This movement sought to assert a truly Germanic alternative — one as racialist as it was nationalist in nature. The so-called ‘New’ Right today appeals to themes reminiscent of the völkisch movement in pre-Nazi Germany. [75] Wolfgang Haug, “’Pogromen beginnen im Kopf,’” Schwarzer Faden: Vierteljahreschrift für Lust und Freiheit [Grafenau]; translated as “’Pogroms Begin in the Mind’” in Green Perspectives, no. The impetus for these unprecedented measures came from Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy and its techniques of biodynamic cultivation. [177] Quoted in Antifa-Gruppe Freiburg, Beitrag, p. 35. 269–271, and Bramwell, Ecology in the 20th Century, pp. [77] Unless otherwise indicated, quotations in this section are from the National Revolutionaries’ documents Gegen Fremdherrschaft und Kapital and Grundsätze unseres Wollens — Die fünffache Revolution (n.d.), as cited in Ditfurth, Feuer, pp. [18] Reprinted in Ludwig Klages, Sämtliche Werke, Band 3, Bonn, 1974, pp. Although he lived and taught for thirty years after the fall of the Third Reich, Heidegger never once publicly regretted, much less renounced, his involvement with National Socialism, nor even perfunctorily condemned its crimes. [36] Bergmann, Agrarromantik und Großstadtfeindschaft, p. 334. Such willful ignorance, in turn, obscures the ways in which all conceptions of nature are themselves socially produced, and leaves power structures unquestioned while simultaneously providing them with apparently ‘naturally ordained’ status. [121], In 1989, Bahro cofounded a combination educational center and commune near Trier, the Lernwerkstatt (an “ecological academy for one world”), whose purpose is to synthesize spirituality and politics, “to come to a new personal and social orientation.” It presents lectures, cultural events, and weekend workshops on various New Age themes, including deep ecology, ecofeminism, Zen Buddhism, holistic nutrition, Sufism, and the like — as well as German identity. On Springmann in the Greens, see, e.g., Werner Hülsberg, The German Greens: A Social and Political Profile, trans. They were mostly driven out of the Greens, at least as far as observers seem aware today. 141–54, esp. [182] Quoted in Anti-EG Gruppe Köln, “Mit ‘LebensschützerInnen,’” p. 11. Equal­ly dis­con­cert­ing is the attempt by fas­cist ide­ol­o­gists and polit­i­cal groups to use ecol­o­gy in the ser­vice of social reac­tion. [111] Neue Anthropologie 3–4 (1988), p. 91, cited in Wölk, “Neue Trends,” p. 131. [17] ibid., p. 6. An ideology based upon such premises was fused with the glories of an Aryan past, and in turn, that past received a thoroughly romantic and mystical interpretation. [30] Änne Bäumer, NS-Biologie, Stuttgart, 1990, p. 198. To make this dismaying and discomforting analysis more palatable, it is tempting to draw precisely the wrong conclusion — namely, that even the most reprehensible political undertakings sometimes produce laudable results. Indeed, WSLers see the battle for a healthy environment as part of the all-encompassing spiritual struggle against the homogenizing forces of modernity and “Western civilization.” Haverbeck’s wife, Ursula Haverbeck-Wetzel, another former WSL president who “for religious reasons refuses to dissociate herself from any human being, including Adolf Hitler,” [107] observes: Whenever a person comes to feel that he belongs to the cultural strain that is deeply rooted in his people which has not only a material existence but a spiritual reality that is superior to the material plane — he has broken out from being a manipulated consumer. [175] Quoted in Antifa-Gruppe Freiburg, Beitrag, p. 30. In the face of the very real dislocations brought on by the triumph of industrial capitalism and national unification, völkisch thinkers preached a return to the land, to the simplicity and wholeness of a life attuned to nature’s purity. FAP Nazis especially loathe “humanistically oriented cosmopolitanism.” Marxism, liberalism, and Christianity “have torn humanity from its connectedness to the natural cycles of our earth.” No “technical environmentalism” will succeed against the “increasingly obvious ecological catastrophe,” they believe. More than ever, an ecological commitment requires people today to avoid repeating the errors of the past, lest the ecology movement become absorbed in the mystical and antihumanistic trends that abound today. However inadvertently, the romantic nationalists of the völkisch movement became an important source for National Socialist ideology, which ironically drew on its antimodern sentiments even as it built a technologically modern and virulently nationalistic and genocidal totalitarian state. The cities swell ever larger, unnerving the Volk and destroying the threads which bind humanity to nature; they attract adventurers and profiteers of all colors, thereby fostering racial chaos.” [31], Such musings, it must be stressed, were not mere rhetoric; they reflected firmly held beliefs and, indeed, practices at the very top of the Nazi hierarchy which are today conventionally associated with ecological attitudes. 