8 August, 2021 — See You in 2020
At the end of this century, people will conclude that the warming of the climate precipitated a rise in white nationalism like we’ve never seen before. This climate-related fascist upswell, which is already at play, will be unprecedented in that the crisis preceding it is unprecedented. The rise of fascism in the early-to-mid 20th century was produced by economic and environmental collapses which will be tiny in comparison to the ones that we’re going to see.
This fascist upsurge isn’t some instinctive and inevitable reaction that humanity is having in reaction to crises. It’s the product of colonialism, and colonialism’s byproduct capitalism, continuing to rule most of the globe. In The Dawning of the Apocalypse: The Roots of Slavery, White Supremacy, Settler Colonialism, and Capitalism in the Long Sixteenth Century, Gerald Horne explains how the evils behind fascism have been present since the beginning of colonialism, and how our current apocalyptic situation truly began all the way back then.
As Horne has described in an interview, there were precedents which led to the European imperialist powers starting off this apocalyptic process, precedents of Christian imperial ambition:
You begin to see — like if you look at the Crusades, which you can plot from the late 11th century, these are pan-European projects from the inception. They’re taking Christians from all over Western Europe to march to what might be called the Holy Land and to oust the Muslims. And then of course, we all know that slavery is a phenomenon in any case during that period — not only enslaving of Africans but of course, enslaving of other Europeans…. So, I would say that the Crusades would be one root of not only slavery, but a pan-Europeanism, which then bleeds into whiteness. I would also suggest … looking at the Iberian Peninsula and the fact that Muslims were ruling in Spain from about 711 in the so-called Christian era AD, up until they were formally ousted circa 1492, and then expelled altogether in 1609, and this conflict in Spain between Muslims and Christians. It seems to me a predicate for the construction of whiteness, not to mention the expansion of Spain across the Atlantic. And indeed, what befalls the Muslim population on the Iberian Peninsula in the 1500s is strikingly similar to what befalls the Indigenous population of the Americas and Africans as well in the 1500s; that is to say, falling victim to enslavement and then of course, whiteness being sort of the vehicle that propels that.
The climate apocalypse, which has been brought about by U.S. imperialism more than anything else (the U.S. military is the world’s largest source of greenhouse gas emissions), is the latest stage in this campaign to grab up wealth by reducing the numbers of the colonized. Just as Europe couldn’t have come to dominate the world if not for the depopulation of the indigenous peoples within the Americas, today’s benefactors of colonialism won’t be able to keep their status in a post-climate collapse world without a new campaign to depopulate and exploit the colonized.
This means the construction of concentration camps for the migrants fleeing the worst impacts of the climate crisis within the Global South, which ICE has already been carrying out. It means the deprivation of African and indigenous communities of the resources needed to keep casualties down during emergencies, as the U.S. government has been doing throughout the pandemic. It means the increasing militarization of the colonial police forces and the proliferation of fascist paramilitaries, which have been occurring across the Americas to varying degrees; Colombia’s death squads are just a later stage of the Proud Boys, the Three Percenters, and the other white supremacist militias that have been growing within the U.S.
When the climate crisis combines with U.S. imperial decline and the ever-worsening new Great Depression to intensify colonialism’s contradictions to an unprecedented extent, these fascist paramilitaries will have their members deputized so that they can massacre colonized peoples and political dissidents. The police, by then even more militarized than they are now, will be converted into extensions of these death squads, escalating their already severe norm of human rights abuses to become as brutal as Colombia’s police. Like in Colombia, human rights activists, medics, and journalists will be among the groups targeted by this extermination campaign. Mercenaries, another export of Colombia’s settler-colonial regime, will be used to assist in these massacres as well; mercenaries have already been sent into Minneapolis to target Black Lives Matter protesters, and this practice will be expanded into more cities to deadly effect.
All of these atrocities will be justified by far-right conspiracy theories that parallel the ones Colombia’s ruling class has been putting forth, which allege that the country’s recent anti-austerity protests are orchestrated by foreign actors. These conspiracy theories will fuse with a new, even darker manifestation of colonial paranoia. A paranoia which tells the settlers to fear that the colonized are going to take away their resources and livelihoods in the face of an overwhelming climatic and ecological crisis.
Like how Hitler rallied Germans to war and genocide by claiming that the “Aryan” race must grab up territory throughout Eurasia, which would grant them the land and resource access to properly develop their nation, the U.S. colonists have rationalized the colonization of this continent by putting forth the parallel racist theory of “manifest destiny.” Like “Lebensraum,” Hitler’s word for this supposed mandate to conquer, manifest destiny calls for the mass murder of the ethnic groups seen to stand in the way of the colonial nation’s development
For the Nazis, these groups were the Jews, the Romas, and the Slavs. For the Americans, these groups are indigenous people and the Africans. Indigenous people because their numbers must be reduced to destroy their chance at fighting for control over their land, and Africans because they must be terrorized and subjugated to keep them from successfully wresting the reparations funds they’re owed for their centuries of unpaid slavery.
When the climate crisis gets so bad that the country’s power grid breaks down and the Army gets sent in to try to retain control over major cities, the modern equivalent of Lebensraum will be used to rally the settlers towards a new wave of genocide against these victims of colonialism. In addition to the paramilitary and police terror, the military itself will join in on the extermination campaign, as is being prepared for by Biden’s continuation of Trump’s stationing of troops along the southern border. The border wall of militarized fences and extreme digital surveillance, already increasingly deadly for the indigenous southern migrants forced to traverse the increasingly hot borderlands, will turn into a wall of bullets like the one in Gaza.
ICE will arrest massive amounts of brown U.S. citizens, internal immigrants, and activists and journalists, who’ve already been under increasing fire from the agency. To facilitate this, the infamous militarized ICE raids of the Trump era will be brought back on a far bigger scale. Like the private military companies, the tech and private prison corporations that have built the ICE concentration camps will squeeze profits from colonialism’s collapse. Extractive companies will intensify their parallel efforts to pillage the stolen land, like they’ve already been freed up to do in recent years with the complicity of the Biden administration.
This is what the final stage of colonialism’s five-century-long apocalypse will look like. A doomsday where colonialism and its loyalists react to the destruction of the planet — destruction which colonialism’s own imperial system caused — with massive violence. If they were able to get away with the engineered depopulation of 9 out of 10 indigenous people on this continent, and with not paying slavery reparations for a. century-and-a-half after supposedly freeing the slaves, will they get away with this too?