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Ecofascism is a pejorative term used by opponents of the environmental movement to accuse environmental activists of totalitarianism; in the United Kingdom, it has also been used to refer to far-right efforts to gain influence within the Green Party. Some writers have used it to refer to the hypothetical danger of future dystopian governments, which might resort to extreme or "fascist" policies to deal with environmental issues. Other writers have used it to refer to segments of historical fascist movements that focused on environmental issues.
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". 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".
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."
Accusations of ecofascism
Accusations of ecofascism are common but usually strenuously denied. Such accusations have come from both those on 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.
By topic or ideology
Bookchin's critique of deep ecology
"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 excluded by the border cops from the United States lest they burden 'our' ecological resources."
Sakai on 'natural purity'
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. 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'.
Nouvelle Droite movement
The influential European Nouvelle Droite movement, developed by Alain de Benoist and other individuals involved with the GRECE think tank, have also combined green politics with right-wing ideas, such as European ethnonationalism.
- "Green historian to Brandis: My Work's Been Abused". The Sydney Morning Herald. November 13, 2003. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
- Zimmerman, Michael E. (2008). "Eco-Fascism". Pp. 531-532 in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, ed. Bron Taylor. Continuum International Publishing Group.
- Wall, Derek (August 2000). "Darker shades of green". Red Pepper. Retrieved 9 January 2016.
- "...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, 1995.
- Olsen, Jonathan. [date missing] Nature and Nationalism: Right-Wing Ecology and the Politics of Identity. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
- Hoffmann, Helga (2004-12-19). "Ecofascism: What is It? A Left Biocentric Analysis". Home.ca.inter.net. Retrieved 2014-06-29.
- Bookchin, Murray. Social Ecology versus Deep Ecology: A Challenge for the Ecology Movement. Originally published in Green Perspectives: Newsletter of the Green Program Project, nos. 4–5 (summer 1987).
- Sakai, J. (2003). The Green Nazi - an investigation into fascist ecology. Kerspledebeb. ISBN 0-9689503-9-6.
- Weiner, Douglas R. (2000). Models Of Nature: Ecology, Conservation, and Cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia. University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-5733-7.
- "Fascism" by Roger Griffin, in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, edited by Bron Taylor. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2008. (pp. 639-644)