45–46; and Wölk, “Neue Trends,” p. 123. In its later form, Christianity, and in its subsequent secularized forms, liberalism and Marxism, this dualistic, homogenizing universalism is alleged to have brought on both the ecological crisis and the suppression of national identity. [3] See Raymond H. Dominick, The Environmental Movement in Germany: Prophets and Pioneers, 1871–1971, Bloomington, 1992, especially part three, “The Völkisch Temptation.”. 184). [59] ibid., pp. Laqueur cites Henning Eichberg, “Balkanisierung für jedermann,” in the National Revolutionaries’ periodical Wir Selbst, “a journal for national identity and international solidarity” (May-June 1983). Refresh and try again. It is one of the bases for fortifying the German Volk. Founded by Steiner in 1920, they provide children with an alternative, reformed education, one that is free from aggression and from pressures to achieve, one that places emphasis on the musical aspects of life and on feelings over understanding. Both cite the spiritually corrupting nature of techno-rational civilization and comment with nostalgia on a biologically superior past, where hardy human beings were uncorrupted by the comforts of sedentary life and the biological/genetic coddling of civilization. For him, respect for divine creation is the measure of all culture. [44] Roger Manvell and Heinrich Fraenkel, Hess: A Biography, London, 1971, p. 34. [89] Unless otherwise indicated, quotations in this section are from the NPD’s 1973 Düsseldorf program; the 1988 Wurfsendung of the NPD; and the NPD newspaper Deutsche Stimme 4–5 ( 1992), all as cited in Ditfurth, Feuer, p. 228ff. The attraction such perspectives exercised on idealistic youth is clear: the enormity of the crisis seemed to enjoin a total rejection of its apparent causes. Whoever does not bring themselves to cooperate with the world government [Weltregierung] will get their due. Here, too, ecological arguments played a crucially malevolent role. [90] It inveighs against “the environment polluted and poisoned by a humanity that lives increasingly isolated in a degraded mass,” which “is only the most noticeable symptom of the ruined equilibrium of humanity and nature.” In the years since then, the NPD’s rhetoric has become increasingly New Age oriented; it now calls for “reachieving ... an environmental consciousness, so necessary for life.” Achieving this consciousness, the 1988 NPD program states, “first requires an inner revolution in human thought. But we’re not supposed to imagine what we ourselves would have done. [129] Rudolf Bahro, “Lösung des Schattens und ökologische Kulturentwurf,” Connection, vol. Biodynamic agriculturists today produce a line of organic foods under the brand name Demeter and a line of cosmetics under the name Weleda. The Führer was particularly fond of stressing the “helplessness of humankind in the face of nature’s everlasting law.” [27] Echoing Haeckel and the Monists, Mein Kampf announces: “When people attempt to rebel against the iron logic of nature, they come into conflict with the very same principles to which they owe their existence as human beings. It would be a grave mistake, however, to treat these elements as mere propaganda, cleverly deployed to mask Nazism’s true character as a technocratic-industrialist juggernaut. [85] See Christopher T. Husbands, “Militant Neo-Nazism in the Federal Republic of Germany in the 1960s,” in Neo-Fascism in Europe, Luciano Cheles, Ronnie Ferguson, and Michalina Vaughan, eds. The Structure and Practice of National Socialism 1933–1944, New York, 1944, p. 378. For all of these reasons, the slogan advanced by many contemporary Greens, “We are neither right nor left but up front,” is historically naive and politically fatal. Ecofascism Revisited Lessons from the German Experience. The party calls for maternal and housekeeping training for “feminine youth.”, In 1973, the NPD drew up an “Ecological Manifesto” that invoked “the laws of nature” to justify a hierarchically structured, “organic” order that would govern social relationships. During the Third Reich, Staudenmaier goes on to show, Nazi “ecologists” even made organic farming, vegetarianism, nature worship, and related themes into key elements not only in their ideology but in their governmental policies. [63] Dominick, “The Nazis and the Nature Conservationists”, p. 529. There were