TOTW: Taking Up Space

  • Posted on: 16 April 2018
  • By: thecollective

Watching the ongoing destruction of la ZAD in France, I’ve been thinking about how anarchists take up physical space. Examples include protest occupations such as la ZAD and Olympia Stand, insurrectionary infrastructure projects such as the Breakaway Social Center in Chicago, as well as longer-term land projects. We can also include theoretical frameworks for what anarchist space might look like in works such as Land and Freedom or How to Start a Fire. In a tradition that’s often manifest in discreet, fleeting actions and spectacular protests, there’s no shortage of experiments to establish anarchic spaces.

What do you think of taking up space as an anarchist strategy? What are better or worse ways to do this? What are its potentials and limitations? How do we get space? Once we have it, how do we defend it? Do we stand and fight like in la ZAD, or do we stay mobile and avoid confrontation with state forces as in Olympia?

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I think that the Federation of Egalitarian Communities has a good established model for how to do this:

Space is made up of time, and what we do is particular to each time and space. also the same spaces change and too the time that makes them. For instance in La ZAD people may have come for a weekend defence of engaging the cops, which certainly stretches time both in such an experience being eternally immediate and risking to extend on into court cases and penalties. However after that weekend engagement those same folks decide to then make commitments to establishing a life on those same battle grounds, and that time is much slower and seems so often differed or dragging on.
Anyway, I'd encourage another way of answering the question is by asking how we determine which of these categories fits our circumstances and less which one seems most ideal. My suggestion is to find ways to have each particular instance touch the others, but then in my experience we have to re-ask the question of how not to burn out. But maybe it's the same answer. That each of these modes of claiming space can allow for people to oscillate both in losing themselves and collecting themselves and we as a WE need to be better at helping each other recognize that there is a time and place to do each. Maybe people wouldn't try to find rest in a life of conformity if we encouraged their participation in struggles that in our transforming by slowing time.

One of the fundamental principles to negating property value, I.e. space value, is to not become attached to the idea of ownership and possession, yet what have the la ZAD done is made claim to a piece of space and purchased it by recuperating a currency of oppression. Freedom is not sedentary, it is the temporary mobility of desire.,.

Definitively, freedom allows everyone to define their own freedom.
Exercise your freedom and let other exercise theirs. Or face dada.

abjures inactivation Paynise restroom yuppie cantankerousness
coffins cardiac delayers superconductivity licence's
corresponds Shelley instructs Dirichlet cultivated
Reichsrat skeletal iteratively resign pertained

stalwartness fifties ingle Allison Lagos
Gambia's volcanic haemorrhagic distinction
inarticulateness leaked Elwood's evadable propounds
evildoing orgy ruffling incubation besmear rotational

invalidly backblocks Robinsonville gerrymandered horizontal
coterminous quaternary thickening viscidity

Spacial office organization spills nine nine months yes liberators and how class consciousness resurfacing the population who are incarcerated for the fulfillment and its materialistic values of traditional aesthetics and created works which had no attachment to the doctrine of oppression within a binary socio-economic framework that is true for me and those I love bananas and mangoes and the emotions these encounters precipitated by their own illogical stance in supporting axioms which protect systems of power mmkay ;)

"indigo indigo
"Trambahn Schlafsack
"Wanz und Floh
"indigo indigai
"bumm DADAI

Gibberish mumbling fools are grabbed by the clan of individualists and given a crash course in individuated sovereignty, self-reliance, home cooking and Sociology 101 before they are loosed out into the internet.

Er fiel in einen Narrenstall.
Da rauscht ein zäher Wasserfall.
Da sank ein zäher Gummiball.
Er aß von seinem Widerhall.
Da gab er seinen zähen Knall.
Wer gab da seinen zähen Knall?
Der zähe Gummiwasserfall?
So endete der zähe Prall
Im allgemeinen Knall und Fall:
Von Arp und Merz in diesem Fall.
So springt ein zäher Wasserball.

"Freedom is not sedentary, it is the temporary mobility of desire"
i like that

recuperated a currency of oppression? what do you mean by that?

They've simply given value to oppression.,.

To elaborate, they've created a welfare culture to sustain yet contain oppression.

Most wars are the result of space value. Worthless space to civilization is peaceful space for the wilder-rebel.

property value is not equivalent to space value in as far as I can stretch to grasp what you're saying. I do agree that freedom is not sedentary, and that it is a temporary mobility of desire. All forms of life are temporary. To extend them as in a manner to share them we will need to exchange them with each other. This is present in my suggestion that we allow ourselves the freedom of mobility to move from one form of resistance to another and try to recognize the correlating length and pace of time in each local. La ZAD has unfolded to present a gift to people all over the world, and gifted pieces of what has been crafted there. All forms manifest in a space, and every space has a corollary time. Some forms take centuries of space to come into being.

