Book Reviews

New book: Social Ecology and Social Change

In September last year New Compass organized a conference in collaboration with the University of Oslo called Ecological Challenges. Some of the questions we asked were:  How can we create a society that is ecological as well as egalitarian? How can we develop new forms of activism that are constructive as well as confrontational? How can we work for genuine social change and simultaneously prevent ecological destruction and improve people’s lives in today’s world?
The results of these discussions are now gathered in one book! Many people associated with the ISE in Vermont, both past and present, are among [...]

Ursula LeGuin on Murray Bookchin

"Capitalism’s grow-or-die imperative stands radically at odds with ecology’s imperative of interdependence and limit. The two imperatives can no longer coexist with each other; nor can any society founded on the myth that they can be reconciled hope to survive. Either we will establish an ecological society or society will go under for everyone, irrespective of his or her status."

New books from Dan Chodorkoff & Brian Tokar

From New Compass Press in Norway, a new collection of Dan Chodorkoff’s essays, The Anthropology of Utopia, plus a revised and expanded edition of Brian Tokar’s Toward Climate Justice.  Both available in September; review copies now available from New Compass:
THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF UTOPIA
Essays on Social Ecology and Community Development
By Dan Chodorkoff

How can we avert ecological catastrophe? How can we build community? What is the practical relevance of utopia? These are some of the questions anthropologist Dan Chodorkoff explores in his essays on social ecology and community [...]

The return of “scientific” racism

Alan Goodman, a professor at Hampshire College, co-director of the American Anthropological Association’s Understanding Race project, and long-time friend of the ISE, has posted a review on Counterpunch.org of a disturbing new book by New York Times science writer Nicholas Wade, which aims to revive long-discredited theories proposing a biological basis for racial divisions among peoples.  Here’s an excerpt:
Nicholas Wade’s book, A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History, is what the title suggests: a troubling view of human history.   A Troublesome Inheritance is troublesome, but not for [...]

New book: Between Occultism and Nazism

From long-time ISE faculty member, Peter Staudenmeier, now a professor at Marquette University:

Between Occultism and Nazism:
Anthroposophy and the Politics of Race in the Fascist Era

The relationship between Nazism and occultism has been an object of fascination and speculation for decades. Peter Staudenmaier’s Between Occultism and Nazism provides a detailed historical examination centered on the anthroposophist movement founded by Rudolf Steiner. Its surprising findings reveal a remarkable level of Nazi support for Waldorf schools, biodynamic farming, and other anthroposophist initiatives, even as Nazi officials attempted to suppress occult tendencies. [...]

New social ecology book from Barcelona

We have received an email informing us of a new book in Spanish, titled Bookchin y la Ecología Social, published by Libélula Verde in Barcelona.  Their description, roughly translated says:
The publication brings us Social Ecology, from the hand of the US thinker, Murray Bookchin. Given the many challenges of today’s society, this book is not merely a denunciation of what is, but seeks to encourage reflection and constructive debate, criticism and self-criticism. We are aware that solutions will be the fruit of the collective work of all who [...]

Recent articles (Winter 2014)

2 recent posts to the ISE Blog contain links to new articles of mine that are featured elsewhere:

Myths of Green Capitalism

Dave Van Ronk vs. “Llewyn Davis”

I also have an extended essay and 2 short pieces in the book described here:

New international handbook of the climate change movement

And a chapter in this book, edited by Jeffrey St. Clair and Joshua Frank of Counterpunch:

Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion

As well as this recent book from Food First, based in Oakland:

Food Movements Unite! Strategies to Transform Our Food Systems

Brian Tokar on Dave Van Ronk vs. “Llewyn Davis”

For a change of pace from our usual entries, here’s a commentary just posted on Counterpunch by Brian Tokar. The original title was “Dave Van Ronk’s story is much better than Llewyn Davis’ – and a lot more fun,” and Counterpunch shortened it to “The Real Van Ronk.” Tokar compares the acclaimed Coen Brothers’ film, Inside Llewyn Davis with Van Ronk’s memoir, The Mayor of MacDougal Street, and concludes that the latter is far superior.  Here’s a short excerpt:
First and foremost, what Van Ronk’s book thoroughly exudes and [...]

Education for Social Change

This essay by ISE co-founder and board chair  Dan Chodorkoff was originally presented in 1998 at the annual reunion of the famed Modern School, based in NY City and New Jersey and founded on the  principles of the Spanish anarchist educator Francisco Ferrer. It has been updated and will appear in a forthcoming collection of Dan’s essays, to be published in 2014 by New Compass Press in Norway.

We face an unprecedented crisis of global dimensions, an interlinked social and ecological crisis. The survival of life on earth as we [...]

On OWS’ 2-year anniversary, 3 new Occupy books

September 17th is the 2-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, and all the kindred movements that spun off from that incredible day in lower Manhattan.  Al Jazeera America offers reviews of 3 new Occupy books that have just been released:
Nathan Schneider ‘s “Thank You, Anarchy: Notes From The Occupy Apocalypse” (University of California Press)
Mark Bray’s “Translating Anarchy, The Anarchism of Occupy Wall Street” (Zero Books)
David Graeber’s “The Democracy Project: A History, A Crisis, A Movement” (Spiegel and Grau)
You can read the review at http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2013/9/17/occupy-books.html. Some [...]