Murray Bookchin : 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.
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From : Anarchy Archives
"Or will ecology groups and the Greens turn the entire ecology movement into a starry-eyed religion decorated by gods, goddesses, woodsprites, and organized around sedating rituals that reduce militant activist groups to self-indulgent encounter groups?"
From : "The Crisis in the Ecology Movement," by Murray Bookchin, Green Perspectives, No. 6, May 1988
"...real growth occurs exactly when people have different views and confront each other in order to creatively arrive at more advanced levels of truth -- not adopt a low common denominator of ideas that is 'acceptable' to everyone but actually satisfies no one in the long run. Truth is achieved through dialogue and, yes, harsh disputes -- not by a deadening homogeneity and a bleak silence that ultimately turns bland 'ideas' into rigid dogmas."
From : "The Crisis in the Ecology Movement," by Murray Bookchin, Green Perspectives, No. 6, May 1988.
"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 Bookchin, Green Perspectives, No. 6, May 1988
"...a market economy based on dog-eat-dog as a law of survival and 'progress' has penetrated every aspect of society..."
From : "The Crisis in the Ecology Movement," by Murray Bookchin, Green Perspectives, No. 6, May 1988
"We are direly in need not only of 're-enchanting the world' and 'nature' but also of re-enchanting humanity -- of giving itself a sense of wonder over its own capacity as natural beings and a caring product of natural evolution"
From : "The Crisis in the Ecology Movement," by Murray Bookchin, Green Perspectives, No. 6, May 1988
"...anarchism is above all antihierarchical rather than simply individualistic; it seeks to remove the domination of human by human, not only the abolition of the state and exploitation by ruling economic classes."
From : "The Ghost of Anarcho-Syndicalism," by Murray Bookchin, November 6, 1992
"...Proudhon here appears as a supporter of direct democracy and assembly self- management on a clearly civic level, a form of social organization well worth fighting for in an era of centralization and oligarchy."
From : "The Ghost of Anarcho-Syndicalism," by Murray Bookchin, November 6, 1992
"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 Bookchin, November 6, 1992
"...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 Bookchin, November 6, 1992
"Broader movements and issues are now on the horizon of modern society that, while they must necessarily involve workers, require a perspective that is larger than the factory, trade union, and a proletarian orientation."
From : "The Ghost of Anarcho-Syndicalism," by Murray Bookchin, November 6, 1992
About Murray Bookchin
by Janet Biehl
Murray Bookchin was born in New York City on January 14, 1921, to Russian Jewish immigrant parents who had been active in the Russian revolutionary movement. In 1930 he entered the Communist youth movement, joining first the Young Pioneers and then the Young Communist League, serving as education director for his branch. But in 1935 he became disillusioned by Stalins shift of international Communism to the less militant Popular Front party line. Deeply involved in organizing activities around the Spanish Civil War (he was too young to participate directly), he remained with the Communists until the Stalin-Hitler pact of September 1939, when he was expelled for "Trotskyist-anarchist deviations." He proceeded to aligned himself with the American Trotskyists. After graduating from high school, he found work as a foundryman in northern New Jersey, thereby entering the workers' movement. At the foundry, where he worked for four years, he became active in labor organizing for the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).
He served in the U.S. Army during the mid-1940s, then returned home to employment as an autoworker. He became deeply involved in the United Auto Workers (UAW), which was at the time a highly libertarian union. Ideologically, he became increasingly disappointed by the Trotksyists traditional Bolshevist authoritarianism. After participating in the great General Motors strike of 1948, he began to question all his traditional conceptions about the "hegemonic" or "vanguard" role of the industrial working class. Rather than move to the right, as many disillusioned Communists in his generation did, he looked for ways to construct a nonauthoritarian, indeed libertarian communism.
During the 1950s, calling himself a libertarian socialist, worked closely with a group of dissident German Marxists living in New York who held a similar perspective (International Kommunisten Deutschlands, or IKD). Many of his early articles were published in this groups German-language periodical, Dinge der Zeit, as well as its English-language sister publication, Contemporary Issues, under the pen names M. S. Shiloh, Lewis Herber, Robert Keller, and Harry Ludd. His earliest book, Lebensgefährliche Lebensmittel (1955), published in West Germany in collaboration with Gotz Ohly, was based on a very large article "The Problem of Chemicals in Food," that had been published in Contemporary Issues in 1952. Here he explored the possible effects of food preservatives and pesticides on human health. Such ideas, which have since entered into the general consciousness of our time, were highly original in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
In the early 1960s Bookchin wrote two important journalistic books, intended for a general readership, that raised the alarm about a range of environmental ills. In Our Synthetic Environment (pseud. Lewis Herber), published in 1962 (preceding Rachel Carson's Silent Spring by nearly half a year), he surveyed the scientific literature on pesticides, food additives, and X-radiation as sources of human illness, including cancer. In Crisis in Our Cities (1965) explored environmental problems specific to American urban areas.
Around this time Bookchins political evolution led him to the anarchist tradition of Peter Kropotkin, which he hoped could become a home for his decentralist and antihierarchical ideas and a political framework within which he could work. As the New Left and counterculture movements emerged in the 1960s, he popularized his libertarian and ecological ideas in several innovative and widely influential essays. Ecology and Revolutionary Thought (1964) was the first work to call for a radical political ecology; here attempted to marry ecology and anarchism, founding what he called Social Ecology. In Towards a Liberatory Technology (1965) he called for a new ecotechnics using alternative, renewable energy sources and microtechnologies that would form the infrastructure of a liberatory society. In Listen, Marxist! (1969) he tried to warn SDS against its imminent takeover by a Maoist group and in so doing mounted a searing critique of Marxism-Leninism. In A Note on Affinity Groups he called attention to a nonhierarchical unit of political organization used by the Spanish anarchists. All these essays profoundly influenced the New Left in North America and Europe and were collected in the anthology Post-Scarcity Anarchism (1971; republished 1977 and 2004). In the late 1960s Bookchin also taught at the Alternative University in New York, one of the largest "free universities" in the United States, and at City University of New York in Staten Island.
In 1974 he co-founded and directed the Institute for Social Ecology in Plainfield, Vermont, which went on to acquire an international reputation for its advanced courses in ecophilosophy, social theory, and alternative technologies. In 1974 he also began teaching at Ramapo College of New Jersey, where this self-educated high-school graduate eventually became a full professor of social theory; he retired in 1983 to an emeritus status. In the 1970s Bookchin was active in the antinuclear movement and participated in the Clamshell Alliance, opposing the Seabrook nuclear reactor in New Hampshire. His book The Limits of the City (1974) continued his exploration of urban issues in radical social thought. His next book, The Spanish Anarchists (1977), was a history of the Spanish anarchist movement from its origins to the mid-1930s; a planned second volume, intended to cover the Spanish Revolution of 1936-37, was never written (although volume 4 of The Third Revolution, completed in 2003, covers much of that history). Several of his 1970s essays criticized developments in the new ecology movement and distinguished between ecology, which he considered radical and innovative, and environmentalism, or reformist or state-oriented approaches that failed to address the root cause of ecological problems. These essays were anthologized in Toward an Ecological Society (Black Rose Books, 1981).
