Are We Happy Yet?

Post-Crash Fascism

Planning for the apocalypse.

STEVEN MEISEL / VOGUE ITALIA

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Climate change is happening faster than initially predicted, and its impacts are already upon us in the form of more extreme weather events, desertification, ocean acidification, melting glaciers and incrementally rising sea levels.

The scientists who construct the computer models that analyze climate data believe that even if we stop dumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, CO2 levels are already so high that we are locked into a significant increase in global temperatures. Disruptive climate change is a certainty even if we make the economic shift away from fossil fuels.

Incipient climate change is already starting to express itself in the realm of politics.

Climate change arrives in a world primed for crisis. The current and impending dislocations of climate change intersect with the already-existing crises of poverty and violence. I call this collision of political, economic and environmental disasters the catastrophic convergence. By catastrophic convergence, I do not merely mean that several disasters happen simultaneously, one atop another. Rather, I argue that problems compound and amplify each other, one expressing itself through another.

Societies, like people, deal with new challenges in ways that are conditioned by the traumas of their past. Thus, damaged societies, like damaged people, often respond to new crises in ways that are irrational, shortsighted, and self-destructive. In the case of climate change, the prior traumas that set the stage for bad adaptation, the destructive social response, are Cold War–era militarism and the economic pathologies of neoliberal capitalism. Over the last 40 years, both of these forces have distorted the state’s relationship to society – removing and undermining the state’s collectivist, regulatory and redistributive functions, while overdeveloping its repressive and military capacities. This, I argue, inhibits society’s ability to avoid violent dislocations as climate change kicks in.

Planning for apocalypse

A slew of government reports have discussed the social and military problems posed by climate change. In 2008. Congress mandated that the upcoming 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review – the policy document laying out the guiding principles of US military strategy and doctrine – consider the national-security impacts of climate change. The first of these investigations to make news, a 2004 Pentagon-commissioned study called “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security,” was authored by Peter Schwartz, a CIA consultant and former head of planning at Royal Dutch/Shell, and Doug Randall of the California-based Global Business Network.The report was made at the behest of octogenarian military theorist cum imperial soothsayer Andrew Marshall. Known to his followers as Yoda, after the wrinkled, dwarflike puppet of Star Wars fame, Marshall got his start at the RAND Corporation in 1949 as a specialist on nuclear Armageddon and its alleged survivability. He moved from RAND to the Pentagon during Richard Nixon’s presidency and served every president since. (It is interesting to note the presence of atomic-era Cold Warrior physicists among both the climate-change denialists and the military adaptationists. In his book How to Cool the Planet, Jeff Goodell remarks on the same set’s infatuation with the high-tech solutions promised by geoengineering, in particular Lawrence Livermore Laboratory’s Lowell Wood, a tie-dye wearing disciple of Edward Teller.)

Schwartz and Randall’s report correctly treats global warming as a potentially nonlinear process. And they forecast a new Dark Ages:

Nations without the resources to do so may build virtual fortresses around their countries, preserving resources for themselves … As famine, disease, and weather-related disasters strike due to the abrupt climate change, many countries’ needs will exceed their carrying capacity. This will create a sense of desperation, which is likely to lead to offensive aggression in order to reclaim balance … Europe will be struggling internally, large numbers of refugees washing up on its shores and Asia in serious crisis over food and water. Disruption and conflict will be endemic features of life. Once again, warfare would define human life.

In 2007, there came more reports on climate and security. One, from the Pentagon-connected think tank CNA Corporation, convened an advisory board of high-ranking former military officers to examine the issues – among them General Gordon Sullivan, former chief of staff, US Army; Admiral Donald Pilling, former vice chief of naval operations; Admiral Joseph Prueher, former commander in chief of the US Pacific Command; and General Anthony Zinni, retired US Marine Corps and former commander in chief of US Central Command. That report envisioned permanent counterinsurgency on a global scale. Here is one salient excerpt:

Climate change acts as a threat multiplier for instability … Unlike most conventional security threats that involve a single entity acting in specific ways at different points in time, climate change has the potential to result in multiple chronic conditions, occurring globally within the same time frame. Economic and environmental conditions in these already fragile areas will further erode as food production declines, diseases increase, clean water becomes increasingly scarce, and populations migrate in search of resources. Weakened and failing governments, with an already thin margin for survival, foster the conditions for internal conflict, extremism, and movement toward increased authoritarianism and radical ideologies. The US may be drawn more frequently into these situations to help to provide relief, rescue, and logistics, or to stabilize conditions before conflicts arise.

Another section notes:

When a government can no longer deliver services to its people, ensure domestic order, and protect the nation’s borders from invasion, conditions are ripe for turmoil, extremism and terrorism to fill the vacuum … the greatest concern will be movement of asylum seekers and refugees who due to ecological devastation become settlers.

In closing the report notes, “Abrupt climate changes could make future adaptation extremely difficult, even for the most developed countries.”

