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The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies and the Promise of Direct Democracy

The ideas about political organization that have animated the new radical movements worldwide
From Athens to New York, recent mass movements around the world have challenged austerity and authoritarianism with expressions of real democracy. For more than forty years, Murray Bookchin developed these democratic aspirations into a new left politics based on popular assemblies, influencing a wide range of political thinkers and social movements.

With a foreword by the best-selling author of The Dispossessed, Ursula K. Le Guin, The Next Revolution brings together Bookchin’s essays on freedom and direct democracy for the first time, offering a bold political vision that can move us from protest to social transformation. A pioneering voice in the ecology and anarchist movements, he is the author of The Ecology of Freedom and Post-Scarcity Anarchism among many other books.

Reviews

  • “Over the years, Murray Bookchin has dedicated his remarkable talents and energy to many different domains: history, technology, social organization, the search for justice and freedom, and much else. In every case, he has brought illumination and insight, original and provocative ideas, and inspiring vision. His new collection on radical democracy carries forward this lifetime of great achievement.”
  • “Murray Bookchin is one of the most original and important radical thinkers and writers of the modern era. He understands the destructive force of corporate capitalism and the revolutionary zeal it will take to extricate ourselves from its grip.”
  • “By far the most sophisticated radical proposal to deal with the creation and collective use of the commons across a variety of scales, and is well worth elaborating as part of the radical anticapitalist agenda.”
  • The Next Revolution is the most useful book I have read since participating in Occupy Wall Street. These essays are incredibly insightful on the questions of organization, structure and what could be next for our horizontal movements...I believe this book will help others, as it has helped and is helping me think through this political moment.”
  • “As an introduction to the thought of Murray Bookchin it is incredibly valuable and serves to motivate deeper engagement with his more detailed works on urbanization, social ecology, and “libertarian municipalism.””

Blog

  • “We Are Those Lions”: 5 Strikes and Riots that Shook Modern Britain

    “We have encountered already the drive-train, which, turned by agrarian advances, will spin the wheels of the Industrial Revolution. The race for productivity, the very basis of capitalist development, means the replacement of labor power with means of production, living labor with dead, variable capital with constant.

    Amid this arise General Ludd and Captain Swing, one leading sallies against the textile industries, the other in the agrarian theater of combat. Both movements described themselves in military terms, never better than in a letter “Signed by the General of the Army of Redressers Ned Ludd Clerk.” They took oaths, stocked arms.” Joshua CloverRiot. Strike. Riot

    ***

    Since the very first machines were destroyed during the Luddite uprisings of 1811-1813 culminating in a region-wide rebellion in Northwestern England, militant direct action has been a weapon of the working class and a form of resistance against their rulers. 

    ('Preston attack on the Military: two rioters shot’, Illustrated London News, 13th August, 1842)

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  • Debbie Bookchin: Kurds are practicing the most democratic form of government there is on the planet

    Claudio Gallo's interview with Debbie Bookchin was first published in La Stampa.


    (Debbie Bookchin at Left Forum 2015.)


    Abdullah Ocalan and the Kurds fighting in Kobani abanonded Marxism to embrace your father's philosophy, Communalism. What is Communalism?

    Communalism is the idea that democracy works best when citizens make decisions together on the local level in assemblies. They meet face-to-face with their neighbors and discuss issues of importance to their communities. They send recallable delegates to councils to make regional decisions but power always resides at the local level, rather than with the nation-state. My father believed that these local assemblies would transform, and be transformed by, an increasingly enlightened citizenry. People could reclaim and redefine politics as something we do for ourselves rather than just voting for someone and hoping for the best. Communalism also envisions what my father called a “moral economy” in which people make collective decisions about how to use natural resources for economic production with the ecological impact in mind. 

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  • Murray Bookchin and the Ocalan connection: the New York Times profiles the students of PKK Rojava


    The New York Times Magazine recently published a piece by Wes Enzinna about his experience teaching a journalism class in Rojava, an automous region of Syria (not recognized by the Assad regime, the UN, or NATO), a "secular utopia in ISIS's backyard" whose political philosophy is heavily informed by the work of Murray Bookchin.

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