organic farming

Dark Green V: Elephants & Tigers

By M.K. Styllinski

“… all two hundred delegates signed ‘Enemies of Conservation’” with one indigenous delegate rising to state that ‘… extractive industries, while still a serious threat to their welfare and cultural integrity, were no longer the main antagonist of indigenous cultures. Their new and biggest enemy, she said, was ‘conservation.’ ”

– Mark Dowie, Conservation Refugees:The Hundred-Year Conflict between Global Conservation and Native Peoples


The same process of land ethic revivalism so favoured by the Nazis is alive and well under the Prince. WWF in partnership with Heineken Breweries and other environmental affiliates have paid for studies which conclude that a balkanisation of Europe and a dramatic increase in the creation of nature reserves, conservation areas and game parks all over Western Europe. [1]The Heineken study, sponsored by Board Chairman A.H. Heineken, “… calls for redrawing the map of Europe into 75 mini-states, with populations of 10 million people at the most. Each mini-state would be ruled by a member of one of the existing European Royal Houses.” John Loudon, International President of WWF from 1977-1981 and ex-chairman of the board of Royal Dutch Shell was a member of the Heineken board. [2]

Heineken8

“For a Fresher World” 2011 advertising artwork for Heineken brand

A long-time supporter of WWF, Heineken is one of the greenest businesses existing today with stakeholder activities focusing on sustainability, green commerce and a host of other ecologically sound initiatives. The 1994 IUCN study called “Parks for Life: Action for Protected Areas in Europe,” followed the same pattern, namely the four-fold increase in setting aside land in Western Europe. All industrialisation would cease including any new infrastructure projects from water to rail links so that millions of hectares of land for parks could be allowed to flourish. [3] Wealthy landowners, families and 1001 Club members have been busily buying up land previously designated as parks and protected areas.

Author Mark Dowie believes this policy was the result of a concept as old as the colonial forefathers called “fortress conservation,” and which is present in almost every large-scale Anglo-American environmental initiative from Agenda 21 to the Wild lands Network: expressly no humans allowed access within these hallowed conservation zones. Even though WWF does not advocate forced relocation it nevertheless firmly believes in the concept of conservation areas off limits to humans. So, how does it get around the fact that there will undoubtedly be families who do not want to leave? [4]

Dowie draws our attention to the November 2004 Third Congress of the World Conservation Union in Bangkok, Thailand, convened to explore new ways to halt the loss of global diversity. In the audience was the only black person in sea of white faces comprising of environmentalists, conservationists and eco-bureaucrats. Martin Saning’o, the Maassai leader from Tanzania was next in line. When it was his turn to comment he described: “… how nomadic pastoralists once protected the vast range in eastern Africa that they have lost over the past century to conservation projects,” and further:

“‘Our ways of farming pollinated diverse seed species and maintained corridors between ecosystems,” he explains to an audience he knows to be schooled in Western ecological sciences. Yet, in the interest of a relatively new vogue in conservation called “biodiversity,”1 he tells them, more than one hundred thousand Maasai pastoralists have been displaced from their traditional homeland, which once ranged from what is now northern Kenya to the savannah grasslands of the Serengeti plains in northern Tanzania. They called it Maasailand. ‘We were the original conservationists,’ Saning’o tells the room full of shocked white faces. ‘Now you have made us enemies of conservation.’” [5]

As Dowie understates, drily, not exactly “… what six thousand wildlife biologists and conservation activists from over one hundred countries had traveled to Bangkok to hear.”

A 2004, United Nations meeting pushed for the passing of a resolution protecting the territorial and human rights of indigenous peoples. The UN Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples read in part, “Indigenous peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories. No relocation shall take place without the free and informed consent of the indigenous peoples concerned and after agreement on just and fair compensation, and where possible, with the option to return.” Later in the year another meeting of the International Forum on Indigenous Mapping, “all two hundred delegates signed ‘Enemies of Conservation’” with one indigenous delegate rising to state that “… extractive industries, while still a serious threat to their welfare and cultural integrity, were no longer the main antagonist of indigenous cultures. Their new and biggest enemy, she said, was ‘conservation.’” [6]

02_wwf-horzWWF’s tasteful advertising campaign on species extinction with a nude black woman and man set against rainforest. I’m sure the Duke of Edinburgh would have got the joke…

Dowie describes other statements becoming increasingly common from the mouths of indigenous populations historically displaced from their homes and lands which now number in Africa alone, 14 million[7] “conservation refugees.” Since the colonial era: “conservation has become the number one threat to indigenous territories;” the “appropriation of common property for conservation,” or even at international and local meetings there was the ignoring “recommendations and interests” of indigenous members along with a general marginalization “… without opportunity to take the floor and express our views.” [8] It is no surprise that delegates have walked out of many conferences when the same neo-colonialism presented itself.

The author goes on to illustrate the experiences of transnational conservation with a wide range of indigenous peoples from the Miwok, Paiute, and Ahwahneechee of Yosemite Valley to the Pygmies of Uganda and Central Africa; the Karen of Thailand to the Adevasi of India; the Kayapo of Brazil and many others. The same story unfolds in each case though differing in response to the colonialism with: “the tendency of conservationists to ignore their basic rights, at times their very existence, in the course of protecting biological diversity.” [9]

As Dowie observes, it is the type of scientific conservationism that harks back to the “scientific technique” of Bertrand Russell and friends that we can see defining the rigid belief that humans cannot co-exist with nature – separation and segregation overseen by an Elite is the only way.

wwftigerSumatran Tiger|wwf.org

Sumatran tigers numbering no more than 500 in 2009 have been part of WWF fund-raising campaigns for many years. Many of the tigers are said to live in the Tesso Nilo, just a few hours from an WWF office. Jens Glüsing and Nils Klawitter of Der Spiegel take up the story:

Sunarto is a biologist who has long worked as a tiger researcher in the Tesso Nilo. But he has never seen a tiger there. ‘Tiger density is very low here, because of human economic activity,’ says Sunarto, who like some Indonesians goes by only one name. He also points out that there are still some woodland clearing concessions within the conservation area. To enable them to track down tigers, the WWF has provided the scientists with high-tech measuring equipment, including GPS devices, DNA analysis methods for tiger dung and 20 photo traps. During the last photography shoot, which lasted several weeks, the traps only photographed five tigers.

The WWF sees its work in Sumatra as an important achievement, arguing that the rainforest in the Tesso Nilo was successfully saved as a result of a ‘fire department approach.’ In reality, the conservation zone has grown while the forest inside has become smaller.

Companies like Asia Pacific Resources International, with which the WWF previously had a cooperative arrangement, cut down the virgin forest, says Sunarto. His colleague Ruswantu takes affluent eco-tourists on tours of the park on the backs of tamed elephants. The area is off-limits for the locals, and anti-poaching units funded by the Germans make sure that they stay out. ‘The WWF is in charge here, and that’s a problem,’ says Bahri, who owns a tiny shop and lives in a village near the entrance to the park. No one knows where the borders are, he says. ‘We used to have small fields of rubber trees, and suddenly we were no longer allowed to go there.’ ” [10]

The Der Spiegel investigation into WWF highlighted what many already knew: the organisation has overseen the dwindling of farms driven out of tribal lands and the decline of the species it appointed itself to protect. As one indigenous interviewee stated in the report, with the partnership between transnational corporations and the WWF, the organisation has helped to transform “… our world into plantations, monoculture and national parks.” [11] This also brings into relief the apparent contradiction between preserving wildlife and the predilection of aristocracy and Establishment for hunting animals. It seems they just can’t help themselves.

Back in 1961, the year that Prince Philip would inaugurate the creation of WWF to protect the endangered species of the world he was on a Royal tour of India with Queen Elizabeth. It was on this tour that the Prince decided he would blow away an Indian Tiger just for fun. Environmentalists, ecologists and just about everyone else didn’t share Prince Philip’s delight in bagging a 10ft tiger and no doubt confirming his manly virility to Lizzie.  Several tigers and a rare Indian rhino (a legacy given by British tea-planters) were killed for the Royal tour all recorded for posterity by the Queen. But Prince Phillip it seems wanted a bit more of the action. He later killed a female rhino which had got caught in the hunting party after many other members of the entourage had actively tried to assist the animal to leave. Her infant calf escaped though it is highly improbable it survived without its mother. With the launch of WWF months away the whole incident was covered up.

Killing for sport has continued to be a pleasure for royalty down through the ages. The only difference is in the past, they were not pretending to protect wildlife and preach on endangered species while taking great delight in blowing them out of the sky, skewering them with spears or hunting them to death. This sporting pleasure is endemic in so called “high society” and intimately tied up with rural traditions, though firmly divorced from anything approaching pest control or crop protection. The WWF finally had to dispense with King Juan Carlos I of Spain as The President of Honour of WWF after his blood-lust became a little too much of a PR problem. The King made no secret of his love affair for hunting big game in Africa and Eastern Europe. More recently, he took part in a hunt in Romania, killing a wolf and nine bears, one of which was pregnant.[12] A Russian official also claimed that a tame bear was plied with honey and vodka before being shot dead by the King. The bear (called Mitrofan) was killed during a private visit to Russia in 2006, though it was never proven that King Juan Carlos had pulled the trigger. [13]

royalhunt

The prelude to the launch of WWF. Prince Phillip (far left) The Queen is standing just behind the ex-tiger while Prince Jagat-Singh Has his foot on the animal’s head. The tiger was over 9ft long before it’s skin was sent to Windsor Castle as a trophy. Today – like so many animals championed by WWF – it is almost extinct.

