Blood in the Soil: a brief examination of ecofascism
Actualizado: jun 15
2019 was the year western society realized that ecofascism is a real threat that could potentially become the ideological inspiring source of terrorist attacks.
In March 2019, the 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant killed 51 people and injured 49 during two consecutive shooting attacks at mosques located in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Tarrant live-streamed the attacks on Facebook after he had already uploaded a 74-page manifesto titled The Great Replacement, where he expounded the reasons why he would realize the attack and his thoughts about the modern western society and its future. Some months later, on the 3rd of August, 21-year-old Patrick Wood Crusius, inspired by the attacks and the manifesto of Tarrant, killed, during a shooting, 22 people in El Paso, USA, making clear that ecofascism was no longer a purely theoretical and abstract concept, but, quite on the contrary, a violent armed reaction.
The awakening of ecofascism: Brenton Tarrant and the Christchurch massacre
Getting back to Tarrant, in the first part of the manifesto, which has the form of a questionnaire, Tarrant gives answers to different questions that people could possibly ask him. In a question asking whether he is a fascist he gives the following answer: “Yes. For once, the person that will be called a fascist, is an actual fascist. I am sure the journalists will love that. I mostly agree with Sir Oswald Mosley’s views and consider myself an Eco-fascist by nature” (Tarrant, 2019: 15). Later on, asked about his views, he says: “I am an Ethno-nationalist Eco-fascist. Ethnic autonomy for all peoples with a focus on the preservation of nature, and the natural order” (ibid. 18).
He unleashes his attacks against the urban way of life on the basis that they separate the human being from nature. Quoting Tarrant, “rampant urbanization and industrialization, ever expanding cities and shrinking forests, a complete removal of man from nature, with the obvious results” (ibid. 35) and “Nothing is conserved. The natural environment is industrialized, pulverized and commoditized” (ibid. 24).
The purity of the race that is threatened by the constant immigration,the destruction of the earth by the industrial progress and the necessity to protect each tradition from “invaders” and alien elements, are some of the core elements of “Blood and Soil” philosophy; the philosophy that dominated during the Nazi regime, aiming at the protection of the racial purity and tightening bonds with the “sacred soil”.
Walther Darré and the philosophy of “Blood and Soil”
Richard Walther Darré (1) was the ideologue that essentially materialized the “Blood and Soil (Blut und Bund)” philosophy and ideology in NSDAP, applying it extensively to the German society and agricultural world.
Born of German parents in Argentina, in 1895, he first studied at a local German school before going with his parents to Germany. There he started studying to become a colonial farmer until his studies were interrupted by the outbreak of the First World War during which he enlisted in the First Field Artillery Regiment of Nassau.
After the end of the war, he resumed his studies and he was finally awarded the diploma that certified him as an official German colonial farmer. He also got a PhD at Martin Luther University of Halle, conducting research on animal breeding. Darré, since the very beginning, showed a great interest for the importance of the soil and the crucial role of the peasant way of life and tradition. He considered that the German peasant tradition and values have been victims, throughout the centuries, of aggressive alien ideas including “Christianity, the empire of Charlemagne and capitalism” (Bramwell, 1985: 56).
Christianism was accused by Darré of having brought to the Germans the idea of equality, which was a clear threat to the “old German concept of nobility” (Lovin, 1967: 283). Despite the dominance of Christianism, though, the basic German agricultural ideas had remained the same since Christianity was adopted due to political motivations and not genuinely (ibid.). This idea of the nobility of the German peasantry had been guiding Darré during his whole life. His ultimate goal was to find a way to combine the German soil with the German blood; namely, the revival of the German peasant way of life through the emergence of a new German nobility whose roots could be found deep inside the German soil.
His philosophy and thought were developed in his two works The Peasantry as the Life Source of the Nordic Race (1929) and A new Nobility from Blood and Soil (1930). In his first work, Darré glorifies the German peasantry, attributing to it moral superiority, while, at the same time, expresses his contempt against the urban centres, the cities and the way of life the latter promote:
The phrase “unfree peasant” is basically self-contradictory and should be dropped from the German language (…) At the bottom of his heart the true peasant (…) has only a deep and mostly silent contempt for the city dweller or nonfarmer (…) To be a peasant therefore means to have a feeling for the organic interplay of forces in the work as a whole. (Miller Lane & Rupp, 2014: 103-105)
In his second work, Darré sets forth a strategy in order to materialize his plan for the “resurrection” of the German peasantry. This plan, however, was primarily founded on the necessity of eugenics to create a new nobility.
The following passages can give us a clearer idea of what Darré had in mind when envisioning the German future: It is only with all possible means of striving that the creative blood in the body of our nation, the blood of the men of the Nordic race, will be maintained and increased (…) By the removal of the less good, one can constantly build the better into the best. Only thus can one create, in time, perfection. (Lovin, 1967: 286)
Darré via his two works brought into light the mystic of the blood and soil, the glorification of the peasant way of life and the crucial role of eugenics to form a new “platonic” caste of guardians that would protect the sacred soil while eradicating the city and urban way of life. The dwellers of the city have no place in the German vision since they are incapable of developing roots and bond with the mystical depths of the German soil. Only the new nobility of peasantry will be able to trace back the German identity and restore its lost traditions and honour.
