Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

August 9, 2019

How real is the eco-fascist threat?

Filed under: Counterpunch,Ecology,Fascism — louisproyect @ 10:46 pm

Eco-fascist literature?


In a manifesto that was posted to 8Chan just before he carried out his murderous attack on Walmart shoppers in El Paso, Patrick Crusius expressed “Green” values that are widespread on the left:

The American lifestyle affords our citizens an incredible quality of life. However, our lifestyle is destroying the environment of our country. The decimation of the environment is creating a massive burden for future generations. Corporations are heading the destruction of our environment by shamelessly overharvesting resources. This has been a problem for decades. For example, this phenomenon is brilliantly portrayed in the decades old classic “The Lorax”.

Dr. Seuss wrote “The Lorax” in 1971 as a protest against corporate despoliation of the environment. The contrast between a racist mass murderer and a gentle children’s book could not be starker. It is no wonder that there have been multiple attempts to come to terms with his eco-fascism.

This is not the first amalgam of Green and Brown values from a neo-Nazi terrorist. On March 15, 2019, an Australian named Brenton Tarrant killed 50 Muslims in a New Zealand mosque justifying his attack on the “replacement” theory that motivated Patrick Crusius. Crusius paid tribute to Tarrant in the first paragraph of his manifesto.

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  1. Glad to read your kind words about the determined, brave protestors in Hong Kong. I’m reading in too many places that the movement is being led by rich international capitalists and their economic elite Hong Kong running dogs. The masses, we are told, have once again been hoodwinked by the elite to participate in a movement that is anti-socialist, i.e., not in their best interests. China of course is a communist state being undermined by corporate interests headquartered in HK. People with Ph.D’s write the darndest things.

    Comment by Elliot Podwill — August 10, 2019 @ 12:14 am

  2. What’s an “average American”? Petty bourgeois liberals in the suburbs and elites on the coasts with a touching faith in the government or tens of millions of working class gun owners?

    Americans purchased 140 million firearms over the last 7 years. One of every two homes has firearms. Most of them are workers. Few of them are killers, certainly none dole out violence and repression on the level of the US government.

    Trump is a fascist so let’s beg his government to take away firearms from law abiding workers. Right.

    Three words: cold dead hands.

    The NRA with all it’s faults and ties to the big bourgeoisie has 1000 times the working class membership of any left group including the wimpy campus based DSA. There’s a good reason for that.

    Comment by Big Mike — August 10, 2019 @ 1:28 pm

  3. The NRA with all it’s faults and ties to the big bourgeoisie has 1000 times the working class membership of any left group including the wimpy campus based DSA.

    Same thing can be said about the KKK.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 10, 2019 @ 2:08 pm

  4. Nonsense.

    The Klan is maybe the only force with less members than the Leninists. There are 3000 klansman tops in a country of hundreds of millions. They’re run off the streets any time they can muster a march of 5 or 6 of their cowards, because they’re widely despised.

    The Klan never had a mass working class membership at any point in its long and fractured history. It especially doesn’t now,
    when 1 in 5 marriages is “mixed race”.

    The NRA has 5,000,000 members, the vast majority of whom are workers.

    Half of households own firearms, mainly outside of the elite bastions on the coasts. Most gun owners are working class. And for very good reason.

    I’ll ask you again what “the average American” you alluded to is.

    Comment by Big Mike — August 11, 2019 @ 9:41 am

  5. The NRA has 5,000,000 members, the vast majority of whom are workers.


    I doubt many of them own AK-47s or AR-15s. We are dealing with their availability to white supremacists, not the right to shoot animals–something that is of dubious ethical value in my views. 57 percent of Americans support a ban on semi-automatic rifles. There are more workers in their ranks than NRA members.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 11, 2019 @ 12:02 pm

  6. What to make of eg the Proud Boys who claim to welcome gay and black men? Not traditional Klan or Nazis but functionally equivalent despite surface variations in what one could call ideomorphology. This kind of mental rope-a-dope–including the “green” variety–can appeal widely, and isn”t always disingenuous.

    Guns: Liberals want to place all power in the mythical hands of Beautiful Kennedys–sexy rich fucks of good will who will surely solve everything if we can just get their ears.

    This is the aim of gun control as beloved by Democrats–no matter what they say, it’s their basic answer to everything. Creepy.

    But we have a gun supply problem in the US that at root is, like flash flooding, heat waves, police violence, plastic, neonicitinoids, etc. etc. a form of lethal excess caused by capitalism.

