essays by murray bookchin (2015).. kindle version from anarchist library [https://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/murray-bookchin-ursula-k-le-guin-the-next-revolution] – the next revolution .. popular assemblies and the promise of direct democracy
foreword – ursula le guin
bookchin was an expert in nonviolent revolution
we have essentially chosen cancer as the model of our social system
intro – debbie bookchin & blair taylor
despite inspired moments of resistance, the radial democracy forged in squares from zuccotti to taksim has still not congealed into a viable political alt.. the excitement and solidarity on the ground has yet to coalesce into a political praxis capable of eliminating the current array of repressive forces and replacing it w a visionary egalitarian.. and importantly achievable.. new society.. murray bookchin directly addresses this need, offering a transformative vision and new political strategy for a truly free society.. a project that he called ‘communalism’
Rejecting ecological arguments that blame individual choices, technology, or population growth, Bookchin argues that the ecological crisis is caused by an irrational social system governed by the cancerous logic of capitalism, driven by its competitive grow-or-die imperative and its endless production directed not toward meeting human needs but accumulating profit. Arguing against the extremes of an authoritarian state or totally autonomous self-sufficiency, Bookchin offers Communalism as an emancipatory alternative capable of saving ourselves and nature at the same time.
Therefore, we offer this book with the hope that the ideas do not lie dormant on the page, but inspire thought and action that enables us to move from resistance to social transformation.
yeah.. that.. need to let go of any form of democratic admin.. otherwise spinning wheels on reacting/resisting/refusing et al
1 – the communalist project
same essay in ie: social eco and communalism (37-55)
Many thinkers of the postmodern age have obtusely singled out science and technology as the principal threats to human well-being, yet few disciplines have imparted to humanity such a stupendous knowledge of the innermost secrets of matter and life, or provided our species better with the ability to alter every important feature of reality and to improve the well-being of human and nonhuman life forms.
obsessing w sea world
We are thus in a position either to follow a path toward a grim “end of history,” in which a banal succession of vacuous events replaces genuine progress, or to move on to a path toward the true making of history, in which humanity genuinely progresses toward a rational world.
Precisely at a time when we, as a species, are capable of producing the means for amazing objective advances and improvements in the human condition and in the nonhuman natural world—advances that could make for a free and rational society—w
i don’t think they mix
Having brought history to a point where nearly everything is possible, at least of a material nature—and having left behind a past that was permeated ideologically by mystical and religious elements produced by the human imagination—we are faced with a new challenge, one that has never before confronted humanity. We must consciously create our own world, not according to mindless customs and destructive prejudices, but according to the canons of reason, reflection, and discourse that uniquely belong to our own species.
same song.. not new.. let go
What factors should be decisive going forward? Of great significance is the immense accumulation of social and political experience that is available to activists today, a storehouse of knowledge that, properly conceived, could be used to avoid the terrible errors that our predecessors made and to spare humanity the terrible plagues of failed revolutions in the past. Also, of indispensable importance is the potential for a new theoretical springboard that has been created by the history of ideas, one that provides the means to catapult an emerging radical movement beyond existing social conditions into a future that fosters humanity’s emancipation.
not beyond if embedded in sea world
hari rat park law et al
endnote: kropotkin for ie.. rejected democratic decision making procedures: ‘majority rule is as defective as any other kind of rule’ he asserted.. see peter kropotkin ‘anarchist communism: its basis and principles’.. in kropotkin’s revolutionary pamphlets..
Revolutionary syndicalism’s destiny has been tied in varying degrees to a pathology called ouvrierisme, or “workerism,” ..Moreover, revolutionary syndicalism lacks a strategy for social change beyond the general strike;.. and no capacity to take “the next step” to institutionalize a workers and peasants’ form of government.
However fashionable the traditional ideologies (particularly anarchism) may be among young people today, a truly progressive socialism that is informed by libertarian as well as Marxian ideas but transcends these older ideologies must provide intellectual leadership. ..A new and comprehensive revolutionary outlook is needed, one that is capable of systematically addressing the generalized issues that may potentially bring most of society into opposition to an ever-evolving and changing capitalist system.
oh my.. must have govt? leadership? system adequate to address problems.. of sea world?.. oi (mocking the thought of no govt)
In short, social ecology favors management, plans, and regulations formulated democratically by popular assemblies, not freewheeling forms of behavior that have their origin in individual eccentricities.. It is my contention that Communalism is the overarching political category most suitable to encompass the fully thought-out and systematic views of social ecology, including libertarian municipalism and dialectical naturalism.
oi oi oi.. let go..
all the red flags
As an explicitly political body of ideas, Communalism seeks to recover and advance the development of the city in a form that accords with its greatest potentialities and historical traditions.
