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definition - Ecofascism

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  Emblem of the "Libertarian National Socialist Green Party"

Ecofascism, can be used in two different ways:

  1. The term is used as a pejorative by political conservatives, centrists, and leftists to discredit deep ecology, mainstream environmentalism, radical environmentalism and other ecological positions.[1]
  2. As a self label used somewhat less commonly by various white nationalist and third positionist groups who incorporate environmentalist positions into their ideology.[2]


  Accusations of eco-fascism

"..."ecofascism" has come to be used mainly as an attack term, with 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."
David Orton - Ecofascism: What is It? A Left Biocentric Analysis

Accusations of ecofascism can come from either the left, as in social ecologist Murray Bookchin's use of the term, or the 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.[3]

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."
Murray Bookchin - Social Ecology versus Deep Ecology: A Challenge for the Ecology Movement

Such observations among the left are by no means exclusive to Bookchin. In his critical review of Anna Bramwell's biography of Richard Walther Darré, Japanese-American Marxist-Leninist-Maoist J. Sakai observes the fascist ideological undertones of natural purity. [4] Even 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 on the other hand "cultural-aesthetic" conservationists such as Ivan Parfenevich Borodin who were influenced by German Romantic and idealist concepts such as 'Landschaftspflege' and 'Naturdenkmal'. [5]

Accusations of ecofascism are not uncommon, but are usually strenuously denied. For some, cries from mainstream ecologists for regulation of human reproduction and reduction of the world population are suggestive of anti-humanist Nazi policies. However, proponents 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).

In the United Kingdom, the Third Way political party has been accused by left-wing watchdog groups of ecofascism, although Third Way says it has renounced all fascist ideology and describes itself as in the "radical centre". There has been a history of environmentalist views being held by the far-right in the UK, notably by Henry Williamson, Rolf Gardiner, [6] 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.

Pentti Linkola can be most accurately described as a kind of totalitarian deep ecologist, and although he does not specifically 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."[7] 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.

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, due to their blend of anti-globalism, environmentalism, and European ethno-nationalism. However, De Benoist himself dismisses fascism as "brown Jacobinism", and condemns racial prejudice and populist-nationalists like Jean-Marie le Pen.

The actual number of organisations that could properly be described as ecofascist is extremely small. A related group 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. 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.[8]

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.[9] Potok also connects ecofascism with nativists who appeal to environmentalists by arguing that immigration causes environmental degradation.[10]

  Environmentalism in Nazi Germany

Possibly explaining why Mein Kampf has no chapter on ecology, British academic Roger Griffin has noted that "the place which a transformed relationship to nature occupies within the fascist scheme ... as well as the role played in it by pagan, "immanentist" or cultic concepts of nature can vary enormously..."[11]

After the early 1930s, Hitler generally followed a vegetarian diet, although he ate meat on occasion. A fear of cancer (from which his mother died) is the most widely cited reason, though it is also asserted that Hitler, an antivivisectionist, had a profound concern for animals.[12]

In 1935, the Nazi regime enacted the "Reich Nature Protection Act". While not a purely Nazi piece of legislation, as parts of its influences pre-dated the Nazi rise to power, it nevertheless reflected Nazi ideology. The concept of the Dauerwald (best translated as the "perpetual forest") which included concepts such as forest management and protection was promoted and efforts were also made to curb air pollution.[13][14]

Author Frank Uekötter has described as a "gross error" claims that Nazi Germany was the first country in Europe to create wilderness reserves.[15] The first European nature reserves were in Finland at the start of the 1800s.[16] and there were in fact nature reserves in 1838 in the Czech part of Austria-Hungary.[17] During their rise to power, the Nazis were supported by German environmentalists and conservationists, but environmental issues were gradually pushed aside in the build-up to the Second World War.[18]

