Eco-fascism: The ideology marrying environmentalism and white supremacy thriving online
The online movement has roots in neo-Nazism – and a violent edge worth taking seriously.
By Sarah Manavis
21 September 2018
“I believe that both the state and the state’s citizens have the right to use all means necessary to save the environment, including murder and sabotage,” one user wrote. “Murder is okay in this case, as combating climate change is sure to save more lives than it could ever hypothetically destroy.”
“To be fair, the Third Reich was one of the earliest governments to make conservationism a major focus,” wrote another.
“What really pisses me off is how everyone associates deep ecology with Communism and far left ideologies, which are deeply rooted in industrialization. It was Nazi Germany that was environmentally aware not Soviet Russia, with the rabid industrialisation,” one said.
In a brief, archived thread nine months ago on the Reddit forum r/DebateFascism lies this conversation that, to many, will seem like a bizarre niche within the online ideological movement of the alt-right. But in fact it was an early sign of a growing online community. Meet the eco-fascists: the nature-obsessed, anti-Semitic, white supremacists who argue that racial purity is the only way to save the planet.
Numerous eco-fascists refused to speak to the New Statesman, but Dan (a pseudonym) agreed to answer my questions via direct message. While he would not give any personal information, not even the country he resided in, and would only speak to me anonymously, he did provide insight into eco-fascist principles. Some of his messages have been edited for typos.
“[Eco-fascists] have put the wellbeing of our earth, nature and animal on the forefront of their ideology,” Dan says. “It’s someone who has also turned away from industrial and urbanite society, seeking a more close to earth way of life.”
That seemingly benign focus expresses itself as an ideology that embraces and combines modern-day neo-Nazism with environmentalism – and a belief that going back to ancient geographical roots is the answer to society’s biggest problems. 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.
Although eco-fascism can manifest in different ways (just like any umbrella ideology), there are consistent sets of beliefs that crop up among eco-fascists. They include veganism, anti-multiculturalism, white nationalism, anti-single use plastic, anti-Semitism, and, almost always, a passionate interest in Norse mythology. Most Twitter profiles of self-defining eco-fascists are a bespoke cocktail of alt-right memes, pictures of forests and cabins, hatred towards Jews, and rants about animal rights. Between calls for a racial purity and plastic bans, most accounts have tweets or retweets honouring Thor, celebrating Tyr Day, or glorifying Sunna, the Norse Sun Goddess.
Dan claims that the link to Norse mythology represents shared “aesthetics” between white eco-fascists and white Norse heroes, and that Norse mythology’s nature imagery and “forefather worship” suits the ideals of eco-fascists, who see themselves as fighting for the earth, as well as white supremacy.
There are a number of key characteristics within the eco-fascist community, from rhetoric to specific character usage, that make them easily identifiable on social media. Tree, earth, or mountain emojis are parked next to almost every eco-fascist’s Twitter name, often accompanied by a Norse/Proto-Germanic rune – most commonly Algiz, “ᛉ” or “ᛦ”, known as the “life” rune. Algiz was used in postwar Germany as a symbol of the neo-Nazi movement in place of the actual Nazi symbols that were banned. This was drawn from its use by Heinrich Himmler’s SS. He intended it to be the logo for the notorious Lebensraum – the programme for a master race. The policy was used to justify the oppression, deportation and ultimately murder of Jews and Eastern Europeans in order to make room for those the Nazis identified as part of a German, “Aryan” race. Lebensraum was at the centre of Nazi Germany's ultimate aims.
Eco-fascists claim the rune’s historical meaning and modern appropriation work as a perfect marriage of their beliefs; a respect for all “life” (nature, animals, and white people) as well as neo-Nazi principles. Eco-fascists will often share images of the rune online, in and amongst forest scenes or as a silhouette over rural images.
Another way to identify an eco-fascist is their tendency to use phrases associated with the Third Reich, but interspersed with references to the earth – such as the infamous “Blut und Boden” or “Blood and Soil”. The language captures the eco-fascist desire to have nations that are only full of people they claim are indigenous to that region (blood) and the demand for a geographically-bounded home that is preserved through environmentalist principles (soil).
“I would say that the Blood and Soil philosophy of Walther Darré is something we all share,” Dan says, referring to the Argentinian-born Nazi who was obsessed with the idea of a Nordic race and the ideological force behind Lebensraum. “There can be no folk without its lebensraum, just as there can't be any lebensraum without the folk.”
