Were the Nazis radical environmentalists?

Dhlazare Dhlazare at aol.com
Mon May 11 06:46:08 PDT 1998

In a message dated 98-05-10 12:57:04 EDT, you write:

<< There is a strong case for the intrinsic ties between Marxian socialism and

the ecology movement, but that is a subject for other articles and books.

Harvey's attempt to drive a wedge between the greens and Marxism is tied to

a workerish impulse that has marked the extreme left over the past 25

years. Whether it comes from Living Marxism or the Spartacist League, it is

grounded in a dogmatic understanding of Marxism. It is disconcerting to see

one of our premier Marxist thinkers echoing these sorts of "brownish"

sentiments, but we can understand their origin. We are living in a deeply

disorienting period as global capital seems unconquerable. Therefore, any

evidence of capitalist engagement with a democratic demand such as

affirmative action or clean air and water can tend to make us suspicious of

the demand itself. This is not Marxism. It is sectarianism and must be fought.

>> Sorry, but Jim Heartfield is right and Louis Proyect wrong. Although sharing common concerns (at times), reds and greens go at the problem of man and nature from very different directions. Reds have (or should have) none of the misanthropic, anti-industrial, anti-technological pessimism that infects even the most progressive of greens and which makes the Nazi-environmentalist link not quite so tenuous as Proyect would like us to think. Their (i.e. the reds') concern is not to preserve nature for nature's sake, but for humankind's sake. Presumably, this can mean preservation (as problematic as that concept may be), but more often it means improvement via cultivation, industrialization, scientific management, and so on.

None of this is meant as a justification crude Stalinist attempts to subjugate the landscape or LM's absurd celebration of the automobile. Rather, it means acceptance of the concept of stewardship, i.e. the notion that man (in the purely generic sense, of course) is a presence on the globe, that his and her every action affects nature, and that the more productive capacity expands, the greater that impact on nature will be.

Dan Lazare

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