By contrast, non-German forms of fascism for the most part lacked any noteworthy ecological strand.[19] One exception was the peasant-based Iron Guard of Romania, who saw capitalism, which they associated with Jewry, as being destructive to both the Romanian countryside and their Orthodox Christian culture. Elsewhere in Europe, ecological concerns were found individually rather than collectively, e.g. Julius Evola, an Italian writer and supporter of the Fascist regime of Benito Mussolini, who wrote books glorifying a primitive state of nature and denouncing modernity. Griffin has argued that "fascism repeatedly generates images which evoke a specious kinship with a "panenhenistic" communion with nature" (pg.642) as a means of mobilising members of the fascists' ethnic group to the cause of ultranationalism. He cites the glorification of wilderness in Nazi art and the ruralist novels of fascist supporters Knut Hamsun and Henry Williamson as examples of this.[11] Some have associated French Esoteric Hitlerist and Hindu convert Savitri Devi with ecofascism, due to her support for animal rights and vegetarianism, which she linked to a condemnation of Jewish dietary practices.


  1. ^ OED Third edition, March 2008 eco-fascism n.
  2. ^ OED Third edition, eco-fascist adj. and n.
  3. ^ "Green historian to Brandis: my work's been abused". The Sydney Morning Herald. November 13, 2003. http://www.smh.com.au/articles/2003/11/13/1068674308841.html. Retrieved 9 October 2010. 
  4. ^ Sakai, J. (2003). The Green Nazi - an investigation into fascist ecology. Kerspledebeb. ISBN 0-9689503-9-6. 
  5. ^ Weiner, Douglas R. (2000). Models Of Nature: Ecology, Conservation, and Cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia. University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 0-8229-5733-7. 
  6. ^ Modern Environmentalism: An Introduction by David Pepper. Routledge, 1996 (pgs. 226-230).
  7. ^ Pentti Linkola, "Can Life Prevail?", Integral Tradition Publishing, 2009, p. 137
  8. ^ Reason Magazine - Hit & Run > Esoteric Fringe Group or Esoteric Joke?
  9. ^ http://www.splcenter.org/blog/2010/09/01/apparent-eco-terrorist-holding-hostages-at-tv-building/
  10. ^ http://www.splcenter.org/greenwash-nativists-environmentalism-and-the-hypocrisy-of-hate
  11. ^ a b "Fascism" by Roger Griffin, in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, edited by Bron Taylor. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2008.(pgs 639-644)(pg. 640)
  12. ^ Otto Dietrich, The Hitler I Knew. Memoirs of the Third Reich's Press Chief, Skyhorse Publishing (2010), p. 172, ISBN 978-1-60239-972-3 
  13. ^ JONATHAN OLSEN "How Green Were the Nazis? Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich (review)" Technology and Culture – Volume 48, Number 1, January 2007, pp. 207–208
  14. ^ Review of Franz-Josef Brueggemeier, Marc Cioc, and Thomas Zeller, eds, "How Green Were the Nazis?: Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich" Wilko Graf von Hardenberg, H-Environment, H-Net Reviews, October, 2006.
  15. ^ Uekötter, Frank (2006). The green and the brown: a history of conservation in Nazi Germany. Cambridge University Press. p. 202. ISBN 0-521-61277-2, 9780521612777. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=q-LavK2QaMcC&pg=PA203&dq=Anna+Bramwell&hl=en&ei=J5LyTMbaBtSwhQfTzMGEDw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CCgQ6AEwADgK#v=onepage&q=Anna%20Bramwell&f=false. 
  16. ^ page 121 of European Environmental Policy: The Pioneers By Mikael Skou Andersen, Duncan Liefferink
  17. ^ page 15 of Workshop on Nature Conservation in Central and Eastern Europe: present ... By Workshop on Nature Conservation in Central and Eastern Europe, Council of Europe
  18. ^ How Green Were the Nazis?: Nature, Environment, and Nation in the Third Reich[page needed]
  19. ^ Ecology in the 20th Century, Anna Bramwell

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