oi.. history ness et al
Municipal life should become a school for the formation of citizens, both by absorbing new citizens and by educating the young, while the assemblies themselves should function not only as permanent decision-making institutions but as arenas for educating the people in handling complex civic and regional affairs
Finally, Communalism, in contrast to anarchism, decidedly calls for *decision-making by majority voting as the only equitable way for a large number of people to make decisions. Authentic anarchists claim that this principle—the “rule” of the minority by the majority—is authoritarian and propose instead to make decisions by consensus. Consensus, in which single individuals can veto majority decisions, threatens to abolish society as such. A free society is not one in which its members, like Homer’s lotus-eaters, live in a state of bliss without memory, temptation, or knowledge. Like it or not, humanity has eaten of the fruit of knowledge, and its memories are laden with history and experience. In a lived mode of freedom—contrary to mere café chatter—the rights of minorities to express their dissenting views will always be protected as fully as the rights of majorities. Any abridgements of those rights would be instantly corrected by the community—hopefully gently, but if unavoidable, forcefully—**lest social life collapse into sheer chaos. Indeed, the views of a minority would be treasured as a potential source of new insights and nascent truths that, if abridged, would deny society the sources of creativity and developmental advances—for new ideas generally emerge from inspired minorities that gradually gain the centrality they deserve at a given time and place—until, again, they too are challenged as the conventional wisdom of a period that is beginning to pass away and requires new (minority) views to replace frozen orthodoxies.
**oi.. we have no idea what legit free people are like..
It remains to ask, How are we to achieve this rational society? One anarchist writer would have it that the good society (or a true “natural” disposition of affairs, including a “natural man”) *exists beneath the oppressive burdens of civilization like fertile soil beneath the snow. It follows from this mentality that all we are obliged to do to achieve the good society is to **somehow eliminate the snow, which is to say capitalism, nation-states, churches, conventional schools, and other almost endless types of institutions that perversely embody domination in one form or another. Presumably, an anarchist society—once state, governmental, and cultural institutions are merely removed—would emerge intact, ready to function and thrive as a free society. Such a “society,” if one can even call it such, would not require that we proactively create it; we would simply let the snow above it melt away. The process of rationally creating a free Communalist society, ***alas, will require substantially more thought and work than embracing a mystified concept of aboriginal innocence and bliss.
**ie: a nother way
A Communalist society should rest, above all, on the efforts of a new radical organization to change the world—one that has a new political vocabulary to explain its goals, and a new program and theoretical framework to make those goals coherent. It would, above all, require dedicated individuals who are willing to take on the responsibilities of education and leadership. ..A serious libertarian approach to leadership would indeed acknowledge the reality and crucial importance of leaders—all the more to establish the greatly needed formal structures and regulations that can effectively control and modify the activities of leaders and recall them when the membership decides their respect is being misused or when leadership becomes an exercise in the abuse of power.
oi.. oh my.. let go.. any form of m\a\p.. killing us
A libertarian municipalist movement should function, not with the adherence of flippant and tentative members, but with people who have been schooled in the movement’s ideas, procedures, and activities. They should, in effect, demonstrate a serious commitment to their organization—an organization whose structure is laid out explicitly in a formal constitution and appropriate bylaws. Without a democratically formulated and approved institutional framework whose members and leaders can be held accountable, clearly articulated standards of responsibility cease to exist. Indeed, it is precisely when a membership is no longer responsible to its constitutional and regulatory provisions that authoritarianism develops and eventually leads to the movement’s immolation. Freedom from authoritarianism can best be assured only by the clear, concise, and detailed allocation of power, not by pretensions that power and leadership are forms of “rule” or by libertarian metaphors that conceal their reality. It has been precisely when an organization fails to articulate these regulatory details that the conditions emerge for its degeneration and decay
To such ends, unity is an invaluable desideratum: a united front of the entire Left is needed in order to counter the entrenched system—indeed, culture—of commodity production and exchange, and to defend the residual rights that the masses have won in earlier struggles against oppressive governments and social systems.
Ideas grow and mature best, in fact, not in the silence and controlled humidity of an ideological nursery but in the tumult of dispute and mutual criticism.
Following revolutionary socialist practices of the past, Communalists would try to formulate a minimum program that calls for the satisfaction of immediate concerns, such as improved wages and shelter or adequate park space and transportation. This minimum program would aim to satisfy the most elemental needs of the people, to improve their access to the resources that make daily life tolerable. The maximum program, by contrast, would present an image of what human life could be like under libertarian socialism, at least as far as such a society is foreseeable in a world that is continually changing under the impact of seemingly unending industrial revolutions.
Even more, however, Communalists would see their program and practice as a process.
so by process he means increment .. which perpetuates part\ial ness.. oi.. ie:
Significantly, Communalists do not hesitate to run candidates in municipal elections who, if elected, would use what real power their offices confer to legislate popular assemblies into existence.
What is clear is that human beings are much too intelligent not to have a rational society; the most serious question we face is whether they are rational enough to achieve one.
oi.. intellect ness as our cancer
2 – the eco crisis and the need to remake society
The primary implication of this most basic message is a call for a politics and even an economics that offer a democratic alternative to the nation-state and the market society.
any form of democratic admin.. not legit alt
Blaming technology for the ecological crisis serves, however unintentionally, to blind us to the ways technology could in fact play a creative role in a rational, ecological society. In such a society, the intelligent use of a sophisticated technology would be direly needed to restore the vast ecological damage that has already been inflicted on the biosphere, much of which will not repair itself without creative human intervention.
Finally, well-meaning people who regard New Age moralism, psychotherapeutic approaches, or personal lifestyle changes as the key to resolving the present ecological crisis are destined to be tragically disappointed. No matter how much this society paints itself green or orate..
