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Post-Scarcity Anarchism

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  676 ratings  ·  42 reviews
In this series of essays, Murray Bookchin balances his ecological and anarchist vision with the promising opportunities of a “post-scarcity” era. Technological advances during the 20th century have expanded production in the pursuit of corporate profit at the expense of human need and ecological sustainability. New possibilities for human freedom must combine an ecological ...more
Paperback, 315 pages
Published November 1st 2004 by AK Press (first published 1971)
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Jul 29, 2013 rated it liked it
I originally read this book in my younger days and thought it was a terrific book. Now, some 45 years after its publication, it's become something of a mixed bag. As with many books of this nature, it's analysis of the past has remained more relevant than its vision of the future. Bookchin's critique of Marx and the old left is pretty much spot on. Marx's conception of the way forward, according to Bookchin, was rooted in circumstances that were particular to his time and are no longer applicabl ...more
Jun 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Bookchin is an idealist, and on a certain level that hurts this book -- instead of detailed solutions there's flowery prose about affinity groups and ecological justice. Still, we need idealists in this age as much as we need realists, and there are a lot of the latter and not enough of the former. Post-Scarcity Anarchism is a curious book because in some respects it feel outdated -- the post-1968 assertion that revolution is just around the corner -- and in others it's well ahead of its time -- the conc ...more
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I only read what I could find online - the first five chapters. Bookchin's main argument in the title chapter is that technology has "created the objective, quantitative basis for a world without class rule, exploitation, toil, or material want." Bookchin's outlook is much more libertarian than his cranky reputation led me to expect. He repeatedly cites Vaneigem and Debord, for example, and he insists "the goal of revolution today must be the liberation of everyday life."
Stunningly, "Ecolo
Joe Xtarr
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Required reading for anarchists and Marxists alike. Raises a lot of valid criticisms and useful concepts, not only for analyzing the past, but for building the future we want and need.
Jul 02, 2007 rated it really liked it
This is my first reading of Bookchin; I definitely appreciate his analysis and prescriptions here. As something of a green anarchist (though not of the 'primitivist' persuasion), Bookchin, in Post-Scarcity Anarchism calls for anarchist resistance and, ultimately, revolution against the socio-politico-economic hierarchies of capitalism, which, in having introduced and maintained such inter-human hierarchies, are reproduced in humanity's relationship to nature/the environment, resulting in the ecological ...more
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
bookchin is always good and fresh tbh. im not too sure about"""" liberatory technolongy"""" and like what that would mean for 2018 but it is a concept. I really liked the in depth discussions about specific revolutions because usually people are critical of them from a "communism is bad" perspective, or they worship lenin. anyway this is a hot take
Apr 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Inspirational and rounded arguments that encourage consideration from the reader. From the potential for humans to be either liberated or subordinated by technology to the possibility for managing and encouraging abundant environmental fertility. A great many topics are discussed in the essays within, but Bookchin's sense of optimism pervades each text and is a liberating read when placed next to (the far more common) deconstruction and critique that makes up the majority of modern political and ...more
Neil Collins
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book laid out some important criticisms of capitalism, as I had expected it would. One of the criticisms of the current system which I found the most interesting was the alienation which our society creates. I also really enjoyed the critiques of socialism which did not only limit themselves to the chapter "Listen Marxist". I have previously had the tendency to defend socialism as it is constantly attacked by the media, conservatives and capitalist. So the criticisms of socialism and Marxis ...more
Mar 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a valuable critique that uses Marx's dialectic against classical Marxism. Bookchin is primarily concerned with the hopelessly hierarchical nature of state socialism, which he argues is bound by the bourgeois constraints and mentality of domination in which it developed. He also argues that Marxism is obsolete due to developing during a time of pre-industrial scarcity. Because capitalism has achieved widespread industrialization, it is not only inappropriate but downright dangerous to foc ...more
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Our time is one when the imagination of political change is hung on empty New Deal style reform packages (except, this time, really really really REALLY for everyone) and blinded by the beaming smiles of "radical" poster children sticking it to the man...from the podium at UN conferences, backed up by and, eternally, Bono.

Bookchin, though a man of his own time in no short measure, offers us a counter to imaginations encroached upon and limited in totality by an uninspiring world. Bett
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is my first fully read book from Bookchin. I recently become fascinated by the rich body of anarchist thought and how by anarchist lenses we can look at many issues. After reading Making a killing which looked at veganism through anarchist theory with heavy citations from Bookchin himself, I wanted to reach to the source. This book looks at topics like ecology, environment, technology and post-scarcity in the context of this tradition.

Weirdly, part which I was interested mostly,
Evan Lemire
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely incredible. This section of "Listen Marxist!" is one of the most moving and important things on socialism that I've ever read.

