Bookchin Helped Us Understand the Roots of the Ecological Crisis Today

By Paul Messersmith-Glavin (January 14, 2019)

Murray Bookchin would be 98 today.

Calling himself at times both a “Pleistocene Bear” and a “relic from a different age,” Murray was in many ways ahead of his time. He introduced ecology to the Left in the early sixties–before even Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring he would tireless point out–even raising climate change as an issue in “Ecology and Revolutionary Thought” in 1964. He welcomed the development of feminism, and was supportive and involved in developing what would come to be known as eco-feminism in the ’70s, while also heavily involved in the direct action movement against nuclear power in New England that decade.

There are plenty of critiques and problems with Murray one can point to but hey, today’s the old man’s birthday, so let’s save that for another day.

Murray’s most significant and lasting contribution, in my mind, is his observation that the ecological crisis is rooted in the crisis in society, that it is in fact a social crisis; that the attempt to dominate nature is based in humans dominating other humans, and that to solve the ecological crisis we must confront and overthrow things like racism, sexism, capitalism and the nation-state.

Cheers Murray, you’re missed.


2 thoughts on “Bookchin Helped Us Understand the Roots of the Ecological Crisis Today”

  1. Yes, he is missed. And as someone who wasn’t bogged down in all the internecine eco wars folks on the coast and overseas were/are prone to I can say he is still the most relevant writer on our modern crisis in many ways. I can’t think of anyone who understood it (or understands) it better. But that’s just me. I’m so glad he lived and lives on in his writings and in the movements that owe him so much for his rigorous attention to both the details and the bigger picture. Happy Birthday, Murray!

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