Much like Prince Philip who is not one to let the hoi-polloi dictate his pleasures, in 2006 the Polish government allowed him to kill a European bison in Bialowieza forest, even when it is an endangered species. In April 2012, the patron of the WWF was still busy hunting elephants in Botswana.

Prince Charles, also deeply involved with environmental concerns and UK head of the WWF has followed in his father’s footsteps developing a love of fox hunting along with frequent bird shoots at Balmoral. His sons have not been spared the grand tradition either. Reports that William killed a young antelope with a 7ft spear on a trip to see the Maasai were unconfirmed but not surprising. William’s cultivated interest in shooting and stalking stopped his mother Diana from becoming president of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, though admittedly, hunting has always been a non-issue for the WWF.

Whether it is buying 250 pheasant, duck and partridge for his brother Harry to shoot at his 27th birthday on Queen Elizabeth’s Sandringham Estate, or boar-hunting on their rural estate in Cordoba, Spain, William is merely embracing normal pastime within the aristocracy, civil list and super-rich. In their last shoot the brothers bagged a staggering 740 partridges on a single day with help from “… Beaters and packs of dogs [who] were brought in to ensure that the princes did not return home without several ‘kills’ to their name.” [14]

Killing animals for sport under the guise of countryside traditions is nothing new and is an activity simultaneously bound up in ancient practices of survival where the animal is either venerated as a source of food or regarded as something to slaughter in a society bereft or meaning. Indigenous cultures – even peasantry in the not so distant past – took the death of their fellow creatures very seriously and afforded them the respect they deserved for providing them with nourishment. Living as we do in mostly urban environments and suburban “countryside” dotted with corporate outlets of factory farming the respect for the cycles of life and death doesn’t play much part in shooting or hunting animals since it is tied to the market place, where weekend shoots act as cathartic exercises in manliness and / or a break from the high-octane pressure of city rat-race. Deals can be done and echoes of the gentry can resurface.

Though dressed up in numerous rationalisations, the idea that hunting and killing animals for fun rather than survival in what we consider to be “civilised” societies seems to be a tradition we can eventually do without. But unless one has grown up in the “country” or is steeped in aristocratic customs one cannot possibly understand this essential “tradition” it seems … However, if we ever return to a full spectrum of true ecological awareness, self-sufficiency, respect for the natural world, a just economy and an inclusive social autonomy with a minimum of government interference, there may be a place in the world for hunting animals as part of a sacred survival, something indigenous peoples understood. Since how we treat animals in any given nation is fairly good reflection of how well we treat humans, then it maybe sometime before the view of animals as playthings or products may change.

Be that as it may, it’s all part of the normal life of so-called Royalty or “nobility” where the residues of feudalism strengthen the explicit understanding that elitism, class divisions and inherited privilege must be supported by the tax payer.

How else are we to keep the vast families and civil list in the manner to which they are accustomed?

bucket of green paint‘Green-washing’ © infrakshun

The issue is not about individual royals, rather it is the notion that we need such a structure of vastly expensive aristocracy when its continued existence only serves to buttress and maintain the status quo and its social divisions. Indeed, this must remain if monarchy, corporatism and Elite privilege is to thrive, tangled up as it is in complex ponerological webs of custom, status and wealth. The idea that we are all still subjects to a ruling King or Queen rather than citizens, has power, even if implicit. Societies at this time, need leaders but leaders with the highest principles which honour tradition as means to free the mind rather than to repeat destructive customs of power privilege and indulgence.

Similarly, organisations and agencies are following a PR image which has little to do with the values a truly progressive society would hope to encourage. WWF does not oppose hunting or situations that pose a threat to animal welfare. “Conservation” is its priority. So much so, that the following statement on the Canadian seal hunt, is illuminating: “As long as the commercial hunt for harp seals off the coast of Canada is of no threat to the population of over 5 million harp seals, there is no reason for WWF Canada to reconsider its current priorities and actively oppose the annual harvest of harp seals.” [15]

Supporting the fur industry is the type of conservation we are talking about here not least the barbarism that seal hunts entail. Clearly, as WWF has stated humane treatment of animals and animal welfare is not its concern. Nor it seems, does it view exploitation as something to be concerned about.

The Sumatran Orangutan in Indonesia, is under intense pressure from Palm oil companies causing massive deforestation. Ian Singleton, Director of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program told journalist Elizabeth Batt that the Sumatran orangutan will be extinct by the end of 2012. WWF being concerned about endangered species would see this as an opportunity to protect this species, right? Wrong. WWF and other eco-groups are involved in a huge green washing deal which operates like this:

“ The global organic food industry agrees to support international agribusiness in clearing as much tropical rainforest as they want for farming. In return, agribusiness agrees to farm the now-deforested land using organic methods, and the organic industry encourages its supporters to buy the resulting timber and food under the newly devised ‘Rainforest Plus” label.’

The ‘world’s biggest wildlife conservation groups have agreed exactly to such a scenario, only in reverse.’ And it’s being led by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

Through ‘a series of global bargains with international agribusiness, in exchange for vague promises of habitat protection, sustainability and social justice, these conservation groups are offering to greenwash industrial commodity agriculture.” [16]

Sumatra is home to a rich variety of wildlife some of which only exist in this mountainous paradise. Palm oil is used in biodiesel, toiletries and food products and is in high demand across the world. But the boom in palm oil means environmental degradation with high quantities of pesticides and “slash and burn” deforestation, despite WWF claims of sustainability. Corruption is rife. For example, RSPO stands for “Roundtable on Sustainable palm Oil,” yet as one former Indonesian WWF employee commented:

“Sustainable palm oil, is really non-existent” for the following reasons: “The certificate makes it possible to crank up production while simultaneously placating the consciences of customers. Henkel, the Düsseldorf-based consumer products company, advertises its Terra range of household cleaning products with the claim that it supports ‘the sustainable production of palm and palm kernel oil, together with the WWF.’ ” [17]

But WWF calls all this “market transformation” allowing corporations such as Unilever to process 1.3 million tons of palm oil a year a record that transforms it into the one of the world’s largest palm oil processors along with Wilmar, one of the world’s major palm oil producers. Now that they have completed their “accreditation” and taken into account “social criteria” then, all is well according to WWF. Though virgin forest continues to be cut down and environmental toxicity levels abound.

Charges of profits before principles have dogged WWF since its inception. The Cambodian government was none too pleased with the organisation and its handling of the Irrawaddy Dolphin in the Mekong river systems, listed as critically endangered by WWF since 2004. In June 2009, Touch Seang Tana, chairman of Cambodia’s Commission for Conservation and Development of the Mekong River Dolphins Eco-tourism Zone, accused WWF of misrepresenting the level of extinction danger concerning the Mekong Dolphin in order to increase fundraising. He stated: “The WWF’s report did not implement scientific research,” citing that: “Most dolphins died of fishing net from local fishermen and explosion devices for local people to catch fish. They did not die from pollution, DDT, pesticide or dams.” [18]

Heavy-Pollution-Leads-Mekong-Dolphins-to-Extinction-2

Mekong river Dolphins ‘almost extinct’

Cambodian government estimates between 155 and 175 Irrawaddy dolphins still remain in Cambodia’s stretch of the Mekong River, while WWF last year put the figure at just 85. Since 2012 Cambodia cabinet has agreed to implement a conservation area which will cover a 180-kilometer-long stretch of river from Eastern Kratie province to the border with Laos.

When WWF does do its professed job of protecting endangered species it doesn’t succeed there either, at least according to the 1989 Phillipson Report named after Oxford professor John Phillipson. He did as WWF asked and completed a commissioned internal audit to gauge the organization’s effectiveness. The 252 page report proved the charity had produced a litany of embarrassing failures. Not one endangered species project had been successful. After spending a fortune on “saving the panda” through “scientific breeding” which the fund proclaimed should be applied to all other species, it consequently “relocated” thousands of peasant Chinese so that they were out of the range of the panda’s habitat. In their bid to save the panda from extinction they squandered the millions accrued from donations.

Phillipson states:

“despite a staff of 43 (23 allegedly science-trained), panda breeding has not been a success and research output negligible…. The laboratories, equipped at a cost to WWF of SFr 0.53 million, are essentially non-functional. … A lack of proper advice, inadequately trained staff, and poor direction have resulted in a ‘moribund’ laboratory … The obvious conclusion must be that WWF has not been effective or efficient in safeguarding its massive investment … WWF subscribers would be dismayed to learn that the capital input has been virtually written off.” […]

“It must be accepted that WWF activities in China are largely in disarray … The policy of widening WWF involvement to cover other interests has, in my opinion, been counterproductive and, in view of the virtual cessation of support for all forms of panda research, amounts to an abrogation of responsibility for the much publicized ‘Panda Program.’” [19]

Furthermore, WWF had bribed Chinese officials with donated funds in order to preserve panda habitat but which also allowed the building of hydroelectric dams leading to ever increasing demands for bigger bribes. [20]

After decades of so called expertise in the field of conservation this is surely an odd state of affairs for an environmental institution which is regularly consulted on conservation issues despite having a dubious record on animal welfare and an appalling success rate in protecting species from extinction. Its bank balance is certainly something that could be termed “successful.”

