A Statement from the ISE Board

The Board of the Institute for Social Ecology has asked that the following statement be posted to the Social Ecology Blog and that it be *added as a sort of guideline text for comments on posts and articles on the ISE website:

The Institute for Social Ecology is committed to the spirit of free inquiry, and we hope that our website serves as a forum for debate and discussion of issues related to social ecology. Our aim is to to move the ideas of social ecology forward in a dynamic and critical manner that can further develop the project of social ecology and contribute to the unfolding of a decentralized, truly democratic, non-hierarchical,  ecological society.  Toward that end we insist that discussions on this site proceed in a respectful tone, and ask that people refrain from personal attacks on other participants in this discussion.

*Checking on this technical issue which we hope to resolve ASAP.

10 Replies to “A Statement from the ISE Board”

  1. I really wish that people from the ISE board would participate in the blog discussions. Of course, Karl is very active, but other than a comment or two from Brian and Chaia, the board has not participated at all. I recognize that everyone is very busy and that it’s hard to keep up—I totally understand—but there are so many important issues to discuss and you all have so much to offer. Dan, Grace, Ben, Brooke, Hilary, and Bob, what do you think? What are your views? I’d love to have the chance to learn (more) from you.

  2. As an ISE board member, I fully support the blog project and hope to make more time in my life to participate more fully. I think it is true to say that many of us on the board haven’t been as active as we could be. Thanks for the encouragement. There are indeed many important discussions going on here that deserve more of our attention.

  3. The confidence and clarity to psychologically reconcile our individual approximations and group idea with a functional world order and semblance of eternity reflects and influences our involvement among ourselves and our capacity to remain connected with the qualities, insights, and intentions which we have from withall and throughamongst at first determined and possess.

  4. I want to draw a distinction between ‘writing’ a post/article and having it ‘published’ on the site. I know that every post I write is subject to ‘moderation’. I have come to know that the posts are not edited. I understand that Karl+admin do not have the time to spend editing the posts. As a result of which I spend a long time fine tuning my posts so that they do not insult any one. Nevertheless, as a writer, it would be more creative and dynamic and direct if I knew that I could express my opinions and views freely, and that any ‘offensive’ remarks would be edited out if necessary, or not published.
    It is interesting that the recent angry exchange between Eirik and Karl really livened up the blog.Forced the Board to actually say something and get off the fence. And got Jussi involved too. Of course, if one was serious about changing the direction of the ISE, and drawing in contributions from as wide a spectrum as possible, then would it not be better to have no holds barred? So if I thought someone’s post was nonsense, I could say so ….with justifications. Good reasons are better than good manners.

  5. Hi everyone,

    Thanks Chuck for stimulating this response. I also welcome very much the direction this discussion is heading: thanks for Karl’s courage, for Brian’s intervention and Chaia’s support, and for Dan’s statement. I am not very comfortable with or skilled in polemical debate. Like Karl, (and partly inspired by discussions with my nephew Clayton Crockett, who is making a place for himself in pomo theory)I am preparing for more academic work, examining the ideas of social ecology in the light of writings by Georgio Agamben, Emmanuel Levinas, Judith Butler, Catherine Malabou, and others. I welcome what I would hope might be a broader space for the discussion of SE within a relevant range of contemporary thought.

    I also think the web and email may lend itself to polemics at times. I remember just prior to the second international social ecology conference when it seemed the event might actually be cancelled due to the level of polemics. For myself at least, some of the issues around which the debate and rhetoric swirled were substantially resolved within a relatively short time of face to face discussion with those who had taken opposing positions (on “left libertarianism” vs. communalism, the potential role of paramilitary training, etc.). A lesson for me to consider a bit before hitting the send button.


  6. Hi Bob,

    Thanks for chiming in. It gladdened me to see your name pop up and also to know that you are working your way through these major thinkers. I would be very happy to hear about any ideas that you come upon that you find relevant to transforming society–even highly tentative, speculative reflections would be welcomed as far as I’m concerned.

    I really appreciate your comments about polemics and debates. I think that there is no doubt that there’s a long history of bitter polemics at the ISE and that we all need to find a way to discuss our differences respectfully and constructively. Although I think Murray bears some responsibility for some of the bitterness—he was pretty sectarian—I think we are all culpable to a degree. Well, obviously the newcomers aren’t implicated, but it *is* up to all of us to chart a new course.

    Actually, I think discussions are often (inadvertently) set up at the ISE in a way that lends itself to polemics and bad feelings. It is very common, even now, for ISE meetings or discussions to be set up in the following way: “We invite people who embrace social ecology to talk about their ideas on X or Y topic. . . .” This seems harmless enough, and a perfectly sensible way to provide some boundaries to the discussion. However, it creates a context in which raising an idea that seems to contradict “social ecology” (however vaguely defined) transgresses an implicit pact that was made upon entering the discussion. That is, if you “embrace” social ecology, then it is immoral to raise an idea that contradicts it. You are not only contradicting your own views, but also violating an implicit understanding that you came to with the others when you joined the discussion.

    Given this, it is no wonder that there have been so many fights at or around the ISE and why navigating differing ideas brings up so many bad feelings for so many people connected to the Institute. As I see it, what we should ask is not what is consistent with social ecology, but rather what will help us transform society and build an environmentally sane world. I think that should be our priority—justice, freedom, ecology, etc—not ideological fidelity.

    Perhaps one day we will have everything figured out and won’t need to learn from others, but I’m pretty sure that right now we’re really, really, really far from that.

    Anyway, thanks for jumping in, Bob.

  7. The ideas, terminologies, and idosyncratic peculiarities which we incorporate into the originality of our writing, whatever the source, and whether acknowledged or unacknowledged for the sake of establishing and creating our individual identity, then stand independently in the context of the forums in which presented, and are judged and evaluated regardless or in continuance of the movements or personalities with which previously associated or considered.

  8. Returning from this brief discursion unto the originative foundations of creativity, which was intended to help liberate the discussion from the entrenchment among factional and nominal polarizations, I would suggest that the coherency and contrast among the faculty and administration of all public and private institutions towards the interpretation and intentions of societal endeavor should provide the framework for social ideological interactions and involvement rather than merely excluding themselves among diverse and disconnected specializations with no direct relation with social policy and reform.

    Educators, therefore, have the collective responsibility to purport and embrace a social program, and all institutional obstacles and impediments towards this purpose should be abolished and removed, in order that the type of social activism embodied in the ISE may be reflected in the broader and more inclusive reaches of society necessary to affect the general upliftment and actualization of egalitarian concerns.

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