Against Eco-Fascism, Against False Accusations

Over the last few days, a small gang of anarchists and social ecologists have been smearing Deep Green Resistance with accusations of “eco-fascism.” Normally, we like to ignore these ridiculous lies and the toxic people who make them. But for the sake of clarity, and because the issue of eco-fascism is an important one that we don’t often touch on, please know:

Deep Green Resistance is 100% an anti-fascist organization. All forms of fascism, “ecological” or otherwise, rest on a foundation of white supremacy, patriarchy, and industrialism – three atrocities that DGR categorically rejects. It is an inherently hateful, destructive ideology that has no place in the environmentalist movement or anywhere else. As part of our dedication to resisting all forms of oppression, many of our members have put their lives on the line organizing against white nationalists, Nazis, and other reactionary scumbags. Be assured that any endorsement of fascism is and always will be grounds for dismissal from Deep Green Resistance, and that we consider the entire notion to be morally depraved and philosophically bankrupt.

These most recent accusations are dishonestly capitalizing on an interview one of our leaders, Derrick Jensen, did with Hubert Collins. Collins reached out to Derrick and asked for an interview, which Derrick gave. Unfortunately, Collins posted the interview on Counter Currents, a right-wing news website that hosts anti-feminist, conservative, and white nationalist content. Derrick was unaware of Collins’ views and disavowed him completely upon finding out. Nothing in the interview itself even hints at any fascist views or duplicitous motives. And if you don’t trust us, trust them – Collins himself prefaces the interview by saying that Derrick is an opponent of white supremacy and “surely hates everything about Counter Currents.”

This is actually a fairly common problem with prominent leftist voices – Noam Chomsky, for example, once gave an interview to Hustler magazine without realizing it would be sandwiched in between vile pornography. Of course, the armchair activists attacking us are not receiving interview requests from anyone, so it stands to reason that they wouldn’t understand how things like this can happen. But happen they do, and only the most disingenuous and opportunistic trolls would see them as evidence of secret fascist sympathies.

There is nothing new to these accusations, of course. We in Deep Green Resistance have been routinely smeared as fascists for years now. The reason why is simple: Because DGR proudly rejects the white-chauvinist, Eurocentric settler mindset of the modern American left. Most fundamentally, we are not a human supremacist organization. We believe that environmentalism exists to defend the health and freedom of the whole living world, of which human beings are merely a small (but precious!) part. Further, we believe that, when our way of living comes into conflict with the health of the land and the non-humans with which we share it, our way of living is what must go.

For many people, these are upsetting statements; for those activists whose idea of liberation is tied up with air-conditioned subway cars and automated luxury goods, they can be downright terrifying! It’s no wonder, then, that so many techno-utopians are quick to assume that we support sterilization, eugenics, “population control,” or even mass killings or genocide. Nothing could be further from the truth, of course. All those things are both morally unacceptable and practically foolish. DGR advocates for the targeted abolition of industrial civilization, not indiscriminate destruction or mass extinction. To be honest, we find it particularly sad that so many “environmentalists” simply cannot imagine a biocentric worldview apart from these atrocities – but their lack of imagination is not our fault, and we’d appreciate it if they stopped making up nonsense.

Deep Green Resistance has also been accused of supporting nationalism, Trumpian border walls, and even white separatism. These are more ridiculous lies. No one in DGR approves of the Trump administration’s policies towards migrants, or those of any imperial politician. However, unlike many other American leftists, our hatred of colonial borders comes from the colonial part, as opposed to the blanket rejection of any and all restrictions on movement. We believe that the land belongs to its indigenous keepers, and that their historical and cultural ties to that land are to be celebrated, revered, and protected. We don’t believe that “the Earth belongs to everyone,” or that a perfect world would be one in which the children of colonizers are allowed “free movement” over the lands of the colonized. In our perfect world, settler-colonialism is abolished and what belongs to the indigenous is returned to the indigenous – not redistributed to the settler nation.

