By J. Sakai
This is simply a book from hell. And not for the politically faint of heart! There are always books that slip through the cracks, go out of print, but still have a fevered cult following. Blood and Soil is right up there. The kicker here is that this books' loyal fans tend to be of the neo-nazi persuasion. Whenever hardcore white racists argue for the special role of their beloved Aryan movement as the true forefathers of today's "Green" ecological concerns, Anna Bramwell's book is offered as evidence.
For example,a recent letter to the editor in the North Carolina Times :
Back a few weeks Steve Stults got all over a Mr. Darrell Beck for something he said about the Green Party and some possible Nazi connections...Anyone who wishes to research Germany's so-called Green connections can read Blood and Soil : Walter Darre and Hitler's Green Party written by Anna Bramwell and published by The Kensall Press. The big difference between American Greens and Nazi Greens is that the Nazi Greens were a real item and the American forgery is a collection of phony tree huggers that squeal for conservation but at the same time squeal for open borders and unrestricted immigration. You can't have both, Mr. Stults.
TOM METZGER Fallbrook.
Metzger is, of course, the former Klan leader who now leads WAR (White Aryan Resistance). With such vocal fans, it's no surprise that Blood and Soil is on the politically incorrect list, and is ignored or dissed by the left of center on the political spectrum. Social democrats Peter Staudenmaier and Janet Diehl, in their popular study Fascist Ecology: the 'Green Wing' of the Nazi Party and its Historical Antecedents, use phrases like "untrustworthy" and "grave error" on the rare occasions they discuss Bramwell's book. But as their fascist critics delight in pointing out, Bramwell broke the historical ground that Staudenmaier and Diehl use. She was the innovative pioneer in rethinking the assumption that everything "Green" is automatically liberal or radical.
So this is a political biography of a Nazi leader, but it is definitely not what we're used to. The author defiantly praises and identifies with her subject. Bramwell tells us: "Darre was to write before his death that he had been a fool to think that the Nazis could have repaired the broken link between man and soil, nature and God...It is the core of my argument that one should not let the existence of the uniforms and swastikas interfere with the evaluation of Darre's attempt to 'watch over the inviolability of the possible'. He was guardian of a radical, centrist, republican critique which pre-dated National Socialism, and which still lives on. "
Dr. Anna Bramwell is not some fringe writer. She is one of the foremost Western capitalist historians of ecological politics. Bramwell's subsequent study, Ecology in the 20th Century. A History , was published by Yale University Press, and is widely used in college classes. At times Bramwell may sound like a neo-fascist in Blood and Soil, but her own Right-wing politics are somewhat different. In a nutshell, this book is crammed with strong positives and strong negatives. Bramwell definitely uses every ideological trick her fertile mind can think of to defend Reichsminister Darre's honor and politics. That is, she gives us a cram course in white racist and neo-fascist evasions, justifications and half-truths. i mean, she's really good at this, and that alone would be worth the price of admission. But there's much more, including serious political discussion of class.
Reichsminister for Agriculture R. Walter Darre was an ambiguous and now largely forgotten figure in Nazi history. Which is easily understandable, since in a crew that's still the brand name for the warfare state, police repression, and genocide, who cares about the minister of agriculture? But this controversial study of the leader of the "Green Nazis" reveals the surprising role of "Green" inside Brown. In author Anna Bramwell's eyes, Darre was no racist criminal but a true popular leader and ecological visionary. She convincingly details how awkward he was at inner party intrigue and politicing. How he never understood the power games of his Party rivals. Of course, being a bad fit as a party animal didn't make Reichsminister Darre any less a fascist. This is typical of Bramwell's sly uses of half truths to advance bigger lies.
This study, by someone who is refreshing in her open hatred of socialist academics, is more vital, more thought-provoking,than the usual academic histories of the Third Reich. At the very least, Blood and Soil gives us a workout, exercising us against the skewed worldview of half-truths used to justify the Nazi experiment at ending humanity. And this book gives us much more than that. It carries the DNA of understanding that fascism is not conservative but anti-bourgeois, violently radical. This is the radioactive element at the heart of multifaceted fascism's continuing danger to us in the mutating post-modern world.
