Eco-Socialism: Slipping Into Ecofascism?
We need to talk about the two very different schools of thought within the eco movement.
Take fifteen seconds to close your eyes and visualize the answer to this question: What do you see when you think of climate change?
Where does your mind take you?
Is it a vision of scenarios where all humans are a cancer on the planet, or scenes of greed where the selfish actions of a moneyed few create a hideous reality for the rest of us?
Somewhere along the way, civilization lost sight of its role to coexist with the biosphere. Corporations abuse the planet the way our military brutalizes Muslim-majority nations. It's no big leap of the imagination to see how militarism in the streets of Karballa influences militarism in the rainforest.
Oligarchy is the control of the masses - people or resources - by a privileged cabal of industry that has deep influence in most governments. This seizing of resources has led us to the GREAT LIE of the 21st Century: the Scarcity Myth.
The frenetic chaos created by believing in the Scarcity Myth drives much of the Green movement in the western world. This anxiety serves as a strong selling point for extreme measures by governments on its people: carbon emission restrictions, consumer taxes, mandates on plastic bags and straws.
Look at Portland, Seattle, other eco-friendly cities. Green regulations impact my daily life far more than those of wide scale polluters.
Anyone remember in 2018 when we had toxic spills in both the Willamette and Columbia Rivers? How about Bullseye Glass in Portland pumping hazardous levels of cadmium and arsenic into the air, just downwind of some PPS school sites? And since we're talking about PPS, remember when they found ridiculously high levels of lead in their drinking water, and instead of fix the problem, PPS just shut off the water and offered pallets of drinking water (in plastic bottles!) as a solution?
The inequitable distribution of power over our natural resources: land and water management, agriculture, timber, naturally sourced raw goods, by big names has created a false impression. The Scarcity Myth claims there really isn't enough to go around, and that if we really wanted to get to the root of the problem, it's that the planet is dangerously overpopulated.
Who's volunteering to die first? Exactly.
What emerges is a subtle notion that some lives are more valuable than others. Those who don't produce - that is, cultures that haven't embraced the grotesque modernity of late-stage Capitalism - come to be seen as primitive, ineffectual, and eventually, disposable.
This is literally the policy of Mexico, Brazil, India, and yes, our government with regards to resource extraction and the people who live on the lands they are plundering. When it plays out at the local level, the straw ban created a major kerfuffle for people with disabilities. The solution: create a whole market for personal straws.
The people selling you your food are also the same people selling you your medicine. They want you sick, unhealthy, and unhappy.
Undoing the arrogant fallacy that our way is the only way is a tall order. Recognizing that we need to scale back production to reduce our wasteful consumption in order for other global cultures to breathe and exist is as much an unpacking as addressing racial inequity.
Our entire way of life has to change. Why do we have a whole aisle in the grocery store (themselves a relatively new and extremely anomalous occurence) for junk food, while herbs and spices get half a shelf?
Capitalism has made us all consumers, actively discouraging us through the industrialization of agriculture, the patenting of seeds, making it illegal to collect rainwater or sell unpasteurized milk to free ourselves by seizing our own means of production.
(I'm deliberately using the language of Karl Marx here to highlight that perhaps his manifesto would make more sense if it had been directed at agriculture instead of industry.)
The Eco-Socialism of the Green Party walks a scary line between mindfully adopting "ecological wisdom" and slipping rapidly into Ecofascism. I follow Howie Hawkins, Jill Stein, Angela Walker, and Ajamu Baraka on Twitter. They're usually dunking on the two-party system and talking about government solutions to address climate change, but little to say on their part about the plight of Brazil's Indigenous people facing off against a militarized timber industry, the string of executions of journalists reporting on and activists within the environmental movement down in Latin America.
I'm a Green with an Internationalist worldview. To be very frank, I feel outnumbered and out of place.
My campaign is bringing these issues to the discussion. A whole lifetime ago when I was a journalist, one musician I interviewed brought up the cause for saving the planet. He said, "In 30 years, either all of us will still be here or none of us will." That was 10 years ago.