Analysis Podcast

PODCAST: Thanos Was An Ecofascist (But You Don’t Have to Be)

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He’s got the stones, but philosophically Thanos is weaker than Marvel’s writers have allowed. Image: Marvel Studios

Deceleration speaks with the amazing team who turned a Marvel villain into a powerful teaching tool to expose the dangerous fallacies of ecofascism.

Greg Harman

Thanos was an ecofascist. So what? While ultimately banished from the Marvel Universe (or was he?), the murderous villain centered in the highest grossing super hero films of all time isn’t debated to death by the Avengers. And, yeah, we aren’t here to debate fascists. But the failure of Marvel’s writers to effectively deal with his genocidal philosophic positioning mean many audience members—many almost certainly concerned IRL with the state of our own overheating multiverse—are left contending with the residue of creeping ecofascistic concepts that on their surface just make sense.

Many may have accepted as legitimate some of Thanos’s self-justifying arguments. (Just check the stream of comments under The Gaming Bros’ YouTube collection of clips “Wise and Badass Thanos Quotes” for a taste.) Marvel’s failure to tackle the weaknesses of Thanos’s philosophy is spreading the same ecofascist ideas that we find regularly in the manifestos of today’s racist mass murderers: Christchurch, El Paso, Buffalo.

To check the spread of real-world sympathies for supposed constructive mass violence, it is critical to be able to recognize these ideas for what they are.

Enter the Anti-Creep Climate Initiative.


Click play above to listen to this week’s podcast with the Anti-Creek Climate Initiative.

This week, Deceleration spoke with the amazing team behind the Anti-Creep Climate Initiative, who utilize Marvel characters from flicks like Avengers: Infinity War to educate the public about the dangerous fallacies behind fascistic thinking on global environmental challenges. Their drop-dead gorgeous webzine is a powerful tool. In it they demonstrate how many of these concepts come straight out of Western environmental canon. In our conversation, the collective members describe also how these concepts are able to remain popular and pernicious in today’s environmental movement. And they, thankfully, also explain why ecofascist tenets—such as blaming population for the climate crisis—are logically wrong and (importantly!) who they ultimately serve.

Ecofascism, as defined by this effort, as environmentalism that does two things:

  1. Advocates or accepts violence.
  2. Reinforces existing systems of power and inequality.

As we discuss in our interview, climate anxieties have already begun to soften some to the idea of a strong leader offering powerful responses to our industrially driven global distress. Yet it may be that the threat from fascism actually trumps the short-term risks from our overheating planet.

“[Fascism] is pouring gasoline on the fire for so many of us, especially those already marginalized and oppressed across the United States and rest of the world,” says Anti-Creeper Shane Hall from Salisbury University.

And just as the roots of US environmentalism transcend today’s notions of right and left, the struggle to contain ecofascist thinking and policies is something for all of us to contend with.

As English professor Alex Menrisky from the University of Connecticut shares:

'In the United States, for example, you have a history of white supremacy that can't really be boiled down to what today we would call “right” and “left” and you also have a narrative of pristine wilderness/nature that has a long history that can't be boiled down to “right” or “left." When you combine those two things and say the natural people of this nation and its spaces are being threatened, the effect that combination has is to target people of color, indigenous peoples, people who have not only be excluded but the subjects of genocide sterilization.'

And here’s the thing: Many on today’s political left are vulnerable to these sentiments.

“The fact of the matter is, [ecofascism] is only palatable to the left because there are preexisting cultural dispositions that let the message be palatable. Certain ways of talking about nature, national belong, borders, race, and gender.”

Wanna help stop the creep of ecofascistic ideas informing the manifestos of racist mass murderers? Check in on our podcast conversation and get familiar with the concepts contained in their webzine below.


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