The early 1980s saw the publication of Bookchins two major works. The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy (1982; republished 1991 and 2005) is a magisterial discussion of ecology and social hierarchy, weaving political, anthropological, psychological, and scientific themes. Here Bookchin explores the notion of dominating nature and its historical emergence primarily from the very real social domination of human by human, particularly in gerontocracies, patriarchies, and other hierarchical strata. He considered hierarchy and domination as more fundamental forms of oppression than class and exploitation.
His second magnum opus was The Rise of Urbanization and the Decline of Citizenship (1986; republished as Urbanization Without Cities  and From Urbanization to Cities ). This masterpiece narrates a history of civic self-management, face-to-face democracy, and confederalism in the Western democratic tradition, beginning in ancient Greece and proceeding through medieval European towns and to the popular institutions in several revolutions, particularly the American and French. The book culminates in a chapter-long exposition of libertarian municipalism, which is the name Bookchin gave to his political project. Libertarian municipalism is a politics that seeks to recreate a vital local political or civic sphere in order to establish direct-democratic popular assemblies at the municipal, town, and neighborhood levels. Over larger regions these assemblies would confederate and, as they gained strength, challenge the centralized nation-state. He argued for a municipalization (rather than a Marxian nationalization) of the economy, as a way of opposing the present corporate capitalist system of ownership and management. Some of these ideas were also developed in the essays compiled in The Modern Crisis (1986).
In the mid-1980s Bookchin helped inspire the emergence of the international Green political movement and had a strong influence on the rise of the Greens in Germany and later on its fundi wing. In 1987 he delivered the keynote address of the first Green gathering in the United States, in Amherst, Massachusetts. Here he opened up a debate within the ecology movement over Deep Ecology, a set of ideas that were gaining influence ant the time and that he considered to have reactionary political implications due to their prioritization of nonhuman nature over human beings as well as to their emphasis on spirituality and mysticism. He also opposed tendencies in the U.S. Greens that wanted to create a Green Party to run candidates for state and national office; instead he preferred a radical green movement that would educate the public about the need for both local democracy and ecological solutions, in accordance with libertarian municipalism. In the late 1980s, as a member of the Greens in Burlington, Vermont, he participated in several local political campaigns that were intended to raise awareness of environmental issues in the city and at the same time call for the democratization of local political institutions. In 1988 he co-founded the Left Green Network, a confederation of groups that shared his approach.
In 1990 Bookchin retired from active political life. He continued to teach at the Institute for Social Ecology, where he held the status of director emeritus, but spent most of his time writing. With his companion and collaborator Janet Biehl, he co-edited forty issues of the theoretical newsletter Green Perspectives (later renamed Left Green Perspectives); it became the main venue for his articles in that decade, finally folding in 2000. In 1996 he wrote a critique of postmodernism, misanthropy, and antihumanism that he called Re-enchanting Humanity: A Defense of the Human Spirit Against Anti-humanism, Misanthropy, Mysticism, and Primitivism (1996). Underpinning many of his political ideas is a reworked system of dialectical thinking, one that puts a naturalized or developmental version of Hegel's dialectics to the service of ecological thinking. His concept of dialectical naturalism is elucidated in considerable detail in his book The Philosophy of Social Ecology (1990, revised 1994).
Between 1992 and 2003 he also wrote his massive four-volume history of popular revolutionary movements, The Third Revolution (published by Cassell and subsequently by Continuum between 1996 and 2003). Volume 1 covers the American and French Revolutions; volume 2, the French revolutions of the nineteenth century, including the Paris Commune; volume 3, the Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917; and volume 4, the central European and Spanish revolutions. He spent much of his time in his final years working on this huge project.
In the meantime in the mid-1990s Bookchin developed serious doubts about his late-1950s choice to work with anarchism as an overarching political approach. Anarchism, he increasingly suspected, was fundamentally rooted in individualism, a doctrine that he abhorred. He set about distancing himself from many parts of the anarchist movement, starting with The Ghost of Anarcho-Syndicalism (1992). Two years later he argued that the democratic dimension of anarchism was communalism; in 1995 he wrote Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm, as a challenge to anarchists to reject the narcissistic, ad hoc adventurism of lifestyle anarchism in favor of a communal anarchism grounded in social movements and realities. The challenge was not met, in his view, and in a 2002 essay he called The Communalist Project he rejected anarchism altogether in favor of communalism, an equally anti-statist doctrine that he felt to be more explicitly oriented than anarchism to social rather than to individual liberation.
Murray Bookchin's life and work spanned two historic eras: the interwar period, when the Great Depression seemed to bring capitalism to the brink of collapse, and the postwar era of consolidated corporate capitalism. 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. He analyzed these sweeping changes in society and consciousness into a coherent outlook that he hoped could lead to a liberated future. To those interested in learning more about his ideas, he always recommended Remaking Society (1989), his basic introduction to his own ideas; The Murray Bookchin Reader, edited by Janet Biehl in 1997; and Biehls summary of his political ideas, The Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism (1998).
On July 30, 2006, about one year after the publication of the fourth and final volume of The Third Revolution, Bookchin died of heart failure at his home in Burlington. He died as he had always lived, as a socialist, with integrity.
From : A Short Biography of Murray Bookchin, by Janet Biehl, from Anarchy Archives
This person has authored 105 documents, with 809,520 words or 5,331,173 characters.
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1980 ~ (3,992 Words / 26,854 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author and publisher. COMMENT P.O. BOX 158 BURLINGTON, VT 05402 --New Perspectives in Libertarian Thought-- EDITOR: Murray Bookchin Vol. 1, No. 5 Price: 80 cents The American Crisis II NOTE: The following issue of COMMENT No. 5 is a continuation of No. 4. Please note that the publication of COMMENT has been moved to Burlington, Vermont, where it will be published for at least the next year. Readers who have subscribed to COMMENT will continue to receive it. Those who have not done so -- or do not intend to do so in the near future -- will cease to receive future issues owing to our very considerable print and mailing costs. (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1980 ~ (5,853 Words / 38,805 Characters)
--New Perspectives in Libertarian Thought-- EDITOR: Murray Bookchin Vol. 1, No. 4 Price: 80 cents The American Crisis To conceal real crises by creating specious ones is an old political trick, but the past year has seen it triumph with an almost classic example of text-book success. The so-called "Iranian Crisis" and Russia's heavy-handed invasion of its Afghan satellite have completely deflected public attention from the deeper waters of American domestic and foreign policy. One would have to be blind not to see that the seizure of the American embassy in Teheran by a ragtail group of Maoist students spared both Khomeini and Carter a sharp decline in domestic popularity. The students, whoever they may be, functioned like a deus ex machina in promoting the political interests of the Iranian Ayatollah and... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1980 ~ (5,231 Words / 34,499 Characters)
Note: This piece appeared as Vol. 1, No. 6 of Comment: New Perspectives in Libertarian Thought, edited by Murray Bookchin. Anarchism: Past and Present Note: The following issue of COMMENT was presented as a lecture to the Critical Theory Seminar of the University of California at Los Angeles on May 29, 1980. My remarks are intended to emphasize the extreme importance today of viewing Anarchism in terms of the changing social contexts of our era - - not as an ossified doctrine that belongs to one or another set of European thinkers, valuable as their views may have been in their various times and places. Today, more than ever, the viability of Anarchism in America will depend upon its ability to speak directly -- in the language of the American people and to living problems of the American people -- rather than to resurrect ideas, expressions, slogans and a weary vernacular that belong to eras past. This is not to deny the internat... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1974 Introductory Essay by Murray Bookchin In the morning hours of July 18,1936, General Francisco Franco issued the pronunciamiento from Las Palmas in Spanish North Africa that openly launched the struggle of Spain’s reactionary military officers against the legally elected Popular Front government in Madrid. The Franco pronunciamiento left little doubt that, in the event of victory by the Spanish generals, a parliamentary republic would be replaced by a clearly authoritarian state, modeled institutionally on similar regimes in Germany and Italy. The Francista forces or “Nationalists,” as they were to call themselves, exhibited all the trappings and ideologies of the fascist movements of the day: the raised open-palm salute, the appeals to a “folk-soil” philosophy of “order, duty, and obedience,” the avowed commitments to smash the labor movement and end all political dissidence. To the world...
