Saturday, February 15, 2020

Two mass killings a world apart share a common theme

Eco-Fascism: the Racist Theory That Inspired the El Paso and Christchurch Shooters

Both believed immigrants were destroying the environment, a racist trope that's gaining steam among white nationalists.

The El Paso shooter, who killed 22, claimed in his manifesto that the “decimation of the environment” through “urban sprawl” was endangering future generations in the U.S — and that immigrants, encouraged by corporations, were responsible. He said the way to protect the environment was “to decrease the number of people in America.” The Christchurch shooter, an Australian national, labelled himself an “eco-fascist” in his own manifesto, which he defined as “ethnic autonomy for all peoples with a focus on preservation of nature and the natural order.”

White nationalist organizer Richard Spencer published a manifesto one day prior to the violent Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, August 2017, in which he also expressed eco-fascist ideas. “We have the potential to become nature’s steward or its destroyer,” Spencer wrote. “The natural world — and our experience of it — is an end in itself.”

“Climate change — and the prospect of ‘scarce’ resources that comes attached to it — is just fodder to a far-right that feeds on fear of the outside.”

David Adler, policy director of Democracy in Europe Movement, a transnational progressive party, who has written about environmental policy, says that the fringe subculture has been gaining ground in Europe, where there’s been a resurgence of far-right anti-immigrant groups’ efforts to win over environmentalists.


  1. In sum, both manifestos contain classic ecofascist thinking.

  2. Murray 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... 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".

  3. An entire paragraph of the manifesto is dedicated to environmental degradation and Malthusian claims about the need to “get rid of enough people” to protect ever dwindling resources. The author cites the Christchurch shooter’s lengthy manifesto, titled “The Great Replacement,” as an inspiration, reiterating the paranoid fears of demographic shift and white decline. The Christchurch shooter self-identified as an “eco-fascist,” writing, “there is no nationalism without environmentalism.”

    The so-called deep ecology movement, claiming to argue for the intrinsic value of all living things, insists that the flourishing of nonhuman life is impossible without decreasing the human population. Deep ecologists like David Foreman in the 1980s welcomed famine as a means of depopulation; his fellow eco-fascist contemporaries saw a similar boon in the AIDS crisis. Finnish deep ecologist writer Pentti Linkola deploys perverse “lifeboat ethics” to argue for eco-fascist measures, including an end to all immigration. “What to do when a ship carrying a hundred passengers suddenly capsizes and there is only one lifeboat?” Linkola wrote. “When the lifeboat is full, those who hate life will try to load it with more people and sink the lot. Those who love and respect life will take the ship’s axe and sever the extra hands that cling to the sides.” Yet such cheap metaphors for preservation through decreased population leave unsaid the profound white supremacist undergirding of all such eco-fascist positions. Marginalized, colonized, impoverished, and displaced populations are always the last on the lifeboat.

    Environmentalism has always been a right-wing ideology. It assumes that the Golden Age was the feudal system, a low-tech, steady-state, "sustainable" society where the titled nobility enjoyed extraordinary power and the rest of the people had the same rights as the livestock. To understand what makes the movement tick, look at its origins, particularly the organization called the "1001 Club."