Bookchin: living legacy of an American revolutionary

  • Posted on: 28 February 2015
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From Roarmag.org

By Federico Venturini On February 28, 2015

An interview with Debbie Bookchin on her father’s contributions to revolutionary theory and the adoption of his ideas by the Kurdish liberation movement.

Editor’s note: Below you will find an interview with Debbie Bookchin, daughter of the late Murray Bookchin, who passed away in 2006. Bookchin spent his life in revolutionary leftist circles, joining a communist youth organization at the age of nine and becoming a Trotskyist in his late thirties, before switching to anarchist thought and finally ending up identifying himself as a ‘communalist’ after developing the ideas of ‘libertarian municipalism’.

Bookchin was (and remains) as influential as he was controversial. His radical critiques of deep ecology and ‘lifestyle anarchism’ stirred up a number of heated debates that continue to this day. Now that his revolutionary ideas have been picked up by the Kurdish liberation movement, who are using Bookchin’s works to build a democratic, gender-equal and ecologically sustainable society in the heart of the Middle East, we are seeing a renewed interest in the life and thoughts of this great political thinker.

For this reason ROAR is very excited to publish this interview with Debbie Bookchin, which not only provides valuable insights into her father’s political legacy, but also offers a glimpse into the life of the man behind the ideas.

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Federico Venturini: Verso Books has just published The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy, a collection of essays by your father Murray Bookchin. Could you tell us something about this book? Why did you decide to embark on this venture?

Debbie Bookchin: The creation of this book was inspired among other things by the ongoing political discussion about which direction the Left should take with respect to the question of organization. Our publisher, Verso, publishes the writings of both Slavoj Žižek and Simon Critchley. Briefly, Žižek advocates revolution with the power given to a centralized state – a rehashing of Marxist theory. Critchley, on the other hand, advocates social change that takes place in the interstices of society.

Murray felt that both of these solutions were inadequate responses to the question of how to develop radical forms of governance that are democratic and can fundamentally change society. We thought this collection of essays on decentralized democracy could offer an important third pole in this political debate. And we wanted to present them, along with some previously unpublished material, to a new generation of activists.

How did Bookchin arrive at the concept of decentralized democracy?

Murray had spent a lifetime studying revolutionary movements and in fact wrote an entire history of those movements in his four-volume work, The Third Revolution. This study reaffirmed his belief that revolutionary change could not be achieved through activities that remained within the margins of a society – for example, building alternative organizations like food co-ops and free schools, as Critichley proposes – or by creating a massive socialist state, an idea which has been completely discredited and could never gain any kind of widespread appeal.

Instead, he felt that we had to employ modes of organization that built on the best traditions of revolutionary movements – such as the Paris commune of 1871 and the collectives formed in 1936 revolutionary Spain – an overlooked tradition that enshrines decision-making at the municipal level in neighborhood assemblies that increasingly challenge the hegemony of the nation-state. And because he was an American, he was also looking for a way to build upon traditions that would appeal to an American public, such as the committees of the American Revolution or the New England town meeting style democracy that is still active in places like Vermont today. These are the ideas he discusses in the essays in this book.

Bookchin is known for his writings on ecology, hierarchy and capitalism — collected under the umbrella of what he called ‘social ecology’. How do the ideas in this book emerge from the concept of social ecology?

One of Murray’s central contributions to Left thought was his insistence, back in the early 1960s, that all ecological problems are social problems. Social ecology starts from this premise: that we will never properly address climate change, the poisoning of the earth with pesticides and the myriad of other ecological problems that are increasingly undermining the ecological stability of the planet, until we address underlying issues of domination and hierarchy. This includes domination based on gender, ethnicity, race, and sexual orientation, as well as class distinctions.

Eradicating those forms of oppression immediately raises the question of how to organize society in a fashion that maximizes freedom. So the ideas about popular assemblies presented in this book grow naturally out of the philosophy of social ecology. They address the question of how to advance revolutionary change that will achieve true freedom for individuals while still allowing for the social organization necessary to live harmoniously with each other and the natural world.

Popular assemblies are part of the renewed importance that Bookchin gives to municipal organization. When and why did Bookchin begin to focus on these issues?