Indeed, even if we were to achieve a classless society free of economic exploitation, would we readily achieve a *rational society? Would women, young people, the infirm, the elderly, people of color, various oppressed ethnic groups—the list is, in fact, enormous—be free of domination? The answer is a categorical no—a fact to which women can certainly attest, even within the socialist and syndicalist movements themselves. **Without eliminating the ancient hierarchical and domineering structures from which classes and the state actually emerged, we would have made only a part of the changes needed to achieve a rational society. There would still be a historic toxicant in a socialist or syndicalist society—hierarchy—that would continually erode its highest ideals, namely, the achievement of a truly free and ecological society.
*wrong focus – rational ness is same song
**that comes w any form of m\a\p
Perhaps the most disquieting feature of many radical groups today, particularly socialists who may accept the foregoing observation, is their *commitment to at least a minimal state that would coordinate and administer a classless and egalitarian society—a nonhierarchical one, no less! One hears this argument from Andre Gorz and many others who, presumably because of the “complexities” of modern society, cannot conceive of the administration of economic affairs without some kind of coercive mechanism, albeit one with a **“human face.”
The painful reality is that most excuses in radical theory for preserving a “minimal state” stem from the myopic visions of ecosocialists who can accept the present system of production and exchange as it is to one degree or another—not as it should be in a moral economy.
If history has shown anything, ..
One would have to be utterly naïve or simply blind to the lessons of history to ignore the fact that the state, “minimal” or not, absorbs and ultimately digests even its most well-meaning critics once they enter it.
rather.. blind/naive to go by history ness
The notion that human freedom can be achieved, much less perpetuated, through a state of any kind is monstrously oxymoronic—a contradiction in terms. Attempts to justify the existence of a cancerous phenomenon like the state and the use of statist measures or “statecraft”—so often mistakenly called “politics,” which is actually the self-management of the polis—exclude a radically different form of social management, namely, confederalism.
2 – a politics for 21st cent
Indeed, the fact that people can gather in local assemblies, discuss and share creatively in the exchange of ideas without any hostility or suspicion, despite disparate ethnic, linguistic, and national backgrounds, is a grand historic achievement of civilization, one that is the work of centuries involving a painful discarding of primordial definitions of ancestry and the replacement of these archaic definitions by reason, knowledge, and a growing sense of our status as members of a common humanity.
oi.. painfully discarding what it created.. jensen civilization law et al..
Nor are libertarian municipalists indifferent to the many cultural factors that must play a role in the *formation of true citizens, indeed, rounded human beings. But at the same time, let us not reduce every cultural desideratum to the social sphere—to create the myth that the municipality can be reduced to a family—and ignore its overlap with the political. The distinctions between them will only be lost in that poststructural homogenization of everything, **making their unique identities almost completely meaningless and potentially, in fact, totalitarian.
Thus, *the libertarian municipalist arena may be a school for educating its youth and its mature citizens; but what makes it particularly significant, especially at this time, is that it is a sphere of power relations that must be crystallized against capitalism, the marketplace, the forces for ecological destruction, and the state. Indeed, without a movement that keeps this need completely in mind, libertarian municipalism can easily degenerate in this age of academic specialization into another subject in a classroom curriculum.
*oi.. **oh my
In doing so, we are direly in need of a movement—indeed, a responsible, well-structured, and programmatically coherent organization—that can provide the educational resources, means of mobilization, and vital ideas for achieving our libertarian communist and municipalist goals.
oi oi oi.. socrates supposed to law et al
Having reviewed carefully the course of almost every major revolution in the Euro-American world, I can say with some knowledge that even in a completely successful revolution, it was always a minority of the people who attended meetings of assemblies that made significant decisions about the fate of their society
knowledge of sea world.. we have no idea what legit free people would/could be like
Here again, *I would contend that only a grassroots economic policy, based on a libertarian municipalist agenda and movement, can offer a major alternative—and it is precisely an alternative that many **people seek today—capable of arresting the impact of globalization. For the problem of globalization, there is no global solution. Global capital, precisely because of its very hugeness, can only be eaten away at its roots, specifically by means of a libertarian municipalist resistance at the base of society.
So, too, “citizen” and “community” become a universal passport to vacuity, not to uniquely civic conditions that have been *forming and differentiating dialectically for thousands of years through the ancient, medieval, and modern worlds. To reduce them to an abstract “community” is to ultimately negate **their wealth of evolutionary forms and particularly their differentiation as sophisticated aspects of human freedom.
Libertarian municipalism must be conceived as a *process, a patient practice that will have only limited success at the present time, and even then only in select areas that can at best provide examples of the possibilities it could hold if and when adopted on a large scale. **We will not create a libertarian municipalist society overnight, and in this era of counterrevolution, we must be prepared to endure more failures than successes. ***Patience and commitment are traits that revolutionaries of the past cultivated assiduously; alas, today, in our fast consumerist society, the demand for immediate gratification, for fast food and fast living, inculcates a demand for fast politics. What should count for us is whether libertarian municipalism is a means for achieving the rational culmination of human development, not whether it is suitable as a quick fix for present social problems.
