Saturday, May 28, 2011

Review of Bookchin's Limits of the City

Limits of the CityLimits of the City by Murray Bookchin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Feudalism vs bourgeois culture: fascinating. The evolution of the city when it is not necessarily attached to empire, also fascinating. Necessary to think about in these times, it seems.

I find Bookchin's writing amazingly clear, and at at time when he was so far ahead of his fellow thinkers/writers. I suppose inherent in accepting his viewpoint is opposing needless hierarchy; Murray and I agree on that framework wholeheartedly.

Still for me, anarchy remains my organizing principle, but only with human frailty planned for and current population issues on the table. In other words, I believe in individualism but know we gotta work together when we need to. It seems to some extent Bookchin grew to believe that too. So, Bookchin's social ecology work although yet to be named but clearly emerging, must be added to your contextual reading here.

There is so much within this book that appeals to those who think about direct democracy and proper scale. However, I can hear bits of the anger that alienated many of the activists back in the day; one of these peers even saying to me recently, "if he could have reduced the obvious venom for any idea in opposition to his, he might be more widely understood."

But there is no question in my mind he was thinking in a systemic problem and solution syntax and bringing real workman language to what had been a dry academic issue: what to do about the cities? what were cities for?

I am about to start his "Towards an Ecological Society" and also dip into "The Politics of Social Ecology" to further understand his later reach and his libertarian municipalism ideas. I hope he continues to inspire.

And for those of you who work for holistic system change, read Bookchin.

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