Murray had begun thinking about these issues early on, in the 1960s. He addresses them even in 1968, in his essay, “The Forms of Freedom.” But this question, of political and social organization, especially consumed Murray in the last two decades of his life, when the essays we’ve collected here were written. When Murray saw the predicament of the alter-globalization movement and similar movements, he asserted that simply engaging in “festivals of the oppressed” failed to offer a structural framework within which to address deep-seated social and economic inequities.

He had spent more than three decades working within the anarchist tradition but had come to feel that anarchism didn’t deal adequately with the question of power and political organization. Instead, he advocated a localized, grassroots democratic social philosophy, which he called Communalism. He called the political expression of that idea Libertarian Municipalism. He believed that by developing and institutionalizing general assemblies on the local level we could re-empower ourselves as active citizens, charting the course of our communities and economies and confederating with other local assemblies.

He envisioned this self-government as becoming increasingly strong as it solidified into a “dual power,” that would challenge, and ultimately dismantle, the power of the nation-state. Murray occasionally used the term Communalism interchangeably with Libertarian Municipalism but generally he thought of Communalism as the umbrella political philosophy and Libertarian Municipalism as its political practice, which entails the running of candidates on the municipal level, municipalizing the economy and the like.

It seems that recent movements like Occupy Wall Street and the indignados movement resemble some of these ideas. What would Bookchin have thought of them and of developments like the Podemos phenomenon in Spain?

Murray would have been excited to see the Indignados movement, in part because of his admiration for 1936 revolutionary Spain, which informs his book The Spanish Anarchists. And he would have appreciated the impulses behind Occupy and the citizen revolts across the Mideast. But I think he would have anticipated many of the troubles that preoccupied Occupy. This includes the problems inherent in the use of consensus, and the mistaken belief by many within the Occupy movement that the act of creating protest encampments can be equated with the actual reclaiming of popular power, which Murray believed had to be institutionalized in local assemblies within communities in order to create a true political force.

I think it’s hard not to be excited by political events in Greece and Spain, where new, more democratic parties are coming to power. But Murray would have warned that these kinds of national parties are almost always forced to compromise their ideals to the point where they no longer represent significant change. He warned about that when the German Greens came to power in the early 1980s and he was proven correct. They started out calling themselves a “non-party party” but they ended up in a coalition with the conservative CDU (the Christian Democratic Union) in order to maintain power.

That is why he differentiates between “statecraft,” his name for traditional representative government, which never really invests power with the citizenry, and “politics,” a term that he wants to reclaim to signify directly democratic self-management by popular assemblies that are networked together to make decisions that affect larger regions. So that’s one reason why we’re happy about the publication of this book at this time; it directly speaks to the impulses of millions of people around the world who are demanding direct democracy instead of representative democracy, and helps point a way to achieving that goal.

As direct democracy has become a rallying cry, your father’s work has enjoyed a resurgence. But even before that, he was considered one of the most important anarchist and libertarian thinkers of the last century. What is it like to be his daughter?

I guess there’s more than one answer to that question. One is political—most of my adult life has been spent as an investigative journalist, but since my father died in 2006, I’ve felt increasingly that it’s my job to help project his ideas forward, that we are living in a time when the need for political change has never been greater, and that his work has a major contribution to make to the Left.

The other answer is more personal – I had an unusual childhood because of both of my parents’ activism and deep involvement with so many ideas. Murray was self-educated – he never went to college – so he taught himself everything from physics to philosophy and had an especially remarkable command of history. He had an innate desire to contextualize everything, and that made him very engaging to be around. And my mother, Bea, was a mathematician, and a dialectical thinker in her own right. Her intellect and sensibilities made her an important sounding board for him, which helped him elaborate ideas.

They were extremely close; even though they were only married for 12 years they continued to live together for decades, right up until the early 1990s. So there were endless discussions and strong intellectual and emotional bonds that made it a wonderfully vibrant home to be raised in. And because I grew up in the 1960s and 1970s it was also a very active time politically, so our house was full of interesting people all the time, which was great fun for a kid.

Ultimately, the thing I appreciate about both my parents is their tremendous love of ideas – their lifelong commitment to great ideas that at their root form the possibility for political transformation – and their desire to act on them.

Could you say something about what Murray was like as a person?

While it’s hard to believe when reading some of his polemics, Murray was immensely warm and caring to the people around him. He took a supportive interest in his students at the Institute for Social Ecology and he was a very social creature; he loved good company.

