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(1921 - 2006) ~ Father of Social Ecology and Anarcho-Communalism : Growing up in the era of traditional proletarian socialism, with its working-class insurrections and struggles against classical fascism, as an adult he helped start the ecology movement, embraced the feminist movement as antihierarchical, and developed his own democratic, communalist politics. (From : Anarchy Archives.)
• "The social view of humanity, namely that of social ecology, focuses primarily on the historic emergence of hierarchy and the need to eliminate hierarchical relationships." (From : "The Crisis in the Ecology Movement," by Murray Bo....)
• "The historic opposition of anarchists to oppression of all kinds, be it that of serfs, peasants, craftspeople, or workers, inevitably led them to oppose exploitation in the newly emerging factory system as well. Much earlier than we are often led to imagine, syndicalism- - essentially a rather inchoate but radical form of trade unionism- - became a vehicle by which many anarchists reached out to the industrial working class of the 1830s and 1840s." (From : "The Ghost of Anarcho-Syndicalism," by Murray Book....)
• "...the extraordinary achievements of the Spanish workers and peasants in the revolution of 1936, many of which were unmatched by any previous revolution." (From : "The Ghost of Anarcho-Syndicalism," by Murray Book....)


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Free Cities

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This document contains 36 sections, with 71,148 words or 472,454 characters.

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Creating Free Cities What would a free municipality look like? What would its basic institutions be? What material, political, and cultural preconditions must be met before we can arrive at them, and who will be the agents for social change? What kinds of movements and political efforts are required to create them? These questions strike to the core of Murray Bookchin’s political project, particularly as he refined it during the 1980s and 1990s. The immediate and ultimate aim of the political approach he advanced is to create free cities or municipalities, and as such it is meant to provide both a clear social ideal as well as a concrete political praxis. By advancing libertarian municipalism, Bookchin hoped to see new civic movements emerge and claim control over their communities. Political involvement at the local level is necessary, he insisted, to guide and inspire a process of municipal empowerment. This process and the institution... (From :

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Introduction These essays are my final assessment of some 80 years of social reflections on the twentieth century. In a very real sense, they are the product of a lifetime of study and political work, distilled from a remarkable era of revolutionary history that spanned decades of social upheaval, from the 1917 Russian Revolution to the closing years of the twentieth century. I make no pretense to claiming that these essays resolve any of the crises that beset the people who lived out the century. It would be remarkable indeed to know even how to properly define these crises, still less to be capable of solving them. I do not claim to be able to answer all of the questions we face, but they must be considered – hopefully as a basis for future and creative discourse. The questions we ask and the answers we give are socially and politically defining. Taken together, they actually form the battleground for the future of social life... (From :

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The Ecological Crisis and the Need to Remake Society In addressing the sources of our present ecological and social problems, perhaps the most fundamental message that social ecology advances is that the very idea of dominating nature stems from the domination of human by human. The primary implication of this most basic message is a call for a politics and even an economics that offer a democratic alternative to the nation-state and the market society. I would like to offer a broad sketch of these issues to lay the groundwork for the changes necessary in moving toward a free and ecological society. The Social Roots of the Ecological Crisis First, the most fundamental route to a resolution of our ecological problems is social in character. That is to say, if we are faced with the prospect of outright ecological catastrophe, toward which so many knowledgeable people and institutions claim we are headed today, it is because... (From :

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Nationalism and the “National Question” One of the most vexing questions that the Left faces (however one may define the Left) is the role played by nationalism in social development and by popular demands for cultural identity and political sovereignty. For the Left of the nineteenth century, nationalism was seen primarily as a European issue, involving the consolidation of nation-states in the heartland of capitalism. Only secondarily, if at all, was it seen as the anti-imperialist and presumably anti-capitalist struggle that it was to become in the twentieth century. This did not mean that the nineteenth-century Left favored imperialist depredations in the colonial world. At the turn of this century, hardly any serious radical thinker, to my knowledge, regarded the imperialist powers’ attempts to quell movements for self-determination in colonial areas as a blessing. The Left scoffed at and usually denounced the arrogant claims of... (From :

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Nationalism and the Great Revolution During and after the great revolutions in the eighteenth century – particularly the American and the French – expressions redolent with nationalism did not have the meaning they often have today. The word “patriot” was not used to express a special loyalty to a “Fatherland” two centuries ago; the word normally was used in both the American and French revolutions to delegitimate the claim of the monarchy to literally own the countries and colonies it ruled as the personal patrimony of the King and establish the ordinary citizen’s status as a “shareholder” in what had previously been regarded as a royal estate. Accordingly, the American revolutionaries who declared their independence from the British monarchy in 1776 fundamentally altered their ties to the “mother country” by replacing royal rule with a republican system structured politically around citizenship rath... (From :

