Ecologism (and Brussels)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Dec 10 13:16:43 MST 2001

>PS I think I remeber coming across one or two 'deep' ecologist sites on the
>internet years ago which seemed to present their beliefs in Heideggerian
>of the critique of technological thinking and humanism. Anyone know anything
>about this? Hasn't there also been instances of the extreme-right embracing
>certain ecologist beliefs? Not that I'm trying to draw a necessary
parallel, I
>just want to know.

All my ecology articles are at:

I would be careful going overboard on the question of Nazi ecology. I have
an article out there that takes up the subject in some depth. In fact, the
most sweeping environmental initiatives in the 20th century took place in
the USSR in the early 20s. I have an article out there that deals with that.

I also wrote something called "David Harvey and the American Indian" for
RRPE that appears in the Indigenous section of my archives: Harvey wrote
this silly book titled "Justice, Nature & the Geography of Difference"
arguing that American Indian desire to preserve local ecology and
traditions might veer into fascism, since the Nazis were also fond of
"local color" themselves.

Here is what I said in reply:

After warning us that anti-ecological activity by the mammoth-destroying
American Indians counted for more than Luther Standing Bear's greenish
words, should not the same considerations apply to Nazi verbal professions
of "ecology" or "concern" for the indigenous peoples? Consider that Walter
Schoenichen was an aide to Heman Goering, who in his capacity as Minister
of the German Forests supervised the "Germanization" of forests in
conquered territories. In 1941, the Nazis took control of the Bialowieza
forest in Lithuania and they resolved to turn it into a hunting reserve for
top officers (Schama 1995: 71-72). Open season was declared on the Jews,
who made up 12 percent of the population in this region and who violated
the ethnic purity of the proposed game farm. Five hundred and fifty Jews
were rounded up and shot in the courtyard of a hunting palace operated by
Battalion 332 of Von Bock's army division. Goring decided that the purified
forest should be altered into an extension of the East Prussian forests. An
SS team led by Konrad Mayer, who had been Minister of Agriculture at Berlin
University, planned a colonization program that would "Germanize" the
forest. Poles, and any remaining Jews, were reduced to the status of
barnyard animals to be penned up or slaughtered.

Schoenichen jumped at the opportunity to administer this program. This
"total landscape plan" would first empty villages and then the unpopulated
forest would be stocked with purely "Teutonic" species, including eagles,
elk, and wolves. Since there was a painting of a bison on Goring's wall, it
was crucial to include this beast in the menagerie.

Any reasonable person would understand that the gangsters terrorizing Jews
and Poles in order to set up a "Teutonic" zoo have nothing in common with
today's greens, even those who embrace some of the more reactionary aspects
of deep ecology. Nazi "ecology" is a contradiction in terms. The Nazis did
not want to protect nature, but to transform large swaths of it into
something resembling Wagnerian opera backdrops. Furthermore, the murderous
assault on peasants who had the misfortune to live in these vicinities is
just the opposite of what groups such as Greenpeace or Survival
International fight for today. They seek the right of indigenous peoples to
live in peace in their natural surroundings. While some conservative,
well-financed environmentalist groups have unfortunately neglected the
rights of indigenous peoples in campaigns to protect endangered species,
the more radical groups have a relatively spotless record.

Furthermore, the notion of importing "Teutonic" animals into the Lithuanian
forest is antithetical to genuine ecology, which attempts to preserve the
natural balance between indigenous species and their environments. While
Harvey does not mention this once in his book, the first and most ambitious
state-sponsored ecology program in the 20th century was launched by the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which set aside vast portions of the
country as nature preserves. After Stalin consolidated his power, he went
on the offensive against this program which he regarded as a foolish waste
of resources. One of the first anti-ecological measures he instituted was
the importation of muskrats into these preserves, whose fur could generate


Louis Proyect
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