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Murray Bookchin
Full name Murray Bookchin
Born January 14, 1921
New York City, New York
Died July 30, 2006 (aged 85)
Burlington, Vermont
Era 20th / 21st-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School founder of social ecology
Main interests Social ecology, libertarian municipalism, social hierarchy, dialectics, post-scarcity anarchism, libertarian socialism, communalism, ethics, environmental sustainability, conservationism, history of popular revolutionary movements
Notable ideas social ecology, libertarian municipalism, dialectical naturalism

Murray Bookchin (January 14, 1921 – July 30, 2006)[4] was an American libertarian socialist, political and social philosopher, environmentalist/conservationist, atheist, speaker, and writer. For much of his life he called himself an anarchist, although as early as 1995 he privately renounced his identification with the anarchist movement.[5] A pioneer in the ecology movement,[6] Bookchin was the founder of the social ecology movement within libertarian socialist and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books on politics, philosophy, history, and urban affairs as well as ecology.

Bookchin was an anti-capitalist and vocal advocate of the decentralisation as well as partial deindustrialization and deurbanization of society. His writings on libertarian municipalism, a theory of face-to-face, grassroots democracy, had an influence on the Green movement and anti-capitalist direct action groups such as Reclaim the Streets. He was a staunch critic of biocentric philosophies such as deep ecology and the biologically deterministic beliefs of sociobiology, and his criticisms of "new age" Greens such as Charlene Spretnak contributed to the divisions that affected the North American Green movement in the 1990s.

Contents

Life and writings

Bookchin was born in New York City to the Russian Jewish immigrants[7] Nathan Bookchin and Rose (Kaluskaya) Bookchin, and was imbued with Marxist ideas from his youth. He joined the Young Pioneers, the communist youth organization, at the age of nine.[8] He worked in factories and became an organizer for the Congress of Industrial Organizations. In the late 1930s, he broke with Stalinism and gravitated toward Trotskyism, working with a group publishing the periodical Contemporary Issues. Then, gradually becoming disillusioned with the coercion he saw as inherent in conventional Marxism-Leninism, he became an anarchist,[9] helping to found the Libertarian League in New York in the 1950s. Through the 1950s and 1960s, Bookchin worked in a number of working class situations — including a stint as a railroad stevedore. He began teaching in the late 1960s at the Free University, a counter-cultural 1960s-era institution based in Manhattan. This led to a tenured position at Ramapo State College in Mahwah, NJ. At the same time in 1971, he co-founded, the Institute for Social Ecology at Goddard College in Vermont.

His book Our Synthetic Environment was published under the pseudonym Lewis Herber, six months before Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.[10] The book described a broad range of environmental ills but received little attention because of his political radicalism. His groundbreaking essay "Ecology and Revolutionary Thought" introduced ecology as a concept for radical politics. Other essays from the 1960s pioneered innovative ideas about ecological technologies. Lecturing all over the United States, he helped popularize the concept of ecology to the counterculture. His widely republished 1969 essay Listen, Marxist! warned Students for a Democratic Society (in vain) against its takeover by a Marxist group. These and other influential 1960s essays are anthologized in Post Scarcity Anarchism. In 1982, Bookchin's The Ecology of Freedom was published, and had a profound impact on the emerging ecology movement, both in the United States and abroad. He was active in the antinuclear Clamshell Alliance in New England, and his lectures in Germany influenced some of the founders of the German Greens. In From Urbanization to Cities (originally published as The Rise of Urbanization and the Decline of Citizenship), Bookchin traced the democratic traditions that influenced his political philosophy and defines the implementation of the libertarian municipalism concept. A much smaller work, The Politics of Social Ecology, written by his partner of 20 years, Janet Biehl, briefly summarizes these ideas. In 1999, Bookchin broke with anarchic individualism and placed his ideas into the framework of locally-based communalism, although he continued to retain his ideas about the necessary decentralization and localization of human populations, power/money/influence, agriculture, manufacturing, etc.

In addition to his political writings, Bookchin wrote extensively on his philosophical ideas, which he called dialectical naturalism.[11] The dialectical writings of Hegel, which articulate a developmental philosophy of change and growth, seemed to him to lend themselves to an organic, even ecological approach.[12] Although Hegel "exercised a considerable influence" on Bookchin, he was not, in any sense, a Hegelian.[13] His later philosophical writings emphasize humanism, rationality, and the ideals of the Enlightenment.[14] His last major published work was The Third Revolution, a four-volume history of the libertarian impulse in European and American revolutionary movements.

