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

It is a variously defined term, most commonly used to describe individuals and groups who combine environmentalism with fascist viewpoints and tactics. Originally, the term "Ecofascist" was considered to be an academic term for a hypothetical type of government that would militantly enforce environmental measures over the needs and freedoms of its citizens. In conservative circles, the term "ecofascist" has often been used against the emerging environmental movement since the 1970s.

However, since the 2010s, a number of individuals and groups have emerged that either self-identify as "ecofascist" or have been labelled as such by specific sources. These individuals and groups synthesise radical far-left or far-right politics with environmentalism and will typically advocate that overpopulation is the primary threat to the environment and that the only solution is population control.


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

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.[5]

By topic or ideology

Bookchin's critique of deep ecology

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 excluded by the border cops from the United States lest they burden 'our' ecological resources."[6]

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.[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]

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.[9]

By country or region

In Germany

Prior to attaining political power, several Nazi ideologues, such as Heinrich Himmler, Alfred Rosenberg, and Walther Darré linked ideas of Agrarianism and nature conservation with anti-semitic, racist and militaristic ideas.[1][10] Using the doctrine of "Blood and Soil", Nazi thinkers argued that the German people had a special bond with the natural world, which had to be protected both from industrial pollution and "inferior" ethnic groups.[1] These ideas remained in Nazism, despite its post-1936 emphasis on mechanical and military mobilisation.[1]

Timothy Snyder's Black Earth argues that Hitler's anti-Semitism viewed Jews as an "un-natural" plague that kept mankind from returning to its "natural" Darwinian state of fight among races for resources.[11]

In Finland

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."[12] He advocates a strong, centralised ecological dictatorship, with harsh population control measures and brutal punishment of those he considers to be environmental abusers. Linkola has attracted considerable controversy both in his home country and worldwide.

In the United Kingdom

In the United Kingdom, left-leaning watchdog groups and magazines such as Red Pepper have accused the Third Way political tendency of ecofascism,[13] although most academics describe the Third Way tendency as a position akin to centrism that tries to reconcile right-wing and left-wing politics by advocating a varying synthesis of right-wing economic and left-wing social policies.[14][15] From the 1930s onward,[16] there has been a history of environmentalist views being held by the far-right in the UK, notably by Henry Williamson,[16][9] Rolf Gardiner,[17] Lord Lymington,[17] and Jorian Jenks.[18]

In the United States

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.[19] Potok also connects ecofascism with nativists, who appeal to environmentalists by arguing that immigration causes environmental degradation.[20]

In Greece

The Golden Dawn, a far-right political party in Greece that has often been described as neo-Nazi, has a branch known as the Green Wing. This organization takes part in volunteer activities such as firefighting, reforestation, and private investigation of animal abuse.[21][22]

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 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, 1995.
  3. Olsen, Jonathan. Nature and Nationalism: Right-Wing Ecology and the Politics of Identity. New York: St. Martin’s Press.
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  6. 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).
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  9. 9.0 9.1 "Fascism" by Roger Griffin, in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature, edited by Bron Taylor. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2008. (pp. 639-644)
  10. Gert Gröning and Joachim Wolschke-Bulmahn, "Politics, planning and the protection of nature: political abuse of early ecological ideas in Germany, 1933-1945", Planning Perspectives 2 (1987), p. 129. Marie-Luise Heuser, Was Grün begann endete blutigrot. Von der Naturromantik zu den Reagrarisierungs- und Entvölkerungsplänen der SA und SS. In: Dieter Hassenpflug (Hrsg.), Industrialismus und Ökoromantik. Geschichte und Perspektiven der Ökologisierung, Wiesbaden 1991, S. 43-62. Marie-Luise Heuser, Antimodernismus und "negative Bevölkerungspolitik". Der Zusammenhang von "Konservativer Revolution" und Eugenikbewegung, in: Ilse Korotin/ Volker Eickhoff (Hrsg.), Sehnsucht nach Schicksal und Tiefe. Der Geist der Konservative Revolution, Wien (Picus-Verlag) 1997, S. 55-79.
  11. Understanding Hitler’s Anti-Semitism, Edward Delman, The Atlantic, September 2015.
  12. Linkola, Pentti. (2009). Can Life Prevail?. Integral Tradition Publishing, p.137
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  14. Bobbio, Norberto; Cameron, Allan.Left and right: the significance of a political distinction. University of Chicago Press, 1997. ISBN 0-226-06245-7, ISBN 978-0-226-06245-7. Pp. 8.
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  16. 16.0 16.1 "Mosley's mounting "peace campaign" after 1935-6 made some converts, notably the eccentric proto-ecological author of Tarka the Otter and other works, Henry Williamson." Roger Eatwell, Fascism: A History. Random House, 2011 ISBN 1446418472 (p. 238-9).
  17. 17.0 17.1 Pepper, David. (1996). Modern Environmentalism: An Introduction. Routledge, ISBN 1134933142 (pp.226-230).
  18. "A second trend was a Fascist and semi-Fascist tendency, probably most identified with Jorian Jenks..." John Vandermeer, The Ecology of Agroecosystems Jones and Bartlett Learning, 2011 ISBN 0763771538, (p. 165).
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  21. "Green Wing." Golden Dawn - International Newsroom. Web. accessdate=11 August 2015.
  22. "The Land of My People" (in Greek.) Volksland. Blogspot. Web. accessdate=11 August 2015.

External links