Say Hello To The Future: Neoliberalism and Ecofascism

California sky on September 7, 2020 — Photo credit: Abigail Dollins, Statesman Journal
California sky on September 7, 2020 — Photo credit: Abigail Dollins, Statesman Journal
California sky on September 9, 2020; Photo credit: Abigail Dollins, Statesman Journal

As we reach penultimate stages of the great game of neoliberal capitalism, we will increasingly find ourselves forced to confront the horrifying reality of dearth that is its legacy; the gross accumulated imbalances of capital inevitably manifest as a grossly imbalanced distribution of resources — resources which have increasingly become contaminated, diminished and destroyed as the titans of industry aggressively plummet every natural reserve imaginable with unequivocal diplomatic (and of course, market) impunity. Rest assured that they are doing so with full awareness of their own exit strategy, knowing that you — reader — do not have the luxury of same. Welcome to the final phases of the game: the world of ecofascism.

Our daily armchair debates around the efficacy of this or that policy are suddenly cast in a different light, as we all socially distance while watching the sun — wholly obscured behind a sky of dark grey smoke — rise in subterfuge. As is already common around the world — and not merely in the industrial manufacturing hubs that Americans enjoy cynically writing off, like India or China, but in California as well (as though the air in other countries doesn’t circulate around the globe) — the air we are forced to breath is poisonous, and bottled water has replaced the bourgeois vintage wine market of what seemed like only yesterday; basic necessities have replaced the now defunct market of commodities.

If this picture sounds rather dystopian and hypothetical (setting aside what that might elicit of your own place in the supply-demand chain)— take a second to recall how badly you freaked out when you couldn’t get toilet paper on last month.

Is there a skeptical mind among us that doubts Enron’s, Exxon’s, Amazon’s, Walmart’s, Deutsche Bank’s, and on and on, ad infinitum’s ability to own not merely the world’s oil reserves, but the world’s drinkable water reserves as well, or the last ditches of land left unmired by the extreme pollution runoffs — which ran like raging, biblical rivers over centuries of merciless pillage and extermination — so that the very means of food cultivation, air purification or water production remain solely in their hands? Do the gravity of the words, “means of production,” suddenly resonate with distinct clarity?

There is an obvious ethical imperative to Marxism that is revealed when the debate surrounding it ceases to be esoteric, or fanatically anti-historic — and the brilliance with which that imperative shines is certainly amplified in the face of cataclysmic real-world alternatives.

The urgency with which we fight against neoliberal capitalist hegemony may, rather ironically, perhaps be aptly summarized the way neoconservatives such as George W. Bush (via speech writers like David Frum, of course) justified their infinity war in Iraq circa 2005, or the way Secretary McNamara described the fabricated imperative of fighting the Communist Vietnamese in the 1960’s — that is to say, ‘over there, so we don’t have to fight them here.’ Of course, we aren’t fighting to preserve some petty imperial dominance over a global marketplace — we’re fighting because our world is literally on fire. It is easier to blow out a match than it is to extinguish a city engulfed in flames, but as liberals and conservatives alike continue to balk at the notions of either radical centralization or redistribution as measures to mitigate and eventually reverse the raging fires of the neoliberal status quo, I can’t help but be reminded that Chomsky remarked of McNamara's views, “of course it’s easy to make fun of idiotic pronouncements like this, but amusement fades when you begin to calculate the human cost.”

As record high temperatures continue to be broken across the world, one is left with the rather hopeless feeling that humanity’s last fail-safe (the rest of the biosphere is a foregone conclusion at this point) is our own pathetic, solipsistic discomfort; if the marathon of 106 degree days is not enough to entice your passionate, Biden-supporting friends to spend a bit more time postulating the looming reality of ecofascism — and along with it, a typology of violence that will make historic massacres like the Holocaust look like your run-of-the-mill school shooting in America — then we are all consigned to watch our last glimmer of sunlight the way I watched the sun at 2 o’clock today, as it hovered over the city of South San Francisco — entirely concealed through the ashes and smog, which at best we’ve facilitated, and at worst we’ve designed.

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