Saturday, June 02, 2012

Differences of the Bioregional State Compared to Bookchin

The Bioregional State: Walking the Middle Path Between the Scylla of Eckersley of Charybdis of Bookchin

Entirely without my awareness, I have recently discovered there are some uncanny resemblances of the ideas of the bioregional state with the capstone ideas of political theorist Murray Bookchin (1921 – 2006) —particularly in his “Communalism” ideas and ‘libertarian municipalism’ ideas. I was aware of him as a political and ecological thinker though I had yet to explore his thought seriously until a week ago from this post.

As I discuss Bookchin, I recount some of my differences of opinion with Eckersley. Why? Because Eckersley and Bookchin are a pair. It helps to understand that the bioregional state is a middle path because it avoids their two extremes. These are the two mythological monsters of politics that people still worship: on the one hand the worship of the monster of Scylla, or, the reliance on the tyrannical monster of complete centralization (in Eckersley), and on the other hand, the worship of the monster of Charbydis, i.e., the reliance on the downward sucking whirlpool of complete decentralization (in Bookchin).
As with my separate development from Eckersley (who published her book on the 'green state' in 2004 (critiqued here))--one year before my Toward a Bioregional State (2005), Bookchin’s and my ideas for sustainability developed entirely isolated from each other. He 'completed' his writings by 2006 (his death). I began mine on this theme in 2001 after ruminating on these issues more seriously from the early 1990s. However in an unconnected parallel, we share many (not all) of the same conclusions though from completely different starting and concluding philosophies interestingly.

I see this post as one of a series of bioregional state comments on other solutions to sustainability. It is always helpful to explain or to frame the bioregional state in reference to other sustainability ideas that might on the surface seem similar though on deeper analysis can be quite different. For instance, I have already posted on the differences of the bioregional state from Robin Eckersley and her concept of the 'green state.' I have posted on the bioregional state as very different from neo-primitivist deep ecologist Zerzan--which is another parallel because, interestingly, Bookchin's political ecology of solutions for sustainability broke with those like Zerzan from 1995. Additionally on this theme of differentiating bioregional state solutions to sustainability, I have discussed how distinct the bioregional state is as a 'fourth ring' separate from the other three 'political rings' of the circus of environmentalism. I characterized these other three circus rings as [1] the voluntary sustainable localism movement (most bioregionalism--autonomy, democracy, materials change, identity change (voluntary simplicity, living and merely 'eating locally' as a voluntary decision)--in other words, voluntary depoliticized decentralization exclusively); [2] voluntary ecological modernization, biomimicry, industrial ecology, and the bioneers (voluntary-only corporate or supplier forms of material sustainability without any politics); and [3] sadly the ongoing anti-humanist neo-Malthusianism of many who say they are "concerned with the environment" though instead of acting to aid the environmental conditions or to improve them for people, they exclusively concentrate on blaming people--typically the most defenseless poor instead of the more fortified rich--and hope to kill off the poor one way or another. This idea of 'kill the defenseless poor globally in a racial eugenic fashion and call it environmentalism' is seen in many globalist's policies on depopulation. This is really the old British Empire discourse connected from the 1960s with an environmentalist gloss of its ongoing anti-humanism and genetic racism. Such anti-humanist groups of globalist elites are in the same class with many primitivists and deep ecologists.) 

Similar to Bookchin I would agree, that, to the contrary of Malthusianists and their deep ecologist brethren, maintaining people in particular ecological spaces instead of removing them is the best political defense against other group's political economic and cultural forces of degradation. See the recent film The Silence of the Pandas: What the WWF Isn't Saying, on why the World Wildlife Fund is an environmental Trojan Horse and is perhaps environmentalism's greatest global public enemy posing as a leader, based on its record alone. 

The WWF's ideas of removing people from the land while encouraging unsustainable plantation-ism and forest destruction, goals shared by the IMF and World Bank, push people off their heritage lands in which they have been successful managing and living within for thousands of years, as if pushing them into unsustainable feudal plantation-ism as a proletarianized peasant class is better when the WWF runs interference for this and 'certifies' it as green consumerism. 

The WWF is a bad corporate brand. Please cancel your WWF membership: their promotion of population removal off the land and unsustainable plantation-ism is a further stratagem of the forces of degradation, Bookchin and I would agree, instead of the first step in protection of people and the land. 

Bookchin and I part company after that basic political agreement though. So I think it is worth a post to comment on our similarities and differences on praxes for sustainability. Plus, Bookchin and I have very different views on what might be called universal history, differences of views on the deep comparative history of environmental degradation of what is to blame for it.

Bookchin Vs. Carson: His Our Synthetic Environment (1962) Versus Her Silent Spring (1963)

As a quick background for Bookchin, he might be considered the first published political ecologist of the United States, with the publication of his book Our Synthetic Environment (1962) by Knopf under the pen-name Lewis Herber. That book was an ongoing project of research into ecological implications of our synthetic chemical world. It began with his earlier long article on synthetics in food published in the 1950s. Bookchin later updated this 1962 book in 1975 when it was at last published under his own name. It's now available for free on the web in many places.
Bookchin’s publishing of Our Synthetic Environment (1962) by Knopf was a ‘non-media event.’ Meanwhile, the publishing of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1963) by Houghton Mifflin was a big media event: well before it was published, it was serialized in the New Yorker from June 1962; then it was published in September 1963; then it was a Book-of-the-Month Club pick advertised with a flyer insert by none other than pro-environmentalist Supreme Court Justice Douglas.

Bookchin was without such media support despite being earlier, by a decade, in discussing the bad human health and ecological implications of the same issues that Carson discusses—the dangers of self-regulating pesticides/herbicides industries, rising cancer demographics, food adulteration, a synthetic world's ecological encouragement to more diseases instead of less, and the expansion of radiation. Comparing the contents of both books shows they are mirrors of each other. Carson died in the late 1960s. Bookchin lived on and morphed repeatedly through his long, intellectually fecund life until he found a green factionalism that satisfied him. Though American, he was closely associated in the 1980s with the "Fundis" (the non-state participationist wing of the German Green Party decentralization movement (Die Grunen), and he even toured Germany.

Bookchin ‘Vs.’ Whitaker? Interesting Parallels and Complete Differences

Comparing myself to Bookchin, he is more economic reductionist in his analysis of ‘what is wrong' as well as more romantic about exclusive decentralization as bringing about a complete Edenic change. Bookchin classed himself as a more ecologically inspired anarchist ("libertarian socialist") for a long while until the mid 1990s when he broke with this association in critique of deep ecologists, primitivists, and others like Zerzan and Bey.  

I have interestingly critiqued such deep ecological primitivism as anti-humanist—exactly as Bookchin did. I accused the followers of Zerzan’s ‘deep ecology’ of really having very little differences with the globalist corporatist Malthusians (like Maurice Strong for example), while Bookchin's critique of deep ecologists was that that they neglected to build a collective decentralizing social movement and were "too lifestyle individualist."

To the contrary of Bookchin's more economic reductionistic analysis though similar to his view of unrepresentative 'ecological tyrannies' of states as causing many difficulties in regional unsustainability, I consider political primacy more important in why we have bad materials and bad governments that interact to protect each other. In a phrase, if Bookchin concentrated on the word "state" in the phrase "unrepresentative ecological tyrannies of states" and considered the whole concept of a larger state as the origin of degradation, I concentrate on the word "unrepresentative." For me, the issue is the lack of representation, in particular larger states and in smaller regional levels, instead of categorically blaming all larger states because they have various organizational arrangements and hardly all equally have the same ecologically degradative equality. Another form of categorical assumption of Bookchin is that a regionalized framework is innately more representative, when I feel it depends on the case as well: there can be plenty of examples how regionalism can be unrepresentative as well. The bioregional state's point becomes one of greater concern for constitutional engineering of particular institutions, whether regional, at the larger level, or in interaction, for greater representation and sustainability.

