Ecofascism is a term used mainly as a pejorative to describe a posited similarity or shared origin between environmentalism and fascism. According to environmentalist David Orton, the term 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."[1]

Accusations of eco-fascism

Accusations of ecofascism can come from either those broadly aligned with the political left, as in social ecologist Murray Bookchin's use of the term; or 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.[2]

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. [3] 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'. [4]

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, left-leaning watchdog groups have accused the Third Way political party of ecofascism, although Third Way spokespersons says their movement 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, [5] 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.

Finnish activist 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."[6] 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 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. 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.[7]

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


See also

External links

  • Ecofascism: Lessons from the German experience, by Janet Biehl and Peter Staudenmaier
  • Ecofascism: What is It?, by David Orton
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