**but we can free art\ists overnight.. if we let go enough to see..
*Nor should we fetishize consensus over democracy in our decision-making processes. Consensus, as I have argued, is practicable with very small groups in which people know each other intimately. But in larger groups, it becomes tyrannical because it allows a small minority to decide the practice of large or even sizable majority; and it fosters homogeneity and stagnation in ideas and policies.
*any form of democratic admin.. killing us.. oi
But where change exists, so too do possibilities. The times cannot remain as they are, any more than the world can be frozen into immobility. What we can hope to do is to preserve the thread of rationality that distinguishes true civilization from barbarism—and barbarism would indeed be the outcome of a world that is permitted to tumble into a future without rational activity or guidance.
oh my.. let go
4 – the meaning of confederalism
I am often amused by zealous “spiritualists,” many of whom are either passive viewers of seemingly “natural” landscapes or devotees of rituals, magic, and pagan deities (or all of these) who fail to realize that one of the most eminently human activities, namely, food cultivation, can do more to foster an ecological sensibility (and spirituality, if you please) than all the incantations and mantras devised in the name of ecological spiritualism.
But self-sustaining communities cannot produce all the things they need—unless it involves a return to a backbreaking way of village life that historically often prematurely aged its men and women with hard work and allowed them very little time for political life beyond the immediate confines of the community itself.
Such a system of cooperatives once again marks the beginnings of a market system of distribution as cooperatives become entangled in the web of “bourgeois rights,” that is, in contracts and bookkeeping that focus on the exact amounts a community will receive in “exchange” for what it delivers to others.
What, then, is confederalism? It is above all a network of administrative councils whose members or delegates are elected from popular face-to-face democratic assemblies, in the various villages, towns, and even neighborhoods of large cities. The members of these confederal councils are strictly mandated, recallable, and responsible to the assemblies that choose them for the purpose of coordinating and administering the policies formulated by the assemblies themselves. Their function is thus a purely administrative and practical one, not a policymaking one like the function of representatives in republican systems of government.
all too much
A confederalist view involves a clear distinction between policymaking and the coordination and execution of adopted policies. Policymaking is exclusively the right of popular community assemblies based on the practices of participatory democracy. Administration and coordination are the responsibility of confederal councils, which become the means for interlinking villages, towns, neighborhoods, and cities into confederal networks. Power thus flows from the bottom up instead of from the top down, and in confederations, the flow of power from the bottom up diminishes with the scope of the federal council ranging territorially from localities to regions and from regions to ever-broader territorial areas.
Confederalism is thus a way of perpetuating the interdependence that should exist among communities and regions; indeed, it is a way of democratizing that interdependence without surrendering the principle of local control.
aka: for perpetuating shoulds..
I would like to think that a confederal ecological society would be a sharing one—one based on the pleasure that is felt in distributing among communities according to their needs, not one in which “cooperative” capitalistic communities mire themselves in the quid pro quo of exchange relationships.
Confederation is thus the ensemble of decentralization, localism, self-sufficiency, interdependence—and more. This more is the indispensable moral education and character building—what the Greeks called paideia—that makes for rational active citizenship in a participatory democracy, unlike the passive constituents and consumers that we have today.
oi.. supposed to’s of school/work et al.. killing us
Confederalism, in effect, must be conceived as a whole: a consciously formed body of interdependencies that unites participatory democracy in municipalities with a scrupulously supervised system of coordination.
oi.. let go
Confederalism, in fact, does not mark a closure of social history (as the “end of history” ideologists of recent years would have us believe about liberal capitalism) but rather the point of departure for a new ecosocial history marked by a participatory evolution within society and between society and the natural world.
oi.. participation (aka: voluntary compliance et al)
To ignore this fact is to abandon any sense of contextuality and the environment in which issues like policy, administration, participation, and representation must be placed.
to run candidates for the city council may be the only recourse we have for arresting the development of increasingly authoritarian state institutions and helping to restore an institutionally decentralized democracy.
5 – libertarian municipalism: a politics of direct democracy
oi.. any form of democratic admin
Libertarian municipalism is premised on the struggle to achieve a rational and ecological society, a struggle that depends on education and organization. From the beginning, it presupposes a genuinely democratic desire by people to arrest the growing powers of the nation-state and reclaim them for their community and region. Unless there is a movement—hopefully an effective Left Green movement—to foster these aims, decentralization can lead to local parochialism as easily as it can lead to ecological, humanist communities.
oi.. let go
Many arguments against libertarian municipalism—even with its strong confederal emphasis—derive from a failure to understand its distinction between policymaking and administration. This distinction is fundamental to libertarian municipalism and must always be kept in mind. Policy is made by a community or neighborhood assembly of *free citizens; **administration is performed by confederal councils composed of mandated, recallable deputies of wards, towns, and villages. If particular communities or neighborhoods (or a minority grouping of them) choose to go their own way to a point where human rights are violated or where ecological mayhem is permitted, the majority in a local or regional confederation has every right to prevent such malfeasances through its confederal council. This is not a denial of democracy but the assertion of a ***shared agreement by all to recognize civil rights and maintain the ecological integrity of a region.
**admin needed because *not legit free
***public consensus always oppresses someone(s)
Libertarian municipalism is a politics that can excite the public imagination, appropriate for a movement direly in need of a sense of direction and purpose. Libertarian municipalism offers ideas, ways, and means not only to undo the present social order but to remake it drastically, expanding its residual democratic traditions into a rational and ecological society.
