no zone but one zone
Answer to Bojan Radej
here are some of the reasons why i do not share the optimism of Bojan Radej concerning autonomous zones. my first thought was: why should those in power ever accept these zones. i mean they have the police, the armies, the guns to put it short. so the only reason for them could be to get us into something like reservations, controlled and entangled in our own affairs (which would assumingly be more about poverty-management than anything else, as i can also see no ways of real economic autarky for these zones, at least not in europe). so these are the more material reasons why i don´t agree with the concept. but at the moment (i guess we have some more month to come before revolution will start) i think it is more interesting to talk about the implications for the movement.
there is some disappointing experiences of alternative projects, country communes, etc. that tried this kind of seperating-from-society-way in the 70s and 80s in the frg - which mostly ended up in a microcosm that after a while turned out to be not so much different from the rest of society. and this is not, i think, because people were not strong enough, or conscious enough or whatever. quite contrary i think that it showed a shortcoming of our traditional concept of autonomy, which is much to much going conform with the modernist concept of the atomiced individual, the completelly independent thinker, the self-disciplined engineer. i come from this tradition myself, and i agree with you that the negrist idea is no alternative (as capitalism is not only about definitions, but also about wars).
so my aim is to kind of widen, or better temporalize the concept of autonomy in our minds and practice. not to think, that we have to have 'the final thought' about it. i think it is a trap, as we say in german, "die sache zu ende zu denken", to think it "up to the end" - i think it would be better for a movement to focus on the questions. to keep them open, to stay on the move. zones are ok, but only for some purpose, some time, but never should we quit everyday communication with society. let´s have both. i think that if we are convinced that moving in certain directions is in general more enjoyable for humanity than capitalism: like solidarity, peace, justice,... than we need not be so afraid and find eternal answers to each question that may arise in the future. we can be quite confident that people will find good answers to these questions again and again. in that respect i found the proposal of bojan radej, to concentrate more on decision-making than on economy, promising in a way (only that i´m not sure whether the term democracy is strategically fruitful, maybe too many spontaneous misunderstandings, on the other hand there might be a lot of spontaneous insights and radicalization to be drawn from the discrepancy getting increasingly obvious).
but then, even more theoretical, i disagree with the idea of zones concerning the implicit idea of inside and outside. i think that a movement has to try to keep up with the developments in society as much as possible on the level of its basis, like on the matrix level. i think we need to realize that there is no way out, that we have no choice but to express ourselves using the predominant terms of our time. this does in no way mean that we should try to win by means of competing more effectively with the system in terms of public relations, advertisement, blabla. part of the power to dream of more than the status-quo will always come from rejecting that shit and experimenting with different forms of collective living. what i´m talking about is to take as a starting point for a counter strategy something like the up-to-date construction plans of capitalism, and these are today much different from the times when the autonomous movement developed the idea of autonomous zones.
on the micro-level the state is not interested in the moment to integrate its enemies - may be this will happen again if the movement grows stronger again, but right now, i think they would just be pleased if we leave to some corners. so we are not treated so much different than all the other superfluous in society, and as you can see, the threat of exclusion already works in the movement. people rush through university, compete for jobs, in heilgendamm not much pressure was needed to make some activists snip their fingers to please, please take them serious. but if the state is not even pretending to be inclusive, democratic, etc. the zones do not work as a provocation, they do not make people think. as you said, the elites go on building up their zones, gated communities, private health insurance, all that. right. but then it is not enough to copy the strucutures, if we want to denounce this exclusion of the majority of people from the wealth of the world.
i think we have to do both - realize and fight the actual developments of what is called modernization AND practically keep the knowledge alive that there is another world already existing in experiences and relationships. So if the split between outside and inside is not functional for capital anymore (and we can argue about whether this is primarily because of its immanent crisis, the movement pushing it to its limits or just the ever need to continue maximizing profits) - if the division of private/public life, family/economy, affective cooperation/effective competition, work time/leisure time melts away, when the last resorts are increasingly capitalized, we have to realize this in our discussions and actions somehow. doing our own thing is not enough. it is not wrong though, on the contrary: it is extremly necessary, as we need places - and time as well - to develop strategies that counter AND subvert the system.
but no less we need to strongly keep up the idea that we are not only talking about us and them, but that there still is something like society that consists of EVERYBODY. to really counter the elite ideology of zones that leads to the organized forgetting of a lot of people on earth, which enables modern europeans to think of themselves as really democratic and humane - like the ancient greek 'forgot' the slaves when talking about democracy and the colonial europeans 'forgot' the slaughters on which they built their civilizations. but as ideologies will always be challenged, i´m as well a bit optimistic concerning the power of our movements to put all these things on the agenda. during the protests in heiligendamm migrant realities were made visible far beyond the propaganda of border regimes, working people appeared from behind the bad conditions in the production of oranges in spain, people targeted by tornado surveillance started to understand how it feels for human beings to be reduced to a disturbance of the order, to a security problem. in all these respects i totally oppose all zones but one zone - earth.
everything for everybody