translationcollective

November 3, 2010

Introduction to the Apocalypse

Filed under: english,original — translationcollective @ 12:32 am

apocalypse – PDF

+ + + The apocalypse is upon us + + + The spectacle of Green Capitalism: Of markets and carbon markets + + + Ecological fascism + + +

“The slogan ‘Revolution or Death!” is no longer the lyrical expression of consciousness in revolt: rather it is the last word of the scientific thought of our century. It applies to the perils facing the species as to the inability to of individuals in a society where it is well-known that the suicide rate is on the increase. The experts had to admit, reluctantly, that during May 1968 in France it fell to almost nil. That spring also vouchsafed us a clear sky, and it did so effortlessly, because a few cars were burnt and the shortage of petrol prevented others from polluting the air. When it rains, where there are clouds of smog over Paris, let us never forget that it is the government’s fault. Alienated production makes the smog. Revolution makes the sunshine.”

Guy Debord, A Sick Planet (1971)

The apocalypse is upon us

All of us secretly desire for this world to end. The grand illusion of western civilization has always been the myth of progress, namely that the flow of history would beneficiently and infinitely extend into the future.

To our parents, civilization offered houses in the suburbs, computers, and automobiles. And civilization delivered. To the children of these workers, civilization offered life on the moon, artificial intelligence, endless peace. All of which have failed to emerge. While our parents desparately still believe that some day the mortgage will be repaid and that they can retire in happiness, their lost children know this is a lie. The world offers nothing to us: no jobs, no rest, no future – only fear. Over and over again, we find ourselves conditioned like rats by the images of not just our own death, but of total destruction. From the collapse of the World Trade Centre to the alien invasion, from the specter of nuclear war to holes in the ozone layer – and now the melting glaciers – this images are ingraining themselves into our very being. And these images are nothing more than modern projections of the deep-set fantasy of all religions: the apocalypse.

The apocalypse is above all a relationship that we have to our time. The apocalypse is always a single event in the future, so hat while there is a sense of impeeding doom, there is a strange relief that things can go on exactly as they are now, perhaps indefinitely. Two minor variations exist: Either that this world will be replaced with a new world, shiny and perfect, or that it will just simply end, with nothing at all following. Regardless, all apocalyptic thinking holds that this present world will at some point be utterly destroyed. So, there is no reason to care for this world, to preserve it, to sustain it.

In fact, one can rape this planet without even a sense of guilt. This vision of the apocalypse justifies the actions of the oil barons and coal lords to emit evermore carbon in order to maintain the present form of life, and make a quick buck of profit. It is precisely this madness that throws the Christian apocalyptic cults into bed with these fossil-fuel magnates. The second option is that the state is the only possible saviour that can prevent the apocalypse, if not indefinitely, at least for a few more years. Apocalyptic time then places any possibility of change far into the distant future, taking all agency from our lives and giving it to some supernatural or scientific event, so negating the possibility of an all-too-human revolution in the present.

There is one fatal flaw in apocalyptic time: What if the apocalypse was not the end of time, but the time of the end? What if the time of the end is here-and-now? The apocaypse is not in the future, the apocalypse is happening at this present moment.

The sudden reality of the apocalypse is not to be doubted by anyone who has any protracted connection to the planet, like those who garden. Only in the cocoon-like and concrete metropolis, where any connection to the vast arrey of non-human life has been sundered long ago, one can fail to notice the non-humen world is in a state of advanced destruction. Never before in recorded history has the question of the survival of the planet been so starkly posed, and never before has such news been greeted with such indifference. As long as the apocalypse is not happening right now, we smile and shrug, and continue our daily lives. Our society claimed to be possessed of miraculous powers. These miracles have become perverse. The fish have left the seas: soon there will be no more cod in the North Sea, as the warming oceans devastate the plankton that the cod eat. Fertile land becomes desert: the emptying of the vast Ogallala aquifer, the tremendous heat waves in France, the fires in Greece.To dream of milk and honey in this age is absurd: The honey beees disappear, leaving their hives empty and threatening the future of even the flowers. And our milk is tainted with growth hormones, causing our children to hit puperty earlier and earlier. There’s nothing pure in this world, and we cannot even drink the waters from the streams.