In other areas however, Bookchin's economic-only analysis of what is to blame is similar to what you find in Eckersley. I’ve discussed my differences on this point before versus Eckersley, another theorist of the ‘green state’ on this point of her equal economic reductionism:

“Instead of being as anti-market as Eckersley (2004) [or as Bookchin], and instead of being as trusting of state elites as she is [though Bookchin is not], Whitaker argues for concentration on constitutional engineering that will create a less corrupted state developmentalism and a more representative developmentalism instead. A politically biased market is seen as the origin of environmental degradation, instead of markets per se, so there are required checks and balances in both the state and in maintaining consumer choices in markets for different consumptive categories, to maintain sustainability. Many more durable and local regional commodities are required as material checks and balances against any potentials of larger unrepresentative versions of commodities in their categories. For example, oil, from once just a market choice, has become a corrupt unrepresentative regime of elites created by governmental corruption via the artificial removal of consumer choices more than markets.”

The origin of degradation is hardly all markets or all investments--it is typically the supply versus demand issue: how as only scales get larger, particular supply-side biased arrangements get embedded in corrupt governmental politics and get separate interests from their consumers. In this dynamic, supply-side biased economic organizations in league with equally supply-side biased governments as a group move our material choices away from what consumers desire while blocking representative feedback whether from consumers or citizens, while removing choices instead of bringing them to market. On the local level, however, the 'supply versus demand' tendencies of suppliers and demand/consumers to have different material choice desires and politics, is easier to moderate. On the local level, this potentially conflicting dynamic moves more ideally closer to supply equals demand in material availabilities which is more sustainable though it's hardly just because of economic feedback issues: it's because of greater possibilities of local political feedback mattering on smaller suppliers when they have less political gatekeeping power because of their larger scale. On the local level, there can be a greater market and greater political input on 'suppliers gone rogue' without their political and economic gatekeeping (thus making suppliers more representative). It depends of course if there are greater market choices for consumers on the local level as well if they can exercise this power. That is why it is important to maintain a plurality of market choices: it is toward sustainability to remove larger forms of material clientelism. This avoids people getting into a deep clientelistic relationship with a singular degradative material supplier. Combined with the political corruption and economic corruption of supply side interests to remove choices, it can lead to their environmental degradation being politically protected and even unchallenged by consumers (because consumers have been denied other choices). There is more on this point later.

In short, unlike Bookchin or Eckersley, I have little difficulty with capitalist frameworks as long as they operate within ecological modernization and an uncorrupted state framework that helps to moderate the supply versus demand dynamics and that helps by this to maintain multiple regional integrated commodity forms that are innately more sustainable and representative. I argue without the (representative) larger state, any multiple regions by themselves only encourage unresolved conflicts and actually encourage people to support unrepresentative solutions to solve it.

As much as Eckersley is I think very blind about trusting a larger state as a moral entity alone, Bookchin I think is equally blind about trusting multi-regionalism alone without some form of larger state being addressed. While I agree with Bookchin on the mistrust of such an unrepresentative state as a big cause of environmental degradation, he attempts to entirely demote the whole concept of the larger state while I would say, more pragmatically, how do we deal with it, and it as combined with multiple regional forms in a relationship that innately would come about? 

Bookchin as well as Eckersley both seem to develop very utopian projections only instead of projects--without many institutional 'legs of development of how to get there to create it. From my reading of them, both additionally are rather fanatical about their ideas with little respect for multiple opinions or disagreements. I think that is dangerous. On the contrary, I feel that the bioregional state is toward a ‘polytopia’ of multiple real places with people with varying ideals and with their real disagreements with each other as normal over what is the subjective good life is, though with common desires for greater representation and choices of jurisdiction on the local level as well as greater representation of these regional issues in larger more abstract state levels as checks and balances. Bookchin liked to think that his enhanced multi-regionalism would ‘destroy’ the larger state edifice, and saw such in terms of a pure conflict between good versus evil respectively. I see both levels as potentially organizing both good and evil, so I see both levels working together with checks and balances on each other’s potential corruption, providing people with many venues of checks and balances on any power--whether a regional or larger national state. 

In this way the bioregional state is decidedly meant to be non-ideological, institutional (as a site of airing and settling pragmatic differences), and cooperative in its pragmatism of differences of opinion and ideals. Meanwhile, both Bookchin and Eckersley developed a very isolated, ideological view of the world. For Bookchin it was toward the regional ideals that were unable to be critiqued as equally a source of corruption potentially. For Eckersley it was toward the state as an ideal that was unable to be critiqued. My view is that the worship of any singular ideological movement as a utopia turns that ideal into a dystopia in practice because such followers are unwilling to respect differences of opinion. So any ideological exclusionist plans of ‘pro-state’ Eckersley or ‘pro-regional-only’ Bookchin might only be developing a legitimation for their own greenwashed repressive and degradative arrangements because they both set up unrepresentative arrangements and worship only one level with an Inquisition of all other groups and levels. The bioregional state works from a support of realistic multiple factions in any society and multiple levels of political integration.

Bioregional Statism Compared to Bookchin’s Communalism and Libertarian Municipalism

In the rest of what follows below, I adapt a dry Wikipedia text associated with Bookchin’s ideas as a trellis upon which I rewrote, upon reflection, of the similarities and differences between Bookchin’s ideas and the bioregional state.


Bioregional Statism – As a mix of common institutionalized decentralization ideas with novel larger ecological checks and balances on corrupt centralism to improve both levels, bioregional statism might equally be called a statist bioregionalism or bioregionalism for states. It might additionally be called “Bioregional Hellenism” because of its innate universalism in its recommendations for all governmental structures and because of its wider cultural issues of Ecological Reformation (like the organization of the universities, our consumption, additions of two different regional assemblies, and additions to our financial relations). Bioregional Hellenization was mentioned in the book Toward a Bioregional State (2005), from the beginning. 

On the one hand, Bioregional statism is a group of political philosophies that promote an ungatekept, decentralized, democratized, material economy. This means ongoing decisions upon materials and technologies are made with a particular ecology in mind for their ongoing integration. This is an ongoing open-ended historically changing process of ecology, politics, technologies, materials, and adaptation. The open-ended process is undertaken and manageable within watershed jurisdictions using two additional democratic institutions, the Commodity Ecology Institution and the Civic Democratic Institution, described later. Build it and they will come. This is the common objective quality of life people desire: a sustainable, healthy, ecologically-sound economy. As for their differing opinions about subjective qualities of life (religion, culture, values, sexual relations, family styles, etc.) the bioregional state allows for this as well in each particular region and encourages it through ongoing migration between different regions as all regions are competing for people.

On the other hand, this decentralized, democratized material/technological ecological economy is within a larger, more representatively hierarchical, democratized multi-regional state jurisdiction and culture [1] based on protecting common human universal rights across the multiple regions; [2] combined with judicial checks and balances against any regional watershed’s potential for degradation outside of itself as a form of cross-watershed support against realistic regional corruptions in pollution flows that may develop; and [3] as well as some form of [3a] welfare statism/redistribution, [3b] disaster emergency funding for reconstruction, and [3c] wider civil defense. These latter larger issues to be decided upon by the people involved in an ongoing fashion as well.

