Just so you can get a little flavor of the ISE, take a look at some interesting quotes from some of the faculty.
"It is crucial that the debate continue to push beyond the limits of what can be documented scientifically."
-- Brian Tokar, Institute for Social Ecology faculty member and Northeast RAGE co-founder, writing about the "unique dangers" of genetically improved foods
"I broke with the Communists, because of their Popular Front line "I was on the extreme Left."
-- Murray Bookchin, Founder, Institute for Social Ecology
"We offer our perspectives as social anarchists in hopes of radicalizing the content of this conversation."
-- Institute for Social Ecology's retrospective booklet published (in June 2000) to glorify the violent 1999 anti-WTO protests in Seattle
"We must free ourselves of 'Internalized Capitalism': the belief that capitalism is 'natural', inevitable, unstoppable."
-- Chaia Heller, Institute for Social Ecology faculty member, in her essay "Revving it Up!: the Revolutionary Potential of the New Anti-Globalization Movement"
From the ISE website http://www.social-ecology.org/:
The mission of the Institute for Social Ecology (ISE) is the creation of educational experiences that enhance people's understanding of their relationship to the natural world and each other. By necessity, this involves the ISE in programs that deepen students' awareness of self and others, help them to think critically, and expand their perception of the creative potentialities for human action. The purpose of the ISE's programs is the preparation of well-rounded students who can work effectively as participants in the process of ecological reconstruction.
It all sounds so nice and peaceful and benign. How could anyone not like this place? Here is some info that is just below the surface.
Co-founder, Faculty member, & Director Emeritus
Murray Bookchin (1921-2006)
Professor emeritus, Ramapo College of New Jersey; long-time advocate of societal anarchy; teaches ISE course on "Social Ecology".
Capitalism is a social cancer. It has always been a social cancer. It is the disease of society. It is the malignancy of society, says Murray Bookchin, a red diaper baby now old enough to wear Depends. Bookchin has been a mainstay of the radical-left fringe since the 1930's, when he joined the Communist youth movement as a child in New York. He was active in the Congress of Industrial Organizations back when it was still dominated by Communists, and was a leading U.S. Trotskyite throughout the Depression era.
Seeking a niche in the movement after World War II, Bookchin published the essay "The Problem of Chemicals in Food" in 1952, followed by Our Synthetic Environment a decade later. Deeply involved in counter cultural and New Left movements almost from their inception according to one biography, Bookchin co-founded ISE in 1974 after the Sixties' tumult died down. Though Bookchin is now semi-retired, he continues to teach courses at ISE and sits on the editorial advisory board of Anarchist Studies.
Bookchin's many tracts include Death of a Small Planet, Deep Ecology, Anarcho-Syndicalism and the Future of Anarchist Thought, Popular Politics vs. Party Politics, and Radical Politics in an Era of Advanced Capitalism.
ISE graduate and member of "Communards" group; financial supporter, Institute for Anarchist Studies.
Associate Director, Institute for Social Ecology; founding member, Center School (VT) Montessori
Executive Director & Faculty member
Board member, Institute for Anarchist Studies; faculty member, Goddard College; advisory board member, Democracy and Nature journal; teaches ISE courses on "Science, Technology, the State, and Globalization".
Take a look at the fine faculty at the
"Institute for Social Ecology"
Lorita Adkins, director of finances at the ISE since 2002, has been involved with the Maplehill School for the last 30 years, and currently serves as its director of operations as well as liaison between the academic program at Maplehill Farm. Ms. Adkins also works with Maplehill students on conflict resolution skills, culinary arts, and Aikido.
Ashanti Alston, presently the Northeast regional coordinator for Critical Resistance, is a former member of both the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army, and was a political prisoner for over 12 years. Currently, he is a member of Estacion Libre, a people of color Zapatista support group, as well as a board member for the Institute for Anarchist Studies. Mr. Alston also authors the zine Anarchist Panther.