Our ancestors would be shocked beyond belief that it took so little time to make the world unlivable for humanity. And this is only what is self-evident.

The apocalypse may be all too real. If science is the new religion, then the present equivalent of prophets would be scientists, and climate change is their secular apocalypse. It’s tempting hen to dismiss climate change as mere rhetoric, some sort of collective delusion perhaps propagated for nefarious purposes. Yet science supposedly has one crucial advantage over religion: science consists of hypotheses that may be tested, proved true or false, so that science consists of an always limited and yet always growing approximation of reality. Even today when mystification far more than science rules the world – merely compare the number of books on physics sold compared to those on astrology in a bookstore – there is a urking suspicion that science actually does matter. Its hypotheses have led to everything from the cure to malaria to unmanned drones in Afghanistan. So there is a cause for concern when scientists themselves begin to speak of the apocalypse like mad prophets. The new hobby of science is predicitng like bean-counters how many years we have left: Fifty, twenty, ten, five.

For those who can remember that our planet lives not only in political history but in geological time, a wave of mass extinction have commenced, an event aptly named the “anthropocene” extinction event. Nearly half of all species may be gone within the coming decades. Perhaps therein lies the source of a vague feeling of guilt and an inability to even appreciate other species except as cartoons or in cages? The only comparable extinction event in the fossil records is the Permian-Triassic extinction event of nearly two hundred and fifty million years ago, in which nearly all sea life and three-quarters of animals on land died. The reason for this earlier “Great Dying” of the Permian-Triassic extinction event is almost certainly global warming of 5-6 degrees. Great volcanic eruptions began in Siberia released huge amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse into the air, leading to global warming, which led to the even more dangerous methane trapped in ice being released – a gas twenty times more potent than carbon. Tere is perpetual fear that we will soon encounter positive feedback cycles, events like the destruction of the rain forest that will cause an inexorable skyrocketing of carbon emissions, making catostrophic climate change inevitable. Due to climate change, already we are seeing evidence that the permafrost in Siberia is melting in an area the size of France and Germany combined, and billions of tons of methane may soon be released: a “tipping point” straight into the biocrisis. The apocalypse at this historical moment is a very real extinction event conjoined with what can only be termed a religious understanding of time.

To separate this two distinct phenomena, we can call the real wave of extinction caused by extreme ecological degradation the “biocrisis”, while we should reserve the “apocalypse” for the imagined possibility of the end of the world. The biocrisis is the true in the moment of the apocalyptic false.

There is without a doubt something religious to these convictions, with reports on melting glaciers being the equivalent to fiery sermons and carbon offsetting being nothing more than indulgences.

There is a danger to this secular hysteria over climate change: the “world leaders” know all too well that the apocalypse is the most powerful of discourses, capable of justifying any atrocity.

While climate change is transforming into a real extinction event, it is at this historical moment conjoined with what can only be termend a new religious discourse, an apocalyptic vision that was long held in check by the Enlightment. Yet with science itself turned from the secular savior to the creator of the Atom Bomb, the hope for a bright tomorrow is objectively insane. All we can hope for is some definite “end” to the situation.

The apocalypse is not happening in the future, It is happeing here-and-now. It is not the result of our personal sins and it is not the “collective responsibility of humanity”. Climate change (or God, or whatever) will bring about the apocalypse. The apocalypse, the anthropocene extinction event, the real biocrisis of all life, began with the advent of our current form of life: capitalism.

Everyone knows that the task of our generation is the overthrow of the existing order, yet like the early Christians describing the end of feudalism in religious rather than political language, our generation is unable to express the obvious necessity of revolution in any more than the scientific language of catastrophic climate change. The closest paralel to our era is then the Peasant Wars of the late middle ages, where the peasant insurrectionists phrased what was fundamentally the desire for a social revolution in religious terms. It took generations for a language of human rights to come out of the utterances of beggar-kings and heretic priests that God was present in even the lowliest of peasants. Perhaps then it is not without a sense of irony that a “climate camp” to reduce carbon emissions seized Blackheath, where centuries earlier Wat Tyler and an insurrectionary army of peasants nearly overthrew the English monarchy: the first of modern failed revolutions. As Engels noticed, it would take centuries for an economic language to be created that could phrase the struggle of Thomas Müntzer for “omnia sunt communia”, for everything to be held in common, in a way that could be understood without God. The first step in overthrowing the present order is no different: to formulate a new language of insurrection from the language of catastrophic climate change.

