An Eco-Pessimist Revolt Against Fascism by Julian Langer
How the fuck did we get here? Where the fuck is here? What do we do now? Questions like these are huge. They are largely unanswerable, because starting somewhere and ending somewhere else inevitably means so much space is lost during the journey. I’m not going to attempt to answer any questions here, because I don’t believe I’m in a position to give any, and would only trust my answers slightly more than the answers provided by people arrogant enough to believe their own.
In the interests of businesses who experienced property destruction, in response to their violation of earth, eco-terrorism is a term that is used to smear environmental actions that challenge Leviathan. The term is used to describe groups like the ALF and ELF, as well as hunt saboteurs and other similar forms of resistance and rebellion – I’ve even heard eco-terrorist being used to describe liberal hippies marching in protest to laws that are obviously insufficient means of challenging ecocide, and for resolving the wounds already inflicted. The term eco-terrorist is highly effective, as far as it serves a purpose in semio-space, as it instantly triggers an emotive reaction, with the term terrorism.
We don’t like terrorism, because we don’t like what the term terrorism usually signifies – totalitarian groups looking to annihilate everything that doesn’t fit their ideologies ideal, trying to control the world, through bombings and ploughing cars into groups of people. Terrorism as political praxis epitomises all that is ugly about politics. So eco-terrorism works as a simple way of encouraging people to think “I don’t like that term, so I must not like what it is being used to refer to”, because if terrorism refers to all that is ugly about politics – violation, manipulation, control – then environmentalists who do what is being called eco-terrorism, must be as unlikable as any other terrorist.
As a terrorist, Ted “The Unabomber” Kaczynski’s bombing campaign is a strange and uncomfortable space for environmentalists. A brief read of his two books, with the Marxist-type revolutionary authoritarian politics he theorises throughout the pages of, and you find the push to control and dominate that underlies his actions as a terrorist. It is a shame, as much of Industrial Society and its Future is insightful and on point, as a neo-Luddite text critiquing industrialism and technological society. Ted Kaczynski, unfortunately, like other political folk, supporters of Leviathan and terrorists, sees the world as space to control and manipulate, under his conception of right/good.
I’m not going to comment on the post-Kaczynskian movement eco-extremism, who openly embrace and encourage the label eco-terrorist, in great detail here. I’ve stated elsewhere how I feel that they mistake their political/civil-violation for wild-destruction, which, like how Kaczynski’s bombing activities only succeeded in greater state measures for control and dominance, will only worsen the authoritarianism of Leviathan. This movement has been sanctified too much, both through praise and through condemnation, and I’m not willing to name them either as angels or demons – as I’m not willing to grant them that amount of power. Eco-extremists as a movement are often called eco-fascist, by those trying to make demons of them – the push to demonise this tendency is undoubtedly the main reason why it has the power and influence it does.
Eco-fascism is another handy buzzword for those wishing to demonise, smear and brush away environmentalist actions and eco-radicals with a quick “I don’t like that word, so I must not like that”. As far as I can tell, eco-fascism started being used as a term when Murray Bookchin and other social ecology advocates started trying to demonise deep ecology.
Social ecology as a theory is based in an entirely anthropocentric perspective of value, and relies on the human-interventionism, where “nature”/the world is fair game to manipulated to serve human-societal needs. Bookchinite-Marxism is just as much dictatorship as the (fascistic) Leninist-Marxism that has treated earth as open space to violate/produce. Within Marxism there is an earth/body hatred, which spans from Marx’s disregard for bees, in favour of architects, all the way through to Maoists killing sparrows.
Within both traditional Marxism and social ecology, all must be dictated by the will of History, as History’s progression is totalitarian. The teleological optimism this goes with stands in complete denial of the scale violation of earth this progress requires, and the impact of the wounds – avoiding complete civilizational collapse seems impossible given the ecological collapse we are immersed in. This totalitarian Historicism undoubtedly comes from Marx’s Hegelian influence – whose optimism disgusted pessimist philosopher Schopenhauer.
Hegel, a far-right statist whose politics of the absolute authority of the state was basically a justification for tyranny and violation (internalised and externalised), has been a profound influence on fascism and fascists – noticeably Giovanni Gentile and Ivan Ilyin. If you’re not a fan of old philosophers, Hegel’s idealist philosophy can easily be summed up as dialectical/progressive optimism.
