Social Ecology Blog

Report from the January ISE intensive

by Eleanor Finley

This year the Institute for Social Ecology hosted its annual week-long Winter Intensive program in Northampton, Massachusetts. Participants gathered at the Northampton Friends Meetinghouse, a bright, serene space in the heart of downtown Northampton. Classes were held each day from 9 to 6:45, with eight instructors lecturing and leading discussions on topics ranging from direct democracy and dual power to permaculture principles and carbon sequestering agriculture.

The ISE was thrilled to welcome poet and Yeshiva University professor, Joy Ladin, as well as [...]

Libertarian Municipalism and Citizen’s Movements in France

Hadrien Delahousse presented the following essay at the 2012 Social Ecology colloquium in Marshfield, Vermont.  This is his revised version, which seeks to incorporate some of the themes we discussed last summer in Vermont:

How Libertarian Municipalism Can Help Citizen’s Movements in France

Libertarian Municipalism is very little known in France. The idea of a local municipal assembly open to everyone taking political decisions is strange or not realistic to perhaps 97% of the people. Despite looking for alternative actions and information over more [...]

Soliman Lawrence on the revival of Jewish culture in Poland

ISE alum and former summer staff member Soliman Lawrence has been living in Berlin for many years and working as a documentary photographer. Recently he was interviewed by the popular German news magazine, Die Zeit, on his series of photographs documenting the recent revival of Jewish culture in Poland. Soli’s work explores the central paradox of this revival, that decades after the Holocaust in Poland, Jewish tradition is flourishing again, even though there are hardly any Polish Jews. The interview [...]

New documentary on “Europe’s Last Revolution”

We’ve received notice of a documentary film, currently in production, that tells the story of the expropriated and collectively managed factories in northern Spain during the lead-up to the Spanish Civil War. The full title is translated as Collective Economy: Europe’s Last Revolution. Readers may recall Sam Dolgoff’s landmark book, The Anarchist Collectives, which was prefaced by Murray Bookchin, important historical accounts of the Spanish Revolution by authors such as Santillán, Augustin Souchy, Broué and Temime, and others, as well as Ken Loach’s classic [...]

“Occupy, Debt, Finance & Class Struggle”

This short essay by ISE alum, Rob Ogman, offers an insightful perspective on these issues.  Was the financial crisis partly a product of labor’s decline? How was Occupy a “coming out” event for the “graduates without a future”? How can we make debt cancellation a reality?  Full text at http://occupythecrisis.wordpress.com/2012/12/04/occupy-debt-finance-and-class-struggle/.

Paradise Lot: New book from 2 ISE alums.!

Paradise Lot: Two Plant Geeks, One-Tenth of an Acre, and the Making of an Edible Garden Oasis in the City

 
by Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates

 
Information from Chelsea Green Books. Their link also contains ordering information.

 
When Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates moved into a duplex in a run-down part of Holyoke, Massachusetts, the tenth-of-an-acre lot was barren ground and bad soil, peppered with broken pieces of concrete, asphalt, and brick. The two friends got to work designing what would [...]

Janet Biehl on “Bookchin’s Trotskyist Decade, 1939-1948”

The Platypus Review has just posted a fascinating new article by Janet Biehl, excerpted from her forthcoming biography of Murray Bookchin, titled “Bookchin’s Trotskyist Decade, 1939-1948.” The piece offers a highly  engaging review of Bookchin’s early years as a labor militant, beginning with his disavowal of Stalinism at age 18. As a young revolutionary during and after World War 2, Bookchin was drawn to the Socialist Workers Party as a potential carrier of the revolutionary flame in a time of war and [...]

“The Day After Hurricane Sandy”

An exceptional review of the personal and political aftermath of the recent superstorm, written by the inimitable Nicholas Powers of  New York City’s Indypendent newspaper:  http://www.indypendent.org/2012/11/18/day-after-hurricane-sandy.

Some excerpts:
New Yorkers solemnly nodded when told about Gotham’s climate refugees. They were victims whose homelessness was not their fault. But beneath the sympathy were long lines of angry people at gas stations, angry apartment dwellers who ate cold food in the dark, families piled on top of each other in small rooms. The city’s nerves were frayed. [...]

New Book & website: Public Health and Social Justice

From Martin Donohoe, a Portland, Oregon medical doctor and long-time supporter of efforts to expose the hazards of GMOs:
http://www.publichealthandsocialjustice.org/
http://www.josseybass.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-111808814X.html
His website contains a vast archive of articles, slide shows, syllabi, and other documents relevant to topics in more than 30 key areas of public health and social justice.

Regarding Dr. Donohoe’s book, Dr. Paul Farmer (University Professor and Chair, Department of Global Health and Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School; co-founder of Partners In Health) writes:
“In this ambitious [...]

New writing on utopias

ISE alum Karl Hardy has edited a special issue of the literary journal Puerto del Sol, focusing on the theme of Utopias!.

This special issue (47.2 Fall 2012) features original poetry and prose as well as a ’roundtable’ Q&A with:
Kim Stanley Robinson – author of acclaimed utopian novels including The Three Californias, Mars, and the Science in the Capitol series. He also edited the anthology Future Primitive: The New Ecotopias.
Jacqueline Dutton – author of “‘Non-Western’ Utopian Traditions” in The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature