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Eco-Movement Infiltrated By Right-Wing Extremists in Germany

Eco-Movement Infiltrated By Right-Wing Extremists in Germany

German far-right extremists are using the ecological movement, long associated with “cuddly, left-leaning greens,” to win over a new generation of supporters. An environmental magazine, Umwelt und Activ (Environment and Active) is even thought to be a “camouflage publication” for the far-right National Democratic party (NPD), says the Guardian.

Gudrun Heinrich of the University of Rostock has written a study about “brown ecologists,” a reference to the Nazi brown shirts (so-called from the color of their uniforms) and their modern-day adherents. Two German publications, Der Spiegel and the Süddeutsche Zeitung have recently published articles about the “organic brown fellowship” (“Braune Bio-Kameradschaft”) and the “infiltration [Unterwanderung] of organic farming by the far right.”

Political scientists say that the far-right is seeking to take the ecological movement back from the left and, in particular, from the Green party, which became politically prominent in the 1980s. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung points out, even while the Nazi party was killing thousands in concentration camps, it was also promoting animal rights and the conservation movement. SS leader Heinrich Himmler was a member of the Artaman League, an agrarian movement founded in 1923 and dedicated to “blood and soil” ruralism; it was influenced by the ideas of Willibald Hentschel, who sought to renew racial purity through selective breeding and polygamy. As the Süddeutsche Zeitung notes, “Nature has never been reserved for the Greens.”

Throughout the Mecklenburg region in the north (a now impoverished state of the former East Germany) and elsewhere, there are “hotbeds of far-right eco-warriors” who have been seeking to establish communities to give new life to the Artaman League. These “settlers” engage in all manner of “DIY” and back to the land endeavors, from producing “German honey” (“Deutschen Honig”) to growing their own fruits, vegetables, wheat and more.

Hans-Günter Laimer, a farmer in Lower Bavaria who once ran for election as an NDP candidate and who has been linked to Umwelt und Aktiv, is dismissive of the concerns raised, saying that “What is the difference between my cucumbers and those of someone from the Green party?”

To many Germans seeking to support local farmers and “reject genetically modified food, pesticides and intensive livestock farming,” it is indeed “disturbing” to find that little differentiates “a supposedly well-meaning, leftist Green from a far-right eco enthusiast.” Delia Micklich, the manager of Biopark, which investigates potential members before certifying them as organic farmers, says that she cannot reject people based on their political affiliations, however much she dislikes their ideology.

In Der Spiegel, Christian Pfaffinger reviews the 3/2011 issue of Umwelt & Aktiv: Intermixed with gardening tips and children’s songs, under the heading of “Homeland Security,” is a discussion about how German people die out “biologically and mentally” (“biologisch und geistig”) when they “breed with people of other ethnic origins.” Members of the NPD populate the magazine’s editorial staff and are among its writers; its first issue in 2007 quotes directly from the NPD’s environmental program; its ads include some for the NPD publisher Deutsche Stimme (“German Voice”), such as a publication entitled “Rasse, Evolution und Verhalten – Eine Theorie der Entwicklungsgeschichte” (“Race, Evolution and Behavior – A theory of evolution”).

The concern about far-right eco-adherents is great enough that the state of Rheinland Pflaz’s department of rural enlightenment has produced a brochure entitled Nature Conservation versus Rightwing Extremism, which “aims to help organic farmers resist the infiltration of fascists into their ranks and to be able to respond to any far-righters they might encounter.” As Professor Heinrich comments,

“We have to get used to the fact that the term ‘bio’ [organic] does not automatically mean equality and human dignity.”


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6:48AM PDT on May 3, 2012

While we're on this theme, this might be the right moment to say that I and a number of other Care2 members are increasingly worried re infiltration of Care2 by rightists. I've recently come across two instances of members who have been intimidated by these trolls into ceasing to right comments, and others may have noticed the astonishing number of them who came out from under their trollish bridges in response to an article about the Trayvon murder a short time ago. This is not a free speech issue. A site devoted to Trash Metal music is not going to publish stuff about comparative performances of Beethoven piano sonatas -- that's not what it's for. And nor is Care2 a propaganda site for right-wingers. I can only urge people not to let their comments pass without confronting them. And check their profiles -- that can often be, well, curious.

8:42AM PDT on May 1, 2012

a vegetarian diet that includes eggs and dairy (goat, sheep or cow) is very healthy long-term. Americans eat far too much meat compared to everybody else, including Europeans, so your thinking about vegetarianism is skewed. Nuts and seeds are often bypassed as a staple while eating far too many refined grains, starchy legumes and not enough variety of nutrient dense leafy greens, root veg and squashes. Honey is also a source of B-12

11:14PM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

These are all just propaganda. Do you think Aryan's or White Supremacists are Vegans or Vegetarians? How are they going to fight a cause? Even if its true, a true Aryan diet is full of diary products, meat and poultry perhaps raised by White businesses or corp. To fight a war, basically one needs sufficient energy and true food diet. A vegan and vegetarian diet will not suffice.

10:14PM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

God bless you Char, I so wish I could star you, but I can't since my acccount was corrupted.

6:52PM PDT on Apr 30, 2012


4:34PM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

If you help the environment and animals i am with you.

3:08PM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

The more I think about it the more I see that the polices coming from the right is a LOT like the policies of Nazi Germany. Who would have thought, LOL???

3:06PM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

This article is like reading that the Republicans and the Tea Party are now fighting for the rights of women, NOT buying it and neither should any person with the ability to think and reason.

2:25PM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

Unanticipated consequences, to put it mildly.

2:00PM PDT on Apr 30, 2012

I never would have pictured Nazi's concerned with animal welfare! And it probably wasn't their welfare they were looking after, they probably just wanted those pure genes!

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