    Raising on high some fetishized abstract icon of the worker will no more help with this than fucking a Kennedy.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — August 11, 2019 @ 3:19 pm

  7. Who is talking about the right to shoot animals? And what does the ethics of hunting (something Engels enjoyed, and something that tens of millions of working class Americans do while the coastal elites have their caviar and goose liver retrieved for them) have to do with the right to bear arms? If you don’t think it’s ethical, that means the government should step in?

    Where does your 57 percent figure come from? Who was asked and where? Bet they didn’t call anyone in West Virginia or Kentucky. Targeted robocalling of 1000 bored middle class housewives in the suburbs isn’t an analysis of the entire US population.

    The right to bear arms is a democratic right that issued out of the bourgeois revolutions along with speech and assembly. They’re all limited rights under capitalism, but it’s the best we’ve been able to get so far. And the US is the last bastion where this particular right hasn’t been clawed away or forsaken.

    Surely it makes no sense for Marxists to argue for the bourgeois state to restrict democratic rights or remove arms from law abiding workers. Marx certainly wouldn’t have been for it.

    It makes less sense for people who call Trump a fascist or fascistic to call for the government he heads to disarm the general populace, so that only the “fascistic” state will have arms.

    There’s no such thing as an assault rifle. Only people who know nothing about firearms use this kind of lingo. You can assault someone with any gun. Or a rock, stick, car, rental truck, or fire.

    The state has plenty of heavy arms. The workers don’t have enough, but I bet they have more than you suspect.

    ARs make up about 10 million of the 300 million firearms in the US. They’re common. Surplus SKS from the old phony-Marxist eastern block and China (where workers were forbidden to bear arms) are probably even more common. But they’re junk.

    AK47 aren’t common, because only the peace loving forces of the State (which has been at constant war for 3 decades, rounded up record numbers of immigrant workers, killed 50 million animals to benefit big western ranchers, and killed 1000 Americans a year for the last 5 years) are allowed to have them. Law abiding workers on the other hand can’t be trusted. Just ask the average liberal in New York or California.

    Comment by Big Mike — August 12, 2019 @ 4:23 am

  8. “What to make of eg the Proud Boys who claim to welcome gay and black men? ”

    The conclusion is as in your face as the white “anti fa” who physically assaulted an Asian reporter on the west coast and two off duty Latino marines on the east coast recently.

    Identity politics is and has always been inherently reactionary.

    Comment by Big Mike — August 12, 2019 @ 4:32 am

  9. You are asserting this how? Wait, I know! On the basis of proletarian culture. QED.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — August 12, 2019 @ 11:08 am

  10. Surely it makes no sense for Marxists to argue for the bourgeois state to restrict democratic rights or remove arms from law abiding workers. Marx certainly wouldn’t have been for it.

    Don’t be ridiculous. Workers don’t have the right to own a tank or an anti-aircraft missile. AR-15s and AK-47s are military weapons. Their only purpose is mass murder, of course what you’d expect in a war. As for the 57 percent support for a ban on semi-automatic weapons, it is at http://pollingreport.com/guns.htm.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 12, 2019 @ 11:31 am

  11. Classic American idiocy conflating worker rights and ownership of military-grade weapons. And dammit, I demand the right to own a nuclear weapon. Not a big one, mind you—just large enough to eliminate the county whose local pols cheated me out of a job I richly deserved. And I need a flamethrower to send a message to the bodega owner who consistently shortchanges me. Teach him a lesson about messing with a real American.

    In several countries one mass murder led to serious gun regulations. In the US of A, it seems, the lesson is if everyone is armed, all are safe. Nation of morons.

    Comment by Elliot Podwill — August 12, 2019 @ 11:49 am

  12. So here we have “marxists” arguing that the working class cannot be trusted to carry arms that are “military grade”. So they call on the bourgeoisie state to take these arms away from them. But they have nothing to say about that state having the same arms and worse.

    Because if law abiding working class people get automatic weapons, lord knows they won’t be able to control themselves. They’ll be killing left and right.

    And we also know that there’s no gun crime or mass murder in the countries like Colombia and the liberal dumps like Chicago where the right to bear arms has long been eliminated.

    In the last year people have committed mass murders in many countries with no right to bear arms. In Europe, Japan, Brazil. Sometimes with illegal guns, sometimes with cars, sometimes with swords, sometimes with a pack of matches.

    And during the same period, the US government has killed more than all of them combined.