people in the Nazi movement who gave it up before 1933; there were people who saw the light with the Röhm affair; some went into the resistance; others were executed. In essence, [this religion] constitutes itself as a form of praxis” against the “religion of growth” since its “sensuous counter-experiences” can restore humanity to closer contact with nature. A much more renowned thinker than Klages, Heidegger preached “authentic Being” and harshly criticized modern technology, and is therefore often celebrated as a precursor of ecological thinking. They’re in the same position we are. Ecofascism Revisited Lessons From the German Experience. A love of the natural world and alienation from modern society are in themselves innocent and legitimate ideas, and it was by no means a historical necessity that they be permutated into a justification for mass murder. [108] Ursula Haverbeck-Wetzel, “Vom Wirtschaftskrieg zum Geisteskampf,” in Europa (Mar. 6. Ecofascism Revisited: Lessons from the German Experience 188. by Janet Biehl, Peter Staudenmaier. It’s a very solid pairing of pre- and post-Nazi ecological sentiment being used to nationalist and eliminationist ends. In The Logic of Salvation, he asks, “Is there really no thought more reprehensible than a new 1933?” — that is, Hitler’s rise to state power. (Göttingen: Verlag die Werkstatt, 1991). This shift from nature worship to Führer worship is worth examining. As Ditfurth points out, “The root-race ideology of the Theosophists and the Anthroposophists melded seamlessly into the National Socialist idea of the purity of the ‘Aryan race.’” [98] Certainly Steiner’s ideas on biodynamic farming influenced some National Socialists. [95], Once blacks emigrate out of Africa, the balance of light and heat is different, and therefore they will die out — “they are in fact a declining race, they will die out of their own nature, since they are receiving too little light and heat.” [96] Such a theory would justify accelerating the extinction of races since they are presumably going to die off anyway. This is an extremely clear and concise distillation of how Nazism was a pioneer in ecology, though ecology for whom? [50] Quoted in Rolf Peter Sieferle, Fortschrittsfeinde? [53] Alwin Seifert, Ein Leben für die Landschaft, Düsseldorf, 1962, p. 100. “Ecological necessities ... must be brought into accordance with a functioning economy,” they believe, while “the cyclical system of nature should ... be incorporated into the economic realm.”, The Republicans, a political party founded by former Waffen-SS member Franz Schönhuber in 1983, have made numerous disavowals of any association with the Nazis — they present themselves as nothing more than a “community of German patriots.” Yet this does not stop them from taking explicitly anti-immigrant stances, especially against Turks, or from exploiting discontents about the influx of foreigners generally, or from maintaining that Germany should be “for Germans.” The presence of a “tidal wave” of asylum-seekers in the Federal Republic, they believe, causes “the importation of criminals,” “social tensions,” and “financial burdens.”, The Republicans call for the “preservation of the existence of the German Volk, its health and its ecological living-space [Lebensraum] as a priority for domestic policy. 6, no. … In a vast number of ways and places, the biosphere of this planet is undergoing a great deal of damage. On the contrary, we uphold the importance of reason, science, and technology in creating both a progressive ecological movement and an ecological society. “With their ecological and antinuclear enthusiasm,” observes Walter Laqueur, their cultural anti-Americanism and their support for movements of national liberation in many parts of the world, the “national revolutionaries” tried, in fact, to outflank their left-wing contemporaries. [74], An ecology that is mystical, in turn, may become a justification for a nationalism that is mystical. 35–36. He wrote a letter to a WSL membership assembly saying that it should dissociate itself from Cohrs because, among other things, he was sending anti-Semitic literature to WSL members, running advertisements in ultra-right magazines like Bauernschaft (the journal of the notorious Holocaust-denier Thies Christophersen), permitting neofascist periodicals to reprint WSL leaflets, and himself distributing such writings as There Were No Gas Chambers and The Auschwitz Myth. [134] Indeed, Bahro is critical of the Greens, among other things, because they did “not attend to this völkisch moment.” [135] Kratz warns that this gives Bahro’s approach “the same potential for political catastrophe that the völkisch movement had, even though this would please Bahro as little as it would have pleased the originators of the völkisch movement.” [136], ‘Essences’ like the ‘German essence’ cannot remain in the spiritual plane; they must be manifested in concrete reality — that is, in politics, history, and society. Get this from a library! It was Hess who introduced Darré to Hitler, thus securing the “green wing” its first power base. The hollowness of such claims becomes evident, however, when they are clothed in terms of ‘ecology.’ For the far right’s notion of ecology is in fact nothing more than social Darwinism, the reactionary ideology that biology dictates the form of society, that genes rather than environment determine culture. 5, no. Taken together, these essays examine aspects of German fascism, past and present, in order to draw lessons from them for ecology movements both in Germany and elsewhere. See also Jeffrey A. Goldstein, “On Racism and Anti-Semitism in Occultism and Nazism,” Yad Vashem Studies 13, Livia Rothkirchen, ed. "La historia del ecologismo revela, pese a los esfuerzos de algunos de nuestros antepasados por forjar alternativas liberadoras, una firme disposición autoritaria y nacionalista en muchos contextos dispares; y estos factores son objeto legítimo de crítica, como los son las raíces burguesas de gran parte del conservacionista dominante y las raíces coloniales e imperialistas de otras propuestas y prácticas ecologistas" (pág. Under these circumstances, future wars will far surpass in frightfulness all previous wars.” [180] The peoples who have the best prospects for survival will be those who are best armed and who best conserve their resources; those who “succeed in bringing their military preparedness to the highest level, while keeping their standard of living low, will have an enormous advantage.” [181], In the interests of this struggle, Germans must not only arm themselves but preserve their environment by keeping the number of people who inhabit it down: “Violations of ecological equilibrium and the destruction of natural living spaces [Lebensäume] are directly related to population density.” [182], “Overpopulation” in the Third World, however, has produced “armies of job-seekers” who are entering Germany with a “capacity for annihilation” comparable to a “nuclear bomb,” Gruhl writes. For Bahro, this Führer will clearly be a spiritualistic leader. [108], Ernst Otto Cohrs, the WSL’s president since 1989, is another devotee of Rudolf Steiner, having been an Anthroposophist since 1961. — Ein Versuch über die Grundlagen ökologischer Politik (Stuttgart and Vienna, 1987). 13–34. During the first world war, Rudolf Steiner delivered a multitude of lectures about contemporary history, and he toiled inexhaustibly for the truth about the question of “war guilt.” ... Steiner presented his listeners with maps that showed that goals that had been proclaimed back in 1889 were being fulfilled [during World War I]. [138] Rudolf Bahro, “Über kommunitäre Subsistenzwirtschaft und ihre Startbedingungen in die neuen Bundesländer,” working paper, p. 10, cited in Kratz, “Bahros ‘Grüne Adolfs,’” p. 9. I think the “esoteric”-political theme of “king and queen of the world” is basically the question of how men and women are to comprehend and interact with each other in a spiritually comprehensive way. From its very beginnings, then, ecology was bound up in an intensely reactionary political framework. And it seems as if Darré had an immense influence on the ideology of National Socialism, as if he were able to articulate significantly more clearly than before the values system of an agrarian society contained in Nazi ideology and — above all — to legitimate this agrarian model and give Nazi policy a goal that was clearly oriented toward a far-reaching re-agrarianization. [175] These ‘natural laws’ dictate that people should accept the present social order as it is. During the turbulent period surrounding World War I, the mixture of ethnocentric fanaticism, regressive rejection of modernity and genuine environmental concern proved to be a very potent potion indeed. [7] Klaus Bergmann, Agrarromantik und Großstadtfeindschaft, Meisenheim, 1970, p. 38. Posing as a courageous inquiry into the breaking of taboos, such practices do nothing more than give people permission to envision themselves as Nazis — a horrifying dispensation in any era, but particularly in one when present-day Nazis routinely attack foreigners in German towns and cities and when fascist parties are having electoral victories. [48] Bramwell, Ecology in the 20th Century, p. 197. This is not an anachronism; it simply indicates an interpretive approach which highlights connections to present-day concerns. At the heart of the völkisch temptation was a pathological response to modernity. The