All during the rise of euro-fascism in the 1920s and 1930s, the left dissed & dismissed them as pawns of the capitalist class. Whether in the brilliant German Communist photomontage posters of Heartfield or the pronouncement from Moscow that "fascism is the terroristic dictatorship of the big bourgeoisie", there was a constant message that Italian fascism and German Nazism were only puppets for the big capitalist class.This has important elements of truth, but is fatally off-center and produces an actually disarming picture.
Today we think of fascism so much in terms of its repression, that we forget how much Nazism built its movement by campaigning against big capitalism.One famous National Socialist election poster shows a social-democratic winged "angel" walking hand in hand with a stereotyped banker, with the big slogan: "Marxism is the Guardian Angel of Capitalism". Hitler promised to preserve the "good" productive capitalism of ordinary hard-working Germans, while wiping out the "bad" parasitic big capitalism of the hidden finance capitalist Jewish bosses. In fact, tens of millions of Americans (and not just white folks) would support such a program right here & now. Fascism blended together a radical sentiment against the big bourgeoisie and their State, together with racist-nationalist ideology, into a political uprising of the middle classes .
Reichsminister Darre's Oxford biographer uses his agricultural career, his interest in defending German family farmers, even his non-conforming racial theories ( some of Darre's early racist comrades ended up as Gestapo suspects for being enemies of Hitler to the Right ). All to push forward a picture of Darre as a peaceful radical idealist trying to help the poor and forgotten of the countryside. "Like a more nationalist Che Guevara, he opposed capitalism and the town", is how she clumsily tries to reposition him.
Just as Adolf Hitler, Darre was not a native German. He barely knew where Germany was until he was sent to school there at age ten. Coming from a prosperous German merchant family in Argentina, Ricardo Walter Darre is pictured by Anna Bramwell as an accidental Nazi. He had decided to become an agriculturalist, even obtaining his PhD in farm management during long unemployment in the turbulent 1920s Depression years of the Weimar Republic. Gradually drawn into politics, Darre became known as an independent "Nordic" racial theorist trying to lead North German farmers. He first popularized the memorable slogan "Blood and Soil", putting it on everyone's lips for future Nazi propaganda.
In 1930, Hitler decided to offer the unemployed Darre the important salaried position as the Party leader for the peasant class---what became the Reichsbaurernfuhrer ( Imperial Peasant Leader ) after taking power in 1933. And at that relatively late date Darre agreed to join the Nazis. After the Nazi Party was given state power, Darre also became the first Minister of Agriculture for the Third Reich (he dropped his inconveniently Latin first name and finally gave up Argentine citizenship---like many other Nazi leaders Darre was a self-manufactured Aryan). He was already under the influence of the naturalist, "bio-dynamic" agricultural theories of the white supremacist Rudolph Steiner. What Darre argued for in writings, promised through his Nazi peasant movement, he actually did once installed as Reichsminister. Organic farming, nazi-sponsored marketing cooperatives, and conservation were promoted. With difficulty, Darre attempted to get measures adopted by the new regime favoring small peasant family farms over the large estates. In fact, his biographer claims that thanks to his leadership, even in the ruins of 1945 German agriculture was surprisingly more productive than the British.
But by then R. Walter Darre had long since fallen from view. Breaking with Hitler over World War II---which he opposed as an over-ambitious racially-diluting strategy---by 1939 Darre was only a figurehead minister in a tailored black S.S. uniform. Even the Allied War Crimes Tribunal decided that he'd been out of the loop, and Darre ended up serving only five years in prison (just being a Third Reich cabinet minister was less criminal than Driving While Black on I-95).
Reichsbaurernfuhrer Darre took center stage at a critical moment in the National Socialist rise to power. And his role turned out to be more important than that of many better-known Nazi leaders. Like them, he was a hard soldier of capitalist race war. And far from bucolic (there were zero gentle creatures in the crazed leadership of the Nazi experiment). Like Adolf Hitler, Darre, too, was a proud nationalistic veteran of the German imperial army. Just as Hitler, Darre had survived intense combat in the trench warfare of World War I, been wounded, and had been awarded the Iron Cross. While Adolf Hitler continued in the army after the war---assigned to go into civilian clothing and help build up an obscure fringe group named the German Workers Party--- Darre had been invalided out. But he eagerly joined the Steel Helmets, the Right-Wing veterans organization.
