Please download the following PDFs and come prepared with the readings. If your browser does not prompt you to download, right-click on each link and choose “save as”.
Social Ecology & the Utopian Tradition with Dan Chodorkoff
This class provides an overview of the key philosophical, political, and strategic issues that surface in the theory and practice of social ecology. Social ecology is an interdisciplinary philosophical perspective which advocates a reconstructive and transformative outlook on social and environmental issues and promotes a directly democratic, confederal politics. As a body of ideas, social ecology envisions a moral economy that moves beyond scarcity and hierarchy, toward a world that reharmonizes human communities with the natural world, while celebrating diversity, creativity and freedom. Class Readings:
“What is Social Ecology?” by Murray Bookchin
“Libertarian Municipalism: the New Municipal Agenda” by Murray Bookchin
A Moral Economy with Peter Staudenmaier
Around the world, people dissatisfied with global capitalism face challenging questions about what kind of society could replace the present one: How can we build a moral economy in the wreckage of a market economy? This course will explore how capitalism works and how a fundamentally different economic system can be both possible and practical.
“A Municipalized Economy” by Janet Beihl
“Market Economy or Moral Economy” by Murray Bookchin
Solidarity & Accountability with Hilary Moore
Hilary has organized in the Bay Area for five years around climate, economic justice, and housing rights. She co-founded The Mobilization for Climate Justice West, an alliance of multi-sector organizations fighting for climate justice through direct action support of community-based organizations. This work prompted a critical engagement with experimental strategies in organizing across race and class divides. Hilary co-authored a best-selling booklet, “Organizing Cools the Planet: Tools and Reflections to Navigate the Climate Crisis” that offers resources and frameworks to engage in movement struggles that grapple with collaboration and the politics of difference.
Organizing Cools the Planet by Hilary Moore & Joshua Russel
A History of the Left with Chaia Heller
While many people identify as Leftists, our culture leaves us with a rather vague notion of what the term means. This course traces the rise of the term ‘Left’ from the French Revolution to today’s current social movements such as OWS, struggles from Climate Justice and anti-racism. Reclaiming this lost history is empowering, sometimes bewildering, but proves always to be fun.
Direct Democracy and Dual Power with Chaia Heller
In social justice movements, many of us know what we don’t want in the current system. We seek freedom from injustices such as state tyranny, capitalism, white supremacy, and ecological destruction. Yet we often have less clear ideas about what ‘the good society’ would look like and how to move from this society to a better one. This class outlines the general practical and philosophical features of a socially just and democratic society. In addition, we will discuss the strategy of ‘dual power’, the process through which we build a new society within the shell of the old. Class Readings:
“Illustrative Opposition” by Chaia Heller
“The Politics of Social Ecology” by Janet Beihl
Social Justice & Climate Action with Brian Tokar
From the Jersey Shore to Mindanao in the Philippines, 2012’s unprecedented weather extremes helped revive long-dormant conversations about the depth of the global climate crisis. But mainstream discussions of what to do about it are usually limited to incremental policy measures and improvements in technology. We will discuss how the insights of social ecology can help us develop a holistic and radical climate justice movement that is equal to the task of decarbonizing the economy and transforming society. Our class sessions will include a visit by Prof. Michael Dorsey, who has been an important critical voice in the international climate negotiations since the early 1990s. Class Readings:
Capitalism vs. Climate by Naomi Klein
Climate Justice & Utopian Perspectives by Brian Tokar
Movements Toward Climate Justice by Brian Tokar