Monday, July 11, 2016

Damian White — Murray Bookchin’s New Life

Review of Ecology Or Catastrophe: The Life of Murray Bookchin, a new biography by Janet Biehl, Bookchin’s collaborator, co-writer, editor, and partner of twenty years.

Now Bookchin is back in vogue.
He died in 2006, politically isolated and resigned to his project’s failure.
A decade later Bookchin seems to be everywhere, from the New York Times magazine to the Financial Times. Suddenly, name-dropping this revolutionary leftist is all the rage in the most mainstream of publications. Why is this?
Chaos in the Middle East, particularly the Kurdish fighters’ defense of their autonomous zone in Bakur, Rojava, and the southeast regions of Turkey, is partially responsible for the current spate of mainstream media attention.
Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) broke with Marxist-Leninism in 2004 and declared himself a follower of Bookchin. Öcalan has subsequently argued that Bookchin’s proposed system of confederated participatory democracies provides the base of a new model of democratic modernity beyond the nation-state: not just for the Kurds, but for the region in general.
The uptick in Bookchin’s popularity, though, predates Öcalan and the Kurds.
It is “Bookchin the social ecologist” who has now reentered environmental discussions, particularly in light of debates about “the anthropocene.”
Bookchin anticipated much of this discussion thirty years ago. In a thankless debate he had with various “deep ecologists,” he argued we must acknowledge how much social history and natural history have become profoundly intertwined.
He also maintained that the widespread tendency to blame a generic “anthros” for an environmental crisis generated by capitalism was completely misleading. A social ecology must reject the misanthropic view that humans are inherent “environmental degraders” and assert our potential as creative stewards of the earth.
Perhaps most surprising though has been the manner in which Bookchin has popped up as a key point of reference in the ongoing attempt to make sense of the post-Occupy political landscape.…
Murray Bookchin’s New Life
Damian White

1 comment:

Ignacio said...

If you haven't, see the interesting Alan Curtis documentary 'Bitter Lake', it talks a bit about the PKK and this governance system...