My Latest: Climate Catastrophe Plus Fascism
Andreas Malm talks about 'White Skin, Black Fuel: On the Danger of Fossil Fascism'
My new piece for The Nation is a conversation with Sweden’s very own Andreas Malm — yes, the selfsame Andreas Malm I interviewed last December for LARB — only this time it’s about his new book (his third in less than a year), White Skin, Black Fuel: On the Danger of Fossil Fascism. I promise you that I have not become his personal publicist. It’s just that with a guy this prolific, doing work this important, one interview was simply not enough. So consider this the second installment of a two-part conversation.
Here’s how I introduce the interview in The Nation:
Andreas Malm, a historian and scholar of human ecology at Lund University in Sweden, may be the hardest working intellectual on the climate left. The author of 2016’s Fossil Capital, a major contribution to our historical understanding of the climate crisis, and 2018’s The Progress of This Storm, he has published three more books since last September: Corona, Climate, Chronic Emergency; How to Blow Up a Pipeline; and now the massive White Skin, Black Fuel: On the Danger of Fossil Fascism.
Malm and I spoke last December about How to Blow Up a Pipeline (a far more nuanced book than the somewhat alarming title might suggest). While that much shorter volume is a sort of manifesto addressing the climate movement, in which Malm is a longtime participant, this new book is the result of a significant research project in collaboration with the Zetkin Collective, an international group of scholars centered around the Lund University department of human ecology. Exposing the connections between fossil-fuel industry denial and obstruction and the recently surging white-nationalist far right in Europe, the United States, and Brazil, the book goes on to trace the historical roots of “fossil fascism”—a term Malm credits to Virginia Tech political scientist Cara Daggett—back to British coal-powered imperialism and the European fascist movements and regimes of the 20th century.
It all feels frighteningly relevant to our American situation given the violent radicalization of the Republican Party base. The sudden U-turn on climate under the Biden administration, however refreshing, does little to address the threat of a growing reactionary movement—an alliance of fossil capital and neo-fascist white nationalism. It’s been said before: The only thing worse than climate catastrophe is climate catastrophe plus fascism. It would seem, then, that an urgent question, too rarely posed, is what a truly antifascist climate politics would look like.
You can read the whole thing here. As always, responses are welcome! You can reply to this email or post a comment on the web version of it (just click on the headline at the top of this message).
And, if you care to share it on the platform where I’m no longer around to bother anyone, here’s The Nation’s tweet:
As for when you may hear from me again, all I can say is not too soon! It’s shaping up to be a busy summer of organizing and collective action with the New England No Coal, No Gas campaign (yes, we’re still subsidizing coal in New England in the year 2021). And if you can, please support the #StopLine3 campaign and the Giniw Collective in northern Minnesota, and spread the word about the Treaty People Gathering, June 5-8.
That’s all for now. Peace, friends.