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Murray Bookchin (1921)

Murray Bookchin was born in New York City in January 1921 & was involved in the radical & labor movements of the 1930s & 1940s, as a young Communist, organizing around the Spanish Revolution, as a Trotskyite & as a labor organizer.

He was expelled from the Communist party for "Trotskyist-anarchist deviations" & later broke with the Trotskyites for their authoritarian character. For more than thirty years he has been a prophetic spokesman for the ecology, alternate technology, antinuclear, & peace movements. An activist in the new left as well as the old, he was deeply involved in the civil rights movement & counterculture of the 1960s. His influence has been worldwide, & his writings have been translated into all major European languages.

One of the theorists of the German Greens, he is currently active in the Green movement in the United States. Director Emeritus of the Institute for Social Ecology, & Professor Emeritus of Ramapo College of New Jersey, he lives in Burlington, Vermont, where he teaches for the Institute & does most of his writing. He is the author of many books, including Our Synthetic Environment [under the pseudonym of Lewis Herber] (1962), Post-Scarcity Anarchism (1971), The Limits of the City (1973), Toward an Ecological Society (1980), & The Ecology of Freedom (1982). At least 100,000 copies of "Listen, Marxist!" (1969), his critique of traditional Marxism, profoundly influenced the American New Left at the end of the 1960s.

Bookchin has remained a radical anti-capitalist & vocal advocate of the decentralisation of society. His idea of "Libertarian Municipalism" has influenced the Green Movement & anti-capitalist direct action groups such as Reclaim the Streets. He is a staunch critic of biocentric philosophies such as "Deep Ecology" & the biologically determinstic belief of Sociobiology.

The most prominent eco-anarchist living, Bookchin combines elements of what he calls "social ecology", communalism, & anarchism to create a school of thought unlike most others. Rejecting "anti-humanistic" & mystical views of nature, Bookchin proposes an anarchistic vision which rings of Kropotkin & Proudhon, as well as the Spanish Syndicalists.

Partial bibliography:

  • Crisis in Our Cities
  • Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy
  • From Urbanization to Cities: Toward a New Politics of Citizenship
  • Philosophy of Social Ecology
  • Post-Scarcity Anarchism (1971)
  • Remaking Society
  • Defending the Earth: a Dialogue Between Murray Bookchin & Dave Foreman (1991)
  • The Modern Crisis
  • Re-Enchanting Humanity (1995)
  • Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm (1997)
  • The Murray Bookchin Reader (1997)

For more in-depth biography, detailed bibliography & other materials, see the various pages at Anarchy Archives, Wikipededia, & the Institute for Social Ecology

Page created Sept 2005

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