There is a secret meaning to the apocalypse. It is not the end of time, but the end if this time. Not the end of the world, but the end of this capitalist world.

Capitalism is nothing more than the historically contingent reationship of ourselves to our time. The apocalypse is a myth that allows the present disaster of capitalism to continue unabated. By projecting the end of time into the future, all human agency in the here-and-now is lost. If the apocalypse eternally is in the future, our present becomes frozen eternally. All agency can only be given to some deus ex machina, be it God or the State, which wil both simultaneously bring the apocalypse or prevent it forever. The little shift is to dispel the apocalypse and realise the immensity of the biocrisis in the present, and act to prevent the destruction of life at the hands of capitalism. Agence returs and our relationship to time is reversed, and even history is redeemend. The past transforms from the history of failed revolutions to a history of revolutions – the peasant revolts, the Paris Commune, the Spanish Civil War, the Seminoles, the Luddites – that could culminate any time in a true rupture. The future transforms from a bleak nothingness to a continual series of chances for life to prevail. The present transforms from a frozen moment of despair to a here-and-noe infused with intensity. With this little shift, a certain quickening of the blood that has long thought disappeared from the world returns, given to those whose life is given to the survival of future generations. So not just is there a possibility of revolution, but actual revolutionaries appear, as does a kind of redemption that lies not in the future, but in the here-and-now.

The spectacle of Green Capitalism: Of markets and carbon markets

It is easy to assume that there is no alternative to our form of life, that the way we live in this present moment is simply a reflection of the way things are.

Implicit in this common-sense is the not-so-hidden assumption that the present will extend into the future, which both provides a measure of comfort as well as the feeling of imprisonment. The future lasts forever. Or at least, it used to. In times of crisis, a space of freedom returns, and the possibility of a rupture with the present opens. History, long banished to dreary scholastic books, returns to us fresh and alive. To push away that which is closest to us, our very form of life, and see it objectively – this might seem impossible. Yet it is not: the first step is to give our form of life a name, ti identify it as something finite in time and space, so capable of ending. And this perpetual present, that has its only favor being only the certainty of its own destruction has a name: capitalism.

Capitalism is based on an equation so simple a child could understand it: technology plus human labour plus natural resources creates commodities. These commodities can be either more technology for production – otherwise known as capital – or commodities for consumption. The iron law of value states that everything may become a commodity to be exchanged for some value, and value is incarnated as monetary price. Commodities are exchanged not to fulfil human needs, but to accumulate more value for capitalism. The flow of commodities produces flows of carbon as a trivial side-effect of industrial production, and hence the destruction of our entire ecosystem is built into the little equation of capitalism. The constantly decreasing term in our equation is the finite “natural” resources of our earth, which taken to their wild asymptotic end spells the real possible extinction of the vast majority of currently-existing life on this planet.

The inescapable logic of capitalism is then to colonize every sphere of life, assigning that which was held in common both a private owner and a value.

This double operation must take place so that this newly valued commodity can be exchanged on the market in order to produce more profit, and hence, expand value and capitalism. Climate change is just symptomatic of capitalism reaching the limits of its expansion in the world of natural resources that evolved before capitalism. It is then fitting that a totalising crisis like climate change accompanies a totalising system of production like capitalism. Carbon emissions are the by-product of capitalism just as defecation is the by-product of humans eating, as fossil-fuel intensive energies are the primary source of cheap energy that capitalism harnesses for production. Yet even stopping carbon emissions would not halt the totalising biocrisis brought on by capitalism. Carbon emissions and climate change are a mere Symptom of the ecological degradation caused by capitalism. Taken as an isolated issue in-of-itself, climate change is ludicrous. Even if burning fossil fuels didn’t cause climate change, it would still be cancerous to humans, pollute the ocean and atmosphere, fuelling death-dealing automobiles and missiles, and create the raw materials of everything from disposable plastic bags to useless toys. Although cutting down the forest reduces the planet’s ability to Store carbon, it destroys uncountable species, ripping asunder indigenous forms of life and evicting them from their homes and destroying even the possibility of the joy many humans get from being outside.

