Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Anarchism, Libertarianism and Environmentalism: Anti-Authoritarian Thought and the Search for Self-Organizing Societies

By Damian Finbar White and Gideon Kossoff

Few intellectual currents have played as influential a role in the development and shaping of modern environmentalism as the anarchist and libertarian tradition of social and political thought. Generalizations about common ideological roots to a politics as diverse and internally divided as environmentalism are of course hazardous. Yet, when we consider some of the currents that run through much of the radical green worldview: philosophical naturalism, advocacy of economic, political and technological decentralization or the desire to ground a sustainable society in participatory institutions, the spirit of the classic anarchists clearly looms over much of this conversation. Indeed, it could be noted that at one time or another in the last two centuries many of the organizing ideas of the more radical currents of contemporary ecological politics have been initiated and developed by people who would have called themselves ‘anarchists’ or ‘libertarians’.

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