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Ecofascism is a theoretical political model in which an authoritarian government would require individuals to sacrifice their own interests to the "organic whole of nature".[1]

The term is also used as a rhetorical pejorative to undermine the environmental movement[2] and in the United Kingdom, it has been used to describe far-right efforts to gain influence within the Green Party of England and Wales.

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.[1] Other writers have used it to refer to segments of historical[3][4] and modern[5] fascist movements that focused on environmental issues.

DefinitionEdit

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."[6]

HistoryEdit

Savitri DeviEdit

Savitri Devi was a prominent proponent of Esoteric Nazism and deep ecology. She supported animal rights activism, and was a vegetarian from a young age and held ecologist views in her works.

She wrote Impeachment of Man in 1959 in India, in which she declared her views on animal rights and nature. According to her, human beings do not stand above the animals; but in her ecologist views, humans are rather a part of the ecosystem and should respect all life, including animals and the whole of nature.[citation needed]

Nouvelle Droite movementEdit

The 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.[7]

Christchurch and El Paso shootingsEdit

Brenton Tarrant, the alleged perpetrator behind the 2019 Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand, described himself as an ecofascist,[8] "ethno-nationalist", and "racist"[9] in his manifesto The Great Replacement, named after a far-right conspiracy theory[10] originating in France.

Jordan Weissmann, writing for Slate, describes Tarrant's ecofascism as "an established, if somewhat obscure, brand of neo-Nazi"[11] and quotes Sarah Manavis of New Statesman as saying, "[Eco-fascists] believe that living in the original regions a race is meant to have originated in and shunning multiculturalism is the only way to save the planet they prioritise above all else."[11]

The suspect in the 2019 El Paso shooting, Patrick Crusius, is believed to have written a similar manifesto, professing support for the Christchurch shooter.[12] Posted to the online message board 8chan,[13] it blames immigrants to the United States for environmental destruction.[14] saying that American lifestyles were "destroying the environment",[15] invoking an ecological burden to be borne by future generations,[8][16] and concluding that the solution was to "decrease the number of people in America using resources".[15]

CritiquesEdit

Accusations of ecofascism have often been made but are usually strenuously denied.[6][2] 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 often 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]

Bookchin's critique of deep ecologyEdit

Murray 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... 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".[17]

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.[18] 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 as Russian zoologists such as Anatoli Petrovich Bogdanov; and, on the other, "cultural-aesthetic" conservationists such as Ivan Parfenevich Borodin, who were influenced in turn by German Romantic and idealist concepts such as Landschaftspflege and Naturdenkmal.[19]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Zimmerman, Michael E. (2008). "Ecofascism". In Taylor, Bron R. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, Volume 1. London, UK: Continuum. pp. 531–532. ISBN 978-1-44-112278-0.
  2. ^ a b c "Green historian to Brandis: My Work's Been Abused". The Sydney Morning Herald. November 13, 2003. Retrieved 9 October 2010.
  3. ^ "...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.
  4. ^ Olsen, Jonathan. [date missing] Nature and Nationalism: Right-Wing Ecology and the Politics of Identity. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
  5. ^ Matthew Phelan (2018-10-22). "The Menace of Eco-Fascism". New York Review of Books.
  6. ^ a b Hoffmann, Helga (19 December 2004). "Ecofascism: What is It? A Left Biocentric Analysis". home.ca.inter.net. Retrieved 29 June 2014.
  7. ^ "Fascism" by Roger Griffin, in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, edited by Bron Taylor. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2008. (pp. 639-644)
  8. ^ a b Achenbach, Joel (18 August 2019). "Two mass killings a world apart share a common theme: 'ecofascism': Environmental groups denounce racists who cloak themselves in green". The Washington Post – via ProQuest.
  9. ^ Fisher, Marc; Achenbach, Joel. "Boundless racism, zero remorse: A manifesto of hate and 49 dead in New Zealand". The Washington Post. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  10. ^ Darby, Luke (5 August 2019). "How the 'Great Replacement' conspiracy theory has inspired white supremacist killers". The Telegraph. London – via ProQuest.
  11. ^ a b Weissmann, Jordan (15 March 2019). "What the Christchurch Killer's Manifesto Tells Us". Slate. Retrieved 16 September 2019.
  12. ^ Noack, Rick (6 August 2019). "Christchurch endures as extremist touchstone, as investigators probe suspected El Paso manifesto". The Washington Post – via ProQuest.
  13. ^ Arango, Tim; Bogel-Burroughs, Nicholas; Benner, Katie (3 August 2019). "Minutes Before El Paso Killing, Hate-Filled Manifesto Appears Online". The New York Times.
  14. ^ Owen, Tess (6 August 2019). "Eco-Fascism: the Racist Theory That Inspired the El Paso and Christchurch Shooters". Vice.
  15. ^ a b Lennard, Natasha (5 August 2019). "The El Paso Shooter Embraced Eco-Fascism. We Can't Let the Far Right Co-Opt the Environmental Struggle". The Intercept.
  16. ^ Darby, Luke (7 August 2019). "What Is Eco-Fascism, the Ideology Behind Attacks in El Paso and Christchurch?". GQ.
  17. ^ 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).
  18. ^ Sakai, J. (2003). The Green Nazi - an investigation into fascist ecology. Kerspledebeb. ISBN 978-0-9689503-9-5.
  19. ^ Weiner, Douglas R. (2000). Models Of Nature: Ecology, Conservation, and Cultural Revolution in Soviet Russia. University of Pittsburgh Press. ISBN 978-0-8229-5733-1.

External linksEdit