Notes On Political Decay

Estelle Ellison
8 min readMar 22, 2024

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Neoliberal fascism owes much of its current ascendance to eugenicist normalcy. Among concurrent genocides worldwide, the need to bury fascism in our lifetimes is ever-present, yet it remains disturbingly confident in its own power. Reliably, americans reflexively internalize the violence of its propaganda and condemn actions that go against what the state intends for us.

In the face of this historically significant period of global fascist activity, liberals seek to elect one of two fascists. Lacking the interest and the capacity to protect anyone from systemic violence, liberals help ensure the continuation of capitalism. Conceding their agency to the state, election-minded liberals now willfully victim-blame intended targets of genocide for not supporting the “correct” fascist.

Those who claim to have revolutionary aspirations, who wish to provide meaningful material international solidarity and desire the end of fascism in our lifetimes, should not resemble open and explicit stewards of eugenicist normalcy and neoliberal fascism. Yet increasingly, as this fascist period continues largely uncontested, rhetoric and actions from some anarchists, communists, leftists, and radicals, are becoming harder and harder to distinguish from their supposed opposition.

There are socialists gleefully joining in with fascists denigrating disabled folks and those who wish to protect themselves from this ongoing pandemic. We see movement organizers fed-jacketing anyone who criticizes the inaccessibility of their events and protests. These and other similar dynamics prompt us to ask, why is this the situation we are saddled with now despite years of calls for preparation, collective care, and protection of the most vulnerable?

Why has the presence of so much fascism and genocide become mistaken for permission to unapologetically embrace oppressive values and power dynamics? Why would fascist talking points and actions be suitable for building revolutionary collective power? Are there any appreciable differences between those who believe everyone who takes covid precautions is a federal agent of the state and zionists who want everyone to associate Palestine solidarity with antisemitism? Are the ideological beliefs of leftists who think the health impacts of multiple covid infections are of negligible importance (or flat-out non-existent) any different from the beliefs of virulent fascists who rallied against mask mandates when capitalism was more willing to admit people are dying from covid?

The influence of fascism is broadening, leaving its mark in more culturally significant ways on individuals spanning many demographics, including those who are the primary targets of its violence. Just as today’s eugenicist normalcy has enshrined endless covid transmissions in everyday life, fascist capitulation grows more commonplace in the left.

We may not expect liberals to recognize the inherent contradiction of trying to end fascism with fascism, but those who would have us call them “comrades” or have us associate “collective power” or “community care” with their orgs and leaders should know better. Yet they have left us with no choice but to conclude that they do not see the contradiction. They do not recognize ableism. They have forgotten the millions dead and dying from this pandemic the state has all but completely erased from public awareness.

Like so many others, they forget the name of this plague, instead declaring the existence of “mystery illnesses” and unknown circumstances behind everyone being “sick all the time.” They cannot be bothered to remember Black workers who are forcibly exposed to covid for clocking in, disabled people who have been left to mourn and care for their own, and people who belong to both groups and other vulnerable populations. There is simply far too much silence about how many of our folks covid takes from us.

Far too many see today’s fascism as an excuse to tolerate oppressive dynamics in their networks and spaces that are supposed to be building revolutionary collective power. In their eyes, this urgency necessitates ableism, anti-Blackness, classism, and apologism. However; the reality is that fascism is so entrenched today in large part because many orgs and their leaders have, for decades, continually failed oppressed people who face these violences and live at their intersections. To accept these oppressive tendencies is to strengthen them as supporting pillars of fascism.

Ultimately, this political decay among leftists is the result of failing to understand that there is no mass collective power without a mass collective care base. And there is no collective care to be found within eugenicist normalcy. Romanticizing shallow conceptions of militancy is simply another means of shirking our responsibility to combat reactionary tendencies. In contrast with this almost fictionalized understanding of militancy, the function of militant care is the protection of marginalized and vulnerable people from fascist violences like eugenics and ethnic cleansing. Militant care is a principled commitment to care networks, especially during this fascist period.

Ending these ongoing concurrent genocides necessitates the total dismantling of fascism, imperialism, and capitalism. Prioritizing the need for militant care is not a rejection of the urgent needs of the moment. It is, rather, an embrace of that urgency and a grounded understanding of what it means to actualize our revolutionary aspirations and engage in meaningful solidarity as effectively as possible. We gain nothing by assuming we currently have the complete means, not merely the dreams, of accomplishing this multi-generational goal when we do not. Mistaking that which actively protects and strengthens oppressive systems for the means of dismantling those systems is a critical error that only ever results in more lives lost in this fight.

Truly setting ourselves to the task of burying fascism for good requires us to take a moment to step back and look at every front there is in this struggle, evaluating whether we are currently in a position to win these battles. Again, this does not mean that we can only engage these fronts if we are in a favorable position. We instead need to understand what it would take to reach that favorable position and have that guide our actions towards achieving a greater collective capacity to win. This is not the myth of gradual change electoral politics sells us every other year. Nor is it an endorsement of co-optation and watered-down demands. We are talking about taking action outside of the state’s rules of engagement to protect people and communities from fascism and genocide.