“By the use of the word lebensraum I don't mean that we seek to conquest,” he says. “Only to maintain and care for the land passed on by our forefathers.”
Mentions of “forefathers” function as a dogwhistle for “whiteness” in eco-fascist discourse, often included alongside calls for “our race” to “reclaim our homeland”. It also functions as a call to end multiculturalism and deport those deemed not to have ancestral ties to that country (Dan refused to reveal which country he was from).
Multiculturalism is, of course, a bête noire for eco-fascists. Many argue, like the far-right generally, that opposing multiculturalism is a way to respect a specific heritage. But eco-fascists have a further preoccupation: multiculturalism (and in turn, overpopulation of certain “white” areas), they claim, is destroying the planet.
“Pride for one’s race, culture, and bioregion is a crucial part of eco-fascism,” Dan says. “Races with a culture of disrespect for the dignity of animals and nature are indeed viewed by most as inferior and vile. Who would be okay with such traits?” Dan does not elaborate on which races he was referring to, or how Western European abattoirs and chicken factory farms fitted into this viewpoint.
“We want our homeland to ourselves,” he says.
Within the eco-fascist community, I noticed a hashtag being bandied around by a few accounts, #EFDS, that I couldn’t interpret. Dan explained that, “EFDS is the acronym for Ecofascist Death Squads. It’s a meme – I guess you could call it - on the fact that the world is overpopulated. In the words of Pentti Linkola ‘The worst enemy of life is too much life: the excess of human life.’” Linkola, a Finnish ecologist, blames overpopulation for environmental degradation and is sceptical about democracy.
This Malthusian take on the impact of population growth underpins almost the entirety of eco-fascism. Many eco-fascists are also eugenicists who believe that a culling of the population, and specific races within that population, is the only way to ensure that the planet survives. While not all eco-fascists go as far as supporting mass murder, most hold that immigration has caused overpopulation in their countries and insists that the only solution is to deport those they deem non-indigenous.
“The multicultural experiments have swarmed, for instance, the European continent and boosted the population,” Dan claims. “It weighs down our society and forces it to mass produce more products and destroy nature to make way for new living areas. Not to mention the increase in waste such a population boost has brought.”
“The import of these non-Europeans have brought in people who do not share the same respect for nature and especially not animals. Nor do they have the connection to the soil that the natives have.”
Many of the issues that fascinate that alt-right as a whole make their way into eco-fascist discourse, but with an environmental spin. One story in particular that has piqued the interest of the community recently is the killing of Mollie Tibbetts, the 20-year-old murdered in the American state of Iowa while out for an evening jog in July 2018. The man charged with her murder, Cristhian Rivera, has pleaded not guilty and the trial is ongoing. However, the alt right has been preoccupied by the revelation that Rivera may be an illegal immigrant from Mexico, with even Donald Trump weighing in on Twitter, in a video commenting: “A person came in from Mexico illegally and killed her. We need the wall.”
“Mollie Tibbetts is yet another beautiful white woman who has fallen victim to multiculturalism and immigration. We should have a day of rememberance [sic] for every single one of our people that have been killed by diversity,” wrote one eco-fascist on Twitter. When Tibbetts’ father asked for race and immigration status to be left out of the conversation, another eco-fascist responded by tweeting a meme of a car hitting a fork in the road, the car labelled “Mr. Tibbetts” dramatically pivoting away from a sign reading “Murdered Daughter” and towards one reading “Tacos”. To eco-fascists, the murder of Mollie Tibbetts is not an isolated act of villainy, but confirmation that people leaving their own “racial nation” will lead to the downfall of white people – and that white people are necessary to protect the white-inhabited natural spaces they hold so dear (eco-facists have surprisingly little to say about the Native Americans displaced from the land that now makes up the US).
While abhorrence for almost all non-white Western European cultures is crucial to eco-fascism, anti-Semitism is by far their preferred form of online racism. Many eco-fascists online constantly praise Adolf Hitler, claim white people have been forced into “semitic egalitarian slavery”, promote Holocaust denial, and proudly brandish images of themselves wearing swastikas. This is, of course, amongst mentions of “lebensraum”, “blood and soil”, and use of neo-Nazi runes.