... a member of the Black Panther Party and Black Liberation Army. Without labeling these organizations as "Terrorists", these groups are not exactly known for their tolerance of others, especially those that disagree with their agenda or methods... or just white people in general.
Faculty member, Columbia University Teachers College; author of The Earth Brokers and Learning Our Way Out; teaches ISE course on "Science, Technology, the State, and Globalization".
Co-founder, NorthEast RAGE; Co-founder, Free Media Network; long-time activist with the Independent Media Center; teaches ISE courses on "Biotechnology, Agriculture, & Racism" and "Arts, Media, Activism, & Social Change".
Self-employed carpenter; teaches "Carpentry for Women" at the Yestermorrow Design School (Warren, VT); teaches ISE course on "Sustainable Design".
Founding member of the ISE, Organic Trade Association; author, "The Rodale Book of Composting"; co-author, "USDA National Organic Standards"; former editor of "Organic Farmer Journal"; teaches ISE course on "Sustainable Design"; runs ISE Jamaica study tour.
Grace Gershuny is internationally known in the alternative agriculture movement, having worked for over twenty-five years as an organizer, educator, author and consultant, as well as a small-scale market gardener. She has written extensively about soil management and composting, including The Soul of Soil and Start With the Soil, and was the editor of Organic Farmer: The Digest of Sustainable Agriculture for its four year existence. Grace has been involved with organic certification for many years, including five years on the staff of USDA's National Organic Program. She is working on a book about the meaning of organic and what happened to it. She has taught at the ISE since 1986, and grows her own vegetables and chickens in Barnet, VT.
M.A., Committee on Social Thought, University of Chicago, taught Humanities and American Studies at Goddard College for 12 years and currently teaches courses in American vernacular music at University of Vermont. He is also a musician, writer, and president of Upstreet Productions, specializing in radio, video, and audio projects involving vernacular music and oral history. Mark has served as Review Editor of Sing Out! Magazine and was text editor of the JVC/Smithsonian Folkways Video Anthologies of the Music and Dance of the Americas, Europe, and Africa. He has produced recordings for Pete Seeger, Dave Van Ronk, Michael Doucet, and other folk artists. See www.upstreetproductions.com.
University of Chicago PhD. student; long-time leftist protest organizer; teaches ISE course on "The Post-Fordist City".
With extreme Left-Wing political and anti-capitalist beliefs, she studied communist and socialist ideology with Murray Bookchin in her early 20's. An activist with NorthEast RAGE, Chaia Heller has been a teacher of social ecology and ecofeminism at the Institute for Social Ecology for nearly fifteen years. She teaches ISE courses on "Feminism and Ecology", "The Problem of Objectivity", "Arts, Media, Activism, & Social Change", and "Science, Technology, the State, and Globalization".
Vermont independent carpenter; local organizer, Independent Media Center; teaches ISE course on "Sustainable Design".
Owner and editor, "Crank magazine"; long-time proponent of "Alternative Education"; author of "Deschooling Our Lives" and "In Formation: The Myths of the Internet"; teaches ISE course on "Radical Education".
Brooke Lehman is, as with most if not all of people associated with the ISE, very anti-capitalist and Marxist oriented. A co-owner of the radical Lower East Side bookstore Bluestockings, she is also a founder of the Direct Action Network (DAN), which organized many of the 1999 Seattle World Trade Organization protests. She is a board member, Institute for Anarchist Studies; organizer, NYC Direct Action Network; teaches ISE course on "arts, media, activism, & social change".
Bluestockings Radical Books
172 Allen St,
New York, NY 10002
Tel: (212) 777-6028
Ace McArleton, B.S., environmental science and education studies, Antioch College, has been active in the transgender, genderqueer, and queer movements toward liberation. Ace has taught youth ages 4 to 19 in varying capacities, and has facilitated workshops on transgender issues and feminism at the ISE. He is also engaged in locally based political work in central Vermont as a member of the Free Society Collective.