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1969 ~ (1,310 Words / 8,855 Characters)
Anarchy and Organization appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. The essay originally was written in reply to an attack by Huey Newton on anarchist forms of organization. ANARCHY AND ORGANIZATION A Letter To The Left Reprinted from NEW LEFT NOTES January 15, 1969 by permission of the author There is a hoary myth that anarchists do not believe in organization to promote revolutionary activity. This myth was raised from its resting place by Marcuse in a L'Express interview some months ago and reiterated again by Huey Newton in his "In Defense of Self-Defense," which New Left Notes decided to reprint in the recent National Convention issue. To argue the question of "organization" versus "non-organization" is ridiculous; this issue has never been in dispute among serious anarchists,... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1986 ~ (4,742 Words / 30,360 Characters)
The posters that appeared all over Burlington — Vermont’s largest city (pop: 37,000) in the winter of 1980-81 were arresting and provocative. They showed an old map of the city with a label slapped across it that read: “For Sale.” A bold slogan across the top, in turn, proclaimed that “Burlington Is Not for Sale,” and smiling amiably in the right-hand corner was the youngish, fairly well-known face of Bernard Sanders, sans tie, open-collared, almost endearingly shy and unpretentious. The onlooker was enjoined to rescue Burlington by voting for “Bernie” Sanders for mayor. Sanders, the long-time gubernatorial candidate of Vermont’s maverick Liberty Union, was now challenging “Gordie” Paquette, an inert Democratic fixture in City Hall, who had successfully fended off equally inert Republican opponents for nearly a decade. That Sanders won this election on March 3, 1981, by only ten votes is now a... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1995 ~ (15,966 Words / 107,854 Characters)
Comments on the International Social Ecology Network Gathering and the "Deep Social Ecology" of John Clark by Murray Bookchin Between August 14 and 19, 1995, an international social ecology network gathering met near Dunoon, Scotland, to discuss the topic "Democracy and Ecology." Its agenda featured, among other presentations, a one-hour summary of a long essay by John Clark titled "The Politics of Social Ecology: Beyond the Limits of the City." My age and growing disabilities prevented me from attending the gathering, which caused me some concern since Clark has broken with social ecology and become, as he impishly denominated himself in The Trumpeter, an organ of the deep ecology "movement," a "deep social ecologist, or social deep ecologist" (Clark, Trumpeter, p. 104). For quite some time, in fact, Clark's writings in the deep ecology and anarchist press had already been... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2002 ~ (11,934 Words / 81,251 Characters)
Whether the twenty-first century will be the most radical of times or the most reactionary – or will simply lapse into a gray era of dismal mediocrity – will depend overwhelmingly upon the kind of social movement and program that social radicals create out of the theoretical, organizational, and political wealth that has accumulated during the past two centuries of the revolutionary era. The direction we select, from among several intersecting roads of human development, may well determine the future of our species for centuries to come. As long as this irrational society endangers us with nuclear and biological weapons, we cannot ignore the possibility that the entire human enterprise may come to a devastating end. Given the exquisitely elaborate technical plans that the military-industrial complex has devised, the self-extermination of the human species must be included in the futuristic scenarios that, at the turn of the millennium, the mass... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1998 ~ (4,815 Words / 32,370 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author and New Politics. The Communist Manifesto: Insights and Problems Murray Bookchin [from New Politics, vol. 6, no. 4 (new series), whole no. 24, Winter 1998] Murray Bookchin is the author of numerous books on left social theory and history. His most recent work is The Third Revolution, a three-volume history of popular movements in the revolutionary era, Volumes 1 and 2 of which have recently been published by Cassell. IT IS POLITICALLY RESTORATIVE TO LOOK WITH A FRESH EYE at The Manifesto of the Communist Party (to use its original title), written before Marxism was overlaid by reformist, postmodernist, spiritual, and psychological commentaries. From an examination of this work on its own terms, what... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1991 ~ (6,033 Words / 38,297 Characters)
"Community Control or Status Politics: A Reply to David Lewis," GREEN MULTILOGUE [Toronto] (May 13, 1991) Community Control or Statist Politics: A Reply to David Lewis by Murray Bookchin In his Green Multilogue hatchet job "The Thought of Director Bookchin" (May 13), David Lewis apparently sets out to undo any obstacle that my antihierarchical views -- libertarian municipalism and social ecology -- might present to his efforts to build a Green party. This does not exclude using blatant lies and gross distortions of my ideas. At his crudest (and he can be very crude indeed), he describes people who agree with my work as my "followers" and in the same vein demagogically makes an analogy between me and Chairman Mao ("Director Bookchin"). He asserts that I "claim" to be Director Emeritus of "all eco-anarchists" -- rather than the bearer of a purely honorific title that the Institute for Social Ecology in Vermo... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1988 ~ (3,013 Words / 19,750 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. GREEN PERSPECTIVES Newsletter of the Green Program Project A LEFT GREEN PERIODICAL P.O. Box 111 Burlington, VT 05402 No. 6, May 1988 Price:$1.50 The Crisis in the Ecology Movement by Murray Bookchin American ecology movements -- and particularly the American Greens -- are faced with a serious crisis of conscience and direction. Will ecologically oriented groups and the Greens become a movement that sees the roots of our ecological dislocations in social dislocations -- notably, in the domination of human by human whi... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1991 ~ (8,505 Words / 54,590 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. GREEN PERSPECTIVES Price:$1.00 A LEFT GREEN PUBLICATION Number 23 June 1991 P.O. Box 111 Burlington, VT 05402 A Critique of the Draft Program of the Left Green Network by Murray Bookchin and Janet Biehl Editors note: The Left Green Network is in the process of writing, developing and debating its program. The draft proposal for the program was published in the April/May 1991 issue of the Network's organizing bulletin, Left Green Notes, number 7. The following critique was written in response to that program. The proposed program will be debated at the upcoming continental conference of the Network, over the July 4 weekend in Chicago, Illinois. To receive a copy of the draft program, and/or information about the contine... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1989 ~ (3,480 Words / 23,548 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. It appeared originally in The Progressive, August 1989, pp. 19-23. DEATH OF A SMALL PLANET It's growth that's killing us BY MURRAY BOOKCHIN We tend to think of environmental catastrophes -such as the recent Exxon Valdez oil-spill disaster in the Bay of Alaska-as "accidents": isolated phenomena that erupt without notice or warning. But when does the word accident become inappropriate? When are such occurrences inevitable rather than accidental? And when does a consistent pattern of inevitable disasters point to a deep-seated crisis that is not only environmental but profoundly social? President Bush was content to blame the spill of more than ten million gallons of crude petroleum off Valdez Harbor on negligence by a soused sea captain. I... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1991 ~ (50,873 Words / 328,292 Characters)
Foreword: Turning Debate Into Dialogue by David Levine, Founder and Director, The Learning Alliance This small but important book grows out of “The Great Debate.” That’s what — for months in advance — many environmental activists around the country called the first public meeting between social ecology theorist Murray Bookchin and deep ecology activist Dave Foreman. Most expected political fireworks at the joint talk organized in November 1989 by the Learning Alliance, New York City’s alternative education and action organization. Given the confrontational rhetoric and the all-too-frequent name-calling that has characterized the volatile political debate between various advocates of “social ecology” and “deep ecology,” the expectation of sparks flying was quite understandable. Over the last few years, the radical ecology movement has been torn by bitter ideological divisions. One o... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1964 ~ (9,719 Words / 64,506 Characters)