    Marx, Engels, Debs, the UMWA, and Lenin (until he took power) were for the workers to have “military grade arms”.

    Heck, even the bourgeois revolutions were for arming the working class. In 1777 poor illiterate farmers and workers in America couldn’t vote, but they could absolutely carry arms. They rightly viewed that as a more important right and signal of liberty and citizenship than casting a ballot.

    Gun control didn’t start until black people started arming themselves. And that’s a fact.

    Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Clinton and Bloomberg were all opposed to the right to bear arms… at least for the common folk. Each and every one of them had highly armed personal security.

    Comment by Big Mike — August 12, 2019 @ 2:00 pm

  13. You wrote, “The right to bear arms is a democratic right that issued out of the bourgeois revolutions along with speech and assembly.” Your history comes out of the Spartacist newspaper, obviously. In fact, the Second Amendment that guarantees that right was mainly about ensuring white privilege. Furthermore, it is questionable how much of a “bourgeois revolution” 1776 was. Mainly, it was a slave-owner’s revolt against a mother country that was in many ways more enlightened than the colonists. That’s one of the reasons American Indians fought on the side of the Crown. It was more favorably disposed to their land claims. If you weren’t such a poorly educated nitwit, much of this would be obvious. This is also true of a genuine bourgeois revolution, the French revolution of 1789. One of its gains was the right to form citizen militias that would be a protection against the monarchist military that defended feudal power. It is citizen MILITIAS that the bourgeois revolution insisted upon, not the right of a knucklehead Muslim to go kill a bunch of gays in Orlando, Florida. Or some kid afflicted with multiple mental problems to mow down young schoolchildren in Sandy Hook.

    Q: Why was it in the Bill of Rights?

    A: The Second Amendment has to be understood for what it’s for. There was no debate about the Second Amendment with militias. These things were already in the state constitutions and the Declaration of Independence. In the state constitutions, in particular in Virginia, where Thomas Jefferson insisted on this bill of rights which he had written into the state constitution, to provide for already existing citizens’ militias.

    Militias had existed since the 17th century. In 1642, in Massachusetts, 12 years after settlement by Puritans, they issued an order that every man—this meant white men—had to carry a weapon everywhere in public. Virginia did the same thing about 20 years later, even more extremely: You had to have a gun inside church, in the fields.

    Q: Were we worried about crime? Bears?

    A: You have this parallel genealogy of the militias covered in the Second Amendment—to kill Indians to take their land, and slave patrols.

    They were on land they’d forcibly taken from native inhabitants—burning down their villages, killing people, raping the women, killing everything that moved, destroying their food stores, burning their crops and then squatting on the land.

    Carved out of these existing militias to kill Indians and keep them from coming back were the slave patrols, introduced in South Carolina. Slave owners there came from the very brutal slave society in Barbados.

    Q: What became of those militias after that?

    A: This history isn’t that different from New Zealand, Canada and Argentina. Later, Spaniards were copying the United States on the subject of ethnic cleansing. They did the same in Argentina.

    During the armed occupation [of the South], immediately the slave patrols became illegal. But they reorganized themselves as the Ku Klux Klan when the Union pulled out. They formed rifle clubs. They didn’t take the guns away from these white Southerners.

    Q: So if our history is similar, what made us so wild about guns?

    A: The Second Amendment matters. Since it’s a white right, a white supremacist right, it gets inscribed in the culture.

    I don’t think it’s any accident, and I’m not the first person to point out that not all but practically 99 percent of mass shootings are carried out by white men. This goes back in part to the military. A good percentage of the white men who own guns—and 61 percent of gun owners are white men—a good percentage of them are combat vets. That’s who’s likely to have more than one gun: The average is eight. Not every man woman and child owns a gun. But they are hoarded.


    Comment by louisproyect — August 12, 2019 @ 2:10 pm

  14. A more general precondition of gun-bearing was an inversion of the traditional right to bear arms as reserved for the gentry in Britain. Working people in Britain did not get to bear arms unless as men-at-arms in service to their “betters,” nor could they hunt, as a rule because game in general belonged to the ruling classes (the King or Queen if nobody else) and anyone who hunted was poaching under severe penalty of law.

    An English gentleman in the earlier 18th c. could carry a sword and slice up anyone he found offensive. Others could not and dared not, though an insufficient tug of the forelock could make you a slicee. Dueling was pervasive among the upper crust. In the American colonies, the necessities of expanding settlement caused a reversal of this situation–settlers couldn’t function without weapons both for hunting and for the purpose of subduing the natives. As a consequence of this reversal, any free white male could carry a gun and had the right to fight with it, which extended to the defense of his alleged “honor,” a property denied the common herd in England.

