Left Green Perspectives [an introduction]




Left Green Perspectives (formerly Green Perspectives)
A Social Ecology Publication

The Social Ecology Project

With the emergence of a new millennium, it should not be surprising that old socialist ideologies–borne of the Industrial Revolution–are no longer adequate to encompass the sweeping social changes that have occurred over the past two centuries. As transnational capitalism, facilitated by radically new technological means, becomes ever more pervasive, and as commodity relations replace seemingly imperishable human ties, people everywhere understandably feel that they are losing control over the institutions and culture that determines their loves as social beings. On matters of the greatest importance for their lives, decisions are made anonymously by the wealthy and powerful, and even mindlessly by economic forces over which they have no control. Increasingly, they are looking for ways to regain control over the institutions that affect their well-being in a matter that is fully democratic and expressive of their genuine wishes.

An awareness of these popular aspirations has been an ever-growing feature of Left Green Perspectives. Since 1986, our newsletter has been advancing libertarian municipalism, a program for face-to-face democracy, within the framework of revolutionary libertarian socialism. Since the late 1990s, friends who share these ideas have been involved in a process of transcending traditional emancipatory ideologies, especially Marxism and anarchism, while incorporating the best features of both into a new radical synthesis of ideas and politics.

We are advancing a broad set of ideas–Communalism–that seeks to elaborate a humanistic and social perspective on ecology and a radical opposition to all forms of social hierarchy and domination, as well as class rule and exploitation. Communalism seeks to rescue the highest ideals and goals of the Enlightenment from the antihumanist (even misanthropic) and antirationalist tide that is rising everywhere today in popular culture and the academy. Above all, Communalism seeks to transform cities into arenas for a new democratic political sphere, based on face-to-face democracy, structured around citizens’ assemblies at the town and neighborhood level, confederated over broader territories. In our view, face-to-face democracy is not a street protest: it is a set of permanent decision-making institutions by which people take responsibility for their communities and gain control over their economic life in the form of municipally owned and managed, as well as confederally coordinated, enterprises. We hope to explore all the details of this project in future issues of our newsletter.

At present, Left Green Perspectives is the principal organ where this new Communalist perspective is being developed in the United States. We have every expectation that this project will be taken up elsewhere as well, in other periodicals and movements and organizations. Our comrades in Scandinavia are planning a Communalist journal in the foreseeable future, to which we plan to contribute, and we will inform our readers as soon as it appears.

New ideas are needed to address new social developments. The socialist, revolutionary Left must also evolve if it is not to become a sectarian relic of the past. We urge all readers and interested people to join us in exploring the new possibilities for radical social transformation that a Communalist perspective opens.

Left Green Perspectives appears irregularly. Normally one or two essays are featured per issue, with a total length of six to twelve pages. A ten-issue subscription costs US $12.00 for North America, US $14.00 overseas. Sample copies are available on request.

The Social Ecology Project
P.O. Box 111
Burlington, VT 05402 U.S.A.

Copyright © 1986-1999 by Green Perspectives