Ecofascism

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Ecofascism is the combination of fascist politics with support for ecological concerns.[1][2][3]

Definition[edit]

Environmental historian Michael E. Zimmerman defines "ecofascism" as "a totalitarian government that requires individuals to sacrifice their interests to the well-being and glory of the "land", understood as the splendid web of life, or the organic whole of nature, including peoples and their states".[1] Zimmerman argues that while no ecofascist government has so far existed, "important aspects of it can be found in German National Socialism, one of whose central slogans was "Blood and Soil".[1]

According to environmentalist David Orton, the term is pejorative in nature and has "social ecology roots, against the deep ecology movement and its supporters plus, more generally, the environmental movement. Thus, 'ecofascist' and 'ecofascism', are used not to enlighten but to smear."[4]

Accusations of ecofascism[edit]

Accusations of ecofascism are not uncommon, but are usually strenuously denied.[citation needed] Such accusations have come from those broadly aligned with the political left who see it as an assault on human rights, as in social ecologist Murray Bookchin's use of the term; and from those on the political right, as in Rush Limbaugh and other conservative and Wise Use Movement commentators. In the latter case, it is sometimes a hyperbolic use of the term that is applied to all environmental activists, including more mainstream groups such as Greenpeace and the Sierra Club.[5]

By topic or ideology[edit]

Bookchin's critique of deep ecology[edit]

In the former case, Bookchin criticizes the political position of deep ecologists such as David Foreman:

"There are barely disguised racists, survivalists, macho Daniel Boones, and outright social reactionaries who use the word ecology to express their views, just as there are deeply concerned naturalists, communitarians, social radicals, and feminists who use the word ecology to express theirs. [...] It was out of this [former] kind of crude eco-brutalism that Hitler, in the name of 'population control,' with a racial orientation, fashioned theories of blood and soil that led to the transport of millions of people to murder camps like Auschwitz. The same eco-brutalism now reappears a half-century later among self-professed deep ecologists who believe that Third World peoples should be permitted to starve to death and that desperate Indian immigrants from Latin America should be exclude [sic] by the border cops from the United States lest they burden 'our' ecological resources."[6]

Sakai on 'natural purity'[edit]

Such observations among the left are not exclusive to Bookchin. In his review of Anna Bramwell's biography of Richard Walther Darré, J. Sakai observes the fascist ideological undertones of natural purity.[7] Prior to the Russian Revolution, the Tsarist intelligentsia was divided on the one hand between liberal "utilitarian naturalists", who were "taken with the idea of creating a paradise on earth through scientific mastery of nature", and influenced by Nihilism as well Russian zoologists such as Anatoli Petrovich Bogdanov, and "cultural-aesthetic" conservationists such as Ivan Parfenevich Borodin, who were influenced in turn by German Romantic and idealist concepts such as 'Landschaftspflege' and 'Naturdenkmal'.[8]

Critiques of population control[edit]

For some,[who?] cries from mainstream ecologists for regulation of human reproduction and reduction of the world population are suggestive of anti-humanist Nazi policies. However, proponents[example needed] of population control policies have reacted strongly against these comparisons, regarding them as merely attempts to slander certain sections of the environmental movement (see the article on deep ecology for more details).[citation needed]

Nouvelle Droite movement[edit]

The influential European Nouvelle Droite movement, developed by Alain de Benoist and other individuals involved with the GRECE think-tank, have also attracted accusations of ecofascism from the Left,[example needed] due to their blend of anti-globalism, environmentalism, and European ethno-nationalism. However, De Benoist dismisses fascism as "brown Jacobinism", and condemns racial prejudice and populist-nationalists like Jean-Marie le Pen.[citation needed]

By country or region[edit]

In Finland[edit]

Although Finnish activist Pentti Linkola does not endorse fascism per se, he has expressed admiration for the German National Socialist regime for its efficiency in killing large numbers of human beings in a short period of time, describing the massacres of the Holocaust and Stalin's Great Purge as "massive thinning operations."[9] He advocates a strong, centralised ecological dictatorship, with harsh population control measures and brutal punishment of those he considers to be environmental abusers. Needless to say, Linkola has attracted considerable controversy both in his home country and worldwide.[citation needed]

In the United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, left-leaning watchdog groups[example needed] have accused the Third Way political party of ecofascism, although Third Way spokespersons say their movement has renounced all fascist ideology and describes itself as in the "radical centre".[citation needed] There has been a history of environmentalist views being held by the far-right in the UK, notably by Henry Williamson, Rolf Gardiner,[10] Jorian Jenks and the "Blackshirt Farmer" Bob Saunders. Some have also accused the "radical antiquarian" John Michell of holding ecofascist views. In his 1995 book The Village That Died For England, concerned with the Dorset village of Tyneham which was requisitioned by the British Army, Patrick Wright details much of the history of British ecofascism during the Second World War.[citation needed]

In the United States[edit]

The number of organisations that actively promote themselves as ecofascist is extremely small. Such an organization in the United States is the Libertarian National Socialist Green Party, whose emblem is the Nazi swastika on a green background, symbolising the party's synthesis of ecology with National Socialism.[citation needed] The latter gained controversy due its connection with high-school killer Jeff Weise, though some have suggested that it may be a web-based parody, as it is not an actual active political party.[11]

The term ecofascist has also been used by Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center to describe James Jay Lee, the ecoterrorist who took several hostages at the headquarters of Discovery Communications on September 1, 2010.[12] Potok also connects ecofascism with nativists who appeal to environmentalists by arguing that immigration causes environmental degradation.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Zimmerman, Michael E. (2008). "Eco-Fascism". Pp. 531-532 in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, ed. Bron Taylor. Continuum International Publishing Group.
  2. ^ "...the phenomenon one might call "actually existing ecofascism," that is, the preoccupation of authentically fascist movements with environmentalist concerns". Peter Staudenmeier, "Fascist Ecology: The 'Green Wing' of the Nazi Party and its Historical Antecedents in Germany". In "Ecofascism: Lessons from the German experience," by Janet Biehl and Peter Staudenmaier [date missing]
  3. ^ Olsen, Jonathan. [date missing] Nature and Nationalism: Right-Wing Ecology and the Politics of Identity. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
  4. ^ Hoffmann, Helga (2004-12-19). "Ecofascism: What is It? A Left Biocentric Analysis". Home.ca.inter.net. Retrieved 2014-06-29. 
  5. ^ "Green historian to Brandis: my work's been abused". The Sydney Morning Herald. November 13, 2003. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  6. ^ Bookchin, Murray. Social Ecology versus Deep Ecology: A Challenge for the Ecology Movement.[date missing]
  7. ^ Sakai, J. (2003). The Green Nazi - an investigation into fascist ecology. Kerspledebeb. ISBN 0-9689503-9-6. 
  8. ^ Weiner, Douglas R. (2000). Models Of Nature: Ecology, Conservation, and Cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia. University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-5733-7. 
  9. ^ Linkola, Pentti. (2009). Can Life Prevail?. Integral Tradition Publishing, p.137
  10. ^ Pepper, David. (1996). Modern Environmentalism: An Introduction. Routledge, pp.226-230.
  11. ^ Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Esoteric Fringe Group or Esoteric Joke?[dead link]
  12. ^ http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2010/09/01/apparent-eco-terrorist-holding-hostages-at-tv-building/
  13. ^ http://www.splcenter.org/greenwash-nativists-environmentalism-and-the-hypocrisy-of-hate

External links[edit]