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Resisting Racist Fantasies in Online Discourse: Eco-Fascism & the Dangers of Capitalist Alienation

William Joseph Sipe, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Eco-fascism is a white supremacist ideology that purports to champion the protection of the planet via racist fear mongering. Using misinformation, decontextualized statistics, and racial pseudo-science, eco-fascist discourses argue that people of color are responsible for the climate crisis and propose racial violence and authoritarianism as the solution. While self-identified adherents of eco-fascism represent a comparatively small online contingency of the alt-right movement, they have made headlines across the globe for their acts of terrorism. In Norway, New Zealand, Texas, and New York, eco-fascists have murdered hundreds of innocent people and spread their message via a network of social media platforms and internet forums. In this project, I aim to contextualize eco-fascism within broader cultural discourses. In the introductory chapter, I propose three central influences that animate eco-fascism. First, I argue that discourses identifiable as “eco-fascist” are animated by real material conditions, including the climate crisis and capitalist exploitation. Second, I argue that eco-fascism's rhetorical responses to these material conditions are mediated by historical and ideological influences that are embedded within the common sense of liberalism. Third, I argue that eco-fascist discourses are structured by psychic responses to the worldlessness of capitalist alienation: the death drive, the symbolic father, and political fantasy. In each of the three case-study chapters that follow, I assemble and analyze an online discourse that reveals a facet of eco-fascism’s rhetorical appeal. Case studies include the 2020 meme “Nature is healing – We are the virus,” the Modern Viking community, and four eco-fascist shooter manifestos. I conclude with a warning about eco-fascist influence in the far-right politics of the future and a call for rhetoricians to consider the structures of enjoyment when analyzing revolutionary texts.

Subject Area

Communication|Rhetoric and Composition

Recommended Citation

Sipe, William Joseph, "Resisting Racist Fantasies in Online Discourse: Eco-Fascism & the Dangers of Capitalist Alienation" (2023). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI30566422.