This manuscript was provided to Anarchy Archives by the author. Ecology and Revolutionary Thought by Lewis Herber (pseudonym for Murray Bookchin) [Originally published in Bookchins newsletter Comment in 1964 and republished in the British monthly Anarchy in 1965.] In almost every period since the Renaissance, the development of revolutionary thought has been heavily influenced by a branch of science, often in conjunction with a school of philosophy. Astronomy in the time of Copernicus and Galileo helped to guide a sweeping movement of ideas from the medieval world, riddled by superstition, into one pervaded by a critical rationalism, openly naturalistic and humanistic in outlook. During the Enlightenmentthe era that culminated in the Great French Revolutionthis liberatory movement of ideas was reinforced by advances in mechanics and mathematics. The Victorian Era was shaken to its... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1982 Introduction This book was written to satisfy the need for a consistently radical social ecology: an ecology of freedom. It had been maturing in my mind since 1952 when I first became acutely conscious of the growing environmental crisis that was to assume such monumental proportions a generation later. In that year, I published a volume-sized article, "The Problems of Chemicals in Food" (later to be republished in book form in Germany as Lebensgefiihrliche Lebensmittel). Owing to my early Marxian intellectual training, the article examined not merely environmental pollution but also its deep-seated social origins. Environmental issues had developed in my mind as social issues, and problems of natural ecology had become problems of "social ecology" — an expression hardly in use at the time. The subject was never to leave me. In fact, its dimensions were to widen and deepen immensely. By the early sixties, my views could be summarized in a fairly...
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1981 ~ (13,116 Words / 91,572 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. From: Telos, no. 50 (Winter 1981-82). Telos Discussions: FINDING THE SUBJECT: NOTES ON WHITEBOOK AND "HABERMAS LTD." by Murray Bookchin "For a whole series of reasons, the reputation of Karl Marx has been reborn in a new form, the form of Marx as a sociologist. I believe that this is error: that Marx neither was -- nor in a very important sense intended to be -- a sociologist..." Donald G. Macrae Whitebook has known for years that I reject the very use of the word "modernity." So his attempt to dissociate me from it is quite gratuitous. He also knows that I reject it for reasons that have nothing to do with a desire to return to "premoder... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (9,696 Words / 62,649 Characters)
One of the most entrenched ideas in western thought is the notion that nature is a harsh realm of necessity, a domain of unrelenting lawfulness and compulsion. From this underlying view, two extreme either/or attitudes have emerged. Either humanity must yield with a religious, a more recently, “ecological” humility to the dicta of “natural law” and take its abject place side by side with the lowly ants on which it “arrogantly” treads or it must “conquer” nature with its technological and rational astuteness — an enterprise, I may add, that may very well entail the subjugation of human by human in a shared project to ultimately “liberate” all of humanity from the compulsion of “natural necessity.” This quasi-religious quietism, typified by certain schools of “antihumanism” and sociobiology, and the more conventional activism, typified by the liberal and Marxian image of... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1983 ~ (823 Words / 5,334 Characters)
From: THE VERMONT PEACE READER 1983. This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. From Spectacle to Empowerment: Grass Roots Democracy and the Peace Process By Murray Bookchin Will the present-day peace movement repeat the errors of the 1960s anti-war movement by placing its primary focus on carefully orchestrated and highly centralized national actions in cities like Washington or New York? Or will it try to percolate into the localities and neighborhoods of the country -- into the body politic itself -- and become a genuinely popular movement that reaches deeply into America as a force for education as well as action, for a broad view of the causes of war as well as the dangers of war, for a vision of a harmonized society as well as a demilitarized society? These questions, I think, are crucial and our response to them may well determine the quality of the movement as well as t... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (10,255 Words / 70,277 Characters)
This manuscript was provided to Anarchy Archives by the author. The Ghost of Anarcho-Syndicalism by Murray Bookchin One of the most persistent of human frailties is the tendency of individuals and groups to fall back, in times of a terribly fragmented reality, onto obsolete, even archaic ideologies for a sense of continuity and security. Today we find this not only on the right, where people are evoking the ghosts of Nazism and deadly forms of an embattled nationalism, but also on the "left" (whatever that word may mean anymore), where many people evoke ghosts of their own, be they the Neolithic goddess cults that many feminist and ecological sects celebrate or the generally anti-civilizational ambiance that exists among young middle-class people throughout the English- speaking world. Unfortunately, backward- looking tendencies are by no means absent among a number of self- professed anarchists, either, some of whom... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1986 ~ (2,054 Words / 13,672 Characters)
There are two ways to look at the word " politics." The first -- and most conventional -- is to describe politics as a fairly exclusive, generally professional ized system of power interactions in which specialists whom we call "politicians" formulate decisions that affect our lives and administer these decisions through governmental agencies and bureaucrats. These "politicians" and their "politics" are generally regarded with a certain measure of contempt by many Americans. They come to power partly through "parties," which are highly structured bureaucracies, and profess to "represent" people -- at times, one person for vast numbers of people such as Congressmen and Senators. They are "elected" and belong to "the Elect" (to translate an old religious term into a "political" one), and, in this sense, form a distinct hierarchical elite however much they profess to "speak" in "the People's" name. They are not "... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1994 ~ (8,780 Words / 61,297 Characters)
This manuscript has been provided to Anarchy Archives by the author. History, Civilization, and Progress: Outline for a Criticism of Modern Relativism by Murray Bookchin Rarely have the concepts that literally define the best of Western culture--its notions of a meaningful History, a universal Civilization, and the possibility of Progress--been called so radically into question as they are today. In recent decades, both in the United States and abroad, the academy and a subculture of self-styled postmodernist intellectuals have nourished an entirely new ensemble of cultural conventions that stem from a corrosive social, political, and moral relativism. This ensemble encompasses a crude nominalism, pluralism, and skepticism, an extreme subjectivism, and even outright nihilism and antihumanism in various combinations and permutations, sometimes of a thoroughly misanthropic nature. This... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1991 ~ (5,439 Words / 31,700 Characters)
Note: This piece was printed in Alternative Forum, Vol. 1, No. 1, Fall, 1991 INTELLIGENTSIA AND THE NEW INTELLECTUALS By Murray Bookchin Editorial Introduction: The following lecture was delivered as the opening address at the fourth continental Youth Greens conference that took place on the campus of Goddard College in Vermont on July 27,1990 The social theorist Murray Bookchin, whose work on ecology began with an article on the chemical additives in food in 1952, is a long-standing activist in the ecology movement and the author of several books, including The Ecology of Freedom, Remaking Society and The Philosophy of Social Ecology. In many ways, this confrontational and thought-provoking address expresses some of the most difficult problems that Youth Greens, young anarchists, and Leftists fa... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1987 ~ (10,653 Words / 70,463 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author and consists of excerpts from From Urbanization to Cities (1987; London: Cassell, 1995), with revisions. Libertarian Municipalism: The New Municipal Agenda by Murray Bookchin Any agenda that tries to restore and amplify the classical meaning of politics and citizenship must clearly indicate what they are not, if only because of the confusion that surrounds the two words. . . . Politics is not statecraft, and citizens are not "constituents" or "taxpayers." Statecraft consists of operations that engage the state: the exercise of its monopoly of violence, its control of the entire regulative apparatus of society in the form of legal and ordinance-making bodies, and its governance of society by means of professional legislators, armies, police forces, and bureaucracies. Statecraft takes on a political patina when so-called "pol... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1991 ~ (4,808 Words / 32,042 Characters)