The godmother of this strand of the alt right is arguably Danielle Savoy, whose Twitter account is popular with eco-facists, and has the Twitter bio: “Vegan in the Style of Savitri Devi #MakeEcologyDeepAgain #GreenWing”.
Savitri Devi, dubbed “Hitler’s Priestess” after Nicholas Goodrick-Clarke’s biography of the same name, was a disciple of Nazism, who believed that Hitler was an “avatar of God” sent down to Earth to save humanity (a reincarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu). She was a major proponent of deep ecology, the belief that all life has value in itself independent of its usefulness to humans, and became an active animal rights activist alongside her passionate Nazism. During World War II, she and her Indian husband gathered intelligence for the Nazi government in Calcutta. Despite her name, which was adopted in later life, Devi was a Greek-French-Italian European (she changed it after moving to India, in the belief that the country’s discriminatory caste system could keep Aryan purity alive).
The links between Devi’s views and eco-fascism are supported by the fact she’s enjoyed something of a renaissance amongst members of the alt-right in the last several years.
Although focussed on anti-Semitism, eco-facists express a broad range of other racist statements as well. They regularly post pictures of idyllic forest and valley scenes, calling on white people to flock there as a new “ethnostate”. A common practice is to refer to non-white people by the latin versions of animal names. For example, one term used to refer to black people is “Australopithecus” – the technical term for a two million year old, extinct ape.
More plainly, and more succinctly, some eco-fascists just post images, or quote tweet videos. of non-white races harming the environment or just living and existing in predominantly white countries, with simple phrases such as “kill them”.
While many active online communities exist to share gripes, many often don’t have any idea what the solution to their problems should be. Eco-fascism does not have that problem, but the solutions that extend from its ideological routes are chilling.
“If we keep on going like we are we will swallow all resources and seize all uninhabited land to make room for us,” Dan says. “The diminishing of the world population is the only thing that would guarantee the survival of our earth.”
“Human survival is tied to the survival of our earth. The sacrifice of a few so that life can prevail is what is needed.”
Underneath the pictures of idyllic country scapes and environmentally-friendly rhetoric, eco-fascists are pushing a murderous, racist ideology in the name of protecting the planet.
https://www.newstatesman.com/science-te ... -supremacy
Garrett Hardin was a prolific and controversial writer whose 1968 article “The Tragedy of the Commons” launched him onto the national stage as one of the intellectual leaders of the environmental movement.
Hardin used his status as a famous scientist and environmentalist to provide a veneer of intellectual and moral legitimacy for his underlying nativist agenda, serving on the board of directors of both the anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform and the white-nationalist Social Contract Press. He also co-founded the anti-immigrant Californians for Population Stabilization and The Environmental Fund, which primarily served to lobby Congress for nativist and isolationist policies.
In his own words:
"Promoters of more diversity maintain that the more immigrants the better; and the greater the variety the richer America will become. Many of these promoters are ‘Europhobic' — fearful of, or revolted by, European civilization and values. They say we should stop taking in North Europeans, urging us instead to solicit the Filipinos, the Taiwanese and the Salvadorans… . Diversity is the opposite of unity, and unity is a prime requirement for national survival.”
—“How Diversity Should be Nurtured,” The Social Contract, 1991
“During the first part of the 20th century, immigration to the United States was biased to favor those who were most like the people who created this legal entity — the northern Europeans. … Then popular anthropology came along with its dogma that all cultures are equally good and valuable. To say otherwise was to be narrow-minded and prejudiced, to be guilty of the sin of ethnocentrism… . That which was foreign and strange, particularly if persecuted, became the ideal. Black became beautiful, and prolonged bilingual education replaced naturalization.”
—“Conspicuous Benevolence and the Population Bomb,” Chronicles, 1991
“The Ford Foundation (and other organizations financed by American money) have allotted many millions of dollars to nondemocratic Latino organizations that are determined to revise the political structure of the United States. … We have no reason to suppose that suicidal political organizations will never succeed in creating a chaotic NorteAmericano Central. The human species may not self-destruct; but what we like to call ‘human civilization’ may.”
—“The Persistence of the Species,” Politics and the Life Sciences, 1999
“My position is that this idea of a multiethnic society is a disaster. That's what we've got in Central Europe, and in Central Africa. A multiethnic society is insanity. I think we should restrict immigration for that reason.”
