Saturday, October 20, 2012

Recovering Bookchin: Social Ecology and the Crises of Our Time

By Andy Price
New Compass
Through an extensive body of political and philosophical ideas he called social ecology, Murray Bookchin (1921-2006) elucidated one of the first intellectual responses to the ecological crisis. However, over the last two decades of his life Bookchin’s ideas slipped from focus, obscured by the emergence of a crude caricature that portrayed him as a dogmatic sectarian who intended to dominate the radical left for his own personal motivations.

In Recovering Bookchin, Andy Price revisits the Bookchin caricature and critically discounts it as the product of a largely misguided literature that focused on Bookchin the individual and not his ideas. By looking afresh at Bookchin’s work, Price argues that his contribution can be seen to provide a coherent practical and theoretical response to the ecological and social crises of our time.

Dr Andy Price is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. He has written articles on both Bookchin and social ecology and on contemporary radical movements for the academic and popular press.

This is a work of “recovery” in the best sense, a lucid, sympathetic yet critical account of Bookchin, demonstrating his continuing relevance in the face of ecological catastrophe. Andy Price’s insightful treatment goes beyond the polemics surrounding Bookchin to illustrate the richness and depth of his ecological philosophy, which should do much to revive interest in this bold thinker.
— Jules Townshend, Professor Emeritus, Manchester Metropolitan University

A trenchant and much-needed reassessment of this singular and all too often misrepresented anarcho-green theorist, and of his contribution to social theory. Price indeed “recovers” Bookchin; he does so with admirable verve and analytical rigour, cutting through the myriad distortions surrounding him and providing us with a new framework for understanding social ecology today.
— Dr Chris Ealham, author of Anarchism and the City (AK Press, 2010).

Friday, October 5, 2012

China’s Nexen Deal Tangled Up With Keystone Pipeline

By Peter Lee
October 6, 2012

An interesting side product of globalization is how China bashing has become a staple of domestic politics in nations around the world, from America to Zambia, from Sydney to Tokyo. Best practices also propagate with remarkable speed and efficiency.

It may not be a coincidence that, just as the United States finally gets the memo that the Chinese currency is no longer significantly undervalued, the commentariat turns on a dime (or jiao, if you prefer) to announce that the real problem is the market-distorting, security-undermining shadow of China’s state-owned enterprises (SOEs) over the world economy.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Economic Growth and Our Collective Demise

By Jim Harding
No Nukes
October 1, 2012 

Stephen Harper wants to transform Canada into an “energy superpower”. Most Conservative policy seems to follow from this huge gamble with our future. On the surface this “vision” seems feasible; once examined it turns into a nightmare.

Oil is already Canada’s no 1 export and Harper wants to expand the oil-export economy. According to Rubin, in his End of Growth, Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline to ship bitumen to China, which Harper wants to fast-track, “would move more than half a million barrels a day of very precious oil” and this would “lift the revenues of Canadian oil companies by billions of dollars”. Oil flows, money flows. How could anyone question such a seemingly self-evident vision for our country?

There remain vital questions about the risks and costs of environmental contamination, about who would really benefit and how much “trickle down” would actually occur. And whether this would make the economy more or less sustainable and what kind of society Canada will become if it continues down Harper’s path?