In 2010, WWF proclaimed it the “Year of the Tiger” in keeping with its long tradition of campaigning on behalf of this endangered species. In the early 1970s, it managed to convince the Indian government under then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s Indian government to create some protected areas for the tigers. At the time it said there were roughly 4,000 tigers compared to just 1,700 today. Without WWF perhaps the tiger would be no more? It is hard to say. The issue of resettlement played out in India just as it would in China, with assurances by WWF staff that operations were handled properly. Given the magnitude of resettlement in India resulting 300,000 families being “persuaded” to leave their homes in order to create a conservation zone, it is hard to believe that such a mass displacement was willingly undertaken.

>WWF’s insistence that elephant populations were just fine underscored its preference for culling and hunting through much of the 1960s and 1970s. Though almost every environmental movement and nature conservation expert was saying that the elephant was in danger, WWF continued to support that line that estimates of sharp declines were exaggerated. In fact, from the results of various studies it was found that there were 3 million elephants in Africa in the early 1950s; 1.3 million elephants in the mid-70s when the ivory trade was at its height; 400,000 by 1988. Estimated populations of African elephants have recovered somewhat at between 490,000 or 65o, 000, with Asian elephants at only 60,000. [21]

International WWF chairman Sir Peter Scott also had a reputation for the option of culling animals regardless of whether numbers were dwindling or not. In 1963, in a report to the Ugandan Parks Board, Scott recommended the ‘culling’ of 2,500 elephants and according to EIR report by Allen Douglas “… game hunter Ian Parker, … massacred 4,000 hippos while he was at it.” It seems that the Chairman: “… had recommended the slaughter on the Malthusian premise that ‘overpopulation’ required the killing of many individuals in order to ‘save the species.’ In reality, as it later emerged, Scott wanted to create a valuable mahogany plantation in the forests where the elephants fed, and they were in the way.” [22]  If there was any truth to the notion that WWF was interested in preserving species then it was strongly called into question when it embraced the more lucrative idea of allowing only the privileged to kill endangered wildlife under the cover of that well-known term: “sustainable use”, which means the killing of animals in the most efficient way and which maximizes profits without damaging the long-term viability of the species.

An example of this strategy so common in nature conservation was discovered in 1994 where the Tufts Centre for Animals and Public Policy director Andrew Rowan found: “… a single difference in the responses of zoo and humane representatives to 12 hypothetical ethical problems he posed at the White Oak conference on zoos and animal protection. Most agreed that hunting is both ethically and pragmatically dubious as an alleged tool of wildlife management. Yet, endorsing the WWF view, the zoo people were virtually all willing to tolerate trophy hunting as a way to make wildlife lucrative for poor nations, and presumably therefore worth protecting.” [23]

Trophy-hunting and the neo-colonialism of the rich, white man pervades WWF philosophy and practice. In the context of “Sustainable use” this will actually speed up the likelihood of extinction when artificial practices based on blood sport and killing for pleasure wrapped up in rules and regulations replaces the natural balance of hunting for survival and necessity often sitting alongside a healthy wisdom and understanding of the natural world.  The same applies to the politics of “sustainable use” which have attracted the “change agent” doctrine that is seen in Agenda 21 and across the environmentalism movement. Such advocates within WWF and other groups have the gall to suggest to Africans and Asians living on the poverty line that they should allow rich Europeans and Americans to kill animals for sport as oppose to those who kill to survive and must be reduced to living on the scarcity of hand-outs to compensate. As one commentator reiterated: “ ‘Sustainable users’ argue that giving poor Africans and Asians a collective economic stock in wildlife will lead to the development of a collective ethic, whereby poachers will become pariahs. This ignores the history of collectivism wherever it has been attempted, from the failed USSR to Africa’s own overgrazed grasslands.” [24]

With the failure to save the Black Rhino in the 1960s and 70s as well as the declining populations of the White Rhino, John Phillipson stated:

“The project was ill-conceived and indefensible in conservation terms; the Southern White Rhino has never, at least in historic times, occurred in Kenya: Moreover, there is no evidence that the Northern White Rhino ever roamed the lands which now constitute the 87,044 hectare Meru National Park. The assumption must be that in the mid-1960s WWF was either scientifically incompetent, hungry for publicity, greedy for money, or unduly influenced by scientifically Naïve persons of stature.” […]

“The program came to an abrupt end in November 1988, perhaps mercifully in that it removed a constant source of embarrassment. Insurgent Somali poachers shot all the remaining white rhino in an act of defiance, an unfortunate end for the rhino but no doubt a welcome relief for concerned conservationists. Project 0195 is not a project that WWF should look back on with any pride.” [25]

Funded with 1 million Swiss francs Operation Stronghold was ostensibly conducted to save the Black Rhino in the Zambezi Valley from extinction. It soon became clear that this was something other than just Rhino protection and the transferral to safer regions. Taking a leaf out of the rise in private army outsourcing in countries such as America, Britain and Israel WWF paid Chief Game Ranger Glen Tatham and his men to protect the Rhino it seems at any cost. But was the Rhino really the main objective here?

blk-rhino

Black Rhino, Zambezi Valley

In November 1988, When two of Tatham’s unit were charged with murder after allegedly shooting dead “poachers” in cold blood, more details of their activities began to surface. Notwithstanding that over 145 “poachers” had been killed since 1984 and 1991, many had been targeted from helicopters manned by WWF employees. [26] Yet, according to the Game department’s own figures: “Of the 228 people killed or taken prisoner, only 107 guns were recovered. Given that another 202 individuals were recorded as having fled, some badly injured, some of whom would have lost or been unable to carry away their weapons, this means that Tatham et al., failed to recover weapons from three-quarters of those killed, taken prisoner, or driven away. This raises the question of whether those targeted by the guards were in fact armed poachers at all.”  [27]

Rhinos were in fact, shipped off to countries with privately-owned game reserves not just in Africa but all over the world, an immensely lucrative project for WWF.  Following in the wake of WWF’s sleight of hand, the IMF did what it does best and embarked on a restructuring of Zimbabwe’s economy, which meant placing it in debt and cutting what was left of social services. Dumped into the middle of this Western-imposed chaos was the monoculture business of beef ranching for Europe, slap-bang in the Zambezi Valley, the exact position where the rhino’s once lived. A government and corporate-mandated extermination of wildlife then ensued to provide for the IMF beef factories.

Black Rhinos have made a dramatic comeback after private land use was brought into the picture which also utilised armed guards and private army protection. Ever on the look-out for profit, a Price Waterhouse study commissioned by conservancies and WWF-Zimbabwe/Beit Trust to explore the land-use options available to the conservancies concluded that: “from a financial perspective, wildlife is a more desirable land-use than cattle in these Conservancies.” [28]

WWF’s earliest corporate sponsor was the petrochemical giant Royal Dutch/Shell. In 1961 it gave WWF-UK £10,000 a considerable sum back in 1961. So, before green righteousness goes to far let it be remembered that WWF was actually founded on oil money. But it doesn’t stop there. Corporate sponsorship continues apace some of whom include Canon, Volvo, Nokia and HSBC – the latter having been recently fined more that $1.5 billion for financial corruption, a banking cartel that was found to be laundering money for drug barons and crime lords whilst engaging in the kind  of financial terrorism second only to Barclays Banks. Yet getting into bed with oppressive regimes and finding time to indoctrinate slum kids in Pakistan we shouldn’t be too surprised, especially when we nip back to 1988…

In that year, a large cache of paintings were sold for £700,000 to raise money for the World Wide Fund for Nature. The money was deposited in a Swiss WWF bank account by former head of the WWF, Prince Bernhard. In the following year £500,000 was transferred back to Bernhard by director-general of the WWF, Charles de Haes for what was described as “a private project.” In fact, Prince Bernhard had used the money for Operation Project Lock to hire mercenaries—mostly British to ostensibly fight poachers in nature reserves.[29]In 1990, WWF’s cosseted existence was placed under the media spotlight embroiling the organisation in a very public scandal. A joint operation between WWF and British Special Air Services (SAS) had been tasked with infiltrating “commandos” in a bid to save the Rhino and in the hope of dismantling the illegal ivory trade and Rhino horn trading network. That was the theory hatched in the WWF boardroom. It proved to be colossal failure.

Firstly, £1 million went missing. This may have had something to do with the fact that her Majesty’s respected SAS group had set up shop with Rhino products and gone into business for themselves. Far from stopping the illegal trade, they had muscled in on the action taking over the market and continuing the supply lines. Large numbers of poachers were murdered according to statements made by Nelson Mandela’s National African Congress. Further revelations came to light about the depth of British Intelligence involvement which was fully supported by WWF’s own documents and published in the Africa Confidential Bulletin. MI5 was said to have orchestrated Operation Lock with David Stirling, creator of the SAS.

The history of African National Parks is a history of collusion between park wardens funded and armed by WWF. The “poachers” are often phantoms in that such fabrications cover the truth that they are often the very same park wardens. The SAS unit officially sent in to stop the trade were drawn from the ranks of seasoned military professionals with black operational or “dirty warfare” experience. They were members of a mercenary unit created by Stirling called KAS International and just the ticket it seemed for WWF’s designs.