Thus, libertarian municipalism is not merely an effort simply to take over city councils to construct a more environmentally friendly city government. Such an approach, in effect, views the civic structures that exist now and essentially (all rhetoric to the contrary aside) takes them as they exist. Libertarian municipalism, by contrast, is an effort to transform and democratize city governments, to root them in popular assemblies, to knit them together along confederal lines, to appropriate a regional economy along confederal and municipal lines.
drastically .. same song
Libertarian municipalism is formed by its struggle with the state, strengthened by this struggle, indeed, defined by this struggle. Divested of this dialectical tension with the state, libertarian municipalism becomes little more than “sewer socialism.”
Indeed, by creating cultural centers, parks, and good housing, they may well be improving the system by giving capitalism a human face without diminishing its underlying “unfreedom” as a hierarchical and class society.
magis esse quam videri.. but this is what we’ve done in all of history..
need: hari rat park law et al
6 – cities: the unfolding of reason in history
Libertarian municipalism constitutes the politics of social ecology, a revolutionary effort in which freedom is given institutional form in public assemblies that become decision-making bodies. It depends upon libertarian leftists running candidates at the local municipal level, calling for the division of municipalities into wards, where popular assemblies can be created that bring people into full and direct participation in political life. Having democratized themselves, municipalities would confederate into a dual power to oppose the nation-state and ultimately dispense with it and with the economic forces that underpin statism as such. Libertarian municipalism is thus both a historical goal and a concordant means to achieve the revolutionary “Commune of communes.”
In the context of libertarian municipalism, its significance is to provide us with evidence that a people, for a time, could quite self-consciously establish and maintain a direct democracy, *despite the existence of slavery, patriarchy, economic and class inequalities, agonistic behavior, and even imperialism, all of which existed throughout the ancient Mediterranean world. The fact is that we must look for what is new and innovative in a historical period, even as we acknowledge continuities with social structures that prevailed in the past.
In fact, short of the hazy Neolithic village traditions that Marija Gimbutas, Riane Eisler, and William Irwin Thompson hypostatize, *we will have a hard time finding any tradition that was not patriarchal to one degree or another. Rejecting all patriarchal societies as sources of institutional study **would mean that we must abandon not only the Athenian polis but the free medieval communes and their confederations, the Comuñero movement of sixteenth-century Spain, the revolutionary Parisian sections of 1793, the Paris Commune of 1871, and even the Spanish anarchist collectives of 1936–37. All of these institutional developments, be it noted, were marred to one degree or another by patriarchal values.
Libertarian municipalists are not ignorant of these very real historical limitations; *nor is libertarian municipalism based on any historical “models.” No libertarian municipalist believes that society and cities as they exist today can suddenly be transformed into a **directly democratic and rational society. The revolutionary transformation we seek is one that ***requires education, the formation of a movement, and the patience to cope with defeats.
A new social-ecological sensibility has to be created, as do new values and relationships; this will be done partly by *overcoming economic need, **however economic need is construed. Little doubt should exist that a call for an end to economic exploitation must be a central feature in any social ecology program and movement, which are part of the Enlightenment tradition and its revolutionary outcome.
The necessary conditions for freedom and consciousness—or preconditions, as socialists of all kinds recognized in the last century and a half—involved *technological advances that, in a rational society, could emancipate people from the immediate, animalistic concerns of self-maintenance, increase the realm of freedom from constrictions imposed upon it by preoccupations with material necessity, and place knowledge on a rational, systematic, and coherent basis to the extent that this was possible.
huge.. and we’re missing it
not about tech advances to create more things we think we need.. rather.. about tech advances that help us to listen deeper.. to undo our hierarchical listening.. so that we can org around legit needs.. ie: tech as it could be
mufleh humanity law et al
But if we explore very existential developments toward freedom from toil and freedom from oppression in all its forms, we find that there is a history to be told of rational advances, without presupposing teleologies that predetermine that history and its tendencies.
I speak of the emergence of the city, because although the development of the city has yet to be completed, its moments in history constitute a discernable dialectic that opened an emancipatory realm within which “strangers” and the “folk” could be reconstituted as citizens: secular and fully rational beings who in varying degrees approximate humanity’s potentiality to become free, rational, fully individuated, and rounded.
The civitas, humanly scaled and democratically structured, is the potential home of a universal humanitas. It is the initiating arena of rational reflection, discursive decision-making, and secularity in human affairs. ..underlies the accumulation of mere events and that reveals an unfolding of the human potentiality for universality, rationality, secularity, and freedom in an eductive relationship that alone should be called History. This history, to the extent that it has culminations at given moments of development on which later civilizations built, is anchored in the evolution of a secular public sphere, in politics, in the emergence of the rational city—the city that is rational institutionally, creatively, and communally. Nor can imagination be excluded from History, but it is an imagination that must be elucidated by reason. For nothing can be more dangerous to a society, indeed to the world today, than the kind of unbridled imagination, unguided by reason, that so easily lent itself to Nuremberg rallies, fascist demonstrations, Stalinist idolatry, and death camps.
hari rat park law et al
Instead of retreating to quietism, mysticism, and purely personalized appeals for change, we must together explore the kinds of institutions that would be required in a rational, ecological society, the kind of politics we should appropriately practice, and the political movement needed to achieve such a society. Social ecology and its politics—libertarian municipalism—seeks to do just this: to institutionalize freedom and guide us to a humane and ecological future—one that will fulfill the unfilled promise of the city in history.
