Murray Bookchin’s New Life Reply

By Damian White

The Jacobin

Murray Bookchin. aqua mars / Flickr

Murray Bookchin. aqua mars / Flickr

Murray Bookchin spent fifty years articulating a new emancipatory project, one that would place ecology and the creative human subject at the center of a new vision of socialism.

Here is a thinker, who in the early sixties, declared climate change as one of the defining problems of the age. Bookchin saw the environmental crisis as capitalism’s gravedigger.

But he also insisted we must be continually alert to the postcapitalist potentialities that may surface within capitalism. “Liberatory technologies” from renewables to developments in “minituration” and automation combined with broader forms of social and political reorganization, could open up unprecedented possibilities for self-management and sustainable abundance.

In the seventies and eighties, Bookchin suggested an environmentalism obsessed with scarcity, austerity, and the defense of “pure nature” would get nowhere. The future lay with an urban social ecology that addressed people’s concerns for a better life and could articulate this in the form of a new republican vision of politics and a new ecological vision of the city.

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