ISE Newsletter: Spring/Summer 2020




Institute for Social Ecology Spring/Summer 2020 Newsletter

The current moment has been an incredible time of new urgency, energy, and growth for the ISE. The COVID pandemic and murder of George Floyd by police have together laid bare both the reality of a racist, ecocidal, capitalist society enforced by brutal state violence – and the need for visionary political alternatives. In recent months we’ve hosted our largest and most global classes ever, put out a new comic, produced the first Arabic translation of Murray Bookchin’s work, and more. We have some truly excellent upcoming programs, so be sure to check out our online Social Ecology Intensive in June, Summer Ecology of Freedom Reading Group, new issue of Harbinger, an invitation to get involved with the ISE, and more – onward!

Social Ecology Intensive: June 19-24

We are living in a moment of overlapping social, political, and ecological crises, now accelerated via the COVID-19 pandemic. There is a growing sense that we’ve reached a breaking point. we invite you to join us for our Social Ecology Intensive, June 19-24, for five days of exploring social-ecological transformation in theory and practice. Due to COVID-19, this year’s Intensive will be held online via Zoom seminar. Our intensives bring together ISE faculty, activists and scholars, and participants from around the world for a week of classes, workshops, and seminar discussions. Participants will explore the fundamentals of social ecology in relation to contemporary struggles and issues.  ISE Intensives are always an inspiring experience of radical education, political strategizing, comradely networking, and utopian visioning.

Climate Justice Book and Web Event

ISE faculty member Brian Tokar and Tamra Gilbertson (Indigenous Environmental Network) have released a new book Climate Justice and Community Renewal that collects vital voices from the front lines of the global climate movement. The People’s Hub and Rosa Luxemburg Foundation are hosting a 5-part online series featuring contributors to the book, which starts Thursday, June 4th at 3:30 PM ET. Registration is free or by donation here. More info on the book info is available here; a 50% discount code – CJCR20 – can be used through August.

Social Ecology: Creating an Ecological Society – June 29 webinar with Dan Chodorkoff

As the world faces multiple, interrelated crises in economics, public health, agriculture, and energy, highlighted by COVID 19, we are once again reminded of the impact of our society upon the rest of the natural world. Social Ecology recognizes that ecological problems are at root social problems, and suggests that the solution to those problems is the creation of an ecological society. Join this webinar, hosted by Stir to Action, for a comprehensive overview of Social Ecology – an interdisciplinary body of ideas that explores the relationship between social and ecological problems from a transformative political perspective. June 29 at 10 am EST, register here.

The Ecology of Freedom Reading Group: June 30-Aug. 18, Tuesdays at 7 pm EST

Murray Bookchin’s book The Ecology of Freedom, widely considered his seminal work, has become a classic of left ecological thought. The ISE will offer a free 8-week reading group meeting weekly via Zoom video seminar on Tuesdays from June 30-Aug. 18 (2 time slots available). Please complete the form on the webpage to enroll.

Harbinger Issue 2: Social Ecological Perspectives on Race & Racism

The next issue of Harbinger: a Journal of Social Ecology will be published this summer, exploring the topic of race and racism from a social ecological perspective. We’re still accepting submissions, so check out the call for submissions and get in touch.

Online Courses

The ISE currently offers four courses – Ecology Democracy Utopia, Rethinking Social Transformation, Frankfurt School Critical Theory, and Understanding Antisemitism – that can be taken either as interactive seminars or in a self-directed format that can be started at any time ($80/$40). Check the site for compete dates; our Ecology Democracy Utopia seminar will be offered again Sept. 28-Oct. 20, Mondays at 1 pm EST.

Social Ecology Comic

We recently published the first-ever social ecology comic project, produced in collaboration with our friends at Ad Astra Comix. It’s a beautiful visual introduction to social ecology, the history of the ISE, and our ongoing educational and movement-building work – be sure to take a look! It’s also been translated into Spanish and Italian.

المشروع المشاعي – First Arabic Translation of Murray Bookchin’s work

The ISE is thrilled to announce the first-ever translation of Murray Bookchin’s work into Arabic: “The Communalist Project/المشروع المشاعي.” Translated by Nuh Ibrahim with permission from The Bookchin Trust, it is now available free via the Institute for Social Ecology website. It is our hope that it can make a small contribution to democratic and ecological movements in the Arab-speaking world – please share widely!

Recent ISE Blog Posts

Our blog has featured a ton of great original content lately – in case you missed it, you should check out E.G. Smith’s social ecological take on COVID-19 and Saladdin Ahmed’s commentary on the inability of capitalist nation states to address this pandemic. Saladdin also penned articles on the recent George Floyd uprising against white supremacy and a comparative analysis of the global rise of neofascist populism in US, Turkey, India, and Brazil. Brian Tokar analyzed the Malthusian assumptions of the recent film Planet of the Humans. We’re always looking for contributions, so send us your article pitches!

Get Involved with the ISE!

It’s been an exciting period of growth and development for the ISE. To increase our capacity, we’re looking for politically/philosophically aligned people who’d like to support our ongoing efforts to create a free and ecological world. If you’re interested in working together with the ISE, please answer this short questionnaire and we’ll be in touch!

For more information or to register for any events/courses, please enroll via the specific event webpage or contact us at If you appreciate the Institute’s work, please consider making a one-time or recurring donation here.

Until next time, stay connected through our website, Instagram, Facebook, Harbinger, and Twitter!

For a free and ecological society,

Institute for Social Ecology

June 2020