In many of his writings, especially in his earlier wotrk, like the essays in Post-Scarcity Anarchism, and of course The Ecology of Freedom, but also in later pieces like Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism, you can feel the intensity of his utopian vision, his belief that human beings deserve to live in societies that maximize creativity and freedom. As a person he was deeply moved by human suffering and very empathetic, even sentimental at times. At the same time, he was profoundly committed to rational thought and felt strongly that human beings had an obligation to create a rational society.

As with all thinkers that produce work that spans over decades, your father’s thinking modified with the passing of time. How do you explain this?

Murray was constantly studying, evaluating, and reassessing. He allowed his theories to evolve organically and dialectically and didn’t hold on to set theoretical doctrines, be they Marxist or anarchist. On the other hand, Murray wasn’t immune from making mistakes. So, for example, while I agreed with his critique of “lifestyle” anarchism (in his book Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism: An Unbridgeable Chasm published in 1995), I think there were stylistic errors that made his tone more polarizing than it needed to be and that may have made it harder for some undecided anarchists to adopt his point of view.

But I think that now, twenty years later, his critique has stood the test of time not only with respect to “lifestyle” anarchism but anarchism per se and that Communalism can be seen, in a sense, as a logical progression that addresses organizational lacunae in anarchism. I hope that anarchists who read this new collection of essays will see Communalism as a natural outgrowth of anarchism and view Murray’s critique of the failures of anarchism in the context of his search for a potent instrument for revolutionary change.

Why do you think Murray adopted what some people viewed as a harsh tone in his book ‘Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism’?

Murray had spent a lifetime explaining why the irrationalities of capitalism could only be countered by an organized social movement and here was a vocal group of anarchists dismissing that goal in favor of an individualist, anti-technology, primitivist politics, which Murray found as irrational as capitalism itself.

So, if his tone was unforgiving, it’s because he was desperately trying to rescue the social dimension of anarchism. Murray was also unsparing in his critique of deep ecology—for example in his adamant assertion, long before others dared to say so, that deep ecology was a fundamentally misanthropic, anti-rational political philosophy. There were many in the anarchist and the deep ecology movements who were unable to answer his criticisms of those ideologies. So some of these adversaries resorted to personal attacks.

In his book Recovering Bookchin: Social Ecology and the Crises of Our Times, Andy Price of Sheffield Hallam University in England does an excellent job of analyzing Murray’s critiques with respect to anarchism and deep ecology and unmasks the efforts to caricaturize him by some members of those movements. Price’s book is a very fine treatment of those issues, and also happens to serve as a great introduction to Murray’s ideas.

What do you view as Murray’s most important teaching?

The necessity of dialectical thinking – that to really know a thing you have to see it in its full development, not statically, not as it “is” but rather as it has the potential to “become.” That hierarchy and capitalism weren’t inevitable developments and that a legacy of freedom has always existed alongside the legacy of domination. That it’s our job as human beings capable of rational thought to try to develop an ethics and social structure that maximizes freedom.

What about his most relevant achievement?

On a very basic level, his introduction of ecology as a political category was extraordinary. He was fifty years ahead of his time in saying unequivocally that capitalism was incompatible with living in harmony with the natural world, a concept that key activists today such as Naomi Klein have taken up and popularized. He also was ahead of his time in critiquing the Left from a Leftist perspective, insisting that traditional Marxism, with it’s focus on the proletariat as a hegemonic class and its economic reductionism, had to be abandoned in favor of a more sweeping framework for social change.

But even more important, I think, was his desire to develop a unified social theory grounded in philosophy. In other words, he was searching for an objective foundation for an ethical society. That led him to immerse himself in history, anthropology, and even in biology and the sciences, all in the service of advancing the idea that mutual aid, complementarity, and other concepts that predominate in natural evolution point to the notion that human beings are capable of using their rationality to live in harmony with each other and the natural world—that we are capable of creating what he called “free nature.” And in this sense I would agree with you that he was one of the most original thinkers of the twentieth century.

Recently Bookchin’s name has come up in connection with the Kurdish autonomy movement. Can you tell us a bit about his role in influencing Kurdish resistance and their social forms of organization?