Darre was never a thug. His value to the fascist movement was that he had radical Right class politics. And class vision. It wasn't an accident that he was the one who popularized the racist slogan, "Blood and Soil". Because he was a radical Right-Wing leader of the North German peasantry, those family farmers who worked their own small plots of land. As a middle property-owning class, these farmers can swing to either the right or left in economic crisis. Often the Right has successfuly mobilized them as a mass force for rearranging capitalism. As has happened in 1920s fascist Italy, the settler u.s.a., post-1949 Taiwan, etc.
An Austrian urbanite like Hitler may have known nothing about peasant organizing, but Darre knew enough to lead the entire Party in the countryside. For it was in the Northern countryside that the Nazi movement put on its most radical face---and became the strongest.
Conservative political parties, such as the Catholic German Center Party of the Weimar era or the G.O.P. in today's u.s., are pro-bourgeois supporters of the existing capitalist order. While fascism is pro-capitalist but anti-bourgeois, a signal difference. Nazi ideology called for violently purging Aryan society of everything in their eyes bourgeois--- a culture preoccupied with the dirty quest for money; rule by decadent aristocrats and bankers; the swarms of "useless" intellectuals; the blurring of the primary biologically different missions of men & women; and, of course, the "unnatural" mixing of different races and peoples on sacred tribal Aryan land.Keep in mind that fascism didn't promote capitalists as social icons, but called for society to be ruled by a hierarchical caste of warriors.
Of all the old classes , the one that Hitler and his fellow National Socialists had the most contempt for was the landed gentry and aristocracy. Most particularly the Prussian Junkers. Not only did that class personify the inherited privilege that Hitler so resented, but as a class they had staffed the old imperial state. Especially the German military. To Corporal Hitler they were only over-privileged losers, who had let the German people down in WWI and the Depression. Who were too weak-willed to handle the great crisis society had been swallowed up by. Nazism demanded their retirement as a class from holding the reins of state power, producing instead a lumpen-state run by upstart warlords from the middle classes (not that the aristocracy didn't go over to the Nazis once they saw where things were headed---some 18% of the upper S.S. leadership were of the aristocracy). We can see one side of fascism as a partial revolution within the body of capitalism. Where the bourgeoisie still own production and distribution, but temporarily no longer control state and nation.
New Nazi leader Darre threw himself and his party into the political war for the countryside. There the Brownshirt tide came to run so strongly that Darre once even offered to use his peasant Stormtroopers to seize the government for Hitler. A measure of Darre's importance to fascism was that his new Agricultural Organization overrode all previously established Nazi Party structures in the rural areas, cutting across provincial and specialized party departments. He even took control of Landpost, the party's rural journal, away from Goebbel's powerful propaganda department. In those years Darre reported only to the Fuhrer himself.
The North German countryside was already up in class war, and both Darre's military experience and his new "bio-dynamic" enthusiasm served the fascists well. He had quickly built a farm network of party members and sympathizers, tied together by special rural organizers that he had trained in farm issues. Always Darre stressed both the ideological and the practical together. Improved yields through organic intensive farming plus the vision of a de-urbanized and neo-tribal Germany. Led by soldier-farmers who would grow their own food, rule their own households, and band together in armed Aryan militias under the S.S. to gradually cleanse the frontier of the inferior natives. Just like his model vision of white American settlers on the Western frontier. Only for him the white frontier was the East, not the West, and the natives useless to civilization were like Poles, Latvians, Czechs, Ukrainians and Russians. As Darre said:
The German people cannot help coming to terms [with the Eastern problem]. The Slavs know what they want---we don't! We look on with dumb resignation while formerly purely German cities---Reval, Riga, Warsaw and so forth, are lost to our people...The German people cannot avoid a life or death struggle with the advancing East. Our people must prepare for the struggle...only one solution for us, absolute victory! Furthermore, the concept of Blood and Soil gives us the right to take back as much Eastern land as is necessary to achieve harmony between the body of our people and geo-political space.
As is habitual in Aryan politics, bloody plans for genocidal aggression are justified as only self-defense, as only restoring what is natural, and by the maudlin self-pity of oppressors.