I can jump the gun sometimes, yeah property and space value are different, any zone of temporary freedom is another outpost against the sedentary authority, another sanctuary to add to a growing network.,.

The ZAD is one of the longer lasting, more combative examples of a TAZ that opened up in the context of a seemingly activist/reformist campaign but there's many, many others: the rail blockades in olympia washington being a more modest recent example in the US context.

Many would disagree (if combative struggle isn't your thing) but I've always found this dynamic interesting because it can be exploited effectively from an anarchist position. In olympia, by the second year, they'd learned the trick.

The reformist/activist/liberal demands can create a "public relations" forcefield of diplomatic problems for the cops which prevents them from just crushing the zone early like they would with a more openly anarchist or anti-state project. The combativeness, or at least willingness to stay longer than a few hours, positions you to try and outflank the liberal activists with their own bullshit agendas.

This buys you the time to get more entrenched and build up support, meanwhile, you're often providing free housing for friends and accomplices while eating food donations from liberal sympathizers. It's not a bad hustle if you're homeless anyway. Depending on how hostile the local cops are to hobo camps, you might be getting hassled way less by camping with the liberal activists while you eat their food.

Of course the soft-handed liberals can be default hostile to poverty so I like to hang around, defusing their class bullshit by calling it out and forcing the uncomfortable conversations, basically champagne-shaming them. A few anarchists can get in their faces and destroy this crap for the low price of a few snarky comments! Best delivered while eating their food!

TAZ was never envisioned as an activist/reformist platform. Ask Hakim Bey he'll verify that!.,.

Yes that is true. It was a place for young angry rebellious boys to relax in and find their peace.Some call that reform, I call it emotional balance.

I can see the attraction for you

those fuckin assholes tellin me i need to wipe my but and comb my hair! WTF! I only talk to tha proletarian left, we can kick back, have a few budwiesers, and fix cars and shit. I can't stand tha site of any fuckwad from a university or anyone in a suit! If any of those fuck faces shows up around my neck of the woods I'm gonna shame their dumb fucking privileged ass!

Wuh? You mean you are going to ass rape some bourgeois tourists who took the wrong turn and got lost! That's pretty heavy weird authoritarian patriarchal shit you're engaging in like in that movie Deliverance. You better watch your ass, they might be archery or gun fanatics.

Very few bourgie academic circles got Burt Reynolds in their midst, don't worry... They're more likely to have a great many liberal snowflakes. Not very close to manly-man sex symbols.

Bear Grills gonna kick your beer guzzling leftist ass !

Guess I could stand up to this Bear Grill dickhead who's on the package of that cheesy machete at Canadian Tired. For two minutes at least. But hey I ain't a leftist, so....

But you're an anti-Monarchist and Bear's buddy Prince Harry gonna kick your arty-farty ass!

man, bear grills stayed in hotels and shit, he wasn't raaw and reel like les stroud, and while he might be good at survin n' stuff, i grew up in the streets so I KN0W HOW TO FIGHT!

bear grills aint nuthin. Me and Zhachev are gonna show him how to properly live off the land and NOT RAPE and murder animals when we go offgrid. we gonna show are you rapist meat eaters that you can survive on mushrooms we find and dont have to MURDER living beings like moo cows and RAPE insects. i hate you meat eaters you all are RAPISTS for eating meat from the industrial food complex.

"Goldman Sachs DOESN'T CARE if I revert to savagery." Goldman Sachs won't even notice.
What I have in mind isn't overtly confrontational, nor is it "occupying space". It is returning to the rest of nature where humans belong. (It also helps that yuppie $$$ hasn't "discovered" the area I'm interested in, surrounded by hundreds of square miles of magnificent Forest Service land you can walk right into.)

The vast stretches of Land held by the Forest Service and logging corporations have an additional problem - aside from longstanding stupid logging/"forest management" practices. Long ago depopulated of the Original People ("Indians"), they are being occupied by armed drug gangs doing trespass grows using severely neurotoxic rodenticides banned in the U.S.. The questionable crop is then exported to U.S. states where pot is still illegal. The Forest Service "doesn't have the resources" to deal with the problem. (Maybe they would if it weren't for all the vast crown fires resulting from their stupid "forest management".) Perhaps survivors of the Native American genocide, who still have the ancestral Knowledge, allied with other "rewilders", could do something about this. There is also the longer-term issue of what will outlive the Collapse and regenerate normal/healthy ("savage") human life.