While a “green” zero-carbon capitalism may be possible, if implausibe, even a zero-carbon capitalisminexorably transforms living natural resources into dead capital.

If it’s not carbon, it will be the destruction of water, of the atmosphere, of life itself, all sacrificed to the ravenous appetite of capital for the reproduction commodities, even if it means the end of the reproduction of Iife. Capitalism is the origin of the biocrisis, the last and final crisis of capitalism. The logic of crisis is the logic of capitalism, and capitalism has been in a state of crisis for decades although it has only become self-evident in the financial crisis of 2008. By far the most productive social Systems the world has ever seen, capitalism over-produces, leading to an over-accumulation of capital. In any social System shaped around the survival of humanity and the world, this would be viewed as a miracle: the hungry could be fed, the homeless housed, and the creativity of humanity unfettered from mere material concerns. Yet by the perverse logic of capital, this over-productivity is a crisis: it is increasingly harder to make a profit when more and more commodities are made cheaper and cheaper, and workers are paid less and less. The only way out of crisis is to through either waging a war that destroys capital – the World Wars being the obvious solution to the Great Depression or via some act of sorcery invent new commodities.

Only an event of nearly divine proportions can resurrect the belief in capital and the state, and luckily there is a miracle: the advent of catastrophic climate change.

From Greenpeace to Obama, the solution everyone touts to climate change is, not surprisingly, the expansion of capitalism into the very atmosphere via carbon trading. By magically assigning carbon a value and exchanging it, carbon emissions are supposed to decrease. However, this contradicts all past experience and the axioms of capitalism itself. The creation of yet another market will undoubtedly lead to more capitalist production, and so accelerate ecological degradation. While capitalism has figured out how to assign values to simple material necessities like shoes and coal, the price of carbon will simply be made out of thin air. The resemblances of the pricing of “risk on the financial markets to the price of carbon on carbon markets are almost all-too-clear. Such inability to assign adequate value is simply a recipe for a boom of rampant fraud and speculation, followed by a resounding crash. A carbon market is just like the financial market, as the failure of the European Union’s Emission Trading System, later a part of the Kyoto Protocol, has already demonstrated this in spades. Carbon markets require more production, and so more carbon, which in turn signs the collective death sentence of the biocrisis. How does one assign a price for carbon? How can one give the continued existence of human life as we know it a price? The market demands such questions be answered. To burn a car dealership to the ground is more ecologically sustainable than carbon trading; it is precisely the creation and flow of commodities that threatens the future of life on this planet.

It must be an almost religious force ten that keeps people enthralled to capitalism.

This force is called by Debord the “spectacle” – the advertisements, television, blogs, web-sites, videogames – that is nothing more than the collection of images that serve as the revealed religion of capital. Sarte remarked that he had never Seen perfection until he had seen a movie. The world of advertisements is as central to us as the world of Christ and his angels was to our medieval ancestors. The spectacle is when the relationships between humans become mediated through not just commodities, but images produced by capital. As capital over-accumulates to ever more absurd heights, in the search for ever more markets, capital colonises the very social life of humans. Capitalism is able to colonize the totality of our social life precisely to the extent it is able to capitalize any other form of life. One step of this colonisation was depriving the multitude of their traditional forms of life in order to put them to work in factories. Yet somehow, after work, workers rejoiced and, shedding their work-day clothes, became human again: playing music in the bar, dreaming in the park, laying in each other’s arms. In order to extract perpetually more profit, there became ever more longer hours and ever-more-perfect assembly lines. However, eventually a limit is reached in classical capitalism. To continue the production of endless commodities, capitalism must colonise all of human time, all of human culture. A new and terrible prison of the imagination is imposed upon people via the perfect image of the commodity, transmitted electrically around the world via the mass media. These images of commodities now direct our collective human activity. This global collection of disjointed images of commodities and super-stars then becomes the abstract unity that binds the fragmented humanity together, masking the very real divisions of power and wealth.

