[Marxism] "White Supremacy goes Green"

John Reimann 1999wildcat at gmail.com
Fri Feb 28 05:31:02 MST 2020

>From the NY Times

"From France to Washington to New Zealand, angry voices on the hard right —
nationalists, populists and others beyond conventional conservatism — are
picking up environmental tropes and adapting them to a moment charged with
fears for the future. In doing so, they are giving potent new framing to a
set of issues more typically associated with the left. Often, they
emphasize what they see as the deep ties between a nation’s land and its
people to exclude those they believe do not belong. Some twist scientific
terms such as “invasive species” — foreign plants or animals that spread
unchecked in a new ecosystem — to target immigrants and racial and ethnic
minorities. And here’s what really frightens me: This dynamic is likely to
intensify as climate change creates new stresses that could pit nations and
groups against one another.

Although the pressures of a warming planet are new, the deployment of
environmental rhetoric for racist, nativist and nationalistic ends has a
long, dark history....

The neo-Nazi group Northwest Front, which advocates expelling people of
color from the Pacific Northwest, appropriated a flag designed by a
left-wing activist, reframing it with the slogan “The sky is the blue, and
the land is the green. The white is for the people in between.” In
Slovakia, far-right activists invoking the centrality of forests to
national identity accuse members of the Roma ethnic minority of damaging
them with excessive firewood gathering, Balsa Lubarda, a Central European
University doctoral candidate studying the radical right, told me.

Of course, many on the nationalist right deny the scientific consensus on
climate change, so the ecological concerns they cite are more local.
Others, though, accept the reality of global warming and view it “through
the prism of white nationalism....

President Trump tapped into this rhetoric in December. Responding to a
question about the climate during a visit to London, he added a point about
pollution in the ocean. “Certain countries are dumping unlimited loads of
things in it,” he said. “They tend to float toward the United States.” He
did not specify particular countries, but the comment echoed plastic
producers’ contention that much oceanic garbage comes from a handful of
Asian nations that lack effective waste management. When I listened to Mr.
Trump, I realized that what he said was freighted with something more than
a corporate effort to pass the buck. He was casting plastic pollution as a
threat that foreigners were visiting upon the United States....

The Fox News host Tucker Carlson has made similar arguments, falsely
claiming in an interview with The Atlantic that the Potomac River has
gotten dirtier “and that litter is left almost exclusively by immigrants.”
The month before, he asked why environmentalists want to let refugees into
the United States: “Isn’t crowding your country the fastest way to despoil
it, to pollute it?”

It is not hard to see why such ideas are making a comeback. As the
relentlessness of environmental calamity — epic fires and floods,
escalating extinctions, warming oceans — becomes impossible to ignore, the
right needs a way to talk about it. Nationalistic framings fit comfortably
with a worldview many already hold. And for the so-called alt right, they
offer the bonus of a cudgel for bashing establishment conservatives as
beholden to globalist, corporate interests.

Some radicals are drawn to apocalyptic climate scenarios, seeing openings
for authoritarianism or a complete societal breakdown. “They want to
accelerate it,” said Blair Taylor, program director at the Institute for
Social Ecology, a left-wing educational center, who has studied such
groups. “So after the downfall they can set up their fascist ethno-states,
they can be the Übermensch.” Violent actors are grabbing hold of such
ideas. The killers accused of massacring Muslims and Mexican immigrants
last year in New Zealand and Texas posted online manifestoes weaving white
supremacy with environmental rhetoric.

The Australian man who allegedly murdered 51 people at two Christchurch
mosques called himself an “ethnonationalist eco-fascist” and wrote that
“continued immigration into Europe is environmental warfare.” ....

If there’s one thing Americans have learned in the Trump era, it is that
toxic ideas can move between the fringes and the political realm with
stunning speed. Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Rally
— now the country’s main opposition party — has incorporated worries about
the natural world into the party’s anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim ideology.
She espouses an ideal of the French citizen as “someone rooted, someone who
wants to live on their land and to pass it on to their children.” By
contrast, she says, those who are “nomadic … do not care about the
environment. They have no homeland.”

“Borders are the environment’s greatest ally,” said Jordan Bardella, the
party spokesman and a member of the European Parliament. In Hungary, the
far-right party Our Homeland accused Ukraine of poisoning Hungarians by
dumping waste in the Tisa River. Extremist Polish groups hurl similar
charges at Germany....

Without giving it much thought, I used to accept the framing of
environmental problems as shared concerns we would have to work together to
solve. Now I can see there is another path too, one in which dark forces
wield real dangers as weapons to tear us apart, and scarcity fuels
conflict, brutality and racism. Our future in a hotter world of rising seas
and more powerful storms already felt terrifying. Unless we come together —
and fast — behind serious action to check the existential danger of climate
change, it could be darker still."

*“In politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.” *from "The Black
Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
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