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The Historical Importance of the City I have long argued that libertarian municipalism constitutes the politics of social ecology, notably a revolutionary effort in which freedom is given institutional form in public assemblies that become decision-making bodies. It depends upon libertarian leftists running candidates at the local municipal level, calling for the division of municipalities into wards, where popular assemblies can be created that bring people into full and direct participation in political life. Having democratized themselves, municipalities would confederate into a dual power to oppose the nation-state and ultimately dispense with it and with the economic forces that underpin statism as such. Libertarian municipalism is above all a politics that seeks to create a vital democratic public sphere. In my From Urbanization to Cities as well as other works, I have made careful but crucial distinctions between three societal... (From :

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Anarchism as Individualism I have long suspected that anarchism, if thought out to its logical conclusions and reasoned out from its most fundamental roots, is inherently a negative conception of liberty in its most abstract form. Indeed, if the wild mix of anarchists today and yesterday all share one thing in common, it is their rejection of state coercion of the individual. If we take a closer look at anarchism as an ideology, it has followed a careening trajectory. It originated (apart from some precursors) in the 1830s and 1840s as a form of unfettered egoism, a radical demand for personal autonomy. Initially it meant little more than unrelenting resistance to attempts by society and particularly the state to restrict individual liberty. Later it flirted with various social movements of the oppressed, embracing the collectivism of the archaic peasant village, then the syndicalism of craft and industrial workers, and later still it was heavily influ... (From :

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Anarchism, Power, and Government Today, when anarchism has become le mot du jor in radical circles, the differences between a society based on anarchy and one based on the principles of social ecology should be clearly distinguished. Therefore, just as elsewhere I have distinguished between politics and statecraft, I must now also point out the distinction between governments and states. All anarchists, and indeed most left libertarians, dismiss every government as a state. The fact is that no society can exist without an orderly way of administering itself, which necessarily implies administration or regulation of some kind. Not Every Government is a State All states are governments, but not all governments are states. A government is a set of organized and responsible institutions that are minimally an active system of social and economic administration. They handle the problems of living in an orderly fashion. A government may b... (From :

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The Revolutionary Politics of Libertarian Municipalism Libertarian municipalism is a revolutionary politics, and not a new version of Paul Brousse’s reformist “possibilism” of the 1890s. Libertarian municipalism in no way compromises with parliamentarism, reformist attempts to “improve” capitalism, or the perpetuation of private property. Limited exclusively to the municipality as the locus for political activity, as distinguished from provincial and state governments, not to speak of national and supranational governments, libertarian municipalism is revolutionary to the core, in the very important sense that it seeks to exacerbate the latent and often very real tension between the municipality and the state, and to enlarge the democratic institutions of the commune that still remain, at the expense of statist institutions. It counterposes the confederation to the nation-state, and libertarian communism to existing systems of private a... (From :

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The Future of the Left By the beginning of the twentieth century, the Left had reached an extraordinary degree of conceptual sophistication and organizational maturity. Generally what was called leftism at that time was socialist, influenced in varying degrees by the works of Karl Marx. This was especially the case in Central Europe, but socialism was also intermixed with populist ideas in Eastern Europe and with syndicalism in France, Spain, and Latin America. In the United States all of these ideas were melded together, such as in Eugene V. Debs’s Socialist Party and in the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). On the eve of World War One leftist ideas and movements had become so advanced that they seemed positioned to seriously challenge the existence of capitalism, indeed, of class society as such. The words from the Internationale, “Tis the final conflict,” acquired a new concreteness and immediacy. Capitalism seemed fa... (From :

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Toward a Communalist Approach There is an urgent need for a new radical approach to adequately address the new economic, ecological, technological, and cultural challenges of contemporary society; it must be one of theory and action, one that will draw on features from classical Marxism, socialism, and anarchism, yet go beyond their historical and theoretical limitations. Conceived as they all were in the socially tumultuous era of industrial revolution, the ideologies of communism, socialism, and the more social versions of anarchism responded with a reasonable degree of adequacy to the challenges of the oppressive and exploitative circumstances and contexts in which they took form. In Marx’s hands, communism provided a philosophy, a theory of history, and a political strategy centered on a revolutionary class agent – the industrial proletariat – the coherence of which was unequaled by any other body of social theory and pra... (From :

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The most comprehensive and accessible overview of these ideas is Janet Biehl’s book The Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism (Montréal: Black Rose Books, 1998), a work that Bookchin himself often recommended as the best introduction to his political ideas. The book was originally published by Sierra Club Books (San Francisco) as The Rise of Urbanization and the Decline of Citizenship in 1987; republished by Black Rose Books (Montréal) in 1992 as Urbanization Without Cities: The Rise and Decline of Citizenship; and finally republished in a revised version as From Urbanization to Cities: Toward a Politics of Citizenship, by Cassell (London) in 1995. Despite the fairly dry titles, the book gives a vivid account of the emergence and meaning of politics, citizenship, and civic development. This small book was published by AK Press in 2007. (From :


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