Webzine uses cartoon characters to counter rampant eco-fascism

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Responding to the introduction of ecofascist rhetoric into mainstream discourse, as well as the blatantly vicious ecofascist “creeps” themselves, a group of American academics have created a webzine that uses Marvel comic book characters to educate the public. on the dangerous mistakes that drive far-right thinking about environmental crises like climate change.

“The Anti-Creep Climate Initiative is shattering eco-fascist mythology, championing liberating environmental futures, and having fun doing it!” writes webzine co-producer April Anson, assistant professor of public humanities at San Diego State University, in a recent article for Deceleration.

Anson and his team’s goal with the Marvel-esque zine – Against the Ecofascist Creep – is to offer an antidote to the pervasive sense of nihilism that many ordinary people feel in the face of the compounding realities of an unfolding climate crisis. speeds up and a short-sighted public dialogues on the climate response.

The reality is that when overwhelmed by confusion and fear, people become more susceptible to simplistic (and sometimes vicious) answers to complex problems.

In a recent report on the rise of ecofascist violence in America, Inside Climate News cites a 2019 comment by Tucker Carlson of Fox News as Exhibit A. Is this a place you wouldn’t want to live? Carlson reflected on a guest at the Heartland Institute, a notorious incubator for far-right climate denial.

This whistleblowing campaign to blame immigrants, and especially people of color, for environmental problems is classic ecofascism, Inside Climate adds, citing the mass murder of 10 black people in Buffalo last month, as well as the killings in 2019 of 51 Muslims in prayer. at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand, and 23 people, mostly Latinos/Latinas, at a Walmart in El Paso.

In all three atrocities, the killers – all young, white and male – explicitly invoked ecofascist doctrine to justify their actions.

The webzine and associated educational resources produced by the Anti-Creep Climate Initiative are a direct response to the way ecofascism is creeping into pop culture, with Thanos, “the arch-supervillain of the universe Marvel Cinematic (MCU)”, representing the trend.

Appearing as the central villain in the hugely popular Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Thanos takes his name from thanatosa Greek word used to describe the “death drive” – ​​a psychological concept popularized by Sigmund Freud, referring to self-destructive tendencies in humans.

In Marvel’s story, Thanos murders half of all life in the universe, driven by the belief that doing so will free up enough resources for all those left alive to thrive. “Spoiler alert: it is not,” Anson wrote.

Far from improving environmental conditions, ecofascism “only reinforces the inequalities intrinsic to the economic and social relations responsible for climate change”.

Far worse than Thanos’ own violent pathology, however, is Marvel’s decision to opt for a “good versus evil” confrontation, rather than “address Thanos’ deceptive mythology in a nuanced way.”

“Thanos’ very real concerns about resource consumption were not addressed, and as a result, many viewers thought Thanos made some good points,” Anson and his team write.

Against the ecofascist creep is an effort to correct the record, with the likes of Dr Strange and Iron Man trying to re-educate themselves against Thanos’ violent notion that “overpopulation is an environmental crisis” – a misconception that is one of six main myths that underlie ecofascist ideology, according to the creators of the Anti-Creep Climate Initiative.

“You should know not to repeat such a long-debunked argument. There are enough resources for everyone,” says Dr. Strange (aka Benedict Cumberbatch), in the comic. “It’s not a problem of overcrowding. It’s a distribution problem. »

Against the ecofascist creep was inspired by a 2017 book of the same name, “which considers how fascist ideas ‘seep’ into power not only via the far right, but also through mainstream and left-wing channels”.

Climate journalists Amy Westervelt and Mary Annaïse Heglar have a searing take on ecofascism as a place “where the far left and the far right kiss.”

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