Seems to me you are applying your alien morals to an evolved regional exchange market which is utilized by the indigenous Original People.,.

Nooo, I feel that poisoning the Land with severe neurotoxins, which have been found as far as 1000 feet from these grows, is of the HIGHEST ethical standards! Surviving Original People in the Hoopa Valley reservation found over 50 of these things on the remnant of their ancestral Land. Why? They still live there. As for the appropriate tending of the forest ecosystem, I too have the ancestral Knowledge, even though I'm a damn redneck (who's done lots of LSD in the backwoods). I must now be roundly condemned for cultural appropriation!

I hereby condemn you for cultural appropriation for having returned to an Original Personal consciousness, and award you the key to the wilderness.

Many indigenous people find that neo-colonialist culture has excluded them and forces them into occupations made illegal by the invading culture. No indigenous peoples have ever been entirely eradicated from a region but mixed with the excluded migrant populations also pushed out into the remote regions. Many have to arm themselves in self-defense against the moral agents of the neo-colonialists.

There's no such thing as neo-colonialism. The difference between John Rolfe and your next door ancap yuppie pot-grower is mundane. Weed is still within the exact same framework as the former cash crops, and their land exploitaations are just pushing a few more hundred feets into the wild on the centuries-old pile of deforestation, monocultures, pollution, highways and suburban sprawls. Nothing new under the Sun. It's same old colonialism.

If you want to split hairs, then colonialism is everything which is not indigenous, and neo-colonialism is the liberal facade they refer to as post-colonialsm, as if value structures have evolved and eclipsed the negative aspects of colonialism, which actually brought hot water showers, plumbing, increased life expectancy, etc, etc

Well colonialism is just as deterministic as indigeneity, they both make claims to pre-existing rights. I regard them both as neurotic cultural diseases within corrupted social power systems. I place the green tree-hugger in the same canoe as the armed herbal worshipping guard, they are all slaves to cultural morals and imperatives.,.

Relevant, BadKitty. Didn't know abnout the rodenticides issues in weed cuiltures, and I doubt every single pot farmer cares about environmental like human safety of the stuff they produce.

Do not occupy strongholds. The troops will always be able to take them or simply destroy them with their artillery. Our fortresses will be internal courtyards or any place that it is easy to strike from and leave easily. If they were to take them they would never find anyone and would lose many men

Stalker: The Zone is a very complicated system of traps, and they’re all deadly. I don’t know what’s going on here in the absence of people, but the moment someone shows up, everything comes into motion. Old traps disappear and new ones emerge. Safe spots become impassable. Now your path is easy, now it’s hopelessly involved. That’s the Zone. It may even seem capricious. But it is what we’ve made it with our condition. It happened that people had to stop halfway and go back. Some of them even died on the very threshold of the room. But everything that’s going on here depends not on the Zone, but on us!

Writer: So it lets the good ones pass and kills the bad ones?

Stalker: I don’t know. I think it lets those pass who have lost all hope. Not good or bad, but wretched people.

From Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 Soviet Art/Science Fiction film Stalker.

Humans consider themselves separate from their environment. Most people today see themselves as being superior to, or in control of, nature. The ownership and/or tenureship of a particular space is established initially from the ontological distinction between humans and nature.

To land somewhere, to have land, describes a condition of being in place. The question of taking up space is also a question of sedentarism. Where a large enough population of humans is concentrated within a specific geographic locale, there is a risk of a state arising.

If anarchists desire to avoid States and State control, a rejection of sedentarism, along with a rejection of the false distinction between human and nature, would seem like a good place to start.

Away, I'd rather sail away
Like a swan that's here and gone
A man gets tied up to the ground
He gives the world its saddest sound

Its saddest sound

I'd rather be an anarchist than a libertarian socialist
Yes I would I really would

I'd rather be a forest than a street

I'd rather be an existentialist nihilist than a street ;)

Roadside picnic … it's a reference to roadside picnic. You're making a media collage instead of a point. Free association mental diarrhea.

You're not being SERIOUS. And you're making anarchists LOOK BAD.

You're not being SERIOUS. And you're making anarchists LOOK BADDER.

right on, bruh. biocentricism ftw everybody else is an exploiter that doesnt want to do anything except false distinctions and support the industrial food complex by eating meat and raping animals.

