On the Genesis of the Bookchin Caricature


After 6 long years of postgraduate research, and a further 3 years of post-viva, pre-publication revisions, it is with a mix of joy and relief that I finally publish my manuscript with New Compass Press. I continue to be impressed by their professionalism, commitment and drive (and I thank them for their patience).

The book itself, a recovery of the work of Murray Bookchin from a morass of criticism that hung around him and his work for the last 20 years of his life, is as timely now as it was when I submitted it as a PhD thesis 3 years ago. Due entirely to our current social forms, the Arctic ice cap continues to melt at a pace matched only in the continuing melt of the legitimacy of politicians both national and international, and there seems to be no alternative forms of social thought and organisation under serious consideration. I argue in the book that one such alternative should finally be given a fair hearing—that of Bookchin's social ecology—freed of the problematic literature that made this hearing almost impossible.

To mark its publication, I have asked New Compass if they would re-publish a piece I wrote back in 2009, based on the first chapters of the book, which gives a summarised version of my central hypothesis: that there has long existed a crude caricature of Murray Bookchin that has prevented a full appreciation of his work. That appreciation is desperately needed today, and although 3 years have passed since this piece first appeared, little has changed on this front—barring one or two notable exceptions, Bookchin's oeuvre is still heavily shaped buy this caricature, foregoing a serious and sober look at some of the valuable lessons therein. As such, I think it warrants republication here.

Andy Price
November, 2012

Get a taste from Deep Ecology and The Genesis of the Bookchin Caricature

Buy Recovering Bookchin: Social Ecology and the Crises of Our Time