—Interview with The Social Contract, 1997
For almost 60 years, Garrett Hardin used his authority as a respected, if controversial, ecologist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, to integrate nativist attitudes towards race and immigration into the American environmentalist movement. He portrayed overpopulation as an existential threat, and based many of his arguments on racist, pseudo-scientific assertions about immigrants’ fertility rates. Supported by grants from the Pioneer Fund, a foundation dedicated to the promotion of racist pseudo-science, Hardin prophesied a total collapse of civilization if immigration, particularly non-white immigration, was allowed to continue unabated. He worked within both academic and activist circles to make immigration an environmental issue by convincing the public that impending environmental disaster could only be averted by sealing the borders, cutting off relief efforts and foreign aid to poor nations, and working to purge as much ethnic and cultural diversity from the United States as possible.
Hardin wrote for two very different audiences over the course of his career. His scientific publications targeted the educated public, and in them he worked to establish immigration as a plausible ecological threat while loudly disavowing any racist intent. At the same time, however, Hardin also published numerous articles in far-right publications, including The Social Contract, a nativist magazine founded by anti-immigration activist John Tanton and edited by Wayne Lutton, and Chronicles, a far-right magazine controversial even among conservatives for its racism and anti-Semitism. In these venues, he insisted that the United States and northern Europe were in danger of being overrun by non-white hordes, especially Latinos and Muslims. He framed these views in terms of ethnic struggle, claiming that “there are two forms [of genocide]. Active genocide is the sort one first thinks of — Hitler killing six million Jews. But there is another form — more subtle, less obvious, but potentially equally effective — that we may call passive genocide. The way this works was recently revealed in … remarks by Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament… Translated bluntly, ‘We Muslims are going to outbreed you.’ … If two cultures compete for the same bit of ‘turf’ (environment), and if one of the populations increases faster than the other, then year by year, the population that is reproducing faster will increasingly outnumber the slower one. … This is passive genocide.”
Hardin used the specter of environmental destruction and ethnic conflict to promote policies that can be fairly described as fascist. Concerned that ethnic solidarity would lead minorities in the United States to liberalize immigration policy, Hardin argued that “[t]he double question Who benefits? Who pays?suggests that a restriction of the usual democratic franchise would be appropriate and just in this case.” Moreover, he regularly insisted that to prevent catastrophe, American culture would have to adopt radically new values, especially regarding reproductive freedoms. In 1963, Hardin began publicly advocating for women’s reproductive rights. With the 1968 publication of “The Tragedy of the Commons,” however, he began calling for the United States to reject the UN Declaration of Human Rights, explicitly arguing that the government should adopt coercive measures to prevent women (especially, as he argued elsewhere, non-white women) from reproducing. According to Hardin, certain racial groups have “adopt[ed] overbreeding as a policy to secure [their] own aggrandizement,” and because of this, he argued, “the freedom to breed is intolerable.”
Hardin was generally coy about what coercive measures he had in mind to prevent the “wrong” people from breeding, although in various outlets he praised China’s one-child policy and suggested that forcible sterilization was a viable option. In later interviews, he admitted that he used the rhetoric of women’s rights to cloak his true interest in abortion and sterilization, because “[t]o mention abortion's effect on population growth would be to arouse the suspicion that I was a nasty Nazi.”
Unsurprisingly, Hardin evinced a lifelong interest in eugenics and racial differences. He fiercely denounced the “equalitarians” who pointed out that there was no evidence to support his racist beliefs in the intellectual, psychological, and moral inferiority of nonwhites. Hardin was one of 52 signatories to Linda Gottfredson’s infamous 1994 Wall Street Journal op-ed, “Mainstream Science on Intelligence,” which claimed, among other things, that the average IQ among the black population was only 85, and that the average black 17-year-old was the mental equivalent of the average white 13-year-old. His beliefs about black intellectual inferiority take on even darker connotations when laid alongside his assertion in an undergraduate biology textbook that “[t]here seems to be little danger of society’s being deprived of something valuable by the sterilization of all feeble-minded individuals.” Demonstrating definitively that his concern with overpopulation was primarily a cover for his racist ideology, Hardin opposed groups like Zero Population Growth, which encouraged their primarily white membership to remain child-free. Richard Lynn, another signatory of “Mainstream Science on Intelligence” and noted purveyor of racist psychological theories, praised Hardin for his willingness to argue “that this would be dysgenic because the peoples of the first world are more intelligent than those in the third world.”
