Harbinger Vol. 2 No. 1 — Editorial

Welcome to the first edition of our second volume of Harbinger, A Journal of Social Ecology. Harbinger is the latest in a long line of publications offered by the Institute for Social Ecology (ISE). With the second edition of Harbinger, we are resurrecting a journal that we published in the 80s. It is our hope that the current incarnation of Harbinger will continue in the tradition of its predecessors in bringing you, the reader, analysis relevant to the growing social ecology movement and news of the activities of the Institute for Social Ecology. We intend to explore the theory and practice needed to help to create an ecological society, and to cultivate a generous intellectual outlook that can inform the principle of hope. Just as the outlook proposed by social ecology is concerned with both what is and what could be, so too will Harbinger echo those concerns, and explore the tensions between the two. The central questions we will address regard the process with which we must engage to create an ecological society, a society free of hierarchy and domination in all of its forms. A Utopian project, the cynics will snicker, and to them we proudly answer yes, it is a utopian project, but not utopia in the sense of an unachievable cloud-cuckoo land, rather what we explore are utopian ideas rooted in real existing potentialities. In the words of social ecologist Murray Bookchin we seek to “Be realistic and do the impossible, because if we don’t do the impossible, we face the unthinkable.” Harbinger will examine ideas that can allow us to transcend the given, to expand our intellectual frameworks, to give voice to our highest aspirations and our dreams for a decentralized, directly democratic, mutualistic and ecological society.

A harbinger is a messenger, or a sign indicating that a major event or change is coming. It was the name given to the journal published by Emerson, the Alcotts, Thoreau and other New England transcendentalists associated with Brook Farm in the 19th century. The name was revived in the early 1980’s by the ISE for our literary and philosophical journal. In it’s current incarnation Harbinger will continue the tradition of critically examining theory and practice, will attempt to bring you stimulating work by talented authors, and, in addition, will update you on the important work of the ISE. Our intention is to publish twice a year and we invite your comments and contributions. While Harbinger will entertain many points of view, our primary focus will be on a clarification and expansion of those ideas and practices that contribute to social ecology. In this current issue you will find a radical critique of biotechnology by noted author and ISE faculty member Brian Tokar, Andrea del Moral’s commentary on radical agriculture, and an interview with ISE alum Amaan (recently granted political asylum in the US) in which he discusses the Oromo Liberation Movement and the Ethiopian Empire State. We are also publishing an essay by Amoshaun Toft on the political significance of directly democratic politics in the era of the Anti-Globalization movement, a fascinating piece by Kai Malloy on the history of Libertarian and Anarchist education,and an interview with noted social ecologist and author Murray Bookchin.

While this, our first issue in our new format, presents a partial range of the issues encompassed by social ecology it also represents something equally as important, the sensibility of social ecology. We will encourage passionate discourse tempered by rationality and a radical intent — nothing less than the transformation of our destructive, anti-ecological society.

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