Returning to the felt urgency of this moment and what it asks of us, many fall into the slippery slope of erasure to justify movement strategies that leave marginalized and vulnerable folks behind in the face of acute danger. Ignorance of how eugenicist normalcy has made public spaces largely inaccessible to disabled people and just how many people lose capacity to show up during this pandemic demonstrates the faulty ideological justifications of anti-masking rhetoric from would-be anarchists, communists, and socialists. When they are faced with critique and explanation of why a fascist period is an especially bad time to leave disabled people behind, they insult our reliance on online spaces to survive a world that has become more lethal to us. Covid deniers on the left have chosen a fascist fiction when we have no choice but to face the reality of this pandemic squarely.

This reactionary phenomenon is rooted in a sorely mistaken belief that the pandemic does not represent a genocide in its own right and has no relation to genocides abroad. Firmly assured of this falsehood, covid deniers declare the issue unimportant and worthy of setting aside in favor of actions that prioritize visibility over efficacy. But the unmasked marches must go on, so say the loudest covid deniers organizing actions. Their explicit ableist resentment and anti-masking rhetoric demonstrate that they too intend for this erasure. They view it as a necessary compromise made in order to respond to the urgency of this moment as they see fit. Yet, perhaps unintentionally, this erasure is much more than a single-issue compromise. The farce of covid denialism disguised as revolutionary aspiration and solidarity ultimately represents a defeatism compatible with global fascism.

Covid denialism is a rejection of revolution and meaningful solidarity. But the same can be said of hatred of trans and queer people. Of anti-Blackness. It’s true of patriarchal violence, gendered and racialized divisions of labor, and it is true of capitalist values. Each oppressive example is demonstrably more lethal during especially fascist periods such as the one we’re currently struggling to survive. Yet we see ableism and eugenicist normalcy loudly embraced by leftists in name only as if that doesn’t have widespread fascist implications for their politics as a whole, as if this concession has no relation to other oppressive violences.

In truth, the fascist implications of these political concessions are staggering. Conceding and catering to eugenicist normalcy means accepting working conditions dictated by neoliberal fascism. This means making peace with how the project of eugenics is furthered by hospitals lacking covid precautions. Embracing ableism during a fascist period means helping invisibilize networks of collective care that people are becoming increasingly dependent upon to survive. This includes the erasure of those engaging in political aftercare following high-intensity protests and actions. Allowing neoliberal fascism to dictate working conditions is to allow wage-work to become an even more powerful tool of repression as people are more dependent on jobs that are more likely to disable them or end their lives. All of these consequences of leaving ableism uncontested are obvious and evident before even getting into the ways these dynamics intersect other forms of oppression.

It is simply tragic that matters of genocide have become reduced to the latest cover for unserious and reactionary political tendencies from leftists. This pattern is not functionally different from what we have observed in recent years. In every iteration of fascist capitulation, we see continued oppressive power dynamics excused while taking action to stop those dynamics is condemned. Indeed, preventing people from combatting oppressive dynamics is often characterized as “revolutionary.” This pattern is the reason that anti-abuse action and covid precautions both apparently constitute “cop behavior” in the eyes of everyone who benefits from tolerating abuse and covid denialism.

Even outside of these well-established patterns of capitulation, we cannot forget the early adopters of today’s eugenicist normalcy. These are the same people who stopped taking precautions before the state was willing to lift them. Betraying the fantasy of “militant” leftists who claim they have to ignore ableism in order to respond to the urgency of the moment, the reality is that most stopped masking long before these calls for solidarity actions and for far less “radical” reasons. Most instead succumbed to the allure of normalcy, of restaurants and concerts, of delights the american dream promises liberals and leftists alike. Solidarity actions are simply the most convenient way of retroactively justifying these ableist behaviors.

In the face of multiple genocides, it seems like we cannot reach a consensus on whether capitulating to fascism will end these horrors. However, those of us who continue to fight to survive and build the collective means to end fascism in our lifetimes remain undeterred by political betrayals. While eugenicist normalcy demands that we compromise and sow the seeds of our own destruction, we refuse to become our enemies. We aren’t satisfied by the political convenience of fed-jacketing anyone who speaks up during a time when silent obedience is expected. Liberation doesn’t grow from fascist erasure. It develops from our willingness and determination to do the less visible work that fascism wants to make invisible. Fascism wants us to forget the skills and resources we need to survive until we are fully isolated, without community support, left with no choice but to accept the price capitalism has placed on our lives. We will never learn to stomach the compromise, so we insist on revolt.

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Estelle Ellison

Time dissuades us from getting free... Black Trans Disabled Writer (She/They)