Though largely downplayed and covered up by the media, the trail of culpability led directly to the door of the British Establishment and most notably Prince Philip, the Queen Mother and author Laurens Van Der Post Prince Charles’ tutor, then first counsellor to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher on African Affairs. (Incidentally, Van Der Post has been proven to have been a fraud who knew very little about the real Africa). Nevertheless, the Duke of Edinburgh is pleased with the legacy. And WWF’s present day “Market Transformation” team shows no sign of observing a distance between corporations and their cash. “Change agents” are at work where the big dealers and producers of commodities like soybeans, milk, palm oil, wood and meat can see the errors of their ways and be shown the righteousness of a sustainable lifestyle. As a result, Cargill and Monsanto, two of the most heinous polluters and human rights abusers on the planet, donate regularly to WWF and attend many of their meetings. Keeping the green spin turning is essential for such companies which have huge investments in genetically modified soybean.

Jobs for the boys continues in 2013 and not much has changed. Thanks to the European Union millions of pounds are being paid to green campaign groups so that they can effectively lobby themselves. The European Commission Environmental Fund and are giving grants to enable scores of green organisations to influence and promote EU policy. According to the Tax Payers’ Alliance which analyses organisations’ spending this special fund called Life+, has exceeded £90 million over the past fifteen years. Set up in the 1990s to fund non-profit initiatives at the European level but most importantly, it is in the development and implementation of Community policy and legislation where Life+ is designed to be most effective. It would be a stretch to say that this money is being used to protect the environment, rather it seems this is another example of EU policies being routed through the back door of environmentalism without due consultation. Sure enough, the European Policy office of WWF (now based in Brussels) is up at the top of the grant listing having received £7.4 million. According to a Deccember 21st 2013 report from The Telegraph entitled: ‘European Union funding £90m green lobbying con’ By Robert Mendrick and Edward Malnick:

“In its most recent round of grants for 2013, Life+ awarded £7.5 million to 32 groups, including:

  • £290,000 to CEE Bankwatch Network, a Czech-based organisation which campaigns against “the activities of international financial institutions in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region that cause negative environmental and social impacts”;
  • £80,000 to Counter Balance, also based in Prague, which lobbies banks to ensure they “adhere to sustainable development goals, climate change mitigation policy, and the protection of biodiversity, in line with EU goals”;
  • £260,000 to Brussels-based Health Care Without Harm Europe, which campaigns to “address the environmental impact of the health-care sector in Europe … to make the health-care system more ecologically sustainable”;
  • £44,000 to Kyoto Club, based in Rome, whose main actions include “lobbying and advocacy for EU climate change mitigation policies, through policy recommendations and reports, information-sharing and campaigning, participation in EU events and stakeholder meetings, and contacts with relevant MEPs, Council and Commission officials”;
  • £350,000 to the Italian-based Slow Food, a group which campaigns to “reduce the impact of food production and consumption on the environment” and will achieve this by “participating in the international and EU debate about food through EU institution advisory committees, expert working groups and other high-level groups”.

At last, finally some cash is being used to implement a global green policy? Well, by now, it should be obvious that all this money flying about doesn’t actually alter the fundamental socio-economic structure but certainly lines the pockets of new “eco” industries and their bureaucracies. Greenpeace is possibly the only well-known environmental activist group who is acutely aware of green-washing having chosen not to take any EU or government funding. It perhaps the best known environmental campaigning organisation, has refused to take any EU or government funding. It should be commended for realising the nature of such compromise and what this really entails. Independence means it is much less likely to provide and open door to ponerisation. (It’s only a shame they don’t apply the same principles to their stance on climate change).

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WWF “Business partners” 2012

The green charity Friends of the Earth (FoE) is another recipient of Life+ with over £2.1 million in funds in 2012 from: “… at least seven different departments of the European Commission. By contrast, the charity’s arm in Britain said it receives less than one per cent of its budget from the EU, with the vast majority of its funding coming from individuals and trusts.” The report goes on to state: “FoEE used its funding last year to produce a four-minute video to put pressure on the British and German governments to back a new EC directive which set a series of legally binding energy efficiency targets across Europe. The video was co-produced with Climate Action Network Europe, which has received £2.3 million from Life+ to ‘improve existing EU climate and energy policies’.”

In fact, the overwhelming drive to promote and lobby for EU directives under sustainable development alongside SMART society in a European setting. Higher tax bills, zero consultation on environmental policy and the new Eco-technocratic bias which goes with it blankets European perception. In the UK austerity measures, rising debt and a generation of older folk frequently have to ration their food in order to pay the electricity bills which have risen by 150 per cent in the last ten years. The German online newspaper deutschewelle.de. reported the figure of 31, 000 Britons, mostly the retired or on low incomes who died in 2012 as a result of the cold. The social and environmental costs are driving the prices sky high. SMART implementation and serious economic difficulties the funding of activist groups for measures and initiatives without due oversight and accountability is an open door to corruption and misappropriation of funds. Since most eco-activist organisations have little or no awareness of the macro-social objectives of those currently shaping European policy it means funding is generally being absorbed into the already centralised belief system inherent in Establishment support. The compromise arrives over time not necessarily in the short-term acceptance of funds. Rather, it contributes to a slow process of attrition where green policy is gradually contoured into a new socio-economic structure which may not be based on the freedom and independence those organisations and NGOs sincerely believe exists.

Employees within WWF and other organisations believe that allowing corporations to continue their natural state of plunder and exploitation while hoping for a change of face is a practical endeavour. For the multitude of good-hearted persons working in organisations like WWF whose patrons clearly have a different environmental and ideological agenda, they are in danger of becoming agents of a change that lead away from what they would sincerely like to see: the betterment of our environment and the human sphere. This will not come without a very different kind of compromise.

**

See also: Greenpeace Helps Corporations Destroy the Planet

 


Notes

[1] Ibid.
[2] Ibid.
[3] ‘Parks for life: Action for protected areas in Europe’ IUCN Commission on National Parks and Protected Areas, Federation of Nature and National Parks of Europe. 1994.
[4]
Dowie, Mark; Conservation Refugees:The Hundred-Year Conflict between Global Conservation and Native Peoples Published by MIT Press, 2009. ISBN-10:0-262-01261-8.
[5] Ibid. (p.xvi intro.)
[6] Ibid.
[7] op. cit. Glüsing and Klawitter.
[8] op. cit. Dowie (p.xix)
[9] op. cit. (p. xx)
[10] op. cit. Glüsing, Klawitter.
[11] Ibid.
[12] ‘Romania: Elite Hunting Spree Sparks Calls For Better Animal’, rferl.org/ September 12, 2012.
[13] ‘Royal row over Russian bear fate’ BBC News, October 2006.
[14] ‘William and Harry fly to Spain to hunt wild boar to celebrate the end of Harry’s helicopter training’ By Rebecca English, Royal Correspondent, 17 January 2012.
[15] Op-Ed: King Juan Carlos not the only questionable association for WWF’ By Elizabeth Batt, http://www.digitaljournal.com April 2012.
[16] ‘Way Beyond Greenwashing: Have Corporations Captured Big Conservation?” by J. Latham, Independent Science News.org.
[17] op. cit. Glüsing, Klawitter.
[18] ‘Cambodia Rejects CNN, WWF Reports about Mekong Dolphin’ June 24 2009. CRI English, Xinhua.
[19] op.cit. La Rouche et al.
[20] Ibid.
[21] IUCN’s African Elephant Status Report 2007 | ‘Asian Elephant distribution’. EleAid. 2007.
[22] ‘The oligarchs’ real game is killing animals and killing people’ by Allen Douglas, EIR.1994.
[23] ‘What’s Wrong with “Sustainable Use”?’ June 1994 Animal People http://www.animalpeople.org
[24] Ibid.
[25] op. cit. Phillipson.
[26]‘Can Mercenary Management stop poaching in Africa?’ Animal People, April 1999. http://www.animalpeople.org
[27] op. cit. Douglas.
[28] Private Conservation Case Study: Private Conservation and Black Rhinos in Zimbabwe: The Savé Valley and Bubiana Conservancies, by Michael De Alessi January 2000.
[29] “Pretoria inquiry confirms secret battle for the rhino”. The Independent. 18 January 1996.

 

Dark Green II: Roots of Eco-Fascism

By M.K. Styllinski

Eco-fascism: “… A totalitarian government that requires individuals to sacrifice their interests to the well-being and glory of the “land”, understood as the splendid web of life, or the organic whole of nature, including peoples and their states”

– Michael E. Zimmerman, pp. 531-532 in Encyclopedia of Religion and Nature


Before looking at how environmentalism and ecological thinking operates today in some sectors of the world, we need to jump back and take a look at some of its roots.

Ecology is an interdisciplinary branch of biology exploring the relationships between living organisms and their natural environment. Even though he was not an ecologist, biologist and philosopher Ernst Haeckel coined the word “oekologie,” in 1866 from the Greek oikos meaning “house” and logos meaning “science.”  The doctrine of Vitalism has strong ties to the evolution of ecology which states that “living organisms are fundamentally different from non-living entities because they contain some non-physical element or are governed by different principles than are inanimate things” [1] It incorporates the idea of “the soul” and “Spirit” as well as the theory of “ether” that bound all living things together; the elusive fifth element in Hermetic philosophy.