For decades, capitalism produced only the spectacle of its own perfectibility in the form of sexy young people consuming shiny new things eternally, but always leaving out the images of its own waste. All the obvious causes and results of capitalism were artfully hidden, from the millions of pounds of plastic in the oceans to the endless acres of forests reduced to stumps. As the process of natural resource extraction can not continue infinitely on a finite planet without some physical side-effects that will eventually wake even the most hypnotized of workers from their spectacular slumber, the spectacle can no longer present itself as images of heaven on earth. The happiness promised by commodities is transformed into terror. The dream of capital becomes its nightmare:

the image of the apocalypse. In the era of the apocalypse, the spectacle must invert itself. While in the analysis of Debord, the spectacle as a collection of images was the summit of industrial capitalism, the symbol of its total power. Ac a new and very material reconfiguration of capitalism is now in motion, the first step is the transformation of the images of the spectacle. Images of the apocalypse are endlessly repeated in movies starring Al Gore, in the pleas of scientists, and the last of polar bears hanging desperately onto the last glacier. These images are not innocent reflections of realty, but instead signal a conscious manipulation of our inner lives in order to make us willing slaves to the transformation of late capitalism into green capitalism. Green capitalism is merely a spectacular form of capitalism that denies its own role in the consumption of natural resources. The image of green capitalism as a latter- day technological messiah that must rescue a powerless humanity from the apocalypse produces again only an unreal unity that merely masks the real divisions between those who benefit and the vast majority of the world that suffers from ecological degradation.

A Greenpeace ad in the New York Times said, “It wasn’t the Exxon Valdez captain’s driving that caused the Alaskan oil spill. It was yours.”

Any desire for a genuinely social revolution is transferred to the ascetic self-management of the individual, the care of the self. Remember that self-management is still nothing more than management, with a tinge of self-righteous puritanism. Only the righteous will be saved, and your individual carbon emissions are a perfect way of measuring your sins. Google has even commenced the production of devices to allow other self-management our personal electricity consumption and, no doubt soon, carbon emissions. True salvation is now being “carbon neutral” or more “realistically” a 50% carbon reduction, a 65% reduction, an 85% reduction. These goals employ all the fanaticism of fad diets and flagellation. Of Course, this perfectly alienated solution to climate change ignores the obvious contradiction that a single individual reducing their personal carbon emissions has little to no effect. For example, unplugging a phone charger only reduces energy consumption by onehundredth of one percent at most. A more sinister agenda is at work. As the world’s population is so vast, so huge, that it is even inconceivable to to imagine policing this multitude, to coerce them into green capitalism. The new slaves must enter into green capitalism willingly, and must self-manage themselves, cleansing themselves of all impure thoughts of communism and violence; these thoughts are taken to be the result of some neurochemical disorder, or childhood trauma.

Green capitalism must refuse to admit, under all circumstances, that our mode of production is responsible for carbon emissions, since from that terrible hypothesis would come the obvious conclusion that such an edifice must be overthrown, and that those who benefit from it, the planetary bourgeoisie, are those who have truly caused the catastrophic climate change. They try to escape by placing the blame for the coming apocalypse on a ‘collective’ humanity who have harnessed industrial production for their ‘common’ needs at the expense of the environment, ignoring the historical reality that climate change is being precipitated not by humanity as a whole, the vast majority of which was dragged kicking and screaming into the factories and sweat-shops, but by capitalism, married as it is to industrial production. Indeed, carbon emissions and climate change more than clearly reveal what can only be called a class divide: the carbon emissions of a jet-setting businessmen from either Britain or Qatar outstrip the thousands of unemployed in places, ranging from the United States to Guatemala, that have been excluded from the planetary bourgeoisie, or those workers enslaved by the self-same planetary bourgeoisie in the vast factories in China and Brazil.

Never is capitalist production itself to be questioned. Far from it, a whole new market of green commodities is produced for a profit: everything from electrical cars to “fair trade and carbon-neutral” lattes, whose production only worsens the real crisis of natural resources while stroking the egos of a new green bourgeoisie who can afford such precious green products as the rest of the world descends into food riots. Green restaurants, green airports, green banks; soon enough, there will be green prisons and green torture chambers.

Those who would call upon the state to find a solution, solutions which would include further taxation on the working class and poor in the form of carbon credits and other measures of green austerity, will only lead to increased state control over our everyday lives. These calls to the state will only be used to consolidate state power and profitabiity for capital whether the technologies it employs are ‘green’. It is ridiculous to beg for the ‘capitalist management’ for the crisis that it itself created. As Debord said, if you don’t want to assist in the spectacle of the end of the world, you must work towards ending the world of the spectacle. It will take more than changing our holiday habbits to sustain the world to come.