Libertarian Municipalism: An Overview by Murray Bookchin Perhaps the greatest single failing of movements for social reconstruction -- I refer particularly to the Left, to radical ecology groups, and to organizations that profess to speak for the oppressed -- is their lack of a politics that will carry people beyond the limits established by the status quo. Politics today means duels between top-down bureaucratic parties for electoral office, that offer vacuous programs for "social justice" to attract a nondescript "electorate." Once in office, their programs usually turn into a bouquet of "compromises " In this respect, many Green parties in Europe have been only marginally different from conventional parliamentary parties. Nor have socialist parties, with all their various labels, exhibited any basic differences from their capitalist counter parts. To be sure, the indifference of the Euro-American public -- i... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1971 ~ (5,269 Words / 34,100 Characters)
From Post Scarcity Anarchism, 1971. Listen, Marxist! by Murray Bookchin All the old crap of the thirties is coming back again--the shit about the "class line," the "role of the working class," the "trained cadres," the "vanguard party," and the "proletarian dictatorship." It's all back again, and in a more vulgarized form than ever. The Progressive Labor Party is not the only example, it is merely the worst. One smells the same shit in various offshoots of SDS, and in the Marxist and Socialist clubs on campuses, not to speak of the Trotskyist groups, the International Socialist Clubs and the Youth Against War and Fascism. In the thirties, at least it was understandable. The United States was paralyzed by a chronic economic crisis, the deepest and the longest in its history. The only living forces that seemed to be battering at the walls of capitalism were the great organizing drives of the CIO, with their dramatic s... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1989 ~ (5,166 Words / 34,481 Characters)
GREEN PERSPECTIVES A Left Green Publication Number 20 November 1989 P.O. Box 111 Burlington, VT 05402 The Meaning of Confederalism by Murray Bookchin Few arguments have been used more effectively to challenge the case for face-to-face participatory democracy than the claim that we live in a "complex society." Modern population centers, we are told, are too large and too concentrated to allow for direct decision-making at a grassroots level. And our economy is too "global," presumably, to unravel the intricacies of production and commerce. In our present transnational, often highly centralized social system, it is better to enhance representation in the state, to increase the efficiency of bureaucratic institutions, we are advised, than to advance utopian "localist" schemes of popular control over political and economic... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1994 ~ (7,897 Words / 51,811 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. Originally published in The Raven: Anarchist Quarterly, vol. 7, no. 4 (Winter 1994), pp. 328-46. A Meditation on Anarchist Ethics Ulrike Heider, Anarchism: Left, Right, and Green (San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1994; 153 pages) by Murray Bookchin In the late winter of 1989, one Ulrike Heider appeared at my home in Burlington, Vermont, for an interview, armed with a tape recorder, clothing for a weekend visit--and apparently a butcher's cleaver, looking for as much blood as she could draw from an unsuspecting victim. Citing an old anarchosyndicalist whom I knew as a reference and her plan to write a book on American anarchists as her aim, she was housed, fed, kept warm from the rigors of a Vermont winter, and treated in a comradely way. She was even taken to a small village, Charlotte, to attend a town meeting, to... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1986 ~ (2,929 Words / 20,436 Characters)
MUNICIPALIZATION Community Ownership of the Economy1 by Murray Bookchin In my article, "Toward a Libertarian Municipalism2," I advanced the view that any counterculture to the prevailing culture must be developed together with counterinstitutions to the prevailing institutions -- a decentralized, confederal, popular power that will acquire the control over social and political life that is being claimed by the centralized, bureaucratic nation-state. Through much of the nineteenth century and nearly half of the twentieth, the classical center of this popular power was located by most radical ideologies in the factory, the arena for the conflict between wage labor and capital. The factory as the locus of the "power question" rested on the belief that the industrial working class was the "hegemonic" agent for radical socia... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1997 ~ (5,318 Words / 37,306 Characters)
Reproduced from The Murray Bookchin Reader, edited by Janet Biehl, 1997 by permission of Cassell, Wellington House, 125 Strand, London, England. THE MURRAY BOOKCHIN READER Janet Biehl, editor (London: Cassell, 1997) Introduction In the aftermath of the cold war, in a world that glorifies markets and commodities, it sometimes seems difficult to remember that generations of people once fought to create a very different kind of world. To many, the aspirations of this grand tradition of socialism often seem archaic today, or utopian in the pejorative sense, the stuff of idle dreams; others, more dismissive, consider socialism to be an inherently coercive system, one that whose consignment to the past is well deserved. Yet for a century preceding the First World War, and for nearly a half century thereafter, various kinds of socialism--s... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (1,549 Words / 10,211 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. On "Remaking of the American Left" Murray Bookchin STANLEY ARONOWITZ has written a generally admirable and important work in Socialist Review, "The Remaking of the American Left," that deserves widespread discussion. For the present, I would like to focus on what I regard as a core issue of the article, notably Aronowitz's distinction "between the ideological left of socialists, communists, libertarians of various sorts . . . and the popular left" which in past decades consisted of movements for redistributive justice," by which I take Aronowitz to mean the traditional labor, agrarian, and unemployed movements of the 1930s and earlier periods. While these movements certainly linger on at varying levels of consciousness and degrees of organization, I feel we cannot give enough emphasis today to... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1975 ~ (11,233 Words / 74,536 Characters)
Introduction There can be few words more misused in politics than the word ‘spontaneity.’ It is often used to denote something which seems to happen without obvious cause, without apparently being the result of previous preparation. In the sense of ‘an effect without a cause’ there is probably no such thing as ‘spontaneity’ — either in politics or life. Human behavior is always influenced by previous experience. If a person is not consciously aware of why he is acting in a particular way, this does not at all mean that there are no causes for what he is doing. It only means that the causes elude him. Murray Bookchin does not use the word ‘spontaneity’ in this crude and unreflecting way. It is important to stress this semantic point in this short introduction to his essay (first published in ‘Liberation’ magazine early in 1972). In Bookchin’s own... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1962 Our Synthetic Environment Murray Bookchin CHAPTER ONE: THE PROBLEM Our Changed Environment Life in the United States has changed so radically over the past one hundred years that the most wearisome historians tend to become rhapsodic when they describe the new advances that have been made in technology, science, and medicine. We are usually told that early in the last century most Americans lived heroic but narrow lives, eking out a material existence that was insecure and controlled by seasonal changes, drought, and the natural fertility of the soil. Daily work chores were extremely arduous; knowledge, beleaguered by superstition, was relatively crude. Historians with an interest in science often point out that medical remedies were primitive, if not useless; they may have sufficed to relieve the symptoms of common diseases, but they seldom effected a cure. Life was hard and precarious, afflicted by many tragedies that can easily be a...
