Autonomous Resistance And The Practice Of Autonomism

1976 words - 8 pages

PAZ's as a concept emerged from Hakim Bey's article Permanent TAZs, going beyond his essentialism of the temporary and that there are instances of the permanent.6 Of course PAZ's were existing before Hakim Bey even developed this concept so his change of mind is somewhat moot in the grand scheme of things. The term PAZ has been used to describe a variety of egalitarian anti-authoritarian projects including, but not limited to: cooperatives, social centers, communes, infoshops, free schools, pirate radio stations, community gardens, and so forth. PAZ will be mostly used here to define self-governing communities of struggle that operate outside of power structures and formal institutions ...view middle of the document...

However, this is unlikely because he is an intellectual who studies autonomous zones and they have both been around for decades (although they are typically following his suggestion of avoiding media attention). Perhaps Slab City is not mentioned in Bey's article because it has an open membership, which conflicts with his assertion that collectively decided membership is the only way to function as a PAZ.7 He again has tunnel vision with this commune like conception of a PAZ, failing to recognize that other models such as Slab City (an autonomous community with loose organization) have been functionally operating for decades with a permanent open membership and would not even dare refer to living there as “membership”. Freetown Christiania on the other hand, will collectively vote on whether you can establish permanent residence there so this could not be the reason it was excluded. They both generate revenue through what one could consider Bey's “festival” perspective for PAZ's, as Slab City has flea markets and Freetown has a theater and a hash market. Another reason Slab City is not included could be that it does not have the best environmental record- as it has had a garbage dumping problem that they are in the process of collectively resolving (a byproduct of plastics and planned obsolescence no doubt). Overall, we see justification for Bey excluding Slab City based on his own criterion but Freetown is mysteriously absent despite meeting them. A more in depth fusion of the MNC “outside” with Bey's “PAZ” could lead to some interesting and functional results, as PAZ's could be viewed as the central hub in which other projects operating “outside” could emerge from and where social movements can reflect, recharge, and expand.
Within Raul Zibechi's Territories in Resistance: A Cartography of Latin American Social Movements, we are exposed to an in depth layout of multiple aspects of social movements and the issues surrounding them.11 By exploring his investigation of social movements, we see not only the structure of and opposition faced by autonomist resistances but the similarities and potential suggestions for PAZ's and an “outside”. Unlike many autonomist theorists, Zibechi's work is much more grounded in the movements and resistances themselves and therefore has an analysis that is different in many ways. This results in a practice of autonomism and autonomist lens that includes incorporating more influences of anarchism and Zapatismo into the theoretical and practical frames.
The organizational structure of new movements in Latin America are non-hierarchical and practice direct democracy. There are no leaders, decisions are made collectively, and you learn by doing. The majority of autonomist Marxists rarely bring up hierarchy, however, it is one of the cornerstones of anarchist philosophy. Old movements were based around unions and were organized hierarchically with an entrenched leadership, ironically modeled after the...

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