Naturally, in this violent "solution" (a favorite word of Darre and his Nazi comrades, since it implies a prior problem) there was no "geo-political space" for the millions of Jews in the East. Darre the agriculturalist referred to Jews as "weeds". We don't have to guess what that meant. His biographer claims that Darre was not an anti-semite, and wasn't involved in the Holocaust. Of course, in researching her book she couldn't find one word or act by Darre opposing the attack against the Jews of Europe. The very idea that someone who was a top Nazi leader for ten years wasn't for racist crimes and genocide stretches belief way beyond reason. That Darre may have been more wisely discreet on this subject didn't mean that he had any significant differences with Hitler (about whom Darre wrote privately that he was in "awe" of) and his ally Himmler.
The 1930s class war in the North German countryside had already reached the point of dynamiting government offices and rifle fire breaking up bank auctions of bankrupt farmsteads (sounds a bit like the u.s. Plains states today, doesn't it?). Half the farms were losing money. Even "red" Communist organizing was winning supporters. Darre's crash party-building program trained angry farmers to become Nazi public speakers for farmers unions & cooperatives---but also local experts on land settlement, fertilizers, insurance and debt management, livestock raising, and so on. Not just talk alone, but practical help and sympathetic class organization built the Nazi machine in the countryside. In December 1931, Darre's rural Nazis captured the elected presidency of the Landbund, the large farmers' union.
In July 1932, Hitler's Party attracted the largest vote it was to have before gaining power, 37.4% of the vote. In a system of multiple minority parties, it was an overwhelming victory. 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. The smaller the village, the larger the proportion...
Reichsbaurernfuhrer Darre had essentially, in only a few years, led in swinging an entire class to join the Nazi movement. A stunning feat. Not mere votes, remember, but whole villages as fascist eyes and ears. New thousands of Stormtroopers who could be trucked to the cities at critical moments. No wonder a proud Darre could offer to seize state power for the Fuhrer. This wasn't just lumpen fascists being thugs for the big capitalists, as the Communists endlessly shouted to no effect. It was a different radical class politics. And for awhile, until the long-awaited War began, the Aryan peasantry was seemingly rewarded with new preferential policies and laws.
In those early 1930s years, Darre was also a powerful ideological force within the developing party. Both in public writings & in inner party struggles, Darre fought for ever more racist thinking as the determinant of all policy. That he considered the 1930 Nazi Party as not dedicated enough to master race politics gives you an idea of exactly how racist Darre was. While Hitler was a fantasy Aryan, Darre was a hard-core Nordicist, a believer in an imaginary Nordic superior race that happened to exclude even Germans from South Germany and Austria---such as Adolf Hitler!
Reichsminister Darre dismissed his hated rival Goebbels, the party propaganda czar, as not being up to "scientific racial thinking". Darre's main ally in the party hierarchy was S.S. chief Heinrich Himmler. In those early years the Brownshirts of the S.A. (Sturmabteilung or Stormtroopers) were the mass para military arm of the Party, the street fighters. While the black-clad S.S. ( Schutszstaffel or Security Squad) were growing from the small elite bodyguard for Hitler into a future neo-tribal military, the heart of the Nazi subculture. Darre was one of the ideological godfathers of the S.S., having helped mold the young organization. He introduced regular S.S. classes on racist theory. And in 1931, he convinced S.S. chief Himmler to make racial examination of all prospective brides of S.S. men a mandatory requirement. This fetish about women's biology was an obsession of Darre's (and many other Nazi men, as well).
It was not as an environmentalist that Darre was best known then, but as one of the most extreme and controversial racial theorists. The 1920s & 1930s was a time when eugenics, that racist pseudo-science, was riding high in Western capitalism. Darre added his voice to those arguing that the white master race had to be "rescued" genetically by culling out not only "contamination" from other races but inferior whites as well. Defective children should be exposed to die, as wild beasts do. All German women should be subjected to racial heredity examinations, and graded into different categories regulating marriage and child-bearing. Men, he believed, could prove their racial soundness by their achievements. But since women have no achievements their child-bearing value to the master race could only be judged by examining their family heredity.
