The green criticism of State by anarchist thought

Authors: Francisco Toro*, Universidad de Granada - España
Topics: Geographic Thought, Historical Geography, Environment
Keywords: Anarchism, State, Environmentalism, Social Ecology
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Cleveland 2, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The State and its governmental institutions have been dignified in the environmentalist mainstream as palliative forces to face and solve the excesses and failures of capitalism and neoliberalism towards a proper environmental management. This technocratic spirit has also been transmitted into not few critical environmentalist strands (eco-socialism, degrowth, etc.), believing in the necessary role of public institutions and bureaucracy as useful tools in order to a more democratic and normalized sustainable transition.

Within the environmentalist strands of anarchism, the matter of State has also focused a relevant attention and position. An early green criticism may be found in the nineteenth century anarchists, such as W. Godwin, H. D. Thoreau, P. Kropotkin or E. Reclus, in which State has no room as a violent and centralized force, and corrupting the goodness of the material, reproductive and spiritual connection of humans with Nature. Most recent libertarian thinkers, bonded to social ecology, such as M. Bookchin, analysed how determinant is State as a responsible agent in the irruption of the environmental crisis (Bookchin 1991). Ultimately, governmental institutions contribute to expand a nihilist and indolence attitude in the environmentalist actions of the citizenship.

This paper is aiming a) to examine some of the main contributions of the “green” criticism to State from early and contemporary anarchist thinkers, in order to create a bridge between these two libertarian traditions; and b) to build a consistent and wide critique of the State, helping to promote a non-statist balanced and fair relationship between societies and Nature.

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