Murray Bookchin

The Ghost of Anarcho-Syndicalism

One of the most persistent of human frailties is the tendency of individuals and groups to fall back, in times of a terribly fragmented reality, onto obsolete, even archaic ideologies for a sense of continuity and security. Today we find this not only on the right, where people are evoking the ghosts of Nazism and deadly forms of an embattled nationalism, but also on the “left” (whatever that word may mean anymore), where many people evoke ghosts of their own, be they the Neolithic goddess cults that many feminist and ecological sects celebrate or the generally [...]

The Transition to the Ecological Society: An Interview by Takis Fotopoulos

Published in Society and Nature, vol. 1, no. 3 (1993)

Takis Fotopoulos: It is generally recognized that the Green movement is in crisis. This is indicated not just by its failure to appeal to the electorate but, more important, in terms of its failure to project a new vision of society, an ecological society. All this, at a moment in History when the ecological crisis on the one hand and the collapse of the socialist project on the other make the need for an alternative vision of society imperative. How do you explain the unique failure of [...]

Deep Ecology, Anarcho-Syndicalism and the Future of Anarchist Thought

There is very little I can add to the outstanding criticism Brian Morris levels at deep ecology. Indeed, Morris’s contribution to the debate around eco-mysticism generally has been insightful as well as incisive, and I have found his writings an educational experience hat hopefully will reach a very wide audience in the United States in addition to Britain.

I should hope that his review of Arne Naess’s Ecology, Community [...]

The Left That Was: A Personal Reflection

Originally published in Left Green Perspectives (formerly Green Perspectives) A Social Ecology Publication
Number 22 May 1991

I would like to recall a Left That Was–an idealistic, often theoretically coherent Left that militantly emphasized its internationalism, its rationality in its treatment [...]

Libertarian Municipalism: An Overview

Perhaps the greatest single failing of movements for social reconstruction–I refer particularly to the Left, to radical ecology groups, and to organizations that profess to speak for the oppressed–is their lack of a politics that will carry people beyond the limits established by the status quo.

Politics today means duels [...]

The Meaning of Confederalism

This article originally appeared in Green Perspectives No. 20 November 1990.

Few arguments have been used more effectively to challenge the case for face-to-face participatory democracy than the claim that we live in a “complex society.” Modern population centers, we are told, are too large and too concentrated to allow for direct decision-making at [...]

Intelligentsia and the New Intellectuals

Editorial Introduction:

The following lecture was delivered as the opening address at the fourth continental Youth Greens conference that took place on the campus of Goddard College in Vermont on July 27,1990 The social theorist Murray Bookchin, whose work on ecology began with an article on the chemical additives in food in 1952, is a long-standing activist in the ecology movement and the author of several books, including The Ecology of Freedom, Remaking Society and The Philosophy of Social Ecology. In many ways, this confrontational and thought-provoking address expresses some of the most difficult [...]

A Philosophical Naturalism

This article is the introduction to The Philosophy of Social Ecology: Essays on Dialectical Naturalism, 2nd ed. revised (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1995).

What is nature? What is humanity’s place in nature? And what is the relationship of society to the natural world?

In an era of ecological breakdown, answering these questions has become of momentous importance for our everyday lives and for the future that we and other life-forms face. They are not abstract philosophical questions that should be relegated to a remote, airy world of metaphysical speculation. Nor [...]

Will Ecology Become ‘the Dismal Science’?

Almost a century and a half ago Thomas Carlyle described economics as “the dismal science.” The term was to stick, especially as it applied to economics premised on a supposedly unavoidable conflict between “insatiable needs” and “scarce natural resources.” In this economics, the limited bounty provided by a supposedly “stingy nature” doomed humanity to economic slumps, misery, civil strife, and hunger.

Today, the term “dismal science” appropriately describes certain trends in the ecology movement-trends that seem to be riding on an overwhelming tide of religious revivalism and mysticism. I refer not to the large number of highly [...]

Radical Politics in an Era of Advanced Capitalism

Defying all the theoretical predictions of the 1930s, capitalism has restabilized itself with a vengeance and acquired extraordinary flexibility in the decades since World War II. In fact, we have yet to clearly determine what constitutes capitalism in its most “mature” form, not to speak of its social [...]