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1995 ~ (10,299 Words / 68,387 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author and is the introduction to The Philosophy of Social Ecology: Essays on Dialectical Naturalism, 2nd ed. revised (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1995). A Philosophical Naturalism by Murray Bookchin What is nature? What is humanity's place in nature? And what is the relationship of society to the natural world? In an era of ecological breakdown, answering these questions has become of momentous importance for our everyday lives and for the future that we and other life-forms face. They are not abstract philosophical questions that should be relegated to a remote, airy world of metaphysical speculation. Nor can we answer them in an offhand way, with poetic metaphors or unthinking, visceral reactions. The definitions and ethical standards with which we respond to th... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1984 ~ (1,413 Words / 9,557 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. Green Program Project -- Discussion Paper No. 2 Popular Politics vs. Party Politics Note: This article was written and published in the River Valley Voice, a New England publication, during the 1984 Democratic primary campaign. Although it makes repeated allusions to the 1984 elections, the views it expresses have a more lasting value, and are submitted for discussion to the reader as a Green Program Project paper. Murray Bookchin A new American politics is definitely needed today. The problem we face is what kind? If the goal of "independent political action" is to gain "power," to "function effectively" as a means to "lobby" or "resolve" specific issues of practical importance, I have no doubt that the supporters of... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1989 ~ (5,308 Words / 34,434 Characters)
To Our Readers: For the past three months, the editors of Green Perspectives were obliged to suspend publication because of the demanding municipal electoral campaign that was conducted in Burlington from January to March by the Burlington Greens. The Greens, of which the editors are members, ran a slate of three candidates - one for mayor and two for alderman - in the campaign, and the editors were deeply involved in the effort. Our race was widely featured - not only in the Vermont media and in regional newspapers like the Boston Globe, but also in the national media; at the end of February, Newsweek devoted the greater part of a page to "The Greens of Vermont." The race posed very sharp alternatives between a Democrat (many of whose views were indistinguishable from those of a Reagan Republican) and a moderate but growth-oriented liberal (ostensibly the heir to t... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1988 ~ (2,998 Words / 19,307 Characters)
The Population Myth--I by Murray Bookchin The "population problem" has a Phoenix-like existence: it rises from the ashes at least every generation and sometimes every decade or so. The prophecies are usually the same namely, that human beings are populating the earth in "unprecedented numbers" and "devouring" its resources like a locust plague. In the days of the Industrial Revolution, Thomas Malthus, a craven English parson, formulated his notorious "law of population" which asserts that while food supplies expand only arithmetically, population soars geometrically. Only by wars, famines, and disease (Malthus essentially argued) can a "balance" be struck between population and food supplies. Malthus did not mean this to be an argument to foster human welfare; it was an unfeeling justification for the inhuman miseries inflicted on the mass of English people by land grabbing arist... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1973 ~ (15,471 Words / 97,148 Characters)
A Post-Affluence Critique by Jeremy Brecher Post-Scarcity Anarchism by Murray Bookchin (Ramparts Press, 1971) I Throughout the 1960’s, the themes of a return to nature, hostility to synthetics, anti-“consumerism,” dissolution of sexual restrictions and roles, community and tribalism, internal exploration through drugs and other means, all became widespread among college and dropout youth, and were echoed by many young professionals — all underpinned by a discontent with the established roles assigned them by present-day society. Their experimentation was made possible by their relative affluence and economic security. This put them in direct contrast with the generation which had been scarred by the economic rigors of the Great Depression, and to those of their contemporaries for whom labor was a prerequisite to survival. By the end of the 1960s, the discontent remained, but mu... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1967 ~ (6,516 Words / 42,752 Characters)
PRECONDITIONS AND POSSIBILITIES All the successful revolutions of the past have been particularistic revolutions of minority classes seeking to assert their specific interests over those of society as a whole. The great bourgeois revolutions of modern times offered an ideology of sweeping political reconstitution, but in reality they merely certified the social dominance of the bourgeoisie, giving formal political expression to the economic ascendancy of capital. The lofty notions of the "nation," the "free citizen," of equality before the law," concealed the mundane reality of the centralized state, the atomized isolated man, the dominance of bourgeois interest. Despite their sweeping ideological claims, the particularistic revolutions replaced the rule of one class by another, one system of exploitation by another, one system of toil by another, and one system of psychological repression by another. What is unique about our era is that the p... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1972 ~ (3,977 Words / 25,951 Characters)
Agriculture is a form of culture. The cultivation of food is a social and cultural phenomenon unique to humanity. Among animals, anything that could remotely be described as food cultivation appear ephemerally, if at all; and even among humans, agriculture developed little more than ten thousand years ago. Yet, in an epoch when food cultivation is reduced to a mere industrial technique, it becomes especially important to dwell on the cultural implications of "modern" agriculture—to indicate their impact not only on public health, but also on humanity's relationship to nature and the relationship of human to human. The contrast between early and modern agricultural practices is dramatic. Indeed, it would be very difficult to understand the one through the vision of the other, to recognize that they are united by any kind of cultural continuity. Nor can we ascribe this contrast merely to differences in technology. Our agricultural epoch—a distinctly... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (9,463 Words / 58,647 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. RADICALIZING DEMOCRACY by Murray Bookchin (a timely interview with Murray Bookchin conducted by the editors of Kick It Over magazine) [place tree image here] includes: on the cybernetic revolution towards a new philosophical paradigm the contradictions of the German Greens building a movement for radical democracy For more copies or further information, please contact: Green Program Project P. O. Box 111, Burlington, Vermont O5401 Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? K.I.O. Interviews Murray Bookchin Murray Bookchin is the author of numerous book... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1989 ~ (4,699 Words / 30,697 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. GREEN PERSPECTIVES Price:$1.00 A LEFT GREEN PUBLICATION Number 18 November 1989 P.O. Box 111 Burlington, VT 05402 Radical Politics in an Era of Advanced Capitalism by Murray Bookchin Defying all the theoretical predictions of the 1930s, capitalism has restabilized itself with a vengeance and acquired extraordinary flexibility in the decades since World War II. In fact, we have yet to clearly determine what constitutes capitalism in its most "mature" form, not to speak of its social trajectory in the years to come. But what is clear, I would argue, is that capitalism has transformed itself from an economy surrounded by many precapitalist social and political formations into a society... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1990 ~ (4,932 Words / 35,303 Characters)
