The assumption that what currently exists must necessarily exist is the acid that corrodes all visionary thinking.— Murray Bookchin
The most genuine Murray Bookchin quotes that will add value to your life
As long as hierarchy persists, as long as domination organises humanity around a system of elites, the project of dominating nature will continue to exist and inevitably lead our planet to ecological extinction.
If we do not do the impossible, we shall be faced with the unthinkable.
The plundering of the human spirit by the market place is paralleled by the plundering of the earth by capital.
Until society can be reclaimed by an undivided humanity that will use its collective wisdom, cultural achievements, technological innovations, scientific knowledge, and innate creativity for its own benefit and for that of the natural world, all ecological problems will have their roots in social problems.
Our Being is Becoming, not stasis. Our Science is Utopia, our Reality is Eros, our Desire is Revolution.
Peter Kropotkin described Anarchism as the extreme left wing of socialism - a view with which I completely agree. One of my deepest concerns today is that the libertarian socialist core will be eroded by fashionable, post- modernist, spiritualist, mystic individualism.
An anarchist society, far from being a remote ideal, has become a precondition for the practice of ecological principles.
There are no hierarchies in nature other than those imposed by hierarchical modes of human thought, but rather differences merely in function between and within living things.
If we recognise that every ecosystem can also be viewed as a food web, we can think of it as a circular, interlacing nexus of plant animal relationships (rather than a stratified pyramid with man at the apex)… Each species, be it a form of bacteria or deer, is knitted together in a network of interdependence, however indirect the links may be.
I am puzzled by people today who, after moralizing about the need for cooperation and goodwill and love-thy-neighbor-as-thyself, suddenly invoke the most primitive, barbarous motivations for any kind of progress.
What higher property do you have than your own person? I totally agree, by the way, with John Locke's idea that one's body is literally the most precious property that exists. I would say that conscription is the most heinous violation of property that one can imagine.
What solidarity we do find exists despite the society, against all its realities, as an unending struggle between the innate decency of man and the innate indecency of the society. Can we imagine how men would behave if this decency could find full release, if society earned the respect, even the love of the individual?
Capitalism can no more be 'persuaded' to limit growth than a human being can be 'persuaded' to stop breathing. Attempts to 'green' capitalism, to make it 'ecological', are doomed by the very nature of the system as a system of endless growth.
People are never free of trying to be content.
Until we become the architects of a society that is truly free and ecological, it will always seem that when the human brain is not adaptive, it is more often destructive than creative.
City planning finds its validation in the intuitive recognition that a burgeoning market society can not be trusted to produce spontaneously a habitable, sanitary, or even efficient city, much less a beautiful one.
I would agree that much with people who accept private property - that conscription is an unpardonable transgression, whether it be "corrupt" or not. The Spanish anarchists opposed conscription during the civil war in Spain as a gross expropriation of property, the most precious property that we have, our own physical beings themselves.
To speak of 'limits to growth' under a capitalistic market economy is as meaningless as to speak of limits of warfare under a warrior society.
New York has a tremendous number of people but the quality of its politics is unspeakable. By contrast, in a smaller township, I find there's a great deal of social awareness, less of a sense of powerlessness, less of a polarization of economic life.
I am not a communist first and an individualist second.
I am an individualist first, and I don't mean this in the shallow, purely egotistical sense of self-interest and everyone else be damned. I mean this in the true sense of enlightenment, recovery of personality, and the full development of personality.
The most important thing [anarchists] can do is educate themselves, develop a propaganda machinery in the form of books and periodicals, a literature, engage in discussion groups that are open to a community, to discuss and develop their ideas and to develop networks.
I would not want to be in the same movement with an anarcho-syndicalist, however much I may respect and like that person. Some of my best friends are anarcho-syndicalists. I mean, I realize that we do not have a commonality, even a language, that makes it possible for us to communicate.
[Ayn] Rand accepts that when she supports military conscription, even indirectly. Also, she starts her politics from the premise that the State must have police power. She fails to take into account the inevitability that once you start with police power you're going to have a police State.
