Murray Bookchin – The Idea of Citizenship (excerpt)

Greek Left Review

Excerpts from Murray Bookchin’s book From Urbanization to Cities (p. 62-81, New York: Cassel)

published at


The Greeks may have been the first people to give us a clear image of the citizen in any politically intelligible sense of the term. Tribal people form social groups – families, clans, personal and community alliances, sororal and fraternal clubs, vocational and totemic societies, and the like. They may assemble regularly to examine and decide communal affairs – certainly a nascent form of politics – but the issues that confront them rarely deal with ways and means of governing themselves. Custom plays a paramount role in establishing their norms for community management; discourse beyond direct argumentation, occupies a place secondary to the enormous authority of precedence and long-established administrative procedures. Nor is this approach to be disdained as trivial or ”primitive”. Group safety and stability require that the community preserve the old, well-tested…

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