Another report from 2007, the most scientifically literate of the lot, titled The Age of Consequences: The Foreign Policy National Security Implications of Global Climate Change, was produced by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the Center for a New American Security. Its prominent authors included Kurt Campbell, former deputy assistant secretary of defense; Leon Fuerth, former national security advisor to Vice President Al Gore; John Podesta, former chief of staff for President Bill Clinton; and James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

Age of Consequences laid out three plausible scenarios for climate change, each pertaining to different global average-temperature changes. The authors relied on the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change but noted, “Recent observations indicate that projections from climate models have been too conservative; the effects of climate change are unfolding faster and more dramatically than expected.” The report conceives of future problems not in terms of interstate resource wars but as state collapse caused by “disease, uncontrolled migration, and crop failure, that … overwhelm the traditional instruments of national security (the military in particular) and other elements of state power and authority.” Green ex-spook James Woolsey authored the report’s final section laying out the worst-case scenario. He writes:

In a world that sees two meter sea level rise, with continued flooding ahead, it will take extraordinary effort for the United States, or indeed any country, to look beyond its own salvation. All of the ways in which human beings have dealt with natural disasters in the past … could come together in one conflagration: rage at government’s inability to deal with the abrupt and unpredictable crises; religious fervor, perhaps even a dramatic rise in millennial end-of-days cults; hostility and violence toward migrants and minority groups, at a time of demographic change and increased global migration; and intra- and interstate conflict over resources, particularly food and fresh water. Altruism and generosity would likely be blunted.

the west versus the rest

Other developed states have conducted similar studies, most of them classified. The Australian Defence Force (ADF) produced a report on climate conflict in 2007, a summary of which was leaked two years later: “Environmental stress, caused by both climate change and a range of other factors, will act as a threat multiplier in fragile states around the world, increasing the chances of state failure. This is likely to increase demands for the ADF to be deployed on additional stabilization, post-conflict reconstruction and disaster relief operations in the future.”

The European powers are also planning for the security threats of a world transformed by climate change. The European Council released a climate-security report in 2008, noting that “a temperature rise of up to 2°C above preindustrial levels will be difficult to avoid … Investment in mitigation to avoid such scenarios, as well as ways to adapt to the unavoidable should go hand in hand with addressing the international security threats created by climate change; both should be viewed as part of preventive security policy.”

In familiar language the report noted, “climate change threatens to overburden states and regions which are already fragile and conflict prone,” which leads to “political and security risks that directly affect European interests.” It also notes the likelihood of conflict over resources due to reduction of arable land and water shortages; economic damage to coastal cities and critical infrastructure, particularly Third World megacities; environmentally induced migration; religious and political radicalization; and tension over energy supply.

Western military planners, if not political leaders, recognize the dangers in the convergence of political disorder and climate change. Instead of worrying about conventional wars over food and water, they see an emerging geography of climatologically driven civil war, refugee flows, pogroms and social breakdown. In response, they envision a project of open-ended counterinsurgency on a global scale.

the eco-fascist threat

The watchwords of the climate discussion are mitigation and adaptation – that is, we must mitigate the causes of climate change while adapting to its effects.

Adaptation means preparing to live with the effects of climatic changes, some of which are already underway and some of which are inevitable – in the pipeline. Adaptation is both a technical and a political challenge.

Technical adaptation means transforming our relationship to nature as nature transforms: learning to live with the damage we have wrought by building seawalls around vulnerable coastal cities, giving land back to mangroves and everglades so they can act to break tidal surges during giant storms, opening wildlife migration corridors so species can move north as the climate warms, and developing sustainable forms of agriculture that can function on an industrial scale even as weather patterns gyrate wildly.

Political adaptation, on the other hand, means transforming humanity’s relationship to itself, transforming social relations among people. Successful political adaptation to climate change will mean developing new ways of containing, avoiding, and deescalating the violence that climate change fuels. That will require economic redistribution and development. It will also require a new diplomacy of peace building.

However, another type of political adaptation is already underway, one that might be called the politics of the armed lifeboat: responding to climate change by arming, excluding, forgetting, repressing, policing, and killing. One can imagine a green authoritarianism emerging in rich countries, while the climate crisis pushes the Third World into chaos. Already, as climate change fuels violence in the form of crime, repression, civil unrest, war and even state collapse in the Global South, the North is responding with a new authoritarianism. The Pentagon and its European allies are actively planning a militarized adaptation, which emphasizes the long-term, open-ended containment of failed or failing states – counterinsurgency forever.

This sort of “climate fascism,” a politics based on exclusion, segregation, and repression, is horrific and bound to fail. There must be another path. The struggling states of the Global South cannot collapse without eventually taking wealthy economies down with them. If climate change is allowed to destroy whole economies and nations, no amount of walls, guns, barbed wire, armed aerial drones, or permanently deployed mercenaries will be able to save one half of the planet from the other.

Christian Parenti is a visiting scholar at the Center for Place Culture and Politics at the CUNY Graduate Center and was just appointed professor at the School for International Training, Graduate Institute. This essay is drawn from his new book Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence.

45 comments on the article “Post-Crash Fascism”

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Anonymous

Few tips:

1. Make your article shorter. Bullet form is ideal. This attracts more short attention span readers and saves on the energy needed to shutter it about the internet.
2.