This is a very old idea that can be traced back to the philosopher/surgeon Galen of Pergamon of 2nd Century Turkey. Ecology of the mind, land and social systems have tended to go hand in hand with the development of holism or “holistic thinking” so popular in complementary medicine and new science. This theory posits that parts of a whole have an intimate interconnection to each other and as such, cannot exist or be understood independently of that whole. Much work has been done on the validity of this theory that sees the biological organisation of life self-organising: “… into layers of emergent whole systems that function according to non-reducible properties.” [2] This has never been more applicable to physical and mental disease and in sharp contrast to Cartesian and reductionist theories of mind and matter.

Distinct from environmentalism (philosophy, ideology and social movement) and environmental science, ecology attempts to explain life processes and adaptations; the distribution and abundance of organisms; the movement of materials and energy through living communities and the long-term development of biodiversity in the environment.

A number of disciplines come under the umbrella of ecology including: behavioural ecology; community ecology (or synecology); ecophysiology; ecopsychology; ecosystem ecology; evolutionary ecology; global ecology; population ecology; human ecology and social ecology.

monolith Sculptures Near Amsterdam, Holland | © infrakshun

Whether ecology actually is a science is still hotly debated. The fact that it appeals to the wise and benevolent as much as the ignorant and evil is probably due to its diverse mix of disciplines. Whether physiology, evolutionary biology, genetics, or ethology, any science can be made to work for an ideology usually at the cost of truth.  When a passionate love of “pure Nature” is present all that is needed to transform that belief into a toxic time-bomb is to mix in some neo-feudalism, Marxist theory and a touch of occultism and the race is on to control the “viral” spread of humanity under the guise of healing the planet. Though Darwinism and Malthusianism had little to do with ecology, they have often sat alongside ecological thinking and the fascist/collectivist policies that slowly rose up through their ranks.

Historian Anna Bramwell’s The Fading of the Greens: Decline of Environmental Politics in the West , a mammoth trilogy on ecology and environmental activism, shows that ecologists were constantly aligned with fascist parties, fascistic philosophy, the aristocracy and Establishment.[3]   These often anti-transcendent thinkers were both pro-rural and anti-capitalist naturalists and according to Bramwell, this desire to re-discover Nature meant to learn and: “… return with the recommendation that one clings to the wheel because it is the most sensible path of action. To do so requires sweeping away past identities, past traditions and past errors.” In effect, such a personality is: “… a natural protestor.” [4]

Traditionally the seeds of fascistic thinking in ecology and environmental movements began to appear in Europe after the growth of the natural sciences in the 17th and 18th centuries and in the reaction to the exploitation of the land and communities that the Industrial Revolution eventually reconfigured, or swept away entirely. Britain’s artists such as William Blake raged against the machine of industry as “Dark Satanic Mills” with pioneers such as John Ruskin, William Morris, Edward Carpenter and Henry Williamson continuing the struggle. Americans too were equally aghast at the destruction and consequent  “desacralisation” of Nature with the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman and Henry Thoreau offering activist wings to ecological thoughts.

This helped to give rise to the environmental movement headed by such people as Arthur Tansley who coined the term “eco-system” and Aldo Leopold who championed the cause of “land ethics” closely mirroring the Back to the Land Movement first initiated by Ruskin, though with a somewhat more scientific focus. Indeed, scientists were beginning to offer the world an ecological framework including Charles Elton’s animal ecology and food chains, along side Alexander Stuart Watt’s plant ecology. By the middle of the 20th Century, humanism and the environment were getting closer and the World State policies trumpeted by biologist Julian Huxley as head of the UN’s UNESCO agency reflected this change. Huxley’s naturalist and ethological background (the study of animals in their natural habitats) fed into his vision of humanity on a petri-dish which needed to be ordered and managed. Since the board of UNESCO saw fit to make him the Chairman, they obviously felt the same way.

In Britain, in the early part of the 20th century the growth of various environmental movements were largely in response to the economic depression which had hit farming hard after the prosperous years of the mid-19th century. The Dartington Trust founded in the 1920s to promote rural regeneration; The Garden City movement which placed a magnifying glass on town and garden design in urban areas; The Council for the Protection of Rural England and The Ramblers Association in the 1930 concentrated on town planning and the relationship to the countryside. Landowners and farmers had to cope with falling prices, lower rents and untenanted farms. Back to the Land came into its own with The English Land Colonisation Society creating 400 farming communities. Cooperatives were formed and derelict land and run-down farms were taken over; Arts and Crafts were revived and community increased. This was something undeniably anti-industry and a healthy reversal of the “filthy tide” of industrialisation which was making the British Empire the uncontested global manager.  The money came predominantly from the wealthy and those with aristocratic connections who were intent on “preserving the countryside, controlling development and shifting the population out of big cities.” [5]

According to Bramwell’s research, ecologists were mostly conservative, monarchist and staunch traditionalists of the “green and pleasant land” mythology which derived from the same traditions as the German Romantic Movement which in turn, came from immensely deep roots in German society. This revival of the land and nature began to be part of the green social movement which meant resisting the inexorable drive of the industrialists. But there was a shadow side. This “Blood and Soil” romanticism became a powerful influence not just in Britain but across all of Europe and America.

Drawn from the Völkisch or “Völk” in German culture, it refers to ethnicity from the “Blood” as ancestral descent and the homeland or “Soil”. It places a vital importance on the notion of rural living and the place humans occupy in relation to Nature and their immediate environment. It was made more popular during the rise of the Nazi Third Reich by Richard Walther Darré a Nazi party member, race theorist and eugenics advocate. Yet the Blood and Soil sentiment had been present in pagan cults embedded in the ecological fabric of Germany and thus a potential political force deep in the psyche of Germans outside the cities. (We will come back to Darré and Germany’s influence on Eco-Fascism later on).

Literature from the 1880s – 1940s was infused with folklore, countryside mythology and a pagan sensuality of nature. D.H. Lawrence was one of  the best examples of this new ecological vision. It was through such persons that the emerging environmental and nature activists re-learned vitalism and the “God in Nature.” His wife, Frieda von Richtofen, introduced Lawrence to an artist colony which had a: “… distinctive German brand of serious nature-worship and sun-worship”. This seems to have been a significant influence in his art and according to Bramwell: “appears to resemble the language of the proto-Nazis.”[6] Whether or not that is true, the link between English and German fascism and the art of the European intelligentsia  was very strong indeed.

19th century author and poet Ernst Moritz Arndt and journalist and novelist Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl seemed to personify the eco-fascism of the pre-war period in Germany. Arndt seemed to write beautifully and movingly about the plight of Nature under the Industrial Revolution and the importance of ecological awareness, yet he seemed to despise human beings. He was anti-French, anti-Slav, anti-Semitic and xenophobic, placing German land and people at the forefront of perfection. Riehl learned from his teacher Arndt but differed in focus. The same nationalism and anti-Semitism was present but he leaned towards an early version of environmental activism in which he advocated a fight for “the rights of wilderness.” This was to be for the well-being of the German people alone, however.

Blut und Boden / “Blood and Soil” propaganda card.

The Völkisch movement welcomed them with open arms and as humanist writer Peter Staudenmaier comments: “… it pointedly refused to locate the sources of alienation, rootlessness and environmental destruction in social structures, laying the blame instead to rationalism, cosmopolitanism, and urban civilization. The stand-in for all of these was the age-old object of peasant hatred and middle-class resentment: the Jews.” [7]

A good example of the latent fascism residing in aristocracy and the Establishment was charismatically expressed through politician Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet, of Ancoats, who founded the BUF. On 11 May 1920 he married Lady Cynthia Curzon second daughter of George Curzon, Lord Curzon of Kedleston and married his mistress in 1933 in Germany on 6 October 1936, in the Berlin home of Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels. Adolf Hitler was one of the guests.

Mosley was a distinguished orator and and one of the youngest MPs to be elected to represent his constituency of Harrow in 1918. He began as a conservative then joined the Labour Party by 1924 immediately changed his allegiance to the Independent Labour Party (ILP). Mosley and his wife Cynthia were committed Fabians right up to the start of the 1930s. [8] When Labour won the 1929 general election he was appointed to the post of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. However, his presence in government was to be short-lived. Mosley put forward a whole scheme in the ‘Mosley Memorandum’ only to find it soundly rejected, despite the fact it preceded much of the socialist policy in the intervening years. [9]

After resigning from the cabinet in 1930 he founded the New Party which gradually warmed to fascist policies. The momentum stalled due to the General Election the following year so Mosley took the opportunity to take a tour of Mussolini’s Italy which finalised his desire to pursue overtly fascist politics back in the UK. So, the British Union of Fascists was born. His corps of black-uniformed paramilitary stewards, or “blackshirts” was constantly in the news for being involved in violent confrontations between Communist or Jewish groups which would eventually lead to the downfall of Mosley’s party. When the government passed the Public Order Act 1936 which came into into effect the following year, it marked the end for his para-military brigade.