next people to evolve were a bit higher, but they were still half animal, purely instinctive, lacking the capacity for conceptual thought and memory. I don’t see the “dark side” of human nature, but of social nature. [101] He is mentioned in passing in Laqueur, Young Germany, p. 194n. One solution was to associate such environmental problems with the destructive influence of other races. Today, the Solidaristen and other NRs regard Otto Strasser in particular as the ‘Trotsky of National Socialism’ because of his 1920s intraparty power struggle with Hitler; Hitler’s ejection of this fascist in 1930 was, for them, a betrayal of National Socialism. In October 1980, the Alternative List of West Berlin, for one, decided they could not work with National Revolutionaries, whom they considered even more dangerous than overt neo-Nazis because they hid their true intentions behind a veil of grassroots democratic and ecological programs. [118] Bahro, From Red to Green, pp. [69], At a time when worsening economic conditions and strong political disaffection occur along with ecological dislocations, however, nationalist and even fascist ideas are gaining an increasingly high profile in Europe, particularly, but not only, in the Federal Republic of Germany. The European whites, as the most highly developed so far, are at the summit of the hierarchical scale of humanity; they have brought everything that is good to humanity, since they “are the only ones who have developed humanity within themselves.” [93] These various races have been mostly killed off in various catastrophes of one kind or another, after which only certain people — presumably the fittest — survived; “in the case of the inferior kinds of human beings,” wrote Steiner, “... the life body was not sufficiently protected to enable it to withstand the Luciferic influence.” [94] There are numerous subdivisions within these basic root races. In presenting these essays, we are trying to preserve the all-important progressive and emancipatory implications of ecological politics. He became one of Germany’s major ideologists for racism, nationalism and imperialism.” [10] Near the end of his life he joined the Thule Society, “a secret, radically right-wing organization which played a key role in the establishment of the Nazi movement.” [11] But more than merely personal continuities are at stake here. [123], Bahro also holds a professorship at Humboldt University in Berlin, where he conducts a seminar whose sessions are usually filled to overflowing. Arndt’s environmentalism, however, was inextricably bound up with virulently xenophobic nationalism. He served as a leading official of the Strength Through Joy organization, which controlled recreational activities under the Third Reich; in 1933 Rudolf Hess saw to it that Haverbeck’s passport was stamped “This man is not to be arrested.” He survived the Röhm purge to help organize the Nuremberg Party Congress and join Hess’s staff. He calls for a spiritually based and hierarchically elitist “salvation government” (Rettungsregierung) or a “god-state” (Gottesstaat) [140] that will be run by a “new political authority at the highest level”: a “prince of the ecological turn.” [141] The “prince,” which apparently may be a collective entity, will constitute a spiritual elite, an oligarchy responsible only to God. [103] Quoted in Betz, “On the German Question,” p. 36. For the enthusiasts of Blut und Boden, the Jews especially were a rootless, wandering people, incapable of any true relationship with the land. Weimar culture, after all, was fairly awash in such theories, but the Nazis gave them a peculiar inflection. It's pretty incredible how similar the statements of someone like Zerzan, who is ostensibly on left, tend to be to fascist ideology. In a strange and backward sense, Block and Zacher have only drifted toward greater ideological consistency, since the deep green left, in asserting that a ten thousand year reaction, the abandonment of civilization, will lead to the universal realization of western enlightenment values, is quite clearly trying to "have their cake and eat it too" and is necessarily guilty of intellectual dishonesty. The campaign to institutionalize organic farming encompassed tens of thousands of smallholdings and estates across Germany. Opposition gegen Technik und Industrie von der Romantik bis zur Gegenwart, München, 1984, p. 220. Comprised of two essays—"Fascist Ideology: The Green Wing of the Nazi Party and its Historical Antecedents" and "Ecology and the Modernization of Fascism in the German Ultra-Right,"—. Only the spiritualization of consciousness, Bahro believes, can prevail over biosphere-destroying materialism. In English-speaking countries as well as in Germany itself, the very existence of a “green wing” in the Nazi movement, much less its inspiration, goals, and consequences, has yet to be adequately researched and analyzed. Blacks, for example, must live in Africa, we learn, a land of much heat and light; blacks soak up this heat and light, and their brains are specially constructed to process it; their supposed highly instinctual nature results from all this processing. 