Right now the Kurds in parts of Turkey and northern Syria are engaged in one of the most daring and innovative efforts in the world to employ directly democratic decision-making in their politics. Two years before Murray died in 2006, he was contacted by Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the Kurdish resistance. While they never had a chance to engage in a direct dialogue, Öcalan did undertake a serious study of Murray’s work, reading seminal books like The Ecology of Freedom and From Urbanization to Cities.

As a result, Öcalan abandoned his Marxist-Leninist approach to social revolution in favor of Murray’s non-statist, libertarian municipalist approach, adapting Murray’s ideas and developing his own into what he called Democratic Confederalism. We see these ideas at work now in many Kurdish communities in Turkey and in the Rojava region in northern Syria, including in Kobani, where Kurdish forces battled and ultimately drove out the Islamic State from the city after 134 days of fighting.

These towns are remarkable for instituting the kind of directly democratic councils that empower every member of the community regardless of ethnicity, gender or religion. They have embraced the principals of democratic decision-making, ecological stewardship, and equality and representation for ethnic minorities and for women, who now constitute 40 percent of every decision-making body. They’ve instituted freedom of speech and in many cases municipalized their economies. Importantly they view Kurdish autonomy as inseparable from creating a liberatory, non-capitalist society for all and have created their own autonomous zones which stand as a true challenge to the nation-state.

This kind of self-government is a model not just for the region but for the world. I wish Murray, who not only believed so strongly in the libertarian municipalist model, but also in the Kurdish struggle for autonomy, had lived long enough to see it.

In your introduction to the book, you point out that Murray’s influence has also been felt within the practices and politics of new social movements. What do you think is his legacy for social movements and what is your aim with respect to this new publication?

I think that features of Murray’s thought are evident in a wide range of current political and social theorizing, for example in the insightful work of theorists like David Harvey and Marina Sitrin. My co-editor Blair Taylor, a PhD candidate at the New School for Social Research in the Politics Department, specializes in the history of new social movements and has observed that these movements have already embraced many of Murray’s ideas, even if this was sometimes unknowingly. You see this in the use of affinity groups, spokes-councils, and other forms of directly democratic organizing; in the sensitivity to matters of domination and hierarchy; in the understanding of pre-figurative politics—that is that we must live the values in our movement that we want to achieve in a new society.

These are all concepts that Murray introduced in the 1970s. You see these ideas at work also in the transition towns movement and on the streets when protesters are asked by reporters: “What do you want?” and they respond, “Direct democracy.” I think that it’s exciting that his work is being discussed by people like David Harvey and David Graeber and rediscovered by a new generation. What I hope is that the social movements taking shape across the globe will consider using the ideas in this book as a way of reclaiming popular power on the municipal level, so that we can institutionalize the political change necessary to move us from the realm of protest to that of social transformation—to a self-managed society and a liberated future.

Federico Venturini is an activist-researcher, working with social ecology and urban social movement. He is currently PhD candidate at the School of Geography, University of Leeds and member of Transnational Institute of Social Ecology

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Comments

"Two great threats to the Kurdish revolution: ISIS and Murray Bookchin." Bob Black

A life spent in assemblies, how thrilling.

People who embrace these ideas despise individual autonomy, while thriving towards the progressive values of self-enslavement and totalitarian social management. Occupy has given us a hint of these people, and they now have Kurdish nationalists to jerk off on, since zapatismo has gone out of style.

The Rojava movement is not nationalist, you stupid. And no, they aren't worshipped by the Western left, aside from maybe the ROAR mag people and the Libcoms. Yeah, sure... keep bullshitting baseless crap to the Kurds are gonna end up being "exposed" as Neonazis, or something.

Right on bro! Who wants to meet up face to face in groups and make collective decisions? It's way more effective to just individually work on screen-printing patches and fixing up your hair, than to deal will tedious shit like working with other people. Fuck solidarity! Fuck collective projects! I'm gonna change the world, all by my selfies! Egotism FTW!

Bourgeois individualist white anachists gonna be bourgeois individualists

but not white anarchists? This is amazing! Identity politics has finally been overcome! Bourgeois individualism was the solution all along!

racism is a tool of the beast, not the beast itself

anti-left individualist anarchist here.

Not white.

SWEET! I'm exempt.

fuck you.

You should check your definition of individualist, seems you're confusing narcissism with the true individualist tendency.

Roarmag are annoying Western privileged liberal Leftists with too much money to handle. Basically just an increment more "radical" and substantive in their publications than Adbusters liberal excrement.