In practical, and political, terms, the party of NSDAP found in Darré’s philosophy of “Blood and Soil” the potential bridge that would bring closer to it all those disappointed farmers who saw their farms suffering great losses that reached their peak during the years 1928-1929. It was then, when farmers escalated riots and used armed violence.
NSDAP realized that all this discontent and frustration could eventually become political fuel for its engine. So, in 1930, Darré became a member of NSDAP and that same year he organized the Agricultural Organisation, a political apparatus inside the party (ibid. 46). The goal of this department was to infiltrate into the farmers and the peasantry world by unfolding the “Blood and Soil” philosophy and presenting the possible land reforms (2) and measures that its implication would involve. That department and Darré’s political action proved to be quite successful if we take into account that in the elections of July 1932, NSDAP reached the 37.4% of the vote, having won the trust of the farmers in Northern Germany (3).
The “Blood and Soil” philosophy had also won the trust of Himmler and Hitler himself
In 1932 Himmler appointed Darré as the director of the “SS Race and Settlement Main Office” and in June 1933 Darré became the “Minister of Food and Agriculture”. The “Blood and Soil” philosophy, no matter the political struggles and skirmishes that would later take place inside NSDAP, managed to become one of the basic philosophical pillars of the Nazis. It was the philosophy that brought closer the farmers to the Nazi ideology, paving the way for Hitler’s becoming the protector of the German blood and soil and Darré’s transforming into a prophet of ecofascism.
Concluding this brief presentation of ecofascism and “BloodandSoil” philosophy, the question that may possible arise is whether ecofascism could potentially be a threat for the western liberal world.
Both terrorist attacks in 2019 were carried out by “lone wolves” and there was no larger or complex organization behind them. It seems that ecofascism, despite its diffusion and propagation in alt-right webs and social media, lacks the organizational and practical basis that would make it a solid activist movement. Theoretically, though, ecofascism exists, mostly thanks to Pentti Linkola; a Finnish radical ecologist and fisherman that advocates extreme measures so as to reverse the damage done to nature- clearly in favour of Nature in its struggle against human being.
Pentti Linkola combines extreme radical ecological thinking with politically extreme measures aiming at the limitation of both population increase and technological progress. His ideas, both on ecology and politics, could be summed up in the following extracts found on his website under the tab “ECOFASCISM” (Linkola,2017): A minority can never have any other effective means to influence the course of matters but through the use of violence (…) Any dictatorship would be better than modern democracy. There cannot be so incompetent dictator, that he would show more stupidity than a of the people. Best dictatorship would be one where lots of heads would roll and government would prevent any economical growth. Summarizing, it is quite difficult to think of a near future where the ideas of the Finnish thinker will become a political and social reality. Nevertheless, the social, ideological and economic crises the western world is currently facing, along with the proven environmental destruction caused by the human intervention, could potentially pave the way for a reemergence of the “Blood and Soil” philosophy; and if this happens, no one could possibly predict whether human life’s value will be respected when contrasted with the protection of the sacredness of the Soil…
For a more general analysis of the phenomenon of ecofascism in Germany see: Biehl & Staudenmaier, 2011
For a detailed description of the Nazi agricultural program, see: Staudenmaier 2013
Quoting Bramwell (1985: 86) “The north German Protestant farmers and villages and small towns had voted for Hitler- averaging some 78.8%. In some areas of the Geest, Nazi votes were 80-100% of the total”.
Biehl, J. and Staudenmaier, P., 2011. Ecofascism Revisited: Lessons from the German Experience. Porsgrunn, New Compass Press Bramwell, A, 1985.
Blood and Soil: Richard Walther Darre and Hitler’s Green Party. Buckinghamshire, The Kensal Press Linkola, P, 2017.
<<Pentti Linkola: Ideas>>. Pentti Linkola. Available at: http://www.penttilinkola.com/pentti_linkola/ecofascism/
Lovin, C., 1967. <<Blut Und Boden: The Ideological Basis of the Nazi Agricultural Program>>. Journal of the History of Ideas, 28(2), pp. 279-288. Miller Lane, B, and Rupp, L., J, (2014).
Nazi Ideology before 1933: A Documentation. Austin, University of Texas Press Staudenmaier, P., 2013.
<<Organic Farming in Nazi Germany: The Politics of Biodynamic Agriculture, 1933–1945>>. Environmental History, 18(2), pp. 383-411.
Tarrant, B, 2019. The Great Replacement
The author, Georgios Karakasis, is an expert in counterterrorism (Master in Terrorist Phenomenology / UGR). He is a Doctor in Philosophy (University of the Basque Country), with a Thesis on the philosophy of war, and got his degree in Political Science and Public Administration at the University of Athens. He is also a collaborator of SAFE WORLD Network