Social Ecology Blog

What’s Next for the Occupy Movement?

This commentary by Brian Tokar will appear in the winter issue of Broadcast, the newsletter of SEEDS, the Social Ecology Education and Demonstration School, based in Seattle and Vashon, Washington:

Since mid-September, actions inspired by the Occupy Wall Street encampment in New York have awakened the imaginations of people worldwide. Just as the movement approached its two-month anniversary in mid-November, several of the founding Occupations across the US fell victim to apparently highly-coordinated police raids. While the coming [...]

Libertarian Municipalism events in Geneva

Vincent Gerber reports from Geneva that the city’s annual “Anarchist Week” events will run from Tues.-Sat., December 6-10, and will focus on Murray Bookchin’s concept of libertarian municipalism, a social ecological strategy for confederal direct democracy, rooted at the municipal level. Full details are at

Schedule highlights:

Tuesday, 12/8: Film showing: “Ici et Maintenant” (Here and Now), followed by a book presentation and café discussions.
Weds., 12/9: Film on struggles in Oaxaca, Mexico, with discussions to follow.
Thurs., 12/10: Presentation [...]

New from Annie Leonard and Naomi Klein

From Story of Stuff creator Annie Leonard, we now have an accessible and visually engaging outlook on the financial crisis, deficit mania in Washington, and how to shift public funds toward a greener future. She makes a few compromises in the pursuit of mainstream appeal that may not sit so well with social ecologists — focusing on electoral solutions, and simply replacing petrochemicals with “bio-based materials” – but overall this 8 minute animation does an [...]

Dan LaBotz: The Power of Occupation

This beautifully written article by author/activist Dan LaBotz asks, “Where does the tremendous power of the occupation of city spaces, particularly the square, come from?” He replies that it’s powerful because it resonates with the long history of popular revolts, since ancient times, that were often rooted in the utopian dimensions of the city itself. Social ecologists will recognize many parallels with Murray Bookchin’s writings since the early 1960s that sought to reclaim the city’s legacy of [...]

Hilary Moore on the Oakland General Strike, 11/2/11

Hilary Moore is a recent ISE MA graduate and a current ISE board member; video links are at the end of the post:

Hi Friends and Family,

I’m happy to share with you two beautifully crafted videos from Oakland’s General Strike that took place last Wednesday, November 2nd. A group called Making Change Media volunteered many laborious hours to pull together the people’s side of the story. It captures our numbers, our collective power, and [...]

New book: Food Movements Unite!

From Food First Books in Oakland. Brian Tokar’s essay, “Food Sovereignty and Climate Justice,” is included:

Food Movements Unite!

Edited by Eric Holt- Giménez

Examining the power of the people in transforming our food systems, this book argues that the global food movement is as creative and powerful as it is diverse and widespread. The 21 authors of this book come together from communities all over the globe to examine how we can unite our efforts and create a powerful ‘movement of [...]

Population in the news – again

The specter of “overpopulation” has returned to the public airwaves following the UN’s recent announcement that the earth is now home to 7 billion people. The coverage is highly reminiscent of the debates that raged throughout the 1970s and eighties and, once again, there’s a dearth of critical evaluation of this issue. Do rising human populations drive environmental destruction, or are rising populations themselves a symptom of wider social and political dislocations? Are there too many poor [...]

OWS’ historical antecedents: 2 articles

Here are links to 2 interesting commentaries addressing historical antecedents to the Occupy Wall Street movement. In a recent column, Chris Hedges interviewed an OWS participant in New York and used this to introduce some perceptive comments about the historic role of the underclass in political movements, drawing on the 19th century debates between Bakunin and Marx. Thai Jones, writing for the MRZine blog published by Monthly Review, looks at the involvement of prominent individuals such as Emma Goldman [...]

J. E. Roos: The end of the ‘End of History’

Another excellent article from The New Significance. It begins:
The Tunisian and Egyptian Revolutions. The Arab Spring. The looming Greek default. The increasingly likely breakup of the eurozone. The second coming of the global financial crisis. The return with a vengeance of the systemic critique of capitalism. The resounding worldwide call for real democracy. The dramatic rallies against austerity, inequality and neoliberalism in Spain, Greece, Chile and Israel. The [...]

Janet Biehl visits Kurdish communalists

In a pair of new articles on the New Compass website, Janet Biehl recounts her recent visit to the Mesopotamian Social Forum in Diyarbakir, Turkey as a guest of Kurdish activists who are implementing principles of social ecology in their local work. One of the articles is an in-depth interview with Ercan Ayboga, who more fully describes the Kurdish struggle for “democratic autonomy,” and the structures of confederal democracy that they have created. These communalist institutions are rooted in [...]