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In defence of Greta Thunberg

Tuesday 8 October 2019, by Daniel Tanuro

The young Swedish woman Greta Thunberg has faced an exceptional outpouring of hatred that translates into the most vile macho attacks, the most sordid insinuations about her mental health, the lowest calumnies about her autonomy, and even barely veiled death threats. [1]

The author of the Impossibility of Green Capitalism and numerous articles for Contretemps, Daniel Tanuro looks back at this campaign, which began immediately after the media highlighted the action of the young girl who accuses the business community of being responsible for climate change and governments of doing nothing commensurate with the threat and the extreme urgency of responding to it.

You don’t have to look far to find the source of these ever-growing waves of hatred. This source is the national-populist, climate denying, sexist, racist and antisemitic extreme right-wing. It is spreading like a cancer, especially since the election of Trump, Brexit, and the successes of the German AfD, the French FN/RN and the Italian Lega, among others. The photoshop montages showing Greta alongside financier Georges Soros or a fighter of the Islamic state clearly show the antisemitic or Islamophobic intentions of these circles.

The links of this extreme right with fossil capital are proven, in particular through the European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE). EIKE collaborates with the Heartland Institute, a US climate denying think tank funded by the oil sector and the Koch Group (the most powerful private company in the US, active in the fossil fuel sector and chemicals, violently climate denying). If we dig a little deeper, we find in the campaign against Greta Thunberg all the nebula of collaborators in reactionary think tanks and other climate denying "institutes" funded by Exxon and Chevron. Notably the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) from which Myron Ebell, a member of the Trump transition team at the head of the EPA, Breitbart News, etc., came.

The main themes of the charge against Greta Thunberg are the same on both sides of the Atlantic: that she goes back to school to learn what she doesn’t know; that she is a puppet in the hands of Al Gore and green capitalism; that those who pull the strings use disabled children to impose a dictatorship of emotion; that she calls for a strike because the world is over, that’s totalitarianism; that poor girl is an illuminated woman, a sick woman, etc. [2] Most of these elements were present in the commentary of Jordan Bardella (FN/RN) during Greta’s visit to the French National Assembly.

We can see that climate denial does not explain everything, far from it. The hatred against Greta Thunberg is all the more vicious as the target is a woman, and a young woman. A young woman who is not afraid to accept herself as she is, with, as she herself explains, her different personality [3]. A brave, determined, intelligent, sensitive young woman who knows what she’s talking about. A young woman who expresses herself very clearly, in the name of youth, in the name of the future, and does not hesitate to face the powerful with cheerful insolence. In a word: a witch.

When it comes to attacking a woman, what some call the "tradition of liberty" often makes France, unfortunately, the place where the most pestilential unpleasant smells are released. Those from Bernard Pivot’s exceed everything [