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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 Ameri... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 ecolog... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


"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 as... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 which has produced the very notion of dominating nature? Or will ecology groups and the Greens turn the entire ecology movement into a starry-eyed religion... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 t... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 c... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


This manuscript was provided to Anarchy Archives by the author. Ecology and Revolutionary Thought by Lewis Herber (pseudonym for Murray Bookchin) [Originally published in Bookchin’s 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 Enlightenment—the era that culminated i... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 "premodernity." I also reject "sociol... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 harm... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 prob... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 social... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 a... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

Chapter 2: Nature, First and Second Introduction Amid the technological enchantment of the 1950s, proponents of organic farming, like Bookchin himself, had to defend organic agricultural techniques against the scorn of federal agencies and the chemical industry, both of which were busily making pesticides into agricultural commonplaces. Unlike today, when the value of organic farming is recognized, in those years its value had to be fought for. As part of that struggle to defend organic farming, Bookchin borrowed the concept “unity in diversity” from the German idealist philosopher G.W.F. Hegel. Recast as a principle of organic agriculture, the concept suggested an alternative farming technique that was able to rid crops of pests, without the use of carcinogenic pesticides. Unlike the monocultures that demanded pesticide use, a diversity of crops in one field could play off potential pests against one another, leaving the crops themselve...

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 easil...


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 unth... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


The Population Myth--I by Murray Bookchin The "population problem" has a Phenix-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 fo... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 view... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 formatio... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

A Challenge for the Ecology Movement
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... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 i... (From : Spunk.org.)


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 meas... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 changes in the... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 re... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 ... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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 the... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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... (From : Anarchy Archives.)


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." The... (From : Anarchy Archives.)

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