7 – nationalism and the ‘national question’
The anarchists were in every sense ethicalsocialists who upheld universal principles of the “brotherhood of man” and “fraternity,” principles that Marx’s “scientific socialism” disdained as mere “abstractions.” In later years, even when speaking broadly of freedom and the oppressed, Marx and Engels considered the use of seemingly “inexact” words like “workers” and “toilers” to be an implicit rejection of socialism as a “science”; instead, they preferred what they considered the more scientifically rigorous word proletariat, which specifically referred to those who generate surplus value.
kilpi work law et al
The term “white male” became a patently derogatory expression that was applied ecumenically to all Euro-American men, irrespective of whether they themselves were exploited and dominated by ruling classes and hierarchies.
Indeed, from the perspective of the end of the twentieth century, we are obliged to ask for even more than what nineteenth century internationalism demanded. We are obliged to formulate an ethics of complementarity in which cultural differentia mutualistically serve to enhance human unity itself, in short, that constitute a new mosaic of vigorous cultures that enrich the human condition and that foster its advance rather than fragment and decompose it into new “nationalities” and an increasing number of nation-states.
as the limit approaches infinity.. ie: imagine if we.. that deep
The world will be a drab place indeed if a magnificent mosaic of different cultures does not replace the largely deculturated and homogenized world created by modern capitalism. But by the same token, the world will be completely divided and peoples will be chronically at odds with one another if their cultural differences are parochialized and if seeming “cultural differences” are rooted in biologistic notions of gender, racial, and physical superiority. Historically, there is a sense in which the national consolidation of peoples along territorial lines did produce a social sphere that was broader than the narrow kinship basis for kinship societies because it was obviously more open to strangers, just as cities tended to foster broader human affinities than tribes. But neither tribal affinities nor territorial boundaries constitute a realization of humanity’s potential to achieve a full sense of commonality with rich but harmonious cultural variations. Frontiers have no place on the map of the planet, any more than they have a place on the landscape of the mind.
German nationalism, plans to restrict the immigration of asylum seekers, violence against “foreigners” (including victims of Nazism like gypsies), and the like.. t
m of care – apr 27 – part with gary slutkin tweet
8 – anarchism and power in the spanish revolution
Put in very blunt terms, they had taken power—not by simply changing the names of existing oppressive institutions but by literally destroying those old institutions and creating radically new ones whose form and substance gave the masses the *right to definitively determine the operations of the economy and polity of their region.
*red flag that just changing names of oppressive ness.. oi
9 – the future of the left
Yet, ironically, it was not the battlefront in the Great War that generated the revolutions of 1917–18; it was the rear, where hunger managed to do what the terrifying explosives, machine guns, tanks, and poison gas at the front never quite succeeded in achieving—a revolution over issues such as bread and peace (in precisely that order).. So much for the “revolutionary instincts” of the people, which Bakunin was wont to celebrate. It speaks volumes that, despite the horrors of the Great War, the masses went along with the conflict until it was completely unendurable materially. Such is the power of adaptation, tradition, and habit in everyday life..t
What must now be acknowledged is that between 1914 and 1945, capitalism was enlarging its foundations with mass manufacture and new industries, not digging its grave as Lenin and Trotsky had opined. Its status as a dominant world economy and society still lay before it in 1917, not behind it.
For the present, it behooves us to examine the failure of Marxism and anarchism (arguably the two principal wings of the revolutionary tradition) to deal with the transitional nature of the twentieth century.
it behooves us to let go
In asking these questions, I am not trying to suggest that capitalism will never produce problems that necessitate its overthrow or replacement. My purpose is, rather, to suggest that the problems that may well turn most of humanity against capitalism may not necessarily be strictly economic ones or rooted in class issues.. In short, by educing the dialectic of history along overwhelmingly productivist lines, Marx easily deceived himself as well as his most important followers, notably Lenin and Trotsky,
again to hart and m of care – apr 28
After forty years of trying to work with this ideology, my own very considered opinion is that such a hope, which I entertained as early as the 1950s, is unrealizable. Nor do I feel that this is due only to the failings of the so-called “new anarchism,” spawned in recent years by young activists. The problems raised by anarchism belong to the days of its birth, when writers like Proudhon celebrated its use as a new alternative to the emerging capitalist social order. In reality, anarchism has no coherent body of theory other than its commitment to an ahistorical conception of “personal autonomy,” that is, to the self-willing, asocial ego, divested of constraints, preconditions, or limitations short of death itself. Indeed, today, many anarchists celebrate this theoretical incoherence as evidence of the highly libertarian nature of their outlook and its often dizzying, if not contradictory, respect for diversity. It is primarily by giving priority to an ideologically petrified notion of an “autonomous individual” that anarchists justify their opposition not only to the state but to any form of constraint, law, and often organization and democratic decision-making based on majority voting. All such constraints are dismissed in principle as forms of “coercion,” “domination,” “government,” and even “tyranny”—often as though these terms were coequal and interchangeable.
