Janet Biehl

Murray Bookchin Obituary by Janet Biehl

Murray Bookchin (1921-2006) was a left-libertarian social theorist who, in the early 1960s, introduced the concept of ecology into radical politics.

The Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism (CH. 1)

For two centuries social revolutionaries have cherished the ideal of the “Commune of communes” as part of their vision of a future liberatory society. Ever since the Great French Revolution of 1789, they have dreamed of creating decentralized, stateless, and collectively managed “communes,” joined together in confederations of free municipalities.

Minding Nature: The Philosophers of Ecology edited by David Macauley, Reviewed by Janet Biehl

This book review was published in Social Anarchism, no. 25 (1998) Minding Nature sets out to trace ideas of democracy and nature in the thought of a variety of philosophers and social theorists who, according to editor David Macauley, “have enabled us to rethink the possibility of creating a more democratic and ecological society.” The book, which is part of Guilford’s ecosocialist series “Democracy and Ecology,” consists of thirteen essays, many of which originally appeared in the ecosocialist journal Capitalism Nature Socialism. Each essay highlights a single thinker whose work will in some way help us “move toward both democracy […]

The Murray Bookchin Reader: Introduction

In the aftermath of the cold war, in a world that glorifies markets and commodities, it sometimes seems difficult to remember that generations of people once fought to create a very different kind of world. To many, the aspirations of this grand tradition of socialism often seem archaic today, or utopian in the pejorative sense, the stuff of idle dreams; others, more dismissive, consider socialism to be an inherently coercive system, one that whose consignment to the past is well deserved.

The Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism (Keynote speech to the International Conference on the Politics of Social Ecology)

For two centuries social revolutionaries have cherished the ideal of the “Commune of communes” as part of their vision of a future liberatory society. Ever since the Great French Revolution of 1789, they have dreamed of creating decentralized, stateless, and collectively managed “communes,” joined together in confederations of free municipalities. All three of the major nineteenth-century anarchist thinkers–Proudhon, Bakunin, and Kropotkin–called for a “federation of communes” for an anarchist society. The Paris Commune, in its manifesto to the French people of April 19, 1871–which was greatly influenced by federalist [...]

[Introduction] Ecofacism: Lessons From the German Experince

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The Fallacy of “Neither Left nor Right”: Militia Fever

At a time when the political sands have shifted massively to the right nearly everywhere, when the right is riding high while the left languishes in debris, it is increasingly common to hear the cry “Neither left nor right!” Few right-wingers issue this cry—but then, why should they? Their political label is the toast of several continents today. The fact is that the strongest political winds are blowing many leftists, like the rest of the society, toward conservatism and a glorification of the market.

Theses on Social Ecology and Deep Ecology

(This article co-authored with Murray Bookchin) When “Realism” Becomes Capitulation Action from principle, the perception and the performance of right, changes things and relations; it is essentially revolutionary, and does not consist wholly with anything which was. –Thoreau Ever since the debate between social ecology and deep ecology broke out in the summer of 1987, various individuals have taken it upon themselves to attempt to reconcile the two approaches and produce what they feel is a higher synthesis. Social ecology and deep ecology, however, are incommensurable, for several basic reasons.

From Movement to Parliamentary Party: Notes on Several European Green Movements

This article was originally published in Society and Nature 3 (1993). It is a revised synthesis of “Western European Greens: Movement or Parliamentary Party?” Green Perspectives 19 (Feb. 1990); “Farewell to the German Greens,” Green Perspectives 23 (Jun. 1991); and “U.K. Greens Face the Future,” Regeneration 4 (Fall 1992). Thanks to Murray Bookchin for his constructive criticism and comments.

Among many Greens in the United States, which has a winner-take-all electoral system, it is fashionable to praise European Green parliamentary successes and envy the systems of proportional representation [...]

A Critique of the Draft Program of the Left Green Network

Editors’ note: The Left Green Network is in the process of writing, developing, and debating its program. The draft proposal for the program was published in the April/May 1991 issue of Left Green Notes, number 7. The following critique was written in response to that program. The program will [...]