Upon his retirement from Ramapo, he moved from Hoboken, NJ to Vermont and devoted his time to writing and lecturing around the world. He continued to teach at the ISE until 2004. He died of heart failure on July 30, 2006 at his home in Burlington, Vermont at the age of 85.[15]

Thought

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Social ecology

In the essay “What is Social Ecology?” Bookchin summarizes the meaning of social ecology as follows:

Social ecology is based on the conviction that nearly all of our present ecological problems originate in deep-seated social problems. It follows, from this view, that these ecological problems cannot be understood, let alone solved, without a careful understanding of our existing society and the irrationalities that dominate it. To make this point more concrete: economic, ethnic, cultural, and gender conflicts, among many others, lie at the core of the most serious ecological dislocations we face today—apart, to be sure, from those that are produced by natural catastrophes.[16]

Bookchin's writings on social ecology spanned over 40 years.

Social anarchism

Bookchin criticized some modern currents of anarchism to which he referred as lifestyle anarchism and which in his view promoted individual gratification instead of revolutionary social change. These included the critique of technology and anti-civilizational views of anarcho-primitivism.[17]

Libertarian municipalism

From the 1990s onward, Bookchin was increasingly convinced that the focus of action for change should be at the municipal level. In an interview with Dave Vanek in Harbinger in 2001, he articulated his views in the following way: "The overriding problem is to change the structure of society so that people gain power. The best arena to do that is the municipality — the city, town, and village — where we have an opportunity to create a face-to-face democracy."[18] Bookchin was the first to use the term "libertarian municipalism", to describe a system in which libertarian institutions of directly democratic assemblies would oppose and replace the state with a confederation of free municipalities.[19] Libertarian municipalism intends to create a situation in which the two powers — the municipal confederations and the nation-state — cannot coexist.[18] Its supporters believe it to be the means to achieve a rational society, and its structure becomes the organization of society.

Selected bibliography

Books

  • Our Synthetic Environment (1962)
  • Post-Scarcity Anarchism (1971 and 2004) ISBN 1-904859-06-2.
  • The Limits of the City (1973) ISBN 0-06-091013-5.
  • The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years (1977 and 1998) ISBN 1-873176-04-X.
  • Toward an Ecological Society (1980) ISBN 0-919618-98-7.
  • The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy (1982 and 2005) ISBN 1-904859-26-7.
  • The Modern Crisis (1986) ISBN 0-86571-083-X.
  • The Rise of Urbanization and the Decline of Citizenship (1987 and 1992)
  • The Philosophy of Social Ecology: Essays on Dialectical Naturalism (1990 and 1996) Montreal: Black Rose Books.
  • To Remember Spain (1994) ISBN 1-873176-87-2
  • Re-Enchanting Humanity (1995) ISBN 0-304-32843-X.
  • The Third Revolution. Popular Movements in the Revolutionary Era (1996-2003) London and New York: Continuum. ISBN 0-304-33594-0. (4 Volumes)
  • Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm (1997) ISBN 1-873176-83-X.
  • The Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism (1997) Montreal: Black Rose Books. ISBN 1-55164-100-3.
  • Anarchism, Marxism and the Future of the Left. Interviews and Essays, 1993-1998 (1999) Edinburgh and San Francisco: A.K. Press. ISBN 1-873176-35-X.

Articles

  • " Beyond Neo-Marxism ". TELOS 36 (Summer 1978). New York: Telos Press

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e Bookchin, Murray. The Ecology of Freedom. Oakland: AK Press, 2005. p.11
  2. ^ [1] Small, Mike. ‘’Murray Bookchin: US political thinker whose ideas shaped the anti-globalisation movement’’. ‘’’The Guardian’’’ August 8 2006
  3. ^ Bookchin, Murray. The Philosophy of Social Ecology: Essays on Dialectical Naturalism. Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1996. p.57-9
  4. ^ Small, Mike. Murray Bookchin The Guardian August 8 2006
  5. ^ [2] Biehl, Janet. ‘’Bookchin Breaks with Anarchism’’. ‘’’Communalism’’’ October 2007: 1.
  6. ^ John Muir Institute for Environmental Studies, University of New Mexico, Environmental Philosophy, Inc, University of Georgia, ‘‘'Environmental Ethics’’’ v.12 1990: 193.
  7. ^ The Murray Bookchin Reader: Introduction
  8. ^ Anarchism In America documentary
  9. ^ ibid.
  10. ^ A Short Biography of Murray Bookchin by Janet Biehl
  11. ^ Bookchin, Murray. The Ecology of Freedom. Oakland: AK Press, 2005. p.31
  12. ^ ibid. 96-7
  13. ^ Bookchin, Murray. The Philosophy of Social Ecology: Essays on Dialectical Naturalism. Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1996. p.x
  14. ^ See Re-Enchanting Humanity, London: Cassell, 1995, amongst other works.
  15. ^ Murray Bookchin, visionary social theorist, dies at 85
  16. ^ Bookchin, Murray. Social Ecology and Communalism. Oakland: AK Press. 2007. p. 19
  17. ^ Murray Bookchin "Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism - An Unbridgeable Chasm" [3]
  18. ^ a b Murray Bookchin, interview by David Vanek (October 1, 2001) Harbinger, a Journal of Social Ecology, Vol. 2 No. 1. Institute for Social Ecology.
  19. ^ Bookchin, M. (October 1991). Libertarian Municipalism: An Overview. Green Perspectives, No. 24. Burlington, VT.