Hardin’s interest in curtailing both the immigration and reproduction of ethnic minorities in the United States was part of a broader program of white separatism. Hardin usually obfuscated this stance in mainstream publications; however, in 1990 he gave an interview to Californians for Population Stabilization, an anti-immigrant organization he co-founded. In this interview, he laid out his belief that nations should be segregated along ethnic and religious lines, arguing that “we will have the greatest success if the diversity is spatially isolated to a considerable extent; that is, if you get inside of one nation equal proportions of all the world’s cultures, all the world’s ethnic groups, all the world’s religions, you will have such a mixture that there’ll be nothing but internal warfare, and it’ll be absolutely dreadful.” When asked if he was advocating for segregation, he responded, “Segregat[ion] by nation, not by neighborhoods within a nation. See, that’s a different thing; the same word, segregation, but if we segregate by nations, then peace is possible.”
Hardin’s anti-immigrant rhetoric often revolved around his belief that immigrants came to the United States in order to steal the wealth and privilege that they, and the cultures they came from, were incapable of providing for themselves. From this starting point, he argued that not only was immigration intolerable, but that foreign aid, particularly disaster relief, was allowing poor nations to live beyond their means, and should thus be cut off. The Environmental Fund, which was founded by Hardin and funded by Cordelia Scaife May, right-wing activist and heiress to the Mellon-Scaife fortune, lobbied against P.L. 480, the “Food for Peace” program that sells heavily subsidized surplus grain to famine-stricken nations. While unsuccessful at having it repealed, he took credit for convincing Congress to let the program “wither on the vine,” calling this “success” the Fund’s hallmark achievement.
Hardin’s opposition to famine relief made his opposition to immigration even more striking. He singled out refugees in a number of his writings, portraying them as greedy freeloaders. One of his favorite rhetorical tactics was to describe nations as lifeboats, each with severely limited resources. Because of these limitations, it was morally acceptable to forbid any more people from boarding a lifeboat that was close to capacity, and in some cases it would even be acceptable to throw existing residents “overboard.” In his controversial 1974 essay, “Living on a Lifeboat,” Hardin portrayed refugees as cynically choosing to “fall out of their lifeboats and swim for a while in the water outside, hoping to be admitted to a rich lifeboat, or in some other way to benefit from the ‘goodies’ on board.”
Ironically, he acknowledged that white Americans had no good moral claim to their own “goodies,” but when asked if the land their wealth was built on should be given back to the native population from whom it had been stolen, he said “[a]s an exercise in pure logic, I see no way to reject this proposal. Yet I am unwilling to live by it. … Suppose, becoming intoxicated with pure justice, we ‘Anglos’ should decide to turn our land over to the Indians… Then what would we non-Indians do? Where would we go?” Yet anyone asking the same question about nonwhite refugees was not only “irrational,” but “suicidal.”
Despite all this, Hardin is still taken seriously as a scientific and environmental thinker by the broader educated public. Excerpted portions of “The Tragedy of the Commons,” in addition to being assigned in countless college courses, were included in The Oxford Book of Modern Science Writing, edited by Richard Dawkins, and American Earth: Environmental Writing since Thoreau, edited by Bill McKibben with an introduction by Al Gore, both published in 2008. After his suicide in 2003, The New York Times published an obituary of Hardin in which its strongest criticism was simply that he “saw his harsh message on overpopulation as a form of tough love.”
Over the course of his career, Hardin wrote 27 books and over 350 articles, many of which were frank in their racism and quasi-fascist ethnonationalism. Nevertheless, whenever Hardin’s views are presented to the public, the white nationalism that unified his thought is invariably glossed over. In general, the only places to find open discussions of the entirety of Hardin’s thought are on white supremacist websites, where he is celebrated as a hero. Articles and comments on VDARE.com, stormfront.org, and The Occidental Quarterly, not to mention publications Hardin personally contributed to like The Social Contract and Chronicles, recognize Hardin as one of the intellectual pillars of modern scientific racism and white separatism. After his death, John Tanton and Wayne Lutton founded the Garrett Hardin Society to continue Hardin’s mission of transforming environmentalism into a weapon to use against immigrants, minorities and poor nations.
https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate ... ett-hardin