.fRITZ

Sounds to me like a bunch of old ways fearful that no other ways could exist and equally if not more fearful of being held responsible for the mess the old ways made.
I have faith that WE CAN DO BETTER THAN THIS. Another world is possible! I have seen first hand the generosity and compassion of strangers. If we practice sustaining ourselves and our communities now then there need not be so much despotism as predicted above. This is not to say that should climate change so boldly affect our planet that there would not be monumental effects- but I truly do not believe that we need to be at war with each other for our survival. Instead of looting the supermarket- plant a garden. There are obscene amounts of empty foreclosed homes-take them back. Collect rain water. Get to know your neighbors. Walk more/ drive less..slow down. Hunt, fish, forage, sow and reap. We are all in this together. Time to drop our cynicism and prove the doomsdayers we can do better! Mostly- It's just time to start doing better now..before we get cought by our coat-tails.

Anonymous

But what you don't understand yet is that these are all the things that the current system is trying particularly and actively to stop us from doing. What do you think it's trying to stop us from doing? Polluting and killing?
Being dicks to each other?

Do you think it's trying to stop Purple People Eaters in the Sky?

No, it is directly and solely attacking the very things you mention. That's exactly why you are finding that as soon as you try to do any of that, is exactly when the system comes down on you the hardest and most viciously.

Got it now?

.fRITZ

Trust me, I get all of this. I was simply trying to look on the bright side despite the downsides. What good does being a downer do about it do? I understand that I, and we will meet violent oppression and opposition... but the more we try and do these simple earthly things while meeting oppositional forces, the more people will be educated and emboldend to rise against.
Also, you dont need to go on the defensive with your responce. LIke being agro will bully me out of my dumb dumb cloud... Come on.. speaking of all in this together.. need not jump down a comrades throat, dont assume you know what I do and do not understand.

Peace and best wishes.

Anonymous

LMAO ,, what a joke

Although much of the article is true let's look at the rest of the truth.
If one studies history and events in our distant past one will find this event happens every 12,920 yrs. Or did PPL forget to look at many detailed descriptions of Noah's flood, fall of the Titans, fall of so called Atlantis, fall of Mu / Lumeria and many others?
It's all there engraved in stone, many old records, geology, archeology, astronomy and cycles of our cosmos ... for anyone smart enough to look deep, put the pieces together and apply today's sciences.
http://www.sacred-texts.com
http://s8int.com
http://rabbithole2.com/presentation/research.htm
the original translator of Sumerian cuneiform texts Zecharia Sitchin ... even amateurs like David Iche and Ace Ventura

Why do you think Oligarchy built a large number of full seed repositories deep inside solid rock, built over 1200 massive underground bunkers (size of cities) world wide, nuclear powered subs that can stay under water for over 6 months, 3 to 6 layer hull nearly unsinkable ships and much much more?
Now do you know where that 7.8 Trillion went missing via Federal Reserve and 2.4 Trillion by Military since 1999?

The only reason for such militarization, militarization of police and private mercenary armies is to control the population of Earth as time gets near to catastrophe. It gives time for Oligarchs to seek their shelters and keep the zombies [the people] from blocking them.

Climate change is natural and cyclical ... but to reduce the population Oligarchy has employed many tactics:
Pollution via crude oil industry and crude oil based products
Unnatural Pharmaceuticals = to hasten the deaths of those whom are ill
Chemtrails to Pseudo-Life = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzW5Kb8u0Og
Atmospheric Nuke tests blew a nice big hole in our atmosphere.
Shut down the most productive and Healing plant know to man = Cannabis / Hemp .. only plant that matches our Gnome perfectly and can replace 99% of what oil industry produces.
False Wars and false flag operations. The average individuals don't start wars, only Oligarchy does.

If one looks closely at ancient history it's almost an exact copy of events today.

My suggestion is; prepare , prepare and prepare some more. If you don't have a year's worth of good clean food, all you need for a post apocalyptic event and armed to the teeth you will be toast. Or as the Oligarchs put it ... fertilizer for their new world order.
I suggest a monolithic dome type buildings = http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=prdpHYelN9o
... and greenhouses to match. Also learn permaculture and all the ergonomic ideas out there.
http://www.keelynet.com
http://freeenergynews.com/Directory/Geet/
http://gardenpool.org/

If these events should not happen at least you will be well prepared for any economic crash.
And be nice to your neighbors .. you never know when you might need 'em.
We have the knowledge and will to restore even the most desolate of deserts to fertile natural state ... no matter what the Oligarchs try.

Anonymous

Actually NOT 'White Noise' ... this is all independent research which friends and I done over a lifetime ... expressed are links which others have compiled with theirs. There are literally Millions who have discovered same.
I'll put it politely ... In my opinion it's your comment that's causing the 'White Noise'

Example: They thought Noah was crazy in his time as well.

While I'm at it ... can you explain to us why every culture and tribe has the same basic info and why wherever the British Empire travels they have wiped out the Shamans and elders with this knowledge first?

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