    Enter any assembly of U.S. males even today and you will gain acceptance by calling them “gentlemen.” This was a condition of Jacksonian so-called “democracy.” So if you combine settlerism (Sakai) with the genuinely bourgeois-democratic revolutionary character of the U.S. republic, you have two sources of the right to bear in addition to the often-cited need for militias to hunt down runaway slaves and/or fight the Injuns. These things obviously overlapped, and the cult of the English-style “gentleman” suffused the upper layers of Amurrican society together with social inequality., as it still does to some extent today.

    Comment by Farans Kalosar — August 12, 2019 @ 2:43 pm

  15. I’ve never read a “Spartacist newspaper.”

    Murder is illegal. It’s illegal if you do it with a gun. It’s illegal if you do it with a pack of matches like the maniac in Japan, where commoners can’t even carry a pocket knife,
    who just killed 40 people by burning an office building. It’s illegal if you do it with a car, like the guys in Europe, or the other maniac in Japan. It’s illegal if you do it with a rental truck and fertilizer.

    It’s only NOT illegal in two cases: self defense, and when the forces of the state do it.

    Begging the bourgeois state to be the sole possessor of firearms has NEVER been about murder. The state kills more than every mass shooter combined, and it does it as a policy on a generalized and regular basis.

    You don’t trust working people to have access to firearms, so you want the cops and army to be the only ones with guns. What does that say about you, what you feel about “average Americans”, and the prospects of a genuine proletarian revolution when workers would take direct control of every aspect of society? Be honest and think about it, instead of resorting to petty insults.

    In terms of class content, the first American revolution was MORE bourgeois than the French revolution. A guy called Comninel wrote a whole book about it. The results were, eventually, to make way for capitalist relations in France.

    The American revolution was bourgeois in form and content, but only approached completion with the second American revolution: the civil war.

    Your hero Peter Camejo wrote a whole book about THAT, in between spats spent extracting blood money from workers while he was on Wall Street.

    The right to bear arms is the single most democratic right their is. Marx and Engels supported it. Eugene Debs supported it. “Every effort to frustrate the disarmament of the proletariat” was taken by everyone and anyone socialist until Lenin took power in Russia and Leninism became the main force on the left.

    Comment by Big Mike — August 13, 2019 @ 12:49 am

  16. No one is talking about taking everyone’s guns away. It’s about reducing or, better, eliminating military-type lethal weapons. You sound like a gun manufacturer company ad in a gun magazine: “The gommint gonna break into your house and take all your guns away.” Foolish.

    Comment by Elliot Podwill — August 13, 2019 @ 3:33 am

  17. The right to bear arms is the single most democratic right their is. Marx and Engels supported it.


    Supported what? The Second Amendment? Apparently, you lack the ability to even address the points made about its intention so I don’t see much point in having a debate with someone as dodgy as you. In terms of your arguments, I heard them all 50 years ago when I was in the SWP. Back then, you didn’t have an epidemic of mass murders. That is what is driving the opposition to semi-automatic weapons, not the right to own a hunting rifle or a revolver–even if speaking from a constitutional law perspective, that is not what the Second Amendment supports.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 13, 2019 @ 11:54 am

  18. Marx supported the the right to bear arms.

    “… the workers must be armed and organized. The whole proletariat must be armed at once with muskets, rifles, cannon and ammunition, and the revival of the old-style citizens’ militia, directed against the workers, must be opposed. Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary.”

    That comes from his famous address to the communist league, which is also where the concept of “permanent revolution” started.

    Tellingly, it was written as the petty bourgeois democrats in Germany were trying to eliminate any independence of the working class, disarm the workers, and tie the proletariat to the bourgeois state.

    I’m not sure why you’re stuck on talking points like hunting rifles, “citizen militias” and limiting the right to bear arms to a literal reading of the US constitution, which after all is just a piece of paper.

    The right to bear arms resulted from the established fact of an armed populace in the American Revolution. The bourgeoisie couldn’t simply disarm the masses afterwards. The first attempts came when blacks armed themselves after the Civil War. The next attempts came when miners armed themselves. The next came when blacks armed themselves again I’m the civil rights and black nationalist movements. The new attempt has its social base in coastal urban elites with their own armed security and state forces to defend them and petty bourgeois suburban reactionaries.