It's probably just annoying to you because their target audience is people who are organizing for social revolution, rather than a bunch of egotistical/vanguardist hipsters who are mostly concerned with a radical aesthetic. Instead of blathering endlessly about "heroic" anarchists who are changing the world by smashing windows and listening to punk rock on their Ipods (with a smattering of articles that shit-talk local scenesters), they focus on "annoying" topics like community self-defense groups, indigenous resistance to land/resource theft, and working-class strategies for economic survival. How dull...

Figures that the idiot leftist/anarchist/communist milieus have enough lobotomized retards to consider the most privileged sectors of this society like long-time academics as radicals...

Please a Bookchin type would be one of the first to betray any revolution or upheaval to keep their cushy position under capitalism. Most self-proclaimed theoretical radicals don't have the discipline to do things for themselves: fetch their own water, farm their own food, sew their own clothes. They rather have armies of poor mostly brown people do it for them, deep down.

I don't think most radicals have a discipline problem.

It takes a lot of discipline to focus for as long as they do on their "anarchist" hairstyles and clothing. They don't have a discipline problem. They have an ego problem, which is the cause of their "I'm not accomplishing anything meaningful" problem.

Supermacho retard can't even fucking write coherent sentences, then whines about anarchos and commies not having "discipline".

...oh and by the way, jagoff, there's good chances I know many more about edible/medicinal plants, bike mechanics, survival than your narrow mind can figure. And yeah, I also consider myself as nihilo-anarchist.

You are a grade A retard. I don't even like Bookchins work all that much but he was a fucking auto worker not an academic you imbecile. Imagine a world where you don't have to go to college to write a book.

Unless this is a troll then 10/10

There's people here like the asshat you're replying to who'd only like Bookchin if he would have been the Party's leader.

I don't like libertarian socialism and workerists much, but without this guy you wouldn't have much anarchy existing in the post-war US. A lot of what's being credited on actual armchair anarchists like Howard Zinn and the not-so-anarchist Chomsky actually came from him and how he brought a perspective from the '30s adapted to the radically different post-war world. Imperfect and not all-out radical, though a good basis on which to develop a critique for the generations after him.

Then again most radicals don't have their own farm or personal water supply (only privileges revolutionaries have the ability to buy these things.).

Must be nice to be the golden standard of purity. Also who the hell has time to sew their own clothes (unless you happen to have enough to afford a sewing machine.). The more I think of it the more I see people like you as spoiled motherfuckers making proclamations from your ivory fucking towers.

Oh the privilege of that $100 sewing machine/ivory tower.

I agree with the farm/water supply part, though.

Yeah and what we need are an elite corps of non-governing affinity groups highly-trained & disciplined to smash the foundations of statist society so that the modern spectator is impelled to seize their own destinies and ascend to the heights of autoeroticism
I don't know what else we would need besides sounding crypto-statist as an Elite Corps but that's just the form militancy takes

The average Westerner has a massively lazy lifestyle since the unlocking of cheap energy sources. Now you can be a shitty techno-utopian Red anarchist with outdated, 19th Century views... Any revolution or social change that matters would mean much less consumption and comfort to export problems and work to brown people. Since the anarchist scene is way more privileged than the mainstream, I don' think they are interested in putting hands in the dirt or that type of sacrifice. Way easier to fetishize an impossible utopian return to band society that is anyway a house cards full of the Rousseau-ian noble savage myths. Or we have the idiot nihilist or individualist clubhouses pretending they are against morality, as long as other people lose their skin in such a game of First World privilege. I don't think shitty nihilist alleged anti-morality or fascist Stirner typical(of Germans) ultra individualism could spread in a favela, an African slum, etc.

Privilege is a meaningless term the way you are describing it. Most brown people aspire to that same flat screen tv lifestyle so stop making them out to be some trumped up victim.

Ironically one of the more concrete developments in anarchism has been in the bioregional movement where people are living in more of a 'minimal' 100 mile diet fashion.

"Privilege is a meaningless term the way you are describing it. Most brown people aspire to that same flat screen tv lifestyle so stop making them out to be some trumped up victim."

... because we all know that aspirations and lived reality are the same thing. but with that said, I don't tend to call it "privelege". I call it "oppression" or "exploitation", because that gives people agency for their oppressive actions, instead of "Oh, look at all these lovely privileges I was born with!".