This new era of capitalism will not be heralded by a military war, but by a generalised low-intensity conflict that encompasses the totality of life: the social war.

Increasing police violence, surveillance, and biometric identity cards are just tactics in this social war against “the enemy within” like anarchists, unemployed youth, and immigrants. Carbon emission limits and trading will just be excuses for new austerity measures to inflict upon the poor of the world. It will take widespread deployment of solar energy and the return of nuclear power to maintain the bourgeoisie form of life even inside the most privileged of countries, while the rest of the world must be left to starve to death. Indeed, what green capitalism presents today is a new morality that will tomorrow be austerity measures for the world’s poor. In every country, the metropolis will be divided into “Green Zones” for the planetary bourgeoisie and vast swathes of exclusion.

The spread of sabotage as an offensive in the generalised social war is the most promising terrain of struggle against capitalism.

Without a doubt, those who fight today will be the children of the last generation to truely believe in capitalism. For the youth today have no hope. If a few dying old men want to bring apocalypse, their children must bring on the insurrection. Perhaps their children will meet at night covered in black masks. Or perhaps these new-born saboteurs will operate in broad daylight, dressed as flight attendants and construction workers, students and baristas, juniour accountants and even… the police. The question is how to blockade the flows of carbon and commodities as to halt ecological degradation. To stop the flows – not just for a mmoment – forever. No compromise in defence of the earth.

Ecological fascism

“We have modified our environment so radically that we must now modify ourselves to exist in this new environment.”

Norbert Werner (1894-1964)

Other worlds are possible. It’s just that some are worse.

Fascism is the logical escape route of capitalism to a crisis. The cycle of crisis leading to fascism is as follows: the internal dynamics of capitalism based on selfish interest and profit cannot lead to an overcoming of the crisis of over-accumulation; only a massive revolution in the mode of production and social relationships points a way out. The very same conditions that could breed a revolution against capitalism also breed its transmogrification into fascism. Fascism is the modernising project of capitalism when it enters into crisis; let us not forget that it was Hitler, who after centuries of the late-forming German nation-state was lagging behind the rest of Europe in terms of modernisation, built the highways, the factories, even modernised the alphabet. National socialism did what the bourgeoisie, left to their own devices, were incapable of doing; namely, dominate the most resistant forms of society and organize them into a new unity. Like politicians today, fascists cynically promised everything to everyone, even if it entailed contradictions; and so fascism actually resonates with people, butdirects them in the long-term interests of capitalism. In response to climate change, a new kind of eco-fascism is almost surely to arise, either as capitalism fails to reform itself into green capitalism – or, in the more likely case, where the distinction between fascism and capitalism merge. The right-wing zealots have a moment of truth when they declare that they don’t like the new “green” government that will prevent them from burning fires in their own backyard. Given that carbon markets are only going to increase carbon emissions, the purported solution to climate change in the form of strict carbon emission reductions would require nothing less than an authoritarian state with control over every facet of life. In the name of “saving the planet,” we will submit ourselves to join the new collectivity of the state in the form of eco-fascism.

Eco-fascism is a warning, and as it is only a movement to come, we can only offer a sketch of its seeds in the present rather than a perfect description.

