The Greening of White Separatism: Use of Environmental Themes to Elaborate and Legitimize Extremist Discourse

in Nature and Culture

Employing an interpretive content analysis of online forums, the author examines use of environmental themes by the United States white separatist movement in its efforts to seek legitimacy and garner a broad base of support. The contemporary white separatist movement draws upon latent National Socialist environmental discursive frames linked to history, spirituality, and stewardship. The lack of a specific position on the environment in the movement permits the manipulation of environmental themes to appeal to a wide range of audiences. Appeals to right wing environmental, population, and anti-environmental audiences include a discourse of environmental skepticism, concerns about immigration and overpopulation and discussion of rights to nature and land. Appeals to left wing and mainstream audiences involve expressions of environmental concern, preservation, stewardship, and rights of nature. A narrative of networking using environmentalism's broad appeal, perceived concerns regarding immigration and population growth, and similarities in racial characteristics was also evident.