143f, 242f, 324, cited in Ditfurth, Feuer, pp. The reactionary ecological ideas whose outlines are sketched above exerted a powerful and lasting influence on many of the central figures in the NSDAP. The philosopher Ludwig Klages profoundly influenced the youth movement and particularly shaped their ecological consciousness. The term has been in use for decades, but it wasn’t until Peter Staudenmaier and Janet Biehl published the book Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience that the concept has been … Gus Fagan and Richard Hurst (London: Verso, 1984), especially part three, wherein Bahro says, “In practice, if we want to build an ecological decentralized Germany, we have to first free German territory” (p. 237). German blood, in other words, engendered an exclusive claim to the sacred German soil. 224–26. The German right has been interested in the IRA since the 1920s; the title of this journal, Wir Selbst (“we ourselves”), is a translation of Sinn Fein. Equally disconcerting is the attempt by fascist ideologists and political groups to use ecology in the service of social reaction. Its periodical is the notorious quarterly journal Neue Anthropologie, which maintains, among other things, that there has always been environmental destruction in the history of humanity, that in fact one could even say this was part of human nature were it not for one sole exception: Only the Germans were different. Steiner, the leading German figure in the nineteenth-century esoteric ‘wisdom’ cult Theosophy, founded the German Theosophical Society; he went on to found his own doctrine, Anthroposophy, and the Anthroposophical Society thereafter. Anmerkungen zur ÖDP und anderen ‘BundnispartnerInnen’ in der Kampagne ’92,” ÖkoLinX: Zeitschrift der ökologischen Linken 6 (July-Aug.-Sept. 1992), pp. In his 1989 book Rudolf Steiner: Advocate for Germany, Haverbeck lauds Steiner (who died in 1925) for understanding the existence of this ongoing conspiracy early on. [39], This goal was not only quite consonant with imperialist expansion in the name of Lebensraum, it was in fact one of its primary justifications, even motivations. This was no minor fiefdom; the agriculture ministry had the fourth largest budget of all the myriad Nazi ministries even well into the war. [18] An extraordinarily poignant text and the best known of all Klages’ work, it is not only “one of the very greatest manifestoes of the radical ecopacifist movement in Germany,” [19] but also a classic example of the seductive terminology of reactionary ecology. [122] His 1987 book Logik der Rettung marked an overt embrace of authoritarian theological concepts that shocked many former admirers. After Bookchin gave his lecture, Bahro told Bookchin that he would not invite him to speak again. Although this article has focused on the ‘ecological’ right in the Federal Republic, ‘ecological’ fascism is hardly limited to that country. 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Voiced but increasingly tolerated, translated into English as “ Massacre the Poor! ” Konkret June... Record of fascist appropriations of all culture from embodying the ‘ redeeming ’ facets of Socialism. Nordic racial superiority, strenuously opposed race mixing and enthusiastically supported racial eugenics environmentalist, animal rights?! Finally came the Atlantans, to learn that Klages was throughout his life politically archconservative and a venomous antisemite is... Suggest a ecofascism: lessons from the german experience of thought utterly oblivious to the upper echelons of the Intensive Care society 14 3. Commitments, deepened and radicalized them Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, trans all! Content of Eichberg ’ s ecology movement and Heinrich Fraenkel, Hess: a history of fascist appropriations all. National Socialism 1933–1944, New York, 1962, p. 127 ; Antifa-Gruppe Freiburg Beitrag... A spokesperson for the better 1857, p. 211, and ecstasy formerly a leading spokesperson for the natural are! Medicinal purposes ] Karl-Heinz Ludwig, Technik und Ingenieure im Dritten Reich, New York,,. “ in the execution — for one thing, Anthroposophy classifies humanity into whole... Eliminationist ends wird geplündert ( reprint Frankfurt/Main, 1987 ) movement is the attempt by fascist ideologists political...