The link between fascism and optimism doesn’t end with old philosophers. Futurist art’s optimism towards the artificial is a common theme within the movement. In his painting Pessimism and Optimism, Giacomo Balla’s light blue and white optimistic space dominates the darker pessimistic space – the future dominating the primordial darkness of the wild. Balla, an Italian nationalist, had significant success in Italy’s art world under the Mussolini, along with many other futurist artists.
If optimism is the unquestioning belief in the ability of civilisation to come out on top and for “humans” to win the day, pessimism is the belief that civilisation is ultimately futile and will collapse into ruination, as all returns to the unhuman with entropy and decay.
There is a particular pessimism within deep ecology, dark/black ecology and inhumanist philosophies towards humanity’s ability to control/dictate the world, born out the biospheric-egalitarian rejection of human supremacy. It is a naked, tragic, and erotic pessimism, which manifests from a primal love for wild anarchy. The texture of this pessimism is entirely different from the optimism of fascism and other Historicist political bodies, who ultimately consider humanity to be on top of the Great Chain of Being, detached from the symbiotic-Real, and somehow capable of taming an entire world that has continually resisted being tamed since History began, with the emergence of agri-urbanisation and politics.
Now, I have been accused of anthropomorphising “non-humans”, when I have spoken about biospheric-egalitarianism in conversation. This comes from the idea that to be equal to “humans” means to be raised to the same level as “humans”, within this death-cult that has succeeded only in its own ruination.
This is not something that I encounter when I am aware of my equality with the entirety of living beings. Rather than needing to add anything to “them”, my “humanity” becomes annihilated and I become as devoid of numerical value as the trees, badgers, and insects, who have not been violated into inclusion within the market places of the city. I dehumanise myself and find myself to be no-Thing, like the bird song at sun rise whose mystic-ineffable beauty defies taming – while I find greater resonance with abursdist philosophies, my absurdism contains the non-human nihilism of my own destruction (and coinciding creation).
The idea of dehumanisation is an uncomfortable one for many, due to its connotations towards racist ideologues, who support the idea of racial supremacism and ethnic nationalism. There is an obvious sensitivity required, if we/you/I desire to heal the wounds inflicted by colonial violence and the racist authoritarian structures that exist within the machinery of this culture. (How we go about this healing is something I am not arrogant enough to believe I have any answers for – though I’ll say that instinct and intuition find me feeling that it will involve many medicines from many medicine folk.)
As far as living biospheric-egalitarian lives goes, I am drawn towards the obvious spaces of indigenous, hunter-gather, and nomadic communities, who live far more authentic lives than I (and basically everyone I know of within civilisation). Don’t get me wrong, I’m not convinced of any noble-savage romanticism, (and remain bitter for the loss of mammoths). I am just yet to find any evidence or experience that convinces me of other ways of “humans” (whatever the fuck that means at this stage after I’ve dehumanised myself and the world) living that is as authentic, as biospherically egalitarian. In ‘Locating an Indigenous Anarchism’, Aragorn! describes indigenous anarchism as “an anarchism of place”. While I cannot with any honesty call myself indigenous to anywhere, as my genetic-family is entirely the result of migration, I am drawn to the idea of an anarchism of place, as I find anarchy in untamed spaces. The praxis of a Temporary Autonomous Zone is one that is often discussed within anarchist circles, which is a means of anarchist space/place. T.A.Z.s are a means of doing community for anarchists, with an obvious pessimism towards the ability to sustain such a space. As far as my individualist anarchy-of-place praxis goes, I am inspired by individuals like Thoreau and others who find freedom while living away from urban spaces, in small simple homes – and enjoy living where I do, for similar reasons.
If we are going to discuss what a biospheric-egalitarian community and anarchy-of-place is or would be, I am drawn towards what could be considered a tribalism over the social engineering of History-architects. Tribalism is another term that is highly questionable to many, given its derogatory use as a term for racialism and ethnocentrism. Within anarchist discussions, mentioning tribalism can be enough to get you accused of being a sympathiser of Troy Southgate’s crypto-fascist national-anarchism. (Of course, I reject this “tendency”, if it can be even considered one – I’m not fond of being included within the collective we call humanity and reject even more being included within any racial-collective.) What tribalism means to me is - rather than societies of mass and construction/production - open communities of individuals, families and clans of place/space, with the ecological awareness this involves. This tribalism emerges when people form relationships out of a desire to share space together, rather than when people are forced together out of moral-authoritarianism from the law, the market, the state, or even the notion of solidarity.
Shortly after I started writing this piece on fascism/eco-fascism, Brenton Tarrant killed 50 people in a mosque, as an act of support for white supremacy and eco- fascism.