Rather ironically, Mosley embarked on a peace campaign throughout the war and was finally interned on May 1940 along with his wife Diana Mitford and other active fascists in the grounds of Holloway prison. After the War the baron rejoined active politics and formed the Union Movement, calling for a European Super-State covering the continent of Europe (known as Europe a Nation), and later attempted to launch a National Party of Europe to this end. This time his fascism was expressed through Synarchy.

At his core, Mosley had a genuine desire to better peoples’ lives, but his powerful drive was also technocratic in that he had a precise understanding of the bureaucratic and economic machinery of his day. [10]His socialism was based on re-imagining the state towards a greater British Empire that moved into Europe and further colonised Africa as “the breadbasket for the West.”sup>[11] Thus he had a lot in common with the likes of Cecil Rhodes and his later Round Table compatriots and would be very influential for authoritarian personalities who embraced fascism in the future. Though overt environmental sympathies were missing in Mosley’s political ambitions his supporters made up for it. In fact, there have been a raft of individuals rather than groups who have both a history of environmentalist views being held by the far-right in the UK.

Oswald-Mosley-image

Sir Oswald Mosely and Diana circa 1936

Jorian Jenks was a farmer, environmentalist and political activist, serving as Mosley’s agricultural advisor in the BUF. He was “one of the most dominant figures in the development of the organic movement” [12]and yet another of the fascists who found themselves detained by the government in 1940, this time at Walton Prison and released a year later. It was after the war that Jenks moved “…  from politics to ‘meta-politics’ evolving a more spiritual ‘spiritual ecologism’ which would address the cause of national disintegration and replenish the bond between man and soil.” [13]

Niece of Lord Arthur Balfour of the Balfour declaration fame, and English farmer and organic farming pioneer, the visionary Lady Eve Balfour and her Soil Association provided Jenks with an outlet to pursue the science and practice of organic farming. He served as editorial secretary and published the association’s journal Mother Earth through which his eco-fascist views could be heard much to the delight (or consternation) of those reading the material. He stated: “An anti-modernist philosophy embracing land reform the paramountcy of agriculture; the subordination of mechanisation to organicism; the localisation of economies and the cultivation of the consciousness of the ties of blood and soil.” Jenks saw the Soil Association policy as “pure Aryan”… “though they don’t make a point of it.” [14]

Despite Jenk’s clear fascism his contribution to agricultural policy and the scientific experiments exploring the differences between organic and non-organic foods were extremely influential, as were his warnings on the dangers of chemical fertilisers and pesticides. He found his way to the Soil Association via Kinship in Husbandry which he had joined in 1942. This group had been founded by Rolf Gardiner with support from H. J. Massingham and Lord Lymington. It was essentially a platform for eco-fascist principles which had bubbled up into the Soil Association to the extent that Gardiner became co-founder; such was his passion for the future of organic farming. He was also an avid English folk dancer, naturist  and active in far right politics. Gardiner’s passion for English folk dancing helped to revive the Morris dance which was inflicted on Germany and the emerging Hitler Youth of the time. Despite the homoerotic overtones he insisted this was a thoroughly masculine and virile ritual of pagan nature worship. (The latter was part of the Third Reich’s inspirations, though it remains to be seen if they were impressed by the Morris dancing…)

dh-lawrence[1]

D.H. Lawrence

A one-time Kibbo Kift member as a Cambridge University student Gardiner had also greatly admired D.H. Lawrence  whom he visited in 1928 while in Switzerland. Their teacher-student relationship blossomed into a long lasting friendship that was based on:

“… a shared faith in the organic which was by no means confined to their descriptions of the landscape or nature. By seeking organic solutions to the problems of contemporary life – emphasising the important of ‘natural’ hierarchies, for instance, or the ‘rootedness’ of culture in the native soil, or the ties that bind language, culture and racial destiny – Lawrence and Gardiner found themselves drawing from the same wellspring which nourished Völkisch and fascist movements. Indeed in 1953, Bertrand Russell famously wrote that Lawrence’s views led straight to Auschwitz.”  [15]

Although highly ironic coming from Mr. Russell who was hoisted on the same humanist-Fabian pole, the above passage sums up perfectly the problem of the naturalists and those sensitive to the destruction of Nature who may in some instances also harbour authoritarian traits: they inevitably gravitated towards the rich history of the Völkisch and the New Order proposed by National Socialism. It was both a product of the times and a trigger which seemed to draw out the latent fascism waiting to leak from otherwise natural and healthy principles.

Writer, naturalist and farmer Henry Williamson who wrote Tarka the Otter (1927) and many other classics, supported the BUF and was greatly impressed after visiting the National Socialist Congress in 1935. (We don’t know what he thought of Gardiner’s Morris dancing, however). His growing fascist views, led him to be detained during World War II, like Mosley, under the Defence Regulation 18B. He contributed to the Anglo-German Review for whom “… the Anglo-German sympathizers of the period were united by a common interest in nature and ecology.” [16] The same Germanic sun-worshipping and pagan revivalism was found in his writings most particularly where the ancient light of the sun represented the real meaning of his own existence by illuminating his ancestral past and revealing the truth of redemption through Nature.” [17]

Like many artists of post-World War I his experiences of death and horror culminating in the Christmas truce of 1918 helped him to see Germans and the Nature worship embedded in their culture as a new light for the world. He had been seduced by the seemingly vibrant economic and cultural renaissance best symbolised by the Hitler youth with “faces that looked to be breathing extra oxygen; people free from mental fear.” Williamson was certain that National Socialism was the answer and echoed D. H Lawrence’s obsession with “blood and soil” believing that they represented: “… a race that moves on the poles of mystic, sensual delight. Every gesture is a gesture from the blood, every expression a symbolic utterance … Everything is of the blood, of the senses.” [18]

He seemed to remain a fan despite the failure of the Nazi ideal by protesting against the unjust nature of the Nuremburg trials. Although these were indeed a showpiece to cover up the fact that many of the Nazis Elite were absorbed into the American National Security State, it nevertheless showed that his sympathies remained strong. It is this paradoxical eco-fascist romanticism as sweet as syrup yet cast in molten metal that often remains impervious to any change. Just as the seeds of psychopathy have long been exposed to the right Anglo-American conditions for various strains to multiply like fungi on an otherwise healthy tree, this ecological inversion has continued from its romantic pre-war passion to much more subtle expressions. Similar to eugenics, it has insinuated itself into the fabric of society with respectable sounding names, sacred philosophies and philanthropic causes. But it is essentially the same ponerisation, yearning to control human beings, now under the cover of Gaia. [19]

That is not to say that all environmentalism has at its root latent fascism, only that we need to be aware of this inversion – roots can grow in a variety of soils given the right conditions.

In 1970, the first issue of The Ecologist magazine appeared in the UK, with genuinely fascinating and productive articles. Nevertheless, its underlying theme of “humans as virus” and ecological parasites was common throughout and a direct link back to fascistic beliefs, albeit largely unconscious.  The magazine’s founder, the late Edward Goldsmith, displayed the same beliefs as Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, in that humanity was a disease which had to be halted. Like so many who seemed to have authoritarian tendencies he displayed a frequent wish to control and micro-manage the lives of others. Government, in Goldsmith view should mimic his own patriarchal leanings and become a “schoolmaster” to “an ever more demanding and self-indulgent electorate.” In other words, we all needed to be horse-whipped into submission so that we may break free from our wicked ways. Indeed, Goldsmith went further, suggesting  that: “… radical change in our way of looking at man’s relationship with his environment, … must involve taking measures that in many cases are contrary to our accepted values. Thus, to control population we may have to interfere with ‘personal liberty’, while to reduce economic expansion we are forced to curb ‘the march of ‘progress.’” [20]

It is hear that we come to the crux of the problem with such thinking since it perfectly aligns with elite beliefs that demand populations are suppressed and managed in much the same way as Nature has been through the centuries.  The dividing line between co-creating with the planet and bending it to our will is blurred. The wild sanctity and purity of the biosphere is set against the population who are despoilers and viri – a disease to cut out so that Nature may reign once more. The problem is clear. Such binary thinking can very easily mixed up with good intentions leading catastrophic results as we have seen time and time again. The only disease is that of ponerological strains within humanity whose job it is to subvert and invert.  Ideologies born from socio-economic distress and spiritual vacuity are blended in the minds of authoritarians and their followers and grafted onto passions and beliefs which would have otherwise remained connected to a benign and rejuvenating force.

2013-05-27 17.21.56

© infrakshun

Germany also had a pronounced tradition of controlling Nature. For over 250 years it had radically drained mash and fenlands, exploited vast tracts of Bavarian moorland, managed rivers and built dams in high valleys. The impact of hydrological dams after the 1750s was enormous, changing the face of the German landscape. Where once there was fear of the vast tracts of wilderness, for some they became the new source of romanticism, especially when they began to disappear. This was paradoxical and as historian David Blackbourne asks: “Why did the pace of moorland drainage and colonization increase after the First World War? Because Germans began to see themselves after the Treaty of Versailles as a ‘people without space,’ a Völkohne Raum, so that every cultivated acre counted.” [21]

The Conquest of the Europe meant the conquest of nature which seemed to run counter to the ecological ethos that Nazism promoted. Historians Groninga and Joachim Wolscheke-Bulmanha wrote in an article in Planning Perspectives journal of 1987: “… to explain the destruction of the countryside and environmental damage, without questioning the German people’s bond to nature, could only be done by not analysing environmental damage in a societal context and by refusing to understand them as an expression of conflicting social interests. Had this been done, it would have led to criticism of National Socialism itself since that was not immune to such forces.” [22]

Though it was not to be.