Further reading

  • Biehl, Janet (1997), The Murray Bookchin Reader (An Anthology). Cassell ISBN 0-304-33874-5.
  • Marshall, P. (1992), "Murray Bookchin and the Ecology of Freedom", p. 602-622 in, Demanding The Impossible. Fontana Press. ISBN 0-00-686245-4.
  • Selva Varengo, La rivoluzione ecologica. Il pensiero libertario di Murray Bookchin (2007) Milano: Zero in condotta. ISBN 9788895950006.
  • Damian F. White 'Bookchin - A Critical Appraisal'. Pluto Press (UK/Europe), University of Michigan Press. ISBN 9780745319650 (HBK); 9780745319643 (pbk).

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Murray Bookchin (1921-01-142006-07-30) was an American libertarian socialist speaker and writer.

Sourced

  • An anarchist society, far from being a remote ideal, has become a precondition for the practice of ecological principles.
    • Ecology and Revolutionary Thought (1965)
  • Our Being is Becoming, not stasis. Our Science is Utopia, our Reality is Eros, our Desire is Revolution.
    • Desire and Need (1967)
  • The ecological principle of unity in diversity grades into a richly mediated social principle; hence my use of the term social ecology.
    • What Is Social Ecology? (1984)
  • "Nor do piecemeal steps however well intended, even partially resolve problems that have reached a universal, global and catastrophic Character. If anything, partial `solutions' serve merely as cosmetics to conceal the deep seated nature of the ecological crisis. They thereby deflect public attention and theoretical insight from an adequate understanding of the depth and scope of the necessary changes."
    • The Ecology of Freedom (1982)
  • "To speak of 'limits to growth' under a capitalistic market economy is as meaningless as to speak of limits of warfare under a warrior society. The moral pieties, that are voiced today by many well-meaning environmentalists, are as naive as the moral pieties of multinationals are manipulative. Capitalism can no more be 'persuaded' to limit growth than a human being can be 'persuaded' to stop breathing. Attempts to 'green' capitalism, to make it 'ecological', are doomed by the very nature of the system as a system of endless growth."
    • Remaking Society
  • "This pursuit of security in the past, this attempt to find a haven in a fixed dogma and an organizational hierarchy as substitutes for creative thought and praxis is bitter evidence of how little many revolutionaries are capable of 'revolutionizing themselves and things,' much less of revolutionizing society as a whole. The deep-rooted conservatism of the People's Labor Party 'revolutionaries' is almost painfully evident; the authoritarian leader and hierarchy replace the patriarch and the school bureaucracy; the discipline of the Movement replaces the discipline of bourgeois society; the authoritarian code of political obedience replaces the state; the credo of 'proletarian morality' replaces the mores of puritanism and the work ethic. The old substance of exploitative society reappears in new forms, draped in a red flag, decorated by portraits of Mao (or Castro or Che) and adorned with the little 'Red Book' and other sacred litanies."
    • "Listen, Marxist!" in Post Scarcity Anarchism, 1971
  • "[W]ithout changing the most molecular relationships in society — notably, those between men and women, adults and children, whites and other ethnic groups, heterosexuals and gays (the list, in fact, is considerable) — society will be riddled by domination even in a socialistic 'classless' and 'non-exploitative' form. It would be infused by hierarchy even as it celebrated the dubious virtues of 'people's democracies,' 'socialism' and the 'public ownership' of 'natural resources,' And as long as hierarchy persists, as long as domination organises humanity around a system of elites, the project of dominating nature will continue to exist and inevitably lead our planet to ecological extinction"
    • Toward an Ecological Society
  • "If we recognise that every ecosystem can also be viewed as a food web, we can think of it as a circular, interlacing nexus of plant animal relationships (rather than a stratified pyramid with man at the apex)... Each species, be it a form of bacteria or deer, is knitted together in a network of interdependence, however indirect the links may be."
    • The Ecology of Freedom (1982)
  • "If we do not do the impossible, we shall be faced with the unthinkable."
    • The Ecology of Freedom (1982) p. 107 of the 2005 reprint

