They are coming for the environmentalists
Propaganda and draconian laws are being used to stifle the environmental movement and suppress activism
“All tyrannies rule through fraud and force, but once the fraud is exposed they must rely exclusively on force.” George Orwell
We tend to relate the environmental crisis to particular harmful activities, such as burning fossil fuels, farming beef or cutting down trees — but this is like blaming a car accident on the wheels going round. In truth, the destruction of the natural world is solely a consequence of the economic model which dominates the planet. Capitalism and its endless pursuit of profit is determined to eek every last drop out of our natural world, convert it to cash, and funnel it into the overinflated purses of the the rich. It can do nothing else — as George Monbiot writes here, this is what capitalism is, a machine of destruction and exploitation. It is its nature. It cannot become ethical any more than a lawnmower can become so. The idea is an absurdity.
Environmental action, at its heart, is therefore anti-capitalist. Environmentalists, whether directly or indirectly, are calling for the dismantling of an economic system which is mining, fishing and burning the planet to oblivion. They are calling for the end of billionaires, the end of banks, the end of oil companies and the end of consumerism — which is why environmental protest is so dangerous to power and to the wealth that pulls its puppet strings.
In previous years environmentalists have mostly just been a nuisance. A few groups took more severe action, but by and large environmentalists went on peaceful marches and chained themselves to trees. But now, as we reach the point beyond which a disastrous and apocalyptic future is all but assured, activism is rising. Action has become a life or death imperative, and so activists are going to greater and greater lengths to disrupt the fossil fuel economy and garner attention.
If the Government and economic deep state consider the cost of climate action to be politically or financially intolerable, they will deploy every tool in their arsenal to minimise public awareness and suppress protest. Those in the intelligence services are almost certainly already foreseeing a future of protest, activism and severe disruption as the young and the climate aware fight to end the capitalist economic model and save their future.
Three tools are being deployed against the environmental movement with ever increasing vigour:
- The continuing propaganda campaign of climate denial and disinformation;
- A pivot of the ‘culture war’ to target environmentalists- making them ‘enemies of the people’; and
- Draconian anti-protest legislation coupled with increased police powers to stifle activism.
- The Climate propaganda machine rumbles on
Our media will continue its long history of climate denial and blame shifting. It has taken decades for the BBC to finally stop providing ‘equal weight’ to climate deniers. The Telegraph maintains its denial agenda. As they move on from denial, we enter the domain of ‘it’s not so bad’, ‘there are pros and cons’, ‘what about China’ and ‘we have until 2050’. This propaganda will continue — an essential part of keeping people calm, unaware and consuming.
The BBC will minimise the focus on climate change when they report on natural disasters at home. They will neglect to mention disaster overseas — if in doubt, search for mainstream media coverage of disastrous, climate change driven floods in Oman, Italy or China in the last few days.
They’ll keep on about personal responsibility and carbon footprint — as invented by BP. Businesses and advertisers will continue to dowse the population in ‘hopium’ — a barrage of greenwashing and positivity about the future and of technology. They sow a narrative of a bright future, filled with electric cars, wind turbines and sustainable jeans, while cultivating a comic book perception that Elon Musk and his ilk will invest a new technology that will save us all.
This is climate propaganda bread and butter — it has so far been very successful in ensuring that no action has taken place to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Why would they stop now?
2. A culture war: ‘them and us’
There is another kind of sinister propaganda emerging from the shadows. The Government and press will deploy the same tactics used to win the Brexit vote — and in the mould of tactics used by the fascists through history. They will spin a tale of ‘them and us’, of culture and values, and make environmentalists an enemy of the people.
Through their mouthpieces in the press, whether the Daily Mail, Good Morning Britain or LBC, they will embed an image of arrogant do-gooders, getting in the way of everyday life. They’ll say environmentalists are selfish, naive and anti- British. It will be a story of good ol’ British values — sausage and chips, motorways, and lawns — against the woke hippies who want to take it all away. According to the Telegraph, the environmentalists hate us all
The culture war this Government has waged against the left, against science and against the ‘metropolitan elite’ will now see all its firepower trained on the environmental movement. Our Home Secretary, Priti Patel, recently said that Extinction Rebellion were carrying out “a shameful attack on our way of life, our economy and the livelihoods of the hard-working majority”. According to Priti, “The very criminals [Extinction Rebellion] who disrupt our free society must be stopped”
Look at Insulate Britain. Across the gutter press and twitter, armies of bullies have come out to decry Insulate Britain’s tactics. Vicious abuse. Hatred frothing at their mouthes because the protesters had the audacity to block a road. Thugs dragged protesters from the street in an act of common assault. Where was the condemnation of the vigilante action? A man rammed a protester with a van — where was the police condemnation, the arrests? They are encouraging vigilanteism through their rhetoric and their silence. This too is reminiscent of fascism— and of Donald Trump.
Nationalists need a culture war — and we environmentalists are the enemies in it.
3. The Force
As time goes on, more and more people will become aware of the truth of climate change. All the propaganda in the world will not hide the food shortages, biblical flooding, power outages, and mass migration. It will become too blatant to mask. Orwell’s fraud will be exposed, and they will fall back on their force. The new front in the climate propaganda war is the criminalisation of protest. 400 climate scientists and experts recently wrote an open letter warning of the rapid increase in criminalisation of environmental protest by governments around the world.
In the UK we have already seen a swathe of legislation promising to curtail the right of protest. The new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts bill — so vigorously opposed by the ‘Kill the Bill’ campaign — seeks to remove the right to disruptive protest altogether. Currently, Police forces can only restrict a protest if it may cause “serious public disorder, serious damage to property or serious disruption to the life of the community”. Under the new bill, protests that cause a “public nuisance” may be restricted. It is hard to imagine any protest that cannot be construed as causing a public nuisance.
Now, purportedly because of the Insulate Britain campaign, Patel has stepped up the rhetoric and added to her bank of authoritarian legislation:
“I will increase the maximum penalties for disrupting a motorway; criminalise interference with key infrastructures such as roads, railways and our free press; and give the police and courts new powers to deal with the small minority of offenders intent on travelling around the country, causing disruption and misery across our communities.”
She wants to create the power to prevent specific individuals from travelling to protest locations. Such a policy would be derided as a disgusting affront to civil liberties if it were implemented in the third world. If protest at power stations, media organisations or airports is illegal, then where exactly will we protest?
The Home Secretary has used Extinction Rebellion and Insulate Britain as a licence to pass these laws. One might even suggest that the outrage against Insulate Britain in the popular press was designed to stir up the hate necessary for public acceptance of such draconian, authoritarian restrictions.
They are preparing themselves for much greater unrest to come — mass demonstrations, disruption, even riots — and are putting the tools in place to clamp down, stifle dissent and silence those who speak the truth.
We should all fear for this future.