2019-03-21

The Mainstreaming of White Nationalist Discourse Spawning Terrorism, and the new threat of Eco-Fascism

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by Neil Godfrey

Speaking of the murderer of 50 Muslims in Christchurch, NZ, last week, Guardian columnist Jason Wilson commented during an ABC interview:

While he’s responsible for his actions the reasons for those actions go beyond him.

Someone recently expressed some surprise that an Australian terrorist in New Zealand would be focussed on Europe in his “manifesto”. Jason Wilson sees nothing surprising here at all, however. All white nationalists everywhere talk about Europe and their European identity, he explains.

European identity and sense of grand sweep of European white people history is what they are all about.

Jason Wilson

Their fundamental idea is that white people, the descendants of Europeans, are being replaced in their home countries by non-white immigrants from non-European cultures.

He was acting for political motives. Those political motives were incubated in a movement and the context for that movement has been an increasingly Islamophobic discourse in the English speaking west in last 20 years or so since the “war on terror” started.

What is especially worrying, however, is that these views are not confined to invisible pockets of extremists. Far right extremists, says Wilson, have been making adept use of the internet and the cloak of irony to sneak their discourse under the radar and into the mainstream of political discussion. Fox news, of course, we know about, but also the vast Australian News Corp media. Prominent Australian right wing columnist, Andrew Bolt, last year was writing about the very same theme at the centre of Brenton Tarrant’s The Great Replacement– the “threat” of a coming demographic replacement in Australia.

I had to look it up. Here is Bolt’s spiel; Tarrant could well have adapted it entirely from memory:

REPLACING LOCALS WITH IMMIGRANTS

Notice that line about immigrants being responsible for traffic problems. Anyone who has kept an ear to Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison will know he regularly “connects with his voter base” by mentioning the same problems in the same problematic context, even since the Christchurch shooting.

Jason Wilson again:

In a moral sense obviously he is responsible for his actions, but that doesn’t mean we can’t look at the movement he’s come out of and the broader context of the societies that he’s been living in over the last number of years – to think about how we might understand those actions.

But it gets worse, so go listen to some music or read a good book if you’ve had enough. Recall how Tarrant described himself as an eco-fascist and how I made some point about Nazism having a strong ecological interest? Well, here is Jason Wilson’s most recent article:

Eco-fascism is undergoing a revival in the fetid culture of the extreme right

The opening header says enough:

Some see looming ecological collapse as an opportunity to re-order society along their preferred, frankly genocidal, lines.

 

The Nazi slogan “blood and soil” was coined by their foremost ecological thinker, Richard Walter Darré, who meant it to capture a mystical link between race and a particular territory.

In the decades since the rise of the modern environmental movement, the far right has continued its efforts to co-opt ecological thoughts and corrupt environmental movements

. . . . .

It’s hard to know exactly how many people are immersed in this milieu, but we have seen the damage just one man can do. What else might this ideology inspire?

More broadly, while conservatives (like Trump) are fixated on denialism, parts of the radical right not only acknowledge environmental collapse, but welcome it as an opportunity to re-order society along their preferred lines, and to cleanse the Earth of those they despise.

This makes a democratic, just, and global response to climate change all the more urgent. We must save our planet, and we must not create even the smallest opportunities for fascists.

I feel unwell. Time to go and watch a nice murder mystery on tv and see if once again the most innocent back-seat character at the beginning of the show in the end turns out to be the killer.

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Neil Godfrey

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4 Comments

  • Robert Jase
    2019-03-21 13:09:05 GMT+0000 - 13:09 | Permalink

    WWII was pointless, the human race will always have fascists.

  • Geoff
    2019-03-21 13:46:50 GMT+0000 - 13:46 | Permalink

    “Here is Bolt’s spiel”
    – but this seems to be missing from the post.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2019-03-21 14:28:41 GMT+0000 - 14:28 | Permalink

      It’s the link “Replacing Locals with Immigrants”

  • 2019-03-21 14:53:32 GMT+0000 - 14:53 | Permalink

    Sadly, I’m not very optimistic about all this. I think the migration and immigration issues are only going to grow from here on out, as both conflict and climate crises drive people toward the poles. I expect to see large mass migrations out of Africa, Central America, India, and Pacific Islands over the next 50 years, and I doubt there is much to be done to mitigate those migrations.

    Such migrations are going to cause all kinds of problems, both because there will inevitably be racist opposition to them and also because regardless of how sympathetic and hospitable one might be, such migrations, even if handled in the best possible way, will place real pressure on social support systems and cultures. I mean Sweden is a perfect example of this.

    So my view on this is that, yes we want to be welcoming and supportive and open to immigrants, but the reality is that at a certain point, mass migration does cause problems that can’t be overcome simply with kindness.

    The reality is that we need to whole world to be a hospitable place, we can’t have a situation where 1/4 to 1/3 of the landmass becomes uninhabitable and everyone just moves out of those areas into better areas. No matter how hospitable we want to be, that’s a recipe for disaster, but, sadly, that’s exactly where we are heading IMO.

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