Akin to the Irish travelers(Pikeys). That's basically how anarchy and statelessness work best. An anarch anarchic psychology is best made on the traveling move. Certain people can go inner and outer sedentary and back into babylon or its hip offshoots if one had business or secondary relations therein however anarchy is best on the move.

First off the ZAD is nowhere near destroyed, the pigs cleared less than half the settlements (39 buildings) on about a third of the site, there's still about 60 buildings not to mention campsites etc, and it's cost them a fortune to do it. They are still occupying the cleared areas at a cost of hundreds of thousands a day, and the moment they withdraw it will be reoccupied. This is the third time they've tried to evict and the results were similar each time. There's lots of historic cases like the ZAD in Europe. Larzac, Wendland, Christiania, a lot of the former squats in Germany and Holland. They start out either as TAZ living alternatives or protest camps. A lot of them are eventually legalised. Unfortunately this usually leads to deradicalisation and before you know it they're mostly just subcultural ghettos. This is why ZAD has been so militant I think. In the UK there used to be lots of eco-protest camps which lasted months or years and took days and huge amounts to evict – by the late 90s it got to the point where most projects were dropped at the first sign of an eco-camp (which strangely, took some of the steam out of the movement because it lost the moments of intensity). This was done mainly using nonviolent direct action with a little bit of sabotage added in. Have a look at “Down with Empire, Up with Spring” for details. None of them turned into permanent settlements AFAIK although there were land projects elsewhere. There's still a few occupations and the fracking protests have a very similar dynamic.

In addition to these, there's lots of anarchic spaces set up on a legal basis to begin with. There's 100 communities like this in the UK alone, probably more in the US. And a few which survive by being out of reach – like Tipi Valley in Wales, and that one off the coast of Canada (I forget the name). It's probably easier in the US because of the low population density, I've seen figures of hundreds of thousands doing off-grid living in the US. I'm really surprised it isn't taking off more among BLM types, basically trying to set up maroon communities beyond the reach of the pigs, but I suppose the whole idpol focus on recognition by the powerful is a hurdle here. On a global scale it's very common, indigenous groups reoccupying their land (Mapuche, Chiapas...), landless people seizing rural or urban land (El Alto, the MST, South African occupations...) as well as the more informal squatting, shanty-town building and homeless camps which crop up everywhere. Not forgetting the areas the state can bomb, but can't reach (such as the areas of Amazonian Colombia where drugs are grown), and the areas which are actually under the control of one or another opposition group (would it be possible for anarchists to imitate the territorial strategy of, for example, Hizbollah?)

The ZAD case seems to show that rural occupations with sufficient numbers and militancy are still effective. The police have a difficult time with the “terrain complexity” and activists with local knowledge can often outsmart them. If we can't stop them then we can make their interventions very costly. The MST and South African shackdwellers movements have used similar strategic models with differing effectiveness. The difficulty in the US would be that the police are even more heavily militarised than in France, we saw at Standing Rock the level of force they are prepared to use. The French pigs are also militarised and made us of SWAT teams, riot squads and potentially lethal use of “less lethal” weapons (this is how they killed Remi Fraisse a few years back) but they stop short of using their firearms and the sentences for revolt are a lot less than in the US. They've been doing J20-style frame-ups post-ZAD but not on the same scale or with the same severity of sentencing. So a US-style ZAD might have to look less like the ZAD and more like the Zapatistas to have the same kind of durability. The Cliven Bundy siege is instructive in this regard (shit politics aside), again this was a victory initially, even though highly militarised police were used. Or, it may be a case of globalising the strategy, and US activists moving out to occupied zones elsewhere in the Americas or Europe.

On the other hand, the occupied social centre and militant urban zone strategy seems to be in crisis. The state will evict squatted centres as early as it can with overwhelming force, and establish ongoing repression in the surrounding area, like the occupations of Exarchia and the “danger zone” around Rigaer Strasse. The usual answer is to meet repression with retaliation, but it doesn't seem to be stopping the repression at the moment. Squatted social centres have virtually disappeared in Britain and are under siege even in Germany, Italy and Greece. The historical situation is well-covered in Katsiaficas' Subversion of Politics and comes down to several advantages. Terrain complexity renders eviction difficult, but the state has found a lot of technical workarounds for both lethal and sub-lethal urban warfare. The other variable is our ability to impose costs and the state's willingness to absorb them. Costs are higher when we have numbers, militancy, and public or media sympathy. There's also technical workarounds at our end, but I haven't seen much technical innovating in spatial defence since the 1990s. I believe it would be possible to make squat evictions much more difficult and expensive if we upped our game in various areas: firstly, electronic countermeasures such as EMPs and jamming; secondly, use of drones and robotics (e.g. robotic tree-spiking, or drone-aided rooftop escapes); thirdly, use of netting, paint, and other methods which entangle, slow, or blind opponents. Study medieval warfare for ideas (e.g. “murder holes” and boiling oil, which could easily be replaced by something non-lethal such as paint or glue). It's not logically possible for unbreachable supermax prisons to coexist with unstoppable squat-breaking police tactics – either it's possible to lock down a building against entry or it isn't. If the difference is technological then we need to look for technological equalisers like we have in the past. The other big shift is, I think the state's big vulnerability now is blockaded infrastructure, and this can be done easily without necessarily being present.