Director, Institute for Anarchist Studies; organizer, Anarchist Tradition conference; copy editor, Duke Univ. Press; teaches ISE courses on "Biotechnology, Agriculture, & Racism"; "Contemporary Anarchisms"; "The Anarchist Tradition" and "Direct Democracy".
Cindy Milstein is on the board and a faculty member at the Institute for Social Ecology, where she teaches each summer and works with degree students year round. She is also a board member of the Institute for Anarchists Studies, a nonprofit organization that provides grants to radical writers, and co-organizer of the annual Renewing the Anarchist Tradition conference, which attempts to create a scholarly space for a new generation of libertarian left theorists.
Co-founder and board member, Institute for Anarchist Studies; editor, "The New Formulation: An Anti-authoritarian Review of Books"; teaches ISE course on "Dialectical Philosophy"; runs the ISE Mexico City study tour.
Former art professor, Carleton College and California State University; author, "Canary Notes: The Personal Politics of Environmental Illness"; teaches ISE course on "Arts, Media, Activism, & Social Change".
Over the past two decades Beverly Naidus' art has dealt with personal and social concerns. Her mediums have ranged from interactive, site-specific installations to digitally rendered artist's books. Themes in her work have included the powerlessness invoked by nuclear nightmares, the desperation of unemployment, frustrations with and fears about the current environmental crisis, the healing potential of art, meditation and activism, and questions about popular media and the influence it has on contemporary life. Her work has been exhibited internationally, reviewed widely and has been written about in books by Suzi Gablik, Lucy Lippard, and Paul Von Blum and discussed in many articles including ones in the New York Times, the LA Times, the Utne Reader, Z Magazine, Art Forum, and Art in America.
Beverly received a MFA from the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design (1978) and a BA, cum laude with Distinction in Studio Art, from Carleton College (1975). She has taught at several museums in New York City (including the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art) and was the Dayton Hudson Distinguished Visiting Artist at Carleton College in Minnesota for two years. She taught Intermedia and New Genres, Drawing and Painting, and "Art and Social Issues" at California State University, Long Beach where she received tenure as an Associate Professor of Art in 1992. She has been teaching "Activist Art in Community" and media literacy workshops at the Institute for Social Ecology in Vermont during their summer session since 1991 and at Hampshire College during their winter session. She travels frequently to lecture on activist art and her own work. Since 1998 Beverly has been teaching with the faculty of Goddard College's low-residency, off-campus interdisciplinary arts MFA program. She received a Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist's Grant in Photography in 2001.
Activist Art Teacher Training slide packages and resource materials also available contact for details and curriculum.
Update: Beverly Naidus has left the ISE and is now living in Vashon Island, WA with her husband Robert Spivey.
Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences Program
University of Washington, Tacoma
1900 Commerce St
Tacoma, WA 98402
Tel: (253) 692-4623
Darini Nicholas, M.A., Goddard College/ISE, faculty member, Norwich University; long-time anti-globalization activist; teaches ISE courses on "Biotechnology, Agriculture, & Racism"; "Understanding Capitalism"; and "People of Color Movements".
Anne Reed, M.S., the daughter of a botanist, was introduced to plants at an early age. She has led recreation and nature tours and is a founding member of the Monday Morning Walking Group, an ongoing, informal, open forum for exploring flora and fauna. Now a free-lance plant ecologist, Annie is active in identifying and protecting Vermont's rare and endangered species and natural communities. She also teaches college-level natural history and spends her spare time gardening and observing the secrets of the natural world.
Vermont area anti-globalization protest organizer; coordinates ISE's Community Food Project; teaches ISE courses on "Biotechnology, Agriculture, & Racism"; "Radical Agriculture"; and "Sustainable Design".
Erin Royster also taught at Goddard College.
University of Vermont PhD student; National Audubon Society-funded botany researcher; teaches ISE course on "Biotechnology, Agriculture, & Racism.