Privately, Darre had asserted that even his own children were not "100%" master race enough in their heredity. But, he added, if his wife (whom he had abandoned) worked hard enough at their children's racist upbringing, they could at least grow up to be satisfactory German citizens. No wonder that some other Right Wing nationalists sneered at Darre's "chicken-breeding mentality", while he was hated by more than a few nationalist women. Contrary to what his faithful biographer claims, there is a direct connection between the vanguard racist-sexist ideology spread by Darre and others, and the gas chambers at Auschwitz.
We've arrived at a point here. His kind of "love" of nature could not simply be, was not pure, but was a romanticized part of his racism. Just as his idealized vision of the peasantry and uncomplicated village life had its roots in his fear of "contamination" by inferior races (who must be physically removed). He denounced the cosmopolitan cities with their "...danger of uncontrolled introduction of inferior blood with natural children. One thinks of the large towns, where the dark-skinned student, the colored artist, the jazz trumpter, etc...feel perfectly at home..."
There was a foredoomed quality to Darre's white pastoral fantasies, of course, because a resurgent capitalist Germany would demand air fleets,panzer divisions, and a heavy petro-chemical industrial base. Even beyond that, the very idea of Reichsminister Darre as an ecologist strikes a false note.
We're running head on into that popular illogical notion that being for something healthy somehow means that you are a good person. Don't forget that Adolf Hitler himself was a veritable Olympian of all the "healthy" and "natural". Not only a vegetarian but one who used alternative health care, who ordered cigarettes stripped from his soldiers' ration packs, and who passed laws banning experimentation on animals (Kind of like, "Don't experiment on animals, use Jews and Gypsies. And don't smoke while you do it.").
The entire "ecofascist" stir in Europe today is a good case of deceptive advertising for Aryan politics. It is telling that in this political biography---despite the subtitle---racism occupies a much larger place than ecology. For the simple reason that Reichsminister Darre's record on ecology was hardly a wonder. Even leaving aside the reality that someone who wanted the military invasion of all Eastern Europe and the wholesale "racial" repopulation of cities like Warsaw, has a strange relationship to the word "ecology". Darre advocated smaller, more carefully farmed family agriculture, using organic methods not chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Because it improved yields and peasant income, and decreased the relative power in the countryside of the "upper class" landed gentry. Needless to say, it was also a policy thrifty with expensive imported petro-chemical stocks (Germany had to import all its oil ). Hitler was delighted with this program. As he said, a good grain harvest was "worth twenty-two divisions" to him.
Walter Darre's supposed "Green" politics were more in the category of husbandry, the careful & thrifty exploitation of Man's resouces, rather than any environmentalism. Which shouldn't be any big news, since the same better-living through-more-management philosophy soaks through contemporary capitalist environmentalism here.
Paradoxically, the Nazi movement believed itself to be in harmony with nature---even with all its intoxicating hierarchical-mechanical subculture and film set costumes. Of course, by "Nature" fascists didn't recognize an ecology with complex interaction & interdependency of all the myriad life forms. Nazism projected its own ruthlessly mechanistic class agenda onto the "natural". Ernest Lehmann, a Nazi professor of botany, declared that fascism was only "politically applied biology". They saw a hierarchical food chain, a ceaseless conflict of stronger predators upon weaker prey, as the perfect metaphor for their own terroristic politico-economy.
It was only "Nature's law" to Hitler and Darre for one biological group---a species or a race---to totally unite under its strongest males to compete with other species or races for territory and resources. For crows to war with wrens, wolves to dominate elk, and master race civilization to rise up on the conquest and slave labor of the inferior races. Some Nazi leaders even mused on a fantastic science-fiction re-population of Afrika by millions of Aryans, supported by vast labor armies of unpaid Black workers. Peter Staudenmaier remarks:
Such arguments have a chilling currency within contemporary ecological discourse: the key to social-ecological harmony is ascertaining 'the eternal laws of nature's processes' (Hitler) and organizing society to correspond to them. The Fuhrer was particularly fond of stressing the 'helplessness of humankind in the face of nature's everlasting law.' Echoing Haeckel and the Monists, Mein Kampf announces: 'When people attempt to rebel against the iron logic of nature, they come into conflict with the very same principles to which they owe their existence as human beings. Their actions against nature must lead to their own downfall.'