The signs are telling. George Monbiot, an influential British journalist, told his devoted fans that to stop global warming, we must riot for austerity. Never has the new form of eco-fascism been more clear. Fascism is the copying of revolutionary organisation to the counter-revolution and eco-fascism will be no exception. In the 1930s, the national socialists adopted the techniques of revolutionary communism such as the mass meetings, the street fighting, and a desire for collectivity. The methodology of communism was perverted away from its goals of a new Internationale into the service of the “people” – the Volk – and the Land. There is no reason to believe that ecofascism will be any different, although the sources of its new form of organisation will be anarchism, not communism. For a superficial example, notice that in Germany and Bulgaria, the fascists have adopted the dress and even the tactics of the anarchist Black Bloc. However, a less superficial example is more important: anarchist sub-cultures have been the vanguard of taking full responsibility of personal consumption, of “punishing” themselves for drinking Cola, eating meat, using the “wrong”words. It is then no wonder that some of the anarchist sub-cultures were the first to fall victim to the spectacle of self-management in the name of ‘‘saving the environment”. The individualist moralism of anarchism can easily be transformed to eco-fascism, while the essential ethical questions remain ignored. So these methods of self-control, now strictly enforced as austerity measures, will become the first phase of eco-fascism, and this moralism will justify any repression against social revolution. The marking of those who consume too much, those who don’t truly believe, those who overspend carbon credits, those who defy forced austery measures, combined with spying on neighbours, militarised borders, camps for climate refugees … this is the nightmare of the beginnings of eco-fascism. Monbiot and the rest of the planetary bourgeoisie in their pleasant eco-villages should give each other a toast – over organic locally-grown wine grown in Cornwall – as none of this will disturb their ever-so-perfect green zone. Their recuperation of anarchism is almost too perfect.

Capitalism fragments our lives into a million little pieces, and fascism offers to re-assemble our lives into a new kind of collectivity.

Fascism offers to let us abolish ourselves as individuals in order for the supposed greater good of the species, the group, the nation …Yet in reality, it only enslaves us to the domination of a small clique, a leader, a prophet. In the widespread fear that any crisis causes, fascism takes advantage of people’s desire to survive by offering to dominate them to assure their survival. How is that we desire our own domination? Fear, and in crisis, the attraction to power. There is something strangely comforting, and even erotic, in the submission of one’s self to a collectivity. Unlike anarchism, instead of creating collectivities based on the association and mutual aid of free individuals, fascism creates this new collective form of life based on the abstract domination of a single individual: thus the propensity towards fascism for figures like Hitler and Mussolini; and the same dynamics apply to Stalin and Pol Pot. Unwilling to change the fundamental social relationships of domination, fascism blames concrete groups of individuals. So the eco-fascists personiy capitalism in particular individuals or ethnic groups: the conspiracy theorists’s visions of the Jewish bankers being the ideal template. Unfortunately, with the total collapse of our social life at the hands of the spectacle, this “picture-thinking” is all-too-easy to understand. In the absence of real social relationships, loyalty is projected to the image of the Nation, the Race, the Good, the Pure. In this new era of dwindling natural resources, immigrants will likely be the first ethnic group to suffer. Who but the Chinese should tell them how to mine their land! Buy American! The tragedy is that the calls resonate more with each passing day, as the relative factions of global capital use this fictionalisation to manipulate their own internal populations as they themselves both CO-ordinate and fight over the future control of the planet. After the death of God, fascism is merely the opium as the masses, at least in the West.

The beating heart of fascism has always been ecology.

The dream of a green and fecund agrarian world, a dream foolishly thrown out by communism and only only kept alive until recent decades by anarchism, is given as the connection between blood and soil.It fulfils the need for a historical and transcendental essence for eco-fascism to build its abstract unity upon: the relationship between people and the land. Ecology was defined by its founder, the biologist Ernst Haeckel, as “the total science of the connections of the organism to the surrounding external world.” In a misinterpretation of Darwin, Haeckel believed that since the same “laws” of Social Darwinism prevailed throughout both the natural world and social life, only the strongest – be they individuals or nations – would survive, and so he became a proponent of racial purity, joining the Thule Society, one of the secret societies that was the fore-runners of fascist ideology. Hitler found in the doctrines of the Thule Society the foundation of an ideology for national socialism, so that Nazism was to be a ‘politicaily applied biology” to return humanity into harmony with the environment. By opposing a pure ecological ideal to the metropolitan anomie of capital, classicaily, fascists were the first who effectively merged ecology and politics. The relationship between the People and the Land must be cleansed and renewed, and in this context cleansing means the murder of those outside the fascist collectivity. Tnis would fit all-too-easily into the border regimes being put in place across the world. Yet even more disturbing future scenarios are being dreamt today by those like Kaarlo Linkola – who, speaking against free-market capitalism and unlimited growth, in his award-winning book “Can Life Prevail?” believes that to survive the biocrisis, humanity must be forced from the city and into agricultural production, trees must be planted, ail airplanes grounded, construction stopped. While these may not seem to be such terrible things, and in fact even necessary steps to a world without capital … without a pause to breathe, Linkola adds that children who are deemed unfit should be killed.