Presumably, when enough wills converge to “adopt” Anarchy, it will simply be like the soil that remains beneath melting snow, as one British anarchist put it. This revelatory interpretation of how Anarchy makes its appearance in the world lies at the core of the anarchist vision. Anarchy, it would appear, has always been “there,” as Isaac Puente, the most important theorist of Spanish anarchism in the 1930s, put it, save that it was concealed over the ages by a historically imposed layer of institutions, entrenched experiences, and values that are typified by the state, civilization, history, and morality. Somehow, it must merely be restored from its unsullied past like a hidden geological stratum.
This summary easily explains the emphasis on primitivism and the notion of “recovery” that one so often encounters in anarchist writing. Recovery should be distinguished from the notions of discovery and innovation that modern thinking and rationalism were obliged to counterpose to the premodern belief that truth and virtue in all their aspects were already in existence but concealed by an oppressive or obfuscating historical development and culture. Anarchists could just as easily use this formulation to justify social passivity rather than protest. One had only to let the “snow” (that is, the state and civilization) melt away for Anarchy to be restored, a view that may well explain the pacifism that is so widespread among anarchists throughout the world today.
not about pacifism.. about something for all of us.. so that none of us feel the need to fight et al..
In recent years, some anarchists have singled out civilization, technics, and rationality as the greatest failings of the human condition and argue they must be replaced by a more primitive, presumably “authentic” culture that eschews all the attainments of history in order to restore *humanity’s primal “harmony” with itself and an almost mystical “Nature.” Insofar as anarchists currently espouse this view, they have actually returned anarchism to its true home after its centuries-long meanderings through the mazes of syndicalism and other basically alien social causes. **Proudhon’s wistful image of the self-sufficient peasant farm or village, wisely presided over by an all-knowing paterfamilias, is finally recovered; this, I would add, at a time when the world is more interdependent and technologically sophisticated than at any other in history.
Inasmuch as anarchism emphasizes primitivism as against acculturation, ..freed of the rationalism and theoretical burden of “civilization”
jensen civilization law et al
Indeed, in view of the remarkable dynamism of the twentieth century and the likelihood that changes in the new one will be even more sweeping, it now behooves us to speculate about the analyses that will explain its forthcoming development, the kind of crises it is likely to face, and the institutions, methods, and movements that can hope to render society rational and nourishing as an arena for human creativity.
another false behoovement.. graeber unpredictability/surprise law et al..
The problem of lost definition and specificity, of everything being turned into “air,” and the disastrous loss of the memory of experiences and lessons vital to establishing a Left tradition, confronts any endeavor to create a revolutionary movement in the future. *Theories and concepts lose their dimensions, their mass, their traditions, and their relevance, as a result of which they are adopted and dropped with juvenile flippancy. The chauvinistic notion of “identity,” which is the byproduct of class and hierarchical society, ideologically corrodes the concept of “class,” prioritizing a largely psychological distinction at the expense of a sociopolitical one. “Identity” becomes a highly personal problem with which individuals must wrestle psychologically and culturally rather than a root social problem that must be understood by and resolved **through a radical social approach.
*that is **that.. let go
Without the gravitas that commands respect—and, yes, the discipline that reveals serious intentionality—demonstrations and other such manifestations are worse than useless; they harm their cause by trivializing it
the discipline ness is the harm
Indeed, the demonstrators, however well-meaning, legitimate the existence of the parties by calling upon them to alter their policies on international trade, as though they even have a justifiable place in a rational society.
A politics of protest is not a politics at all. It occurs within parameters set by the prevailing social system and merely responds to remediable ills, often mere symptoms, instead of challenging the social order as such.
Too often, ideas meant to yield a certain practice are instead transported into the academy, as fare for “enriching” a curriculum and, of course, generating jobs for the growing professoriat. Such has been the unhappy fate of Marxism, which, once an embattled and creative body of ideas, has now acquired academic respectability—to the extent that it is even regarded as worthy of study.
I have examined elsewhere the reasons why power cannot be ignored—a problem that beleaguered the Spanish anarchists. But can we conceive of a popular movement gaining power without an agency that can provide it with guidance? A revolutionary Left that seeks to advance from protest demonstrations to revolutionary demonstrations must resolutely confront the problem of organization. I speak here not of ad hoc planning groups but rather of the creation and maintenance of an organization that is enduring, structured, and broadly programmatic. Such an organization constitutes a definable entity and must be structured around lasting and formal institutions to make it operational; it must contain a responsible membership that firmly and knowledgeably adheres to its ideals; and it must advance a sweeping program for social change that can be translated into everyday practice. ..their historical sources and theoretical fundaments, and the clearly visible goals that follow from the potentialities and realities for social change.
One of the greatest problems that revolutionaries in the past faced, ..was their failure to create a resolute, well-structured, and fully informed organization with which to counter their reactionary opponents. Few uprisings expand beyond the limits of a riot without the guidance of a knowledgeable leadership. The myth of the purely spontaneous revolution can be dispatched by a careful study of past uprisings ..
Without a theoretically trained and militant organization that had developed a broad social vision of its tasks and could offer workers practical programs for completing the revolution that they had initiated, revolutions quickly fell apart for lack of further action.
