Social Ecology Blog

From Spain: The movement beyond the protest

From, thoughtful reflections from Spain by Carlos Delclós and Raimundo Viejo, calling for a renewed focus on building alternative institutions. However in the context of the right wing triumph in the recent Spanish elections, their focus is on social centers, activist collectives, cooperatives, etc., which frequently do not directly challenge the status quo. How can social ecologists best continue to push for counterinstitutions that can also continue to offer a direct challenge to the [...]

Solidify Occupy: A Suggestion for What’s Next

An essay by social ecologist and Prescott College student, Charles Imboden, drawing on writings by Zizek, Kovel, Bookchin, and others, as well as the author’s own experiences with Occupy Tucson. The full essay appears on Charles’ blog, Better Worlds, Brighter Futures: Social ecology analysis from the Sonoran Desert. Here are two key excerpts:
Calls to “Occupy everything!” have been sounded, and  people across the country have begun turning to their communities with projects and groups [...]

On Restorative Justice – From ISE alum Marie-Isabelle Pautz

After the summer I attended ISE my friends and I started a food project called EarthShare Gardens, which is still in existence. A couple years later I moved to New Orleans to work with Turning Point Partners and the Louisiana Violence Prevention Alliance. Turning Point Partners introduced me to Restorative Practices. It was a relief to find a model that embodies my values, i.e. means ends. Katrina hit, and I stayed [...]

OWS video thanks supporters

... with an inspiring review of the events of the past month, highlighting the voices of some of the people of many different backgrounds who have put other parts of their lives aside to help sustain Occupy Wall Street since mid-September. A few of us from Vermont were in NYC this past weekend to participate in a host of Occupy-related events, including the action at Duarte Park, the 10th anniversary of the lockout of the Charas-El Bohio community center on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, an immigrant rights march from Foley Square to Zuccotti Park and a very large strategy and long-range visioning conference at Pace University. While people in New York are confronting many of the internal problems that movements invariably struggle with as they begin to dig in for the long haul, it is still very clear that the Occupy movement has changed New York, and continues to change the way we think and talk about politics and economics everywhere.

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 [...]