What is eco-fascism?
The disturbing ideology pairing environmentalism and nationalism
Environmental campaign group Extinction Rebellion has sprayed the Treasury building in Westminster with fake blood.
Protesters used a hose connected to an out-of-commission fire engine to spray 1,800 litres of “blood” at the front of the building, which is situated on Horse Guards Road, near Downing Street.
Extinction Rebellion said it wanted to draw attention to the “inconsistency between the UK Government’s insistence that the UK is a world leader in tackling climate breakdown, while pouring vast sums of money into fossil exploration and carbon-intensive projects”.
And protester Cathy Eastburn said the Treasury’s decisions had “devastating consequences”, including “huge subsidies for fossil fuels, financing massive fossil fuels projects overseas [and] airport expansion”, reports Sky News.
The group will begin its International Rebellion protest in four days’ time, blocking 12 areas of Westminster.
Critics say Extinction Rebellion “is, above all else, a movement of students and left-wing academics”, says The Spectator.
But the group itself says: “We don’t align with any political party and welcome people who vote for all political parties and none.”
It has even been accused of “eco-fascism”, which “loosely finds its expressions in high concerns for the environment, coupled with claims to land and heritage, and sometimes by excluding ‘others’ on the grounds of their illegitimate claims to land”, says Fairplanet.org.
There is no evidence to suggest that Extinction Rebellion has anything to do with eco-fascism, but the ideology’s rise is concerning those who observe a nationalist element to some environmental campaigning.–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––For a round-up of the most important stories from around the world - and a concise, refreshing and balanced take on the week’s news agenda - try The Week magazine. Get your first six issues free–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
What is eco-fascism?
Eco-fascists are “nature-obsessed, anti-Semitic, white supremacists who argue that racial purity is the only way to save the planet”, says the New Statesman.
Its origins can be traced back to the German Nazi party, and its slogan “Blood and Soil” expressed the idea that a so-called “racially-superior” group of people have a connection to the land on which they live.
“The concept of Blood and Soil gives us the moral right to take back as much land in the East as is necessary,” wrote the Nazi agriculture minister Richard Walther Darré.
Isn’t environmentalism a left-wing thing?
“Eco-friendly, environmentalist politics tend to be linked with the ideas of the left, not fused with the oppressive politics of fascism,” says VICE magazine.
“But that’s exactly what eco-fascism is: a twisted blend of authoritarianism, white-supremacy, ethno-nationalism and a misguided concern for the care of planet earth,” it adds.
However, the right is still more commonly associated with climate-change denial rather than eco-fascism.
Researchers at the Angus Reid Institute in Vancouver, Canada, found that over 80% of left-leaning Liberal and New Democrat voters believed in human-caused climate change, versus 35% of Conservative voters.
Who are some notorious eco-fascists?
The Christchurch mosque shooting in New Zealand earlier this year was carried out by a terrorist describing himself as an “eco-fascist” in the rambling “manifesto” he emailed out just before he murdered 51 people. He described immigration as “environmental warfare” and wrote “there is no nationalism without environmentalism”, says GQ.
The shooter in El Paso, Texas, who murdered 22 people and injured more than two dozen others, also included environmentalist themes in his “manifesto”.
“The decimation of the environment is creating a massive burden for future generations. Corporations are heading the destruction of our environment by shamelessly overharvesting resources,” he wrote. “If we can get rid of enough people, then our way of life can be more sustainable.”
Anders Breivik, the Norwegian terrorist who murdered 77 people in 2011 including 69 at a Labour Party youth camp, referenced Madison Grant, the eugenicist, environmentalist, and the “founding father of eco-fascism”, according to the American Institute for Economic Research.
Ted Kazcynski, known as the Unabomber, carried out an 18-year bombing campaign around the US between 1978 and 1996, killing three people and injuring 23 others. He was reportedly radicalised after land around his cabin in the woods was bought by property developers. He saw himself as a “Neo-luddite, fighting against the corporate world in favour of a more primitive lifestyle”, says VICE.