Article: A Personal Account of the Life and Ideas of Murray Bookchin

This article on Murray Bookchin and the below APPO interview are graciously stolen from Negations blog: An excellent source for occasional articles, book and film releases… Some excellent content on the blog are the links to radical and anarchist films online, upcoming book release blurbs and its Latin American Anarchist Archives page which features a growing .pdf collection of older anarchist periodicals

This piece is a somewhat personal recounting of the life and idea’s of Murray Bookchin, an important figure in US anarchism somewhat known in the larger left, by a former student and associate of his. Great read.


Being a Bookchinite

By Chuck Morse

This article will appear in the spring, 2008 issue of Perspectives on Anarchist Theory, which is likely to be published in March. For more information, visit the Institute for Anarchist Study’s website.

This article in a printable format / This article in PDF format

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Murray BookchinWhen Murray Bookchin died on July 30 last year, one of the most ambitious and compelling figures of the anti-authoritarian left passed.

He was an author, educator, and activist, although above all he was a revolutionary who gave his life to a single, colossal task: devising a revolutionary project that could heal the wounds within humanity and the split between it and the natural world. He tried to outline the theoretical principles of this endeavor; to build organizations capable of transforming the world around those principles; and to forge a cadre with the wisdom necessary to fight for them while enduring the inevitable ups and downs of political life. He had much in common with other sect builders of the socialist left—such as Max Shachtman, Josef Weber, and Raya Dunayevskaya, for example—who, in their respective times and latitudes, also attempted to salvage the revolutionary enterprise from the disaster that was Russian Communism and the many calamities of the twentieth century.(1)

Was Bookchin successful?

No, he was not. He did not create a new revolutionary doctrine that was adequate to his aims or one, for instance, that possessed the transformative force of Marxism. His work simply lacks the coherence and subtlety necessary to register on that scale. His ideas have also not captured the imagination of sizable numbers of people; they are not part of the debate on the left; they have never had an influence among serious academics; and those who wholeheartedly embrace his views today are few indeed. His theoretical legacy sits on the margins of intellectual life.

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