The authoritarian implications of this view of humanity and nature become even clearer in the context of the Nazi's emphasis on holism and organicism. In 1934 the director of the Reich Agency for Nature Protection, Walter Schoenichen, established the following objectives for biology curricula: 'Very early, the youth must develop an understanding of the civic importance of the "organism", i.e. the co-ordination of all parts and organs for the benefit of the one and superior task of life.'
In the Nazi worldview the superior being was a predator. This supposed recognition of "Nature's laws" is just capitalist culture with a biological wrapper. In life it isn't true. The lofty eagle isn't any more successful than mom sparrow. If anything, less so. If survival and dominance were everything, cockroaches might get olympic gold. Ecology is endless diversity, unending change, and development and interdependency of life forms that is complex beyond Man the Manager.
Again, there are class issues hidden in these man-made pronouncements about "Nature". Although the Nazis always claimed to be a "Workers Party" (and at their electoral peak in 1932 received about 25% of their votes from workers, primarily the unemployed), this ideology of "nature's iron laws" was profoundly anti-working class. The so-called German National Socialist Workers Party had intractable problems with the German proletariat. Which is why both Hitler and Darre wanted to do radical surgery and actually eliminate the German proletariat as a class. Which was done. Just like Jews and Romany were done. Only Steven Spielberg's Hollywood capitalism and its pet "Holocaust industry" isn't talking about this home invasion.
Even political conquest didn't eliminate National Socialism's constant clashing with their own industrial working class. As the Party's German Labor Front reported in 1937 over mass resistance to speed-ups and Taylorism: "Workers, whether of National Socialist persuasion or not, still hold on to the Marxist and union position of rejecting critera of production...Controls over individual achievement are rejected. Therefore they resist all attempts to time them." Remember that until well after 1933 the Nazis could venture into hard-core proletarian neighborhoods only in large groups.
As we've discussed, Reichsbaurernfuhrer Darre wanted to de-urbanize German society, limiting industrialization. Which would have automatically shrunk the proletariat. They would have become a useful but niche class, in a society dominated by militias of racist soldier-peasants. Just like the mythic u.s. frontier that Darre admired so much. Instead the Nazis pursued Adolf Hitler's evolving strategy, which was to simultaneously promote both techno-industrial development and the Aryan re-organization of classes. If it is the superior race man's destiny to be both a fierce soldier and ruler over others---as the Nazis held in a core belief---then how can he at the same time be shelving groceries at the supermarket or bucking production on the assembly line?
Fascism de-proletarianized Aryan society. Or to put it more precisely: it created an Aryan society that had never existed before by de-proletarianizing the former German society. By the millions, Aryan men were shifted into military service and into being labor aristocrats, supervisors, straw bosses, and minor bureaucrats of every sort. In 1940 Nazi Labor Front leader Robert Ley said in a speech: "In ten years Germany will be transformed beyond recognition. A nation of proletarians will have become a nation of rulers. In ten years a german worker will look better than an English lord does today." The new proletariat that started emerging was heavily made up of involuntary foreign & slave laborers, and---despite Nazi ideology about women's "natural" place in the kitchen and nursery---was largely becoming a proletariat of women.
Nazi slave labor is seldom dealt with in its class reality. Usually it is mentioned as a side-effect of the Holocaust. Or as a short-lived desperation measure of a tottering regime facing military defeat on all fronts. The truth was that it was much more than that. Slave and semi-slave labor was a necessary feature of mature Nazi society. If Hitlerism had been successful, slave labor was to have gone on for his entire lifetime and beyond. Even conquered Eastern Europe and Russia, in official Nazi plans, would gradually have given way to the spread of vast Aryan owned agricultural estates, whose rural proletariat would have been involuntarily furnished by the inferior races.
