Concepts for a Democratic and Ecological Society – Book Review

A book review, written by Brian Tokar, of Concepts for a Democratic and Ecological Society (authored by Yavor Tarinski, Zer0 Books, 2022).

In his past writings, the Bulgarian social activist and political researcher Yavor Tarinski has demonstrated a singular talent for explaining concepts in political and social theory in an engaging and highly accessible manner. Now he has put forward a compelling manifesto for radically transforming society toward a non-statist model of ecological direct democracy.

This work draws substantially upon Tarinski’s two main influences, the social theorists and critics Cornelius Castoriadis and Murray Bookchin, and also synthesizes ideas from such well-known thinkers as Hannah Arendt, David Graeber, Elinor Ostrom, David Harvey, and a host of other European and international sources.

Tarinski’s text examines the fundamental conflict between democratic aspirations and the imposed norms of capitalism, the potential for directly democratic and ecologically designed cities, the imperative to renew the commons, and the prospects for a genuine solidarity economy to overturn the ravages of capitalist economic growth.

He critiques bureaucratic, technocratic, and conspiracist tendencies both in mainstream discourse and on the Left, and offers a compelling and uplifting vision of a thoroughly transformed social order.

This book is an important contribution to the expanding international literature in social ecology and democratic theory, and deserves to be read and discussed widely.

April 2, 2022

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