    What does that tell you about “gun control”?

    Military grade arms are PRECISELY what the right to bear arms is all about. A 22 short isn’t of much use unless you’re hunting squirrels or plinking beer cans.

    We need whatever arms the army and police have. Marx called for the workers to have cannons!

    Again I ask: what kind of a “Marxist” doesn’t trust working people to have the same weapons the cops and army have? Why not? And if you don’t, how can you say you’re for workers to take state power??

    Outlawing the legal purchase of firearms by law abiding working people will not eliminate mass murder. How do we know? Because we’ve seen mass shootings in places like Norway where there is no right to bear arms.

    We’ve seen mass murder by gun on a grand scale in Colombia where there is no right to bear arms at all.

    And what about Japan? They aren’t even allowed to carry a butter knife. In the last few years we’ve seen mass murder by vehicle, poison gas, sword, and fire there.

    What about mass murder by vehicle in Europe? It’s happened several times. Remember Timothy McVeigh? Both rental trucks and fertilizer are still legal. Why is that?

    11,000 people were killed by drunk driving in America last year. Why not outlaw cars and alcohol since some people misuse them? It’s the same flawed logic.

    Drunk driving is already illegal. And so is murder, by gun or by swiss army knife.

    All “gun control” will do is limit firearms to the bourgeois state and criminals: two forces that prey on working people.

    Anyone who calls for the bourgeois state to be the sole bearer of arms has crossed a class line. Period.

    It’s telling that there’s no leftist or liberal call to disarm the forces of the bourgeois state. If you really wanted to prevent murder, that’s where you’d start.

    The cops in the US killed 5000 people in the last 5 years. The US army and assorted spy agencies killed untold more.

    Perhaps the biggest massacre in world history occurred by the hands of the US government when they slaughtered millions of Native Americans, which they were able to do because of their superiority of arms. Same with the holocaust. Same with lynching and strike breaking. Ask any old timers from the UMWA. They’ll be the first to tell you.

    Comment by Big Mike — August 15, 2019 @ 4:02 am

  19. “That rifle on the wall of the labourer’s cottage or working class flat is the symbol of democracy. It is our job to see that it stays there.” – George Orwell

    Was he idiot too? Just curious.

    Comment by Big Mike — August 15, 2019 @ 4:22 am

  20. Marx supported the the right to bear arms.

    “… the workers must be armed and organized. The whole proletariat must be armed at once with muskets, rifles, cannon and ammunition, and the revival of the old-style citizens’ militia, directed against the workers, must be opposed. Under no pretext should arms and ammunition be surrendered; any attempt to disarm the workers must be frustrated, by force if necessary.”

    Thank you for reminding my readers that Marx had the same understanding of the right to bear arms as I have been stressing. The key word is organized. So, for example, I would not support the right of individuals to purchase a M116 75mm howitzer even if they were a member of a Trotskyist group. That’s despite the fact that Marx mentioned cannons as a key weapon for the ORGANIZED working-class. In fact, the issue of gun control has only become urgent because there has been a rash of mass murders in the past decade or so by mentally disturbed or ideologically intoxicated individuals using semi-automatic rifles. Not a single NY Times op-ed writer or NPR host has urged a ban on shotguns, hunting rifles, pistols and other single-shot weapons that are used for sport. Most people understand that except for people like you whose understanding of Marxism is so superficial.

    Also, the Marx quote does not take into account how the October revolution played out. It was not armed workers that were critical in overthrowing the Provisional Government. It was detachments of the military that had been won to Bolshevism. In the coming American revolution, these pathetic ultraleft groups like Redneck Revolt with their AR-15s will play no role. Instead, it will be the same as in Russia. The American military will be won over to the revolution. As implausible as that sounds, nothing else is possible. That is why we have to be politically organized and not wasting time trolling blogs, which seems to be your idea of transforming society.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 15, 2019 @ 11:58 am

  21. The US military consists entirely of professionals, not drafted citizens like the Czarist Army did in 1917.

    Comment by Maximilian1979 — August 16, 2019 @ 2:29 pm

  22. …or conscripts more simply put.

    Comment by Maximilian1979 — August 16, 2019 @ 2:31 pm

  23. The US military consists entirely of professionals, not drafted citizens like the Czarist Army did in 1917.

    They might be professionals but their class origins are proletarian as numerous surveys bear out.

    Comment by louisproyect — August 16, 2019 @ 4:41 pm

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