Commonplace: Bookchin on the “nuclear unit” of a properly constituted politics

Politics, in effect, must be recreated again if we are to reclaim any degree of personal and collective sovereignty over our destiny. The nuclear unit of this politics is not the impersonal bureaucrat, the professional politician, the party functionary, or even the urban resident in all the splendor of his or her civic anonymity. It is the citizen — a term that embodies the classical ideals of philia, autonomy, rationality and, above all, civic commitment. The elusive citizen who surfaced historically in the assemblies of Greece, in the communes of medieval Europe, in the town meetings of New England, and in the revolutionary sections of Paris must be brought to the foreground of political theory. For without his or her presence and without a clear understanding of his or her genesis, development, and potentialities, any discussion of the city is likely to become anemically institutional and formal.

– Murray Bookchin, The Rise of Urbanization and the Decline of Citizenship, 1987.

2 responses to “Commonplace: Bookchin on the “nuclear unit” of a properly constituted politics”

  1. Kurt says :

    OK, that one is sending me straight to the library … thanks!

    • AG says :

      It’s a good’un! As is most of Bookchin. He’s not dated well, in a lot of ways, but in others his thought remains as sparklingly fresh and relevant as the day he set it to paper.

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