"In the midst of all the confusing ideological crosscurrents of our time, one question must always remain in the foreground: what the hell are we trying to make a revolution for? Are we trying to make a revolution to recreate hierarchy, dangling a shadowy dream of future freedom before the eyes of humanity? Is it to promote further technological advance, to cr
John Tipper
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This short philosophical book packs a punch. Bookchin was a good writer; he expressed himself well and argued convincingly. I agreed with his thought processes even when I didn't care for some of the premises. Written in the 1960s and '70s, the work suffers from a certain datedness, but the essays on ecology and technology turned out to be futuristic. He emphasizes environmentalism and ties ecology to revolutionary thought. He sees the importance and impact of computers and how size and speed of ...more
Mark Plakias
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Long in the tooth, mostly interestng for how prescient some of his perspectives were back in the day. The point about anarchism having to refresh its theoretical founations in light of an abundant technotopia seems naive in the context of geopolitical realities, but hey: the call to action for figuring out what to do if you don't need to go to work (and the scathing critique of capitalism as having nothing useful to answer that question) seems pretty damn relevant in the context of increasingly- ...more
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
A product of its time but thoroughly insightful.
Chris G.
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: art
I like bunnies and cuddles.
Aug 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A must-read collection of Murray Bookchin's essays from the 1960s. Not only lays out what social ecology is about, but contains the classic "Listen, Marxist!" which he futiley presented to the fatal 1969 SDS Convention, the organization already set to self-destruct into meaningless dogmatism. This essay alone is worth the price of admission - Bookchin levels the terrain of Marxism with cutting insights that reveal a tremendously liberatory terrain of revolutionary politics. In critiquing Marx, h ...more
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Based on what I knew of Bookchin, I had at least entertained the possibility that I would read this book and be swept away, doling out a 5-star endorsement to (who I thought would be) the political thinker whose thought I most closely identified with. (Though the "post-scarcity" title had made me somewhat skeptical.) It is perhaps more valuable that I *didn't* agree with everything, but instead had to iron out some of my own beliefs in realms that aren't usually challenged.

Also worth
There is a very good reason why this is considered one of Murray Bookchin's best works. An absolutely fascinating collection of essays. Visionary in their insight, it talked about global warming in more radical terms in the mid 60s than we do now, with the vast majority of scientists agreeing that our situation is quite bad.

"Listen, Marxist!" is an essay that I would recommend to anyone, especially to people who understand socialism as "the government does things". It is the most con
I took a long time to read this, and plan to read it again soon. It contains the grounds for discussion of a fundamental blueprint of post-capitalist and post-climate catastrophe reorganization of humane and responsible communities.
Most of the essays are written more then 50 years ago, yet he presciently describes and begins discussion of how to grapple with catastrophic climate change, post-scarcity economy, AI, automation, and post-capitalist economic and societal reorg. A couple of the essay
Noah Skocilich
May 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
A classic by Murray Bookchin that was very illustrative of the development of Murray Bookchin's thought about politics and ecology.

I feel like I understand Murray Bookchin's ideas much better now, as well as the times they were formed in and many of the ideas and systems Bookchin dealt with.

It is also just simply highly enjoyable in the way that Bookchin is at his curmedgeon-ey best. For instance, the opening line of the most famous essay in the book 'Listen, Marxist!' ma
Kenghis Khan
Jul 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
This book departs where much of the Anarchist literature lets off. That is, it deals with distinctly post-industrial, post-WWII issues facing all advanced capitalist states, especially the USA. Bookchin's faith in technology as the tool to human liberation, his environmental conscience, and his critique of authoritarian socialism (and Marxism in particular) make for a refreshing read. Moreover, he writes well and his prose flows very agreeably. Unlike other books on anarchism, he doesn't dwell e ...more
Oct 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
More libertarian than anarchist. Makes a good argument that capitalism would have died under revolt if it wasn't for the industrial revolution and that it doesn't work for the benefit of the majority; having to be constantly subsidized to keep the money moving without distributing any of the wealth. Calls for an end to capitalism to be replaced by localized decision making on the environment, healthcare etc.
Pedro Kapila
Jan 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is one of Bookchin's most interesting books I've read. It is not all muddy with controversies with Bob Black and other strange lifeforms, but it actually presents a forward thinking, challenging view of politics and our understading of capitalism and class.
Jan 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I haven't completed this whole thing yet but most of it is under my belt. It inspires me and makes me happy to see it sitting on my shelf. It is of comfort to know that someone has spent so much time dealing with these issues-is so concerned with our world and the human condition.
Nov 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Important book to read regarding future technology and potential freedom from labor's burdens.
A post scarcity society should be the end all goal of every country, in my opinion and we can all help one another in this. We have to, in order to sustain the planet, thus ourselves as well.
Jan 03, 2017 added it
BF 199
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Even more important given the modern context of the Kurdish uprising against their partitioned & occupied lands, climate change and the technological acceleration.
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
Some really good essays. Wasn't too sure on some of his conclusions/assumptions--but overall, a very interesting look at radical environmentalism from a legendary eco-anarchist.
I didn't agree with all of it (for one thing, he wasn't hard enough on the bourgeoisie), but it gave me some interesting things to think about, and I'm glad I read it. It's pretty quotable, too.
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Murray Bookchin was an American libertarian socialist author, orator, and philosopher. A pioneer in the ecology movement, Bookchin was the founder of the social ecology movement within anarchist, libertarian socialist and ecological thought. He was the author of two dozen books on politics, philosophy, history, and urban affairs as well as ecology. In the late 1990s he became disenchanted with the ...more
“There are no hierarchies in nature other than those imposed by hierarchical modes of human thought, but rather differences merely in function between and within living things.” 24 likes
“Power to the people' can only
be put into practice when the power exercised by social elites is
dissolved into the people. Each individual can then take control of
his daily life. If 'Power to the people' means nothing more than
power to the 'leaders' of the people, then the people remain an
undifferentiated, manipulatable mass, as powerless after the revolution as they were before. In the last analysis, the people can never
have power until they disappear as a 'people.”
More quotes…