However, these three latter larger issues are kept from being entirely sovereign in their jurisdiction over the multiple watersheds through four stratagems: [1] denying the larger state any jurisdiction over regional cultural jurisdiction (that are regions combined with the larger jurisdiction that preserves respecting people’s rights of mobility and travel through the wider different cultural regions); [2] a rotational management location substituted for any permanent bureaucratic and/or representative capital in one durable region (to avoid a singular capital region from which its own corruption of its region and a wider corruption might extend); [3] various checks and balances on mobilizations of an armed forces internally; [4] and the larger state being without any material jurisdictions of ownership. This means the larger state is without larger national rights of nationalization or monopolization in material issues. The largest arrangement for any public property can be "bionationalization" (within regions), if decided upon by the region itself, and even then it is within checks and balances of regional private property in the same sector being maintained since the origins of monopoly can be corrupting whether it is called private property or public property. Therefore demote the monopoly mechanism in any region, whether in public or private property. Assuredly demote by removing it entirely from the larger level of state jurisdiction. These four issues help to maintain a greater parity between the multiple regions and the larger abstract state by keeping the larger abstract state 'abstract' instead of allowing it to become an infrastructural and material ownership phenomenon in itself. Otherwise, these four identified mechanisms become sources of degradative corruption in the larger state, and thus in turn damaging to all the regions and the state’s durability and sustainability.

Given regional decisions on material political economy issues, the decisions about private property or public property can be decided on the regional level in a democratic fashion instead of imposed in a larger (changing) ideologically repressive arrangement. Ideally, in bioregional statism, the formulating author feels that a good route would be to have private property in competition with public property in all the 92 categories of consumptive use (i.e., in shelter; private housing and public housing/shelter simultaneously checking and balancing against each other) because both state property and private property/markets have the same form of triage gatekeeping due to their common larger supply-side managerial styles that encourage a dynamic of supply versus demand in the frameworks of distribution regardless of private markets or public state bureaucracies. Supply versus demand principles make any private property regimes of markets always incomplete in providing for common material goods at larger scales. Supply versus demand is why equal monopolies under the state have the same triaging difficulties. To solve this, material management is at smaller jurisdictional sovereignty scales where the issues of supply versus demand are moderated since both public and private supply-side managerial interests are more under demand feedback parity (both economically in markets and politically in government) on any particularly unrepresentative offerings of supply-side groups--state or private.

Bioregional statists believe in more than these two issues however. Additionally, bioregional statism involves a wider cultural Ecological Reformation: converting states, sciences/education, financial, and consumptive property in a fuller institutional redesign while retaining respect for private and personal property. This respect for private property is within greater regional support of democratic decision making about local property regimes (instead of it being decided on ideological principles), i.e., within the bionationalization jurisdictional capacities of various regions. There is only the potential for bioregional nationalization since larger scales of nationalization become supply-side corrupt--politically, economically, and in material triaged choices that help to create other externalities instead of solving them. This means the primate jurisdictional rights are held within the jurisdictions and decisions of the democratic arrangements and decisions of the commodity ecology institutions, per region or watershed.This is influenced of course by its interaction between what kind of people decide culturally to settle in a particular watershed over time, as well as the cultural influences of the Civic Democratic Institution as well. There is more on these at the links.

Bioregional statism is opposed to coercive forms of social organization unless the coercive aspects are regionalized and exercised with many additional democratic checks and balances both in civil rights and in material political economy. The pragmatic issue is that with multiple regions, this allows for multiple jurisdictions, and thus for people who disagree with a particular region's policy to leave and to help formulate what they want sustainability elsewhere, instead of remain repressed minorities of beliefs and material support. What is foreseen in this dynamic is an ongoing open-ended reformulation of different regionalized ideals against each other for what sustainability is, objectively fitted to different regions, yet combined with understandable cultural differences on what the subjective good life is for a particular region as well. What is additionally foreseen in this dynamic is an ongoing open-ended capacity for people to reformulate themselves and what they believe over time: It allows people to change their mind about their ideals as well. 

Thus Bioregional statism foresees greater checks and balances on coercion by both formal developments as well as by cultural plurality, instead of what are thought to be unpragmatic attempts to “remove coercion” (like in Bookchin’s thought for instance) that would or could become its own form of self-justified repression (which would only mean removing someone else's capacity to resist another's repression). To the contrary, the best way to remove coercion is to have a plurality of regions in which any regional coercion is exercised more democratically, both culturally (influenced by the Civic Democratic Institution, the CDI) and materially (influenced by the Commodity Ecology Institution, the CEI, designed for removing repression from supply-side biased frameworks of politics and material triage)--with options of leaving for other regions and participating there to avoid any generally accepted democratic coercion in any one region. The bioregional state promotes free association via multiple regional institutions additions of Civic Democratic Institutions (CDI) and Commodity Ecology Institutions (CEI) along side wider governmental bioregional state checks and balances and even wider Ecological Reformation as a wider political economic and ecological checks and balances. Another check and balance on coercion is the multiple cultural regions themselves as a lived check and balance of multiple ideals being preserved and enhanced and always escapable for another region--escapable even by its erstwhile original believers if they change their mind.
(To the contrary, Bookchin romanticized a completely uninstitutionalized coterie of ecological revolutionaries. That has had its anticipated result long before his death in almost complete isolation: the first anticipated result of this de-institutionalizing strategy toward sustainability is that no one remembers Bookchin; and the second anticipated result is that long before his death his coterie disbanded into factionalisms, instead of as here, in Bioregional statism, remaining tied together institutionally in contention with each other’s factions within CDI and CEI expressions which makes for a more durable ‘institutionalized revolution/reformation’ toward democratized sustainability that outlasts though is built from the energy of any individual’s more factional contribution.)

Thus there are novel checks and balances between [1] the jurisdictions of multiple distinct, biophysically real ecoregional/bioregional arenas of community, culture and materials intertwined on the regional level, [2] versus the jurisdictions of abstract states that are designed to lack any material jurisdictions and instead are designed better to concentrate on maintaining more universal, ideological issues like social civil rights, cross-regional pollution flows conflict management between regions in a neutral fashion, cross-regional or shared welfare/emergency redistribution, and defense. In Bioregional statism, both levels are required as part of its political philosophy.

Bioregional statism opposes the common monopolized jurisdictional aspects of both state socialism and (state) capitalism, for a mixed economy scale and area of its interventions to be decided upon by the specific region themselves instead of pre-ordained by utopian principles or by a larger abstract state. When pre-ordained utopian ideals combine with either a regional or a larger abstract state by itself, the only history can be a repressive dystopia. This mixed economy scale and area of its interventions are decided upon by the specific region themselves for material-technical, cultural, and ecological integration issues, though within larger frameworks of distributionary welfare statism and subsidization from the abstract level and its common civil rights across all bioregions established from the abstract level as well.

The term Bioregional statism is seen to emphasize a series of checks and balances for solving all world problems dealing with the repetition of human and ecological suffering in human history, as identified in Ecological Revolution (2009). The term ‘Bioregional statists’ is used to differentiate their political philosophy from both anarchistic bioregionalism (typically with its ideological opposition to cross-border trade; it's fine if a particular group wants to impose this on themselves, though they would be unable: [1] to impose it on all regions or [2] keep people in their region if they wanted to leave; or [3] unable to keep people out of their region if they wanted to come) and used to differentiate it from anti-humanistic deep ecology. Both are seen as politically unrealistic by bioregional statists arguing that these other two, respectively, are unable to deal with real world larger regulatory issues of pollution flows across multiple regions or actually only encouraging repressive authoritarian regimes under green rubrics. However, if any of these groups wish to formulate themselves as a faction or attempted majority within a particular region and work toward sustainability, what could be wrong with that? Nothing at all. Thus the Bioregional statists welcome such groups' energies to create their own different objective (material, technological, and ecologically interactive) quality of life and their own different subjective (cultural) qualities of life in their own region.

