The Roots Of Techno-Fascism

Estelle Ellison
4 min readMay 26, 2023

The technological apparatus of the surveillance state is dizzying in scope and ability. It all offers today’s reactionaries an unparalleled level of adaptability and deceit that compliments their arsenal of violence that has accumulated oppressive techniques over many centuries. While many liberal opportunists hope to work within an industry whose fascist qualities are already extremely explicit, the state becomes more emboldened in its attempts to make abolition impossible.

This is not an analysis of technological means nor is it a call to action for people to try to wrest tools out of the hands of techno-fascism. This is, instead, a critical inspection of the reactionary social dynamics that are aided by techno-fascism. During this cultural war, oppression manifests alongside new vectors of power that are a direct product of this relationship between social technologies and their disparate users. Here, we are focusing on why these technologies are being utilized this way rather than how these technologies operate.

The national political stage decries echo chambers and advocates for a free-marketplace of ideas where the merits of genocide must be entertained before deciding whether to condemn it. In this capitalist social forum, the presumption of good intentions and the ignorance of harmful impact both absolve people of responsibility for any and all resulting consequences of interfacing with techno-fascism. As marginalized people are being eradicated, the responsibility for this violence is obscured behind cryptic webs of plausible deniability and disguised eugenicist logic.

Among strong disincentives to acknowledge world-threatening material consequences for everything that makes capitalist normalcy possible, we are faced with an unserious liberalism that mistakes the inclusion of and concessions to fascist ideology for progressive saviorism. This social phenomenon is juxtaposed with reactionaries and opportunists who wish to be seen as logical and relatable. Between them is an implication that the left and right stewards of capitalism are better than outright nazis who make no attempt to obfuscate their intentions. In this way, americans elevate the importance of feeling better than open fascists far above the need for the competent collective ability to disempower fascists. Indeed, the latter is depicted as something proven obsolete by the former.

Emphasis on this feeling rather than actual material consequences in people’s everyday lives imbues all who fall prey to this colonial trap with an inclination to excuse fascist violence. The confidence that comes exclusively from feeling progressive instead of from effectively dismantling oppressive systems is itself very compatible with techno-fascism. Those who distance themselves from the reactionary attitudes and behaviors shown to them by an attention economy simply congratulate themselves for knowing better, while others who see something to gain from eugenics and genocide are ever more neatly folded into fascist ideologies.

Again, the all-important feeling of progressivism makes way for an apathetic distance from matters of oppression, preventing even the option of material opposition to fascism from occurring to most americans. It is in this same twisted logic that merely tolerating people of marginalized identities is seen as sufficient for delivering a self-important progressive “feeling.” However difficult it may be for liberals to see, understand and respect queer and trans personhood, choosing not to openly call for their removal from public life is seen as a job well done. This could not be a better foundation for above-ground fascist attacks on queer and trans life. In this way, techno-fascist mobilizations are relatively frictionless with assured possession of agreeable platforms that allow for widespread coordinated efforts to foment white supremacist violence from the state and its most reactionary citizens.

The displacement of queer and trans personhood predates today’s techno-fascist apparatus, as does the battle against bodily autonomy. But those who would gain from defeating everyone whose very existence is a perceived threat against patriarchal power see unhindered opportunity in the tools and riches offered by techno-fascism. For every person who quietly wishes they did not have to see human reminders of wealth disparity in the US, there is another person who feels emboldened to advocate for the extermination of homeless people.

In this cultural war, fascists correctly believe that they will find like-minded people who are willing to act on their beliefs. In the face of both democrats and liberal opportunists who advocate for the incarceration of those who engage in community self-defense against fascist violence, why wouldn’t reactionaries all strike while the iron is hot?

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Estelle Ellison

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