Andréa Schmidt, a facilitator with Montréal's Direct Action Workshop and member of the Anti-Capitalist Convergence (CLAC), helped organize the recent Take the Capital! mobilization against the G8 and is currently involved in the No One Is Illegal campaign of Montreal. In addition to studying religion at McGill University and Harvard Divinity School, Ms. Schmidt has participated in speaking tours and done numerous workshops on capitalist globalization, anarchist theory and organizing, and direct action.
Anarchy theorist; co-author, "Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience"; employee, Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative (Madison, WI); teaches ISE courses on "Understanding Capitalism", "Alternatives to Capitalism", and The Nature Of Nature".
Peter Staudenmaier is a social ecologist and left green activist who has been involved with the Institute for Social Ecology since 1989. Currently a faculty member at ISE, Peter lives in Madison, Wisconsin, where he works at a collectively run bookstore co-op. Peter works with grassroots development organizations in Nicaragua as well as with the German radical green group Ecological Left.
"...the German radical green group Ecological Left." Who could have predicted that?!
He devotes much of his time to independent scholarship and antifascist research, and is committed to bridging activism and theoretical work. He is co-author, with Janet Biehl, of the book "Ecofascism: Lessons from the German Experience", and has published many articles on anarchism, ecological politics, and the history of Right-Wing thought. He is an experienced public speaker who conducts frequent lectures and workshops on a wide variety of topics.
Peter Staudenmaier has been active in Central American solidarity work for over a decade and has visited Nicaragua seven times in the 1980s and 1990s. Peter led a WCCN Loan Fund study tour of Nicaragua in August 1995.
Peter is a staff member with Rainbow Bookstore Cooperative and serves on the Board of Directors of the Madison Community Cooperative.
Co-founder, NorthEast RAGE; primary organizer, "Biodevastation Protests"; author, "Earth For Sale"; teaches ISE courses on "Movement Building"; "Biotechnology, Agriculture, & Racism"; and "Science, Technology, the State, and Globalization".
Brian Tokar spent much of his early adulthood exploring the anarchist and socialist sides of the New Left, he's spent his later years trying to legitimize his fringe politics.
The same can be said about most of the "old timers" involved with the Institute for Social Ecology. Their hope is that the "respectability" of an "educational institute of higher learning" will remove the public perception of their extreme Marxist agenda.
Tokar's name is directly associated with a variety of protest groups, some more lawful than others. He has openly declared his allegiance to the violent Earth First!.
...a variety of protest groups, some more lawful than others... Brian Tokar has openly declared his allegiance to the violent Earth First!... And this is a surprise to whom?
In addition to founding and running NorthEast RAGE, he has also spent time organizing sibling "protest" groups. Groups such as NorthWest RAGE and SouthEast RAGE are not above the use of terrorist tactics to make a statement and have done so being responsible for "direct action" activities of the illegal variety, including the wholesale destruction of biotech tree plantings and food crops.
And you just know that Brian Toker and his colleagues refer to him as an upstanding member of the community. How does being active in violent organizations such as the aforementioned qualify one for "Upstanding Member" status!
Since its inception, Tokar has been the principal organizer of the widely publicized "biodevastation" protests. These protest events are held in conjunction with the annual conventions of the U.S. biotech industry. The 2001 event in San Diego resulted in more than 20 arrests and over $4.5 million in added security costs to the city's taxpayers. Events in Boston, St. Louis, and Seattle resulted in a host of arsons, physical assaults, and (literally) tens of millions of dollars in property damage.
Tokar was also a faculty member at Goddard College, but no longer retains this teaching position.
There is a very close association with most of the faculty at the Institute for Social Ecology and the Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS). Many of the faculty at the ISE are staunch supporters of the IAS.
From the Institute for Anarchist Studies (IAS) website.
"Anarchism emerged out of the Socialist movement as a distinct politics in the nineteenth century. It asserted that it is necessary and possible to overthrow coercive and exploitative social relationships, and replace them with egalitarian, self-managed, and cooperative social forms. Anarchism thus gave new depth to the long struggle for freedom."
And there you have it. Radical Liberalism, Socialism, Marxism and Anarchism all rolled up into one nice package.