Adherents of bioregional statism assert that a series of institutional adaptations based on common support for common civil rights’ freedoms and common distributionary principles can be achieved through ‘affirmitizing’ politics. The term means the removing of gatekeeping in all decision making and thus removing one factor of its systemic corruption of larger levels of decision making that decides to formulate policy that protects humanly degradative and ecologically degradative larger scale endeavors. (See ‘supply versus demand’ dynamics as what is demoted in the bioregional state, above.) Thus affirmitization of all existing institutions makes more representative any pre-existing heritage or current authoritarian institutions around the world that are ecologically unrepresentative and through their gatekeeping and unrepresentation create both environmental degradation and human degradation that destroys their societies by subordinating the multi-regional majority under a corrupt political, economic, cultural, and financial class that belongs nowhere. Thus the same political corruption and gatekeeping on decision making both gives larger supply side interests immunity from criminal charges while steering over time many other institutional areas toward supporting a supply-side environmental and human degradation by being gatekept and unrepresentative across many institutional domains.

Bioregional statism has some close links to Bookchin’s libertarian socialism because it constitutes a tendency of thought that promotes the identification, criticism, and practical dismantling of illegitimate authority in all aspects of life though it disagrees with libertarian socialism in its desire for constructing as well more legitimate and institutionalized forms of mixed decentralized authority on the regional level decided upon by people with novel additional checks and balances of institutions, like the CDIs (Civic Democratic Institutions) and the CEIs (Commodity Ecology institutions). These regional institutions are designed to avoid gatekeeping in decision making (see the book for CDI description on this point; see link for CEI description on this point) and thus to start together an interactive process of social, cultural, political, financial, and material/technical (‘economic’) changes in the infrastructural policy of the region. The CDIs and CEIs additionally work to institutionalize the expression of an ongoing local culture, as well as help to formulate it to begin with among an alienated population for cultural change. Thus both institutions ongoingly serve in culture as ongoing checks and balances on any larger levels of institutional leadership policy, in a larger Ecological Reformation of institutions and culture.

Bioregional statists see themselves as more pragmatic than most political movements because of their support of multiple factions and allowances for disagreement. Though idealists, they believe that corruption will continue as well as differences of opinion in politics will continue, so it is best to think about manners in which checks and balances on corruption, checks and balances on ideological purism, and checks and balances on the ongoing larger levels of states, on regional levels of states, and on other organizations can be instituted.

Accordingly, bioregional statists draw support from manydifferent political philosophy and different cultural followers seeking to attempt to formulate their own sustainable material versions of an objective good life while enhancing their own cultural versions of a subjective good life. These are dual ideals in their own regions, and as ideals in practice they are always in multiple competition,  comparison, and learning processes with other regions for having the most successful region gauged by its success in attracting people to their regions. The migration and emigration between regions is based on whether they can really create and sustain a successful polity, objectively in material/technological/ecological integration and subjectively in culture over time.

Bioregional statists believe that "the exercise of gatekeeping power in any institutionalized form—whether economic, financial, political, scientific, religious, or sexual, etc.—brutalizes both the wielder of power and the one over whom it is exercised"—so the forms of power they proffer are toward less gatekept forms of power that are more representative and regionally legitimate to their populations—with space for disagreement across multiple regions for people to leave a certain region if they disagree thus creating a wide variety of regions with different arenas of social action and reforming groups, combined with room for greater individualization in the more nomadic flows between regional arenas. The point is that within the larger abstract bioregional state there is a common civic and cultural arena that protects human diversity of political ideas, protects common civil rights of individuals, and protects ecological diversity by encouraging particular regions to interlink their social relations into their own specific ecological regional forms as the best objective material quality of life for them; without hampering those who wish to work on specific cultural values in their own region; without hampering those who wish to work on other different projects in other regions; and without hampering different subjective cultural quality of life issues held by different people. For instance, voluntary simplicity as a culture might attempt to formulate itself as a subjective quality of life ideal in one region while sustainable urban cosmopolitanism and mass consumption and trade might be the equal cultural ideal in another with export of their sustainable manufactures, and in another area, a more religious monastic form of sustainable existence might become hegemonic with unindustrialized manufactures as an ideal. The variety possible is open-ended and endless for an open future in the bioregional state, while other political philosophies, by creating particular closed futures, turn into tyrannies over time. There are zero limitations on people forming different cultural-material ideals for expressing sustainability since bioregional statism encourages this by the plurality of cultural regions. It additionally encourages this by its integrating mobility, and by allowing people to change their minds on their own ideals over time, perhaps throughout their life course or by influences on each other, with a sustainable version of whatever culture they want anywhere in the bioregional state.

Bioregional statists generally place their hopes in many baskets simultaneously for their synergistic effects like the below, without any specific order:

- first, in a combination of more decentralized means of direct democracy in specific institutional forms designed to avoid gatekept decision making and politics based on exclusions (like in the CDIs and CEIs, instead of in unstructured abstract ideals of libertarian municipalism, citizens' assemblies, trade unions, and workers' councils that offer little institutional ideas on how to avoid their own gatekeeping themselves); and

- second, the first point is a means to start on the regional level the cultural Ecological Reformation of the four institutions regionally (states, sciences/education/religion, finance, and consumption) as a greater lever for building ongoing real world regional checks and balances later against the world’s pre-existing heritage in corrupt, larger, supply-side biased and gatekept institutions that cause environmental degradation. These regional changes in CDIs, in CEIs, and regional forms of the culture of Ecological Reformation in these four areas, are seen as part of a long-term social movement for regional betterment and as contributing toward the larger checks and balances “to make a more perfect union” within wider abstract state jurisdictional power over time to remove all past political unions' history of being a route only of human and environmental degradation because they were unrepresentative and based on supply-side gatekeeping.

Bioregional statism has some features of Bookchin’s Libertarian municipalism, which is a political program developed by libertarian socialist theorist Murray Bookchin, to create democratic citizens' assemblies in towns and urban neighborhoods. The assemblies in these free municipalities join together to replace the state with a confederation. Bioregional statism is larger than this in the Ecological Reformation conceptions for changes beyond mere political institutions—across states, sciences/education/religion, finance, and consumption/materials/technologies—and larger than this by suggesting common institutional frameworks to avoid future corruption and gatekeeping in such citizens assemblies via using the organizations of the CDIs and CEIs.

Bookchin argued that a 'dual' power of regional groups versus the larger state would innately be against the larger state frameworks. His libertarian municipalism uses this strategy of dual power (a concept drawn from Trotsky's History of the Russian Revolution) to create a situation in which two powers—the municipal confederations and the nation-state—cannot coexist. In a contrary interpretation, for Bioregional statists, the dual power here leads only to affirmitization: the pragmatic increasing representative effects upon the larger level and the regional level in interaction, as a novel form of regional political, material, and cultural checks and balance against gatekeeping political elites and supply-side biased decisions on any level, as well as an ecological check and balance through regions having more embedded ecological self-interests in maintaining themselves in certain regions less like the larger distanciated political elites across multiple areas that are only interested in their durable clientelism strategies regardless of whether they are sustainable and durable for themselves, or degradative and self-destructive even of themselves.

Another differentiation between Bookchin’s views and Bioregional statism concerns Bookchin’s Communalism. While Bookchin long placed libertarian municipalism within the framework of political Anarchism, in the late 1990s he broke with anarchism and in his final essay, "The Communalist Project" (2003), identified libertarian municipalism as the main component of Communalism.

