Murray Bookchin – radical American sociologist
Murray Bookchin was a radical American sociologist, political and social philosopher, libertarian socialist, environmentalist, atheist, speaker and writer. A pioneer of the environmental movement, Bookchin was the founder of the social ecology within libertarian socialism. He is the author of more than two dozen books on politics, philosophy, history, issues of urbanization, as well as on environmental issues. His writings on libertarian municipalism, the theory of direct democracy had influenced the Green movement. He was a critic of biocentric theories such as deep ecology, and his criticisms of the green, supporters of New Age ideas such as Charlene Spretnek, were a contribution to the development of the American green movement of the 1990s.
Murray Bookchin was born on January 14, 1921 into a family of Russian Jewish immigrants and since childhood was full of Marxist ideas.
At the age of nine he joined the Young Pioneers, the Communist youth organization.
He worked in factories and became the organizer of the Congress of the United States industrial unions.
In 1951 he published an article titled The Problem of Chemicals, which exposed the detrimental effects of chemicals on nature and on human health.
In the late 1960s Bookchin began teaching at the Free University in Manhattan.
In 1971, he became co-founder of the Institute for Social Ecology (ISE) in Gorrard College, Vermont.
His book Our Synthetic Environment was published under the pseudonym Lewis Herber, six months before Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.
Reading lectures throughout the United States, he helped popularize the concept of ecology in counterculture.
In 1982 Bookchin published his work Ecology of Freedom, which had a huge impact on the environmental movement in the United States and in other countries.
He was an active participant in the anti-nuclear Clamshell Alliance in New England, and his lectures in Germany had a serious impact on the founders of the German Greens.
In the From Urbanization to Cities (originally published under the title The Rise of Urbanization and the Decline of Citizenship) Bookchin traced the democratic traditions that influenced his political philosophy and determined implementation of the concept of libertarian municipalism.
From 1987 to 2000 together with Janet Biel he created and issued the theoretical newsletter Green Perspectives, later renamed Left Green Perspectives.
In addition to his political work Bookchin wrote many on his philosophical ideas, which he called dialectical naturalism.
Murray Bookchin died on July 30, 2006 at his home in Burlington, Vermont, at the age of 85.