Unfortunately, this is enough to have many anarchists and social ecologists – steeped as they are in the Manifest Destiny ideology and its pathological hatred of boundaries – to accuse us of closet fascism. Some have gone so far as to compare our defense of indigenous land ownership to the “Blood and Soil” politics of the National Socialists in Germany! The Eurocentric chauvinism required to conflate every possible form of national identity with the specific depravity of white supremacy is as dumbfounding as it is disgusting. We can only encourage these folks to look beyond 20th century European history for a change, as uncomfortable as that might make them. Hopefully, they would come to learn from indigenous notions of tribal, national, and ethnic identity that are distinct from Europe’s pathetic and vicious fixation on the colonial fantasy of race.

You may have heard the expression, “When you’re used to privilege, equality can feel like oppression.” Well, the settler-colonial left needs to learn that when you’re used to complete and total freedom, any boundary can feel like fascism. After all, prominent leftist heroes like Jean-Paul Sartre and Michel Foucault condemned the “police state” for preventing men from raping children. Other leftist figures in the United States denounced the Black Panthers and the American Indian movement as “bourgeois nationalists” for excluding whites. We in Deep Green Resistance are tired of this Eurocentric, patriarchal chauvinism, never moreso than when it is passed off as some sort of radical devotion to social justice. We will continue to organize as a radically anti-colonial, radically anti-patriarchal, radically anti-industrial – and yes, radically anti-fascist – movement. We encourage those who make a name for themselves smearing us to get off Facebook and Twitter for a moment and try to do the same.


Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

22 thoughts on “Against Eco-Fascism, Against False Accusations”

  1. I strongly object to the terms “ecofascism” and “ecofascist.” Those terms are nothing but anti-environmental propaganda used by the establishment to discredit radical environmentalists. The real ecofascists are humans who destroy the natural world, not any radical environmentalists.

  2. Well, Jeff, I’ve debated online with numerous Green activists for quite a few years and there is indeed a fair number who advocate population reduction for the poor who have too many black babies for those activists’ liking. They’re not really the establishment, although David Attenborough, whose ideas about population are close to theirs, is certainly so.

  3. I’m an anarchist but have little to do with “mainstream” anarchists because of this inability to hold a critical conversation. Every time I have used articles for this site to highlight a point I get shouted down for being “transphobic” for referring to dgr (even though that is never the subject under discussion). Honestly, there is no room for discussion in today’s authoritarian anarchist spaces

  4. It’s strange that DGR took the charge of “eco-fascism” seriously enough to even bother responding — let alone responding in such a defensive tone. Accusing DGR of “fascism” (eco- or otherwise) is like accusing deer of being vicious predators.

    My only criticism of DGR is that it ignores the obvious flaw in its plan of action: If we were to somehow succeed in bringing down the global grid, the billions who live in cities would either starve now or die in food riots — as opposed to dying a generation or two from now, when the runaway trains of uncontrolled population growth and agricultural failure collide head-on, at full speed.

    With 7.6 billion people and exponential growth, some kind of radical population control is a given. Either the “haves” cut consumption 90% while the “have-nots” stop blindly reproducing, or nature will do it for us, the way it handles overpopulation in lemmings and rats.

  5. @SRH
    Racists are not necessarily fascists. The terms “fascist” and “fascism” are generally misunderstood and misused. Fascism, as Mussolini said, is corporatism. Or as Robert F. Kenned, Jr. said, is corporations running the government. There’s a reason that racism and fascism are different words. You could easily have fascism without racism, and vice versa.

    As to overpopulation, that issue is the biggest failing of DGR. They never mention it even though it’s the most fundamental, and therefore biggest and most important, physical issue on the planet (as opposed to mental and spiritual issues). People who just want Black people to lower their population are not environmentalists, they are racists, period. Every group of people of every color need to greatly reduce their numbers, and white people reducing their population would do more because they consume more.

  6. Nice response. The American left seems to be such utter garbage in many ways. I’m happy I don’t live here and have to deal with these stupid ideas so many of them seem to get.

  7. There is no American Left left … it has either been stamped out except for Chelsea Manning, Kshama Sawant and near-lefties Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren or co-opted outright by the forces of racist, fascist corporate capitalist planet-eating US imperialism. Or slowly assassinated like Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning and Mumia Abu Jamal among others.

