Resonances of Temporary Autonomous Zones … for Hakim Bey

“…the demand for the eruption of the marvellous into the ordinary will become the most ringing, poignant & tumultuous of all political demands …”

            Hakim Bey, Communiques of the Association for Ontological Anarchy


The politics of the marvellous, what to make of it?  In our times of resource calculation, utility, nothing would seem more pointless and foreign.  And yet it perhaps summarises Bey´s anarchism like few other ideas, he who would defend poetic terrorism, amour fou, art sabotage, organising a strike in school or the workplace “on the grounds that it does not satisfy your need for indolence & spiritual beauty”.

The Temporary Autonomous Zone, or TAZ, is art, but not in some fetishised, alienated form; it is art made everyday, the everyday as art.  “Is it possible to create a SECRET THEATRE in which both artist & audience have completely disappeared – only to re-appear on another plane, where life & art have become the same thing, the pure giving of gifts?”  The whole of Bey´s effort has been to explore, live this other plane, what he calls the plane of chaos, what Deleuze and Guattari might call the plane of immanence, and Bergson life.

“Chaos comes before all principles of order & entropy”; it is what animates all nature, as “continual creation”.  All regimes of power, of order, have sought to dominate this creativity, confine it, direct it, deny it if necessary … “they lied to you, sold you ideas of good & evil, gave you distrust of your body …”.  What anarchy calls for is a (re)discovery, unmasking of chaos, of our “primordial root consciousness”, in which there is neither fixed self or reality, nor fixed self or Other, but a wild coming together, of physical and moral community.

Anarchism is burdened by the same refusal/fear of chaos, crude positivistic scientism and naive celebrations of revolution.  Hakim Bey, by contrast, calls for magical insurrection: magical because like poetry, like art become life, it sabotages archetypes, destroys abstractions, it changes “the structure of reality by the manipulation of living symbols”.  Or as sorcery, it advocates the “systematic cultivation of enhanced consciousness or non-ordinary awareness & its deployment in the world of deeds & objects to bring about desired results”.  And insurrection against revolution, for the latter aims for state forms and is the death of free creativity.

Hakim Bey´s anarchism begins in crime, the crime of creativity.  But nature knows no laws and the rules of oppressive states carry no intrinsic legitimacy.  The crime of anarchism is therefore the crime of life, the crime of free community.  But such community is beyond space and time; it is lived in the intensity of the present, a messianic present which suspends law, negates it; a negation which as judged by chronos, can only be temporary.

The TAZ is everywhere to be encountered, if one knows how to smell, touch, taste, hear and see; it is in the everyday, where and when we overcome fetishism, where and when we autonomously live, declaring to our fellows, “Rejoice! All is ours!”


A video interview with Peter Lamborn Wilson/Hakim Bey

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