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the dark greens
2 October 2011
may all be environmentalists now.
just as, over the last several decades, most of us have
learned to be feminists, most of us have also learned to
reject the dark side of the feminist movement that remains
deeply Marxist in its roots and intentions.
most of us take some pride in our efforts to care for our
surroundings, and to ensure that we enjoy the world around us
without despoiling it for others. However, we also need to be
conscious of the motives of the “dark greens” who threaten
our democracy and many institutions and attitudes we hold
election year moves into full gear our MMP system means the
voters will want to know how post-election coalitions might
emerge and just who might end up in Government. The Green
Party has managed to present itself as representing a group of
kindly folk who want to keep New Zealand clean and green, but
are essentially harmless – and many of them are.
we need to be aware that the Dark Side of the Green movement
is becoming more vocal in its declaration that we must move
beyond democracy if we are to save the planet from
humanity’s blight. In 2002, Mayer Hillman, in an interview
in “Local Transport Today” said among other things ...
“When the chips are down I think democracy is a less
important goal than is the protection of the planet from the
death of life, the end of life on it. This has got to be
imposed on people whether they like it or not.”
on Australia’s On Line Opinion, David Shearman, in
Change, is democracy enough?” favourably compares
the Chinese government’s ability to ban plastic shopping
bags with the dithering of the liberal democracies
people characterize these Dark Greens as socialists –
“watermelons” who are green on the outside but red on the
inside. I suggest we have got our colours mixed.
people are vaguely aware that the Green Movement had its
origins in Nazi Germany. (The Nazi boy scouts were called
Green-shirts). However, many seem unaware of how strong the
“green” movement was in developing the most shameful
politics of the Third Reich. In particular I wonder how many
would refer to ecology so frequently if they were aware of its
place in the development of Fascist thought and practice.
1930, Ernst Lehmann, a professor of botany, in 1930,
characterized National Socialism as “politically applied
biology”. He wrote:
through a re-integration of humanity into the whole of nature
can our people be made stronger. .... Humankind alone is no
longer the focus of thought, but rather life as a whole . . .
This striving toward connectedness with the totality of life,
with nature itself, a nature into which we are born, this is
the deepest meaning and the true essence of National Socialist
early as 1815, Ernst Arnds’ prescient “On the Care and
Conservation of Forests”, written at the dawn of
industrialization in Central Europe, rails against
shortsighted exploitation of woodlands and soil, condemning
deforestation and its economic causes. At times he wrote in
terms strikingly similar to those of contemporary biocentrism:
one sees nature in a necessary connectedness and
interrelationship, then all things are equally important –
shrub, worm, plant, human, stone, nothing first or last, but
all one single unity.
of our West Coast forests was long doomed.
is at the heart of much environmental thought but is not
necessarily linked to fascism as such. However, by the
beginning of the nineteenth century, the connection between
love of the German land and Germany’s emergent militant and
racist nationalism was firmly set in place and ready to
dominate political thought and action.
Staudenmaier points out that, as early as 1913, Ludwig Klarge’s
Man and Earth proclaimed many of today’s Green
themes, including the evils of urban sprawl.
and Earth" anticipated just about all of the themes of
the contemporary ecology movement. It decried the accelerating
extinction of species, disturbance of global ecosystemic
balance, deforestation, destruction of aboriginal peoples and
of wild habitats, urban sprawl, and the increasing alienation
of people from nature
of this in 1913!
in Mein Kampf that people “owe their higher
existence, not to the ideas of a few crazy ideologists,
but to the knowledge and ruthless application of Nature's
stern and rigid laws.” Hitler’s found his
“anthropomorphized nature” had some convenient truths to
guide his Third Reich. For example, he wrote: “Nature
usually makes certain corrective decisions with regard to
the racial purity of earthly creatures. She has little love
am always stunned by the ease with which local Councils, with
a wonderful lack of awareness of history, write into their
district plans rules against the “mongrelisation” of
plants and the need to eco-source native plants to maintain
the “genetic purity” of the species.
the whole mantra of “native plants good – exotic plants
bad” is an uncomfortable reminder of how strongly the
preference for “purity” remains entrenched today.
explains that Hitler was highly committed to all manner of
Green ideas, including some of the nuttier ones:
and Himmler were both strict vegetarians and animal lovers,
attracted to nature mysticism and homeopathic cures, and
staunchly opposed to vivisection and cruelty to animals.
Himmler even established experimental organic farms to grow
herbs for SS medicinal purposes. And Hitler, at times, could
sound like a veritable Green utopian, discussing
authoritatively and in detail various renewable energy sources
(including environmentally appropriate hydropower and
producing natural gas from sludge) as alternatives to coal,
and declaring “water, winds and tides" as the energy
path of the future.
I do not wish to suggest that any and every green thought is a
fascist thought. When I erected a windmill on my 20 acre
country block I was not making a statement about my fascist
leanings. When my wife and I planted over 80,000 trees and
plants on the same block we were not declaring our allegiance
to the NZ Nazi Party.
we need to be aware that many of the beliefs which appealed to
Hitler and his cronies appealed because they were based on a
philosophy that was anti-science, anti-reason,
anti-intellectual and “anti” the Enlightenment and all it
also need to be mindful of Karl Popper’s reminder that
science and democracy are two sides of the one coin and that
an attack on one is an attack on the other.
legitimate environmental issues and attitudes were perverted
by the Nazis and we need to learn from this history if we are
not to repeat it. Staudenmaier’s final paragraph reads:
'ecological' orientation alone, outside of a critical social
framework, is dangerously unstable. The record of fascist
ecology shows that under the right conditions such an
orientation can quickly lead to barbarism.
have been warned.
greens are still a powerful force in German politics today –
Herbert Gruhl’s “Ecological Democratic Party”
(founded in 1982) keeps the old beliefs alive.
Beil, in Ecology and the Modernisation of Fascism in the
German Ultra-right, explains one of Gruhl’s nicer ideas:
'laws of nature’, for Gruhl, offer a solution to Third World
immigration, especially the 'law' that "the only
acceptable currency with which violations of natural law can
be paid for is death. Death brings the equalization; it
cuts back all life that has overgrown on this planet, so
that the planet can once again come into equilibrium.”
here we have the retro version of the “final solution”,
but this time wrapped in Greenspeak.
any party contemplating the Green Party as a coalition partner
should press hard to establish the party’s attitudes to the
principles of liberal democracy
and the role of science in modern society.
emerged from the economic hardship of the Great Depression.
these turbulent times no one should look at the link between
Green Politics and the rise of Fascism in Nazi Germany and
console ourselves that “It could not happen here”.
*To read more from Owen on this theme, click here>>>
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