In articulating the political theory of libertarian municipalism, Bookchin (1992/1995) makes clear distinctions between politics and statecraft; between the city as a democratic public sphere and the phenomena of urbanization characterized by bureaucracy, centralized decision-making, and impersonal, market-driven interactions; and between the notions of citizen as 'constituent', 'taxpayer', or 'consumer' and citizen as an empowered and active participant in the development and decision-making processes within the communities in which she/he lives.
The politics of social ecology: Libertarian municipalism. Buffalo, NY: Black Rose Books.
Clark sees the citizen within libertarian municipalism
as even a regression from the universality of the working class within the Marxist tradition.
Such libertarian municipalism is a political way of organizing society that is nurtured by a strong suspicion of the consequences of the centralization of political and social power that have had devastating results and have stifled people's creativity and libertarian initiatives.
(35) For an extensive discussion on the matter, see Janet Biehl and Murray Bookchin, The Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism, Black Rose Books, Montreal, 1997.
Significant for its far-reaching scope and positioning of social ecology and libertarian municipalism under the "communalist" banner, the piece begins with an impassioned plea:
Bookchin describes libertarian municipalism as the "praxis" of the communalist framework and emphasizes the importance of the civic dimension of the modern world's great revolutions, not the least of which, for Bookchin, was the Paris Commune of 1793.
The highlights of the collection include an historical explanation by Engin Isin of why, in spite of a period of liberal municipalism
in the 1830s and 1840s, discourse about the centrality of municipalities fell out of the confederation debates; an exploration of the face of the feminist city by Caroline Andrew; and a reprint of Jane Jacobs article, "Cities and the Wealth of Nations." In case studies, Kent Gerecke and Barton Reid make a compelling argument that the abandonment of urban affairs by the federal government has amplified destructive sectarian tendencies in Winnipeg and Annick Germain considers the impact of immigration in Montreal on relationships between local and Quebec politics.
Rather ironically, communalism is defined as a form of libertarian socialism, and is seen as the political dimension of social ecology, libertarian municipalism
being its praxis (p.108).
When talking about his libertarian municipalism
, Bookchin conveniently forgets it is precisely the syndicalists who have the strongest and most successful tradition of community organizing among all explicitly libertarian currents and wider.
Although such a program was never fully articulated before being displaced by electoralism, major tendencies in the original movement such as deep ecology, bioregionalism, libertarian municipalism
, anarchism, and syndicalism all offered programmatic possibilities.