‘Battle in Seattle’ Brings Left and Right Wing Zealots Together
It isn't only the specter of globalism that attracts those on the "left." Concerns about the environment have also brought traditional "leftists" into bizarre coalitions with right-wing extremists — a fusion known as the "green-brown" alliance.
It is a fusion with a long history.
Since its beginnings in 19th-century Europe, ecological thought has been associated with the racist right, with key early thinkers calling for Teutonic racial purity and a "survival of the fittest" attitude to famines and similar disasters in the undeveloped world. Many war-time Nazi officials were distinctly ecologically minded.
Forty years later in America, Tom Metzger's neo-Nazi war tabloid was declaring, "Ecology is for Aryans, too." Also in the 1980s, American Ben Klassen, founder of the neo-Nazi Church of the Creator, said in his book Salubrious Living that whites should "avail ourselves of a clean, wholesome environment; fresh, unpolluted air; clean water; and the beneficial therapy from the direct rays of the sun."
At around the same time, several heroes of the counterculture of the 1960s became embroiled in debates after making allegedly racist remarks. Edward Abbey, author of the "deep ecology" classic The Monkey Wrench Gang, bemoaned the immigration into the United States of "culturally-morally-genetically impoverished people."
David Foreman, the founder of Earth First!, was forced out after describing an ongoing Ethiopian famine as "nature's method of population control."
Then, in 1998, the Sierra Club was nearly destroyed by an internal debate over immigration. Members were asked to vote on a resolution declaring both legal and illegal immigration to be an environmental ill. After a public and embarassing debate, the measure was defeated — but only after 40% of those polled backed it.
Today, the radical right's use of "green" issues is growing. In a December editorial, for instance, Tom Metzger says that in the past environmentalists and racists "damned" one another. "Not so in the 21st Century," Metzger said in his WAR tabloid. "The best interests of the Environment will meld into the best interests of Race. The health of the Race and the health of the Environment will be one."
As the German Nazis said: "Blood and Soil."
"Ecology is warped for mystical-nationalist ends by a whole series of neofascist groups and parties," Janet Biehl, a specialist on "eco-fascism," wrote recently. "Their programmatic literature often combines ecology and nationalism in ways that are designed to appeal to people who do not consider themselves fascists... ." American Front, for instance, describes itself as "whole-heartedly a Green movement."
'Wake Up and Smell the Tear Gas'
Another fertile area for Third Position growth is among the followers of pre-Christian polytheistic theologies, notably the racist elements of Odinism and Asatr ú.
Racist adherents of these nature-based belief systems — mainly young Skinheads — long for a return to the genetically based tribe, or folk. They mythologize the misty past of white northern Europeans as a romantic tableau of boar-slaying warriors, dewy-eyed Aryan maidens and pristine Alpine scenery — precisely the kind of vision of nature-loving, fiercely independent peoples held up by most Third Positionists.
In Seattle, the left and right did not exactly march arm in arm. Militia members decrying international conspiracies were largely ignored. Members of the neo-Nazi National Alliance who were there reported back about "the most utterly disgusting street punks and campus Jews" they had met — and battled — in the streets.
Still, it seems clear that the hard right will draw increasingly from the ranks of its former enemies. "The radical Left has much more potential to produce true Revolutionaries than the Right," the AF's Porazzo says. "We're seeing more Leftists coming to the Revolution and American Front than I ever dreamed possible.
These comrades have, generally, been able to grasp [our] ideas much, much quicker than the ex-Rightists... ."
Or, in the concluding words of Louis Beam's angry essay: "A new dawn is breaking upon the American political scene. The old words of divide and conquer will come to mean less and less to thinking people. There will be no meaningful differences between those who want freedom.
But rather, just 'Americans' who want to be free and are fighting the Police State to gain that freedom. Wake up and smell the tear gas, freedom is calling its sons and daughters."