    Read this statement by Chelsea Manning on the use of Grand Juries as fascist oppressors of the marginalized [which is the memo we all missed in high school]:
    4
    Statement By Chelsea Manning for Aaron Swartz Day 2019
    https://www.aaronswartzday.org/chelsea-manning-asd-2019/?link_id=1&can_id=a476b725cc9205600b3ed7d2bc90bf23&source=email-new-statement-from-chelsea-explains-why-she-must-resist&email_referrer=email_663562&email_subject=new-statement-from-chelsea-explains-why-she-must-resist

  8. Is that so?

    I guess that can be said a bit to many others places in the western world too. The so called left have become its own worst enemy in many ways. Once it was famous for challening power and the social structures that keeps people locked down.. these days more often than not the “left” defends power and anyone who critique power and so on is written off as a “alt right winger” or “fascist” or whatever nonsen they can come up with.

    I do not even understand why they spend so much time even bothering about wether Derrick was put onto this very questionable place or not that is not his fault or responsibility as I see it.
    They should clearly know that he is not part of these peoples believes.. so what if he happened to talk to someone of opposing ideologies? Are we not even allowed to communicate our ideas and thoughts outside of our own echo chambers anymore? If so we have already lost.

  9. @JeffHoffman
    Ecofascism does exist. Remember that Climate Strike and Extinction Rebellion helped pave the way for the coup in Bolivia.

  10. @I.
    How so? My definition of “ecofascism” is as I described. I’m far more concerned with the rich and their companies destroying the environment than these complaints about environmentalists that are irrelevant to the environment.

    “Fascism” basically means big business and the rich that own it running the government. Environmentalists are not acting as business people and therefore cannot be fascist.

  11. @DGR
    Thank you for your reply. As the events in Bolivia are still unfolding, I don’t think an article has already been written specifically about the role played by corporate-funded environmental orgs. However one example can be found on this thread (it gives extensive evidence suggesting that the campaign #SOSBolivia, launched after the Amazon fires and promoted by many orgs including XR, was an operation aiming to normalize the idea of an intervention in Bolivia):
    https://mobile.twitter.com/OLAASM/status/1166128718001184773

    It adds to the evidence already available that movements like XR and Fridays For Future are corporate-funded and aim to push for a global Green New Deal (exhaustive information on this subject can be found for example on wrongkindofgreen.org).

    I’ll keep you updated if I come across new evidence.

  12. @JeffHoffman
    Apart from my previous comment here’s another recurring example of ecofascism: neomalthusianism disguised as environmentalism (for example, blaming climate change on overpopulation, or pseudo “feminist” actions related to contraception and abortion that actually aim for “population control” specifically of people of color).

  13. @I.
    Again, not fascism, nothing to do with it.

    As to overpopulation, I can’t tell what your position is from what you wrote, but except for the original use of agriculture that caused it, overpopulation and individual overconsumption are the physical root causes of all environmental and ecological problems. Overpopulation is the main cause of the current extinction crisis, and it has nothing to do with the color of people’s skin. Neither overpopulation nor overconsumption would have happened without the use of agriculture, so that’s an even deeper physical root, but if you claim that human overpopulation is not an extreme problem, you’re not any type of environmentalist. Humans, their agriculture, and their infrastructure now occupy more than half the terrestrial land on Earth, and most of the remainder is uninhabitable by all but the most primordial species. That fact alone should tell you all you need to know about how extreme this problem is.

    For any real environmentalist, Malthus and his theories have nothing to do with overpopulation. We need far fewer humans so that we can have far more of other species, which would be the natural balance. Human overpopulation is Koyaanisqatsi in the extreme.

  14. Here is an irreducible fact: If global population since 1900 had remained stable instead of quadrupling, our environmental problems today would only be a quarter of what they are.

    In reality, they would be far less than that. Since population stability is inherently anti-capitalist, we would have been in a global recession for 120 years. The fall off in production would have brought an end to profits, eliminating inventions, and reducing innovation to almost nothing.

    No more equipment churning up the earth for new housing developments. No more mine expansions to build all the “new and improved” products we’re taught to demand and buy.

    All the forests that were standing in 1900 would still be here. Ford and GM likely would have shut down by now, due to zero demand for new products. Ditto Sandard Oil and all the other oil companies.

    That’s the amazing thing about growth. It drives economic activity. And without population growth, there’s no economic growth. All those “exciting” business opportunities disappear. Economic stagnation occurs, and new inventions cease, because there’s no money to develop them. And thus, no interest in pursuing them.

