In The Ecofascist Temptation, Pierre Madelin observes a disturbing political movement, which combines the environment and extreme nationalism.

Is the environment solvable on the radical right? Can they both nurture and inspire each other to the point of walking hand in hand?

At first glance, unlikely. Recent examples tend to confirm this. Donald Trump is a known climate skeptic. His Brazilian counterpart, Jair Bolsonaro, destroyed square kilometers of Amazon rainforest. In Europe, far-right leaders have long downplayed the environmental threat.

And yet. In The Ecofascist Temptation, the French philosopher Pierre Madelin demonstrates that these two apparently opposed visions have become compatible, to the point of turning into a real ideological movement, with a growing number of followers.

Basically, the more foreigners will settle here, the greater the environmental disaster will be. Because they will come to consume our resources, asphyxiate our living space and increase our ecological footprint.

This vision is not only theoretical. Lone wolves have already taken action. Madelin begins his essay by evoking the killings in Christchurch (2019), El Paso (2019), and Buffalo (2022) with 83 deaths in total. In their manifestos, the three assassins explain their demented act by referring to “nature conservation” and “green nationalism”.

These are isolated cases, but the web is weaving. Pierre Madelin explains how the green of the environment gradually puts itself at the service of the fascist brown. Hence the term “ecofascism” which is beginning to make its way into popular and media parlance.

The work, resolutely intellectual, argues, deconstructs, demonstrates. The author draws from the roots of this political thought. Strives to clarify the concept, while its definition seems multiple. Justifies the use of the word fascism, which some would associate more readily with Hitler and Mussolini. Explains how ecofascism has flowed from various sources, American and European, to form a very real current, which seems to widen according to the climate threat. New Right and National Front, green colonialism and neo-Malthusianism, racism and ethno-differentialism follow one another…

The last part of the book, disturbing, leads us into the field of political fiction. Ecofascism remains a relatively marginal movement. But it may only be a matter of time before this discriminatory concept is taken over by political regimes, which will use the perfectly frequent arguments of bioregionalism and environmental conservation to reinforce their borders, even if it means leaving immigrants to die on the doorstep, an ideology of “sacrificial exclusion” that the author does not hesitate to denounce.

At this point, the activist takes over the academic. Madelin exposes the threat, warns of the danger. Now let’s see if – or how – the movement will grow and which political parties will exploit it to reinforce their theories of identity withdrawal. But we have probably not finished hearing about ecofascism…

“It seems reasonable to me to think that the more the ecological crisis worsens, the more the democratic and emancipatory options available to us to deal with it will dwindle, and the more, on the contrary, extreme solutions, which are still unthinkable today, will risk s ‘impose. »

Pierre Madelin is a philosopher and translator specializing in “environmental humanities”. He has previously published After Capitalism – Essay in Political Ecology (2017) and Should We End Civilization? Primitivism and Collapse (2021).