Bey also argued – and I think he's often right – that the most successful TAZ's are those which are not seen. Precisely because they're not seen, we might not know about them. The state DOES sometimes try to suppress harmless drop-out projects which are no real danger to it – I've seen cases of people forced out of remote woods where they were living, and communes like Steward Wood getting shut down for no good reason despite their moderation. The state wants everyone conforming, everyone available as abject proletarians to be exploited, and subsistence and natural living undermine this. But, it's less proactive when fighting things it can't see or find. So for example, there's an annual hippy festival in the UK, held somewhere in eastern England. It's been covered once in Vice, but otherwise the media has no idea it exists. Only people in the know find out where it is, and because of this, it's survived the massive repression which has either destroyed or recuperated most of the free party movement in the UK. Graeber writes about de facto anarchist areas in Madagascar – areas which remain stateless because the state doesn't know or care very much about them. Britain has banned squatting and anarchist squats are now very quickly evicted, but there's still around 10,000 squatters in the UK the same as before the ban – they're just more circumspect now. There's huge numbers living off-grid in America – as I've said, I've seen figures in the hundreds of thousands – but there's only a handful of cases of repression. Visibility – and visibly anarchist status – raise the state's interest; everyday anarchy which doesn't name itself is sometimes more resilient. The trouble is, we lose voice in this way, and we lose the intense moments of confrontation which hold the movement together. Ideally we'd have both – a safe zone behind our lines and also frontline points of visible confrontation.

There's no way to respond to this entire text but I did want to say as a sort of side note among your points at least in my opinion, the reason ZAD has been able to exist, as well as other places still holding strong is that a critical mass of resistance does exist. I just think a lot of the time we think about a lot bigger number when we think about how much it takes but I don't really believe this. It's a smaller number and yeah, with overwhelming force available in a place like Germany, with a society that has veered complacent there will be less options and places to resist. Although Italy, Greece, Spain and somewhat surprisingly France has been able to put up fights.

If I am looking at the situation near short term, I would say whomever is able to hold out till the next economic collapse will be looking very good.

The clan of individualists own nothingness and all the space in between. There can never be safety or danger for them, because space in which they wander is a uniform continuum without borders. It neither begins nor ends and has no value, it is only a brief punctuation in the story of geographic time, a zone of compatibility delineated with positive desires and ending beyond the perimeter of a dreams realization.

rid your head of crap and live much less materially. Let go of crap: do I need this, how much do I need this? Do this gradually and soon you will reach a point to be able to let go. You will be surprised how much shit accumulated in your head and in your life. A lighter life is available. Expect your so-called friends to 'hate' you for making the changes they feel incapable of making. There are people and spaces and lots of simple pleasures waiting for you. Do it. Overcome your fear of illness, loneliness and death.

All space is contested so MOVE!

*Content warning* some people may find these videos boring.

Deleuze Guattari: Societies of Control and Antipsychiatry

Deleuze's Postscript on the Societies of Control

Enjoy your confrontation with the state.

I enjoy more the confrontation with the State in my head, and its a lot cheaper.,.

and all other places. Things are constantly demanding attention and occupying the mind. Escape and evasion is more appropriate than resistance in some cases. Where can I go? What can I do now? Where can we win if that's even desirable? What is winning? What does victory look like? Do you have a precedent for it? If you're happy and you know it clap your hands!

Do you have a room of your own? Is it a room with a view. What do you think about psychogeography? Maybe it's time for a Dérive. This is starting to sound like psychobabble. Welcome to the party.

*sound of hands clapping* Yes I picture my psyche as a pristine desert landscape with beautiful oases and wandering clans of individuals making whoopee, yet I function in the urban realm, the external geography becomes the metaphor of my canvas.,. uses an invalid security certificate. The certificate expired on April 22, 2018 at 7:53 PM.

It's just been updated!

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