Eco-refuges as Anarchist’s Promised Land or the End of Dialectical Anarchism


  • Guido JM Verstraeten Satakunta University of Applied Sciences Tiedepuisto 3, FI 28000 Pori, Suomi-Finland Antwerp University Association, Karel de Grote hogeschool, Nationalestraat 5, 2000 Antwerp, Flanders
  • Willem W Verstraeten Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute PO Box 201, NL-3730 AE, De Bilt, the Netherlands Eindhoven University of Technology PO Box 513, 5600 MB, Eindhoven, the Netherlands


Enlightened anarchism, Land-Ethics, eco-anarchism, eco-refuge, eco-regionalism


Since the early Medieval Time people contested theological legitimation and rational discursive discours on authority as well as retreated to refuges to escape from any secular or ecclesiastical authority. Modern attempts formulated rational legitimation of authority in several ways: pragmatic authority by Monteigne, Bodin and Hobbes, or the contract authority of Locke and Rousseou. However, Enlightened Anarchism, first formulated in 1793 by the English philosopher William Godwin fulminated against all rational restrictions of human freedom and self-determination. However, we do not analyze anarchism by the ‘what’ and the ‘why’, but by looking for the best actual approach of Anarchist’s ‘Promised Land’. Furthermore, we follow the footsteps of Thoreau’s Walden Pond experiment considered as a place of salvation and prototype of 19th century romantic’s extreme individualism towards Leopold’s ethics of the land. Indeed, Thoreau’s and later Muir’s concepts of refuges are tightly connected to territorial and temporal bio-regional constraints and imply an internally organized public area based on mutualism and Hannah Arendt’s agape. From these ideas of refuges, Aldo Leopold formulated his Land-ethics that claimed integrity and autonomy of the ‘Land’. His foundation is a prototype of the eco-centric free space version of eco-anarchism as formulated by Bookchin.

In order to formulate a philosophical foundation of eco-anarchism we reject Newtonian homogeneous space-temporal conception, preceding the whole Modern discours about authority and state. On the contrary, we adopt the pluralistic Leibnizian space-time from which thinking-humans do not dissociate themselves, but participate as part of the rational infrastructure of eco-refuges. In eco-refuges, citizen belong to the civil society that stays in equilibrium with the landscape and all forms of biological life. Space is the boundary condition of human activity and determines how borders, environmental organization and institutes are sustained. Space has its proper essence of sustainability, unity and integrity. The individual feelings of security are embedded in a timelike tradition and evolution of the free space, while individual particular conceptions of space and time integrate into the social processes of identification with the refuge. Therefore, the creation of eco-refuges transforms the actual world of national authorities into a world of anarchistic democratic eco-regional homelands.


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How to Cite

Verstraeten, G. J., & Verstraeten, W. W. (2014). Eco-refuges as Anarchist’s Promised Land or the End of Dialectical Anarchism. Asian Journal of Humanities and Social Studies, 2(6). Retrieved from