By 1941 there were three million foreign & slave proletarians at work in National Socialist factories, farms and mines. Coincidentally, the S.S.---which had only 116 men at its first public display at the July 4, 1926 Party Rally at Weimar ( the u.s.a. and the Nazis celebrate the same founding holiday)---had also grown to three million. Soon the overrun territories of Europe and the East provided over four million more slave laborers for Nazi industry & the war machine (the majority of whom were used up, consumed, in accelerated capitalist production). The fascist class structure that had cloaked itself in Nature was revealed to be bizarrely artificial. Nazism's peculiar class structure was parasitic as a mode of life. One history sums this up:
The regime's increasing use of concentration camp and foreign forced labour made the working class more or less passive accomplices in Nazi racial policy. ..The first 'recruits' were unemployed Polish agricultural labourers, who were soon accompanied by prisoners of war and people abducted en masse from cinemas and churches. These were then followed by the French. By the summer of 1941 there were some three million foreign workers in Germany, a figure which mushroomed to 7.7 million in the autumn of 1944. ...A high proportion of these workers were either young or female. By 1944, a quarter of those working in the German economy were foreigners. Virtually every German worker was thus confronted by the fact and practice of Nazi racism. In some branches of industry, German workers merely constituted a thin, supervisory layer above a workforce of which between 80 and 90 percent were foreigners. This tends to be passed over by historians of the labour movement.
Treatment of these foreign workers was largely determined by their 'racial' origins. Broadly speaking, the usual hierarchy consisted of 'German workers' at the top, 'west workers' a stage below them, and Poles and 'eastern workers' at the lowest level. This racial hierarchy determined both living conditions and the degree of coercion to which foreign workers were subjected both at the workplace and in society at large.
Darre's early ally & collaborator, S.S. leader Heinrich Himmler, knowing the distance they were pushing their own cadre to mutate, urged them on in unmistakable terms:
The S.S. man is to be guided by one principle alone: honesty, decency, loyalty, and friendship towards those of our blood, and to no one else...Whether other peoples live in plenty or starve to death interests me only insofar as we need them as slaves for our culture ; for the rest it does not interest me. Whether 10,000 Russian women keel over from exhaustion in the construction of an anti-tank ditch interests me only insofar as the ditch for Germany gets finished. We will never be savage or heartless where we don't have to be; that is obvious. Germans are after all the only people in the world who treat animals decently...If someone comes to me and tells me, 'I cannot dig these anti-tank ditches with children or with women, it is inhuman, they will die on the job,' I must say to him, 'You are a murderer of your own blood...
This is like a criminal investigation, where digging up the basement of a suburban home suddenly unearths a jumble of bodies. We started with "Green Nazi" R. Walter Darre and the claims for his ecological pioneering. Yet, step by step, we've followed a corridor until finally we turn a corner ...into a slaughterhouse. And a capitalism given seeming paranormal strength by the radical resection and fusion of its race, class and gender.
Darre could be significant to new generations of neo-fascists. Not only because he gives fascism some plausible-sounding claim to being the forefathers of the white ecology movement. Far from being a political innocent, Darre was if anything even more racist than Hitler. And certainly more practical. Who knows, if his views had prevailed maybe the Nazi Party might still be ruling Germany today? His rural settler strategy is in tune with much of the white racist Far Right in the u.s. (no small coincidence, since he used the u.s. white settler Western frontier as his genocidal model). Blood and Soil is an ardent defense of an alternative Nazi's life and politics. It forces us to check out what words like "peasant", "Green", and "ecology" should mean in our politics.
The London Telegraph of September 3, 2000 reported:
BRITISH neo-nazi groups are attempting to hijack the animal rights campaign by infiltrating protest groups...The neo-nazi groups are frequenting animal rights demonstrations in an attempt to capitalise upon the tensions and controversy generated by the issue. Many of them subscribe to Adolf Hitler's orignal doctrine of a vegetarian, chemically untainted agrarian society in which vivisection is outlawed.
Their template is the so-called 'Blood and Soil' doctrine drawn up by Hitler's agricultural minister Walter Darre. Their adherence to racist doctrine is, however, only thinly veiled...
Peter Staudenmaier's study, Fascist Ecology: the 'Green Wing' of the Nazi Party and its Historical Antecedents, says that Bramwell's book is "undoubtedly the best single source on Darre in either German or English". Unfortunately, Staudenmaier continues, her "grave error in judgement indicates the powerfully disorienting pull of an 'ecological' aura."
This is an interesting kind of a slip. Staudenmaier and his co-author, Janet Diehl, have things upside down. Saying that Bramwell's defense of Darre's politics comes from her sympathy with his environmental vision. No, it's the attraction of his class politics that has magnetized her to the big white refrigerator. People's moral disorientation doesn't come from anything ecological---that's just the cover story--- but from the continuing attraction of capitalist racism. That's true whether we're talking about Reichsminister Darre or Ralph Nader.