11 Jun 2018

Murray Bookchin

The Murray Bookchin Reader is available as an ebook at libcom.org and a free audio (MP3) download at www.archive.org, which summarizes it thus:

This collection offers an overview of the thought of Murray Bookchin, today's foremost social theorist and political philosopher of the libertarian left. Best known for introducing ecology as a concept relevant to radical political thought in the early 1960s, Bookchin was the first to propose, in the body of ideas that he has called "social ecology", that a liberatory society would also have to be an ecological one. His writings span five decades and a wide range of subject matter. Bookchin's writings on revolutionary philosophy, politics and history are less known than the specific controversies that have surrounded him, but deserve possibly greater attention. Despite his critical engagement with both Marxism and anarchism, his political philosophy, known as libertarian municipalism, draws on the best of both for the emancipatory tools to build a democratic libertarian alternative. Consistent throughout his work is a search for ways in which to replace today's capitalist society with a more rational and humane alternative.
Note too the link to "the friendly community at /r/Communalists" for further discussion...

Here is the list of contents from the ebook.pdf:

  • Introduction
  • 1 An Ecological Society Introduction 13 Decentralization 14 Anarchism and Ecology 20 The New Technology and the Human Scale 24 Ecological Technology 26 Social Ecology 31
  • 2 Nature, First and Second Introduction 37 Images of First Nature 39 Participatory Evolution 43 Society as Second Nature 46 On Biocentrism 53
  • 3 Organic Society Introduction 58 Usufruct, Complementarity, and the Irreducible Minimum 60 Romanticizing Organic Society 65
  • 4 The Legacy of Domination Introduction 75 The Emergence of Hierarchy 77 The Rise of the State 87 The Rise of Capitalism 90 The Market Society 94
  • 5 Scarcity and Post-Scarcity Introduction 99 Conditions of Freedom 101 The Problem of Want and Work 105 Cybernation and Automation 108 Technology for Life 112 The Fetishization of Needs 116
  • 6 Marxism Introduction 122 Marxism and Domination 124 Marxism and Leninism 128
  • 7 Anarchism Introduction 143 The Two Traditions: Anarchism 144 Anarchy and Libertarian Utopias 150 Cultures of Revolt 156 Spanish Anarchism: The Collectives 158 Critique of Lifestyle Anarchism 164
  • 8 Libertarian Municipalism Introduction 172 The New Municipal Agenda 173
  • 9 Dialectical Naturalism Introduction 197 Objectively Grounded Ethics 199 A Philosophical Naturalism 203 Ecologizing the Dialectic 218
  • 10 Reason and History Introduction 225 History, Civilization, and Progress 226

Note to Book Group 

(Our new name, The Gentle Readers or The Bookchins?)

Please read the main Introduction (12pp) and the Introductions to the other sections, then read any of the chapters that appeal to you the most so we can discuss our favourites at next meeting.


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