Murray Bookchin

Libertarian Municipalism: The New Municipal Agenda

This article consists of excerpts from From Urbanization to Cities (1987; London: Cassell, 1995), with revisions.

Any agenda that tries to restore and amplify the classical meaning of politics and citizenship must clearly indicate what they are not, if only because of the confusion that surrounds the two words… Politics is not statecraft, and citizens are not “constituents” or “taxpayers.” Statecraft consists of operations that engage the state: the exercise of its monopoly of violence, its control of the entire regulative apparatus of society in the form of legal and ordinance-making [...]

The Third Revolution Vol 1 (introduction)

The title of this book, The Third Revolution, is taken from what may seem an extraordinary historical coincidence. The demand for a “third revolution” was actually raised in two great revolutions: the French Revolution in the closing decade of the eighteenth century, and 120 years later in the Russian Revolution during the opening decades of the twentieth.

The revolutionary sans-culottes of Paris in 1793 raised the cry to replace the supposedly radical National Convention with a popular democracy — the Parisian sections — that they themselves had established during [...]

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.

One of the most dangerous aspects of the present cultural and social counterrevolution is the widespread belief that capitalism is here to stay, that it is a “natural” social [...]

Theses on Social Ecology in a Period of Reaction

Social ecology developed out of important social and theoretical problems that faced the Left in the post-World War II period. The historical realities of the 1940s and the 1950s completely invalidated the perspectives of a proletarian revolution, of a “chronic economic crisis” that would bring capitalism to its knees, and of commitment to a centralistic workers’ party that would seize state power and, by dictatorial means, initiate a transition to socialism and communism. It became painfully evident in time that no such generalized crisis was in the offing; indeed, that the proletariat and any party–or labor [...]

Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm

For some two centuries, anarchism — a very ecumenical body of anti-authoritarian ideas — developed in the tension between two basically contradictory tendencies: a personalistic commitment to individual autonomy and a collectivist commitment to social freedom. These tendencies have by no means been reconciled in the history of libertarian thought. Indeed, for much of the last century, they simply coexisted within anarchism as a minimalist credo of opposition to the State rather than as a maximalist credo that articulated the kind of new society that had to be created in its place.

Which is not to say [...]

What is Communalism?

Seldom have socially important words become more confused and divested of their historic meaning than they are at present. Two centuries ago, it is often forgotten, “democracy” was deprecated by monarchists and republicans alike as “mob rule.” Today, democracy is hailed as “representative democracy,” an oxymoron that [...]

History, Civilization, and Progress: Outline for a Criticism of Modern Relativism

Rarely have the concepts that literally define the best of Western culture–its notions of a meaningful History, a universal Civilization, and the possibility of Progress–been called so radically into question as they are today. In recent decades, both in the United States and abroad, the academy and a [...]

To Remember Spain: The Anarchist and Syndicalist Revolution of 1936

This document can also be found at


These essays are less an analysis of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War of 1936-39 than an evocation of the greatest proletarian and peasant revolution to occur over the past two centuries. Although they contain a general overview and evaluation of the Anarchist and Anarchosyndicalist movements (the two should be clearly distinguished) in the three-year struggle at the end of the 1930s, they are not intended to be a full account of those complex events.

It is no exaggeration to say that the Spanish Revolution was the farthest-reaching movement that [...]

Nationalism and the “National Question”

Nationalism and the “National Question”
Tuesday, November 18 2003 @ 01:19 AM PST
Contributed by: murray

By: Murray Bookchin

One of the most vexing questions that the Left faces (however one may define the Left) is the role played by nationalism in social development and by popular demands for cultural identity and political sovereignty. For the Left of the nineteenth century, nationalism was seen primarily as a European issue, involving the consolidation of nation-states in the heartland of capitalism. Only secondarily, if at all, was it seen as the anti-imperialist and presumably anticapitalist struggle that it was to [...]

Society and Ecology

The problems which many people face today in “defining” themselves, in knowing “who they are”–problems that feed a vast psychotherapy industry–are by no means personal ones. These problems exist not only for private individuals; they exist for modern society as a whole. Socially, we live in desperate uncertainty about how people relate to each other. We suffer not only as individuals from alienation and confusion over our identities and goals; our entire society, conceived as a single entity, seems unclear about its own nature and sense of direction. If earlier societies tried to foster a belief [...]