Communalists believe that libertarian municipalism is both the means to achieve a rational society and structure of that society. Communalism (spelled with a capital C to differentiate it from other forms) is a form of anarchism political philosophy coined by author and activist Murray Bookchin as a political system to complement his environmental philosophy of social ecology. Communalism proposes that markets and money be abolished and that land and enterprises - i.e., private property - be placed increasingly in the custody of the community--more precisely, the custody of citizens in free assemblies and their delegates in confederal councils. However, Communalists retain respect for personal property. The planning of work, the choice of technologies, the management and distribution of goods are seen as questions that can only be resolved in practice.

In differentiation from Communalism, bioregional statists more pragmatically feel that instead of abolishing money and markets, these issues simply be brought into a larger system of checks and balances—with multiple monies being acceptable in legal tender and in taxation to keep one particular currency from being politically dominant. In such a situation the managers of such a currency choice enhance the material and institutional properties of the currency choice to maintain its monopoly on exchange value (and its clients using it). In a context of multiple legal tenders, public and private, if one group of money/currency managers unfairly manipulates the scale or value of a common currency so much as to reduce its simultaneous social function as a store of value, there are other options of currency immediately and innately to utilize to give the consumer and citizen the best deal for store of value. Therefore, any particular clientelistic and impoverishing stratagem via a currency manipulation only takes place because of its monopolized characteristic on other choices of currency. That manipulation and forced clientelism to use a certain currency simply becomes unworkable when people are given innately plural choices of currencies as the base of their social relations, each of them equally legal tender public and private. This means multiple legal monies in a market of different monies for the same payments being acceptable, with at least one issued from the regional/watershed level and at least one issued from a larger intermediate cross-bioregional level (like a state government’s currency), as well as any larger national or international trading currencies removed from the jurisdiction of the larger abstract state exactly like other material issues, placing it instead under the jurisdiction of multiple state governments now forced to come to more transparent democratic agreements on scale and value of their abstract money, because all people always have other options on the regional levels as a store of value if their money manipulation destroys the value of the currency. Such a set of institutionalized monies in the plural means each can be equally used and equally acceptable for all debts public and private, and it additionally means the trading and arbitrage of currencies between different regions pegged to each other. It is the lack of state acceptance of monies for taxation officially that keeps most smaller scale or even private currencies from being stable. However, once multiple currencies are all legal tender in even taxation, the check and balance principle of the state and the dynamic of exchange value versus store of value in a currency (the financial version of the supply versus demand conflicts) is much different and more in parity and open to people choosing the currency that suits them best for the particular application leading to less currency manipulation being successful.

The same check and balance arrangement goes for markets as well, in the consumptive version of supply versus demand conflicts being resolved. Instead of abolishing markets, this would only create a supply-side triage bias and novel basis for state corruption in the use of public property that de facto becomes state elite’s private property monopoly in its administration because people lack other choices thus it remains potentially for unchecked private corrupt uses of state elites. To the contrary, to keep both public and private property from being sources of supply-side consolidation, corruption and monopoly (that are always very intertwined) there is both public and private property allowed in frameworks of different material sectors (92 of them in the whole Commodity Ecology). Other ideas for blending public/private participation in institutional ownership would be bionationalization and public regional state investment and holding of stocks to 51% (as attempted in Bolivia for instance though on the more corruptible national level). This in this view of markets or state ownership, what is avoided is a complete supply-side monopolization, triage, and gatekeeping that leads toward human and environmental degradation. This can be seen whether the property monopoly is organized purely privately or publicly. On the contrary, in the bioregional state, some forms of novel ‘nationalization’ are only built into this model of regional ‘bionationalization’ with any nationalization capacities of larger states or abstract governments--these jurisdictions being removed. Such multiple regional ‘bionationalization’ can at most only be a mixed public/private frameworks of property in some fashion to avoid any form of monopolization regionally as well, public or private. Such a mixed economy-based ‘bionationalization’ is both a check and balance on supply-side corruptions that can come from both purist state monopolies in property (whether regional or national) or purist private monopolies in property. Instead, both public and private property, in a mixed economy of both private and (regional only) public institutional participation in any larger material endeavors, is required in a bioregional statistic view.

Since the bioregion/watershed as a culture (expressed through the CDI culturally/ideologically and through the CEI in practice materially) increasingly has the jurisdiction over material and technological applications and interactions, private property becomes an issue increasingly based upon the mutual jurisdictions and feelings of the cultural interactions of the CDI and the CEI. In other words the common cultural debate in a watershed in an open-ended fashion over the dynamics of the direction and institutional custody of the watershed/region is more precisely the debate and feedback upon the custody of it in the citizens in the CEI derived from their 92 supply side participants in the CEI’s confederal councils that build into each other and have group authority on maintaining themselves in a sustainable manner. (See bioregional state blog post about commodity ecology, link Like Bookchin’s Communalists, in this way bioregional statists retain respect for personal property. The planning of work, the choice of technologies, the management and distribution of goods are seen as questions that can only be resolved in practice between realistic regional-only supply-side coteries of groups that actually handle the particular materials and technologies on their regional level on a daily basis. The "absentee landlord" phenomenon and its degradative potential in history is minimized. The CEI encourages regional suppliers to develop and to maintain their regional local knowledge of their own material flows in interaction with each other, to interlace their manufactures and creations with each other and with their ongoing changing local ecology. Additionally, the more regional supply-sided CEI is encouraged to have interactions between the more widespread open cultural (more demand-sided though hardly required to be) CDI organization. The CEIs and the CDIs are additionally seen as dual institutions on the local level in a check and balance relationships between supply and demand politically, though there is little limitation on anyone joining the CDI, and the only limitation on membership in the CEI is to be a creator/manufacturer of something in a particular category, as an open meeting.

While Bookchin felt that Communalism would be a society where needs are guided by rational and ecological standards, and where the ancient notions of limit and balance replace the capitalist imperative of "grow or die," Bioregional statists see nothing wrong with expansion of scale of manufacturing or trade across regions as long as it is maintained within ecological contexts of the CEI arrangements of the regional level. If it deviates, there are actual institutional means via the CEI (as well as cultural means within the CDI) to foment opposition and removal of such supply-side bias). Bioregional statists argue that Bookchin bases his work on eco-marxism which is based on an innate ideological opposition between economics and ecology, while bioregional statism bases itself on a variant of ecological modernization which means that economic expansion can occur with the environment in mind in certain situations of well chosen materials and processes of manufacture or agriculture while other poorly chosen frameworks can easily degrade the environment. This variant of ecological modernization however is hardly economic reductionistic because it argues that any degrading comes from unchecked politics of supply side interests (political state or material/technological economic, or in other institutions) demoting the power of demand interests of consumers and citizens, instead of degradation being something innately to do with economic relations only or primarily, like eco-marxists argue. To the contrary, unrepresentative politics across a number of institutions is primate: it causes degradation and corrupted market relations by protecting supply-side consolidated degradation from any feedback from citizens and consumers, whether by gatekeeping or by repressive violence of exclusion of their voices in states, in educational settings, in consumptive arenas, or in financial services. So political participation and removal of gatekeeping and corruption in many institutions (see Ecological Reformation) is crucial in sustainability. Corruption creates degradation by making a degradative policy and developmental process be enhanced and protected from critique. Greater representation in institutions creates sustainability.

