Come to your planet’s rescue.


Hearing or reading about ecology or our natural environment isn’t an exciting proposition for most of us. The inevitable emphasis on destruction and likely catastrophe isn’t what we want to face into when our day-to-day lives are already tough enough. Graham Purchase in this book never dwells too long on the possible or likely results of centuries of disregard for ecology in the pursuit of profits, resources and land.

Instead, we get a convincing outline of the easy relationship anarchism has to the natural world, the anarchist emphasis on decentralisation, autonomy and diversity contrasting sharply with the centralised uniformity of the state. He makes convincing arguments for his vision of an ecologically appropriate planet, organised in a federation of “bio-regions”, that is communities or city-regions sharing cultural and ecological traits and supplying most of their own needs, water, food, building materials and the like.

We are left in no doubt as to the need for revolutionary social anarchism and for destroying nation-state capitalist-individualism. There’s little mention, however of the enormous social and political struggle involved, building mass movements, industrial trade unions as well as political and propaganda organisations. Nothing either to advise us on defending our revolution - the newly dispossessed statist and capitalist class is unlikely to share our affection for harmonious eco-regionally organised anarchism.

Given the heavy nature of the subject matter, this book (a collection of essays from over the past 20 years but fitting very well together) makes for a surprisingly cheery read.

At 20.00 it weighs in on the pricey side but it’s seldom we get top-drawer writing on this exact subject and it makes clear the necessity of combining ecological sustainability with class-struggle anarchism in tackling the global environmental crisis.

It’s worth the cost, however, if only for his mercilessly efficient take on the futility of parliamentary Green politics. It’s not backward-looking either and is clear in not arguing for a return to some sort of tribal lifestyle but for redistribution of wealth and power.

Anarchists need to learn from environmentalists and need to become such. The reverse also applies.

Anarchism and Ecology by Graham Purchase, Black Rose Books, Euro 20.00/£13.99 (available from WSM Books, P.O. Box 1528, Dublin 8)

This article is from Workers Solidarity 94 Nov/Dec 2006

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