Unsourced

  • Peter Kropotkin described Anarchism as the extreme left wing of socialism - a view with which I completely agree. One of my deepest concerns today is that the libertarian socialist core will be eroded by fashionable, post- modernist, spiritualist, mystic individualism.
  • Capitalism is a social cancer. It has always been a social cancer. It is the disease of society. It is the malignancy of society.
  • The assumption that what currently exists must necessarily exist is the acid that corrodes all visionary thinking.
  • "In our own time we have seen domination spread over the social landscape to a point where it is beyond all human control. Compared to this stupendous mobilization of materials, of wealth, of human intellect, of human labor for the single goal of domination, all other recent human achievements pale to almost trivial significance. Our art, science, medicine, literature, music and "charitable" acts seem like mere droppings from a table on which gory feasts on the spoils of conquest have engaged the attention of a system whose appetite for rule is utterly unrestrained."
  • "Humanity has passed through a long history of one-sidedness and of a social condition that has always contained the potential of destruction, despite its creative achievements in technology. The great project of our time must be to open the other eye: to see all-sidedly and wholly, to heal and transcend the cleavage between humanity and nature that came with early wisdom."

External links

Wikipedia
Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

Murray Bookchin
Full name Murray Bookchin
Era 20th / 21st-century philosophy
Region Western Philosophy
School founder of social ecology
Main interests Social ecology, libertarian municipalism, social hierarchy, dialectics, post-scarcity anarchism, libertarian socialism, communalism, ethics, history of popular revolutionary movements
Notable ideas social ecology, libertarian municipalism, dialectical naturalism

Murray Bookchin (January 14, 1921July 30, 2006)[4] was an American libertarian socialist, political and social philosopher, speaker and writer. For much of his life he called himself an anarchist, although as early as 1995 he privately renounced his identification with the anarchist movement.[5] A pioneer in the ecology movement,[6] Bookchin was the founder of the social ecology movement within libertarian socialist and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books on politics, philosophy, history, and urban affairs as well as ecology.

Bookchin was a radical anti-capitalist and always asked the decentralisation of society. His writings on libertarian municipalism, a theory of face-to-face, grassroots democracy, had an influence on the Green Movement and anti-capitalist direct action groups such as Reclaim the Streets. His criticisms of "new age" Greens such as Charlene Spretnak contributed to the divisions in the American Green movement in the 1990s.

Contents

=Libertarian municipalism

= Bookchin was the first to use the term "Libertarian municipalism", to describe a system in which libertarian institutions of directly democratic assemblies would oppose and replace the State with a confederation of free municipalities.[7] Libertarian municipalism intends to create a situation in which the two powers — the municipal confederations and the nation-state — cannot coexist.

Bibliography

Books

Articles

  • " Beyond Neo-Marxism ". TELOS 36 (Summer 1978). New York: Telos Press

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Bookchin, Murray. The Ecology of Freedom. Oakland: AK Press, 2005. p.11
  2. [1] Small, Mike. ‘’Murray Bookchin: US political thinker whose ideas shaped the anti-globalisation movement’’. ‘’’The Guardian’’’ August 8 2006
  3. Bookchin, Murray. The Philosophy of Social Ecology: Essays on Dialectical Naturalism. Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1996. p.57-9
  4. Small, Mike. Murray Bookchin The Guardian August 8 2006
  5. [2] Biehl, Janet. ‘’Bookchin Breaks with Anarchism’’. ‘’’Communalism’’’ October 2007: 1.
  6. John Muir Institute for Environmental Studies, University of New Mexico, Environmental Philosophy, Inc, University of Georgia, ‘‘'Environmental Ethics’’’ v.12 1990: 193.
  7. Libertarian Municipalism: An Overview
  • Biehl, Janet (1997), The Murray Bookchin Reader (An Anthology). Cassell ISBN 0-304-33874-5.
  • Marshall, P. (1992), "Murray Bookchin and the Ecology of Freedom", p.602-622 in, Demanding The Impossible. Fontana Press. ISBN 0-00-686245-4.
  • Bookchin, Murray (1999). Anarchism, Marxism and the Future of the Left. Stirling: AK Press. ISBN 187317635X. 

See Also

Others websites

Persondata
NAME Bookchin, Murray
ALTERNATIVE NAMES
SHORT DESCRIPTION Anarchist/socialist writer
DATE OF BIRTH January 14 1921
PLACE OF BIRTH New York City
DATE OF DEATH July 30 2006]]
PLACE OF DEATH Burlington, Vermont


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