The ugliness of Tarrant’s actions is obvious. Tarrant published a manifesto titled ‘The Great Replacement’, which is as ugly and as pathetic as he is. It takes an extremely cowardly and insecure person to have to pick up an automatic weapon and shoot defenceless people as a means of asserting yourself in the world. His manifesto reflects this.
The manifesto is full of victim-posturing and attempted justifications for himself, before a supposed moral authority he cowers before. He views himself as the victim of having been robbed of his position within the “natural order” – a term intimately linked to the concepts of the great chain of being, humanity’s manifest destiny and the idea of human intervention being able to impose “order” on to the primordial “chaos” of the world (a rank optimism, as disgusting as civilisation itself). The ridiculousness of this victim position he asserts is obvious and requires no explanation as to why it is pure nonsense.
What is most noticeable about the manifesto is that, while the position he advocates he names eco-fascism (implying an ecological basis for his rhetoric), the bulk of the text is on economic-nationalism as his ideology – in one section he appeals for urban-reclamation for white supremacists. There is only one section where Tarrant actually vocalises anything towards eco-fascism, which is really focused on “green-nationalism”. Most I have met who take a sober and serious environmentalist and ecological position have long abandoned the rhetoric of Green-politics. I am disgusted by the anthropocentrism, arrogance, and optimism of Greens. This is reflected in Tarrant’s rhetoric throughout this text.
I am convinced that Tarrant is not an eco-fascist, because eco-fascism is impossible, as fascism is civilisation epitomised and ultimately hates what is ecological and wild, which resists being tamed. Tarrant is undoubtedly a fascist, and perhaps a green-nationalist, who might like the idea of white communities with houses covered by solar panels. There is no sincere environmentalism in his rhetoric. His green-washing is an attempt to filter his ugliness to an audience he obviously fears the condemnation of, who he attempts to justify himself to through the text.
Tarrant is no monster, he isn’t powerful enough to be monstrous. Tarrant is a weak, cowardly, charlatan who deserves nothing more than total destruction.
I believe that anarchy is pluralism.
My disgust for civilisation/statism/Leviathan initially came with my disgust for the monocultural normalisation of racial supremacists. This came with my realising what had happened to my family and the community they are part of, as Polish Jews, having to flee where they knew as home.
My sense of inclusion within the identity of being-Jewish has always been a strained one, like it is for many with mixed family backgrounds. But more than the diversity within my family, my difficulty with Jewish identity comes with the racial supremacy that comes with Jewish identity – as being of “God’s chosen people”. The ethnic-nationalism that goes along with Jewish mythology and politics of Israel is something that I have struggled to reconcile alongside the identity of my family. That the community which my heritage is of could be party to the same kind of ugly acts of repression, domination, and violation as those Jewish people had to flee from horrifies me.
As I said, I believe - actually fuck belief - I find anarchy to be pluralism.
You don’t need to know the experiences I have had in anti-racist activism. I’m not arrogant enough to believe that anything I have done or been part of will mean anything to those who did not share that space with me. Those friends and loved ones I have shared the space of defiance with, when confronting nationalists, fascists and racists, know how I feel towards their ugliness. I’m not going to attempt to prove myself to people with no authentic knowledge of who I am, and who have accused me of being an “eco-fascist” in attempts to silence me and/or encourage people to reject me as a writer.
I do not consider myself a friend of Green-politics, social ecology, or similar movements/ideologies, whose optimism serves as justification for their violation of earth and others who turn a blind eye to the obliteration of wild-spaces and non-domesticated beings, in service of the optimistic progression of techno-History. As far as my relationship to Marxism (state or anti-state) goes, I will always choose bees over architects, and have will play no part in their “revolution” to gain control over the machine I hate. I am the friend of no nation, ally to no machine, and respect no cage. Techno-salvationism is a church I do not sing to the hymn sheet of and whose icons I desire the destruction of.
As far as our shared disgust towards fascism, nationalism, racism, and their supporters, I have no disagreement with anyone seeking to resist these ugly faces of Leviathan. It’s Going Down, their supporters and other similar organisations might not consider me an ally, and I might not consider them mine, but we are not enemies in our mutual rebellions against the political-right.
Emma Goldman described patriotism as “(t)he impliments of civilised slaughter”, in Patriotism: a Menace to Liberty . Fascism and others who patriotically worship before the alters of Leviathan are advocates of civilised slaughter, which is my enemy.