Harbinger Issue #2: Race, Racism, and White Supremacy



After two years of pandemic delay, we’re very excited to announce that the new issue of Harbinger: a Journal of Social Ecology has now been released. The issue features nine timely contributions, all exploring social ecological perspectives on race, racism, and colonialism, along with our introductory editorial (“Social Ecology and the New Abolitionism“).

Opening the issue is Blair Taylor’s “Social Ecology, Racism, Colonialism, and Identity: Assessing the Work of Murray Bookchin,” which systematically examines what social ecology’s primary theorist does—and does not—say about questions of race, identity, and colonialism. 

Peter Staudenmaier discusses the politically ambiguous nature of ecological politics against the backdrop of contemporary ecofascism and far-right racial thought in his text “The Politics of Nature Left and Right: Radicals, Reactionaries, and Ecological Responses to Modernity,” the first chapter of his recently published book Ecology Contested.

In “The Walled Commons to the Picket Fence: Racism as an Ecological Force in Mid-Twentieth Century America,” Mason Herson-Hord inverts the environmental justice truism that ecological devastation has racist effects to argue that racism has catastrophic ecological effects, using as a case study the central role of anti-Black racism in the suburbanization of American cities in the mid-twentieth century.

Taking aim at the intersection of genetic determinism and racial categorization, Joe Madison’s “Individualized Medicine as Racial Eugenics: A Critical Appraisal” suggests that social ecology offers an alternative epistemology to current medicine trends that reinforce essentialist and deterministic notions of identity, social control, and reduction of genetic diversity.

Chaia Heller’s “Questioning Öcalan’s Jewish Question” interrogates antisemitic tropes about the relationship between Jews, capitalism, and the nation-state found in the work of imprisoned Kurdish revolutionary leader Abdullah Öcalan.

Nate Owen’s “Decolonizing Nature: How ‘Wilderness’ Dispossesses Indigenous People” explores how the concept of “wilderness” emerges out of a specifically settler-colonial imaginary that serves to dispossess indigenous people, looking at the case of American conservation politics and the National Park system.

From the Homestead Act to YouTube: Settler Colonial Continuities of the Homesteading Movement” by Ryan Edgar shows that while the homesteader movement’s romantic fantasy of living outside of the capitalist system rests on indigenous land dispossession, racist land policies, and reinforcing statist-capitalist norms, its motivations also often reflect a nascent critique of contemporary society potentially open to Communalist interventions. 

A.X.’s essay “Blackness and Democratic Modernity” brings the tradition of Black revolutionary nationalism into conversation with Kurdish revolutionary nationalism, highlighting how the struggles of oppressed groups, from slave revolts to cooperative economics, offer a prefigurative praxis towards a truly free society.

In “Unsettling, Rooting, and Shifting: Growing Pains for the Bottom-up Confederal Democracy Movement in North American Racial-Settler Context,” Boyd Rossing argues that municipalist movements in North America have yet to adequately address the centrality of white supremacy and settler colonialism in their political theory or practice, and offers some concrete organizing approaches to set aside Eurocentric thinking and build multi-racial, transformative movements.

We look forward to the discussions we hope these articles will spark in our movements! We are also holding a release event on February 9 at 8pm Eastern Time over Zoom, to celebrate completing the issue and give space for you to discuss the essays with their authors. Sign up here to attend.