Bookchin, who was once renowned as an influential thinker of social anarchism for much of his life, beginning in 1995, became increasingly critical of political anarchism, and in 1999 took a decisive stand against anarchist ideology. He came to recognize his political beliefs as a genuinely new form of libertarian socialism, and positioned its politics firmly in the framework of a new political ideology. In 1995, Bookchin lamented the decline of American anarchism into primitivism, anti-technologism, neo-situationism, individual self-expression, and "ad hoc adventurism," at the expense of forming a social movement. Arthur Verslius said, "Bookchin... describes himself as a 'social anarchist' because he looks forward to a (gentle) societal revolution....Bookchin has lit out after those whom he terms 'lifestyle anarchists.'" The publication of "Social Anarchism or Lifestyle Anarchism" in 1995, criticizing this tendency, was startling to anarchists. Thereafter Bookchin concluded that American anarchism was essentially individualistic and broke with anarchism publicly in 1999. He placed his ideas into a new political ideology: Communalism (spelled with a capital "C" to differentiate it from other forms of communalism), a form of libertarian socialism that retains his ideas about assembly democracy and the necessity of decentralization of settlement, power/money/influence, agriculture, manufacturing, etc.

Another difference between Bioregional statism and Bookchin is that Bookchin argued that the arena for libertarian social change should be the municipal level only. Bioregional statists argue for the arena to be wider on the watershed level (in two additional specific institutions, the CEIs and the CDIs per watershed), as well as in four different institutional arrangements as part of the larger cultural and material nested change to be taking place in the wider Ecological Reformation in all institutions.

Bookchin’s libertarian municipalism is seen not merely an effort simply to “take over” city and municipal councils to construct a more “environmentally friendly” government, but rather an effort to transform and democratize these structures, to root them in popular assemblies and to knit them together along confederal lines to appropriate a regional economy. Libertarian municipalism intends to create a situation in which the two powers — the municipal confederations and the nation-state — cannot coexist. Communalists hold that this is a method to achieve a liberated society. To the contrary, bioregional statism sees such developments as one stage on a framework toward the modular state described below, and toward a more representative state and its many other representative cultural institutions, and as the beginnings of a slow change of feedback versus frameworks of the more supply-side biased larger state that over time will have greater representation. Bookchin is seen as being naïve about what occurs when two different municipalities in his confederation have conflicts and seemed unable to solve what happens when such 'popular assemblies' themselves become gatekeepers. They are unresolved in such a situation potentially, and that yields to degradation continuing, as well as toward greater calls for unrepresentative powers to decide the issue. Therefore the development of the larger state is maintained as having a use for such confederational bioregionalism, and the bioregional state thus concentrates on various institutional arrangements to aid in the removal of ongoing gatekeeping on all levels of power.

Another common element between Bookchin and the bioregional statists are their awareness of that a post-scarcity economics is real though bioregional statists concentrate on opening to the world many supply-side banned technologies that already exist to allow this to occur—though currently banned both by many corrupt central governments and banned by equally large private institutions. Bioregional statists within this post-scarcity economics orientation have institutional aims as well: to build specifically organized commodity ecologies on the regional level to make it happen.
On the point about the wider welfare state in the bioregional state, thus bioregional statism is a more institutionalized merging of both Communalism and social democracy. Social democracy is a reformist democratic socialist political ideology. Social democracy supports universal legal entitlements in social rights for citizens. These are made up of universal access to public services such as: workers' compensation, retirement pensions, universal health care, universal education, maternity/paternity leave, and other services such as child care and care for the elderly. The history of social democracy is connected with the trade union labor movement and supports collective bargaining rights for workers, though equally the history of social democracy is connected with successful fast economically developing states worldwide that combined expanded economic globalization with strengthening domestic social democracy instead of these being at odds. (Within the bioregional state of course it is quite possible for other regions to reject this financial subsidization association just as it is possible for other regions to accept it.) Contemporary social democracy advocates freedom from gatekeeping discrimination based on differences of: ability/disability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, language, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Within ecological modernization and post-scarcity economics, the Bioregional state’s 'cross-bioregional social democracy' is additionally pro-development, pro-welfare state, and pro-ecological simultaneously instead of finding these at odds with each other. The more sustainable the ecology and the smarter the integration of material creation and ecology, the more scale of the economy is possible. It really is just a question of throwing the bums out who gatekeep sustainability from us politically out of a desire to keep people in clientelistic control via their socially created artificial scarcities of ideas and materials.

Bioregional statism is wider than social democracy in this sense of a secure common platform of universal civil rights combined with the different regionalized material/technological and post-scarcity frameworks. The regionalized democratic frameworks have jurisdiction over local ecology, materials, land tenure, technological applications, and their integration. The larger frameworks of multiple regions have temporary jurisdiction over cross-region pollution where the downstream polluted region has innate jurisdiction within another region upstream for a particular damaging flow from any upstream pollution, to its source, enforceable by that region and as back up only, by the support of the larger state. In such a situation the victimized downstream bioregion can vote in the additional CDIs and CEIs of the offending region until the degradative issue is solved in that region upstream. "No degradation without representation." Thus cross-regional issues morph and change based on particular arrangements of offenses and are invented ad hoc when required to address particular judicial and representational issues instead of the line drawing of jurisdictions encouraging unecological feedback (as in this example: [1] [2]) or instead of the downstream regions lacking any jurisdictional capacities in the event of degradation from upstream. The larger level of the abstract state's (revolving) jurisdiction is mostly reserved for organizing wider redistributionary flows of social democracy or defense—whether welfare statism or emergency response—and assuring that the regional differences of ideologies in the arrangements of communities still protect common universal civil rights of their common peoples throughout the bioregional state.

There is as well the right of secession as well as a last resort of checks and balances of any particular state or watershed, though the benefits of various links are positives keeping them together to work out their differences or potential repercussions upon each other. However, the right of secession is paramount in maintaining this reality of regionalism. The bioregional state book describes some processes in which secession can occur as an end result, capable of forcing realistic changes in a conflict management processes of larger frameworks if they are corrupted (along the previous four lines of the larger abstract state’s corruption for instance).

In the bioregional state, such ecologically regional Communalism is the appropriate ground floor of the larger social democratic and 'smaller' multiple bioregional ecologically modernizing edifices, though with much greater concerns for checks and balances on the larger level and greater mistrust for its potential centralizing corruptions than most variants of statist social democracy has.

On History

Whitaker and Bookchin have differences of opinion about the universal history of environmental degradation. Whitaker’s sense of the state is part of the ongoing affirmitization instead of something entirely ungermane to sustainability. Unlike Bookchin, Whitaker argues there are “no [regionally Edenic] organic societies”—that humans even at the small scale have a history of environmental degradation, and that this regional degradation is both organizational as well as part of our innate human ability to network and to be multi-regionally omnivores and highly mobile. As a species, this places us always somewhat on top of ecology instead of within it by our very genetics, culture, physical mobility, and propensity or capacity to change food/diet arrangements. (Whitaker mentioned this as early as 1999 in earlier drafts of Ecological Revolution (2009). Unlike Bookchin’s ideals that are based on a  mythic “organic society,” Whitaker feels our human history is one of our ongoing development of ecologically self-interested feedback into both our unrepresentative regional institutions and our mostly unrepresentative larger networked institutions. This is the history of humans opposing other humans when the latter degrades the former. Bookchin ignores that much of human history is actually regional versus regional warfare and domination of different regions, instead of his assumptions of multiple peaceful presumed “organic” societies mythically disrupted by a larger state. So in contrast to Bookchin who sees human history as some kind of ‘good regionalism’ versus innately ‘bad cross-regionalism,’ for Whitaker our degradative history is an issue of our species itself being cross-ecological, combined with bad human regions versus other bad human regions, and combined with our attempts at organizationally attempting to provide the feedback into these degradative organizational patterns. This has tended to form a predictable patterned dynamic of multiple humans in multiple regions effectively resisting or making more representative an unrepresentative state--or making their regions more representative as well institutionally. 

