Not A Clear Line. The post-growth spectrum in Germany lacks an anti-fascist consensus, and the Far Right knows how to use it

 

Felix Wilmsen*

Abstract: Attempts by Neo-Nazis and the “intellectual” New Right to take over post-growth ideas have become more frequent in Germany. Far-Right members have referred to key figures of the post-growth spectrum to call for racist segregation and population politics in the name of ethnic or ›cultural‹ homogeneity. What might read like common growth criticism follows a mimicry strategy: the adaptation of post-growth rhetoric is intended to transport and normalise their inhuman ideas. While some post-growth proponents have spoken up about it, most of them with a feminist and capitalist-critical background, the majority ignores or plays down the issue. In this article, I argue that the post-growth spectrum in Germany should examine the integrability of its ideas and rhetoric in the field of Far-Right ideologies and draw a clear line. An emancipatory growth criticism should not play out the ecological crisis against struggles for social justice. It needs an anti-fascist consensus.

Keywords: Far Right, Anti-fascism, Post-growth, Degrowth, Germany

 

Introduction

In autumn 2012, a certain Landolf Ladig wrote in the German neo-Nazi magazine Volk in Bewegung, “the post-growth economy with its appreciation of regionality, variety, non-alienation and its ideas for land and monetary reform could be easily integrated into the world view of the identitarian opposition to the current system” (Ladig, 2012: 15). Ladig explicitly praises the model of the prominent German growth critic Niko Paech. Under the slogan “Liberation from Excess”, Paech (2012) relies on regional self-sufficiency and frugal lifestyles to break away from the ecologically destructive growth paradigm. A declared anti-liberal, Ladig wants to use Paech’s model to counter the liberal and growth-friendly programme of the Green Party. Touting a “space-oriented”, regionalised economy, he aims to “recapture the ecological mission” from “left-wing ecologists” (Ladig, 2012: 13). Such an economy could not be focused on economic growth, he argues, because there is no absolute decoupling from resource consumption. Instead of a globalised economy, he aims for a “a multiplicity of sub-global economic areas« that should be” in line with established cultural areas« (Ladig, 2012: 15).

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