At the same time technocratic and authoritarian, in order for Nature to be returned to the romantic myth of Germanic perfection the space had be created for the German people as guardians and worshippers of Nature so that the former Edenic state could return. Once cleansed of “weeds” and the uniformity of human design the superiority of the Aryan race could stand at the head of a New World Order which would necessarily mean harmony between land and people, inseparable in the National Socialist mind.

The man who had most power in the Reich second to Hitler was probably SS Field Marshall Heinrich Himmler who epitomised classic eco-fascist ideology when he mused:

“The peasant of our racial stock has always carefully endeavoured to increase the natural powers of the soil, plants, and animals, and to preserve the balance of the whole of nature. For him, respect for divine creation is the measure of all culture. If, therefore, the new Lebensräume (living spaces) are to become a homeland for our settlers, the planned arrangement of the landscape to keep it close to nature is a decisive prerequisite. It is one of the bases for fortifying the German Völk.” [23]

The adaptation of biological concepts to social systems tied up with romantic verbiage led to the strategic importance of environmental resources. This was the official policy of Lebensräume or “Living space”. Expansionist politics would mean that the Balkans would be chosen as the provider and coincide with the extermination of the Slavic races, which they deemed inferior. As Hitler stated: “Every healthy Völk sees the right to expansion of its living space as something natural.” [24]

Land, conquest and ethnic cleansing became inextricably linked with a spiritual mission.

By the time Ernst Haeckel had invented the term “ecology” there was the appearance at least, of a “… scientifically based ecological holism with Völkisch social views,” which consisted of a potent mixture of “… nineteenth century cultural prejudices, romantic obsessions with purity [and] anti-Enlightenment sentiment,” fused with “aggressive nationalism, mystically charged racism, and environmentalist predilections.” [25]Haeckel was also responsible for merging Social Darwinism and ecology into his own philosophy of “Monism” which provided an outlet and scientific cover for his belief in Nordic racial superiority. The Third Reich’s obsession with the occult was in large part due to the Germanic nature worship and which had given rise to revivalism and green politics in the intelligentsia. This was reflected in Haeckel’s decision to join the Thule Gesellschaft or Thule Society founded by Bavarian occultist and freemason Baron Rudolf von Sebottendorff an instrumental in the formation of the Nazi Party. [26] The Society was the organisation that sponsored the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (DAP), later reorganized by Adolf Hitler into the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP or Nazi Party).

The Youth movement of the Weimar Republic or the Wandervögel (‘wandering free spirits’) was a fusion of almost every type of transcendent, occult and folklore ideology that was available. Reason and rational discourse were rejected. It was effectively a nature cult elevating peasantry to mythical status joined with the authoritarian impetus of the State which was needed to show people the way. Peter Staudenmaier believes this heralded an important: “… shift from nature worship to Führer worship,” where National Socialism’s adoption of environmentalist themes of nationalism and sacred naturalism “… was a crucial factor in its rise to popularity and state of power.” [27]

The foundation of these beliefs was made concrete through two levels of ecological support within the core of the Third Reich. These were at the ministerial and planning and administrative levels, evidence of which can be found in the archives of the Reich. Agrarian romanticism and anti-urbanism was dominant and central in Nazi ideology so that most of the leading members were ecologically aware or had some overlapping naturist belief. 60 percent of the membership rolls of several Naturschutz (nature protection) organizations during the Weimar era had joined the National Socialist Party in 1939. [28]

Gleichklang Alfred Bernert‘Gleichklang’ by Alfred Bernert

Hitler as a vegetarian and an animal lover was a believer in the Völk and the value of Nature but he was also a pragmatic strategist. However, three other notable players close to Hitler represented various shades of dark green belief within the Third Reich.  His deputy, Rudolf Hess, was an enthusiastic fervent devotee of naturism, anthroposophy and homeopathy. Working for Hesse were leading ecologists who produced draft reports on the necessity for “organic, ecologically sound land use and planning.” Hess’s top land planning officer called soil: “… the foundation of the formation of the community”.[29]

Hermann Göering was a nature conservationist, animal husbandrist and the Reich’s Chief Huntsman. He favoured the forest over the rights of the farmers and their fields. He organised many International Hunting Exhibitions for the wealthy. Hitler once referred to these groups as “the green Freemasonry”. As Air Force commander he discontinued the use of animals to test weapons and used people instead. [30]

Reichsführer-SS Heinrich Himmler had a degree in agriculture, was a farmer, an occultist and neo-pagan. Power over the concentration camps, death squads and the liquidation of the Jews and other minorities lay at his door. And he, like Hitler, valued animals over people, being responsible for the Third Reich’s anti-vivisection legislation which was the first law of its kind. While Hitler soared into the mysticism of the Völk, Himmler’s beliefs veered towards theosophy, anthroposophy, astrology, Wicca, herbalism, organicism, astrology and homeopathy. He was the first true New Age Nazi with power at his hands, his interests of which inspired him to follow in Blavatsky’s footsteps by sending an SS team to Tibet in 1938 led by zoologist Ernst Schäfer, officially to conduct anthropological experiments, unofficially to open a dialogue between Tibetan Monks of Agharti which were following the “Black arts.” [31] (See: The Light Bringer)

With the infiltration of the Agriculture Ministry and National Food Estate by the SS under Himmler’s say so. When East Europe would be conquered and ethnically cleansed of undesirables a new race of farmers would be deposited on the land and given free farms, provided they passed the eugenics check list set up by the newly created Racial Office was created within the SS. [32]

Therefore three main green beliefs were personified within the Reich: The Aristocratic-freemasonic eco-conservativism of Göering; the folklore, anthroposophy and organicism of Hesse and the occult-neo-pagan beliefs of Himmler.

By 1937 Poland was under Himmler’s settlement program using state funds and seized land while Race and Settlement officers were busy searching for “… farms that could be farmed organically”. After all, it was only SS farmers who could understand “…the superiority of organic farming methods as opposed to artificial fertilisers”. And Chemical fertilizers were criminalised under Himmler’s land planning laws. [33] The SS-owned Institute for the Study of Medicinal and Alimentary Plants, (ISMAP) was an SS owned research organisation where German scientists, physicians, botanists, and chemists conducted research into medicinal properties of plants and many other agrarian experiments. An experimental farm called “Plantage” was based in the surrounding fields of the Dachau death camp and was the brainchild of Himmler but operated by ISMAP.

Marcus J. Smith, a US military doctor who was assigned to Dachau after it was liberated, was told by the former inmates that:

“… many ambitious projects were undertaken, such as the production of artificial pepper, the evaluation of seasoning mixtures, the extraction of Vitamin C from gladioli and other flowers, the potentiation of plant growth by hormone-enriched manure, and of most importance to Germany, the development of synthetic fertilizer. As a profitable side-line, garlic, malva, and other medicinal plants, and vegetable seeds, were cultivated by the prisoners and then sold; the profits went to the SS.” [34]

Other experimental farms were set up at Auschwitz concentration camp and Mauthausen concentration camps in Austria where experiments were conducted by the SS on different kinds of diets including “famine experiments” on Russian POWs. [35]

In 1935, Himmler, founded the Nazi think-tank Ahnenerbe to “study society for Intellectual Ancient History.” The goal was to find confirmation of the myths and philosophies relating to the Aryan race and Nordic populations from an anthropological and cultural perspective. With Himmler’s fascination with the Catharism, Norse mythology and the Knights Templars it led him to expend time and money attempting to uncover many of the alleged secrets behind the legends of the Holy Grail. Indeed, many voyages to a variety of destinations across the globe were carried out and funded by the SS. Among a handful of founding members included SS-Obergruppenführer Richard Walther Darré, Reich Minister of Food and Agriculture, animal breeder and one of the leading promoters of Nazi “blood and soil” ideology.

As a young man Darré was another Völkisch acolyte who joined the Artaman League, the same back-to-the-land movement of which Himmler was a member. This eventually led him to concoct the theory that the future of the Nordic race was deeply connected to soil and which subsequently led to “Blut and Boden” or the “Blood and Soil” meme. According to Nazi ideology, while the relationship to the environment over time becomes embedded in the consciousness of the dweller and vice versa, Germans, due to their Nordic ancestry had a peculiar, almost mystical connection to the land. German soil was sacred, in direct opposition to the “wandering Jew.” Nordicism or “Nordic Theory” claims that a Nordic race, within the greater Caucasian race constituted a master race, and it is this ethnic purity that Darré believed could be found once again.