    But zero growth is a double-edged sword. Zero growth means zero wasted materials, and net zero environmental damage (i.e., any damage is incidental, and nature repairs it). Correspondingly, a subsistence economy does not particularly reward new thinking. Life becomes somewhat dull and routine.

    We would, however, learn to adapt. And while there was nothing to spur indigenous cultures to invent the wheel and the countless innovations that followed, they had plenty of time to love and dance, and to contemplate the animals, plants, earth, and sky.

    Some indigenous cultures have developed remarkable arts, crafts, music, and philosophy. Some even made forays into architecture. Most of the latter eventually overdid it and died out — though a few, apparently, knew when to stop.

    Some, sadly, had too much time on their hands, and thought up idiocies such as sacrifices to imagined gods, or horribly disfiguring rituals, such as lip and neck stretchings, grotesque body piercings, etc. Undeniably, the human intellect is a potentially dangerous faculty, with or without technology.

    When I think about these things, however, I am always drawn back to the memories of the last full-blooded Ohlone Indian, chronicled by a National Geographic reporter in the 1920s, as he sat beside her deathbed for two months. And the title of her biography tells it all: “The Woman Who Remembered Paradise.”

  15. “not fascism, nothing to do with it.”

    You can’t be serious. Eugenics is a key component of fascism. It’s directly related to the “blood and soil” ideology. And yes there are plenty of eugenists disguised as environmentalists, such as Jane Goodall (who is a friend of Greta Thunberg btw) and the Bill Gates foundation.

    Suggested reading:
    https://medium.com/@jacob.levich/bill-gates-and-the-myth-of-overpopulation-ca3b1d89680 (I do not necessarily agree with all the points made there)

  16. @Mark E Behrend
    Land and species have been lost for millennia due to human overpopulation. It didn’t start with industrial society, that just accelerated it.

  17. @I.
    I’m not even going to read something with a disgusting and idiotic title that includes “the myth of overpopulation.” As I said, if you don’t recognize not only that human overpopulation is a problem, but that it’s a huge fundamental ecological and environmental problem, you’re not an advocate for the natural environment. Overpopulation deniers are every bit as bad as global warming/climate change deniers: you can argue that the Earth is flat all you want, but it’s simply not true. Same with arguing that human overpopulation isn’t a root cause of all environmental and ecological harms.

    As to fascism: Fascism is a political and economic system that has big business running the government. You’re totally confusing Nazism, which incorporated fascism but also had other, irrelevant aspects like the “blood and soil” aspect you mentioned, with just plain fascism. Mussolini’s Italy was fascist and didn’t have eugenics. Calling everything you don’t like “fascist” is like a kid calling their parents fascist because their parents disciplined them.

    Your comments have zero credibility. Before this nonsense, you wrote ridiculous things like Greta Thunberg and eugenists, without any evidence to support such a ludicrous claim. You sound like some corporate troll.

  18. In the simplest terms possible: * Capitalism requires growth like junkies require heroin.
    * Population growth guarantees economic growth.
    * World population is 11 times what it was at the start of the Industrial Revolution.
    * The world has a finite size and finite resources.
    * Insane population growth is as real in white Turkey and Iran as it is in black Nigeria and Ethiopia.
    * And the trend in these countries is toward the same overconsumption that we see in America and Australia.

  19. LMAO. I can tell exactly which ones of you were raised in the first world because of the complete lack of class analysis in your comments. Right now, in the context we live in, “overpopulation” is a phenomenon connected to poverty, not to wealth. Population might still be growing everywhere, but birth rates are in decline in rich countries. The only places where birth rates are still rising are in the Global South.

    Yet which are, *by far*, the most polluting countries? The North or the South?
    And in which ones does the majority of black and brown people live?

    If anyone has to be sterilized it’s the rich, not the poor. Then the poor can win the revolution by the sheer force of numbers.
    😀

    Talk of “population control” without class analysis is eugenist BS. That this hurts the feelings of some people here doesn’t make it less true.

  20. Meanwhile, mindless consumers and mindless baby makers are racing to collective suicide. Equally true for my multi-millionaire in-laws with their 4 kids and new SUV, and for the Malagasy family I saw on TV, with 4 kids and a new pickup.

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