: Climate Change and the Far Right, trace the lineage of these ideologies into the present.

How is it, say, that France’s National Rally, fronted by Marine Le Pen and at the time of writing closer to power than at any point in its history, can claim that “the best ally of ecology is the border”?

This article first appeared in the Resurgence & Ecologist magazine, out now

Violence

Someone “rooted in their home is an ecologist”, extrapolated Le Pen, whilst nomadic people “do not care about the environment”.

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