330px-Bundesarchiv_Bild_119-2179,_Walter_Richard_Darré

Richard Walther Darré, Reich Reichsminister of Food. “The unity of blood and soil must be restored” (photo: wikipedia)

“The unity of blood and soil must be restored” was a phrase that resonated throughout the Gothic halls of the Reich and came from Darré’s 1930 book called Neuadel aus Blut und Boden (A New Nobility Based On Blood And Soil) describing a systemic eugenics program partnered with careful environmental awareness which would clear up the problem of racial impurity and return Germany to its glorious ancient past. With a keen interest and training in farming, animal husbandry and breeding Darré merely adapted his knowledge into the human world and injected it with the usual racist ideology. Geo-political conquest was justified through: “The concept of Blood and Soil [which] gives us the moral right to take back as much land in the East as is necessary to establish a harmony between the body of our Völk and the geopolitical space.” [36]

He was also a fan of the theosophical offshoot of Anthroposophy established by Rudolf Steiner despite National Socialist ideologues being hostile to the movement. Unfortunately for Darré, anthroposophy considered “Blood, Race and Folk” as primitive instincts that must be overcome. [37] Clearly, this short-coming was not enough to quash his enthusiasm for anthroposophical principles with its emphasis on Nature, art, medicine and biodynamic agriculture all based on the theory that there is an unseen spiritual world comprising a variety of “subtle realms.” As bio-dynamic farming involved a holistic view of organic agriculture the rejection of chemical fertilisers and insecticides and by extension, the trappings of industrial capitalism it was tailor-made to elevate the mythical status of the German peasant and therefore be absorbed into Nazi ideology. Racial health and ecological sustainability would be assured. Darré even “… commissioned a top anthroposophist to start a bio-dynamic farm at Marienhole. [East Germany] The farm’s journal, Demeter, had the motto: “Health through Natural Living – Harmony between Blood, Soil and Cosmos.” [38]

The anthroposophist in question, Dr. Edhart Bartsch and his biodynamic farm was run by the research group “The Imperial Association for Biodynamic Agriculture” and was closely followed by Darré and another anthroposophical convert Rudolf Hess both of whom had substantial success in pioneering bio-dynamic principles and products. However, as anthroposophy was not following Nazi principles it was all wound up by 1941. [39] The large-scale organic farming methods and ecologically sound farming practices which Darré pioneered are still in evidence in Germany and much of Europe today.

It seems eco-fascism in Nazi ideology, while no means embraced by all, (Goebbels, Boorman, Speer) was nevertheless crucial in the implementation of Nazi designs. By using potent myths and archetypes of Nature and race which had particular appeal in the German psyche these acted as part of the moral imperative to save not just the German nation but the world. It became a mystical dogma of the most virulent kind hijacked by psychopaths happy to use any and all ideologies to manifest Pathocracy. On the one hand, you had uniforms and jackboots, on the other, a symbolic return to green wellies and haystacks. Manly blond, blue-eyed Supermen working in the fields in manly union; the conservation of nature and animal husbandry on the one hand and on the other: the systematic destruction of land and people if they did not conform. It was a mass psychosis predicated on preference for ideals which have very little to do with objective reality. These are the same influences at work today the only difference being that they are more subtle and sophisticated in their manifestations.

The ideological marriage between National Socialism, nature conservation, ecology and green issues is a cast iron one. Fascism goes hand in hand with green issues and as such we need to be more prudent when those issues become politicised by any one organisation or grouping. The Nazis were a huge, technicolor warning to that end.

Once you had a confluence of Social Darwinism, politics, a green culture and occult ideology which busily distorted an otherwise healthy attention to nature then it is inevitable that it would continue to be used as a pretext for many other directives for social control. “The Natural Order” would be synonymous with a “New World Order” where “scientific technique” of race-biology would force man into their “natural” roles. Or, in the words of the National Socialist Teachers Association: “National Socialism is politically applied biology.”  [40]

 


Notes

[1] Vitalism. In E. Craig (Ed.), William Bechtel and Robert C. Richardson, Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy. London: Routledge, 1998 | http://www.mechanism.ucsd.edu/teaching/philbio/vitalism.htm
[2] Liu, J.; Dietz, Thomas; Carpenter, Stephen R.; Folke, Carl; Alberti, Marina; Redman, Charles L.; Schneider, Stephen H.; Ostrom, Elinor et al. (2009). “Coupled human and natural systems”. AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 36.
[3] Blood and Soil, Richard Walter Darre and Hitler’s ‘Green Party’, Published by Kensall Press, Buckinghamshire, 1985 | Ecology in the 20th Century, A History, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1989 | The Fading of the Greens, Yale University Press, New Haven, 1994 | All by Anna Bramwell.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid.
[7] ‘Fascist Ecology: The ‘Green Wing’ of the Nazi Party and its Historical Antecedents’ By Peter Staudenmaier taken from Eco-Fascism: Lessons from the German Experience. By Janet Beihl and Peter Staudenmaier. 1995. Published by AK Press. | ISBN 1-873176 73 2. | http://www.spunk.org/texts/places/germany/sp001630/peter.html
[8] Mosley’s name can be seen in a list of Fabians from Fabian News and Fabian Society Annual Report 1929–31.
[9] p.44; Mosley By Nigel Jones, Published by Lite & Times Haus Publishing, 2004 | ISBN-10: 1904341098
[10] Sir Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists by Robert Edwards, Published by League Enterprises, 2002. (introduction) | http://www.oswaldmosley.net/rome-revisited-1933.php
[11] p.64; Very Deeply Dyed in Black: Sir Oswald Mosley by Graham Macklin, Published by I.B.Tauris, 2007. | ISBN-10: 1845112849
[12] R. More-Collyer, ‘Towards “Mother Earth”: Jorian Jenks, Organicism, the Right and the British Union of Fascists’, Journal of Contemporary History, 2004, (p.39)
[13] op. cit. Macklin (p.64)
[14] Ibid. (p.65)
[15] p.6; Rolf Gardiner: Folk, Nature and Culture in In Interwar Britain by Matthew Jefferies, Mike Tyldesley2011 | ISBN-10: 1409412040
[16] op. cit. Bramwell, Ecology, (p. 173-4)
[17] ‘Henry Williamson: Nature’s Visionary’ by Mark Deavin, National Vanguard Magazine, Number 117 March-April 1997.
[18] Ibid.
[19] “The Gaia theory was developed in the late 1960’s by Dr. James Lovelock, a British Scientist and inventor, shortly after his work with NASA in determining that there was probably no life on Mars. The theory gained an early supporter in Lynn Margulis, a microbiologist at the University of Massachusetts. […] “The Gaia Theory posits that the organic and inorganic components of Planet Earth have evolved together as a single living, self-regulating system. It suggests that this living system has automatically controlled global temperature, atmospheric content, ocean salinity, and other factors, that maintains its own habitability. In a phrase, “life maintains conditions suitable for its own survival.” In this respect, the living system of Earth can be thought of analogous to the workings of any individual organism that regulates body temperature, blood salinity, etc. So, for instance, even though the luminosity of the sun – the Earth’s heat source – has increased by about 30 percent since life began almost four billion years ago, the living system has reacted as a whole to maintain temperatures at levels suitable for life.”- http://www.gaiatheory.org/synopsis.htm
[20] ‘Living with Nature’ by Edward Goldsmith, The Ecologist July 1, 1970 (www.edwardgoldsmith.org/)
[21] p.5; The Conquest Of Nature: Water, Landscape, and the Making of Modern Germany, by David Blackbourn, Published by Pimlico, 2007 | ISBN-10: 0712667261
[22] ‘Politics, planning and the protection of nature: Political abuse of early ecological ideas in Germany, 1933–45’ by Gert Gröninga & Joachim Wolschke‐Bulmahna Planning Perspectives Volume 2, Issue 2, 1987.
[23] Peter Staudenmaier Quoting from Heinz Haushofer, Ideengeschichte der Agrarwirtschaft und Agrarpolitik im deutschen Sprachgebiet, Band II, München, 1958, (p. 266).
[24] Hitler Speech, Völkischer Beobachter, 11 November 1931.
[25] Ibid.
[26] Ibid.
[27] op.cit; Staudenmaier.
[28] p.107;The Environmental Movement in Germany: Prophets and Pioneers, 1871–1971 by Raymond H. Dominick III Indiana University Press, 1992.
[29] op.cit. Bramwell; Ecology (p. 197-8)
[30] pp 182-190; Goring, a Biography, by David Irving. Published William Morrow and Co., New York, 1989.
[31] Himmler’s Crusade: The True Story of the 1938 Nazi Expedition into Tibet.by Christopher Hale, London: Transworld Publishers | ISBN 0-593-04952-7.
[32] op. cit. Bramwell, Blood and Soil (p. 132-8)
[33] op. cit. Bramwell, Ecology, (p. 202-4) | 0p. cit. Bramwell, Blood and Soil (p.132-38)
[34] ‘Work in the Dachau camp’ http://www.scrapbookpages.com
[35] ‘Using Science For The Greater Evil,’ Newsweek, Dec 1, 2003.
[36] op. cit. Janet Biehl, Peter Staudenmaier (p.19).
[37] Report of the SD-Hauptamtes Berlin: “Anthroposophy”, May 1936, BAD Z/B I 90.
[38] op. cit. Bramwell, Blood, (p. 203).
[39] http://www.demeter.net/ | “Biodynamic Agriculture: The Journey from Koberwitz to the World, 1924-1938”, By John Paul, Journal of Organic Systems, 2011, 6(1):27-41.
[40] Hans Schemm, Founder and Head of the National Socialist Teachers Association from Ernst Haeckel’s The History of Creation. 2 vols. (New York: D. Appleton, 1876), vol. I, p. 11.