... and I find it fascinating that you have developed such a rich, yet stunningly simple, theory describing the goals of "most brown people". Who ever would have though that the common feature that unites "brown people" is that they all strive for flatscreen TVs?

I am lost for words! The average Westerner[WTF is that average based on?]Percentages please, or else you sound like a moron. 99% of Westerners are enslaved by capitalism, lazy lifestyle is a specious argument because it equates material comfort and acquisition with a relaxed and peaceful state of mind. On the contrary, a poor villager in Africa is most likely to have a better lifestyle, a more relaxed and casual temperament, less psychological stress, because of the simplicity and the autonomy that hardship develops in a characters individual constitution. Despite the hardships and uncertainties that the future may hold, they are less pressured than those Westerners living in the urban industrial complex. The violence, suicide, substance abuse, wage slavery, eviction, taxes, pedophilia, rape, poverty, junk food, street existence, incarceration percentages do not make the Western scenario more privileged or smug. I forgot about the incidental mind fuck of spending 2hrs a day in peak hour traffic to get to work on time so that your family is not thrown out into the street by the landlord, that living within the capitalist social order IS WORSE than living in a materially deprived African village.

And to Frumpee I'm not pretending to know what aspirations are stupid, only that there are quite a few people in the 3rd/developing world who want the developed lifestyle. Thus stop 'privileging' them as victims.

People know that I have no love for Old Man Murray, someone even more grumpy that I am.
But, Bookchin wasn't an academic in the standard sense. He had a gig at Godard College, which is a hippy-liberal alternative institution. He created his own department, which then took on a life of its own (the Institute for Social Ecology) so he could be the Dean. As far as I know, he never had a post-graduate degree, which also puts him outside the normal field of academics.

On a somewhat separate note, it's amazing that nobody is pointing out in all the cheerleading for Ocalan's conversion to Bookchinesque "democratic confederalism" that Bookchin abandoned his pretense to being an anarchist several years before he died, and while he was working on his awful four-volume history of social movements. Whichever of Bookchin's ideas Ocalan is trying to impose on the PKK -- in line with its decades-long Marxist-Leninist strict hierarchical methodology -- is certainly not the pre-1999 Bookchin (that was the year Bookchin made his break with anarchism public). Still, there's a certain irony in this since Bookchin in the 1980s was singing the praises of the Sandinistas (another Marxist-Leninist gang) by claiming that Sandino (who was safely dead for fifty years) was an anarcho-syndicalist -- the implication being that since their long-dead hero was one, that therefore his pals who ran a one-party dictatorship in Nicaragua should be supported by anarchists.

That the Sandinistas were a marxist-leninist gang with their own sectarian agenda is one thing that I won't debate.

But to call them a one-party dictatorship, in a time where Contras and ex-Nazis bankers were setting up brutal fascist dictatorships in the region and going mass carnages in order to blame it on the communists, as per Bush's foreign policy, that's fucking pulling a big one.

So yeah, ok... counterpowers suck and may potentially become as bad as the fascist powers they managed to overthrow, but that idea doesn't make me forget the context those people were up against.

Or, when was the last time your town got raided by paramilitaries and all of the people you knew butchered by them with machetes, including the children?

They were a one-party dictatorship regardless of who was attacking them or their neighbors. Here's some material from Wikipedia:
[In 1979] The FSLN also established a Council of State, subordinate to the junta, which was composed of representative bodies. However, the Council of State only gave political parties twelve of forty-seven seats; the rest of the seats were given to Sandinista mass-organizations.[41] Of the twelve seats reserved for political parties, only three were not allied to the FSLN.[41] Due to the rules governing the Council of State, in 1980 both non-FSLN junta members resigned. Nevertheless, as of the 1982 State of Emergency, opposition parties were no longer given representation in the council.[41]

In March 1982 the Sandinistas declared an official State of Emergency. They argued that this was a response to attacks by counter-revolutionary forces.[44] The State of Emergency lasted six years, until January 1988, when it was lifted.