I regard individuality as the most precious trait we have, because without it there is no creativity, there is no consciousness, there is no rationality. There is nothing that could make me speak more strongly to this point.
I believe that any attempt on the part of a libertarian communist society to abridge the rights of a community - for example, to operate on the basis of a market economy of the kind that you describe - would be unforgivable, and I would oppose the practices of such a society as militantly as I think any reader of your publication would.
I find it perfectly consistent for libertarians to operate on the municipal or county level, where they are close to the people and where they may have a party or a federation that is made up of the social institutions, the residual social institutions that still remain, over and beyond what the State has managed to preempt and absorb.
I believe that anarchists should agree to disagree but not to fight with each other.
We don't have an appreciable American left any more in the United States.
What I saw of the SDS in the '60s was very abhorrent to me: Marxism, Leninism, almost the KGB mentality - a police politics that I found completely totalitarian in nature.
The only conclusion I could arrive at with the death of the workers' movement as a revolutionary force - you know the imagery of the proletarian vanguard, or proletarian hegemony - has been the community.
The ecological principle of unity in diversity grades into a richly mediated social principle; hence my use of the term social ecology.
I do have an intense respect for pacifists, because I believe that ultimately, if we are to have a truly humanistic as well as libertarian society, violence will have to be banished on this planet.
We have to give people the freedom to choose lifestyles and material satisfactions that suit their needs, and we have to redefine need itself. We can't redefine need among ghetto people by telling them we should all give up our TV sets or automobiles: we have to tell them there's enough to go around, now let's talk about using it sensibly.
I feel that if people investigate the emergence of government, of State power - if they examine the logic of State power historically, and more specifically in the United States - they will find that the concept of limited government is not tenable once they adopt some type of libertarian principle.
The real problem is that "limited government" invariably leads to unlimited government. If history is to be any guide and current experience is to be any guide, we in the United States 200 years ago started out with the notion of limited government - virtually no government interference - and we now have a massive quasi-totalitarian government.
When I talk about self-management, self-regulation, self-government, the word I emphasize is self, and my concern is with the reconstruction of the self. Marxists and even many, I think, overly enthusiastic anarchists have neglected that self.
My anarchism is frankly anarcho-communalism, and it's eco-anarchism as well.
And it's not oriented toward the proletariat.
My communism attempts basically to create a shared society, that's all;
a shared society in which individuality will flourish, along with love, and along with mutual respect.
I will never surrender the rights of the individual - the complete rights of the individual - to any "ism" whatever.
I have an admiration, even though I'm not likely to do that sort of thing myself, for [Ayn] Roark's behavior when he decided that his design was not being followed - which was a gross violation, by the way, of private property rights, because the building was his.
I regard Marxism as the most sinister and the most subtle form of totalitarianism.
You see something very important is happening.
Personality is being eaten out, and with that the idealism that always motivated an anarchist movement - the belief in something, the ideal that there is something worth fighting for.
Terms that are related to individuals like Marxist, or Hegelian, or Bakuninist, or Kropotkinist, are completely outside my intellectual and emotional horizon. I'm a follower of no one.
I've been criticized by many anarchists as believing that anarchism is impossible without affluence. On the contrary, I think affluence is very destructive to anarchism. If you are absorbed by that commodity world then you're not going to move toward any radical positions, you're going to move toward a stance of protectiveness.
I'm a Bookchinite, and nobody has a right to claim that but me.
If the State does not enjoy a monopoly of violence, which then gives it the power to order people's lives and to compel them to obey decisions over which they have no control, or just limited control, then I think you have a consistently libertarian society.
I was raised as a red diaper baby.
I don't think that the Soviet Union and China are accidents, aberrations;
I think they follow from Marxism-Leninism. I think that Leninism comes out of Marx's basic convictions.
As for the workers' movement, I find that I reach workers more easily as neighbors than I do standing outside the factory despairingly giving out a leaflet telling them to take over, say the Ford plant.
People who resist authority, who defend the rights of the individual, who try in a period of increasing totalitarianism and centralization to reclaim these rights - this is the true left in the United States.