Ku Klux Climate: Coal, Petro-Palingenesis, and the Historical Materialism of Fossil Fascism

Image by Zbynek Burival.

We live in a dangerous time when a far-right more powerful than at any time since 1945 is doing all it can to accelerate the capitalist project to turn our planet into a giant Greenhouse Gas chamber. The last United States president, the “instinctive fascist” Donald Trump, believed that anthropogenic (really capitalogenic) global warming was a hoax and did everything he could to end limits on fossil fuel production. Brazil’s current president, the demented pandemo-fascist Jar Bosonaro, has sadistically opened up the Amazon – the lungs of the planet – to enrich agro-industrial profiteers. Climate-denialist far-right parties have marched into key energy and climate-related offices in Europe, from Sweden and Norway to Spain, Poland, and Hungary. As the world tips into climate catastrophe, anti-immigrant parties who promote the unchecked extraction and burning of fossil fuels are surging in the name of white supremacy and national regeneration. Even while climate crisis begins to collapse civilization before our very eyes, right-wing forces have surfaced absurdly and dangerously claiming to possess the purported real solutions to the supposed real problems: closing European and US borders to “save the nation(s)” from nonwhite immigrants and clearing out Indigenous tribes from rural Brazil.

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Paul Street’s latest book is This Happened Here: Amerikaners, Neoliberals, and the Trumping of America (London: Routledge, 2022).

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