Under the new "Law for the Maintenance of Order and Public Security" the "Tribunales Populares Anti-Somozistas" allowed for the indefinite holding of suspected counter-revolutionaries without trial. The State of Emergency, however, most notably affected rights and guarantees contained in the "Statute on Rights and Guarantees of Nicaraguans".[45] Many civil liberties were curtailed or canceled such as the freedom to organize demonstrations, the inviolability of the home, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and the freedom to strike.[45]

All independent news program broadcasts were suspended. In total, twenty-four programs were cancelled. In addition, Sandinista censor Nelba Cecilia Blandón issued a decree ordering all radio stations to take broadcasts from government radio station La Voz de La Defensa de La Patria every six hours.[46]

The rights affected also included certain procedural guarantees in the case of detention including habeas corpus.[45] The State of Emergency was not lifted during the 1984 elections. There were many instances where rallies of opposition parties were physically broken up by Sandinsta youth or pro-Sandinista mobs. Opponents to the State of Emergency argued its intent was to crush resistance to the FSLN. James Wheelock justified the actions of the Directorate by saying "... We are annulling the license of the false prophets and the oligarchs to attack the revolution."[47]

On October 5, 1985 the Sandinistas broadened the 1982 State of Emergency and suspended many more civil rights. A new regulation also forced any organization outside of the government to first submit any statement it wanted to make public to the censorship bureau for prior censorship.[48]

Sounds like a one-party dictatorship to me.

If my town "got raided by paramilitaries and all of the people [I] knew butchered by them with machetes, including the children" I would be mightily pissed off, but I know for sure that I wouldn't hitch my wagon to left-wing Marxist-Leninist scumbags just because they toppled a right-wing scumbag.

pure speculation. unless you've lived through something approaching that kind of upheaval. everything is clear in hindsight- during such moments there is no way to tell what you would or would not have pinned your survival or hopes on.

I pin my hopes on the wall in front of my desk, and I meditate on them every night. If I think about it hard enough, they will come true, because we create our own reality.

As far as survival though, I just pin my hopes on the grocery store. They have everything I need to survive there. It's a really comforting place.

So you think the people betrayed or murdered by the Contra government deserved it? Or that we shouldn't tell them how to be repressed by the state? I'm not sure I understand what you're arguing. What about the people who didn't want the Contras to take power who weren't fascists? Should we tell them how to fight against fascism? What is the difference between these two groups?

As the other commenter said, who the fuck are you to be judging how people in a context of severe murderous oppression should fight back against such violence? You sound like those moralist pacifist inquisitors who are telling us who should and shouldn't be supported in Third World countries on the basis of their rejection of political violence, from their ivory towers.

There you go again silly leftist. You really don't think there are multiple dynamics that took on the contras that DID NOT WANT A FUCKING LEFTIST DICTATORIAL TAKEOVER?

Foh silly vanguardist apologist.

The Contras were ultra-violent, right-wing extremist paramilitary groups funded and supported by the CIA and trained at the WHINSEC (a.k.a. the "US Army School of the Americas"), in order to protect the assets of drug lords, finance profiteers and other US capitalists like those of the United Fruit Company.

They carried violent raids against peasant villages where massacres were carried, with the final death toll estimated at 30 000 civilian deaths, in an apparent tactic of breaking support to the Sandinista marxists, with the outside justification of "fighting the spread of communism", as per official Cold War containment policy of the CIA. There was also evidence of involvement by ex-Nazi generals operating clandestinely in Latin America, as with the Death Squads in Colombia. It was also an overt violation of Nicaragua's national sovereignty, and the US had later to pay a reparation to the amount of 12 billions to Nicaragua after a case at the World Court. These are the facts, statism or not.

Oh and yeah, nice try with MORE historical revisionism, jagoff, while promoting old capitalist anti-commmie rhetoric that a John McCain would make, with whom you'd agree full time. I know you're a shill... but the above explanation isn't as much for you as it is for those readers you seek to disinform with your reactionary ideologue mindfuck.

And this excuses the existence and activity of Vanguard Marxists how?

"the contras that DID NOT WANT A FUCKING LEFTIST DICTATORIAL TAKEOVER"

You could have made this sentence more clear, as I'm seeing two diametrically opposed meanings here.

And still who are you to judge how people should fight back against such deadly oppression where you never experience anything close to this (aside than perhaps police violence in your area in the US)?

You should at least understand that in a context where unarmed, mostly-peaceful peasants can't defend themselves against such barbarism, where they are getting blitzkrieg'd on-the-spot, having a socialistic armed chain of command at their disposal is THE realistic option for them to just SURVIVE.