Every revolution, indeed, even every attempt to achieve basic social change, will always meet with resistance from elites in power. Every effort to defend a revolution will require the amassing of power—physical as well as institutional and administrative—which is to say, the creation of a government. Anarchists may call for the abolition of the state, but coercion of some kind will be necessary to prevent the bourgeois state from returning in full force with unbridled terror.
not if org’d around something every soul already craves.. not if org around legit needs of all of us..
These constraints are necessary to provide the greatest degree of freedom possible, but they will not be imposed simply by “goodwill,” “mutual aid,” “solidarity,” or even “custom,” and any notion that they will rests more on a prayer than on human experience.
oi.. we have no idea what legit free people are like
Indeed, that we can even say the distribution is unjust is a verdict that only a society able to eliminate material scarcity—and create, potentially, a postscarcity society—can make.
One can project an alternative to the present society only by advancing rational alternatives to the existing order of things—alternatives that are objectively and logically based on humanity’s potentialities for freedom and innovation.
Moreover, without an objective potentiality (that is, the implicit reality that lends itself to rational eduction, in contrast to mere daydreaming) that sits in “judgment” of existential reality as distinguished from a rationally conceived reality, we have no way to derive an ethics that goes beyond mere personal taste. What is to guide us in understanding the nature of freedom? Why is freedom superior to mere custom or habit? Why is a free society desirable and an enslaved one not, apart from taste and opinion? No social ethics is even possible, let alone desirable, without a processual conception of behavior, from its primal roots in the realm of potentiality at the inception of a human evolution, through that evolution itself, to the level of the rational and discursive. Without criteria supplied by the dialectically derived “ought,” the foundations for a revolutionary movement dissolve into an anarchic vacuum of personal choice, the muddled notion that “what is good for me constitutes the good and the true—and that is that!”
oi.. i don’t think if we were legit free we would care to understand its nature.. et al.. such whalespeak
This leads us to another premise for acquiring social truth: the importance of dialectical thinking as our compass.
from google: ‘Dialectical thinking is a form of analytical reasoning that pursues knowledge and truth as long as there are questions and conflicts. One inhibition to its use is that it can easily be abused–most modern uses of the dialectical paradigm known as the “Socratic Method” essentially are abuses of dialectical thinking.. Dialectical thinking is defined as seeing things from multiple perspectives. A fundamental principle of dialectical thinking is that everything is composed of opposites and that to understand things more fully, we need to understand their opposites.. Some other examples of dialectical statements are: “I feel happy and I feel sad”; “I want to be loud and you need me to be quiet”; “Things are very different now from a year ago and every day feels the same”; “I feel too tired to work and I can do my work anyway”; “I love you and I hate you”‘
Indeed, a task of dialectical thinking is to separate the rational from the arbitrary, external, and adventitious in which it unfolds, an endeavor that demands considerable intellectual courage as well as insight.
Remote as it may seem to some, dialectical thinking is, in my view, indispensable for creating the map and formulating the agenda for a new Left. The actualization of humanity’s potentiality for a rational society—the “what should be” achieved by human development—occurs in the fully democratic municipality, the municipality based on a face-to-face democratic assembly composed of free citizens, for whom the word politics means direct popular control over the community’s public affairs by means of democratic institutions. Such a system of control should occur within the framework of a duly constituted system of laws, rationally derived by discourse, experience, historical knowledge, and judgment.
Furthermore, the libertarian municipality, like any social artifact, is constituted. It is to be consciously created by the exercise of reason, not by arbitrary “choices” that lack objective ethical criteria and therefore may easily yield oppressive institutions and chaotic communities. The municipality’s constitution and laws should define the duties as well as the rights of the citizen, that is, they should explicitly clarify the realm of necessity as well as the realm of freedom. The life of the municipality is determined by laws, not arbitrarily “by men.” Law, as such, is not necessarily oppressive: indeed, for thousands of years the oppressed demanded laws, as nomos, to prevent arbitrary rule and the “tyranny of structurelessness.” In the free municipality, law must always be rationally, discursively, and openly derived and subject to careful consideration. *At the same time, we must continually be aware of regulations and definitions that have harnessed humanity to their oppressors
A revolutionary politics does not challenge the existence of institutions as such but rather assesses whether a given institution is emancipatory and rational or oppressive and irrational.
messed up.. rather.. rational as exclusionary.. thinking ration/irrational numbers et al..
lit & num as colonialism et al
A politics that lacks sufficient seriousness in its core behavior may make for wonderful Anarchy but is disastrous revolutionism.
oi.. seriousness not same as ie: intellect ness et al..
Today, Marxists and anarchists alike tend to behave defensively, merely reacting to the existing social order and to the problems it creates. Capitalism thus orchestrates the behavior of its intuitive opponents.
need: imagine if we ness
But no greater damage could afflict human consciousness than the loss of the Enlightenment program: the advance of reason, knowledge, science, ethics, and even technics, which must be modulated to find a progressive place in a free and humane society. Without the attainments of the Enlightenment, no libertarian revolutionary consciousness is possible. In assessing the revolutionary tradition, a reasoned Left has to shake off dead traditions that, as Marx warned, weigh on the heads of the living, and commit itself to create a rational society and a rounded civilization.