This article was presented as the keynote speech to the conference “The Politics of Social Ecology: Libertarian Municipalism” held in Plainfield, Vermont, U.S.A., on August 26-29, 1999. The speech has been revised for publication. This article originally appeared in Left Green Perspectives (Number 41, January 2000). Some issues have recently arisen in discussions of libertarian municipalism, and I would like to offer my views on them. One of the most important involves the distinction that should be drawn between libertarian municipalism and communitarianism, a distinction that is often lost in discussions of politics.
All the old crap of the thirties is coming back again–the shit about the “class line,” the “role of the working class,” the “trained cadres,” the “vanguard party,” and the “proletarian dictatorship.” It’s all back again, and in a more vulgarized form than ever. The Progressive Labor Party is not the only example, it is merely the worst. One smells the same shit in various offshoots of SDS, and in the Marxist and Socialist clubs on campuses, not to speak of the Trotskyist groups, the International Socialist Clubs and the Youth Against War and Fascism.