Thus much of the history of the human species is the attempt to make our innate cross-ecological networked capacities more representative and sustainable on the regional level (there was “no Eden” that was already perfect) or by working to do the same institutionally on the larger delocalized, distanciated level of human networks. A past of stable Edenic ‘Bookchinite organic societies’ were instead of innately mythically democratic and sustainable, mostly indeed quite hierarchal, biased, sometimes quite degradative in and of themselves and hardly always being egalitarian regional ‘good guys’ in the human history of stratification. Much about the larger state has encouraged that more individualized egalitarianism against regional cultural repressions, to the contrary of Bookchin's assumptions. 

Thus unlike Bookchin argues, larger states are hardly a ‘strange departure’ from his mythic “organic societies,” they are just a wider institutional continuation us working out our innate external ecological relations conflicts and cooperations with each other on ever larger levels of space and scale—just further removed than before, to a distanciated level. The state arises out of the conflicts of the local level interactions fighting typically, and one larger group takes jurisdiction over others in a pseudo-functionalist fashion (meaning, doing it for itself as well as attempting to make a more functional stability for itself in clientelism by taking on at least partially the interests of its clients despite its own selfish interest of usurpation of its clients as well. Any larger consolidating elites are thus pseudo-functionalistic by being forced to do some form of mutual alliance with those they dominate hoping to form a particular institutional arrangement that gives it gatekeeping power over the terms and the gatekeeping of this alliance while providing some form of short term consumptive and ideological/cultural ambivalence in those it has repressed hoping to keep them disorganized across their multiple-regional levels by: [1] some modicum of social mobility (of at least their elites), [2] some material distribution, and [3] some (however limited) respect of their local cultural forms, typically reinterpreted to make the usurping criminal elites the ‘natural leadership’ of local cultural forms instead of being seen equally as their destroyers. This material and ideological co-option of regional allegiances to form larger jurisdictions is an unstable ongoing relationship. It is a jurisdictional juggling of consumptive and ideological ambivalence of people who are both repressed and gatekept against yet limitedly integrated into larger institutional arrangements.

The gatekept larger confederation elites hope to tailor people in the future by such changes of institutions on the local level to raise people to be pliant, ambivalent, and unorganized supporters who have internalized the values of their conquerors instead of remain autonomous in culture, action, and institutions as political participants against them. This jurisdictional alliance is done typically with religious/ideological/cultural appeals as well as material distribution appeals, combined with a lot of violence or brinkmanship of threats of it, and combined with co-option and integration of regional elites into larger networks to gatekeep against such regional elites being leaders for their own autonomous region of jurisdiction anymore. This works in the short run--as pacification creates consumptive expansion once more that suits many locally though in this short term issue there is an internal contradiction in the positional alliance between distanciated delocalized elites and multiple regionalist groups since each each want to make the jurisdictional and institutionalized alliance of mobility and material distribution serve them the best. As the gatekept alliance tends to bring more risk and degradation over time, the alliance and jurisdiction itself is frayed. People may move to another jurisdictional belief, or elites might recover their capacities to provide a better leadership deal to maintain local ambivalence. Typically though the larger spatial elites, though greater violence and gatekeeping of the regional feedback, 'adapt' by greater repression to gets the best deal from this alliance arrangement as it is increasingly challenged. This slowly removes the material risk demotion and cultural legitimacy aspect of the alliance. Instead the jurisdiction is what starts to encourage an expansion of risk and a delegitimation of elites simultaneously, culturally. This jurisdictional deal encourages a politicized consumptive consolidation. This encourages multi-regional reevaluations of their loyalties and thus helps foment jurisdictional change toward different regional elites once more. Since elites fight against each other on the delocalized level as well, other equally gatekeeping aristocratic elites are willing to pose as novel leaders of the dispossessed to uptake any regional people who are desperate to flee previous jurisdictions that bring risk into their lives as merely a stratagem to push them into their own equally risk-creating gatekept jurisdictions. Sooner or later (typically later), the regional groups understand that only their own autonomy or a larger representative framework with legitimate elites and a more sustainable material world is in their interest. They mobilize this environmental and material politics through nascent religious movements that reject the previous elites. However, later, novel elites might be successful in co-opting that framework typically and repress people back into unrepresentative hierarchies and unrepresentative cultural forms--because the previous movement was divided cross-regionally and was more easily demoted in wider military consolidation of jurisdiction later.

This is a repeating cycle of human and environmental suffering. This is the typical history of the world. However, once we know about it we have a means to interrupt the cycle with more representative responses, in a common multi-regional opposition, instead of merely in a divided and easily conquered regional opposition alone. This sounds very much like Bookchin's 'dual power' argument, though it is toward erecting an even more representative series of nested institutions on the regional level as well as through to the abstract level of state instead of stopping on the local level.

If Bookchin argued--

"In lieu of becoming “nature rendered self-conscious” and raising “evolution to a level of self reflexivity that has always been latent in the very emergence of the natural world," humans created an irrational society that undermine[d] its own cultural accomplishments, impose[d] needless miseries on vast swaths of the population, and threaten[ed] the very survival of the ecosystem."

--Then Whitaker argues that in the short term of human history it made temporary sense to form or at least to more passively accept particular common jurisdictional alliances between distanciated groups and regional others because to the contrary multiple regional so called “organic societies” were fighting at each other’s throats and degrading quite well by themselves instead of were living peaceably. (See Carniero 1970 on the 'non-Bookchin' origins of the state). Such integrations however, in practice without a clear institutional ideal for removing gatekeeping, could just add yet another layer of unrepresentative larger violence to the unrepresentative regional violence instead of solving the multi-regional conflicts issues at all. Typically being unrepresentative, these institutional relationships were processed by changes in human support mostly into other equally typical unrepresentative forms of jurisdictional tyranny that increasingly lost a risk demotion aspect toward more and more repressive arrangements of jurisdictions that enhanced risks and demoted participation.

Unlike Bookchin argued, human history is hardly “10 millennia of pointless change.” Though it has been similar in its repeating human and environmental suffering, one issue is that it has been getting larger and larger in jurisdictional scales, and second, many positive “ecological revolutionary” movements have occurred both because of such a larger state arrangement as well as against it. Both have enriched our humanity immeasurably with greater equal human identification capacities and institutional protections, with peace movements, and with wider ethical systems that were less limited to particular (fake) “organic societies” on the local level that were really at each other’s throats all the while. That was an inherent deficiency or hypocrisy of them that made them easy to conquer instead of as Bookchin seems to assume them being historically aligned or having much in common cross-regionally. Such ecological revolutionary movements--both developed from the larger state and against it--developed novel institutional arrangements like group property frameworks or representative religious elites and developed into an extension of our common human identity to an abstract level by treating strangers with common ethics (whereas once “organic societies” would have killed such a neighbor on sight perhaps). However, the unrepresentative qualities of this larger level equally has enhanced degradation and enhanced human and environmental suffering over time as well. At the same moment it has made possible our collective identities and human sharing of identities and empathies by demoting or at least moderating the history of multiple regional autarky and by breaking up or at least providing cultural and institutional participation alternatives against a more exclusivist regionalism in identities. This is toward wider identities yet at the same moment it has been degrading us materially. It is possible to fix this issue where we can have regional identities and wider identities simultaneously within a larger nested sustainable framework. 

If we are unable to do it, Whitaker predicts merely a repetition of human and environmental suffering along the same path as before at ever larger scales without anything being solved on how to institutionally remove the gatekeeping and supply-side bias of the whole arrangement of inequitable political power both regionally and supra-regionally that have historically linked together to defend each other's lack of representation. This is a history of elite-to-base alliances, of jurisdictional arrangements as typically unrepresentative political alliances defending an elite's unrepresentative prerogatives against those who would make both levels more representative and thus make jurisdictions more representative in turn.

