Repost: “Beware far-right arguments disguised as environmentalism”

Below is the beginning of an article which appeared last Friday on The Conversation, authored by Dr Marc Hudson, one of the members of the CEM core group.  You can read the whole thing here.

Posters in the style of the activist group Extinction Rebellion (XR) have appeared in the UK declaring “Corona is the cure, humans are the disease”. A now-deleted tweet from @xr_east had photos of the poster, under the line that “Earth is healing. The air and water is clearing”.

It proved very controversial:

Such “corona is the cure” / “too many people” arguments are ostensibly neutral on the question of race. But in practice, they have long been used to say that the problem is too many black and brown people. Arguments that birth rates should be curbed tend to focus on India or Africa, which lets off countries in the global north that have far greater carbon footprints and infinitely more historical responsibility for climate change.

Extinction Rebellion has steadfastly denied this was an official poster, saying the tweet “in no way represents” the group’s position, and that XR “absolutely, wholeheartedly condemned” the message. A spokeswoman told ITV:

It looks like the account was dormant for a long period of time – and it’s never tweeted anything like this before… We’re trying to make contact with them but they’re not communicating. We don’t know for sure who it is, but it screams of being a fake account.

If it was a fake, then this is not the first time XR has seen its message hijacked in this way. In January 2020, posters appeared in Brighton saying: “Save the Environment: End Mass Immigration” and “Only White People Care About the Environment”.

Although it is true that the UK environment movement is very white, I don’t want to get into the ins and outs of who “speaks” for a decentralised organisation like XR where there will be a variety of viewpoints.

But the tweet and posters give us a chance to consider what Australian thinker Ketan Joshi has labelled “lazy ecofascism”, including some less well-known strands of extremely misanthropic and racist environmental thinking.

 

Keep reading here.

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