Le programme “Transnational History of the Far Right” menée par Marlène Laruelle (et auquel participent divers contributeurs de #FTP) publie une nouvelle note sur la plateforme de l’Illiberalism Studies Program. Stéphane François et Adrien Nonjon y analysent l’intérêt des extrémistes de droite pour les questions environnementales.
Over the past few years, the French far-right party National Rally (Rassemblement national, formerly Front National) has incorporated an ecological component into its program (mainly protection of fauna, flora, and landscapes). This move has taken place within the broader context of various far-right and national-populist European parties’ discovery of ecology since the early 2010s. Indeed, contrary to what is frequently assumed, ecological concerns are not important only for leftist movements, but are also present at the radical right end of the political spectrum, although obviously underpinned by different theoretical presumptions.
The European far right actually has quite a longstanding interest in ecology, which it understands through the prism of racist theories according to which each ethnic group must protect its natural territory in order to survive and thrive. This “Identitarian ecology” has been present in some far-right fringe movements since as early as the 1970s and became more prominent in the 1980s thanks to the New Right. However, it is only more recently that it has been able to penetrate concrete electoral programs and become part of the portfolio of narratives that the European far right has developed to attract new voters and integrate into more mainstream politics. This Identitarian ecology is articulated around key far-right philosophical principles such as a nostalgia for pre-Enlightenment closed communities, authoritarianism, neopaganism, mixophobia, and the cult of the local territory as the only genuine anchor of humankind—reformulated under the notion of “bioregionalism.”
Prehistory of Identitarian Ecology
Ecology in the sense of the study of natural life—which should be dissociated from environmentalism, the type of political activism that pushes for regulating human impact on the environment—has a long history connected to far-right thought.
A radical interpretation of the Darwinian theory of evolution and its application to human beings—in the form of nations that fought to be the strongest—developed at the end of the 19th century. It inspired German Geopolitik with its vision of a nation intimately linked to a territory. In the 1920s and 1930s, this nationalist relationship to nature became a key element of the German Conservative Revolution and of its Völkisch current. Presented by George L. Mosse as an “attitude to life” based on national mysticism, ecological thinking was promoted by Völkischer theorists such as Richard Walther Darré (1895-1953) and Ludwig Klages (1872-1956). According to them, the fight for a land was a means of revitalizing an Indo-Germanic race animated by a Nordic spirit of land conquest (Blutt) and a devotion to its exploitation (Boden). This narrative was instrumentalized by the Nazi regime to legitimize the conquests of the East within the framework of the colonization of Lebensraum (“vital space” for the Aryan race).
Today’s Identitarian ecology has updated some of these themes to try to fit the current environmental concerns of European populations.
 Rassemblement national, “Pour une Europe des Nations: Manifeste pour une nouvelle coopération en Europe ‘L’Alliance Européenne des Nations,’” https://rassemblementnational.fr/telecharger/publications/Manifeste.pdf, accessed January 27, 2021.
 Goerge L. Mosse, Nazi Culture (New York: Schocken Books, 1990).
 Ludwig Klages, The Biocentric Worldview (London: Arktos, 2013).
 Johan Chapoutot, “La charrue et l’épée. Paysan-soldat, esclavage et colonisation nazie à l’Est (1941-1945),” Hypothèses 2007/1 (10): 261-270.