Ecofascism is not a thing

Tom Ritchford
3 min readDec 5, 2019


The fathers of Fascism

Words have meanings. The word Fascism has an actual meaning. It does not mean, “Someone is trying to tell you what to do”.

Fascism was first used by Benito Mussolini around 1915 to describe his political movement, one which combined strong nationalism, a powerful dictatorship working closely with large industrial corporations, a nihilistic compulsion to violently dismantle existing political structures, and a fetishization of masculinity, youth and charismatic authoritarian leadership.

Later Hitler explicitly adopted Fascism as a model for Germany, leading to World War 2 and the Holocaust.

When you use terms like “ecofascism” you are literally saying, “Trying to prevent the destruction of our biosphere is like the people who brought us the Holocaust.”

But in fact the reverse is true.

It is the Biocide, the ongoing killing of our planet, that is like the Holocaust — or rather, the toll will be far greater than all the Holocausts, genocides, pogroms, massacres and atrocities in history put together. If we destabilize our climate, which at this point seems inevitable, some large portion of the human world map will be wiped away forever.

Our production of every type waste increases geometrically over time, particularly greenhouse gases. Species extinction is orders of magnitude faster than the background rate and continues to increase.

We can’t continue all this exponential growth of destruction of every type much longer, and it’s seemingly increasingly likely that the time to prevent permanent damage went by a generation ago. We have already done dreadful damage to our biosphere in the past, and we are committed in advance to more damage for decades to come in the future even if we tried to mend our ways today, and yet we only increase our destructive behavior.

Somewhere up ahead in the fog of the future is a cliff which we can drive off, a cliff where we cause huge, irrevocable damage our planet’s climate and our ecosystem.

Capitalism is firmly in the driver’s seat and is driving the bus towards that cliff at an ever-accelerating rate. And this is a bus that has never slowed down, has only ever accelerated for the last 250 years, and a bus that would take decades to slow down even if we could get the foot off the accelerator.

And then capitalists — the very people driving us and a million non-human species off that cliff — capitalists have the barefaced fucking effrontery to look at the few people who are fighting against it — a tiny ragtag group of undercompensated individuals who are at least trying to prevent or mitigate this catastrophe, and have made small victories despite almost universal scorn and derision and the frequent murders — take ecologists and activists who are at least trying, and compare these heroes with Fascists, that is, Mussolini and literally Hitler?

Ecofascism is a word that is intellectually bankrupt. Shut it down, already, or expect people to laugh in your face.