Murray Bookchin's "Recovering Evolution: A Reply to Eckersley and Fox", Environmental Ethics, vol. 12, Fall, 1990 appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. Recovering Evolution: A Reply to Eckersley and Fox by Murray Bookchin Robyn Eckersley claims erroneously that I believe humanity is currently equipped to take over the "helm" of natural evolution. In addition, she provides a misleading treatment of my discussion of the relationship of first nature (biological evolution) and second nature (social evolution). I argue that her positivistic methodology is inappropriate in dealing with my processual approach and that her Manichean contrast between biocentrism and anthropocentrism virtually excludes any human intervention in the natural world. With regard to Warwick Fox's treatment of my... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1990 ~ (633 Words / 4,559 Characters)
Note: Murray Bookchin submitted the following resolution to the Second Continental Conference of the Left Green Network on July 1st, 1990. It was adopted by a vote of 24 -- yes; 16 -- no; 6 - Abstain. Resolution: "On Gubernatorial Races" Libertarian municipalism is premised on developing a dual power -- grassroots in the fullest sense in that its politics rests on the most immediate popular institutions in the political realm namely the municipality, and confederal relationships between municipalities in which the coordination of power is vested in confederal councils whose authority diminishes as the confederal structure is raised to encompass ever-wider political jurisdictions. State power functions on precisely the opposite principle -- namely, the preemptive authority of the nation-state over gubernatorial jurisdictions and of gubernatorial jurisdictions over municipalities, which have been appropriately designated from a... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (20,257 Words / 138,990 Characters)
Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm by Murray Bookchin For some two centuries, anarchism -- a very ecumenical body of anti-authoritarian ideas -- developed in the tension between two basically contradictory tendencies: a personalistic commitment to individual autonomy and a collectivist commitment to social freedom. These tendencies have by no means been reconciled in the history of libertarian thought. Indeed, for much of the last century, they simply coexisted within anarchism as a minimalist credo of opposition to the State rather than as a maximalist credo that articulated the kind of new society that had to be created in its place. Which is not to say that various schools of anarchism did not advocate very specific forms of social organization, albeit often markedly at variance with one another. Essentially, however, anarchism as a whole advanced what Isaiah Berlin has called 'negative freed... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1987 ~ (9,992 Words / 65,803 Characters)
Social Ecology versus Deep Ecology: A Challenge for the Ecology Movement by Murray Bookchin [Originally published in Green Perspectives: Newsletter of the Green Program Project, nos. 4-5 (summer 1987). In the original, the term deep ecology appeared in quotation marks; they have been removed in this online posting.] The environmental movement has traveled a long way since those early Earth Day festivals when millions of school kids were ritualistically mobilized to clean up streets, while Arthur Godfrey, Barry Commoner, Paul Ehrlich, and a bouquet of manipulative legislators scolded their parents for littering the landscape with cans, newspapers, and bottles. The movement has gone beyond a naïve belief that patchwork reforms and solemn vows by EPA bureaucrats to act more resolutely will seriously arrest the insane pace at which we are tearing down the planet. This shopworn Earth Day approach to engineering natu... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (7,582 Words / 49,156 Characters)
SOCIETY AND ECOLOGY The problems which many people face today in "defining" themselves, in knowing "who they are"--problems that feed a vast psychotherapy industry--are by no means personal ones. These problems exist not only for private individuals; they exist for modern society as a whole. Socially, we live in desperate uncertainty about how people relate to each other. We suffer not only as individuals from alienation and confusion over our identities and goals; our entire society, conceived as a single entity, seems unclear about its own nature and sense of direction. If earlier societies tried to foster a belief in the virtues of cooperation and caring, thereby giving an ethical meaning to social life, modern society fosters a belief in the virtues of competition and egotism, thereby divesting human association of all meaning--except, perhaps, as an instrument for gain and mindless consumption. We tend to believe that men and women of earlier times were gu... (From : Spunk.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1993 ~ (11,821 Words / 78,007 Characters)
I The interface between nature and society has been a haunting philosophical, ethical, and cultural problem for thousands of years. Indeed, that it constitutes the stuff from which naïve myths and thoughtful moral credos have been formed for ages is a fact we are seldom permitted to forget, if only in a fashion that is patronizing to presumably less “sophisticated" cultures. After all, were not the earliest religions “mere” nature religions and the earliest philosophies “mere” nature philosophies? As far back as we can search into humanity’s rich reservoir of intuitions and rational formulas, our relationship to nature – indeed, humanity’s place in nature – has been a central theme of ideas and sensibility. To seek an objective grounding for reason and ethics that is more than crudely instrumental and subjectively relativistic has been the alluring goal of human thought for an incalculable period of... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1950 ~ (10,097 Words / 68,423 Characters)
The problems of the social system in Russia have often been compared with those created by revolutionary France more than a century and a half ago. An understanding of both, it is said, requires perspective. Historians are reminded that the years have dissolved the acrimony heaped on the events of the Great French Revolution — that more 'good' than 'harm' was done. Much the same is implied for Russia. Supporters, even mild critics, of the Stalin regime tell us that so 'new' a phenomenon requires the test of many generations, that the judgment nourished by immediate events, by 'passing' abuses, must be suspended until lasting outlines appear. In place of the years and of abuses engendered by 'expediency', a vast theoretical corpus has been brought to the support of the Russian social system. We are invited to equate the nationalization of industry to progress; economic planning to the elimination of crises; mounting indices in steel, coal and petroleum production to... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1994 Preface These essays are less an analysis of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War of 1936-39 than an evocation of the greatest proletarian and peasant revolution to occur over the past two centuries. Although they contain a general overview and evaluation of the Anarchist and Anarchosyndicalist movements (the two should be clearly distinguished) in the three-year struggle at the end of the 1930s, they are not intended to be a full account of those complex events. It is no exaggeration to say that the Spanish Revolution was the farthest-reaching movement that the Left ever produced, for reasons the essays that follow will make clear. The Spanish proletariat and peasantry, led largely by Anarchist militants whose names will never be known to us, strained the limits of what we in the 1930s called "proletarian socialism" and went appreciably beyond them. Far more than the leaders of the Anarchosyndicalist National Confederation of Labor and the Iberian Anarchist...
