ROAR Magazine (Reflections on a Revolution), one of the very best websites chronicling today’s protest movements and global uprisings, has posted an extended interview with Debbie Bookchin about her father’s legacy and the importance of his essays collected in the book, The Next Revolution, co-edited by Debbie and ISE board member Blair Taylor. The interview is by ISE alum and University of Leeds doctoral student Federico Venturini.
On the question of Murray Bookchin’s most lasting contributions, Debbie explains:
On a very basic level, his introduction of ecology as a political category was extraordinary. He was fifty years ahead of his time in saying unequivocally that capitalism was incompatible with living in harmony with the natural world, a concept that key activists today such as Naomi Klein have taken up and popularized. He also was ahead of his time in critiquing the Left from a Leftist perspective, insisting that traditional Marxism, with it’s focus on the proletariat as a hegemonic class and its economic reductionism, had to be abandoned in favor of a more sweeping framework for social change.
But even more important, I think, was his desire to develop a unified social theory grounded in philosophy. In other words, he was searching for an objective foundation for an ethical society. That led him to immerse himself in history, anthropology, and even in biology and the sciences, all in the service of advancing the idea that mutual aid, complementarity, and other concepts that predominate in natural evolution point to the notion that human beings are capable of using their rationality to live in harmony with each other and the natural world—that we are capable of creating what he called “free nature.” And in this sense I would agree with you that he was one of the most original thinkers of the twentieth century.
The full interview is at http://roarmag.org/2015/02/bookchin-interview-social-ecology.