Whitaker believes that if nothing is done toward bioregional statism and how it makes jurisdictions more representative, we can predict the remainder of human history as a repetition of its past “trialectical” forms that only expand the scale of human and environmental suffering.

Whitaker instead of building an informal “revolutionary cadre” like Bookchin wanted, believes in the power of institutionalized arrangements, and concentrates his life in academic publishing settings, curricular changes, real world material/technological design changes, and money changes as far more important than informal individual activist groups by themselves because institutions turn out people repeatedly—long after a “software programmer” is gone. Whitaker sees himself as one of these institutional designers, thus a hardware designer—hardware meaning institutions and institutional interactions—and a designer with a profound respect of both the accomplishments of regionalism and larger frameworks in history that lets people build their own software of beliefs within a larger framework.

Another disagreement between Bookchin and Whitaker is that Whitaker feels it’s hardly “capitalism” or "the concept of the state" that is destroying the environment and ecology and brining about inequalities: it is unrepresentative states and supply-side biased dynamics of gatekeeping elites that are stratifying society based on corrupt uses of their power to aggrandize themselves privately and publicly by gatekeeping against checks and balances in politics and culture and economics in multiple regions, and by corrupting material economics in the process and turning it to their state clientelistic purposes by reducing our choices and enforcing an artificial scarcity to keep people in their pointless lines of clientelism. These clientelisms are pointless because they involve us in actually circular cycles of human and environmental degradation that destroys their own leadership even in time).

Thus bioregional statism is founded on another form of universal history. Marx offered one. Bookchin offered another. Whitaker offers another. You might call it an appreciation of Foucauldian state power and supply side issues across any institutions meet Baudrillardian mass consumer issues throughout human and environmental history in interaction: supply and mass demand in environmental interaction.
For Bookchin, in such a municipal economy – confederal, interdependent, and rational by ecological, not only technological, standards – Communalists hold that the special interests that divide people today into workers, professionals, managers, capitalist owners and so on would be melded into a general interest (a social interest) in which people see themselves as citizens guided strictly by the needs of their community and region rather than by personal proclivities and vocational concerns. Here, it is hoped, citizenship would come into its own, and rational as well as ecological interpretations of the public good would supplant class and hierarchical interests. Whitaker on the contrary, felt that ongoing conflicts are innate and even better to have for figuring out the dynamics of how a particular institutionalized framework of ecology, culture, materials, and technology should historically be changed over time in an open future.


In short, political philosophies like bioregional statism have little commonalities with any philosophy directly because there are so many fanatically abstract oppressive ideas that have been invented in politics that all look like. On the contrary, Bioregional statism has drawn inspiration from comparative historical analysis of the social organizational difficulties of long term social degradation and environmental degradation as intermixed.

Ideologically, bioregional statism is designed as a check on singular utopian ideologies since if any get in a complete informal domination jurisdictionally, it becomes a gatekeeping arrangement that is violently maintaining itself. Thus any ‘purist good idea’ starts to create a dystopian and corrupting arrangement regardless of their claimed origins. Ongoing conflict on ideals on the contrary is a useful form of checks and balances that preserves an open future of deliberation and institutional enhancement.

If Bookchin drew on Trotskyism, Bioregional statism draws on other themes like cultural Hellenization. Instead of a Bookchin like Trotskyism built into a drive of self-committed revolutionary violence run by destroyers and mere re-erectors of tyranny, bioregional statists believe in a global region-by-region addition of peaceful institutional and cultural strategies (via CDIs and CEIs, and other Ecological Reformation cultural and institutional changes); they believe in better regionally chosen materials and technologies (integrated in an ongoing way via CEIs), better uses of multiple currencies and “released” material and technological issues for post-scarcity economics, and believe in wider checks and balances for existing institutional frameworks (in the wider Ecological Reformation).

Instead of influenced by Trotskyite ideas or backgrounds from which Bookchin springs, Bioregional statism is better described as having a Hellenization background, a global bioregional hellenization of cultural frameworks and the slow rational convincing of people of the soundness of adapting all their institutional arrangements into wider checks and balances that combines a shared common decentralization of culture, materials, and additions of checks and balances adapted to the particular area and suited to its own pace of change for adaptation of the larger levels over the region, instead of violently added or subtracted via revolutionary action that only would create its own authoritarian corruption. Such a path of revolutionary/reactionary dynamics is avoided in the Ecological Reformation. This means a Bioregional Hellenistic expansion of widened checks and balances in the state as well as checks and balances in the sciences/education, consumptive, and financial arenas instead of only in state issues. It means a wider change in culture as well as institutions, and how cultural additions like the CDI or the CEI in any region can formulate real world material changes later.

Bioregional statism is a cultural, political, material/technological, and ecological reformation that influences multiple institutions to be more ecologically rational and more rational in maintaining nested senses of jurisdiction. This is contrasted to other movements that promote only consolidated jurisdictions (whether “all regional” or “all statist”) that bring about corruption, supply-side gatekeeping and thus bring about human and ecological degradation as state protected overtime out of their corruptions—corruptions encouraged without the bioregional state.

For an example of differences of approach by bioregional statists to people who believe in global government, other people believe in a world state and they think that the previous levels have been rendered pointless or have delegitimated themselves—or they are fanatical revolutionaries attempting to make the more regional or national governments intentionally malfunction by their infiltration. They believe and anticipate that a larger framework creates solutions, and they attempt to destroy more than they create in this way with this expectation. However what if they are wrong in their expectations?

Bioregional statists feel that the previous levels have been problems only because they have been lacking checks and balances and that making a larger world state is just to make larger difficulties with an even larger lack of check and balances on supply-side tyrannies of managerial power and far more easily gatekept power. Bioregional statists believe in multiple regional jurisdictions, then evanescent modular states on the supra-bioregional level, keeping these levels of abstract states without material jurisdictions and thus keeping them mostly for conflict management instead of for corruptible material ownership purposes.

Such larger grouped modular states, built from different bioregionally hellenized regions, are capable of being formed, divided, unified, separated, and unified once more over time in an ongoing fluxing of supra-watershed agreements with regions having the rights to succession to show that these larger abstract supra-regional frameworks are the temporary fey issues in world history and in human civics while the bioregional levels maintain itself as the only completely real, stable, and ‘polytopian’ arrangement. It's true, read this book. For some examples, see some films about some long term bioregions in Europe that are much older than their fey temporary state governments at the larger level.

The bioregional state is featured in the upcoming book Polytopia (in planing), a novel based on living in such an arrangement of multiple real places (poly-topia) escaping from such a dystopian repetitive cycle of history built from beliefs in the artificiality of a singular utopia (no where) that tends, if applied in the real world, to become a repressive dystopian tyranny in practice as it  interprets itself otherwise. This false utopianism of idolizing singular ideals becomes its own self-justified dystopia. This pattern can be seen throughout human history. I argue it goes for both Bookchin’s ideas on one side to those who believe in a global government on the other side. Only modular institutional additions across many areas will get us to sustainability via a more representative nested series of institutions, in which the larger frameworks are indeed there though are more dematerialized because their materialism can be the origin of their corruption; while the regional ones are more materialized and given more jurisdiction over these issues. This is because while multiple regions are our sustainable salvation in finding multiple different manners to integrate ourselves into the ecologies at hand, we are innately wrapped up in finding solutions to potential regional corruptions and cross-regional integrations as well by using the larger levels.


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