Social Ecology


Social Ecology is reconstructive, ecological, communitarian, and ethical. It advocates a transformative outlook on social and environmental issues and promotes direct democracy. It envisions a moral economy that moves beyond scarcity and hierarchy, towards a world that reharmonizes human communities with nature, while celebrating diversity, creativity and freedom.

Social ecology argues that the hierarchical domination of nature by human stems from the hierarchical domination of human by human.

Reading Material:

Social Ecology and Communalism

Remaking Society: Pathways to a Green Future

The Ecology of Freedom (Audiobook)

Communalism: A Liberatory Alternative (Audiobook)

Toward a Communalist Approach

Dialectical Naturalism

Dialectical naturalism is the philosophical underpinning of social ecology. Through dialectical naturalism we reason the evolutionary becoming of the biological world or “first nature”, the emergence of the realm of culture or “second nature”, and the potentiality for “free nature”—a rational and ecological society.

Reading Material:

The Philosophy of Social Ecology: Essays on Dialectical Naturalism

The Trouble With Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature


Institute for Social Ecology Class - 1988

Second Nature Lecture -1996

The History of Hierarchy

From dialectical analysis we can deduce a history of hierarchy, which traces the emergence of hierarchy from the rise of government by elders, the emergence of patriarchy, shamanistic guilds, warrior groups, chiefdoms, and eventually the state.

Reading Material:

The Murray Bookchin Reader (Audiobook)

Cities Against Centralization

Sociobiology or Social Ecology


Advanced Concepts Class - 1996

Ecological Critique

With history for evidence, an ecological critique finds that the idea of dominating nature emerges from the domination of human by human. Economic, ethnic, cultural, and gender conflicts, among many others, lie at the core of the most serious ecological problems we face today. Minimally, an ecological society must eliminate the domination of human by human.

Reading Material:

Death of a Small Planet

Will Ecology become 'The Dismal Science'?

Social Ecology versus Deep Ecology

The Population Myth

Rethinking Ecofeminist Politics

Ambiguities of Animal Rights


Waterloo Lecture - 1985

Libertarian Municipalism

We develop a political strategy, from ecological critique, for a libertarian municipalist society - organised as a confederation of directly democratic municipal assemblies, production would be municipalised and brought under the control of the assemblies, and the market economy would be replaced with a moral economy.

Urbanization Without Cities: The Rise and Decline of Citizenship

The Next Revolution: Popular Assemblies & The Promise of Direct Democracy (Audiobook)

Democratic Confederalism (Audiobook)

Libertarian Municipalism: An Overview

The Left That Was: A Personal Reflection

Thoughts on Libertarian Municipalism

Seven Left Myths About Capitalism

The Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism (Audiobook


Forms of Freedom Talk - 1985

Utopian Vision

Seeking to reconstruct society both physically and institutionally, this utopianism includes practical experiments and alternative technology.

Reading Material:

To Be Realistic, Demand the Impossible: Toward a Visionary Left

The Utopian Impulse: Reflections on a Tradition


Institute for Social Ecology Interview - 2012