Economics & Capitalism

Brian Tokar: Myths of Green Capitalism

An article from the Winter 2014 issue of the journal New Politics, based on a presentation at the 2013 Left Forum in New York City. Tokar examines the political and ideological origins of “market-oriented” approaches that aim to substitute permit-trading regimes for environmental regulation:
The theoretical origins of carbon trading go back to the early 1960s, when corporate managers were just beginning to consider the consequences of pollution and resource depletion. Since the work of Arthur Pigou at the University of Cambridge in the 1920s, economists were aware of environmental pollution as an economic “externality” that could [...]

Direct democracy in Ukraine?

From a recent blog post by our colleague Adrian Ivakhiv, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Vermont. His blog on the ongoing events in Ukraine is called UKR-TAZ: A Ukrainian Temporary Autonomous Zone: Analyzing the Maidan & Its Aftermath:
[T]he Maidan [Arabic for a public square] movement has shown a tremendous degree of self-organization. Building organized networks — for self-defense, food, supplies, medical care, transportation, strategy development, military action (if needed), and so on — is laborious work, and it can be a formative experience for those who undertake it. It leaves an [...]

A Spanish village utopia

In two articles from The Guardian and New Compass, authors Dan Hancox and Lisa Roth describe how an impoverished village in southern Spain made a conscious choice to create a socialist utopia influenced by the rich anarchist history of the region. Hancox  has recently published a book that offers a more expansive analysis of this successful communalist experiment , The Village Against the World (published in October by Verso).  The Guardian story is excerpted from his first chapter, which is available, with photos, here:

From the Guardian article:
When the 1,200-hectare El Humoso farm was finally won in 1991 [...]

New Book: Democratic Autonomy in North Kurdistan

New from New Compass Press:  In the fall of 2011, a group of German activists journeyed into the Kurdish regions of Turkey to learn how the theory of Democratic Autonomy was being put into practice.  They discovered a remarkable experiment in face-to-face democracy—all the more notable for being carried out in wartime.

Long-time ISE associate and past faculty member Janet Biehl has translated the German group’s chronicle of their travels and interviews.  In Janet’s Translator’s Note, she writes:
As many as twenty million Kurds live in Turkey, concentrated in the southeast, in what radical Kurds call North [...]

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 know it requires new thinking and creative [...]

US Occupy Movement at the Front Lines of the Crisis

An essay by ISE alum, Rob Ogman, available in full at
Three years after the financial meltdown of 2008, the U.S. Occupy movement opened the possibility for a left regroupment against resurgent neoliberalism. Yet the forceful eviction from the squares just two months after the movement emerged, cut short the development of such a constituting power, of a historic bloc of the “99%.”
… Since the evictions, multiple initiatives were formed to carry forward the struggles: The “Occupy Our Homes” network combats foreclosures; campaigns to support workers’ struggles against precaritization; projects push for debt relief; [...]

“The Fallen,” by Chaia Heller

Tonight we were eating turkey burgers on our deck. The pooling heat of the day had drained, leaving behind an unexpected cool stillness that lured us gingerly back outside. I set the table for dinner, putting life into place, when all of the sudden: a thump. A soft landing of new life, warbling around in a black silveryness on the deck. A baby sparrow had fallen from its nest, lobbed itself to the deck’s edge, falling onto the grass below. It had spilled from an ill-constructed nest built by well-meaning sparrow parents under the balcony outside [...]

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 Some excerpts are also available to read at [...]

2014 Social Ecology Intensive Seminar

January 3-10, 2014 in Denton, Texas
This year Texas has become an inspirational focal point in struggles for reproductive rights, anti-racism, climate justice, and democracy. This January, the Institute for Social Ecology (ISE) will be coming for the first time to Texas (just 40 min. north of Dallas) to offer a 7-day Intensive Seminar. During this program, teachers and activists will share a unique outlook on social and environmental issues that will enrich our work toward making our communities more democratic, ecological, just, and free.

The Institute for Social Ecology has been offering radical educational programs on [...]

VT History panels on communes & cooperatives

ISE faculty and board members Dan Chodorkoff and Grace Gershuny are presenting on 2 panels for the Vermont History Association’s annual meeting, Sat. Sept. 21st at the Pavilion auditorium next to the VT State House in Montpelier.
Dan will be on the “Colleges and Communes” panel at 1:15 and Grace is on a Cooperatives panel at 2:30.  Dona Brown of the University of Vermont is offering a keynote address on cooperatives and communes in Vermont at 11 am.  The invitation to this event acknowledges the central role of the Institute in the development of “communes, co-ops, [...]