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2006 ~ (7,219 Words / 48,844 Characters)
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 practice in the late ninetee... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1986 ~ (2,094 Words / 14,374 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. GREEN PERSPECTIVES Newsletter of the Green Program Project P.O. Box 111 Burlington, VT 05402 No. 1 January 1986 THE GREENING OF POLITICS: Toward a New Kind of Political Practice by Murray Bookchin There are two ways to look at the word " politics." The first -- and most conventional -- is to describe politics as a fairly exclusive, generally professional ized system of power interactions in which specialists whom we call "politicians" formulate decisions that affect our lives and administer these decisions through governmental agencies and bureaucrats. These "politicians" and their "politics" are generally regarded with a certain... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1969 ~ (2,996 Words / 19,048 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. Originally, this article was a statement for the fourth faction active in SDS during its final days. This faction is often overlooked by historians, who typically only emphasize the other three factions (i.e., Progressive Labor Party, RYM I and RYM II. Toward a post-scarcity society: the American perspective and the SDS Radical Decentralist Project, Resolution No. I The twentieth century is the heir of human history - the legatee of man's age-old effort to free himself from drudgery and material insecurity. For the first time in the long succession of centuries, this century has elevated mankind to an entirely new level of technological achievement and to an entirely new vision of the human experience. Technologically, we can now achieve man's historical goal - a post scarcity society. But socially and... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1965 ~ (3,805 Words / 24,747 Characters)
This work appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. The article was written in May 1965 and published in Anarchos, no. 2 (Spring 1968) and No. 3 (Spring 1969). Towards a Liberatory Technology Lewis Herber [Murray Bookchin] Note: This is the final part of a two-part article on the technological bases of freedom. The first part (Anarchos n. 2) examined the technological limitations of the previous century and their influence on revolutionary theory. An economy anchored technologically in scarcity, it was shown, circumscribed the range of social ideas and tended to subvert revolutionary concepts of freedom. These limitations were compared with the potentialities of technology today -- the substitution of invention by design, the open end in technological development, the emergence of cybernetic devices, the prospect of reducing toil to a near vanishing point. The article examined the possibility of making qualitative... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- (20,204 Words / 130,527 Characters)
Turning Up the Stones A Reply to Clark's October 13 Message Murray Bookchin The May 5th Group's posting on this list (June 13, 1998), and the various subsequent exchanges, have finally led John Clark to attack me and my views with his by-now-typical malevolence (October 13, 1998; at this writing Clark's posting does not appear on the RA List archives). I am only too delighted to have this opportunity, once and for all, to expose his ongoing campaign to defame me. Virtually unrestrained by moral standards, Clark has an indefatigable capacity to slander a critic and distort his or her views, through outrageous gossip, surreptitious character assassination, and falsification. I have had enough of it, and it is time to turn up the stones and reveal the filth in which he has immersed himself and examine his fury against me and my ideas (many of which he has actually hijacked from me, in warped form, over the course of nearly two decades of... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 2004 ~ (544 Words / 3,132 Characters)
The Twilight Comes Early by Murray Bookchin The twilight comes early, as it should in the autumn of the seasons and in the autumn of life. Every part of my body announces the eternity that must soon follow --- the growing pain that fatal diseases colonize my body, the failure of my organs, the loss of energy, the desire for death. Even society seems to be dying, to desert me, to bid its farewell. To those who are near to death, this is as it should be. To those who are still young, I feel nothing but sorrow. How sad that my children should be faced with a full lifetime of sterility and fear. Three days have passed since Bush was reelected. History threatens to roll back an epoch! What held my life together was socialism. Whether a society will ever appear that is based on community, care, and solidarity; whether above all it will be based on reason, I do not know. Reason has always guided my beliefs, often my actions; now my ard... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1994 ~ (6,067 Words / 40,807 Characters)
This manuscript was provided to Anarchy Archives by the author What is Communalism? The Democratic Dimension of Anarchism by Murray Bookchin Seldom have socially important words become more confused and divested of their historic meaning than they are at present. Two centuries ago, it is often forgotten, "democracy" was deprecated by monarchists and republicans alike as "mob rule." Today, democracy is hailed as "representative democracy," an oxymoron that refers to little more than a republican oligarchy of the chosen few who ostensibly speak for the powerless many. "Communism," for its part, once referred to a cooperative society that would be based morally on mutual respect and on an economy in which each contributed to the social labor fund according to his or her ability and received the means of life according to his or her needs. Today, "communism" is associated with the Stalinist gulag and wh... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1993 ~ (8,065 Words / 53,308 Characters)
This essay appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. It is from Environmental Philosophy: From Animal Rights to Radical Ecology, edited by M.E. Zimmerman, Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1993 What Is Social Ecology? Murray Bookchin Murray Bookchin has long been a major figure in anarchlst and utopian political theory, theory of technology, urbanism, and the philosophy of nature. He is the co-founder and director emeritus of the Institute for Social Ecology. His many books include Toward an Ecological Society, The Ecology of Freedom, The Rise of Urbanization and the Decline of Citizenship, Remaking Society, and The Philosophy of Social Ecology. What literally defines social ecology as "social" is its recognition of the often overlooked fact that nearly all our present ecological problems arise from deep-seated social problems... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1998 ~ (35,778 Words / 239,952 Characters)
Publication of the following article is forthcoming in Murray Bookchin, Anarchism, Marxism, and the Future of the Left (San Francisco and Edinburgh: A.K. Press, 1998). The article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author and publisher. Whither Anarchism? A Reply to Recent Anarchist Critics by Murray Bookchin Liberty without socialism is privilege and injustice. Socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality. -- Mikhail Bakunin What form will anarchism take as it enters the twenty-first century? What basic ideas will it advance? What kind of movement, if any, will it try to create? How will it try to change the human sensibilities and social institutions that it has inherited from the past? In a fundamental sense these were the issues that I t... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1991 ~ (3,347 Words / 22,741 Characters)
This article, originally published in The Progressive, December 1991, pp. 18-21, appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. REFLECTIONS: Murray Bookchin Will Ecology Become 'the Dismal Science'? Almost a century and a half ago Thomas Carlyle described economics as "the dismal science." The term was to stick, especially as it applied to economics premised on a supposedly unavoidable conflict between "insatiable needs" and "scarce natural resources." In this economics, the limited bounty provided by a supposedly "stingy nature" doomed humanity to economic slumps, misery, civil strife, and hunger. Today, the term "dismal science" appropriately describes certain trends in the ecology movement-trends that seem to be riding on an overwhelming tide of religious revivalism and mysticism. I refer not to the large number of highly motivated, well-intentioned, and often radical environmentalists... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
Anarchism : Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarianism -- 1988 ~ (6,579 Words / 41,047 Characters)
This article appears in Anarchy Archives with the permission of the author. GREEN PERSPECTIVES Price:$1.00 A LEFT GREEN PUBLICATION Number 10 September 1988 P.O. Box 111 Burlington, VT 05402 Yes!--Whither Earth First? Editors' Note: The following article was written nearly a year ago in response to a supplement in the November I, 1987, issue of Earth First! The greater part of the supplement attacked the author, Murray Bookchin, for some six columns. After an orgy of personal recriminations, unfounded accusations. and sheer falsehoods, Earth First! refused to print this response. Its existence was merely mentioned in passing in a later issue by the editor of Earth First!, David Foreman, near the end of his column, "Around the Campfire." &nbs... (From : Anarchy Archives.)
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