Fascism is the technophiliac ideology of the apocalypse.

The visions of a green and harmonious future that serve as the kernel of fascism are to be realised in the distant and never-quite-arriving future, but all thc power of the technology developed under capitalism should be harnessed now, at whatever the cost in death. Eco-fascism is apocalyptic insofar as it must destroy the current world in the here-and-now precisely in order to restore it to its perfect condition in some infinitely deferred future. This explains the seeming schizophrenia of fascism, the contrast between the smokestacks of the concentration camps and dictates of Nazi Germany to commence nation-wide organic farming. Indeed, an underlying logic connects the perfectionist ecology of the National Socialists with their attempt to eliminate, like any productive farmer, what they considered to be waste. As the apocalypse is in the future, all manners of techniques can be deployed today to bring about the thousand-year reign of the new heaven on the new earth. Unlike those purists for whom the ends and means must be compatible, eco-fascists are more than happy to employ a massbased movement and high technology to realise their state of primordial virtue. In the era of global climate change, this combination will be even more tempting, as eco-fascists will also play to the technophilia of capitalism, since eco-fascism will be more than willing to use whatever technology can be used to preserve survival of the land and people. More than traditional capitalism, eco-fascists will be able to put forward an alternative to capitalism that connects personal survival to the proinise a restored ecosystem due to technology. Of Course, the actual restoration will always be infinitely deferred, and any atrocity will be justified by the coming apocalypse. And since it is committed to keeping the machinations of natural resource exploitation and capitalism going without profit, there is no doubt that eco-fascism will result in the degradation of the planet as quick, if not quicker, than green capitalism left to its own devices.

Despite all the forgotten historical roots of ecology in fascism, eco-fascism will not be the fascism that we recognise, the antiquarian fascism of swastikas that reeks of the smoke of Auschwitz, but a fascism that is far more sinister and subtle.

For the coming fascism will not even use the term “fascism,” and will not even necessarily be nationalist, although it could be. There is a common mis-understanding of fascism, namely that somehow fascism is only about the separation and purification of races and nations. The murder of the “foreign element” of the unintegrated Roma fits the mold of classical racism all too well, but something more happened with the destruction even of the completely integrated six million European Jews in the Holocaust. Fascism as an extreme case of racism or nationalism is a myth, and the reality is much more complicated. The selection of Jews and Roma for extermination was only the beginning. When we include the selection of communists, anarchists, queers, the disabled, prisoners of war, the victims of the Holocaust more than doubles.

The true nature of fascism is then revealed by the final law – the Gemeinschaftsfremdengesetz – that Hitler passed on the first of January of 1945 but never implemented. In this law, the selection begun by the Holocaust was never to end. Next the weak, the morally dissolute, those insufficiently Part of the fascist society … all were to be killed. This selection would include anyone whose behaviour was less than perfectly aligned with the envisioned perfect fascist society, and this selection was to take place infinitely and ever more stringently into the future. Those “foreign to the community” were those who “have been unable to show personality and lifestyle, especially because of an exceptional defect of reason or character, that meet with the minimum requirements of the national community”, including those who “from idleness or debauchery leads a wortliless, uneconomical, or disorderly life, and thus anothcr of the public burden or risk … or have an inclination to beg, to loafing, thefts, frauds or other non-serious offenses” and especially those who “from intolerance or belligerence persistently disturbs the peace of the public.” Just like the giant databases of today, the Nazi dictatorship was started under the “stocktaking of individuals” through the construction of giant files. Everyone was expected to self-manage, to completely either become a pure and model citizen, or die trying.

It is not without a sense of disturbance that one hears the green capitalists talking about increasingly “‘punishing” those who emit more carbon than is allowed. The logic of fascism is the logic of the “perfection” of the human in a “harmonious and ecological” community. That the state should soon be able to measure the ecological virtue of its citizens may only be the first step. The coming eco-fascism will represent the possibility to complete the project that the fascists failed to complete with the Gemeinschaftsfremdengesetz: the complete rebuilding of the human in the interests of capital by the unholy marriage of ecology and cybernetics.

Advertisements

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: