In lieu of proper note taking, please see below some of my thoughts on the fantastic session on Saturday on eco-anarchism at the SSC!
The topic for discussion was anarchism and specifically the social ecology and libertarian municipalism of Murray Bookchin. The concept of assemblies where all members of a community can vote, as well as a higher level of groups of assemblies holding each other to account to some degree on issues that impact multiple communities appealed to me, although there was a discussion of what this would look like in practice. In particular we discussed the idea of what anarchism means, with many definitions aiming for the abolishment of the state, and all forms of hierarchy. We discussed whether this is feasible and whether Bookchin’s theory abolishes hierarchy or simply certain, unaccountable, forms of hierarchy. Is this enough?
Particularly interesting for me were discussions of what we can draw from this mode of thinking and how we can apply it to our lives, in Lincoln, today. The school of thought does not offer an exact blueprint for a utopian society – rather perhaps ways of organising and approaching collective problems. Perhaps attempting to run for positions or influence the structure of local councils is something suggested to us by Bookchin, although within anarchism this is a controversial topic.
We also saw a video of the Zapatista movement in Mexico, getting a glimpse of how they operate along these lines and what life might look like for them (the video has been emailed out to the group). In particular we discussed how there is a connection to an understanding of the land and the produce that comes from it and is then worked with and consumed by the community there that is very different to the relationship we have with food and other products here in urban Lincoln. How would anarchist organising look differently for us in our different context here in Lincoln?
We also discussed the pressing issue of climate change, and how ‘time is running out’. How do we respond to this? And how might Bookchin’s thoughts help us with this? We also discussed how for some parts of the world time isn’t running out – it’s already ran out and climate change is a daily reality for them.
We discussed a lot more – this is just the stuff that stood out to me!
I’d welcome reflections from anyone else there too 🙂
Hope you are all well,
Main reading for this seminar is:
Alldridge (2015) Defense of Commons as Feminist Struggle, Why women will save the planet, Zed books, March 2018
We would also like to suggest that people look at one of the following articles, and especially the concepts of ‘politics in feminine’ and ‘the among women’:
Liz Mason-Deese (2018) ‘From #MeToo to #WeStrike: a politics in feminine’, Viewpoint Magazine, 7 March, https://www.viewpointmag.com/2018/03/07/metoo-westrike-politics-feminine/.
Raquel Gutierrez (2018) ‘Because we want ourselves alive, together we are disrupting everything: Notes for thinking about the paths of social transformation today’, Viewpoint Magazine, 7 March, https://www.viewpointmag.com/2018/03/07/want-alive-together-disrupting-everything-notes-thinking-paths-social-transformation-today/.
For those who are interested in widening the perspective, I would recommend:
Alex Knight’s (2009) ‘Who were the witches? Patriarchal terror and the creation of capitalism’, about Silvia Federici’s 2004 book Caliban and the Witch, https://endofcapitalism.com/2009/11/05/who-were-the-witches-patriarchal-terror-and-the-creation-of-capitalism/.
Vandana Shiva‘s (2015) ‘Hand in hand: women’s empowerment and sustainabilty’, PDF coming in further email.
Crystal Valentine (2015) #Feminism, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FCkoyTUmeQ#action=share.
The Women’s Budget Group (2018) ‘The impact of austerity on women in the UK’, https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Development/IEDebt/WomenAusterity/WBG.pdf OR Runnymeade Trust, ‘Impact of austerity on Black and Minority Ethnic women in the UK’, https://www.runnymedetrust.org/uploads/PressReleases/1%20bme_executive_summary-A3-01.pdf.
David and Karolina gave a presentation about the ways in which the co-operative movement has impacted on the social, economic, educational, political and psychological history of Lincoln, paying particular attention to the built environment.
David talked about the ways in which his involvement with the Social Science Centre has influenced his thinking about the processes of urbanisation. David told us how the city can be designed to promoted pro-sociality. He described this form of design as:
‘A practice that aspires to illuminate our present circumstances and the conditions of their historical emergence, to facilitate the flourishing of possibilities for people to imagine and govern their own collective futures, and to better the chances that these will be humane.’
Present at the event were Sarah, Lucy, Fen, Phil, Laura, Anthony, John, Mike.
See this link to the powerpoint presentation DM_SSC_Co-op_Lincoln_October_2018
Workshop spider diagrams.