Moreover, this whole defaming of one-party dictatorships is so typically entrenched in the US democratic mindset, of people who can't understand how socialist regimes have their own system of upwards political representation, that isn't based on parties but just individual or factional delegation of power. There are many political factions within the Chinese "Communist" Party, many are very divergent and opposed in their interests and visions. Of course this has nothing to do with anarchist politics... Just attempting to talk about how hierarchical socialist power dynamics still are at least as much democratic than under a bipartisan system (USA).

YOU could simply have made that clear as I can see why an Leninist apologist like you would tie the dictatorial party to people struggling against the contras. How you connect people fighting back with one party legitimacy only you know I guess.

Still doesn't excuse your blatant Contra apologism.

That's exactly what it is.....Are you a M-L to dzeaze?

Nope, just don't like CIA-sponsored death squads.

The issue is using them as an excuse to legitimize M-L rule.

* than I am

Autocorrect, fuck you Bill Gates

I was surprised to find out that Bookchin even had children, and that at least one of them is now holding political beliefs that are identical to her father's!

This has a bunch of videos and resources about anarchists and what's going on in Rojava:
http://anarchism.pageabode.com/andrewnflood/resources-rojava-revolution-...
It has me almost a belieber.

Andrew Flood is a shady ideologue. His constant slanting of sourcing to make points makes him an unreliable read on anything factual.

Andrew Flood would have you sing the internationale while you build dams and mine mountains for the anarchist engineers who will guide us towards the anarcho-industrial civilization. Viva la revolucion!
From his "Civilization, Primitivism and Anarchism" essay:

"Let us pretend that some anarchists are magically transported from the Earth to some Earth like planet elsewhere. And we are dumped there without any technology at all. The few primitivists amongst us might head off to run with the deer but a fair percentage would sit down and set about trying to create an anarchist civilisation. Many of the skills we could bring might not be that useful (programming without computers is of little use) but between us we'd have a good basic knowledge of agriculture, engineering, hydraulics and physics. Next time the primitivists wandered through the area we settled they'd find a landscape of farms and dams.

We'd at least have wheeled carts and possibly draft animals if any of the large game were suitable for domestication. We'd send out parties looking for obvious sources of coal and iron and if we found these we'd mine and transport them. If not we'd be felling a lot of lumber to turn into charcoal to extract whatever iron or copper we could from what could be found. The furnace and the smelter would also be found on that landscape. We have some medical knowledge, most importantly an understanding of germs and medical hygiene so we'd have both basic water purification and sewage removal systems.

We'd understand the importance of knowledge so we'd have an education system for our children and at least the beginnings of a long-term store of knowledge (books). We could probably find the ingredients for gunpowder, which are quite common, which would give us the blasting technology need for large-scale mining and construction. If there was any marble nearby we could make concrete, which is a much better building material then wood or mud."

Man, that sounds fucking sweet.

"Eventually, the primitivists would attack us, either out of jealousy, ideological incompatibility, because of some Tarzan cult religion, or because of a shortage of sexual mates. We're not sure, because they abandoned language, so they can't tell us what the problem is. Anyway, they sneak attack us one night and then shit gets real. We realize that it's war and we need to use the gun powder as a weapon. We realize our confederated federations can't make decisions fast enough for war, so we elect leaders, directly democratically, to make decisions. We wipe out the terrorist threat. Eventually we split the atom, which is a much better threat wiper than wood or gunpowder."

"And that's when we realized we weren't alone. There were aliens on this earth-like planet all along, leaving below the surface, just waiting to see what we would do. And now they had seen, and they were pleased. Blue space octopi with big titties suddenly arose from volcanoes all around us, everywhere volcanoes appearing like zits sprouting out the pores of a teenagers face, pores none of us had even noticed before they sprouted, at blue big tittied octopi popping out the pores like spores of some super future fruit tree seed. They quickly build a cult religion around impregnanting all males between the ages of 34 and 45, of which we have 217, as is the custom on Earth 2. The spawn appears as swans. The swans swirl into a shape. From earth, through a telescope, one could see the swans' shape to be revealed: the butt shaped poodle dogs with hammer rings on their ears are finally finalized. It's like my man Liam Somnavich always told me, "it's too bad only the anarchists operated the telescopes on Earth 1, because they all teleported to Earth 2 and now we can't see that shit."

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