Though unfortunately I think the more likely response to environmental disaster will be totalitarianism and fascism. I suppose the goal of the Labour Party here should be to steer us away from this by not capitulating to creeping fascism.
Nothing creeping about it. It’s a huge, ugly tsunami wave and it’s about to fill the trans-Atlantic corridors of power with those scary sea monsters we had
thought hoped extinct. The comparisons to the 1930s aren’t to be dismissed, particularly in Europe – only this time there isn’t a powerful Left counter-weight. So which do you prefer: oligarchy or fascism?
Anon: I’d take fascism over oligarchal-neoliberalism honestly, even as a lefty.
It’s either because we’ve already seen fascism beaten* before – whereas neoliberalism maintains the illusion that it’s permanent and unbeatable – giving hope for a better future after a period of darkness, or out total surrender. (where in facing the fact the world is always going to be hellish, I pick fascism just to take neoliberalism down with me – knowing that fascism will in turn be permanent.)
Hope for the future is draining at a worrying rate.
*Okay, okay, I do have to add that Spain remained notionally fascist until the 1970s and the West loved them. That’s usually left out of the “WW2 was to destroy fascism” narrative.
Paddy: I hate to be so predictable but, do you know the slogan of the German socialists/communists before their parties were abolished?
Only they weren’t there to witness life post-Hitler, some of the first prisoners of Auschwitz were leftist politicos. From US Holocaust Memorial,
Among the earliest victims of discrimination and persecution in Nazi Germany were political opponents-primarily Communists, Socialists, Social Democrats, and trade union leaders. The Nazis also persecuted authors and artists whose works they considered subversive or who were Jewish. In 1933-1934, the German central government and various local governments as well as local battalions of the Nazi SA (Sturmabteilungen; Assault Detachments) and SS (Schutzstaffel; Protection Squads) established concentration camps throughout Germany to detain political prisoners. The SS, which centralized and took control of the concentration camp system in 1934, had established its first concentration camp, Dachau, in March 1933.
Anon: In some ways they were right, if perversely so. Even though countless individuals died parties and ideologies lived on. The SPD did get power eventually.
When facing the idea the current ideological system is permanent, dying as the result of a weird trolley-problem scenario so that the system may one day fall and be replaced by something better (albeit via something just-as-bad-or-worse) becomes a less scary prospect – at least in an abstract “I’m perfectly safe right now and therefore able to be very casual about the concept” sense.
(Naturally, there’s the problem the countless other deaths from a hypothetical fascist and the question of whether leverman has any right to interfere, though from a utilitarian perspective that doesn’t hide deaths from laissez-faire economic failure off balance sheet either it might be the best available option.)
Though I suppose assuming the present will be permanent is the eternal mistake of those who try to predict the future, as Adolf “Thousand Year Reich” Hitler can attest to.
Paddy: I think you have to ask yourself: at what cost are you willing to see neo-liberalism collapse?
Granted, much of this is academic seeing as the status quo is unsustainable, and neither you or I will have much say in what follows.
But – call me conservative or a splitter or whatever – I would make common cause with social democrats, capitalists, even liberal imperialists, if fascism ever became a real possibility. We, pale faces that we are, may not be harmed by the pogroms and expulsions unleashed by European right-wing populism, but we would be affected by the crushing of worker rights, the stripping of civil liberties and increased surveillance (can you just imagine a Ukipper heading the Home Office?), etc. (Although, I should make clear, pogroms would bother me much more than any of that.)
Fucking hell, I’d happily jump into a foxhole beside Blair, Cameron and Peter Hitchens if the alternative is mob rule, xenophobia and barbarity. Nothing is worth the de-civilization of society, even if there lies a potential paradise somewhere down the line. I’m a socialist because, among other things, I oppose fascism wherever or whenever it rears it ugly head. That, in a few words, is a good enough end for me.