Social Ecology Blog

Assemblies and Elections: Questions for the Left

Author and acclaimed scholar of horizontalist movements, Marina Sitrin, reflects on discussions at the recent Left Forum in New York City. She encourages those who’ve participated in movements such as Occupy Wall Street, 15-M in Spain, and Gezi Park in Istanbul to familiarize themselves with municipalist ideas to better address the huge organizational challenges faced by the global left. This article originally appeared on TeleSur English:

How can we change society so as to run it [...]

Social Ecology, Kurdistan, & the Origins of Freedom

*This article has been revised from its original version*

From ISE board member and UMass graduate student Eleanor Finley:

I recently had the opportunity to visit Turkey and North Kurdistan. In that short time, Istanbul celebrated the third year anniversary of Gezi Park, the Democratic Union Party (HDP) won unprecedented political representation in the Turkish parliament, and the cantons of Cizire and Kobane were joined. Throughout these dramatic events, I was often sitting cross-legged [...]

On David Harvey’s engagement with Bookchin’s ideas

From an early 2000s ISE alum, writing from Berlin:

I don’t know if others are aware of this text, so I am forwarding it along. It is from David Harvey, who, has begun to engage with Murray’s ideas about libertarian municipalism in a serious and constructive way. He began the dialogue in his book Rebel Cities, where he wrote that libertarian municipalism was “by far the most sophisticated radical proposal to deal with the creation and [...]

New article: The Necessity of Dialectical Naturalism

From two scholars at the University of Queensland, Australia and posted online (prior to publication) by the radical geography journal, Antipode. The article serves to situate Murray Bookchin’s theory of dialectical naturalism within the broader dialectical tradition and highlight Bookchin’s unique contributions to the evolution of dialectical thought. It offers an important contrast with Herbert Marcuse’s influential approach to dialectics, which in the authors’ view is undermined by Marcuse’s technological pessimism and relatively late consideration [...]

Toward a new municipal agenda in Spain

From ROAR Magazine, an article by Carlos Delclós, a sociology researcher in Barcelona. Here’s an excerpt:
Radical municipal politics is not an altogether new concept, especially not in Spain. In Catalonia, the Popular Unity Candidacies of the left-wing independence movement have had a notable presence in smaller towns for several years (they also quadrupled their 2011 results on Sunday, for what it’s worth). At the southern end of the country, the Andalusian village of Marinaleda [...]

Social ecologists at Left Forum 2015 in NYC

Once again social ecology will be on the agenda at the Left Forum in New York, May 29-31st at John Jay College (524 West 59th St.), with ISE faculty and colleagues featured on 2 panels:
The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy
Sunday 3:40 – 5:40 pm in room L.76
With Debbie Bookchin (Chair), Chaia Heller (ISE), Marina Sitrin (CUNY Graduate Center), and Nazan Üstündağ (Boğaziçi University, Instanbul)

In left movements around the world the cry for direct democracy has never been stronger. But how can the mass protests that have occupied squares and cities be [...]

45 Years of Earth Days – A Critical View

The 1990 Earth Day Wall Street Action reflected the flowering of grassroots environmental activity in response to the compromises of the big environmental groups.

Hamburg conference features scholars & Kurdish activists

Reflections on Challenging Captialist Modernity, Hamburg, Germany
Report by Eleanor Finley

In Kurdish, “roj” means sun. Rojava is the land to the west, where the setting sun of freedom and possibility lays to rest and renew itself. Last week, I spent three days at Hamburg University as part of Challenging Capitalist Modernity, a conference hosted by a network of organizations within the Kurdish Freedom Movement. Each evening, the sun shone down brightly through a tall glass [...]

Social ecologists in Colombia

El Collectivo Ambiente de Tabanoy (CAT): Social Ecologists in Columbia link indigenous medicine, permaculture, and the call for communal politics.

The Collectivo Ambiente de Tabanoy is a popular education project dedicated to sharing social ecological principles in Cristobol, Columbia.

Cristobol is a suburb of the capital city of Bogota with many indigenous, peasant and worker communities. For over six years, these edukadores de kalle [street educators] have been organizing education and cultural programs which link social and ecological issues. Through these programs, the CAT serves as a watershed for activism throughout the region.

One of the CAT’s main issues is local [...]

New book: Social Ecology and Social Change

In September last year New Compass organized a conference in collaboration with the University of Oslo called Ecological Challenges. Some of the questions we asked were:  How can we create a society that is ecological as well as egalitarian? How can we develop new forms of activism that are constructive as well as confrontational? How can we work for genuine social change and simultaneously prevent ecological destruction and improve people’s lives in today’s world?
The results of these discussions are now gathered in one book! Many people associated with the ISE in Vermont, both past and present, are among [...]