The Plausibility of Anti-Civilization Without Anarcho-Primitivism: A Critique of Murray Bookchin’s ‘Social Ecology’

By Ria Montana

Vegan Primitivist


“To be wild is to be ungovernable, which means uncivilized.” p. 5 Rogue Primate

An avid Deep Green Resistance (DGR) member highly recommended a read on ecology by Murray Bookchin, a self-labeled eco-anarchist. Bookchin is liberally mentioned in critiques on his overarching plan for restoring nature and humans’ place with it. With myself being an anarcho-primitivist restoration ecologist, I’d finally let my thinking brain chomp on his conception of social ecology as elucidated in The Ecology of Freedom: The Emergence and Dissolution of Hierarchy.

Admittedly I was reluctant and doubtful before opening the first page solely due to the DGR source of the referral. I reject DGRist Derrick Jensen’s embrace of societal reform, and I reject DGRist Leirre Keith’s goal for a return to pre-capitalist markets and her senseless propaganda against veganism, and both of their vile treatment of transgendered people, hence my gut reaction to anything DGR as sketchy. Shortly after opening the book, my hopes for common ground were repeatedly dashed. “…the simplification of biotic evolution would become the harbinger of a world in dissolution. History, conceived as the overall rational continuum of human affairs, would disappear, and humanity itself would undergo self-dissolution. The disappearance of the organic would find its expression in the steady decline of complexity, in the replacement of meaning, consciousness, agency, and creative causality by complete purposelessness…” p. 12

Instead of ending this madness, welcoming the collapse of tyrannical civilization, finally freeing wildness, Bookchin’s tone above is one of warning, being gravely appalled that modern humanity is at risk. He holds tightly on in effort to save not only civilized humans, but civilization itself. He uses his updated introduction as platform for his own harbinger to toughen the struggle for societal reformation, driven with a clear sense of rational purpose, ultimately achieved by more decentralized organization and human management of nature. Do I sense the appeal to my DGR friend?


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